Why Don’t We Comment On Blogs?

I had an interesting exchange last night. While on Twitter I ran into one of the members of Collaborative Women Connect and she, as we all do, cleverly mentioned a post on her site with a link. Cheerfully, I responded, “I will see your tweet and raise you with a comment,” and then invited her to leave a comment for me. It was a short, simple exchange, pleasant and fun and that was it.

But it leads me to ask, why is it we are so hesitant to post comments to blogs and sites even as we’re looking for comments for our own? I admit it’s rare that I comment on blogs. Even before I had a site of my own I would gladly post comments to others’ but only if it was something that really, reallyreally stimulated me to do so whether or not I knew the owner. And never would I merely post, “Great article!” I almost feel like that’s an insult to the poster. Not that everyone needs to be verbose but I’d rather have no comments than a bunch of comments that don’t clearly indicate the reader actually read what I took the time to write. I also believe other readers like myself may suspect those lazy comments are left by friends and family.  Still, others may feel any comment’s better than none.

What perplexes me even further is that many will take the time to send a personal message expressing kudos rather than posting the same kudos right on the site. Of course, that’s appreciated, too, but I often end up taking the time to respond to those individuals asking them to say what they said to me on the site.

I’m thinking there must be some psychology behind this because, again, even though we all want comments for our own sites, it’s unlikely we’ll leave any for others. Is it that we’re just too busy promoting ourselves that we won’t promote others? Or is that our attention spans are diminishing? We’re probably quicker to click a button to vote than read an article and then write something, too.

Now here’s something I find even more interesting. Do you remember my old blog on BlogSpot? Probably not; I quickly outgrew it and moved to my own domain. Still, I have 57 comments on one particular post. But I worked my butt off to get them. I’d posted it on LinkedIn initially and got tons of responses throughout the groups I’d posted it in. So, I asked those members if they’d simply cut and paste the comments they’d already generously left. Now out of the hundreds (plural!) of comments left on LinkedIn, all the members individually contacted, I reaped 57 comments. I appealed to those I asked to leave comments by suggesting it serves us both well. Those who leave comments get to leave links to their sites so it stands to reason they just might get some traffic themselves. It was an interesting exercise and I definitely don’t regret it, but I certainly don’t have the time nor the patience to do that for every single post, although a mere 50 comments for each post would look darned good. Although I do plan to contact each one of those members again individually to invite them over to the new site, that’s a job in itself, but I digress.

Those of you who have blogs, let’s talk about comments, even your reasons for leaving or not leaving comments for others. Clearly this is a code many are trying to break and with all the time we spend marketing our blogs and websites, this seems to be the missing link.

I’ve considered turning off the comments altogether as the traffic is consistently meager.

We’ve all heard the phrase, “No one wants to eat in an empty restaurant.” Sometimes all it takes is a few comments from others to stimulate more to follow suit.

Is this just a side-effect of our desire for instant gratification? Are we more likely to use or even pay for an automated service that promises to increase traffic (hoping it will lead to comments) than we are to actually leave a simple comment for someone else and just ask that they do the same? Could it be we think networking is more about empire-building than just joining in the conversation?

I welcome your comments! No part of this article may be reproduced in any manner without permission and attribution.

  • Pingback: 5 Reasons You Should Comment on Blogs()

  • Jamie

    I love commenting on blogs, but I only comment on the posts that resonate within me, and then sometimes, it depends what device I’m reading the blog on. If it’s via my phone or kindle, I won’t leave a comment, but on the computer, absolutely. But like I said on twitter, I hate commenting on the blogs that are connected to Google+, when I comment, it’s a conversation between the blogger and me, not the entire world =)

    • Hey there, Jamie! Thanks for the comment. It’s funny – I never thought about it before but I agree with you. If I want to leave a comment on a blog, while I know it’s public anyway, I want to leave a comment on THE BLOG. Not somewhere else. Good point!

    • I thought of something else, too (a year later). While I tend to shy from the G+/blog connection, I DO prefer blogs that use Disqus and often don’t bother with ones that don’t. It just makes it easier for me to be able to go back to a post later under one account as opposed to having to bookmark a site and set a reminder to remember it and check it later.

  • SLBinPA

    I may read several blogs (it goes in spurts!), but never feel I should ‘leave a comment’ if all I have to really offer is a “‘Me too” type of response.
    Another reason I sometimes don’t is the ‘Log-In to leave a comment’ can be a hindrance – and I do not like to use my Linked In or Facebook logins for such items.

    But if I get something out of the Blog, I do feel I should ‘pay my dues’ to let the author know I appreciate what I read… which is why I’m leaving this one! Thanks.

    • (Ladies and gentlemen, this person is a paid sponsor…) Just kidding! Thanks so much @SLBinPA:disqus for the feedback. I admit I am just the same way and quite honestly, I’ve taken to looking for blogs that use Disqus just so that I have all my comments in one place and can easily find them at a later date. But I don’t bother with the “me too” responses either. I feel like if I don’t have anything of use to add or a real hi-five feeling then I shouldn’t add my voice to the comments.

    • I’m curious…all this time later, do you comment on blogs more frequently? Are you getting more or less comments on your own?

  • Pingback: The Dirty Truth About Autoresponders()

  • Pingback: The Dirty Truth About Autoresponders()

  • Cathy Severson

    Great question. I would say the primary reason I don’t comment is I’m on my way to a new destination and it takes time to post comment. If there is are captcha’s and hoops, it can take quite a bit a time. BUT, if I want to get comments, I need to be much better at giving them.thanks for the reminder.

