Do You Respond to Blog Comments?
There is a popular blogger I read who responds to every single comment she receives. Sometimes it’s just a quick message such as “Oh! I hadn’t thought of that!” and sometimes it’s a longer, more thoughtful response. I am somewhat amazed since responding to comments takes up a lot of time. The defensive side of me (which is also a little jealous of her master response skills) thinks that time has to come from somewhere — either she reads fewer blogs than she could or she leaves fewer comments on other people’s blogs than she could. Or she is just much better at using her time wisely (I, on the other hand, often get sucked into jumping from blog to blog to blog via the comment section on posts and lose hours of my life).
It is easy to judge how someone else uses their online time, and this post is not meant to be a judgment (nor, frankly, do I want my own practices judged). Though I am interested in a discussion. The difference being that it’s unhelpful to state that how I do things is the best way and all others who don’t do it my way are not doing it correctly. Whereas it’s interesting to hear how different people approach receiving comments and what they do once they’re in their comment box.
You have probably noticed that I am not consistent with my comment responses. Every once in a while, I add a comment to the thread below the post. I usually do that when the answer could apply to a bunch of people with the same question or thought. Sometimes I reply directly via email, especially when the person asks a question or when they have changed the way I’m seeing a situation. Other times, I say nothing at all (though I read every single comment left on the blog). Again, not consistent.
A lot of that lack of consistency has to do with time: sometimes I’m just plain busy with work or the twins have something going on or I’m trying to master shoulder stands in yoga. Sometimes I’m reading the comments on a mobile device and it’s a pain-in-the-ass to write something back in the moment, and by the time I get to the computer, the thought is gone.
The other side of the time issue is that if I have an hour to be on the computer, I’d rather use my time reading other people’s blogs and leaving comments there rather than responding to comments that people left me. And I realize that it’s sort of selfish — my attitude. It would be like saying I’d rather go and buy other people presents than write thank you notes for the gifts that people just gave me. Because while sometimes it’s tit-for-a-tat, other times, person X leaves a comment on my blog, but then I go leave a comment on person Y’s blog. So, yes, I realize it’s selfish, but the alternative is to not read other people’s blogs (and yes, more often than not, even if I haven’t commented, I have been on your blog reading if you’ve commented here). And where would that get me? I learn so much from reading other people’s point-of-view. Or I could not write Stirrup Queens. Or drop the LFCA.
I thought it would be interesting to hear what other people think and how other people do things. There is no right or wrong answer. Things that you may find extremely rude another person will find completely kind. And vice versa. In other words, the point of this discussion is not to make you feel guilty for not doing things a certain way nor is it to encourage you to do things differently. If your commenting routine works for you, I say go with it. Got it?
- So, do you respond to your comments?
- If yes, do you respond directly back to the person via email, or do you leave a message in the comment section?
- And do you, as a reader, ever return to the comment section of a post to see if the writer has responded to you?
- And if you don’t respond to comments, what do you do instead with your online time?
- Would you rather have someone respond to your comment, or would you rather have them read your blog and leave you a comment?
- As a comment leaver, do you expect to receive a response? Does knowing that someone is not responding simply due to a lack of time vs. a lack of care change your expectation?
- Are there certain times when you deem a response necessary and other times that you do not?
Do not feel obligated to answer all of my questions — just the ones that speak to you, where you feel you have something to say.
One side note, I am majorly not a fan of auto-reply comment responses. It’s just clutter in my inbox. I sort of figure that unless I’m flaming someone (since, you know, even with my general kumbayaness, I sometimes like to do a 180 and get my troll on*), they are appreciative of the fact that I’ve left a comment. On the other hand, I’m not really appreciative of receiving an email from a machine. People are free to disagree with me, but I only like receiving responses that have been sent directly from the person; not from a commenting program. So I’m not counting those emails as a comment response.
* For some reason, I feel the need to point out the facetiousness of this statement.