Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Commenting on Comments

It's official. I've doubled my follower count in four days. Now I'm feeling performance anxiety!

There are several posts on comments today (go see Jenn's at Unedited or Elana's), which tells me this is a subject that people think about A LOT.  I've been thinking about it too and I decided it is best for me to be upfront and honest about how I deal with comments on my blog, so that everyone understands how I work.

I read EVERY single comment I get on my blog. Twice actually. I get them in my email inbox and I look at my blog (way too often). Frankly, my self-esteem is tied a little too closely to how many comments I get. If I don't get any, I shrivel a little bit and wonder why no one likes me. If I get a lot, I feel like making an Oscar speech (You like me! You really really like me!).

I don't email responses to commenters. I know that maybe I should but I spend too much time on email and blogging as it is (at the cost of writing) so I have to draw the line somewhere. I don't respond to every single comment I get. I don't expect every blogger to respond to my comments. To be honest, I find the long lists of individual replies can get a bit tedious for both the readers and the writer and it feels a littled forced to me.

I try to leave general responses at intervals in the comments so people know I'm around. And I sometimes respond to individuals if what they've said needs a response. I do try to visit and comment on the blog of anyone who comments at mine.

I have made one change to my process, though. Up until today, I didn't list my email on my profile. I do now. Sometimes, I'll read a post on someone's blog and it makes me want to have a deeper, non-public conversation, like by email. Usually, I lack the guts to reach out and contact the person (afraid of rejection I guess? Or I feel like I'm crossing a line?) If you ever want to discuss anything with me -- like writing or querying (especially stuff like rejection which I don't really talk about on a public blog even though I have LOTS of experience with it), please email me. That's why I'm here.

Comments? Do commenting expectations stress you out as a blogger? Have you ever stopped following a blog because you felt abandoned in the comments section?


  1. I try my best to comment when I can. I follow quite a few blogs, so I find I have to spread the love so to speak, lol! I do try to respond to comments left for me, if at all possible. Some days I have more time to devote to reading blogs and commenting, than others. All in all, though, I think you get what you give. As bloggers, if we expect others to read and comment, we need to afford that same courtesy, or people will lose interest and fall away. Great post!

  2. here's a tip and one that u are prolly already familiar with.
    if u are on blogger u can always chk ur stats that is a real pick me up if i dont get comments. I know people still came they probably just did not know what to say

  3. I have never stopped following a blog because I felt abandoned...Normally I don't even click back to see if they left a comment for me unless i have asked them a question.

  4. You read every comment twice? Now I have performance anxiety...

    Anyway, great post Jenna. I try and find a balance between commenting on comments too much and too little. I don't know if I've found it yet. Regardless, I read and greatly appreciate every comment I receive.

    I was going to leave some subtle subtext in this comment so you could pick it up on the second read-through, but I guess I'm not that good a commenter yet.

  5. Thank you for the shout-out! That was so sweet of you!!!!

    Comments are overwhelming. At the beginning when each one flew in the inbox I was elated! Now when I open up my inbox and see 35 comments I have to sit back and take a deep breath. I still love them (A LOT) it just takes a deep breath to get over the overwhelming feeling that I won't be able to visit them all that day.

    I just remind myself why I started blogging, it wasn't to gain a great follower count, it was for me and my writing. I wanted to improve and I did, not the way I expected but I loved the way I didn't expect. It feels sawesome.

  6. I have found that blogging/following/commenting is a full time job. O.O

  7. Add another follower. I agree with above poster. This could turn out to be FTJ. And, no, I don't think we have to comment on all the blogs we follow all the time. We'd never get anything done!

  8. I love your honesty and your post. Personally, I am careful not to turn commenting etc. into a "creative diversion" from doing what is most important: WRITING! I have the attitude that I do what I can and trust it is enough. If I feel obligated to contact every person, it will cease being meaningful. I support as many as I can in a day without hindering my own quality of life offline. :) That's all I expect from others, so I don't "expect" endless comments on my pages, but I am thankful when I get them. Have a great day! Enjoy the journey, Janelle

  9. I make general comments on the comments I recieve but sometimes I need to address something specifically and then I'll do so.

  10. It's nice to know that someone is reading and liking all the hard work we do for each post. I know I really appreciate the comments.


  11. I'm so glad to hear you guys won't leave me if I don't reply to each comment individually. In the past three posts, I've had 75 comments and I'm reeling! I've spent hours today still trying to catch up with all the BBQ comments.

  12. hello, i have just discovered your blog! i am a first time novelist and i always enjoy reading about other writers. i always read comments twice too!

  13. Hi Jenna. I found you via the BBQ. Came a little bit late, myself! Anyway, I'm excited to read more of your blog. Your status on comments seems to be a good one to me. Everyone loves comments, and should continue to love them, without having to stress out with personal responses to all of them. As a new blogger, I'm still in the squealing stages every time I get one. Maybe that will change? We'll see.

  14. Great post! I agree that you don't necessarily need to comment back individually. I'm still in the early stages so I get excited over every comment, but I can see it getting overwhelming if you're getting a lot of comments on a post! I think your strategy is a really good one.

  15. I know exactly how you feel...and I get the email thing (I'm the same way with telephones!)

    I try to reply to comments, but sometimes it's HARD...partly because of the quantity and partly because I want the reply to be natural and yet SAY something that continues the conversation.

    Out of nearly 300 blogs on my list, I think you are the only one that uses the same template I do! I've thought about changing it but I kinda like it and changing requires soooo much effort.

  16. This topic always gets a lot of comments in itself! :)

    I try to return comments. I want people to know I value them coming to my blog. I don't expect everyone to do the same, all the time, but it is nice if they do drop by my blog sometimes. I don't check back to see if someone's responded to my comment on their blog.

  17. First, CONGRATS on getting so many followers SO FAST! Awesome!

    And, I pretty much handle comments the same way. Just wait...the more followers you have, the harder it gets to visit everyone. The guilt!! I try hard, because I love everyone's blogs. But it's impossible.

    I too read my comments at least twice. :) Once in email, and again on my blog...to see everyones pretty avatar.