Monday, January 25, 2010

Leave a comment





I really enjoyed all of the comments from my post on the "followers" widget. It's clear that some of us really like the widget and some of us prefer not to have it, for a variety of reasons. Which brings me to "comments." I will admit to a certain amount of validation when people comment on my postings, and a little let down when they don't. That feature feels much more personal to me than the "followers" widget. But again, I have to go back and ask myself why I'm blogging. For me it's the connections to other people. I'm an empty-nester, and can feel lonely for my family that live 10 hours away, blogging keeps me connected to others, to all of you. So a comment says that people are out there.

The other reason I blog, and the reason I first started blogging, was to get back in the habit of writing. An off shoot of posting several times a week is practice. Learning to express yourself in a meaningful way is a skill. One that is used throughout your life in many different ways, but most expressly in business. If you can learn to write creatively, clearly, it will work to your advantage. So I blog to hone my skills. Your comments give me a barometer as to whether my writing is interesting or, gasp, not. 

But the reality is probably much simpler. With over 115 million blogs, thanks to DJan's research, some may not leave comments because they have moved on, and in that case you can't really blame them. We can't write something that will be of interest to everyone, everyday. It is simply a matter of numbers. Many blogs, many new voices, only so much time. 

Which brings me to the reason for this post on comments. I was amazed at all of the new people who left comments on the last post. All of which I will get around to visiting in the days ahead. I always try to visit new people, but only when they leave me a comment. Which made me wonder - how many blogs have not established connections because they may just visit others and not leave comments? How many other people, like myself, would love to meet new people - especially those new to blogging - but use their comments as a way to forge those relationships?

So maybe the key to adding readers, if you would like to do that, is to make sure you drop a comment when reading blogs that you like. Don't be shy, and don't be put off if the blog has many followers. As I mentioned in my last post - most of those followers are not actual readers. I, for one, love to meet new people. I'm a student of humanity, and your stories make me laugh, cry, are entertaining, educational, and most of all take me to new heights and places I will never have the opportunity to visit. I will bet that many others feel the same way and use comments as their means of connecting to their readers. Of course there are those times that you just want to read, or you really don't have a comment. Or, more importantly, are happier without having too many readers. That's okay, too. But as one of the commenters noted yesterday - your readership is directly related to how many you read. But isn't that true in life as well? Your friendships or sense of community is directly related to how much energy you put into it? And some people are simply happier with less people in their lives, whether they are fellow bloggers, family or friends. Which is fine. Life is complicated enough, and blogging can become very time consuming. But for those that would like to expand their blogging relationships:

When in doubt, leave a comment.

61 comments:

Pat transplanted to MN said...

I was fiddling with my blog today to get the comment gadget. Those who read me tend to email/or FB me rather than leaving a comment. Well those are my closer friends. But I often wonder, is anyone else out there and what do they think? It's not that I need an opinion, or validation or not but curious.

California Girl said...

well, one thing I've just learned. There are way more than 3,000,000 blogs. I don't know where that came from but I believed it til I just read your new post. 115 million...whoa. That gives one pause. It makes it all the more miraculous that anyone finds, read and comments on a post.

A Year on the Grill said...

I am a comment whore. Mostly, I leave brief comments just to let someone know that I was there. If I have something to contribute, I do. But with my own site, i would prefer to interact and get to know who is reading.

Ny blog has improved with each comment, because I get more personal.

CrazyCris said...

Ahhhh, the joy of opening my inbox and seeing a Blogger e-mail "X has commented on your post"! YAY!!!

I too tend to visit every new reader who leaves me a comment. I'm always curious when I see a new "face" and always check them out and say thx for their first visit. And then I usually take the lid of my jar of curiosity and spend some time poking around their place trying to get a feel for what they have to talk about. If I like, I follow. If not, I don't. Simple as that. And every so often I'll look at the list of blogs I follow and if there's one or another that hasn't posted anything interesting for me in a while, then frequently I'll stop following them (unless I know they're on a blogging break). I like to REALLY follow the blogs I do follow (you know read most of what is written attentively, leave comments), and there is a limited number of blogs you can truly keep up with.
Needless to say I don't think I'll ever be leaving you off my list Nancy! Your place is one interesting post after another! ;o)

Bruce Coltin said...

I've been reading you for a while now, and I was going to leave you a comment on a previous post, telling you how much I enjoyed your intelligent sincerity. I didn't leave the comment because I thought it sounded dumb. Now I've done it, and I can't take it back.

Expat From Hell said...

Your subject matter gets more compelling with each post, Nancy. I have often wondered about my "dependence" on followers and comments, and am encouraged again to write for more simple objectives. Keep up the great work, friend. EFH

luksky said...

I agree. Although I have even less comments than I do followers, I appreciate when people leave comments. Without comments you don't know where you stand with your post...whether people agree, disagree, what they think about your topic, etc.

