Blog Comments — Why Do We Reply?

 

I haven’t replied to the comments on my last few posts. Egads! So I’m not allowed to post another one. I mean, it’s an unwritten rule, right? Wrong. It’s a written rule. You must reply. Also, there’s a written rule that says you don’t need to reply. There is disagreement in the blogosphere. And so it goes. I feel I’ve danced this dance before.

You simply must reply to comments on your blog because:

  1. It’s rude not to
  2. The whole point of a blog post is to generate conversation (i.e. comments) and you should keep that going
  3. If people take the time to comment, you should take the time to reply

These are all true. But so are these:

  1. Some people don’t care (or even notice) if you reply
  2. The whole point of a blog post is whatever the person who wrote it wants it to be – regardless of whether or not it generates conversation
  3. If people take the time to comment, it’s because they wanted to and you shouldn’t feel pressured to reply

I attempt to reply to every single comment on my blog. And not just a string of “thanks” but thought-out responses (with the occasional “thanks”). There are times, especially with my shorter posts or my flash fiction over at the Reef, it takes longer to reply than it takes me to write the piece. Also, as I’ve mentioned, I feel I can’t publish my next post until I’ve responded to each comment.

In this way, blog comments stress me out. But I love them. I love my readers and appreciate their comments. So much. I also love the conversation that can emerge from a simple Thought Bubble. I try to reply to all of them and 90% of the time, I do. Because. Love.

But sometimes it takes me a little while or I miss one. And I need to be okay with that. I suppose I’m writing this in part because I hope you’ll be okay with that. (And to ask you to continue commenting because, if you don’t, I will cry.)

When I publish a post, some readers return to “like” my reply. (“Hey! Saw that you wrote back. Cool.”) Others reply to my reply. (“I like what you said and have something to add.”) Others comment and move on their merry way, never returning to said post. (“I didn’t notice you replied.” Or “I’m up to my earlobes in work and writing and reading blogs and composing my own replies to comments and I don’t have time to come back.”)

It’s all good.

When I read another blogger’s post, some reply to my comment within minutes. Some reply days or weeks later. Some never do.

I’m not offended if they don’t reply or if it takes weeks. I’m not annoyed if they do reply and I’m alerted via email 30 seconds later. It’s. All. Good. See? Things are good. This is serious stuff, this blogging business. But, really, in the grand scheme of your local ice cream parlor, it’s just plain vanilla. Not a chocolate sundae with whipped cream, colored sprinkles, and hot fudge with a cherry on top, you know?

If you miss a post or two or a comment or two, forgive yourself. Your readers will. Hell, if they don’t, you don’t need them.

Anyway, I forgive you. So, there’s that. *hands you a cookie*

 

Sarah B Leave a Reply (2)

 

What say you, gentle readers? Do you reply to every comment? Do you just click “like”? Do you ignore and publish your next post?

 

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59 thoughts on “Blog Comments — Why Do We Reply?

  1. How can I not reply to this then? a few minutes after you’ve posted it. I love your Blog, Sarah. and I understand exactly what you mean. It’s all a matter of preference, as you stated, so I think everyone should just relax and learn that there is a human being on the other side of the screen. We’ve all got responsibilities on the other side of all of this that keep us, and others, Alive. You do a fine Job here..and I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed any discussion you and I have had here, or on my Blog.

    Have a great day! All my best. #mast

    Liked by 2 people

    • Aww… Thanks, Eric. My first comment on this post, and my first reply. 😉 I am loving your idea that everyone “just relax and learn that there is a human being on the other side of the screen.” Yes to that, my friend. #mast

      Like

  2. So like, are you a total psychic or something? You must be, because you keep posting all my thoughts in your blog posts and its freaking me out!

    Here’s the thing, I’m busy, like barely sleep busy just to get everything done, I get in the region of 700-1000 comments per month. That is A LOT. And like you I love them, I want them, I thrive on the sense of community and belonging it gives me. But here’s the thing, that’s something like an average of 23-30 comments a day…. I can’t actually keep up with that. Not every day. And in fact I’m one of those people that is usually 2-4 days out on replying to comments, it got to a point where I have to sit down and take an hour or two to reply to them all in a flurry, no other way round it really.

    I’m under this constant fear people think I’m an arsehole for not replying quickly or god forbid I miss one. I’m pretty sure I have, and it’s horrifying to me, but then I’m human, and I can’t do everything. So I’m not going to beat myself up about it because hey, I’m doing my best, and I spread as much love out there as I can and that’s all I can do.