    • Hey Cathy – you made it over here with a comment, huh? Thank you. Unfortunately, captcha is almost always necessary unless you’re sitting in front of your blog all day to catch the spam. And all it takes is a few of those spammy posts to turn away good people who really do have something to say. I do let go of the reigns every now and again, and having installed Disqus I can manage comments more easily – but spam is just that ugly little troll that forces us to work around it.

    • I’m curious…all this time later, do you comment on blogs more frequently? Are you receiving more or less comments on your own?

  • Dia Smith

    I’m a new blogger. Literally by the weeks.
    I’ve read many blogs and I comment when I feel the notion. I e also learned that people won’t comment because of style and content. If its not working, change.

    • Thank you for the comment, Dia, but that’s a hard one to digest. For instance, few people comment on blogs – period. Sure, there are those high-rankers like the newspaper blogs and the Huffington Post, but in general, *personal* blogs get less dialogue. So what style are you referring to changing? Website, blog or writing style?

      In general, it’s also a matter of being consistent. I get so frustrated when I find a good topic and make a comment and then the author just seems to have abandoned the post altogether.

  • Hi Patricia,

    I am stealing time to post this comment — I should be preparing for a meeting for later this afternoon, working on my comps, readying materials for the children I will tutor tomorrow morning, and getting my notes together for next week’s delivery of “Conflict Resolutions.” I am busy — and the thought and energy that it takes to reply to a post or blog — is more than a little when you have a schedule like mine. And many of your readers will have schedules like mine — or worse. It’s not that we don’t appreciate your insightfulness, care or willingness to lay yourself bare. Sometimes it is about priorities and our own mindfulness or selfishness, if you will.

    I am also mindful of another phenomenon — when I am delivering training — most often I ask for feedback after the training. There is often silence. I believe the group thinks I am asking for criticism. When I put up a chart and ask them about that which should be kept for future trainings and what I should work on or modify. I usually get many more comments. I realize I have to create a comfortable environment and that often means I have to get people talking about what they like first. I wonder if it works the same way for virtual communities….

    How can we make it more comfortable for people to post/blog? How can we better encourage substantive commentary so we can feed a learning discussion — even if we might not agree?

    • Hi, Carol. You added in LinkedIn, “Sometimes, when I
      read a post, I know there is information, support, or further inquiry
      that I might be able to encourage. The question becomes do I want to
      invest. I guess it should be assumed that when one joins these groups
      that you signal willingness to invest by joining. But maybe that
      assumption is erroneous. Feedback please.”

      I think that’s a separate topic. Yes, I do believe that when we join forums or groups we do signal that we are interested in sharing information and offering our voices. Still, not every topic is going to inspire a comment. That I understand completely.

  • Hi Patricia,

    I am stealing time to post this comment — I should be preparing for a meeting for later this afternoon, working on my comps, readying materials for the children I will tutor tomorrow morning, and getting my notes together for next week’s delivery of “Conflict Resolutions.” I am busy — and the thought and energy that it takes to reply to a post or blog — is more than a little when you have a schedule like mine. And many of your readers will have schedules like mine — or worse. It’s not that we don’t appreciate your insightfulness, care or willingness to lay yourself bare. Sometimes it is about priorities and our own mindfulness or selfishness, if you will.

    I am also mindful of another phenomenon — when I am delivering training — most often I ask for feedback after the training. There is often silence. I believe the group thinks I am asking for criticism. When I put up a chart and ask them about that which should be kept for future trainings and what I should work on or modify. I usually get many more comments. I realize I have to create a comfortable environment and that often means I have to get people talking about what they like first. I wonder if it works the same way for virtual communities….

    How can we make it more comfortable for people to post/blog? How can we better encourage substantive commentary so we can feed a learning discussion — even if we might not agree?

  • Tonya R Topete

    People like to be anonymous. If they can’t, they will pass you by, even if they have great insight. People don’t want to have to sign up and create another account for something they won’t ever use again, just to leave one comment on one site. On the other hand, if the account People want to use is not a log in option, they will pass you by. It would be nice if I could log in here as LinkedIn, as that’s where I’m working today and where I found this site.

    • True, Tonya; many do like to peruse the web in anonymity but I still think it’s quite interesting that a blog post about how people do NOT comment on blogs gets the most comments compared to my other posts. And actually, this post had a total of 90+ comments before I switched platforms from Blogger and lost many of the previous comments.

      I do believe that it’s like the empty restaurant theory. If there are no comments, it takes a courageous soul to be the first to post. A blog post with several comments seems to naturally attract even more.

  • Sandra

    I just read this post and all the responses – and have another perspective to add.

    As a therapist and educator, I try to be deliberate in my actions. Often I read posts that update me about adolescent psychology, such that I can then utilize or attempt to translate the material into helpful posts for my clients: parents and teenagers.

    My focus is not to leave my digital footprint everywhere that I have been. If I find a discussion where my comment may further the discussion, however, I will participate. But often, I am in a learning mode … following discussions and their reference links, within my time limit.

    What I have learned from this discussion is that the authors of the blog posts would appreciate knowing that I have stopped by and partaken of their offering. Point well made! One of the benefits of Facebook is that it easily allows me to directly share the articles I have found of value. 

    Unfortunately, if I have to sign up or in, chances are that I will probably not respond.