Meeko Fabulous said...

You are so right. When in doubt leave a comment. I think yours was one of the very first blogs I followed when I started blogging! As I go through your blogroll . . . I see a lot of the blogs I follow too! (and I probably got them from you!) LoL! :)

DJan said...

Well, now you've done it. I read all the comments on your last post and added three more people to follow, which is beginning to get ridiculous. I already sit in front of the computer for too long as it is.

But I do value comments on my blog more than followers, although I realize that I seldom do what I did today: add new people to follow; I comment on the same blogs every day. After all, you guys are my extended family! I want to know what you're up to.

And my eyes begin to burn and my butt continues to spread...

JeannetteLS said...

I love getting comments, partly for the contacts and partly because it really does help me keep going. I have a really personal blog and having strangers respond warmly to what I have written, rather than friends who are predisposed to think well and who already KNOW the backstories--having strangers reply has let me know where I'm headed. Beyond that? I have been through terrible times of late and followers HERE have been unbelievably kind, giving, understanding and supportive. So it has turned out to be an experience of developing relationships, when it began as getting back to developing my memoir. I also agree that visiting commenters builds followers. I think that I've gotten a lot out of looking at the blogs others follow--may lead to a sort of inbreeding effect, but so what?

willow said...

My thoughts exactly. Leaving a comment is a wonderful way to network and meet wonderful people. I have about 400 who read my blog on a given day, who don't leave a comment. How much effort does it take to say hello? It really is all about how much you want to invest.

Deborah said...

Nancy, it's almost relieving to read in your post that you like the validation of the comments you receive. What drew me to your blog was the tone and quality of your writing and the nature of your topics, and I admit that my respect sometimes meant that I felt really unequal to the task of commenting intelligently. Depending on the blog, I can be a cheerleader, but I prefer to have a pertinent - even if brief - discussion with the bloggers I follow.

I wouldn't write like I do if no one read me, and it's a lot easier to admit that after reading your post. I've been thinking of that as a kind of vanity, and I suppose it still is when the comments are positive, but damn it, how many of us are so self-reliant that we need absolutely no praise or positive input from others? It wouldn't be easy for me to make an anonymous donation, either!

So thanks for your open and considered perspective. I have certainly enjoyed myself much more since I began to make comments and receive them in return, especially from writers and thinkers like you.
You provoked me, with your last two posts, into thinking about the whys behind my enjoyment of the exchanges that each post prompts.

Brian Miller said...

comments are a double edged sword at times. if i hit your blog i try to leave a comment, sometimes witty or funny or just give opinion or feedback. the double edge comes in when you get so many comments that it starts to turn others away. which stinks because for me it is about the connection as well. is there a point that it gets in the way...it sure seems so.

i read them all though.

Lori said...

I comment all the time and sometimes wonder if the writer thinks I'm a blazing idiot! :)

Couldn't agree more with your post. I absolutely love the connections I've made via reading others and writing my own blogs.

Joanne said...

The Comments are where it's at :)

Whitney Lee said...

I tend to comment when I feel I actually have something to say. Often I'll read a blog and thoroughly enjoy it but not feel like I've got a response that hasn't already been voiced.

I have found that I tend to follow a certain type of blogger, and they often have very little in common with me because I'm at a completely different stage in my life. While I feel I gain something (insight, inspiration, entertainment) from reading their blog, I understand that the same may not be true of my blog. I tend to write about my life and understand that the people I enjoy reading may have less interest in visiting (or revisiting) the adventures of a stay at home mom. I'm okay with that. I have discovered, though, that it's difficult to garner followers when ones blog subject matter is unrelated to ones followed blogs. Fortunately for me I am not blogging in order to gain followers...

Still, due to this post I will most likely comment a bit more often (time permitting) than I currently do. You have a knack for choosing thought provoking subjects and a way of phrasing it all that is always a joy to read. Thank you.

Elizabeth Bradley said...

In talk radio millions of people might listen, but few will call in. I liken the blog comments are the same. There are shy people out there, but they read us. That's a comfort. We should also pay close attention to what pictures and titles we put out there. Some are far more compelling than others. Great post!

otin said...

I try not to move on from peoples blogs without reading what they wrote. Sometimes it may not be right up my alley, but they took the time to write it, and they took the time to read what I wrote, so I feel like I owe them the respect of reading their work. Maybe that is why I consider myself insane! LOL

Miss Footloose said...

You sure connect with people going by all the comments you get!

For years we lived far away from friends and family, in Africa, the Middle East and West Asia most recently, and the internet is a wonderful way of connecting in its various ways.

Our first baby was born in Africa and we sent telegrams to our parents! Making international phone calls took hours of sitting at the post office where they made the connections. The dark ages!

And no, I'm really not that old ;)

Keep writing!

