Comments: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Blog

Comments are meaningless. That actually took more effort to type that you’d think. You see, when I started this blog, heck even ages before that, I used to believe that comments were a sure way of gauging a blog’s success. I’m sure I’m not the only one believing that either. You hang around a popular blog, and what do you see? Comments. Comments everywhere. Lots of them. Every single day people post them. Then you look at your own crummy little blog, and what do you see? One comment per article. At most.

Except even with that one comment per post, you’re still actually doing better than a large amount of blogs out there. There are tons of sites out there with little to no comments. Heck, there’s some popular posts out there that seemingly go by without any response. What’s up with that?

You’d almost want to rally together and protest against how unfairly these comments are spread around the community. One percent of all the blogs get ninety-nine percent of the attention! Occupy the internet!

Except that would be stupid. It wouldn’t lead to anything good either. Besides, comments aren’t as important as you think. That favorite site of yours handled by that charmingly cool 20-something foreign guy, he actually does get feedback, even if you don’t see any comments on his site. Heck, even I get feedback on posts that barely get any love in its comments section of this blog. You really weren’t thinking that charming foreign guy was me right? Because it wasn’t. He was an exemplary figure I just made up.

Like I said earlier, when I started this blog I believed comments said all. That’s what you’re going for when you’re blogging. You dish out this fantastic and awesome post, and your audience rewards you for your hard work with thoughtful comments. Comments you can build on. Comments that help you form a community. A community you can then use to… er… We’re still working on that step. But the next one is profit. That much we know.

This was also how YouTube mostly worked back when I made vlogs over there. In fact, people often discussed popularity and pull based on how many comments they got compared to their views. A typical daily vlog would get 20 comments, easily. While the more popular users would get 100+ comments every time they uploaded something. In that environment, comments are everything.

Loads and loads of sites to help fresh bloggers tell you the importance of comments too. Giving out advice like:

“Close your site for comments when you first start out. This way it’ll look less bad when you first reveal your site and there are a few articles up without any response to them. Then once you start building up an audience, open your blog up to comments.” – Actual advice I’ve repeatedly come across on the internet

Back when I read that, I didn’t really like this piece of advice. “But I want comments now!” I cried. “My posts are already fantastic! People should be able to respond to it now!” Of course my posts weren’t that great yet when I first started out. I had absolutely no idea what to write about for my blog and I hadn’t really discovered any voice to speak of yet either. That’s somewhat changed during the past year, although not as much as I hoped back then. I’m more aware of what I want my voice to be like, and I have a general idea of what to write about for the blog. Plus every now and again, I actually do get comments now. But that’s not what I’m writing for anymore.

I like writing. That’s why I’m still blogging since I started last year. That’s also why I don’t think I’ll ever stop writing.

At first the lack of comments got to me. Then, without even noticing, I stopped caring about it. Oh, yes, I still love it whenever someone stops by and posts on the blog. Absolutely, that’ll never stop. But I realized just how much feedback I was getting about my posts outside of the blog itself. Over Twitter. FaceBook. Google+. Real life. And not just that, just by writing stuff down right here on my blog itself, I was discovering a lot of things about myself I didn’t even know about yet.

All it took for me to realize this was someone else saying comments on blogs are dead. I was reading Will Hindmarch’s post called The Vanishing Blog Comment, and then it suddenly hit me how he was right. And even stranger, how this wasn’t a new concept to me at all. I just never really thought about it that much. If you haven’t read it yet, you may want to check out his post too, since he can word it much better than I can.

So, since blog comments don’t mean that much to me anymore, should I just pull the plug on them?

Don’t be ridiculous. It’s still a good way for people to contact me if they don’t want to follow me over on Twitter, or if they feel like giving me a longer response about something without going out of their way of finding alternative ways to contact me. Plus I still dig getting comments.

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4 thoughts on “Comments: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Blog

  1. I’m always surprised when someone comments over at Grinding Down. Sure, I’d love more attention or heck, even more discussion in the comments, but like you, I’ve come to accept they aren’t everything. I will just keep on blogging, cause I like blogging about games, whether to myself or a silenced audience.

    • Someone over on Twitter just responded to this post saying how she’s subscribed to my blog and because of that it just never really occurs to her to come over to the page itself and comment. I kind of have the same thing with your posts too. I get the e-mails, and I read them, all of them, and most of the time I like them and then just go on to the next e-mail.

      It’s not that it doesn’t grab me, it just doesn’t occur to me, unless I really feel like I’ve got something to add. I always enjoy your updates.

  2. I really dug this post, not just for the obvious reason. :)

    This is very much the same process that I went through. Seeing someone else put the process into words makes me feel less crazy. Let the writing take precedence, I say. Comments, while welcome, are a separate thing. A quality blog post doesn’t get better written with more comments.

    Onward.

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