Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Commenting on commenting....

An oft-heard observation at the First Annual Kidlitosphere Conference (as discussed here and a zillion other places (including The Miss Rumphius Effect and Fuse #8 and... and... and...) was that folks aren't commenting on blogs (well, kidlit blogs) as much as they used to. Certainly there's been some love going round due to the Conference, but in general, I think that's true. It used to be, for example, that I'd post a poem and get 10 comments about it. Nowadays, though I haven't been posting much since April (but will this Friday, I tell ya!), it's rare that I get more than two.

I wonder if this is 1) burnout or 2) posts that don't call for comment or 3) readers/aggregators vs. actually visiting the blogs?

Curious if any of you have answers or thoughts or more questions....

22 comments:

Kelly Fineman said...

My comments have been down for the last month or two, except for the ones that are way, way up. I can't sort out rhyme nor reason to it, and I confess to finding it disheartening when a post gets no responses, or less than a handful. Not that it should be, just that it is.

Jen Robinson said...

I think it's a combination of the three things that you mentioned. I have some blogs I visit by opening them up in the browser, vs. others that I read with an aggregator, and I do comment a little more on the former than the latter. But I think the bigger issue is that between the two ways that I visit blogs, I'm at least skimming more than 250, and more than 100 posts a day. Can't comment on all of them, that's for sure. Of course in theory as more people are blogging, the pool of people to leave comments also increases. But if one is pressed for time, it's easier to skip the comments sometimes.

I'm actually still pretty happy with the number of comments that I get. One thing that I think increases the likelihood of people leaving comments is responding to the comments. You see this on Robin's Friday Nice Things List, and the 7-Imp Kicks lists. These are hosts who respond to what people say, and I'm certain that that makes people more likely to comment.

Whew, that was like 3 days worth of comments.

Oh, and I've been trying to title my posts better since I got back from Chicago, per your advice.

web said...

I've noticed it, and assumed it was a reflection of my own decreased involvement in the kidlitosphere. Aka the Blaghs.

Elaine Magliaro said...

Gregory,

Here's comment #3. Now, let's see...what should I say?

I think that there are so many kidlit blogs that I enjoy reading--but it's hard to read all of the postings and comment, too. So...sometimes I just read the posts.

I've missed your poetry postings--and that's no FIB!!!

Elaine Magliaro said...

Gregory,

OOPS! Make my last comment #4. And this one #5.

david elzey said...

Comments down in the excelsior lair as well, starting in the summer, though they spiked whenever I participated in Poetry Friday. Some personal research on that front showed that I was getting all kinds of folks for Poetry Friday who do not visit my blog at any other time.

I've also been adding one or two new blogs to my Bloglines a month and recently realized I needed to scale back because I just don't have the time to read (much less comment on) 150 feeds (sometimes with multiple posts) every day.

If I go a while without comments I double-check my stats at sitemeter and as long as things are pretty steady I just have to assume everyone else out there is as busy reading everyone else as I am.

Sheila said...

I agree with what your other commenters said: as the number of blogs grows, it's hard enough to keep up with reading them, much less commenting. I find I'm often in skim mode these days, desperately trying to get through the backlog, and only stopping to comment when something really catches my attention. I think that's a shame, because this is such a great community to be a part of, but community implies interaction. How can we stay a community if we're all too busy to interact?

Jenn's Scribbles said...

Well, if they are like me they were just 'peeping toms' stopping by to take a look, but never actually going in...

Gregory K. said...

Thanks, y'all for your thoughts. I should note that my own commenting on other blogs has been way down, too, so I'm part of this big old mess. I definitely think overload is a factor and/or missing posts on days when conversation is flying and feeling like it's pointless to jump in late.

I know for me, too, when life gets busy, the first thing that has to go is blog related, so perhaps a bunch of us ended up on similar cycles? Hard to know. I just know I'm gonna try and make more of an effort myself....

Tricia said...

Hi Greg,
I'm weighing in late on this, but want to throw my 2¢ in. Sometimes I find that other commenters have said the very thing I mean to say and it just feels a bit lame to echo their sentiments. Perhaps it's okay to throw a ditto in once in a while. I too feel the lack of comments and wonder if folks are reading, but a quick peak at sitemeter tells me they are. I haven't been good about commenting, so I suppose I shouldn't expect others to either.