Jill of All Trades said...

I love comments too and I almost always try to leave a comment on a new blog I read and try to drop by the ones I read regularly and leave a comment often but not everytime. Thanks.

lakeviewer said...

It's also a matter of reciprocity and good manners. After I've visited and left comments, I do like to see a certain amount of reciprocity. If after a while that person never visits me, I begin to wander off.

Alaine said...

Gosh, you must be happy, Nancy, your previous post had as many comments as my last seven and that includes my replies!

I really do believe that commenting does attract traffic to your blog and mine has 'gone off the boil' lately as I've been mainly reading my favourites and not commenting. Would that be considered 'lurking'? I don't think so as I find the content most interesting but don't have an opinion either way most times. I also see people viewing my blog on a regular basis (stats) but they never comment so they must just enjoy reading.

I don't put much importance on the 'following' widget as most people following me I'm sure have forgotten that they are!!! I think it helps when you're on the sidebar but I'm rarely there!

Good post. xa

Mental P Mama said...

I love my comments! Waving hello!!!!!

Kay said...

hehe...well said! what is the saying? if you don't have time to read, you don't have time to write (totally screwed that one up) but its true! I throughly enjoy reading what everyone out there is up to, great talent! inventive, educational...it makes me sad when some bloggers don't allow comments...if i'm truly moved, i'd like you to know that.... and even still, writers block can occur occasionally, even in the comment box :) Keep it up!

Erika C. said...

I haven't visited your blog in a while and I like your recent posts. I do appreciate the way you always have visited my blog when I visit yours and sometimes when you don't.

I love getting comments too and I too leave comments on blogs that I have enjoyed reading and in this way have created a connection with new people, as you say. Some of them join as followers, some write on my blog and sometimes others follow their link to my blog.etc. It truly is a "web!"

Thanks for these thoughts. I remember almost exactly a year ago when I had just stared blogging and was very unfamiliar with this strange new world and you were one of the ones who kindly helped me to feel comfortable here!

love,
Erika

Rebecca said...

Wow! You hit the bullseye with the "followers" post! Congratulations. I think your last sentence or two really made sense and summed up how I feel about the widget.

Now, re. comments...I use comments as my "spring board" to the commenter's blog rather than "answering" in the comment section itself.

(I never know the best way to respond....What do YOU think?)

Von said...

Hi Nancy, think you know my views and habits by now.
I still appreciate your views and comments when you stop by.It is nice to know who's reading you and why.
Love the feedback when it leads to other things as in my Dashwood posts today and yesterday.Fun!!

susan said...

Just thought I'd stop by to say 'Hello' :-)

SquirrelQueen said...

While I enjoy the little follower widget because I love to see all those smiling faces it's comments that make my day. Being a photographer I like to hear what my readers like, or not like, about my photos. I have noticed over the past months that my skills have improved and I think the comments have influenced that greatly.

I leave a lot of comments on a daily basis but sometimes I will just read the post and leave. Your post has made me look at that a little differently now.

Judy

ρομπερτ said...

Comments do provide a bit of "momentum", spining around the world, making me grateful to be a part of it.
Please have you all a wonderful Tuesday.

Elisabeth said...

Comments are wonderful in so far as they are affirmative. They give a sense that there is someone out there listening.

As well it helps for me when the comments have some substance, that they have some added dimension to them.

I prefer a conversation, not just a series of nods and acknowledgments, although acknowledgments are always welcome. The difficulty then relates to sheer volume. We only have so much time each day to engage.

It's like being at a party of 100 people. You will not have the same in depth conversations as you might have if there are only ten at the table. It depends on what you look for in your blog life.

I want more depth, but others might be happy with quick and friendly greetings. It's all about diversity and long may it continue.

Gemel said...

What a great post, I understand everything you said. I was told recently by a 'friend' that by having a blog I was stroking my own ego, that I was just wanting other people to think I was smart, wise, clever...............

It is not why I write at all, I use my blog to unburden my heart, I know that not every post interests everyone, how could it, and that those that visit, do so because they choose to, as I do to their blogs.

I have found that I have so many new friends, who share my ups and downs, and that was unexpected, I feel that we all have such a lot to gift each other and what better way than with our words.....

Mary Ellen said...

Hi, Nancy! I do a fair number of comments on several blogs, but I confess that when there are already dozens for a specific post, I'm less likely to add my own thoughts - often because everything worth saying seems to have already been said. Other times, though, by serendipity, I'm cruising along when something gets posted, so I am more inclined to take a walk in that fresh snowfield and leave my tracks.

Hilary said...

I don't always leave a comment when I read. If I'm really struggling with what to say, I move on. But I usually leave one because I cherish the feedback I get from my own readers. It's such a kick to know that others look out for my posts, read them and respond to them.

Sarah Lulu said...

I don't always have time to comment but I do read ...all the time!

