Sunday, November 22, 2009

Poll Results Are In!

91 readers let me know their thoughts on comments in the last poll. Thank you! Comments are one of those areas in which there will never be 100% agreement. I'll let you know a bit about how I feel about the subject.

As a blogger, I love getting comments. Sure I have traffic and subscription trackers here on Kittling: Books, so I know that people are in and out of here 24/7-- but there's something special about someone taking the time to actually leave a comment behind. My time is limited, so I make sure that I respond (in the comments section) to everyone who leaves a comment on my posts. Occasionally I'll email someone as well, but generally not.

I try my best to keep up with reading all the new posts in my Google Reader, but (I just looked) there are 547 blog subscriptions in there. Now that I've got Firefox set so that I can comment right from the Google Reader reading pane, I have noticed that the number of comments I'm leaving has slowly risen, but if I'm not one of the first to comment, I just won't chime in with yet another "Great post!" What I'd love to do is devise some sort of little symbol or abbreviation that would pass through all blogging software and spend one day "leaving my mark" on every single blog that I pay attention to. Actually....

Once or twice a year, we could all join in a Comment-a-thon where we visit every blog in our readers and leave visible proof that we were there. Hmmm....

Okay. Back on track here. So I'm a busy person who responds to all the comments on her own blog but is lousy at leaving comments on others. Guilty as charged, but something tells me I'm not alone! Let's talk about the results of the poll:

66 readers said that "Whenever someone new leaves a comment on my blog, I'll visit their blog." Yes, that's something that I do, too.

63 readers said "I enjoy leaving comments on other blogs." So do I, but I need Bullwinkle to pull a couple of extra hours out of his hat!

53 readers said "I only comment when I feel I have something to contribute to the discussion." Me, too. I normally read blogs from 4-5 AM. The time of day could have something to do with the fact that I seldom can think of anything to add to the discussion!

49 readers said that "Leaving comments is one of the best ways to build community and get your own blog noticed." I'd just started out with my blog and managed to join in a weekly meme. I made it a point to visit each and every person who responded to that meme and leave a comment on their contributions. That's when I began learning about the wonderful book blogging community that exists.

47 readers said that "I set aside time regularly to visit other blogs and comment." I set aside time daily but most of it seems to be taken up with reading instead of commenting.

31 readers said that "Sometimes the comments are more interesting than the posts!" I've seen this on other people's blogs, and I know that there have been visitors here who've left behind words and phrases in their comments that are now part of my vocabulary. One of these days I'll have a post where there's worlds of action happening in the comments section.

30 readers said "There are so many blogs in my reader that I'm lucky if I can read all the posts, let alone comment." (My hand is waving wildly in the back of the room.)

27 said that they "need to find more ways to say "Great post!" (My hand waves again.) Too often I read a post too late and someone beats me to the punch. Drat!

17 readers said "It doesn't bother me when people don't comment. At least they're reading!" (Waving hand. Man, I'm going to get a cramp!)

14 said "I'd comment more if leaving a comment on other blogs was easier!" This was really a problem when I first started out. Blurred, jumbled words that my eyes refused to focus on... usually retyping them in those little boxes was a crap shoot. I might get it right, I might not. Either I've gotten smarter, or those security measures have eased up a bit.

7 said "I give my top commenters special recognition." Good for you! The only special recognition I give my top commenters is a little box on one of my sidebars that tells everyone whom they are.

6 readers said, "It's a two-way street: you don't comment on my blog, I won't comment on yours." I understand where these folks are coming from. They've spent a lot of time on their blogs and would like recognition, and they've spent time going to other blogs to leave comments. It would be nice if everyone returned the favor. I understand... but I don't agree. It just sounds too much like "What's in it for me?"

3 said that "Leaving comments is a waste of time. Too many bloggers never respond to them." I've run across a blogger or two who never has gotten around to answering a question I asked in a comment, but that's okay. Someone in that person's family might've been diagnosed with cancer. They may be worried about how they can afford their child's braces. Their boss may be headlining Jerk Week at work. If the worst thing that happens to me today is that someone doesn't respond to one of my comments, guess what? I'm having a damned good day! And I love that this got the fewest votes. It means that the majority of bloggers are not ignoring their comments!