  • Hi Pat, thanks for bringing the article to my attention through twitter.  If I like something, I’ll comment, if I don’t, I won’t.  A relatively simple principle to live by.  I used to get lots of comments on my blog, not so much anymore.  It was directly proportional to the amount I commented on other blog/networked, pretty much in the same way you did and reached out to me.

    At the moment, I’m just happy writing and I don’t have much time as I used to, to comment on other blogs, especially thoughtful comments, because it does take time to read the article thoroughly, and then leave my thoughts.

    I know that networking is an essential part of the blogging process, but until such time, I can immerse myself in it fully, I won’t cheapen myself and others by leaving comments like ‘great piece!’ in the vain hope that the person will come to my blog to reply with the same thing! :-p

    • See, I feel just the same way. I write just because I enjoy writing but when it comes to commenting, I can’t just troll blogs leaving meaningless comments. That’s not useful and it’s so transparent. I’ve read articles at times that so resonated. Like one I read the other day about taking time for ourselves, but the way this one was written had my name written all over it. But I really didn’t have the head for leaving more than a quickie response so I bookmarked the page to return later and the next day while sipping tea, I left a real comment.

      But it’s still worth the exploration. I see so many blogs just sitting there, waiting for a comment. I’ve even suggested in a couple of posts here that if readers don’t have time to comment, just click the Disqus like button down there and to the left. We writers just wanna know you were here sometimes. LOL!

      • Amit Sodha

        I’ve been meaning to come back to you since leaving my last comment and after your response. Absolutely. Another point that is important to make for new bloggers is starting off by creating a blog cartel or syndicate. Joining up with with around 5 – 10 other bloggers, who are in a similar position, who and all start by commenting and retweeting each others blogs.

        It’s something that used to happen more in the early days of blogging and it’s a great way to build a readership as it gives the perception that the blog is being read and people are responding.

  • Ron O’Meara

    Let’s be honest, most people can often feel intimidated by a post such as yours . Not because they have nothing to say but because your posts, are very interesting and without doubt far better than the norm and any remark, however small might just seem trite, next to yours. Actually, your blogs are the best that I have seen anywhere because you are able to articulate your thoughts on paper and make people think about networking in its truest form. Regrettably, most people simply use “LinkedIn” or blogs to solicit business, which seems a trifle rude and counter productive ,as it probably turns people off.

  • I’m happy to leave a comment. And I’m happy to leave comments, but like you Patricia, I need to feel some sort of connection to the material. And that begs the question, why are we all (myself included) afraid to put out content that is so important and sincere that others connect and feel compelled to share?

    I suspect I’m not the only one “trying” to please the keyword crawling spiders. I guess the good news, from what I understand of the new google semantics is that those who explore a topic more deeply will be “rewarded”. Whew! I can finally throw out all that marketing advice to write to my keywords.

    Really, I advocate we all write from our hearts. And I know I need to go first.

    So you’ve really given me something to think about Patricia and I thank you for that.

    • NVS

      Honestly, Deborah, I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. This is a well-dated post now. But even if for no other reason, people really should start jumping on the commenting bandwagon. Just you posting here give your reach legs. Same when I post to a site I’ve never been to before, or (better yet) a heavily trafficked site just for the exposure. If it’s a good topic and I express myself eloquently, I may have a handful of new followers, and those people have fans and followers of their own that often check to see what they’re following. The same way we occasionally trek through our friends Facebook posts or pics just because we saw one post and then we just keep on looking.

      Seriously, I’ve really been thinking about it and even if you want to look at it from a completely selfish point, there’s a lot of value in maybe once or twice a week checking out some Google alerts about topics that interest you and just giving your two cents. It may turn out to be worth so much more (fans, followers, prospects and clients).

      Chew on that everybody!

  • Patricia, great article! I often wondered about this to, specifically the psychology behind this. My company has a blog, we’re not consistent with it, but several of our articles have had had hundreds of readers and we received either no or a couple of comments for each! But when I post a link to the blogs on FB or LinkedIn, we’ll get feedback. I attributed this to the fact people are lazy, don’t want to register perhaps. Don’t know. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • NVS

      Elisa, you know what really blows my mind? Look at all the blog posts I have. Which one has the most comments? This one . . . about blogs not getting comments. It boggles the mind. I think this is the one mystery of all things social media. We comment almost everywhere and anywhere else except on blogs. If it kills me, I’m gonna discover what it’s all about.

      Thank you for your comment, too. I took a look at your blog and one thing I can definitely suggest is ending your posts with a question. Sometimes (often, myself included) people scan an article but if they see a direct question they’ll put in their 2 cents.

      • I was thinking the same thing! Your blog is about NOT replying and you’re creating a lot of buzz. The reason we’re replying is the result of either two things, we now feel guilty for not commenting or we’re all in the same boat and sympathizing! You’ve brought up a really important issue with regard to social media marketing in general and how followers and fans actually interact or do not interact with us. We invest so much time and effort and wonder if we’re really connecting. I wrote a blog about this: Facebook, Twitter, and all that Social Media Jazz. Thanks for the suggestion about posing a question next time! Elisa

  • Hi Patricia,

    What a great topic to help people get into the habit of commenting. I would like to suggest that there is a whole population of readers out there who don’t understand the etiquette or culture of blogs, and don’t realize the value of engaging in this “online conversation” as it were.

    As a career coach, I work with job seekers and career changers, and while I strongly encourage my clients to start a blog based on their interests or expertise, that is not the most comfortable path for everyone. I suggest that commenting on others’ blogs is a great way to increase ones comfort level for this type of online exposure.

