1 EAGLETON NOTES: Comments

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Sunday, 11 October 2015

Comments

When I started blogging in 2007 Blogger didn't have any provision for responding to individual comments except by making another comment (which would appear at the end of the comments). Very rarely if ever can I recall 'conversations' in comments. My blogs were started as a combination of a diary and a way of keeping friends in the country I wasn't living in at the time up to date with what I was doing. Consequently I wasn't really writing with comments as an expectation. 

Gradually, though, more dialogues have developed and now comments and commenting is an integral part of blogging. Sometimes it's a way of saying that I've visited although I recall in the early days of Adrian's blogging wondering just how many ways it was possible to say that someone's photos were so good. As we got to know each other and Adrian posted about places I knew or wanted to know and as he got more acerbic the comments became more 'interesting'. It's hard to comment, too, with many photo blogs like Liz's.  On the other hand some bloggers like Yorkshire Pudding or Frances Garrood (with very different blogs and styles) write posts that would overall be pointless if one could not comment.

Most of the blogs that I follow (which is not that many really) have manageable comments. However one blog that I follow has more comments than many of the rest of us put together: Jenny Woolf's An English Travel Writer. As a consequence Jenny wrote the following recently:
Thanks to everyone for the comments, I really appreciate them all and read them avidly! It is funny, although I have been blogging for years I still puzzle about how to manage comments, I wonder if anyone else has this problem. The 3 alternatives seem to be to reply individually, reply in a lengthy response taking in a lot of peoples' different points, or say nothing. I THINK it's best to treat it like I would do if it was a real life party, i.e. respond to everyone individually, but that can feel pretty frantic. Sometimes it is good just to listen and nod - but then perhaps people think you're not interested or not thinking about it. (I do in fact think about everything that people write in their comments). A "group" response to things that several people have said interests me most because it draws together different ideas and aspects, but I don't think many people would see a "group response" unless they're looking out for one. I think that responses only get sent on to subscribers if they're linked to their own comments. Hmmmmm.........
Some of the responses to that comment were quite interesting. I recall a fellow blogger telling me that he never ticked the 'Notify me' box because he never read other people's comments nor responses to his because he just didn't have the time. He did read a lot of blogs though.  It was that comment that made me realise that I always wanted to keep the blogs I follow to a manageable number because, for me, blogging is participatory. So although I sometimes don't comment and sometimes even when I do I have little to say I do try and keep up with both blogs and the comments made on them.

I don't blog as frequently as some nor, indeed, as often as I used to but I try and read all the blogs I follow and comment when I feel that I have something to say (and sometimes even if I don't!).

Your thoughts?

36 comments:

  1. Interesting. I like to comment but I don't feel obliged to at every visit to a blog....and it's still a pain on an iPad! I rarely tick notify me as I can get swamped with messages... Although I do usually on yours because you do reply! I guess the like button on FB does at least acknowledge that you saw, read, appreciated a post... But I never use the blogger option.

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    1. I agree, Fi, although I didn't know that there was a blogger equivalent of Facebook's 'like'.

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  2. Oops forgot to tick notify me.... I'll do it this time!

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  3. I like replying to each individual comment....to me is more personable....as if I'm replying to the person directly when they have addressed me in a live setting.
    I learn so much from my comments and I really appreciate my Blogland friends popping in to say hello.

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  4. I have given up on trying to be consistent about this (not that I'm sure I ever was!), because blogs (and bloggers) are so different; and my own "capacity" to keep up with everyone and everything varies as well. To cut long reasoning short, I suppose I tend to adjust to what the other bloggers do. With those who I know nearly always comment, and answer comments, and read answers to comments, I try to do the same. With those who don't seem to take much interest in discussion, I don't put much effort into it either. On my own blog, I try to give priority to replying to questions and comments that add some new thought to the topic. If I've only posted a photo that perhaps generates a dozen "nice picture", then I usually find a simple "thanks everyone" covers it... (Because, unlike what Jenny supposes - if you do subscribe to comments on someone's post, you get all of them. Not just the specific reply to your own comment.)

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    1. Monica I think that for your blog you have got it just right. I don't have a hard ad fast rule but I don't often seem to do posts where the comments merit a single 'thank you' comment although it does happen occasionally. Your interpretation of Jenny's comment hadn't occurred to me.