    Liked by 3 people

      • Pahaha!!!!! Ula you make me giggle I like totally do not have my shit together!! I’m just good at blagging and making it seem like I do! On the inside I’m a quivering mess and out of control verging on hysteria! Hahaha

        Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve been told I’m psychic on a few occasions, why do you ask? 😉
      I. Know. Busy. I have no idea how you produce the quantity of writing you do with posts and having just finished your novel. So then, yes, there are the comments. With that many, I would think blocking out a time to respond is a good idea.
      I hate the thought that people are in fear of what others will think or that they stress themselves out because of a blog. Honestly. You are only human. Despite your Wonder Woman facade, we know you’re human. And we love you and forgive you if you miss our comment.

      Like

  3. Thanks for this. I’m constantly behind on replying to comments on my blog. I prefer to do it in batches as I’ve convinced myself it saves time. I try to reply to every single one and I definitely appreciate comments. It stresses me out too. Good to know you’re understanding at least. I also get it, and I don’t get annoyed when someone doesn’t reply. Also, I think there are some people who have this whole commenting thing a lot more figured out.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I like the idea of commenting in “batches” like you and Sacha say. Taking a chunk of time and just replying. Although…if the comments come in slowly enough, you can reply as they comment… Not sure. I try to reply to every single one, too but I also agree with you that some other bloggers have this more figured out than we do. Though, appearances can be deceiving. You thought Sacha was all set and here I thought YOU were. 🙂 Just saying.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, there we go.
        I haven’t posted much this week because I can’t possibly keep up due to other work and family- related responsibilities. Much less keep up with comments.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Charli
      when I see such, I think yep, might as well as be a blog being run by a robot (read computer program) but I do understand some people don’t want comments on their posts at all, (then why blog or change privacy mode you can’t have it both ways, and then opt to ignore ALL the comments not even a like, not that I’m judging would ask such a blogger what is their aim, but well they don’t reply)

      ~B

      Liked by 2 people

    • I love the conversation (look at this one!) that can emerge from a post. And I love comments. But I, too, have seen many blogs where the host doesn’t respond. Also, some people simply get too many comments. The big blogs…how could they ever do that?

      Like

  4. Hugh’s post about how he ruthlessly excises blogs who never comment caused him no end of grief. I’m not very scientific. If I don’t comment on someone’s posts at all then it does seem to be bad form and I do at least want to acknowledge when someone has commented on a post of mine, but that said, if their comment only makes me think ‘thanks’ that’s all they get. I don’t force a reply. Some bloggers comment in such depth I wonder they ever get anything else done. For me a mixture works. I understand my life style allows me more time to pick and choose when I blog, write, comment etc. than anyone who cares for another so I’m well aware of the sorts of stresses Sacha has articulated above. Honestly if you don’t comment or reply, I’m not closing the cookie jar (you get less chocolate of course, that’s a given) on you. Once in a while is easily good enough. And I’ll be happy with a smiley face as a reply. Then you can have your chocolate.

    Liked by 6 people

    • I think I saw that post. Hmm… I liked it. O_o I agree. A mixture is good. I feel we should at least say “thanks” or leave a smiley face or “like” the comment. That doesn’t take too long. I do tend to respond with more than a “thanks” but that’s only because my readers leave such great comments. I’ve found on my fiction blog, I tend to use the “Thanks!” more than I do here.
      I’ve seen a few bloggers reply to comments with HUGE paragraphs sometimes longer than their own post. I don’t know how they find the time, either. Well, I will make sure I leave a smiley face if I don’t have time to reply. Because. Chocolate.

      Like

  5. I read all the comments, but unfortunately, due to my limited time, my choices are either reply or visit. Some might argue that’s not a valid argument. That if I have time to visit, I should be able to reply as well. But I don’t, so I’ll opt to swing by for a visit as opposed to leaving a message on my own answering machine. Sometimes I wish I had more time… but then I’d probably use that time to write instead. 🙂

    I will reply if I feel there was a question directed at me, that the person would like to see an answer to. Or if I felt inclined to add additional comments or clarification.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha! 😀 “leaving a message on my own answering machine.” That’s awesome. You are one of those blogs I was thinking of. You rarely reply but I don’t think (at least from the outside lookin’ in) you have lost any followers. When I go to your blog, you have loads of comments on every post. People love you. And what’s not to love?

      That IS a valid argument. And a good one. If you have limited time should you reply to comments on your own blog or visit the people who commented on yours? I think most people would appreciate the latter. (And, personally, I’m thrilled you use the extra time to write.)

      Like

  6. I try to reply to every comment, because commenters are either making me laugh or making me think. Your post has a lot of things to think about, especially forgiving yourself and others if the comments don’t happen right away or at all.