    But it also has other tremendous value. A colleague of mine, Chris Bruhl, CEO of the Fairfield County Business Council coined the term “Knowledge-Powered Networking”. What better way to network with others than through the knowledge that they are sharing with you.

    Yes, there may be value for the blogger who receives lots of comments, but the ROI goes both ways. I often share a story of how one of my comments on a blog, was picked up by a job seeker, on a blog aggregator. As a result of the comments I made, he sought me out for career coaching. After that, I taught him how to make the most of Linkedin, including the commenting process and leading to his comments being picked up and him being quoted on an online computer magazine, with a direct link back to his LinkedIn profile.

    Wherever it may be, it’s definitely a practice that more people should learn to do effectively. Thanks for the prompting!

  • Cathy

    I’m getting better at commenting simply by doing it more often. I started on Facebook with my friends and because I knew them, it was more of a conversation. Now I’m getting more comfortable and I’m branching out to blogs, here on groups, etc.

    Thanks Patricia – this was a good topic.

  • I blog, comment and reply to all comments on my blog. Occasionally I only read and don’t have time to comment on all blogs but don’t like to be that person often.
    I was taught (on the Social Networking Coaching Club bootcamp)that commenting is as important as, if not more important than, blogging for SEO.However, now I’m in the habit I enjoy it. Comment and reply to comments everyone I say.

  • This is a really good topic judging by the number of comments already. I’m pretty new to blogging but so far I’m pretty consistent to commenting on quality posts.

    There’s an old saying about the more you give the more you shall…

    Another thing too. Most blogs are set to “no follow” so people thinking that they are commenting just to get more back links are sadly mistaken. Unless the blog is set to “do follow”, they won’t get any back links. That’s why I comment on quality posts rather than just commenting.

    • admin

      Gerek, that’s why we click. I feel the same way. Many ask me to just comment on everything and anything. That’s not my style. If it stimulates me to comment, I’ll talk my head off. You don’t want your brand to become watered down because you just do anything anytime anywhere.

  • I’ve been wondering about this topic for a while. I too have a blog and rarely get any comments. I write tips on all things job search related. I would think that people would throw in a comment now and then or offer a suggestion. I’ve even asked for comments or suggestions.
    Can it be that many of us grew up reading the newspaper and only commented if something really got under our skin (such as an editorial)? Can it be a Gen X, Y vs. the Boomer thing? Maybe people don’t like leaving their names and email addresses in order to leave a comment….I have no idea.
    I would welcome the “great advice” cryptic comment on a blog entry.

  • The importance of this issue cannot be understated. Everyone that blogs does so as a labor of love. With few exceptions, a great deal of thought and research is borne into such efforts. Many say, “Well, I read it.”, as if that were enough. The name of the game is interactivity. Social Media takes much of our time these days, and no asset is more valuable than time. Everyone is living 27 hours a day, and we tend to rush through our lives without consideration of what the implications are. It behooves us to slow down and take the time to let others know, at the very least, that their efforts are appreciated. Well stated, Patricia. I will be hosting this post as a guest blog on my site, Grannelle’s Social Media.

  • Leigh Anne Otte, way back before this comment, you said you submitted comments such as: “What a well-written post–very witty. I especially liked point number seven.”

    I hope this is not exactly what you write – there are plenty of spambots that spew out messages like that, without actually mentioning the content of the post. I delete them.

    Comments are an important part of a blog, and the way you moderate them helps set the tone of your blog – which controls the type of audience it builds up.

    My problem is that I’ve been lazy, so I don’t get as many readers as I could (and, in my opinion, should get, of course). With Patricia’s admonitions ringing in my ears, I’ll try to improve.

    • admin

      Mike you make an excellent point. Just yesterday I had what I first thought was a most complimentary comment. Until I read it in full. It said, “Wow! This is just what I was looking. Good thing I found your site before shopping elsewhere.” Um, I’m not selling anything so, uh . . . I’ll just assume that was spam.

      I agree with you wholeheartedly. The best thing to do is to mention something specific that resonated with you. I know we’re often in a hurry these days and figure it’s best to say something than nothing at all. But even something as small as the time you take to show you’ve actually read the content you’re commenting on is in your favor.

  • Great discussion Patricia….my business partner and I just met today and the first part of our meeting was focused on this subject and its importance to us (a start-up). We are trying to build our business with a major emphasis on “managing” our Social Media Marketing along with all other aspects and are trying to balance what is important at this stage of our business development, what can drive traffic to our site and blog and what will ultimately turn into prospects and business (along with building new relationships!). Thanks for starting this post (I found on the Blog Zone.)

    • admin

      Thank you, Randall for the comment and for letting me know where you located it. You know, we were discussing this in my LinkedIn group and so many comments (more there than here) were mentioned and even the pros are befuddled. It seems we want to be heard and want to communicate but some say it’s a matter of the whole forum of blogs in itself. That because it’s somewhat anonymous, there isn’t the sense of community stimulated in other sites, such as LinkedIn and others where you get the back-and-forth communication and repeat comments from people you get to know.

      Good luck with building your business and we just may cross paths on this discussion and others along the way!

  • Ami

    This discussion can take a form of a whole blog or even a series of books. I say this from a different perspective. Blogging and social networking is a new form of communication, maybe a whole new way of communicating since Gutenberg built the first printing press and enabled writers to publish their ideas. Before Gutenberg “publishing” did not make sense, nobody had an army of scribes to even put out a standard bible. Jump forward 550+ years, blogs on the Internet are not only giving anyone to publish and distribute any kind of information, they are actually being read with great enthusiasm. Even 25 yeas ago when the Internet became popular for the first time this was not the case.

