Who Cares About Comments?

Who cares about commentsI’m not feeling much up to writing right now because the right side of my face has swelled up owing to mostly likely about $700 of dental work. Luckily, ibuprofen works really well. Anyway, that’s why I am not posting today and probably won’t post much tomorrow. But I do have something on my mind: comments.

Mad Kane once mentioned to me that no one reads anything any more; they are in too much of a rush to write things. To that, I would add: mostly things that don’t need to be written. I get as caught up in this as anyone, except that I do little but read. I tend to think that is what I do for a living.

What bugs me about blogs is that most bloggers don’t interact with their users. Here I’m not talking about people writing for Daily KOS or other high traffic websites. Those sites already have a critical mass of readers so that the comment sections are self-sustaining. But most smaller sites make no effort to cultivate comments.

I was thinking about that this morning while reading Evil Slutopia, The ESC’s Guide to Social Media: You’re Probably Doing It Wrong. In the article, they suggest interacting with people who follow you on Twitter. This had never occurred to me, but then I’m very new to and ignorant of Twitter. But this is exactly my idea on blog comments.

In at least 90% of all cases, I respond to comments. There are a number of reasons for this, but the biggest is that I want my readers to know that I care that they are around. There aren’t many advantages to having a small blog, but one advantage is engagement. As a result, I’ve had a number of interesting comment conversations where they are more interesting than the original article.

I’ve made this analogy before: a blog is like a small business. There are roughly two ways you can treat the customer. You can think that what you have to offer is really great and people will come despite bad hours, inconvenient location, and nasty clerks. Or you can think that what you have to offer is okay and you really ought to work to make the customer’s experience as good as possible.

I know what my choice is. I think that no matter what it is you do, you win over readers one at a time. The idea that you will get a large following solely on the basis of your personal awesomeness is probably fanciful.

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