I’ve not been blogging.. much. On the other hand, something that was always utterly fascinating to me is the concept of “comment blogging”, someone who has no self-published blogs, but actively participates and ‘exists’ more distributed-like in the comment space of other people’s blogs.

Often, I have found this to be a missing piece of the pie in blog discussions- there is a lot of emphasis on the blog software, the features, the templates, the “rules” for publishing, writing, feeding, etc, all focused on “my blog” but less so in a key aspect of blogging- interacting and contributing in the activities on other people’s sites, hence “Blogging is a Social Process”.

Now that was a nice thought when written 2 years ago, now we deal with blog comment spam, and I am disappointed to find blogs where I cannot comment back. I understand the decision, but still do not like it. While the humble web link is a key ingredient that makes Google flourish, while tags are starting to find a key niche in adding more connections to the giant social network, the simple act of commenting seems to make a much larger impact to me as a person.

When I get an email notification of a new comment on my blog; I drop what I am doing (well if it is caught by Spam Karma 2, I can let it rot in the bin for a while), but a real honest, human content not offering me pills, porn, or casinos, well it is a ray of sunshine. A human comment, a bare sentence or tow or a multi page treatise, is a human connection.

So while not having much to write this week, I found myself commenting elsewhere. I wish I could say I was more prolific, but just noting this morning I was not writing / bur reading/writing elsewhere, I drudged up a few places I was commenting recently below… too bad there is not a magic tool to track them

So how much commenting are you doing? If you feel you are not getting enough comments, are you giving?

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

Comments

  1. I’m glad you choose to highlight the importance of commenting from time to time. My biggest area for personal improvement as a blogger is commenting more on others’ blogs (and not just those of friends) — and also to engage thoughtful comments left on my own blog. There’s a weird reticence for me that sometimes kicks in — I wonder if that exists for others. Whether it’s a common tendency, or if it’s just my own perversity, I’m working on it.

    But there’s no question that leaving and responding to comments is a critical and under-acknowledged element of the form. One development that helps in this respect is the notification via email for follow-up comments — it’s easier to click a box than to subscribe to an RSS feed, and it promotes the kind of back and forth that is one of the strengths of the traditional discussion board.

  2. Alan, I totally agree – when I get a comment notification I check it out ASAP, and almost always respond to it (and if I don’t, I feel guilty about it). A blog without comments is just a newsletter (which is a valid pursuit, but isn’t a blog IMHO).

    I would love to have some magic tool that pulled together all of the various blog threads I have commented on. Right now, I try to throw a link into my del.icio.us bin tagged with “blogcomment” so I will eventually check back, but I find I _really_ like blogs with a “subscribe to comments via email” feature because it turns the blog and the comments area into a discussion rather than a simple response.

  3. Alan, another important reason to leave comments is the encouragement it gives to bloggers starting out. I’m a good example posting away without much repsonse thinking that this blogging caper is a bit of a solo journey until I took a risk and posted about a line in Weblogg-ed that I disagreed with. It really gave me a buzz when Will himself commented back on my blog overnight. The connection to another person, especially if you already read their stuff, is not to be underestimated – I think it was great that the rss radar can capture other people’s attention and prompt them to respond. Maybe this is something that non-bloggers just don’t get.

  4. Alan, I agree completely. Wonderful blog post. (And thanks for the comment on my site!) The other trick that’s sometimes (though perhaps less frequently) missed is to have ample links to other sites within one’s blog post. Generating trackbacks/pingbacks also keeps the blogosphere rolling. I wish I understood that mechanism more fully on a technical level, especially why sometimes the trackbacks/pingbacks work immediately and sometimes don’t work for some time. Maybe I need some technorati/feedster remediation.

    And like Brian, I sometimes feel a bit reticent about jumping in to the comment zone, mostly because part of me feels I’ve already had my say on the blog and to participate in the comments is to hog the microphone. Also it makes my “Recent Comments” sidebar look pretty solipsistic. :) But I recognize intellectually that at the same time it’s important that I not send the message that I’ve moved on from that post and want nothing to do with it anymore. I continue to be fascinated by how vividly these rhetorical situations appear in this world of online communication….

    In any event, thanks for this post. And for the pointer to Spam Karma 2, which has made my life MUCH better.

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