    It seems to me that “counting” the comments on a blog post is like counting the number of volumes a best seller sold. Or counting the number of comments sent to a newspaper when an Op-Ed piece was published. Or tracking the number of TV viewers. This used to make us take notice. Because the amount of information (or opinion) was limited by the number of pages a newspaper could print, or the number of hours and channels TV stations could transmit. This limitation has completely disappeared and it seems like we need to figure out how to change our ways of writing, our core messages and even the quality of our writing. No change factor, from as recent as Martin Luther King Jr. to Moses in biblical times was a populist. If you extrapolate, Jesus would have 12 blog comments. Most would be pretty boring, simply relating travels and conversations with rogue groups.

    It is interesting that today’s respected Internet “bloggers” are not really after “comments” as much as after getting an important message across. US politicians are saying that “bloggers are ruining their ability to pass laws as they have in the past”… they are saying that bloggers are “sneaking out insider information” so US citizens are aware of the deals law makers are making behind closed doors. Iranian YouTube phone video taping election protest posters are certainly not worried about how many people “comment” or “distribute” their message. They are worried about the quality and immediacy of the message. Notice how in both cases once the news is out and verified the “surprise” factor completely disappear.

    Out of these discussions (here and in the mainstream media) I take that maybe we will not be the people who can imagine long term changes. We may not be able to imagine what is next for us. Gutenberg enabled a revolution in thought unimagined by both leaders (that time kings and the aristocracy) and the small surf. At that time, no low level person imagined that he could voice his opinion and change the world. I am sure that the idea of books from entertainment to politics did not worry kings and armies until well after Cervantes published Don Quixote just fifty years after Gutenberg’s first press went into production.

    Just stick around, we are in for a wild ride… curious that there is a blogging platform called “movable type” ~ apparently someone out there get’s the change in how we communicate vis-a-vie what happened so long ago. Nice blog, visit mine, Real Life in Tel Aviv http://bit.ly/h0X7w.

  • The important thing, of course, is the integrity of the fellow bloggers. I would not be able to comment positively if I didn’t applaud and even learn from what I read. My top reaction would be euphoria at discovering the blog or website. I frankly would not comment if not impressed. I am pushed now to comment on others, like I do now, because I want those just by respecting what I have to say, to return the favor. I hope for it, not because I asked, but because I earned their respect. Of course, I’m new to this and I will have to become more of a saleswoman if I want to sell myself and what I do. Isn’t that what a writer does? (This website won’t allow me to post my blog as my URL)

  • When I started out posting on my blog it kind-of bothered me if I barely got any comments or no comments at all. Then I started commenting on other blogs so that I could recruit comments to my blog. Then one day I remembered the main reason I started blogging in the first place… And that was to make a positive difference in the lives of others. When I blog, I do so to inspire, encourage, uplift, inform, and entertain. Whether or not I get a ton of comments, I know someone out there will benefit from my blog. ~Anita Cullum McCants

    • Sandra

      Anita – I feel the same. As a Teen Therapist, I write about adolescent phase of life issues on my Teen Advice Blog, and really don’t expect parents or teens to bare their souls publicly by responding to my posts. 

      My hope is that what I am sharing is forwarded to others who may benefit from reading it.

      • In this respect, I agree. Your profession and the topics you may touch on won’t always be those that others want to discuss publicly. Even with the interview that we did together on social media and bullying (http://www.nixonvs.com/interview-with-sandra-dupont-la-teen-therapist/), people were only so open because it’s a topic that seems to lend itself immediately to support, especially in the last few years. Any number of other issues (phobias, for instance) wouldn’t have received a peep most likely in a public forum and that’s understandable.

        I guess as people who really enjoy writing/blogging/composition, maybe they (we) just want a sign of life. For example, I’m just toying with some ideas now, but above this post there’s now a star bar that can be used to rate the post. Below is the Disqus thumbs-up icon that anyone could click and say, “Hey, I liked this.” It doesn’t even mean one has to agree with all that’s written. I’ve given thumbs-ups and likes to several really tricky blog topics over the years even if I didn’t necessarily agree with the subject matter itself. If it’s well-written, well-expressed, thought-provoking, that’s reason enough for me to show appreciation even without a comment. The unfortunate flip side is that those thumbs-ups and likes could very well be viewed as endorsements of the content or the person and I believe that’s also part of the reason people shy away and prefer to lurk.

        I’m just hard-pressed to think it could be just plain laziness. I’d like to think as a whole we’re better than that.

  • In reading your post (over on LinkedIn) and then the comments here, I think I agree that part of being impressed with a good post, is you are frequently (at least I am) also impressed with the post-er and that can make leaving a comment intimidating. Or perhaps you think “great post” but don’t have anything brilliant to add beyond that. I do put “great post” on occasion because while, yes, it doesn’t add to discussion, it does express my admiration and I’d be happy to hear it if it were me.

  • Brava Patricia!

    A difficult conundrum and one which raised a lot of comments 🙂

    As someone relatively new to blogging (6 months) it is something I’ve tussled with too! And this despite my site being designed for women to share what they have overcome, how they found their inspiration or passion and praise for their mentors.

