Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington

Before I began blogging last year, I spent several months reading a variety of blogs. I subscribed to book review blogs, political blogs, spiritual blogs, and blogs for writers. I read posts written by those who had just entered the blogosphere, and posts written by those who had been blogging for years. I finally initiated my own blog, Pen Station, in May, 2010.

But there’s more to blogging than writing your own blog and reading those written by others. The blogosphere is a community, and community means interaction. Most blogs are not intended to be monologues. They’re meant to be part of a dialogue between writers and their readers. The ensuing “conversation” can broaden the worlds of both parties.

So how do you join the community and add to the conversation? The easiest way is to provide meaningful feedback by commenting on individual blog posts. Many bloggers make it a practice to end each blog post with a question that invites the reader to participate. What do you think? Have you had a similar experience? How have you responded to this situation? What would you do if this happened to you?

The way to answer these questions, and perhaps post one or two of your own, is by leaving a comment. Most blogs have a Comment hyperlink at the top of the post or a Comment box at the end of the post.

What kind of comment should you leave? In her book, Blogophobia Conquered, social media expert and Blogging Barista Laura Christianson notes, “When readers compliment my writing, it stokes my ego, But the comments I value most are the ones that challenge my statements, share information I forgot to include, or offer meaningful commentary.”

Laura also identified several types of commenters:

Fervent Fans – people who love the blog
Personal Promoters – people who comment to promote themselves
Happy Hecklers – people who post nasty comments just to irritate the writer
Deferential Dissenters – people who courteously disagree and open a dialogue with the intent of learning through sharing
Irrational Inciters – people who hate the blog

I would add one more type: the non-commenter or lurker. I confess I am often guilty of belonging to this last category. I slip in and out of blogs, reading but not responding. Taking, but not giving. Listening, but not adding to the discussion.

I want that to change. Community requires interaction. Conversation requires dialogue. I’m looking forward to not just learning, but also sharing what I’m learning.

Care to comment?

What type of commenter are you?

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  1. Laura Christianson

    Aaah, the non-commenter/lurker. I forgot about that category, Ava, and that’s the category I suspect most of us belong to.

    Just to reiterate the value of leaving comments: I have left comments on some top-ranked blogs that have resulted in new clients and/or new buyers of my books. The new clients are not the blogger, but are fans of the blogger who read and write comments.

    I do not leave comments for the purpose of drumming up business; I comment because I am truly interested in the topic and want to contribute to the discussion.

    Most people are astute enough to read between the lines — they will recognize (and ignore or delete) comments that are promotional.

    So avoid writing comments that say generic things like “great post!” and focus on posting comments that add some “meat” to the discussion.

  2. admin

    Thanks for adding to our conversation, Laura! And thanks also for the encouragement you provide so that all our discussions can be meatier! 🙂

  3. Alanna Klapp

    Ava, I love this post! And I love Laura’s book! I too, am a lurker, most often for the reason that there’s just not enough hours in the day, I read quickly and don’t take the few extra seconds to comment. But I’d like to change that, too! Here’s to meaty discussions!

  4. Alanna Klapp

    And if I may, add one more thing, I always try to respond to those readers who leave comments on my blog, even if it’s just to say thanks for reading and commenting (and it’s usually more than that). One of the best parts about blogging is the interaction with the readers, and while I respond to my own blog comments I’m not good at returning the favor on other’s blogs. I’d like to work on changing that. Thanks for this post! 🙂

  5. admin

    Okay, Alanna – here’s to two fellow lurkers who are committed to leaving lurkdom! 🙂

  6. admin

    Glad you liked this post. Thanks!

  7. susan

    I am usually a lurker because it seems by the time I read a blog post, the above comments already say what I would’ve said. And I’ve read that we shouldn’t say things like, “Good post.” Since I can’t add anything new to the conversation,I don’t say anything.

    Truthfully, I don’t mind if folks just say “Good post.” Sure I love it when meaty comments are left, but these other ones let me know that I had a reader and that the reader thought enough of the post to write something.

  8. susan

    BTW I would love to subscribe to your rss feed, but when I click on it, all I get is a full page of text. Is there something else I need to do.

    I will be back because what I’ve read so far is encouraging and makes me think. Plus I will be checking out your 100 names book and children;’s series. They look like brilliant resources.

  9. susan

    Sorry, not 100 names but 366 Devotions on the Names of God.

  10. admin

    Susan – I’m not sure why the RSS feed didn’t work for you. I tried it from another email address and I was able to subscribe. Please try again and let me know what happens. If it doesn’t work, I’ll ask my web expert to look into it.

  11. Laura Christianson

    Ava – Someone has been trying to comment on this post — she notified me via my Facebook page that she’s having trouble. She writes:

    When I went to Ava’s blog, the page was rather distorted…and it wouldn’t let me comment. I will try again today to see if it is better… I tried again, and when I hit the submit commit button it takes me to a “web page cannot be displayed” message.

    Just thought you’d want to know.

  12. admin

    Susan, I can sympathize. There are times when I just don’t have something of substance to add to a particular conversation, and that’s okay. But I know there are times that I do, but I don’t make the effort. I’m hoping to change that!

  13. admin

    Thanks much for the heads-up, Laura. I’ve forwarded this to my web designer.

  14. admin

    Laura – we’ve checked the comments mechanism from our end and it seems to be working well. And I’ve received comments from others. The problem may be on her side – perhaps a firewall issue?

  15. Jordyn Redwood

    Great post, Ava.

    I’d say I can be in three categories. The lurker, the fan, and the promoter.

    I think what some people may not realize is that if you truly love a writer and what they do (blog about), it’s helpful for the author when publishing companies see they have an active blog component. Whether or not it’s true, publishers believe this will translate, albeit a small percent, into a certain number of sales.

    An author’s blog may be a component on whether or not a contract is offerred… especially for the “debut author”.

    Something to consider for the lurkers out there. Ava, I’m glad you’re reformed.

  16. admin

    Good point, Jordyn. Blogs are one of several platforms a writer can develop to establish their credibility with readers. Blog comments are a way to confirm reader activity – both for the writer and for publishers.

  17. admin

    Thank you. Contact details are on the Contact Page of the website. 🙂

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