Fear in Writing: The Write Comment

Today in Literary History

Today in Literary History...December 14, 1907: Rudyard Kipling receives the Nobel prize for literature, the first English-language writer to do so.ud

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Write Comment

I've been blogging about books a lot lately.  I take that back--I'm always blogging about books.  Correction: I've been blogging about reading a lot lately.  Today, I change tack and blog about blogging.

I was inspired by a post on Simon's Constant Revision yesterday, called 'The Art and Science of Responding to Blog Comments.'  Now, I can't say I have a set protocol for this.  Some days I respond to each comment in turn.  Name- response.  Some days I respond in bulk.  Your comments followed by my comment.  Some days I don't get to respond until the following day--so 15 comments may pile up and I don't get back to them until the next day.  I do have the blog set up so any post older than seven days goes through moderation, whereby I am forced to respond and see the comment.

But Simon and several other bloggers are taking to the idea of responding via email.  Is this the new thing?  Do many commenters prefer it?

I was surprised the first time I received a response to a comment via email.  How did this person get my email address?  Ok, it's on my blog.  Why did they take the time to look it up?  Is it worth the extra work?  What is the benefit?

I don't go back and check responses to every comment I make.  If there is a particularly interesting conversation or debate on a blog, I will go back and look in.  Also, if I go back and comment later in the week, I will check on earlier posts I commented on.  Three sites with which I always do this are Murder is Everywhere, Mystery Writing is Murder, and The Hollywood Spy.  These bloggers are excellent about responding to comments and (with the exception of the authors at Murder is Everywhere) commenting on my blog as well.  I visit these blogs weekly, if not daily.  And I appreciate their responses to my comments.

So how am I doing?  Do my comment-backs need some work?  I know I used to be more conscientious about responding individually daily.  I'd like to get back to that.

And what do you think about the email comment-response?  Is that something you like or dislike?  Personally, I'm not a fan.


  1. Michele,
    Thanks for the link. (Sorry I typed Elizabeth over there instead of Michele. No coffee yet -- hope you understand).
    Can't decide about the email thing. Will think more AFTER COFFEE!

  2. Nah, I don't want more emails. I like your idea of having anything past seven days need moderation - I'm going to borrow that! I hate that I don't know who has commented on an old post. Oh, and thanks for reminding me to put my email address on my blog. that sounds contradictory but hey, I'm allowed.

  3. The only thing about email is others don't see the reply when they comment on the blog post.

    And Dez rocks!

  4. I get WAY too many emails already - sometimes over 300 a day. Unless it's a specific reply, I prefer the blogger leave general replies on the blog post.

  5. I'm trying the respond by email thing right now. It is really easy. since I have the comments sent to my email, all I have to do is hit respond. So, I actually don't have to look up anyone's email address.

    The drawback that I've found? I forget to post some kind of response on the blog itself. So, people may think I'm not responding. I need to find a balance of both.

  6. This has actually been a running theme lately that I've seen on quite a few blogs that I'm linked to via Twitter. I think most bloggers are running very low on time!

    I think some blogs get to a particular size and then the blogger (particularly if it's an individual's blog) has a really hard time keeping up with comments. I usually get around 20-30, but comments can go up to 40 and I can see where the challenge is.

    I have some thoughts about this--actually, I think I'll do a blog post on it myself. Summing up, though, I think most commenters *don't* check back with a blog a second time unless they've asked a question or the host has asked the commenters a question and they're interested in the answer.

    But I see how many of my lurkers read the comments section...that's one thing that motivates me to return-comment as long as I can do it. :)

    Email--no, not for me. I have so many emails already that I think it would add another level of stress to my day!

  7. I have evolved into a combination of the two methods. For those commentors that turn-on the ability to respond via e-mail, thats how I do it. I find it an easier, as well as more personalized way of connecting with my followers. Sometimes it develops into an open dialogue. The ones who do not allow email replys, I'll post a comment on my blog. I don't have time to check back on all the blogs where I left a comment, so I'm thrilled when I receive an e-mail response.

    That's working for me right now.

  8. Maribeth- More coffee is a GOOD thing!

    Jan- I hear you. I don't mind people contacting me via email! That's why I have it on this page...but comments can be responded to via comment, in my opinion.

    Alex- Dez does rock. True. And you make a good point. A few times when the topic or the response has been sensitive, I have appreciated the email comment. That is appropriate. Thanks for pointing this out!