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    2. Monica, I think you are right, and your views are thought provoking. I think there is an element of "horses for courses" in how one reacts to comments. And you are right, I did not know that subscribers get every comment. I don't ask to be notified otherwise I get absolutely swamped, since I follow a lot of blogs and some are very popular. I prefer to come back and check over comments on old posts and perhaps add one of my own if the mood strikes me.

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  5. Interesting you write this as it is something that I have thought about fairly recently. I too have been blogging since 2007 - can it really be that long?! Although the original and its successor ended up private due to some problems I had with some people. As you say originally there wasn't really the facility for easy responses to comments and I tried to address them sometimes at the beginning of a new blog post, or as one comment at the end.

    I often forget to tick the 'notify me' box....I only really read a few blogs now, even though I 'follow' a lot - which I need to weed down considerably as interests etc...have changed over the years.

    I do think it is nice to get comments - especially those posts that you are writing for entertainment value (my other blogs) as it is encouraging. I try to reply to each comment if I can, but am sometimes a bit slow on the uptake lately!

    In the early days of blogging I met several other bloggers in real life which has been great as well.

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    1. Serenata I've met fellow bloggers and, so far, the friendships that have followed have been very fruitful. I find it amazing, too, what I sometimes learn from comments. I shall pop over and have a look at your other blogs.

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  6. Like you, Graham, I like the way a comment can lead to a short exchange, or even dialogue. If no one ever replies to comments, after a while, I feel as though I'm talking to myself. These little exchanges help to build up a kind of relationship, and I really enjoy that. But I don't always comment on every post I read as it can take up more time than I ought to be spending .....

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    1. Absolutely Frances. Your blog generates quite a lot of interesting comments.

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    1. Okay Carol. I shan't respond to your lack of comment then!

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  8. Thanks for the mention Graham.
    I don't do any social media so the blog is a substitute I suppose.
    It is difficult to comment on visual content unless it's something special. Commenting on bad images is not something that is appreciated in blogland so I have learned not to do it. I post plenty of dross and am surprised I don't get more abuse.
    It's all fun.

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    1. That's the nub of it all Adrian. If it isn't fun then what's the point?

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  9. Thank you for the mention, Graham, it is much appreciated. I have decided to try responding to comments that seem to require a response, and hoping that those who do not get a response will understand that I read and take note and appreciate, even if I am not writing "thank you for your kind comment" over and over again. I may however change my mind, as I suspect that no answer will really seem quite right to me! Wouldn't a "like" button be good? (like they have on Facebook.) That means something like "I have noticed this and appreciate seeing it."

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    1. Jenny it was your comment (the one that I quoted) which was the catalyst for the post. Your posts generate lots of comments and I find that I always have something to say and there is always the hope of an extra special 'photo of the moment' to look forward to too. Sometimes I think that a 'like' button would be really handy particularly with photo only blogs.

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  10. Comments are rewarding because they mean that one's posts are not just being sent out into an empty void. Like you I can only cope with a few blogs at a time. When somebody comments on my blog I feel a kind of duty to return their visit and usually I will reply to their comment - partly to demonstrate that the comment has been read and considered. I appreciate your comments on "Yorkshire Pudding" Graham because they are invariably thoughtful and occasionally provocative.

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    1. YP your posts are such a good mixture of subjects and content that I invariably find that I have something to say and although we agree on many things it's always good to know that if we don't agree we can safely say so on each other's blogs. (Have I got my apostrophe correct? I'm having a senior moment)

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  11. I think there should be a balance between letting the comment stand on it's own and replying to questions, remarks and other inquires within it. I try to get back to everybody (and usually succeed), but it can take up a lot of time.

    Mersad
    Mersad Donko Photography

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    1. It can Mersad and I appreciate that you do. Yours is a blog where I almost always read but don't very often leave a comment unless a) I want you to know that I'm still there or 2) there is something extra-special amongst the wonderful views and places that you post about. Your blog has certainly done more for my understanding of your country than anything else I've seen or read.

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  12. You have a balanced approach. You write when you feel you have something to say. You comment when you can say something meaningful and you read all blogs. I think some blogs get too big to handle. Comments are a huge part of blogging for me. It's an interesting conversation.

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    1. Thank you Red. Comments are a huge part of blogging for me too.

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  13. I am in and out of my studio all day long, and this is where my laptop is found. I regularly have a very quick look at my day's posting and make very short replies to comments. Maybe I could be more attentive, but it's all a matter of time.

