I’ve been pondering this one for over two years. On and off. Mostly I keep deciding to continue replying to blog comments, but sometimes it seems more prudent to just stop.
Here’s the scenario. We write our blogs. People comment–or they don’t comment. The blog writer reads the comments. The blog writer then replies to blog comments–or she doesn’t. It depends on your Blogging Orientation.
One of my primary motivations in blogging is to develop relationships. Start conversations. Keep the energy moving back and forth with new ideas and new ways of looking at the world. In addition, I was blog-trained in the spiritual community of Gaia (now defunct in its previous on-line form) in which long conversations almost always ensued after blog-writing.
Statistics on this blog say there have been 10,053 comments in the past almost-fourteen months. Sounds like a lot of comments, right? But keep in mind–about 4,500 of those comments are replies from Yours Truly.
When people comment–I reply. Usually I cannot, like some people, reply in one or two sentence snappy answers. No. That doesn’t happen. I reply in book-length form. Novella form. Respond to what the person says. Add a personal experience or two. (OK, I exaggerate. Usually the replies are a healthy paragraph. That’s all.)
Some people advise to only respond when you have something to say. That does not apply to me. I always have something to say. Others say to only respond to direct questions or concerns. I have problems with this approach as well. When reading other blogs in which replies are random to comments…it just doesn’t feel right. It feels like everyone is not being acknowledged equally.
It takes between fifteen minutes and thirty minutes per blog to respond to comments. Chit, chat, chit, chat. I usually feel good afterward. It feels like the person’s comment is not left hanging in the air. It feels like the energy is somehow complete. It somehow feels wrong not to respond, not to reach out, not to say thank you (but I can’t say thank you and just shut up. Not usually. That doesn’t feel like developing a relationship. Although it could be.)
My children are raising their eyebrows. They think this is a flaw, or an endearment or something. They are of the generation or inclination where response to commentary simply is not required.
Lately, however, I am wondering if they are Right. Pondering approaching this commentary thingee differently. Recently I popped lots of questions in my commentary replies. Asking folks to elaborate on their comment. Really wanting to know more.
How many people replied to my commentary reply question? Out of a dozen questions, maybe one. I can point to maybe five people who faithfully read the reply to commentary. Who sometimes reply to the reply to commentary.
So I ponder: is it worth it? Is it worth it to spend fifteen to thirty minutes daily replying to comments that aren’t even read? Or which are read by so few? (Please do not think I am feeling sorry for myself. I am not. I am simply trying to decide the most efficient and viable way to handle the truth of what is. Or what I think might be.)
Now don’t you start thinking that I am always going back to read replies to comments on other blogs! I am no comment-reading saint. (OK, I’m a WordPress comment reading saint, but not even a comment-reading person worth praise on non-WordPress blogs. Others have patiently tried to teach me about RSS feeds, but it hasn’t stuck. On WordPress I push the “subscribe” button, read via email, and then delete the subscription if there is too much commentary filling up the in-box.)
I can point excitedly to several bloggers whom I regularly read who Do Not Reply on their blogs. Instead, they either A) email responses if necessary or B) simply show their engagement by visiting the reciprocal blog.
That’s what I’m thinking of trying. OK, I’ve thought of trying this in previous incarnations.
If–in the near future–maybe even today–you notice the absence of blog comment replies, know that this plan has been implemented. If you still see my commentary beneath the commentary, it’s because goshdarnit, I love to write.
Maybe it really doesn’t matter if anyone reads the reply to comments. Maybe it’s not necessary to view it like that. If we’re still writing our mini-blogs beneath the major blogs, maybe the important thing to consider is: “Do we do this because it fulfills us on some level?”
The jury is still deliberating. What have you decided on your blogs?