    Charity- Balance is the key everywhere, isn't it? Personally, I'd rather see that the blogger is active on their site than receive an email.

    Elizabeth- The overwhelming email inbox is the clincher for me, too. I'd rather check back for a comment if I'm interested, and not if I'm not. I WILL be interested to see your post on the subject.

    DL- How do you know they want an email response? Doesn't the comment response automatically go to their email when you post it on your blog? Good for you for finding what's working...I think I'm just getting a bit confused!

  9. I do respond to every comment...eventually. However, I'm not faithful when I leave comments. I don't always go back and see what others have said about my comment. Not unless it was a debate or I asked a question.


  10. Whoopsie! Does that mean you're not a fan of having people e-mail you in response to comments, or that you'd prefer not to do that yourself? If the former, I'll try to remember that when you comment on my blog.

    The main reason for me making the switch (thanks for the link-love by the way) is that sometimes people will swing by and say something like "LOL. Love this post!" And then I dutifully type up a response and post it to my comments without knowing whether said commenter even subscribed to follow-up comments.

    Don't get me wrong, I love when people take time out of their day to read my stuff at all, let alone clicky through to comment, but I'm time-pinched by all my RL responsibilities these days, and simply must be more judicious about how I spend my time online. I'll still batch reply too, but thoughtful comments will probably get a thoughtful email response.

    Unless you don't want me emailing you, that is. :)

  11. Oh, who is that green-eyed bald cutie in the bottom pic??? ^_^

    Yes, I always respond to all comments in HOLLYWOOD SPY and consider other bloggers who don't do that extremely rude. If somebody doesn't respond to a few comments I left over at their blogs I usually feel stupid and hurt. It's as if somebody comes to your house and says HELLO and you don't even greet them.
    I will never understand bloggers who don't write back at least to the comments under their own posts.

    And I have the rule of visiting, reading and commenting only on the blogs whose owners give the love back.

    I don't get the e-mail thingy either. I love getting a personal e-mail off course, but what's the point of sending a comment to an e-mail address instead leaving it under the post in a blog.

  12. Clarissa- That's the way I do it, too. :)

    Simon- I'm just not sure the email thing is really beneficial. I like that I know the blogger is paying attention, but I wouldn't want every blogger emailing me their response--my inbox would fill up! If I wanted comment responses emailed to me, I's sign up for that, you know? So I have to admit, this new trend is a bit interesting...But I never mind from you. :P And the point Alex made about sensitive topics is a good one. Those comments should be treated personally.

    Dez- It's you! It's you! And I am trying to mend my ways about responding to comments...I haven't been as great lately as I used to be... :(

  13. I've wondered about this as well. You're right, more and more bloggers are responding to comments by email. I don't mind it either way. I respond on the blog itself over at my place :)

    I find it seems like more of a conversation even though you're right - people don't check back. I think whatever makes you happier is ok!

  14. When it comes to responding to comments I try to do it in groups of 4, but like you say sometimes it's just impossible to do. When I came back from vacation yesterday I had about 30 comments sitting out there, but I did my best to comment on every one of them. Then again some don't really need a response, they're perfectly fine on their own.

    When it comes to commenting on others, I have a group of about 10 blogs that I absolutely, without a doubt, comment whenever possible because they're so open on my blog. Some I comment more rarely just because I don't have the time, usually because I'm reading 5 posts at once (I don't follow for no reason) and am sacrificing commenting in favor of reading more posts. It's an odd compulsive thing.

  15. I definitely prefer the replying to comments as a comment on your own blog. I agree with Jemi's that that it feels more like a conversation that way.

  16. I love it when a fellow blogger responds to a comment I left on their blog. It's special. It's fun. It let's me know the blog is not a dead end but an invitation to some new kind of fun, another adventure. connections are important.

  17. I stopped with the email follow ups a long time ago because I would receive one for every comment left after mine. Sometimes I do go back and see if there is a follow up comment to mine though.

    Stephen Tremp

  18. Hi Michele!

    I'd been absent so long from the blogosphere that I spend some time now and then reading some of the older posts on some of my fave blogs, thus my reason for being here a couple of weeks after you posted this.

    The email trend apparently happened during my absence, and personally, I prefer comments on my blog. I don't mind an email or two, but like so many other people, I receive a large number of emails per day which I find hard enough to keep up with.

    I agree with Debbie in that comments on blogs feel more like a conversation; and like Alex said, that way everyone gets to see the comment.

  19. It's always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained!