Blog Etiquette: When Bloggers Ignore Comments, Part Two

The discussion provoked by the topic “When Bloggers Ignore Comments” proves that commenting on blogs is no simple matter. Want more? There’s at least ten more fascinating points of view on Prompt(ly).

What I’ve gathered: it seems like there are two different types of bloggers, who have different motivations.

1) The Conscientious Commenter: This can be a blogger, like Stumbling Gracefully, who responds to every comment they receive, whether they respond to a comment on their own blog, or whether they go to the commenter’s blog and respond there. This can be a blogger like Mel or Lori who are both inundated by comments but who try to do their best to involve their readers in conversation in some way, whether by email reply or re-tweeting someone’s post. This can be a blogger who responds to some comments, but not all. This can be a blogger who FEELS there is a reciprocal relationship between themselves and their readers, even if they don’t do a lot to engage their audience.

But, as I suspected, a few have confirmed to me that there is, indeed, another type of blogger.

2) The Connoisseurs: these are bloggers who blog for themselves. They write because they want to clear their heads and make sense of events. They write to keep an online record of their writing, trace patterns in their lives through their writing. They want to perfect their writing. If they receive comments, that is a plus, but getting comments is not their raison d’être. Now, when this particular type of blogger DOES comment on someone’s blog, it’s not because they feel obligated to, or want to reciprocate. A comment from them is the ultimate compliment: it’s their way of saying you’ve done something to kick ass. They appreciate your post like they would a glass of fine wine or an object of art or a piece of s’more pie. Or because you really are that damn funny. Among the big bloggers, I’d probably classify Julie of A Little Pregnant in this category. Do you agree? FoxyPopcorn has confirmed that she is this type of blogger, and has asked for peace between the two categories 😉

There should be room in the blogosphere for both type of bloggers, obviously. I think there are also bound to be misunderstandings between the two categories. I think I assumed that all bloggers were bound to reciprocate my admiration for them. Why? That’s not the way things work in the real world. Chris Martin may think that Thom Yorke is an unparalleled genius, but that does not guarantee Thom Yorke’s affection. In actuality, Thom Yorke doesn’t much care for Chris Martin. The unnamed bloggers who provoked the original post (neither of whom are Julie or FoxyPopcorn, BTW) probably liken my writing to Rebecca Black. They are not wrong.

I’m sure I’ve grossly oversimplified these categories. Maybe many people are a hybrid of these categories? I don’t want to set up some stereotypical buckets to put people into. I hate that. I don’t fit into any particular category myself as a human being.

I think maybe it’s MOST important to understand that there are different INTENTS behind blogging.

From Foxy Popcorn:
I think that acknowledging that my motivation for blogging could very well be different from someone else’s (is important). Maintaining a flexible set of guidelines that allow for and celebrate those differences is important to me.

My hope is that understanding this can lead to maybe better relations between bloggers? Now that I wrote that, I’m cringing a bit. I sound pretty grandiose. I AM listening to the “Inception” soundtrack right now 😉

There’s more! These bloggers have written great food for thought:

1. Hannah Laughed, Sarah Wept (Part One)
2. Hannah Laughed, Sarah Wept (Part Two) Complete with the most hilarious photo I’ve seen in weeks
3. Beyond the Wallpaper
4. Project Progeny
5. A Separate Life

Have you been writing about commenting? Let me know in the er, comments, below. I am reaching Blog Within a Blog Within a Blog levels…and Stumbling Gracefully and Bodega Bliss know that I take my Leo movies VERY seriously. BTW guys, he’s 36 !?!

Do you agree with all this? Or is this all a gross oversimplification? Do you hear “Friday (…comes before Satuuurdaay)” as your read this post?

Next time: Do you want to have an easier time replying to your comments? I have talked to some smart people, and therefore have some ideas…

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “Blog Etiquette: When Bloggers Ignore Comments, Part Two

  1. When it comes to comments, I run into a different problem.

    I do a humor/satire blog on the topic of higher education. The tone of my posts is rather in-your-face but there’s a Ph.D. behind the sarcasm. When responding to comments on my own blog, it’s difficult to decide whether to be the Ph.D. or the humor writer. Sometimes it’s not possible for me to respond to a comment and keep the page coherent. I’ve only ever responded to one comment, but then again I’ve been blogging for less than two weeks…

    When commenting on someone else’s blog, I try to be a nice person. Really… I try.

    • Congrats on starting your blog! I think you should respond in whatever voice feels most comfortable to you. I personally like comments and responses that feel authentic, and if they are humorous, that’s a definite plus.

  2. chhandita

    hmmm wowo,,.had no idea abt these categories lol..I belong to neither I guess because I do reply to comments but not always..I am trying to now that’s the reason I added the reply button on my comments section…I know Aisha replies to all her comments and I really appreciate that…

    • Thanks for reminding me of Aisha’s commenting policy. I’d noticed that in the past. It really seems that everyone plays by different rules and that’s OK. 🙂

  3. I think your second category hit me like a nail on the head. Um… not sure that came out quite right…! Just to re-state what you already said in my own words – usually I comment when I feel completely compelled to, like I would suffocate on the words or thought of feeling that was prompted by somebody else’s writing unless I get it out. Or, when offering words of support in the most difficult circumstances (a loss, for example) and in those cases I would never expect a response back, any more than I would expect someone to send me a thank-you card for a sympathy card I sent them in the mail.

    And thanks for the shout-out 🙂

    • I really appreciated hearing your point of view! I’m glad I got it mostly right 😉

      I love this:

      “Usually I comment when I feel completely compelled to, like I would suffocate on the words or thought of feeling that was prompted by somebody else’s writing unless I get it out.”

      What a vivid description of the urge to comment! I think every blogger would love to feel that someone felt this way about their writing.

  4. Mel

    Maybe there are several other categories of people. Those who blog simply to record their life and don’t think about comments at all. If they get one, they’re fine with it, but they don’t really care about them and therefore don’t really understand that they’re important to the commenter. Or those who want comments, but they feel that at the moment they’re full-up on support and have their tribe. They are fine receiving comments from others outside of their tribe, but they’re not going to add more people to their commenting/reading world.

    • Great points. I have definitely noticed that there are established bloggers who have built their tribes, and as you put it “they’re full-up on support”. It takes a lot of time and work to comment on the friends you have, let alone
      add new ones if you already have a ton of bloggers in your reader. I wonder if this is why a lot of newer bloggers get discouraged. You really have to find the newer bloggers and build up contemporaries.

  5. I think I am just someone who loves a good discussion and I think that good discussions can happen in the comments under the right circumstances. I also love the way that connections are made when people acknowledge each other.

    Of course, it’s also important to recognize and respect that everybody’s got their own way of interacting.

    Have you seen this book?
    http://www.amazon.com/Hand-Wash-Cold-Instructions-Ordinary/dp/1577319044/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpi_2
    I haven’t read it yet but it reminded me of your blog for some reason.

    • I agree: the discussions CAN be awesome, but they can’t really be created out of thin air. The post has to be particularly provocative in some way, and get passionate people to respond.

      Thanks for the heads-up on the book! It sounds really good 🙂

  6. I like what you said in your response to Mel about finding contemporaries. I still have bloggy friends, 4 years after I started blogging, who I consider to be in my “class.” (Like we were freshmen together, then sophomores, etc.)

    This has been very thought provoking. Thanks for kicking off this discussion!

  7. Thanks for linking up my post 🙂

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