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So I read a post over at Shannon’s blog that got me thinking.

She was talking about how fewer and fewer people seem to be commenting on blogs at the moment. She admits that she’s gotten into the habit of reading everything from her Google Reader, rather than visiting the sites themselves.

She writes:

I was part of a conversation the other day during which mention was made of how few people are commenting on some blogs nowadays.

I blame Giselle Google.

Okay, well to be more specific, I blame readers/feeds/whatever you call them. I started subscribing to blogs with Google Reader a while back and I love it. I really do. Especially when I’ve been up north and I’m way behind. But, because I’m not on the actual blog, I seldom comment because that would mean an extra click and I rarely have anything important to say anyway.

But I’ve started feeling disconnected—to conversations, to people, even to friends—and I can’t be the only one.

So she’s decided to go back to visiting the people listed on her sidebar, the old fashioned way.

I have to admit, I don’t visit actual sites as much as I used to, and yes, much of the blame can be laid at the door of Google Reader, but the fact is, I just don’t have that much time to play in Blogland as I used to. I even have problems keeping up with Google Reader, especially with sites that post shitloads per day. I’ve unsubscribed from Galleycat for this reason.

I’ve noticed that I tend to open the blogs that only have a couple of posts first, and  leave the ones that are packed out, ’til last. Sometimes I never bother reading these at all, because I know that even skimming them will take a while.

If I have something to say, and as long as it doesn’t exceed my internal maximum word count, I’ll say it, but more often than not, I’ll find myself bleeding all over somebody else’s blog, so I end up turning it into an individual blog topic. (For example, this post started life as a comment on Shan’s blog, but it just got way too long.) This happens to me even on my own blog.

Angie, then wrote a piece inspired by Shannon’s post where she talks about people not commenting on their own blogs.

She wrote:

Then, as I was blog surfing this week, I commented on a few blogs (I do comment when a topic strikes me), and of those, there were several looking for feedback about things. But the blog owners never commented back. Not to acknowledge that I’d “helped” them out, or that anyone else had either. In fact, I then realized that these bloggers almost never comment on their own blogs. And I was irritated. I thought “how rude”.

When I read Angie’s post I thought, wow, that’s so me. I realise that I’ve gotten really bad at replying to comments on here, but once again, I think my reasons are time-related, rather than just sheer laziness. Also, you guys are pretty good at responding to each other anyway, which, I admit, is what I count on.

I hope that nobody who visits KKB feels put out, when I don’t respond. I value most of you guys who take the time to comment, and I do realise that without you, the blog wouldn’t be half as interesting.

I do read every single comment, but I admit, I tend to respond more to the combative ones.

You guys deserve better, and I’ll make a conscious effort to be better, but I can’t promise to respond to every comment. Hell, I can’t even to promise to participate in every post, because quite frankly, I have a life outside Blogland, but I will try, though.

Actually I better ask, do you guys care whether I respond to comments or not?

31 Comments »

  • I still do it the old-fashioned way – I go down the blog roll and visit each blog in person. I signed up for a couple of blog line feeders but couldn’t figure out how the damn things worked and then decided I’d rather do it the way I do anyway. It’s more personal that way – like I’m really dropping in for a visit rather than waving as I walk by. I don’t get to them all in a day – blogs have exploded and I just don’t have the time but hopefully I’ve visited everyone in a 3 day span. I don’t always leave comments – sometimes I don’t really have anything to say – but I do visit.
    And I try to respond to everyone who leaves a comment on mine. I don’t always but as you said – I do appreciate the comment. I think if visitors take the time to post something, it’s only right that I at least try and acknowledge it.
    Another point you didn’t mention by personally visiting blogs is finding new bloggers. If someone new leaves a comment on mine, I’ll ALWAYS track back to them. They don’t all have their own blogs – sometimes they are just subscribed to Blogger. But I love finding new bloggers. And I often track back on comments left on other blogs I read. I often leave comments – even if it’s not related to the topic. I still remember the thrill when I was new and starting off when people left comments on min.
    I think google reader and other reader feed DO lead to a disconnect so I’m just as happy I couldn’t figure out how they work.

