105 Ways to Give a Book

Three Things You’re Doing Wrong in (Not) Commenting

The just-past Comment Challenge — and particularly this perfect, funny post at Jumping the Candlestick — helped me define some commenting barriers. Take a moment to see, if indeed, these are three things you’re doing wrong in (not) commenting.
  1. You’re setting the bar too high. If you need a reality check, read the comments on any YouTube video or Yahoo article. These people don’t spend time concerned with whether their comment is “witty” or “insightful” or “makes sense.” Seriously, you are in the top ten percent of commenters merely by paying minimal attention to basic spelling and verb/noun agreement.

  2. You’re over-thinking your comments. We know this social media stuff, but can make the wrong leaps to how comments help in the process. It’s not like someone will read your witty, insightful comment and give you a book deal. It’s more like being at a book event and you’re talking to this woman about how much you like zombies, and she asks what you do, and you say you write picture books, and she says that she was at this session earlier where the editor was talking about the sad lack of zombie picture books. Score! And all this from your witty, insightful comment “Great necklace! I love zombie jewelry too!”

  3. You’re reading blog posts like articles. This is understandable, because they are articles, but they are also conversations. A comment isn’t crafting a letter to the editor. It’s closer to your response after listening to someone excitedly tell you about this great novel they just read. After they finish talking, would you simply walk away? No, you’d say something like, “I’ll have to find that book, especially because I love zombie romance stories,” and you wouldn’t worry that you weren’t adding enough value to the conversation. Other times you’d have more to say. Who knows? You might even be witty and insightful about it. But it’s not a requirement.
Of course this begs the question: Why comment? Because with few extra minutes given to commenting you can boost your blog readership, foster a feeling of connection, and make someone’s day. Because while your readers are the energy that fuels your blog, you are in turn the energy that feeds another blog. Because we’re searching for ever more ways to connect — with blogs, Facebook, and Twitter — and yet it often feels like we’re missing each other. We are working so hard to connect, that we fail to take the opportunities to connect that are right in front of us. Simply by saying, sometimes, to someone, “I hear you. I’m here.”

23 comments:

Pen and Ink said...

I hear you. We're here...Maybe once a week but we're here and we're listening

Lisa Wampler Cooper said...

I hear you Pam - and you make a good point. That's all my witty clever comments for the day because I'm out!

Jan Markley said...

Good post about taking the mystery out of commenting. Hopefully, people will feel more comfortable commenting on blogs!

carolyn said...

Over-thinking. Re-thinking. Re-re-thinking. Revising. (I am doing it RIGHT NOW.) Argh.

Dan said...

Great post! Perfectionist tendencies should not apply to commenting. Many "witty" comments are stupid and pointless, anyway. Much better just to get a nice "Haha! I enjoyed reading this."

Toby Speed said...

So true, on every point! Thanks, Pam.

Michele said...

Good points. I'm guilty of reading blogs like articles. Definitely going to try and leave more comments. Thanks!

Melissa said...

Point number one had me rolling. Seriously. :-D

Amy LV said...

Yup! I do these things. And I am laughing at myself at how afraid I am NOT to comment on this post. Sometimes it's hard to remember to go back to blogs to see if the bloggers comment back. A.
ps - I love my word verification - emoofer!

Shelly B said...

Love those thoughts! That used to be me, over thinking my comments and then often times not commenting at all. Now, if I read it, I comment, even if it's just an "attaboy!"

Miriam said...

It is so very refreshing to read your thoughts about commenting today. At my kids' school, each class has a blog, and it seems that teachers have a hard time getting kids and parents commenting. I think maybe this is because it's all taken a bit seriously - like, if you don't have something positive, constructive, and pedagogically sound to say then you're not helping. But often, the only thing I want to say is "how awesome are you!!?!?! I love what you have done there!". So from now on, I'm going to do that :-)

Bibliovore said...

Thanks for writing this! I think I fall into all these traps, and one more: I'm often so far behind on my blog reading (days, if not weeks, and sometimes *cough* months) that by the time I get to reading it, I tell myself that it's all been said already. What I forget is, not by me.

I really fell down on this particular Comment Challenge, for a variety of reasons. A good couple of days initially and then . . . nothing. But I'm going to use that to inspire myself to do better.

The1stdaughter said...

Definitely hearing you on this one! I'm awful at over-thinking and writing way too much...here I go...

Thanks!

Madigan McGillicuddy said...

Bravo! Excellent post, and excellent points. I think you really hit the nail on the head, in terms of "setting the bar too high" Yes, yes, yes, it is absolutely true. Look around at the rest of the Internet, people! If you're a book blogger, you are probably already far more witty and urbane than 90% of the Internet.

MillyMarie said...

This is kind of ironic in a way since I currently have Zombieland on my TV in the background. Hmmm.

I'm so bummed out I missed the comment challenge. That was my favorite challenge last year, but this is *really* helpful. I'm saving it to bookmarks and am going to pass it along. :D

I also cannot read any comments on Yahoo/YouTube anymore it's crazy insane and well sad.

Alison Stevens said...

Great insight. I tend to over-think my comments. Either that, or Blogger takes too long, so I give up before they actually post.

twowritingteachers said...

Thanks for this post. Comments fuel me as a writer and they make me pause and think as a reader. It's a win-win deal. :)
Ruth

Alex said...

I try to just post a comment without too much fanfare, but I do look for spelling errors. The Comment Challenge was a great experience, but I have noticed comments have really fallen off since it ended. That is really too bad. I was away for a few days but decided when I came back to do the 5 comments a day unofficially. Thank you for starting something very positive for me.

Jenn said...

I'm so guilty! Thanks for the reminder.

rissa said...

Just the other day, I was having this discussion. I will be more mindful to leave a comment. Thanks for the post!

D.A. Tyo said...

I've already backspaced on three sentences! Oops. Make that four. Thanks for this reminder. I hear you. :)

Marjorie said...

Thank you for this - I know as a blogger how much I love, love, love getting comments, even if,as you say, it's just a hello, I read this - and it has meant that I have discovered some amazing blogs - as has reading comments on other people's blogs. And your comment on my post, brought me straight here... 'nuff said :-)

Pen and Ink said...

Whenever I post a comment on a blog, I start with one of the following:

"I'm into 1st Person Present, how about you?"

"You got a nice set of vowels."

"My POV or yours?"

Sincerely,
Literary Lothario