    Thanks for the cookie! Chocolate chip – my fave. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • I try, too. Sometimes it’s just a “thanks” but more often I write back because, like you said, the comment made me laugh or think or, sometimes, cry. (Yes, that’s happened.) I do have to work on the forgiving myself and not stressing. It is a blog. And there is life to deal with and chocolate chip cookies to eat. Also, old movies to watch. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Gonna start living by this myself. Fallen down on it over the past year or so. Need to revamp so much stuff, but its helpful reading stuff like this. It helps me reimagine my own blog and how to move forward. Of course the next step is the content. Off to work on that now.

    Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad it was helpful. It’s always nice to connect with others, I think. We’re all in this big ol’ blogosphere together. Focus on content…that’s good. Then worry about comments. Although, don’t actually, you know, “worry”. 🙂 Blog your stuff and be happy.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve been meaning to write this post, but you just said everything I wanted to say. Damn it! 😉 So I am going to be really nice and say, ‘Yes, I agree with everything you just said’ and also, wait-for-it, give you the honour of my first ever reblog. You may get the streamers out now 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha! 😀 That is so annoying! It’s happened to me plenty. Well, I’m glad it resonated, anyway. Thank you, thank you. And, yes, I am honored to be your very first reblog. *gets out streamers*

      Like

  9. Reblogged this on THE MOVING QUILL and commented:
    Okay people. Sometimes, someone else does a far better job of saying what you wanted to say. (Don’t you just hate that?) Ha, I’m kidding, of course.

    But, this is a beautiful post and sort of a golden rule book for bloggers; that is, if you believe in rules for bloggers, which you shouldn’t, because they’re all made up anyway. SSHH! That’s our secret!

    So, yes, I reply to comments- sometimes days later, weeks later and (gasp!), a year later. But I am going to let go of the guilt now, because, this thing called blogging? It’s fun!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. *brings cuppa of herbal tea (would have preferred coffee but detoxing new month and all) to have with cookie*
    *adds cookie monster to bio*

    I try to reply to every comment (with not just a generic thank you) not because I have to but cause I want to ^_^ I notice sometimes my reply gets longer than the post and save it in drafts for a future blog post, ^_^
    I have been known to reply to a comment a month old, if I missed it the first time round or if I been away, from the internet.

    After a while you notice some people leave really lovely comments like they are trying to have an actual conversation with you, (those are my favorite) and I am more likely to pay more attention to their blogs look in on them see what they Upto now and again and when their name pops on my notifications email I SMILE before I even read their comments.

    I try nothing to mind (too much) when someone doesn’t reply to my comment, (I imagine that they got absolutely excited to read my comment they had a heart “event” and are now fighting for their lives in a hospital) then they post again (and not about their recent heart event I guess they recovered or maybe they also got amnesia)

    ~B

    Liked by 3 people

    • Detox is good. So is herbal tea. I love herbal tea.

      That’s awesome! If your reply gets longer than the post, saving it for a future post. I’ve done that for my Thought Bubbles (which are always under 200 words). I think that if you reply a month later, it’s still good. That’s my opinion. And I do have some lovely comments on here which is why I enjoy (when I have time!) replying to them because it really is like a conversation. But if they don’t, you assume they’re doomed somewhere in a hospital? Abducted by aliens or something? Harsh, my friend. So cool that you smile at a name because you know it’s going to be a great comment. 🙂 I’ve been known to do that.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It certainly does make the post more engaging. And I do love the conversation that can emerge from one little post. It’s great. I also love my readers because, often, they’ll come back to like or respond to my reply which is always fun. So, I try to reply to every comment (mostly I have) but I need to forgive myself if something happens IRL and I just can’t get to them before I publish my next post or it takes me weeks… Like my last few. O_o

      Like

  11. Jeez.. Reading my mind are you? May as well put out a post “See Lemon Shark for all ideas”! I’m trying a bit of this, replying to comments that NEED a reply rather than simply all. It’s the amount of after post chat that takes my time, not the post and some posts – flash fiction is a good example, don’t actually need a lot in response. More later… You’re forcing my hand with the order of my posts and now that means I’m writing too many this week! Agh! Some buddy you’re turning out to be! Lol xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m reading minds, again. 😀 I’m getting good at that.

      That’s interesting. Not an all-or-nothing but a reply to comments that seem to need one. Kind of like what Loni was saying? Yes, it does take up a lot of time especially if the post was short (like 99 word flash).

      Ack! Sorry! Okay, I’ll work on the buddy thing. I said I have some ideas. Let’s make a calendar of sorts and hold each other to it.

      Like

    • I think it’s nice to at least like everything. And, if you feel like it, you can reply. But I can’t picture you stressing out about this. 🙂 I really can’t. And you’re welcome for the cookie. Sleep tight.