    I think one answer is fear, both of being trapped in the endless sign up routines but also and maybe more importantly of seeming ill-informed, especially where the writer is particularly eloquent or impassioned. I have received a number of satisfying comments on my site and, a LOT of spam. I’ve also received a number of well wishers comment with “good job”, “nice try” etc., and while not wanting to diminish those in any way I look forward to when people will feel free to share their experience as well as their response to the experiences shared.

    In conversation I was always told if you want to draw people out leave an open question ~ like “why don’t we comment on blogs?”. In writing maybe the content needs to be more contentious or defamatory. Heather of “Dooce” fame doesn’t seem to have an issue getting comments although with all of the hateful replies she gets maybe I’ll skip that idea.

    I’ll look forward to reading your next thought provoking article.

    Thank you for raising the issue, your article and the comments you successfully elicited are thought provoking and provided much mind broadening. As a Brit too (although living in the US) I will toast you with my cup of tea and say without irony.. Cheers!

  • Given the lively debate which this blog post has produced – and the extra contact it has introduced to me in Hawaii! – I feel duty-bound to upgrade my “rating” from 4* to 5*! We don’t usually use this phrase in England except in mild tea-drinking irony, but seriously this time: Patricia, you, GO girl! (finger-snap in a zig-zag)

    • admin

      Thank you, Ashley, for the finger-snap! I know that was a stretch for you!!

  • OK, in accordance with LaRoy’s challenge, I have now read the website, and commented on each blog post of every person who commented on this blog and reposted all Tweets when requested. That’s 17 comments and 3 retweets.

    So far, I have 2 new comments on my blog. As I said before, let’s see if Deb is right and “what goes around comes around.”

  • Thank you for this reminder.

    One thing I do try to remember to do is to leave positive comments when I see a well-written article or post. People in general are more drawn to leave comments when they disagree, so the poster may be left with the feeling that most people hated the article or disagreed with him or her.

    I don’t, however, leave a simple, “Good post” type of comment because that’s what spammers do. If I got a comment like that, I’d wonder if the person even read the article. I try to add at least a little detail, like, “What a well-written post–very witty. I especially liked point number seven.”

    I’m going to visit some of the blogs posted here and make some comments!

  • Chris is right. People ARE on overload, and some people worry that their comment won’t sound “important” or “deep.” I suspect that if a person participates in a discussion group about your blog post without making a comment in the blog, it’s because they didn’t actually read your blog. Too much trouble.

    Swati is worried that leaving a comment will result in “making contacts with the wrong person.” That’s such an interesting statement, it’s worth an entire blog topic on its own.

    In my experience, once you get away from YouTube and into real blogging, vile comments involving bigotry, slander, an offensive behavior almost always come from folks who have a religious/political subtext. I’m sorry if that viewpoint offends anyone, but that’s what I’ve noticed. The nasty crap that is expressed out there in the name of “religion” is astonishing.

    I agree with LaRoy who thinks that most blog readers do not fully understand the benefit of commenting on the blogs they read. Linda-Ross is right on the money with her comment that it is a disservice to follow a blog and never let the author know that you value their blog.

    I disagree with CJ, however. I never reply on every comment left on my site. I have dealt with other bloggers who do this and, frankly, I hate it. It “wierds” me out. I feel like Big Brother is watching me. I occasionally reply to a comment on my blog but it is a rarity. I very much appreciate comments, but I feel that if someone wants to have a running conversation with me, they usually do it in a private reply.

    Speaking of people who are wrong: Pat, lots of people DO care about what you think about what they think. It’s called conversation and if nobody ever had a different viewpoint how would we ever have a productive dialogue that produces progress? Of course, I could be wrong. (And by the way, the world is flat, the Jews should leave “Palestine,” and there is no such thing as global warming.)

    Kate, it is better to give than to receive. And in the spirit of your comment (and Carol’s comment and LaRoy’s challenge), I am now going to take the time to go to the blog of every single person who has made a comment here, read your blog and make a comment. You might not necessarily like my comment, but I promise that it will be heartfelt and won’t involve any religious vitriol.

    It will be time consuming, but it will avoid doing any actual work which (surprise!) is the topic of MY latest blog, “How to Avoid Doing Anything.” It’s at BizBitchBlog.blogspot which, interesting, this blog site will not allow me to post either in the body of this e-mail or in the displayed website. If you can find me, let’s see if Deb is right and see if “what goes around comes around.”

    P.S. Carol, I agree. 🙂

  • Great posting (originally saw it on LinkedIn but decided to respond here rather than both places…).

    Blogs like this (where I can simply provide my contact info easily and without creating a “profile”) will typically get a comment from me if there’s something I feel I can add to the posting (either answer a question, add some validation to their points or dispute some of their points). However; those that require I jump through hoops to comment have to either really strike a nerve or be of strong business value to me.

    I have a number of people who use my blog for education about software licensing and yet over the years have only received a handful of comments (but I have to have moderation turned on or you’d get all sorts of comments in the form of links to sites advertising things that probably aren’t humanly possible let alone legal).

    Great posting and great discussion!

    As a side note…the number of times your spam guard has sent me back to edit my message for potential spam might be another reason! Don’t frustrate people when they’re trying to help!

    • admin

      Cynthia, while I respect your comment and your frustration, I do not OWN the platform on which I blog, therefore I am not responsible for the blacklisted text. As I said in the LinkedIn discussion, I will reiterate here. If the world were full of kind people who never spammed, this wouldn’t be an issue. I could also require that people register or log in just to be able to post a comment, much as with Google’s Blogger (which is why I left that platform and created my own) but I don’t because that, too, becomes a frustration point for me as well as others.

