Friday, January 28, 2011

Don't Be A Lookie-Loo

Remember the old real estate commercial about people who just go from open
house to open house looking and not buying?
Well, the same thing happens with blogs. People look, but are somehow
reticent to comment.
It's a phenomenon!

The following is an incredibly enlightening post from my friend over
at Kay Elam Writes.
She writes a blog about writing, but she also reads a lot of blogs,
and she's shed some light on this very subject.

Friday Favorites: Why Leave a Comment?


Posted: 14 Jan 2011 10:07 AM PST

I’ve spent the day catching up on my Blog reading. It doesn’t take long to get behind. If I go a couple of days without reading the 150+ blogs I subscribe to via Google Reader I could easily have over 300 posts to read. While some people post a few times a week (like me), others post daily and some several times a day. On the other end of the scale there are those who post once a month or even less frequently, but I tend to delete them from my list. I want to follow active bloggers.

I have my Google Reader set up into subcategories such as agents, editors, publishers, writers, friends, random, etc. This way if I have a large number to read I can go in, read one category, leave my comments, and know I’ve knocked out a whole category.

Wait a minute! Leave a comment. Why do that?

Until last summer I’d never left a comment or done an online review in my life. Visit a forum? What the heck was that? If you’d told me a year ago I would dare leave daily comments on multiple blogs or be an active participant in several forums (including my awesome critique group) I’d have called you a liar … to your face. But I have learned comments matter. They matter to the author, they matter to other readers, they just matter.

Have you seen the movie Julie and Julia. It’s about a young woman who at 29 is in a funk. She decides to cook her way through Julia Child’s cookbook and about it blog daily. Yesterday I caught the movie after it had already started (but I’d seen it before). I watched as she joyfully told her husband she’d gotten twelve comments. Twelve comments! That was something to celebrate. Her readers became a community as is true with several blogs I read. Obviously you can’t do this with all blogs–who has the time–but it is fun to see a name you recognize every once in a while.

Spoiler Alert (if you’ve not seen the movie): She goes on to get lots and lots of comments, to have followers, to become the third most popular blog in a major blogging community and to be featured in the New York Times. After that, the rest is history. Her answering machine is filled with messages from agents, editors and publishers who want to talk to her, television producers who want her on their shows … and it all started with some comments.

Bloggers want to make a difference in your life–to make you think or make you angry or make you laugh. We want to evoke some emotion or somehow tell you something you didn’t already know. And we’d like to know from time to time we did make that difference. Writing is a lonely world.

So how do you leave a comment? Forgive me if this is too elementary to you, but some of MY friends don’t know this so indulge me: If you’re reading a web-based blog it’s pretty easy to figure out. But if the post comes to you as a subscription in your e-mail or via a web feed like Google Reader, it may take one extra step. Depending on the format it’s delivered, you may or may not have the opportunity to leave a comment directly. If not, all you have to do is double click on the title and it will take you to Kay Elam Writes. Click on the Comments button at the bottom of the post. You can take it from there.

Bloggers don’t want pretty words. We want real. And while we’re wanting, we’d like for you to say something more than “good post.” If you think my post is garbage, then tell me. But tell my why. I can take it. It you think it it’s good you may leave those pretty words just tell me what you liked. Was it funny? Thought-provoking? Educational?

I will tell you I have the ability to delete comments. I won’t delete legitimate negative or controversial comments but neither will I allow personal attacks on other readers, X-rated profanity or slurs. This is a PG Blog. Other than that, anything goes. Your first comment has to be approved. Then it will post right away.

If I do a post that makes you think of someone else, please forward it to them. Feel free to tweet it, or post it on Facebook . . . Okay, now I’m begging. Way past time to stop.

Thanks to the handful of readers who have been commenting all along (Aileen, Karen, Sue, Brenda, Tanya, Nancy … ) and to those of you who e-mail me your comments (Rod, Rob, Angela …).My stats tell me my blog is being read by lots more of you. Either that or a bunch of people are opening it before they go wash their hair. Surely some of you have an opinion.

Now my job is to write blogs worth reading. Have a great weekend. Stay warm.


© 2011 Kay Elam


Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I know how much I enjoy getting comments on my blog so I try to do the same for others. I don't do it on every blog/post I read but when I do, it's sincerely meant. :)

PatriciaW said...

I could have written Kay's column. I follow a lot of blogs and tend to leave comments on occasion, some regularly, others less frequently. I don't get a lot of comments on my own blog, even with it being posted to FB and with about 15 folks retweeting it daily. I think more people read than comment, which is fine, because I understand the extra time it takes, but it sure would be nice to hear from everyone every now and then.

MsALWalker said...

I know, Madeline, it's hard to leave a comment when you follow SO MANY blogs, but one good turn deserves another. I try to post as much as possible, hopefully others do the same.

MsALWalker said...

I know, huh, Patricia!? You DO follow a lot of blogs, all while maintaining your own wonderful one. I agree, it's good just to have people reading what you've put your heart and soul into. It's a kind of a validation. Having said that, it IS great to hear from them now and again.
Thanks for commenting! LOL

kay elam said...


First, thanks for the re-post. I feel so special. That being said. I'm 487 posts behind (reading) because I'm taking an online writing class and all of my time has been devoted to it. I'll catch up this weekend. I won't pretend I'll read them all. I'll be like an agent. If they don't grab me in the first three sentences, next.

PatriciaW --15 retweets a day! How can I be you?

Madeline -- It's impossible, I think to leave a comment on EVERY blog we visit. I agree, I'd prefer sincere comments. But I've read blogs for years and was too shy to post a comment thinking it didn't matter. Now I know it does.

Thanks again, my west coast friend.


injaynesworld said...

I found that I get a lot more comments since I went to the Disqus commenting system because it lets me respond to everyone and they don't have to check back to receive it. It's e-mailed to them. Then they can reply to it if they want, or reply to anyone else who's left a comment on one of my posts. It makes for some very fun and funny conversations sometimes, but most of all it makes people feel appreciated, I think.

MsALWalker said...

Aha, so it's a two-way street, only the commenters might not be aware that I've responded to their comments. I will definitely have to check out Disqus. Good to know, Jayne!