On Monday I talked about the launch of my new website design + build business, Atmosphere Websites, and I said I would talk about why I think migrating to an all Wordpress web site ultimatley strated making sense for me--and I think the reasons for it are good for writers--but I'm totally not going to talk about that today.
Monday I was bummed to have to uninstall Intense Debates, my comment system, which meant losing over a year's worth of great discussion and making all my back posts look really pitifully silent. :( But Intense Debates had stopped working for a lot of people. I don't know what it was and I felt like there was little I could do, so it had to be emptied. The nice thing about Intense Debates was that it had threaded comments, so you could reply to a specific comment and thus actually generate a discussion--which is what social media is all about. I also liked that you were emailed when I replied to a comment, which meant that you would know for sure that I saw, read, and replied on a comment.
Comments on blogs are funny things. Bloggers covet them; they're the holy grail of blogging success in my opinion. Sure, 100 comments on a post could mean you have a lot of spam or people just going "great, yeah" so that their voice is logged, but 100 comments typically means you have great content that moved people enough to stop what they are doing and comment. And that is not a small thing.
The subject of getting comments is mysterious and I don't understand it at all. I suspect that commenting on lots of people's blogs means they'll come comment on yours. And, of course, have good content and you'll get comments. I mean, I don't know. I've never really known the answer to that. (If you know, please comment and tell me.)
But here's what I do know: how to act properly as a blogger when it comes to comments:
1. Read all your comments. Both Blogger and Wordpress have settings that allow you to be notified by email if someone leaves a comment. For goodness' sake, check that setting! Getting emails when you get a comment ensures you'll read them.
2. Reply when possible. You may not have time to reply immediately, and maybe the commenter will never check for a reply, but do it anyway. It's gracious. And it's nice. And it's social.
3. When you get a dissenting comment, rise above it. It's a great pity that I lost Intense Debates because one a post a few weeks ago I got a super flamey comment left by someone who apparently had not actually read the post and who accused me and all my readers and other commenters of not understanding grammar or marketing, which was funny because he used poor grammar throughout the comment. A thousand pithy and rather sassy retorts went through my mind, but in the end I left it and let its stupidity speak for itself. And besides, I didn't want to get into a public argument with someone who didn't get it.
In another example, someone (a reader who may recognize herself) once left a comment about a post that was critical. Not bad critical, but critical. I could have been a bitch about it but that wouldn't have served any purposes. I thanked her for the comment and said I'd think about her points. (Which I did.) And I think that resonated with her. (She said it did.)
4. Don't expect. Treat all your comments like what they are--people, taking time out of their day to interact with you and leave their thoughts. They're gifts. Don't get complacent. Love the one or two you get. :) I do.
Do you have any to add?