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    1. Cro you have lots and lots of comments generating a lot of responses. Your posts are often, perhaps usually, such that a comment is called for and 'discussions' are frequent. I suspect that your and my views differ on many topics (though probably not on wine!) but I do not feel afraid to say so if I disagree or perhaps do not like something you do.

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  14. Like many who have commented on here and like you, Graham, I value comments on my blog very much and usually reply to each and every one - there aren't so many that I can't handle them :-)
    Also similar to you, I do not follow too many blogs, just so that I can read every new entry without putting myself under pressure. When a post is completely not my topic (such as car racing or football), or the only comment I can think of would be either meaningless or revealing too much of my nasty side, I just keep my fingers off the keyboard and don't comment. Frances' posts about Death Row are an example: Anything I could write would only sound completely banal.
    There are one or two blogs I follow where the authors never reply to comments, although there aren't that many of them, and even if there was a question in a comment. I find myself a little irritated and frustrated by that and don't think I will comment on those any longer.
    Like you, I find Monica's handling of comments very balanced.

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    1. I think, Meike, that we have a similar approach. I, too, sometimes feel a little irritated when I comment and ask a question and there is no response.

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  15. I've never ticked the "notify me" box either, but I do check to see if there's been a reply if I've commented myself. I find some blogs easy to comment on, but often it's difficult to find new ways to say "isn't that a wonderful photo" or "aren't your children beautiful / growing / talented" etc. I guess it's easier to engage in conversation if the blog has a high "text to photo" ratio.

    I know I don't comment on your blog as much as I used to (mainly because of time), but I do enjoy reading it. I guess I see commenting as something on the "I'd do more of if it if I had the time" list (which unfortunately is a long list), xx

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    1. Helen you, like some others of course, have a working life. I am retired and still find commenting and living in Blogland sometimes take more time than I have. It's just good to know that you know what's happening in my world. I miss your blogs. Enjoy your time with your Dad and Jo this week.

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  16. I like to enter my comments re a blogger's post, and at times, I will respond to a response to my comment...as in a conversation. I think it's good that a conversation can occur through a comment passed etc. I've been accused by Yorkie more than once for always wanting to get in the last word...but that's not the case! lol

    There are so many interesting stories and wonderful photos posted by my blogging friends, they are worthy of a response...and some worthy of lengthy responses. And if I don't cease now...this will turn into a lengthy response!! :)

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    1. Lee I envy the fact that writing appears to come so naturally and easily to you and your comments, like your posts, are always worth reading and very welcome.

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  17. A great read, Graham! I personally love the feedback on my blog posts and I read every one, as I receive them via email. Sometimes I will respond back via email (as I have done with you a few times) as I don't have the reply feature in my blog. I always try to answer any questions via email, if asked. I love the communication and conversation that blogging has provided and the ability to see other parts of our beautiful world. I'm also honoured for the mention of my blog in this post. I started blogging and photography as part of my therapy after my car accident. It has opened up a whole new world for me and I feel blessed to have 'met' some lovely people such as yourself. And even more blessed to have met some in person when they travel to Australia as Pauline did last year.

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    1. Liz, I read, or more accurately, look at and admire your posts but don't comment very often. I know comments are important to you from some of our early emails but I find it difficult sometimes because almost all your photos - particularly some of your superb nighttime cityscapes and your bird images - are so good and it sounds rather trite to just keep repeating oneself and trying to find different ways to say 'superb'!

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  18. An interesting post. I discovered your blog through Pauline's blog. I find it exciting when I hear of bogglers meeting and becoming real life friends. Regarding comments and replies. I've often wondered how many people go back to read replies to their comments. I didn't do that because not many of my blogger friends do reply. However, I've worked out who does reply and I check on them. Often a simple comment just means I've visited your blog and read your post. Sometimes it is hard to write an in depth comment for two reasons: not enough content in the post or I'm too tired. I have enjoyed reading your posts and Pauline's posts about your safari. It sounds like you both had lots of fun.

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    1. Good to hear from you Diane. I see you, too, are afflicted by the dreaded Spillchucker. One of the things that makes ticking the 'Notify Me' box easier is that I have unique email addresses for each activity in my life and for each blog so that I don't get comments clogging up my personal emails for example. I'm glad you enjoyed Pauline's and my posts: we did have lots of fun. We usually do. I've made some very important friendships through blogging and it's become an important part of my life. I have, however, a long way to go before I'll ever manage to travel as much as you have done.

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