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Your comments?

It's not really a big secret.

Writers like knowing that they have been read. I don't care how loud the protestations of bloggers who insist they write "only for themselves" or "for personal growth," every public scribbler likes knowing other people have considered what they have written. If they didn't, they'd be writing in a spiral notebook - probably locked away in a garret. I just don't envision Emily Dickinson having a "Because I Could Not Stop for Death" blog.

Anywho, if you would like to make a blogger's day, leave a comment on a post. Agree, disagree, add, or just say thanks, but make it heart-felt. Make it relevant. Don't be a troll.

If you are a blogger and receive a comment, I've always thought it polite to say thanks to the commenter when possible. This is not a universally practiced - or endorsed - practice. Somehow, I just think if a person has given up a chunk of life to read and craft a response, I should be grateful. 

  • To encourage you to make commenting a regular practice, check out Kim Cofino's 31 Day Comment Challenge. (It's day 3 and I am already a week behind - how does that happen?) For those who really like structure, see the Comment Challenge wiki. Check out using coComment, even though it doesn't work on the Blue Skunk.
  • To help guide your commenting "etiquette" check out Darren Draper's Edublogger Etiquette - Responding To Comments. Actually read his entire etiquette series. Interesting stuff.




Oops, that's probably NOT the right attitude on the t-shirt... 


(Ironically, I've had to turn off comments on this post since it gets hit regularly by spammers.)


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Reader Comments (24)

Hi Doug.

Seemed only appropriate to break out of "lurking" for this particular post. I think you are right about commenting - we *do* want to be read and heard. I am surprised when bloggers specifically invite comments and yet there are no responses...but your post made me realize that I am as bad about this practice as many others may be. I put lots of "stars" on helpful posts for my own use but never take the time to thank the authors for blogging. My rss reader has become a lifeline for me in keeping up with the "latest" in librarianship.

Thanks for all the posts you've written that have been thought provoking, informative, insightful, and humorous. Keep the lake photos and interesting graphics coming. You've gotten lots of stars in my rss book.

May 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

Good post. Part of why I come back repeatedly to your blog is that I believe you were the first person to ever e-mail thanking me for a comment. I keep coming back because I enjoy your writing.

May 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie A. Roy

Hi Doug
Something worth considering is that some people might not be able to respond after reading a blog entry. When I read a poat, particularly a thought provoking one - which are the ones to which I tend to gravitate - I need time to percolate the idea... often my response hasn't been formed until days later, and by then, for me,it seems a little late to add a comment since the bloggers have often "moved on" to something else. It isn't that I don't appreciate the post, or that I'm too apathetic to respond one way or another... it's just that my digestion time doesn't seem to fit the pace of the bloggers, and I feel badly for commenting on something they've written about weeks ago. Just FYI... I DO read your blog regularly and it gives me plenty of food for thought! It's just that I'm a slow thinker.

May 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJanice Robertson

I agree with Janice . . . I'm of the slow-thinkers' guild and need time to mull over some of those pristine thoughts that spring fully-formed (seemingly) from the fast-thinkers' minds. I often feel like I barely have time to *read* the blogs, much less reply with an intelligible response. And when an intelligible response does form days later (as I fancy it sometimes does) it does feel too late to matter. But I am nonetheless amazed at the prolific pace of blogging set by the Blue Skunk and others. But, I like your post with the idea of consciously starting to provide feedback and comments to the hard-working, fast-thinking bloggers who provide so much information AND entertainment to us lurkers. It takes guts and a real commitment to near-daily blogging, which often must seem like it's going off into some void . . . the least we can do is toss back our imperfect, half-baked thoughts. Consider me reformed and my knuckles duly smacked with that metal-edged ruler that you wield so effectively. Ouch! I might even dust off my cobweb-riddled blog just to see how the other half lives...although I'd better let my slow-thinking brain mull over that impulsive thought.

