Responding to Comments: Why It Matters
Have you ever poured your heart out in the comments on a post, and returned to it repeatedly to see if the blogger responded…only to learn that you were basically ignored?
Yeah, me too. Kinda hurts.
I realize that some bloggers get hundreds of comments on a post, and acknowledging all of them is impossible. There are times that even I can’t respond to all my commenters—and my numbers are pretty modest. But I do try to respond to everyone at least once out of every few times they comment. As a reader, I know I like it when I am acknowledged, and as a writer, I want commenters to know that I appreciate the time they’ve taken to share their thoughts on a post, especially when those thoughts are lengthy. When I’ve commented multiple times on a blog and my comment love is not reciprocated, I either don’t comment again (I just lurk), or I don’t go back to the blog at all. I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Genuine, thoughtful comments deserve a genuine, thoughtful reply.
Here on G&G, topics run the gamut, because this blog is all about what I think and what I’ve experienced, beyond just fashion. While I have received many thoughtful comments on the subject of fashion, it is usually my more controversial or “real-life” posts that get the most meaningful and exciting comments. As important as fashion is (uh, yes it IS important), let’s face it—with fashion posts, comments are generally I like it/I don’t like it, and there’s not a lot to be said to that in response.
But when you write about a more serious subject and you get serious comments, do not discount the importance of your response. Words well-strung—and even words that carry a simply-stated message—have a certain gravitas. Gravitas that can be life-altering, I kid you not.
Rather than blather on about it, I’ll just let you read this comment excerpt from my Getting Over Homesickness page:
Dean November 27, 2012
ER, can you say GOOSEBUMPS? I sure got them when I read Dean’s comment yesterday. That comment is just one of many that remind me why I do take the time to reply back to both regular readers and complete strangers.
Comments may seem like they are only words on a screen, but they aren’t just words on a screen. THAT is why commenting and being mindful of your words and online interactions is so important; your words have the power to lift someone up in their darkest hour, or be the final nail in the coffin.
Coincidentally, my unfortunate friend in plagiarism victimization, B of Beautifully Invisible, posted on the power of words the same day Dean’s comment came in. You should read A Year Later: How Being Plagiarized Caused Me To Lose My Voice for another testimonial about the power of words and blog commenting. Sharing your opinion or a critique is very different from a personal attack. You can respectfully disagree with diplomacy and tact.
Don’t ever forget that there is a REAL person behind the blog, and a REAL person behind the comment. Be kind, or be silent.