We’ve all been there. You read (or don’t read) a blog post, and want to say something at the end, because talking and being heard is fun.
Blogging is all about the conversation and the ideas it generates; in the post, in the comments section, and along the “ripple effect” as I like to call it — feedback through Twitter, Facebook, e-mails — all coming from YOU.
The readers. The bloggers. The content creators. We all play an important role in this big conversation called Social Media. Today we’re going to talk about how to make your contribution more effective.
1. Before you even think about clicking into that comment box, read the entire post. You heard me. Read it. The whole thing. Or, for God’s sake, at least read a couple of paragraphs that make you feel something. Bloggers (and commenters too!) are always looking to be heard, and knowing that someone has spent the time to read what we have to say means the world.
2. Think about what you want to say. Does the blogger’s sense of humor make you LOL at your desk? Did they make you mad by telling you not to eat cookies? Did you learn something about yourself that you didn’t know before? Use that as a talking point and create (or join) a conversation.
3. Don’t simply answer questions asked at the end of a post. As tempting as it is to join the conversation and leave a comment, please don’t just answer questions at the end of a post. This is something that (without many people realizing it) is often hurtful for bloggers. Creating content takes work. At the very least, skim a post and (back to #1 and #2), create a talking point on something in the body of the post before answering questions. The reasons bloggers ask these is to stimulate more conversation, but we don’t want that to be the only conversation. Ya hear?
4. Keep your emotions in check. With some topics, it’s hard to restrain emotion (with controversial topics, especially, when we are compelled to let all hell break loose), but for the most part, remember that your comment will be read by the blog author as someone speaking directly to them. As bloggers (and content creators), we recognize that we open ourselves up to criticism and negative feedback, but we also expect a level of respect that we would owe a coworker or friend. As we respect you, we hope that you return the same level of respect, not as just a reader or a blogger, but as a person. We are all people. With that being said, when a controversial topic arises, aim to address the issue at hand, rather than using the content creator as a point of reference. The conversation will be kept much more interesting and beneficial for all parties when this level of respect is maintained. Just like when you are arguing with a partner or friend, directing the conversation away from “you ____” language is most beneficial.
5. Try not to link-drop in your reply. Bloggers and commenters love to meet new people and explore new blogs. Who doesn’t love fresh content? But when it comes to comment etiquette, it is most polite (and best) to leave the link-ups when you fill in your information. Name, e-mail, and website. If you have a particular blog post that you want given more attention, use that as your URL, but leave it out of your comment. This avoids clutter, the obvious “Look at me, please click on my link!” advertisement-type vibe, and creates a bit of allure. Ooh, the mystery of clicking on someone’s name.
6. Try to stay somewhat professional. This is something I, personally, have struggled with in the past. Some bloggers I love so much that I drop hearts and OMG’s and “hahahaha’s” all over the place. This is fine if you’re tight buddies. Are you best girlfriends? Go crazy banana sandwich all over the place. But for the most part, keep it clean, simple, and sane.
7. If you have more to say, send an e-mail. Rather than leave a long, personal comment, send an email directly to the blogger. It is understood that some things you might want to share with the rest of the blog community (for example, an inspiring story that might move others), but if you have a direct concern or bit of excitement, or would like some advice, sending an e-mail is your best bet to get a personal, direct response from the content creator.
What are your tips for good commenting?
Any points on etiquette I missed?
What is your experience with blog comments and the “big conversation”?