We've been noticing a trend here at IFB headquarters – it seems as though fewer and fewer comments are being left on blog posts. It's been a gradual decline, but it's noticeable. Blogs that once got hundreds of comments per post now only receive a dozen or so. Smaller blogs are only getting a handful here and there.
Are bloggers getting to busy to get their own post published, bet alone visit and leave notes for other's in the blogging community? Or have blogs become something different than what they were 5 years ago?
An article spotted on Social Media Today helped solidify these ideas, and got us to dig in a little more.
Here are our thoughts on why conversations have left blogging – and why we need to work to bring them back.
- Social Media Has Exploded. Really, think about it. 5 years ago we were just getting used to Twitter. Facebook was still only open to those of us with .edu email address. And Google was years away from thinking up G+.
So if one of your readers wanted to chat, the only logical place to do so was in your comments. The only way for you to show love to new blogger friends was by leaving comments for them. Commenting was really the only community we had.
Fast forward to today: My grandma has a Facebook page, my dad is on Twitter… conversations have become fragmented and dispersed over all our various networks. Tweeting at someone when you love their post, or discover their blog feels more natural and conversational. And let's face it – it's just plain easier.
- We're All Busy. Is it just me, or does it seem like life had gotten a lot busier lately? It's no longer about just updating your blog and visiting the links on your blog-roll. We're trolling twitter, stalking old friends on Facebook, trying to read the thousands of un-read posts in our google readers. All while searching for jobs, finishing final papers, working towards promotions or something else on the endless list of life's important tasks. Responding to our commenters and leaving comments of our own seems to take a back burner.
- Chalk it up to Spam? As spammers and bots became a common threat to blogs comments more and more bloggers (and even blog platforms) implemented anti-spam tactics. The good ol' “Prove You're A Human” step in commenting that we've all grown used to. However, CAPTCHA and its fellows are sometimes to much of a roadblock. The words are un-readable, you have to try to many times to post a simple comment and in the end you just give up. It's not worth your time. Spam comments might be gone now, but sadly so are notes from your friends and fans.
What Can We Do About It?
Here's our proposal to you bloggers – Let's bring community back to blogs. Constructive and kind comments do amazing things for us – they boost our confidence as bloggers, they get our links out to the world and traffic back to our blogs, they find us new friends and they help us learn and grow. And we could all use more of that.
So here are just a few quick steps to get us back on the commenting train.
- Make the time. Set aside a little bit of your day just for leaving comments. And really think about what you are saying. Try to start a conversation instead of just leaving a generic “Love this!” comment.
- Respond to the comments on your blog. Socialize with your readers right under your posts. It will engage them and keep them coming back , and you might even make new friends.
- Do away with CAPTCHA. Unless you have a huge spam problem – make it easy for your readers to leave comments.
- Leverage Social Media. We aren't telling you to do away with tweeting at your favorite bloggers or having conversations outside of your blog. But be conscious of how you are using your social platforms. Try encouraging people to comment on your posts by asking them to on Twitter or Facebook!
Do you think blog comments are important? How often are you commenting on other blogs?
[image by Nando Alvarez]