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  • Emmy
    July 15
    12:56 pm

    If I take the time to respond to your post, you should respond to my response *gets immediately confuckled at that circular reasoning*

    Actually, people over here do a good job of smacking at each other with no help from you, so other than the occasional moderation, individual responses aren’t really needed.

    And no, for the people who keep asking, I’m not Karen in disguise, here to piss people off into visiting and/or commenting. With my sunny personality, it just works out that way.

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  • I wonder if right at the moment things are a bit quieter because it’s the summer holidays.

    I don’t know how Google Reader works, but with a Yahoo feed you just see a list of the blogs and the titles of the new posts, so if you want to read the whole of a new post you have to click across onto the person’s blog.

    Re time constraints, I agree that it can be very time-consuming to keep up with blogs. New and interesting ones keep popping up (or I keep finding ones that have been around for a while but that I didn’t know about), and every so often I have to be a bit ruthless and take some of them off my blog feed.

    I also found that it was too time consuming to post very often, so I’m now posting about once a week, but it means that there’s more opportunity for people to comment without the post slipping off the main page, and one can have a leisurely conversation in the comments section.

    I think one helpful development in terms of promoting comment/dialogue was the fairly recent addition to Blogger of the follow-up comments option (and it’s an option that exists elsewhere too, including on this blog). It makes it so much easier to keep up with replies to comments I’ve left, and so I’m more likely to go back to the thread and comment again.

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  • MB (Leah)
    July 15
    1:15 pm

    Actually, I’ve found that I comment on blogs more since I put blogs on my reader. Google reader has made it so much easier for me to scan quickly through many posts and comments at one time. Where as before, I would have to open up each blog and thread and that’s time consuming. Especially on blogs that have people commenting on several posts at a time, like DA, SB, or your blog.

    And it’s so easy to comment because all you have to do is click on the comment and you’re on the blog and already signed in if it’s blogger.

    If there is a topic that interests me and there are tons of comments, then I will go straight to the blog and read them.

    As far as you commenting, I’ve only been on your blog for a relatively short time, but I just assumed that on your blog, as well as the other big ones in which there are many commenters, that it would be way too time consuming and a bit ridiculous to comment to every person posting.

    On smaller blogs, if the owner doesn’t comment when only one or two people are posting on their blog, then I usually don’t go back because I figure they aren’t really that into their own blog enough to pay attention, so why should I?

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  • Peggy P
    July 15
    1:17 pm

    I read several blogs almost daily and post infrequently but I have never expected a response from the blog owner. Unless there is some heavy back and forth argument going on I don’t know why you you would respond to general goofy comments…like this one. You said what you said – I said what I said – and aren’t we done? I guess I don’t think of blogs as ongoing 2 way discussions – more like a monologue with funny comments.

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  • I’m still a live-journaler in a blogger culture. I get my major blogs through a feed. I counted, it takes 4 clicks–one on a drop down menu I frequently lose–to actually get into a blog.

    So be flattered! No, just kidding.

    Part of it is summer. Your college folk are (mostly) away from the computer. Some are on vacation. Others are just busy.

    A few of us are doing JulNoWriMo, so cranking out 2000/words a day eats up our non-work, non-family time.

    Some of it is feeds.

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  • I’m on the reader too. I’m connected to 80+ blogs and some of them are heavy posters. I read what I can, comment where I have time, and I try to reply to posts on my own blog.

    Am I a perfect example? Oh hell no! LOL

    I do click through, but most often if there’s not much to be said on the reader, I move on rather then comment. I should shake off the dust a little more often though. :)

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  • I guess it would be ironic if I left without commenting. :)

    I’ve been doing better at commenting since I went back to visiting my usual haunts via my own sidebar blogroll, but I also realized I’m reading a LOT more blogs than I did three or so years ago when I started.