What do you enjoy the most about comments? What do you like the least about comments? This inquiring mind would love to know!


  1. What I love best about comments is that I always learn from them. My commenters are always kind enough to share books, discuss ideas and share their thoughts, and I learn every time I read what they write.

  2. I love the way you summarize your poll results, that a lot of what makes your polls so much fun.

    And I hope you run a challenge in 2010 that gives people a day or a week or weekend to comment on every single blog in their reader. Wow. That would be an awesome challenge.

    I love the leave a mark idea. I read more blogs than I comment on -- and I'd love any easy way to say "I was here."

  3. I'm with Beth on the challenge. And totally with you in that I would love some kind of digital mark to show people I read, even if I don't have anything useful to say.

    What I love about comments is that they let me know someone is reading. Sometimes I feel like I am writing in a vacuum, so to get feedback in the form of a comment is a warm fuzzy. Recently I had a blog birthday and I became aware that I am part of not just the book blogging community, but also my own Book Chook community. Wow! It revived my love for communicating with my audience.

  4. Oooh, a comment-a-thon is a great idea!

  5. Margot K-- I agree. There can be lots to learn in the comments section!

    Beth-- I'll have to ponder the logistics of a challenge.

    Susan-- Yes, you've very clearly stated the power of comments!

    Kathy-- 3 out of 4 so far. I'm really going to have to think about this one!

  6. I love the way that you've summarised this. I'd love to see the results of a commenting challenge - I often set myself the personal challenge of leaving a comment on the next 10 blog posts I read - it is so hard. I almost always fail. There are some pstshere there is just nothing constructive you can add and I find it silly leaving just a few words as a comment. I prefer quality over quantity!

  7. I'm one who only leaves a comment if I feel I can add something to the conversation. On the other hand, I really love getting comments on my own blog. I have very few actual followers, but I know a lot of people are reading my blog. More comments would thrill me.

  8. Jackie-- So do I. It's another reason why commenting can be so difficult!

    Barbara-- I think 99% of us would be thrilled with more Comment Love.

  9. I just saw your comment, Cathy, and came back to say that CommentLuv is a useful addition to a blog I think, because it picks up each commenter's own post and puts it near their comment. Readers can then link to that person's blog, thus sharing the Luv!

  10. Great Post! Just kiddin' :)
    I can't believe you have over 500 blogs in your Reader! I think I'm somewhere around 120-150 and I try to comment regularly and still have a life. It's not easy. I'd love to participate in a Comment-a-Thon. What a wonderful idea.

  11. Susan-- I've seen CommentLuv and have thought about installing it on my blog.

    Stacy-- Now you know a bit of what's involved with my link round-ups. There's a lot of blog hopping to do each week! It sounds to me like I might've hit on something worth doing-- Comment-a-Thon-- although it needs a snazzier name!

  12. I've done a comment-a-thon, and variations of it (the Hello, Michele sent me Meet-and-greet, for example -- which is now, sadly, defunct). They are a lot of fun. I'd gladly take part if I heard about it (I found you today via Florinda)

    One thought about why people feel that commenting is a two-way street: when you leave lots of comments at a blog but never get a response, you start to feel like the taglong little sister who's trying to butt in where she's not wanted. Why do that to yourself?

    Just some food for thought...

  13. Susan--Thanks for stopping by! I'm still working on the comment-a-thon, but nothing will happen until after the holiday season.

    That is food for thought because I'm an only child who never had a kid sister tagging along. I still think it's a bit too high school. None of us have crystal balls that allow us to look in someone else's home to see why they aren't clicking all over the place and returning all comment favors. As long as I respond to all the comments on my own blog, I have a very relaxed attitude toward how my comments are treated on other blogs.

  14. Hi Cathy!
    I scrolled back several pages to this post because this seems the best place to comment. I haven't been commenting on your blog the last month because I had the worst internet connections. We were in an RV park in Oregon that had the spottiest wifi connection. I could get to my Reader and read all your posts but I got knocked off every time I tried to connect to you. I ended up going to a library so I could upload my blog. Y

    our blog is heavy but I love it and don't want you to change a thing. I just wanted you to know why I wasn't around for a while. We are at my son's in northern California now and he has super wifi. Now I need to get caught up but frankly, I'm just going to start over.


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