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Good one, Nancy! Now, onward toward your book? Yes? Please?

Steph... said...

Hi! Im Steph from the Philippines. I feel the same way when my friends and family read my blog but doesn't even react or anything. I agree to this...

natural girl said...

Just checking into say "hi" I have read a few of your blogs. I don't always comment but as a blof=gging newbie I love to see someone commenting on what I have written. Not that I actually write for anyone but myself just nice to know someone else feel like I do. XXX

natural girl said...

Just checking into say "hi" I have read a few of your blogs. I don't always comment but as a blof=gging newbie I love to see someone commenting on what I have written. Not that I actually write for anyone but myself just nice to know someone else feel like I do. XXX

Gaston Studio said...

I agree with many that comments are reciprocal and networking possibilities. Personally, I don't have the time to read everyone on my list, every single day, but I always leave comments when I visit.
Love these posts; so thoughtful and insightful.

R.J. said...

After I finish my daily e-mails, I visit your blog every day along with dozens of other blogs. It's great to read your writing but I don't often comment after having exhausted myself responding to e-mails. I spend so much time online, I forget to do the laundry, shopping and housecleaning. Wish I would forget to eat! Coming from a lifelong reading addiction, responding to what I read is a whole new paradigm for me. The New York Times doesn't care if I respond, but it is good to be reminded that the blogs are much more personal. Keep up the good work; you're far more interesting than the latest news flash on CNN.

The Good Cook said...

I enjoy reader comments very much and you are right, it is a way to feel connected. I also enjoy reading comments on other people's blogs and have clicked through to "meet" the commenter. On many occasions I have then become a follower of that commenters blog. Wow.. does any of the above make sense? Anyway, comments and commenters ROCK!

Holly said...

While I use computers quite a bit ... I'm not at all techie...your post struck a bell that it would be courteous to let people know I've visited.
CrazyCris said it was habit to drop each new reader a line and say thanks for the visit...how do you know whose come to visit? It is another widget?

Holly at hollyberryelf.blogspot.com

Reya Mellicker said...

I read a lot of blogs. Sometimes I comment and sometimes I don't depending mostly on whether I have something to add to the connection. If I can't think of anything to say, I don't comment, and I think that's OK.

As for my own blog, some days I get lots of comments (never as many as you do) and some days just a handful. I love the connections we form here, but I resist anything that feels like an obligation in blogging. It's one of the only free spaces left on the planet, where anything goes. It would be a shame (for me, speaking only for me) if there were rules I felt compelled to follow.

But like I said, that's just me!

Dee said...

Hi, I found your blog while visiting one of my blogger friends.I love the connective aspect of blogging and enjoy all comments. Many of my followers and visitors have encouraged me to move forward with my art work. They have helped me see my life in a more positive view. They pray with me and laugh with me as I do with them. My world has been enlarged with blogging. I try to take time to visit and leave a comment as often as possible, not because I feel I am expected to visit, but because I want to. I love blogging... I love meeting people. No rules..No expectations...:)

Marguerite said...

Comments are wonderful and validating, but some people are shy or don't have time to leave comments. I enjoy the interaction with other bloggers, the most. You do have a gift for bringing out the best in people, and your posts are always interesting! And you are so right, energy in, energy out!

Pam said...

I love it when I get comments, and I try to leave them when ever I can.

GYPSYWOMAN said...

hey lady - another great post over here - which is why i love visiting - however tonight i am tap tap tapping on my laptop as my bigboy desktop ate a virus and is being un-virused in the shop - in any event, while blogging does mean different things to different people, like with any other social setting, it's all about what one's expectations are and what one's goals are in attending the "party" - neat thought provoking discussion here, lady!

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Good one, Nancy!

gayle said...

Wow you got tons of comments! I agree with some of the others...I read lots of blogs and most of the time I comment but if I can't think of anything to say then I just don't comment and probably will comment the next time!

Shrinky said...

I am a terribly lazy blogger, I am ashamed to confess I rarely visit new sites unless they have popped into leave a comment on mine. But that said, I do try to always respond to all my comments, I think if someone is good enough to leave one there, the least they deserve is a response. I sometimes like to read the feedback left from mine too, and can feel a little disappointed if there isn't one.

You are right, you get out of what you put in, whether it is in life, or in blog land. It can get very time consuming in here, but so long as it is kept in balance, the rewards are fabulous - I am a hopeless addict!

Missy said...

I like to leave comments....mostly because I almost always have something to say. It is hard to shut me up! But also because I like people to leave them for me too.

Nancy said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone, we are in the middle of something so it will take me a few days to be able to visit everyone. But I do appreciate your visits and comments and look forward to getting back and reading again.

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George Puzo said...

I can totally see what you mean how the comments mean more to you then the widgets. I guess one should just take the good with the bad. Best of luck.

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