      I would love to not have to approve each comment; it is a job in itself. For every 2 or 3 REAL comments I get, there are 10 or more spam comments so no matter how it goes, someone will be displeased, including me. That’s just the way it goes.

      I appreciate your comments.

  • I’ve been enjoying this challenge too, Patricia. I’ve explored a number of new blogs and found a few that I truly enjoy and have added them to my ‘preferred reading’ list. I haven’t yet had the experience you had of a discussion blooming from a comment post, but I’ll bet that will happen sooner or later.

    One of the interesting things about this challenge is that it has caused me to re-think the frequency and time of day that I’m looking at blogs. I used to have two 1 hour time slots on my calendar each week to just read blogs. Now I find I enjoy taking a little side trip a couple of times a day – just 15 minutes here or there to explore and comment if I feel like it. I find I’m enjoying the break in my work day and I’m having more fun with checking out blogs.

    I haven’t noticed any reciprocal posts yet, but I’m not worried about it. Time will tell if there’s a business impact or valuable networking that results. I think the real value so far of this challenge has been incorporating blog visits into my day and enjoying it.

  • I don’t leave as many comments as I used to, conversely, my blog doesn’t get as many. I think there are so many other ways of commenting on a post now – Twitter, Facebook and so on – that a lot of people won’t bother to click though to a blog and leave a comment. Saying that, I have been trying to leave more recently, partly because I know how much I appreciate it when I receive them.

  • Great question to throw out there!

    I’ll admit I don’t leave comments as often as I probably should.

    Usually if I see someone’s already posted the same comment I had intended to make, I just don’t want to repeat an idea that’s been presented… other than the occasional “I agree.”

    However, after having read this, I’m going to make an effort to comment — especially if the comments section is empty.

    Again — Great post!

  • This is a very interesting discussion Patricia! My opinion is that most blog readers do not fully understand the benefit of commenting on the blogs they read. As an entrepreneur the benefits gained by engaging in online discussions has been such an eye opening experience for me. From building my network, influencing others, expand my ideas and the opportunity to learn from others experience and perspective has had such a tremendous effect on me.

    I would like to challenge all participated of this discussion for the next week to comment on more blogs each day and see how it changes their cyber endeavors. They won’t be disappointed!

  • Pat Barnum

    Ok – here’s a different perspective. I sometimes (not that frequently admittedly) read blogs, But I never add any comments. Honestly, and I may be in the dark ages, I don’t think anyone really cares about what I think about what you think.

    I have to ask, why is it that you need comments to your blog? From your posts above one might believe it’s an ego thing. I suspect that is not it, so can you explain – why do you blog, and why do you have an expectation that a blog become a conversation? Don’t we have enough other vehicles for that kind of back and forth?

  • This is not entirely on topic, so maybe I should have started my own thread, but I’ll post it here because it is similar.

    To me, this is much worse than people not posting comments. Why do people NOT retweet good tweets? If you create a blog entry that is good, and you or someone else tweets it, and people tweet you and TELL you it is good, don’t they realize that it would be far more productive for you if they would retweet it to their followers?

    Much of what I write is nature and wildlife related. I create posts that are all about the value of organizations such as National Wildlife Federation, PBS, the National Parks Systems, Audubon. I get direct messages from members of those groups complimenting me on the blog post but the posts are almost NEVER retweeted. I am completely baffled by this. Any ideas?

  • Hi Patricia,
    Great discussion! What I get most of all is something you mentioned–people contact me personally all the time about my blogs, but rarely comment on the site. Hm!
    But I think Melissa has a great point–it’s so much quicker to read group discussions and comment than go to individual blogs and do so.
    This is most likely a symptom of our ‘connected’ life now, where we’re clicking through so quickly on the net . . .

  • Great discussion – it caused me to pause and think about why I do or don’t post comments. Bottom line for me is breaking out of reader mode. I truly enjoy skimming various blogs each day and gleaning bits of info and perspective. But I rarely feel compelled to leave a trail that I’ve been there. Lots of reasons for that I guess: don’t want to just comment for the sake of commenting, want my comments to be of value, a little shy of the exposure that comes with commenting – which all seem a bit silly when I write them now.

    I had a mind shift while reading the various responses to this discussion so far and after reading the two links that Heidi provided (great stuff – thanks!). Dawns on me that it is a disservice to follow a blog and never let the author know that you value their blog.

    We’ve had a blog for about 8 months and have never had a comment, but I know we get traffic. Perhaps I’ve been attracting like minded souls that read and move on. Think I’ll do a little experiment and try commenting on other blogs a couple of times a week and see what happens.

  • Great article!

    ..Just kidding. I started my own blog relatively recently (I have six posts) and am obsessing over my stats, as anyone who uses WordPress probably does. But moving on to the comments question, I too have received very interesting private replies from people and subsequently had to ask them to “go public”. In one case, the person in question emailed me back to say that I could certainly use what he’d emailed me but did not want to post anything himself because he [quote] “didn’t want to enter the blogosphere because it’s a slippery slope [he] wants to avoid.”

    On the flip side, of course, there are people who feel the need to comment in the most vile or stupid manner possible, especially when the original article is about a celebrity. There is name calling, there is bigotry and there is what amounts to slander available to read in many comments sections. Why is that deemed to be acceptable? And if it’s not acceptable (which it isn’t) why is it allowed? Go on YouTube and look at the comments under any video. You’ll only need to scroll down once or twice to find something bileous and offensive.

