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?