Monday, October 26

To comment or not to comment

There's a very interesting discussion going on about commenting on blogs that I feel compelled to add my penny's worth to. Casey Morgan blogged about the lack of comments on some of her posts and wondered why her blog seems to attract less posts than other bloggers. If you've read Casey's blog you'll know it's nothing to do with the frequency and quality of her writing.

Thinking back to my own blog beginnings, one of the reasons that I was reluctant to start one at all was that I knew I would judge myself and the success of my blog by the number of comments I got.

My biggest fear was starting a blog that no-one would ever engage with or contribute to. So my first blog post was a bolshy warning that the blog was for me, not the reader and I'd only post as I felt like it. (Funnily that's the only post on this blog that didn't attract a single comment!)

It was also a while before I told any of the established bloggers about it, sure if no-one knew I had a blog then I could hardly expect to have any comments right? But within a week of blogging, I became addicted to getting comments and posted every day for 100 days, so motivated by what people wrote.

So I can empathise with Casey. As she puts is so well:

"I’ve been giving some thought to the subject of blog comments. We all like getting them. They make us feel heard and appreciated. Conversely, it’s easy to feel, when a post receives few or no comments, that people don’t love you."

In response to her I wrote that I was quite guilty of lurking on her blog and rarely commenting and tried to figure out why that was. It is certainly true that I am less inclined to comment on the blogs of people I have never met which includes all the bloggers across the pond. I'm a much more frequent commentator on the blogs of the Irish and UK players I know. And my propensity to comment increases with how well I know them, often using the blogs to stay in touch in between parties and weekend visits.

But the other side of it is that it's much harder to comment on a post that is powerfully written, or is deeply thought provoking, meaning it's easier not to think about it or try to formulate a reply to, which is certainly true for some of Casey's posts.

Serenity then took up the reigns of the discussion with her perceptive analysis of commenting in general. She talked about the different types of posts, some that talk of personal lives and issues outside of kink that are not always fluffy and light and therefore attract less comments.

I can agree with that, while in general this blog is light and fluffy, there are times when I am quite serious or angsty and those posts get less comments than my giggling over shopping or describing my play scenes. But while this frustrates me sometimes, I'm very conscious that I do the same thing myself when reading something more serious on other blogs, finding it hard to come up with something worthy of a reply to such a great or thoughtful post.

Another great point Serenity made was about the different types of blogs out there, dealing with different things, from the frivolous, to kink and play only, angsty or light, to real life deep issues. Just as each of us writes about different things and to varying degrees, we also like to read different things from blogs. Some don't want to hear about our personal lives, some only want to hear or see the beatings and some want to hear all the details while others likes some things held back. But that's their prerogative and shouldn't influence what we write.

When I started this blog I very consciously decided not to write anything personal on the blog, as in none of the angst of my day to day life goes up here. Just because, like everything else about my kinky life right now, my blog is pure escapism from real life. If I ever get to a stage where I have a partner and kink becomes more than just weekend visits interrupting reality then my blog may change to reflect that. And for different reasons, which I've discussed previously, I purposely don’t write about my sexual experiences here either.

My point is that we all make personal decisions about to what degrees we write on our blogs and we all chose what we want to read. Just because I don't write about personal life or sex doesn't mean that I don't like or don't read blogs that do discuss these things.

Our blogs are our own space and they shouldn't be edited to conform to a populist readership. And while it can be hard not to validate ourselves though the number of comments we get, we have to tell ourselves this is not a popularity contest.

Of course that's easier said than done but I have to remind myself that my greatest achievement with this blog is not all the comments or the level of traffic, but all the posts I've written, the thousands of words that I agonised over and the pride I feel when I read them.

8 comments:

Indy said...

Wouldn't it have been ironic if this had been only the second post you'd made to receive no comments?

I like both your light-hearted and more serious posts. It seems to me that it was one of the latter-- the post that actually inspired HH to make a post on his own blog-- that generated the most discussion of all.

Master Retep said...

I will be a bit cheeky and do a copy and paste to use some stuff from the comment I left for Serenity on the same topic.

An increasing number of people, myself included, use aggregators like Google Reader from a handheld like a Blackberry on a bus first thing in the morning. None of these conditions are conducive to well crafted enetertaining comments, particularly when another pot hole or swerve to avoid a cyclist has screwed up the capchka for the third time.

I would agree with you that comments are a nice handwaving buzz of recognition which is why people like you and I who know each other use them as a keeping in touch. This is partly because the lifestyle may preclude vanuilla contact.

But I do believe that many blogs have many more readers, and are providing more entertainment, support and comfort than their authors could imagine and would add my cry to our author friends to keep doing what they’re doing. Don’t just measure your success by the number of catcalls from the front stalls. That may suit pantomime, but its not called for with the real quality stuff.

Casey Morgan said...

EJ,
You articulate so well why it's misguided to equate comment traffic with appreciation. One of the great things about the blogosphere is the ungoverned nature of it: bloggers write what interests them, and readers are free to pick and choose. There are no editors or publishing houses acting as gatekeepers, shaping content. If we bloggers start over-analyzing our comments, there is the temptation to wonder if we should change our content. There's plenty of room for this kind of strategic thinking in the publishing world(s), but if we start going down that path, won't we mangle what is so great about blogging? OK, your post has got me thinking now, so may have to follow up later. Thanks for helping clarify matters! ;-)

Serenity Everton said...

EmmaJane,

You write a great blog.... and I'm late for work. :)

s

Kitty said...

Honestly I feel the same about my blog. I dont get nearly the comments on some posts/topics as I would like to see because I enjoy the healthy discussion and enjoy knowing that the people who come to my blog find my thoughts enjoyable. However, I'm grateful for comments period at the same time LOL.

Abel1234 said...

Really interesting post. I love comments when I post, and feel disappointed when I don't get many. At the same time, that can result in the "wrong" behaviour in me as a writer - I can find myself writing posts that I think will get feedback / appeal to our readership, in preference to writing stuff that appeals to me or that I want to talk about - and that's not why I blog.

In terms of commenting elsewhere - there are so many wonderful spanking blogs now, and I tend to have such limited time, that I only get to regularly read those that are written by friends I've met in real life. And, assuming I've had a chance to catch up with their posts in anything approaching a timely manner, I do try to comment whenever they write something that I think's original, though-provoking, entertaining or simply *hot*!

I'm conscious that, as I do so, I'm neglecting a host of other blogs with wonderful writing, by lovely people such as Casey (who Haron's been lucky enough to meet, when my work diary sadly prevented me from doing so). Maybe my post-holiday resolution should be to spend more time with the best blogs out there, or at least with those written by the people I most admire in the scene...

Christian said...

as for comments, i have no questions at all about that - i always try to comment because a person tried to share some info with me. the problem i had here was that my profile was closed though i opened it for everyone. and people just could not go to my blog... it is a pity because i tried to do my best... anyway, i think comments are great! they help us to see that someone is interested in waht we write 9well, at least, this "someone" came to our blog to see what we write about).

http://thebestcomediesofthe21stcentury.blogspot.com/

John Woo said...

as for me coments help us to decide whether there are other points of view, other arguments in your favour or against