    Maybe it’s the same as where I live—a small town growing into a city where you might know your neighbors’ names and toss out a ‘howya doin’ but you don’t lean on the fence and shoot the shit anymore.

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  • I don’t always respond to comments on my blog either. Hopefully people don’t consider it rude, but responses take time.

    Now if somebody asks a question, yes, I try to respond, but general comments? Not so much.

    Like everybody else, it’s a time thing and I figure I can either take the time to respond to every last comment… or I can write. Since I’m a writer, I think my time is best served by writing.

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  • […] this morning I read a really interesting post over at Karen Knows Best. This great post had to do with commenting or the lack of commenting and […]


  • Blogging can be a full-time job if you’re not careful. I’ve limited myself to two days a week. Can’t call myself a writer if I don’t write…and the Clark Kent job does require some time and effort.

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  • I haven’t noticed any such trend to lower comments, other than a slight annual summer lull associated with people being on vacation–but that happens every year.

    I don’t think the blogger needs to reply any more than the blogger needs to visit the commenters blog and return the comment (another much quote faux-courtesy). If you have more to add to the conversation, fine–if not, not.

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  • I’m guilty of not commenting on my blog, that is when I can rememeber to blog. :-(

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  • I try to leave comments when I feel I have something relevant to say. I use google reader too (love it!) but it’s still only one extra click to open up a blog and leave a comment. And really, since we’re a community it’s all about staying in touch.

    I try to respond to comments on my own blog too, though I think often I do it psychically rather than actually. Heh.

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  • I have my short-list of faves. I’ll pop in on others if a topic grabs my attention. Bottom line is, there just aren’t enough hours in the day for a writer to go blog-hopping all over the ‘Net.

    I do respond to peeps who post at my blog. I like the interaction. After all, the whole purpose of nonpromotional posts is to generate discussion . . . right?

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  • sallahdog
    July 15
    3:21 pm

    blog comments are always down in the summer… I am a hit and miss blog reader and commenter, often never going back to even see if someone has posted back to me, so I am more surprised than not if someone replies..

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  • On the “reply to people who comment on your posts” bit… I believe that I usually do when it’s a discussion topic. I do feel a bit conceited if I reply to a comment left in a review that basically says, “Good review”–like patting myself in the back. Makes me uncomfortable.

    I don’t use any of the feeds–I have too many blogs in my list to visit every day, without being tempted to add more due to the ‘easy’ of reading offered by Google read or whatever. Huh-oh. Better do it the old fashioned, time-consuming way, which acts as a deterrent to add even more blogs to the daily blog-hopping.

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  • I’ve been getting worse and worse about commenting but it’s primarily a time issue for me. I spend so much time creating and getting up content and tinkering with the backend that I don’t respond to comments and I should. Maybe that will be my mid year resolution.

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  • TracyS
    July 15
    4:03 pm

    I’m guessing the downswing is just that it’s summer. If anybody else’s summer is like mine~gah!! Two boys in baseball and a hubby that is on the church softball team keeps us busy most nights a week.

    For example (like anyone cares, but here goes LOL) here’s my week:

    Monday: #1 son game at 5:00, #2 practice at 5:00 (different fields, 20 minutes away.)

    Tuesday: hubby softball game 6:00, my Pamp. Chef party to attend 7:00

    Wednesday: #1 practice 5:30, #2 game 6:00

    Thursday: #1 game 5:00

    Friday: Church event with kids.

    It’s a good thing I’m a SAHM!! LOL I work during the school year (substitute teacher) and have a home job I do on the computer so I’m online during the day in the summer, but my nights are crazy. If someone had that schedule and a full time day job?! I’d loose my mind!

    But I do love watching my guys play ball!! :)

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  • Add me to the pile of those who read and rarely comment – bad, bad, bad. So as of today, I’m going to try to be better and posting comments.