      Like

  12. Pingback: Blog Comments — Why Do We Reply? | ugiridharaprasad

  13. You’re right on—there’s no ONE answer. I reply most of the time, but not always. And I never check back on other blogs to see if the writer responded so in many ways I know that when I’m answering comments at my own place it’s mostly talking to myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There rarely is one answer. Despite all the “rules” for blogging, there’s never a one-size-fits-all. See? You don’t check back. I know there are plenty of people who don’t go back and check on their comments. So, yes, it seems you’re talking to yourself. 😀 And now I know for certain I’m talking to myself when I reply to you. But I never know when you might sneak back so I will always at least say “thanks” because I do appreciate your comments.

      Like

  14. Glad to know that you don’t mind what we do. That’s a relief (as I eat cookie). I reply and like but sometimes a little bit of time elapses before I do. Good to know you don’t mind how its done. That would be a good lesson for all bloggers. Everyone has there own stresses that we know nothing about and the time that people have is all different so we just accept bloggers as we accept those people we know face to face – accept them for who they are.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I recently saw someone write that she thinks it is awful not to reply and has unfollowed people’s blogs because they haven’t replied to her comments. And that’s her thing. She wants acknowledgment and/or interaction. But other people don’t. That’s good, too. So, yes, we need to accept all bloggers for who they are and respect their preferences. We all have our lives to live and all have our own stresses, like you said. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  15. I have to be honest, I don’t always reply to blog comments. I don’t really understand why it’s a MUST DO. I don’t always notice if people respond to my comments. I like to respond if I’m able, for sure. And if there’s something that needs explaining or further discussion, absolutely. But I have this nagging sense that I’m not being a good blogger when I don’t reply, and I’m not sure why that is. As a commenter myself I know I don’t feel hurt or upset if my comment isn’t responded to! xox

    Liked by 1 person

    • Some say it’s a “must”. I know a few bloggers who have never replied to anyone. Others reply to every single comment. (Some of these bloggers get 30 to 50+ comments on each post. I don’t know how they do it.)
      I’m not offended if I don’t get a reply. But some people get very upset and unfollow. I guess it all comes down to why you read and comment in the first place.
      I get that nagging feeling, too. Hence, this post. I haven’t replied to my last two posts — life got in the way then it became overwhelming. I can’t stress about it. ❤

      Like

  16. Hi, this is my first time here. I came over from Shailaja’s blog, and I am so glad that I stopped by. 🙂 You have articulated this so well.

    I make it a point to reply to all comments. Sometimes on the same day, sometimes it can take me weeks, but I do make the effort. Mostly because, if I don’t, it lurks in the back of my mind, and I don’t like that one bit. I guess my OCD tendencies are taking over my blogging life too. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello! (And thanks, Shailaja. *waves*)
      I’m glad you stopped by, too. Also, much appreciated for your comment. That is definitely one reason I reply. There are several but, yes, that lurking thought…it’s kind of persuasive. Always love hearing from a fellow OCDer. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  17. This is such a hard one. I try to reply to all my comments (I’ve started batching them) – I didn’t always, and now I feel kind of bad about it. I admit that I *am* someone that may not continue to follow a blog if my comment (assuming it’s a good one and not just a oh, awesome post!) isn’t acknowledged at least once in a while. Generally I look at how many comments there are and that informs my choice – if the blogger is super popular and gets a lot of comments, then I understand why they’re not replying – but if they’re super popular, get lots of comments and it’s not a topic that I’d normally follow of my own accord, I will eventually not follow any more. So saying it a different way – if it’s a mutual support kind of thing and the blogger isn’t supporting back with a comment or whatever, I lose interest and don’t feel like spending my energy there. Yes, I’m weird and yes, that’s not very nice.

    I feel much more horrible when I’m weeks behind on reading blogs that I honestly want to read (yes, yours!) and start to feel as though other people think I’m not interested in them or don’t want to support them. And that is not the case.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I appreciate your honesty. It’s why I wrote this. Ironic, yes. But I love reading comments and seeing what conversations emerge. Of course, it was on my mind but I did wonder what others thought about it. I get what you’re saying. It’s a conundrum. If I consistently read and comment on someone’s blog and they never reply or come over to say hello here… Eh, I’d probably put them at the bottom of my TBR blog list. There are so many blogs to read, so little time. But I know that I’ve missed comments here and there by accident. Also, there are times I’ve skipped an entire post and going back now seems overwhelming. You’re right. It doesn’t seem very nice. But it’s all good. 🙂

      You are for sure not the first person to mention to me that they are way behind in reading blogs. It happens. Often. It’s extremely difficult to keep up with all this.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Pingback: Blog Comments — Why Do We Reply? - The Moving Quill

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