P.S. - Can't wait to read you on Poetry Friday!

adrienne said...

Tricia's on to something there. As I was reading through the comments, I was thinking, "I was going to say that. Yeah, I was going to say that." That happens quite a bit, since I'm usually reading entries (at least) a day or so later than they're posted.

Anonymous said...

Well.. that post certainly hit the jackpot on responses..LOL

MotherReader said...

I think more people are reading through aggregators and the feeling is more of skimming. When I take the energy to click on each blog and go there, I find that I'm more likely to comment on something. Frankly, I think that it's a bit of a problem that comments are dropping. For me, even if my readership is the same, I feel like no one is really listening - which makes me feel less like writing.

Sara said...

This is a perfect example of a post that gets comments because: it throws out a substantial question, asks directly for feedback, and is important to a wide-range of people. The commenters (like me) feel that they have something to add AND that you WANT them to.

I agree that commenting directly back helps, and also that lots of folks come out for Poetry Friday. And that it would be nice to have a "ditto" block to check if you loved a post but someone else took your thought. Or even just a hand slap to say you were there! :)

Also, I visit different blogs for different things. Some I read for information, some for fun, and some I read (and comment on) for a sense of community. Apples and oranges.

Gregory K. said...

I agree, Sara, that there are different blogs for different seasons, so to speak. Still, there have been many posts here and elsewhere that in the past woulda generated far more comments than they currently do -- meaty, substantive posts, even.

It's not like this is a disaster of any sort, of course. We all know folks are out there reading, and we certainly know the 'community' isn't falling apart. On the contrary! It's just an interesting phenomenon, I think.

Anastasia Suen said...

Another issue with comments is getting the internet to cooperate. Once again I had to sign into my Blogger account to make this page stop asking me over and over again -click-click-click- if I wanted to see unsecure items. A few minutes ago my reply to an SLJ blog post was rejected (and erased) because it said I didn't type in the security code properly. I didn't go back and try SLJ again - but since I know you in real life I persisted until the clicking stopped so I could post this reply.

Gregory K. said...

Yeah, Anastasia, I know I've given up due to technical issues sometimes, too. And it's uber frustrating when that happens... and commenting shouldn't be about frustration. Ah well. Nothing's perfect....

Susan Taylor Brown said...

Okay, I'm compelled to comment now but also compelled to tell you that I read this when you posted it originally but it took Jen Robinson's post about it to get me back over here to comment.

All my reasons have already been mentioned - when my life gets overloaded I opt out of comments. In the 6 months I took off from writing for the big move and getting settled and all I read tons of blogs but didn't have the energy to post to many at all.

I'm also really frustrated with how to read them. Did someone at the conference go over the various blog readers? I had been adding feeds to LJ right and left so at least I had everything in one place but I'm not so sure that it's the best way for me to do it.

An aside - I wish Blogger would remember me when I come here like typepad does.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Another commment!

When I spend a lot of time on an interview or something that I think is a good resource for people who work with children in some capacity, only to get little response, it does sting a little. I used to make a point of going to blogs on my blogreader and commenting... but I've got to admit, when it's not reciprocated, I still read the blogs but I don't make the same effort. I wish there was some sort of way one could leave a calling card on the specific post without making a comment.

web said...

That would be handy. Maybe we could come up with some catchy, pithy catchphrase that would encompass "I'm here, I'm reading, but I don't have time to comment/anything to say/a brain at the moment."

Bkbuds said...

I'm commenting! So there.

And your word verification says bopqiylf, which sums things up rather succinctly, methinks.

Gregory K. said...

Thanks to all who commented on 'commenting on commenting' here in the comments. I agree it would be nice to be able to "wave acknowledgment" in some way when you stop by, but that's kinda not doable. And certainly MOST posts don't give off the "hey, I gotta say something about that!" vibe.

Luckily, we all know folks are reading, so maybe the lack of comments is only an internal issue, not something that needs comment? So hard to know....