    Hey mid-year resolutions sounds like a great plan. :)

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  • Karen, I am glad you don’t respond to every comment on your blog. Some comments don’t seem to invite a return comment, as many posters have pointed out. If a blog-owner feels compelled to comment on every single comment, it is very gracious (and time consuming) but I don’t require that level of investment to consider the person re-visitable.

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  • December Quinn/Stacia Kane
    July 15
    5:18 pm

    For a long time I had a very strict reply-to-every-comment policy, but over the last year I had to loosen up. I simply didn’t have/don’t have the time, especially not now that I mirror the posts on blogger and livejournal so have two sets of commenters to reply to. And I actually find that not always replying to every comment is good, as it seems to engender more reader discussion.

    I do generally try to respond most of the time, though. And if there’s a new commenter I always respond to thank and welcome them.

    As for the lull…yeah, I’ve noticed it too, and think it’s partly summer and partly that there just isn’t a lot going on anywhere. Which is actually kind of nice, really.

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  • I visit over 30 blogs a day and try to comment as much as I can. if someone asks a question I try to answer. If they write a review I have enjoyed, I at least say something, even if it is one or two words.
    But it is lovely to see people comment because at least you feel someone is reading your posts.

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  • Erm…, what y’all said. *g*

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  • I keep an eye on the blogs via my Google Reader too, and I don’t think it necessarily prevents me from commenting. When I want to, I clicky and go. :) I comment when I feel the need; sometimes it’s something I intensely agree with, more often than not it’s a topic that’s controversial.

    I don’t think you, as the author, should have any different responsibilities. Respond when the comment strikes you, don’t when it doesn’t. Ya dig? :P I’ve never found myself thinking, “that Karen is a bitch, I talk to her all the time and she ignores meh!”

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  • Lori
    July 15
    10:19 pm

    LOL – way to comment back, Karen. Excellently done :)

    I think everyone is so busy trying to read and post on their own blogs that it becomes difficult to comment back on their own.

    Plus, if anyone else is like me, they are working a gazillion hours a week on top of their play job (bloglandia), and real life has no business trying to take over my fun life, but dammit, it just does!

    Lori, playing hooky from my job to comment on your post – please take notice and appreciate :)

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  • I don’t comment very often and I blame time too. I read a lot of blogs, but only get to them on the weekend, so by the time I’m reading and find a topic I can comment on, there’s 10 posts above it, so what’s the point? Sigh. Catch 22.

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  • […] Community Spirit? Posted on July 16, 2008 by shilohwalker So Karen wants to know if we’re losing our community spirit […]


  • I’ve used various feed readers for years; I’m using Google Reader now. If I feel like commenting on a post, then I middle-click on the headline/link so the actual blog post loads in another tab in Firefox. That way Google Reader won’t have to reload by using the back-key had I just regular-clicked on the headline-link.

    I don’t comment on most blog posts that come through, unless it reaches out and “grabs me” for some reason.

    And I’ve also unsubbed from blogs that post too much, but some I’ll stick with if some of the posts are really good — I’ll just scroll past the stuff I’m not interested in.

    As far as my blog, it’s just a bunch of personal stuff, or something I feel strongly about at that time. I get occasional comments depending on what I blogged about. I don’t even know if I have any regular readers (probably not 8^)

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  • Like most who’ve commented here I too use Google Reader. Waaaay back 3 whole years ago when I started blogging the community was smaller I think. Or at least it seemed so. I subscribe to a lot more sites than my web page shows and again, like many others, time is an issue.

    OTOH, I comment when I think it’s relevant. When someone is hitting over 50 or more comments on an issue I rarely have anything new to add to the conversation.

    I do appreciate a reply when one seems appropriate, but not every comment I leave necessarily requires a response.

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  • Dawn
    July 16
    10:51 am

    I’ve been visiting Karen’s blog since it started, and although I do read all the posts, I don’t always comment. It has to be something that I feel really strongly about, and sometimes when Karen lights the touch paper and stands well back, I can’t even keep up the comments that are flying.

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