    So yes, I absolutely think you’re right – we do need to comment more (especially us self-obsessed bloggers!) but we need to NOT hide behind the safety of the anonymity afforded us on the internet as an excuse to comment offensively or inappropriately. Bottom line: if you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it at all.

    Oh, and please look at my blog. And if you don’t leave a comment, boy, will there be trouble!

  • You always end up picking the right topics at the right time to shake people’s inertia. Personally the reason why I would not leave a comment on a blog site is for the fear of making contacts with the wrong person. I only leave comments where I feel I can trust that person. Call it the gut feeling or whatever but that’s how I am.

    I used to blog a lot initially and got tremendous spam messages, few of the comments were made without actually reading the blog so I just stopped expecting comments. Of course that does not deter me from leaving my comments (you know me ;)).

  • I am a natural chatter-box and I LOVE to leave comments. I mean real, valuable and obvious-that-I-have-read-the-post comments type of stuff.

    Just sayin, good gracious, if you’re going to take the time to actually read the post all the way to the end and then DON’T leave a comment…that is like showing up on someone’s doorstep, knock, politely wait and then JET when they open the door!

    How many people do you think would leave a comment if they knew for sure that everyone could tell they had been there?!? Hmmm? I think there would be a lot more people leaving comments, and good, solid, valuable and honest comments at that.

    I could be a commenter, sort of like a welcomer at Wal-Mart and get paid for it. How cool would that be? I might need to check into that.

    We all know how valuable comments to our blogs are. It is something I value and truly appreciate those that take the time to do that. It goes back to one of my favorite sayings: “what goes around comes around!”

    Great topic Patricia!

    Deb 🙂

  • Some how I wonder if it is the “group” relationship we have with you (others) that makes it simpler to write here rather than out on a blog. Here there is a unity, cathartic, therapeutic interaction in response that I experience when I reply here to your posts. It’s engaging some how – a fellowship, belonging in some way?

    Maybe all the extra time to go out to blogs vs using group sites. Are we lazy no, we just have tons of stuff on our plates and this is easy to post where everyone in the group can read in summary topics of interest at a glance.

    It has made bright intelligent people accessible to one another. There has been nothing better since email was invented 🙂 I really enjoy reading all your comments and perspectives and Patrica your extraordinary writing prose. You are thoughtful, genuine and crack me up.

    I believe that blogs however engage those outside of other groups and they may find they want to join those groups for more in-depth discussions. It’s a good way to attract more group discussion too by putting topics inside the group on your blog.

  • CJ

    Great discussion, thought I’m not sure I see it the same way. Or maybe I’m just traveling in a different group of bloggers.

    I try to follow a few blogs daily and/or sign up via email for their posts. I then read and comment (a valuable comment) on them. This not only helps them, but I usually learn something in the process. If the blog is a dofollow, then I also get some link juice back to my own blog.

    Not that I’m self-centered, I’d leave a comment regardless of wheather I got a backlink or not.

    I think to stop the spam there are 3 things you should do daily, (1) Review your comment logs. Delete all spam (and I consider a link only to someone elses site spam) AND all “good post” comments. (2) Create a page and describe your comment policy. This way everyone knows what to expect from commenting on your site. (3) Reply on every comment left. This will make the user more comfortable to come back and comment again, but also show other possible commentors that your blog is an engaging and friendly one.

    I have seen research where if you consistently comment on other blogs you will find traffic. I know that I have found other interesting blogs because of either the comments left by another blogger, or by me “bumping” into a commentor on one blog after another.

    If you have a following, and it sounds like you do, what about a short sweet (bcc) email/newsletter explaining the benefits of commenting on blogs. Maybe they don’t blog or blog often enough to know the values of comments.

    Have you tried asking another blogger or two that has a good following to plug you, link to you, or stumble you (my best responses came from someone else stumbling me)?

    Another great area is to find a blog club. Bloggers know the value of comments and this should help get you a few comments and maybe that will open the door for others to feel more comfortable in leaving comments.

    And the rest, it just takes time.

  • For people like me that are just starting out and reading all they can on social media, participating in webinairs and teleseminars are on overload. I try to read blogs and comment, but I feel as though my creativity is hiding somewhere and can’t be found. I also feel like Judy, you look at that empty space and try to come up with something that will make you sound like you know what you’re talking about.

    Also, some blogs just don’t offer the kind of information that will elicit a good response.

    This is a great discussion and congrats Patricia on going worldwide!


  • Wow Patricia,

    Congrats on going global, LOL see what a little optimism can do. So I thought I’d take your suggestion and copy my comment from your original post:

    Hi Patricia,

    Your discussion caught my attention enough to read the entire post as well as add a comment * Wink!

    I personally do not have a site where I write blogs so I can’t speak to that extent, however I do have a couple blogs that I’ve created merely sharing information. A lot are articles I may come across or more often than not re-posts from bloggers who use the Add This or Share This widgets to promote their blogs? I think having that option available as a tool to promote your sites/blogs cand bring traffic back? I’ve found there are so, so many blogs and sites out there where you have to register in order to comment and that sometimes causes people to not leave comments. It brings a lot of traffic to your inbox, some of which you’d like updates to follow and others not so much. But since you registered to comment then you’d either have to remove yourself from the subscription or empty all the unwanted updates almost daily. I happen to be in that category but truly do not mind especially if the blogs are making and keeping relevant information that you may have never seen or heard of before.

    I enjoy having the resources so accessible and diverse, you can find blogs/sites on just about any topic you choose or business after business marketing their products which for some can be prosperous?