Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Comments and the etiquette of blog

Swinging by Sandra's place again (I should have my own chair, really), I was struck by something Jeff mentioned in the comments to her blog about blogging. It seems he felt that some blogs were a bit cliquey because he left comments and never had any replies.

I hope if he comes here, he doesn't feel that way. Any and all are welcome to leave their comments, and if I don't respond there are many reasons - that you're not one of my 'crowd' will never be one of them.

In fact, I rarely respond to comments unless they specifically beg a response. Mostly this is down to laziness lack of time.

Technical reasons stop me from responding, as they stop me from commenting on a lot of blogs I visit. There is something up with my internet connection/ISP/whatever that won't let me log on to any blogger blogs for long periods of time. I get the RSS feeds into my email reader (Thunderbird) and any comments made are also emailed to me, so I can see what's going on out there in blogland, but I can't respond.

Then, for no apparent reason, blogger lets me in. Like a mad thing I rush to all those blogs I've read, eager to comment, praise, joke and generally make a pratt of myself, only to discover that a hundred other people have already said all that I wanted to say.

Likewise with comments. By the time blogger lets me back into my own blog it often seems rather late to be making replies.

I'm trying to get to the bottom of this strange behaviour, but it's got the tech support at my ISP stumped at the moment. That said, I can only partly blame blogger for my lack of reciprocal communication.

If someone swings by my place and feels moved enough to leave a message, I'll generally do them the honour of checking out what they have to say in their own blogs. I may even be moved to comment on something they say, but I'm a bit of a gadfly and it takes quite a lot to draw my regular attention. A quick glance to the right will show you that my blogroll is really quite short, and to be honest
I've drifted away from a few of the names on there over the months. There's a couple of new ones I need to add, but the list isn't going to grow to the proportions I see on other people's blogs; I haven't got the time. Blogging is a guilty enough pleasure as it is.

But I can't help noticing that the really successful blogs - the ones where comments regularly run to double digits - are ones where the blog owner responds (OK, so that immediately ups the count, but you know what I mean). This is probably the second best way to increase your blog traffic after commenting regularly on other people's. If Sir Benfro is to become anything more than just me talking because I like the sound of my own voice, then I need to start acting like a more genial host.

So I will try to respond more to my adoring public. But if I fail, please don't think I don't love you all.


Blogger M. G. Tarquini said...

Ya see, that's the thing about commenting. I don't reply to the comments people leave too often because it's that basic stupid shyness of mine kicking in. I don't know what to say. Blogging is like taking the mic on Talent Night. Answering comments is like trying to make nice at a cocktail party.

April 12, 2006 3:51 pm  
Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

You mean I might be improving my social skills by answering comments?

Aw, there's hope for Sandra to play nice! Wahoo!

But all this time, I thought you were just snobby James. Who knew?

Seriously, it does eat up time. And some days, blogger plays tricks.

I was going to say that you could have a seat in my space any time, but no matter how I tried to word that, it just sounded wrong.

Did you see the news in the Scotsman today about the bird flu cock-up? I thought of you.

April 12, 2006 5:47 pm  
Blogger JamesO said...

Shyness is a terrible thing, M.G. - I know because I'm crippled by it in real life. Here in the intarwub I can pretend to be sophisticated and intelligent.

And see - I'm replying to comments!

Sandra - You've not noticed that this week's infected waterfowl is the Whooper Swan;}#

April 12, 2006 7:40 pm  
Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

James, since I'm shy and you're shy, how will we meet at Harrogate? (You are going, aren't you?)

April 12, 2006 8:16 pm  
Blogger JamesO said...

You should be able to find me there, Sandra. I'll be the odd-looking bearded fellow wandering around with a dead rat.

April 13, 2006 8:11 am  
Blogger Stuart MacBride said...

Damn - sounds like we're going to be wearing the same outfit. I'll have to go back to Marks and Spencer now. At least they'll exchange the rodent for something else. I've still got the receipt.

April 13, 2006 8:41 am  
Blogger Gabriele C. said...

I try to reply to comments on my blog, but I'm a lazy commenter on other blogs. I read a lot more than I comment on, sometimes because I don't know anything intelligent to say, sometimes because I don't have the time for a longer reply the post deserves and decide no reply is better than a meaningless one. :)

BTW Have you thought about getting a second blog account for commenting on blogs? Maybe there's some bug in your account you could avoid that way. Emptying the cache and cookies on your computer and defragmenting the bugger could help as well. I keep having problems because of cluttered caches. Obviously, Wínwonk XP doesn't empty the thing often enough by itself.

April 13, 2006 7:04 pm  
Blogger JamesO said...

It's not the account as such, Gabriele - I can't get into other people's blogs as well as my own. When I type in the url the browser just sits like a lemon for a while then throws up a 'time out' error message. I think it's something to do with how the ISP connects to the bulk of the interweb, but I'm not sure. Hopefully the techies will fix it soon.

April 13, 2006 7:56 pm  

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