In an effort to be more social, a few months ago, I decided to spend less time futzing in my own virtual back yard and more time commenting on other people’s blogs.
I set as my goal to comment on at least one blog post a day. And, I put no limitations on the kinds of blogs on which I’d comment, save for excluding those authored by A-listers in my industry, (Those folks get hundreds of comments on their posts and don’t need my two cents.)
Here’s what I learned from my little experiment…
1. Technical issues are a problem for many blogs.
Many blogs were not only difficult to read on a mobile device, the act of logging in to their commenting system and actually leaving a comment was often a logistical nightmare.
Those issues, combined with wonky commenting systems in general (Overly complicated login/approval procedures, approval queues which no one seemed to ever approve, or blogs with simply no comment option available, etc.) meant that a large portion of my comments never saw the light of day.
2. Engagement is not a priority for everyone.
While I felt like each comment I left was a little gift out of the blue to a random stranger, they certainly weren’t always perceived that way. Many just sat there for days, with no response.
I’ve run into technical problems with responding to comments on my posts on both of the multi-author blogs to which I contribute, so I recognize that this might not always be intentional. For the smaller blogs though, the lack of any acknowledgement (much less actual engagement) did seem odd.
3. When it comes to comments, bland is best.
A great blog comment is something like, “I thought this post was interesting,” because it is boring as hell and hard for anyone to disagree with.
For many blogs I encountered, (Especially ones where I wasn’t part of the usual audience), I found that showing any sort of opinion in my blog comment just opened me up to a lot of drama.
For example, a comment like, “I thought this post was amazing and spot on!” would get a response from some troll in the thread like, “You’re stupid! This post sucks, and so do you!” And, a comment like, “I haven’t always found that to be true,” would get a response like, “Well, who asked you?”
4. There are a lot of interesting blogs (and people) out there.
I read a lot of content each day — both what makes sense for me personally and professionally, and also whatever looks just plain interesting. So, this meant that I left comments on blogs about all sorts of topics: science, politics, religion, health and wellness, parenting…you name it.
While some of my encounters on those blogs weren’t great (see above), most enabled me to make connections with a whole host of exciting, original and inventive thinkers and writers from around the world. This has been, hands-down, the most rewarding part of my “once a day” commenting experiment.
5. At the end of the day, comments matter.
While I have had my share of bad experiences commenting on other people’s blogs, the experiment did reaffirm something that I’ve always felt to be true: for most of us, getting a comment on your blog is a BIG DEAL and highly appreciated (Especially when it’s from someone you don’t already know.)
So, while it’s easier for all of us to discover and explore posts, and then go about our business; I’d encourage you to take the extra step to give feedback to the author.
Trust me, that little comment can make a big impact.