Blogging Pet Peeves
February 12, 2014
OK, so in lieu of a new Blogger Spotlight this week, I’ve got something else on my mind. And, as usual, I’m gonna get to it the long way around.
One of the things I’ve always enjoyed about blogging is the interaction with readers via comments, and sometimes through email. I believe the real value and knowledge that comes from a site like The Hog Blog isn’t the information I share, but the discussions that ensue about that information. I am definitely not a font of all knowledge, and I can pretty much guarantee that no other blogger out there is either (no matter how some may like to think they are). I believe there’s something to learn from every dialog, and even a rank neophyte can bring a new and valuable perspective to the conversation. I have stood corrected more times than I can recall over the past several years, and I lay good odds it’ll happen again. While I prefer not to be wrong, I do appreciate being educated when I am.
I also appreciate comments because they can help me see what content is of interest to readers. I get ideas for topics and gear to review. I’m often surprised by the responses to posts that I thought would be fairly inconsequential, and by the lack of comments to posts that I expected to generate some heat. It’s good to get a feel for that sort of thing (although I still can’t figure out the secret formula for consistently generating extended conversations).
Of course, I’ll add that getting comments on a post strokes the ego of the blogger. Blogs are nothing if not vanity outlets… our own little soap boxes where we can publish whatever we think is worth saying. We’re validated when our posts generate comments. It’s nice to be heard, and even nicer to be appreciated for our efforts.
And I think that’s a two-way street.
I believe commenters also need a little validation and appreciation. They have, after all, taken time out of their lives to respond to our blog posts. In my opinion, they deserve some sort of response, even if it’s just a hasty, “thanks for the comment!”
And there’s my pet peeve… bloggers who don’t bother to respond to their readers’ comments.
I mean, I’m not perfect. I know there are times when I just don’t get back to the comments. Regardless of my excuse, I feel like I’ve let the reader down when that happens. So I do try to consistently acknowledge feedback, whether positive, negative, or neutral. I believe every blogger owes their readers the same level of respect.
Sometimes, my response is commensurate with the effort the commenter made. So, for example, if I see a simple, “good post,” or (god forbid), “ditto,” I’m a little less inclined to respond at length. But even then I feel like I should spend 10 seconds to write a thank-you. If the comment is more substantial, my response generally is a bit more robust as well. And as some folks know, I do love a debate.
I’m aware that many bloggers, like myself, have lives outside of the blog. We have families and day jobs and obligations. There aren’t many of us who make a living from WordPress or Blogspot, so sometimes this little corner of the Interweb gets shoved to a back burner. I totally understand about conflicting priorities.
But I can’t understand how someone who can take the time to post a blog entry can’t take the time to read and reply to comments… at least most of the time.
At any rate, I know I’ve got a lot of blogger “friends” out there who have fallen into this habit and I don’t mean any of this to be taken personally, but really… tend to your comments. Respond to your readers. Let them know you appreciate that they’re taking the time to read what you’ve written. Blogs are social media. Be social.