Immersing myself in a variety of new and Freshly Pressed blogs recently, I found myself distracted. (It happens. Pause for shocked reaction.) Here’s the thing: it wasn’t the writing. Most of the posts were well written and a few engaging enough to follow.
The number of new blogs dropped every day? Impressive. And yet something was bothering me. I felt vaguely unsatisfied. What was I missing?
Then the voice that lives in my head had a wha-huh? moment and in her best Bette Midler impersonation, belted out: NO COMMENT REPLIES!
It was a tectonic shift in blog commenting behavior and it’s left me wanting.
If you’re like me, writing a post is as much about diving into your word pool as it is about paddling with your blogging friends.
Two things that go together like a sunny day and a smile.
When you choose not to reply to comments, what you’re putting out there to your readers is only half the story.
I subscribe to the Sex in the City form of blogging. There’s a scene in one of the early episodes where Carrie and gang is invited to a baby shower for an old friend who used to live in Manhattan. Now Lannie lives in Connecticut and is expecting her first child. Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha are voicing their opinions about why they shouldn’t leave the island to schlep all the way to another state. And Carrie says,
“When you see an accident on the side of the road, you pull over. Lannie’s having a baby. YOU PULL OVER!”
In this comment scenario, I’m Carrie.
Call me old school but replying to comments is good blogging etiquette. We say please and thank you to complete strangers every day. This practice of good manners also has a place online. In this day of frantic social media-itis, you need to hop off the merry-go-round. If only for a few minutes. Reading your comments and engaging in some chatty back-and-forth helps establish a connection between you and your readers. You get to slow down and enjoy the ride.
Writing is hard work. You have to be committed yet willing to strip off your cloak of perfectionism. It’s a fine line. You want every word to be pitch perfect but if you spend your time waiting for that to happen, you’ll never hit “publish.”
Once you’ve girded your loins and your post is live, that’s when the real fun begins. The pressure is off. That post you sweated multiple beads over is out there and you’ve started a conversation.
Sure, you can go back and edit what you’ve written. We all suffer from writers’ anxiety. I call that feeling “post interruptus.” Ignore it. Because it’s time to see if your post resonated with your readers.
It’s time to pull over.
If your readers are anything like mine, they’re pretty savvy. If you’re really lucky, they “get” you. With all your bumps and warts. Some of the best times I’ve had blogging have been when someone posted a comment that got me thinking. Not about editing the piece but about how everyone has their own perspective and for me, it’s like a refresh in my mind. The twinkle of an idea forms. Pretty soon, it’s demanding my attention. And it won’t quit me ’till it’s feed and watered.
We complain of being busy. And we are. That’s life. But busy isn’t an excuse for not replying to comments. In this instance, the saying “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” does not apply. Worst case scenario, you come off as uninterested. And no one wants to feel that what they have to say doesn’t matter.
So the next time you write a post, don’t send it out there and then ignore it like it’s some lonely orphan child. Look to your comments for future inspiration and remember to engage your reply button.
It could be a blog-changing experience. For you and your readers.
Are you a comment-friendly blogger?(feature image via Mashable)