May 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKeith Johnson

Yeah! Doug, you're so fine! You know how to do all this stuff, and you do all this stuff, and you have loads of readers and lurkers, and you have this really cool blog wth inspiration and ideas, and you reply to people, and then you remind us to comment and reply -- encouraging the power of one! And so, because I've commented on your blog before, I was inspired to comment on Keith Johnson's blog, because I first heard of him and was impressed by him via YOUR blog, but then I went to his site and found a beautiful and very creative website -- but no comment link! So here's to you,Keith, and I'll look you up on youtube! And I'll give you feedback here!

May 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJane L. Hyde

I remember when I first began my blog. I would write posts and save them and not publish them thinking that the world was just ready to pounce when I did, but finally I did and I did and I loved blogging at first with myself and then, I wanted more. I wanted to be read and to know that I was read and it's great to have this challenge come just at the end of a cool Slice of Day month challenge. So I can relate. To blog is to write and be read....
Bonnie K

May 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBonnie K

It is true that our extension does not support this blog. Which blog platform do you use ?
You can also use the bookmarklet to force coComment to track your comments.

May 4, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterchristophe

Doug, I don't need a personal response when I've left a comment on someone's blog. My feeling is that my conversation is not necessarily with the blogger, but also with other readers. All too often the blogger's response (on the blog, visible to others) can stifle conversation. And a personal comment just to say "thanks" makes me wonder if the blogger actually has a life! I do use CoComment (but it's ok if a few blogs don't support it), and I can always see if the conversation has gone elsewhere since I typed my few words of... wisdom? encouragement? advice? silliness?

As for the "I think slow" crowd, there's a lot in that. I only comment if there's an immediate response; sometimes I tag it for later and hope I can remember what my gut told me to write while I was brushing my teeth/driving to work/no where near a computer.

Just my semi-solicited $.02

May 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLazygal

I love getting comments on my blog, especially when they're thoughtful. Even if they're not thoughtful, they can be illuminating - I have a post on my blog where I talk about the site Zwinky. I posted it in November of last year, and it's the post with the most traffic on my site, with a dozen or so hits a day. People comment on it every once in a while, begging me to tell them secret codes to get free money on Zwinky. I try to respond every once in a while, but at this point it's pretty much turned into a social experiment. As far as the "I think slow" crowd, I would say don't worry about the timeline - If bloggers are like me, they'll have something on their blog dashboard that tells them someone has commented on a post, and they'll be glad you found their writing stimulating, whenever it occurred.

Thanks for thoughtful posting. I'm not usually a commenter, but I think I'll try harder to be constructive in the blogosphere.

May 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSam Wallin

I was just at Dave McDivitt's site <> and ran across an interesting post, thought about posting a comment and decided to wait until tomorrow.

Came here and now feel bad! Will go back and post comment. Love the Comment Challenge, thanks for the friendly reminder to be good digital citizens.


May 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Wiebe

.."every public scribbler likes knowing other people have considered what they have written. If they didn't, they'd be writing in a spiral notebook - probably locked away in a garret."

Yes, absolutely. I think one of the big purposes of blogging is to get feedback. Sure, it can help one's personal growth, but that growth is going to come from feedback. I have heaps of my own writing that isn't on my blog -- notebooks and notebooks of it. It's not locked away in a garret, but it is only brought out for those whom I feel like sharing with. And that does change from time to time. There is a difference between selective sharing and putting it "out there" for the whole world to see.

May 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAdrienne

Doug: I read your blog nearly every day. It gives me reason to live. Well, maybe it's not that good, but I do enjoy it. I get a healthy mix of thoughtful commentary and doubled over laughter. I disagree about Emily, however. I do think Emily Dickenson, were she still with us, definitely would have a blog.

May 9, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMary M

Thanks for promoting the challenge Doug! I have to say I am amazed at how well you respond to comments on your blog! You are so thorough and always ready with a quick e-mail back to any comment I leave - it definitely makes me more likely to comment on your blog because I know you're actually reading the comments and clearly do value the thoughts that are left here.

I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I'm barely able to respond to comments left on my blog, let alone send an e-mail back. I need to make both regular commenting and responding part of my blogging habit. Let's hope the challenge kick starts that change for me!

May 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKim Cofino

Hi Kim,

I guess replying is a hold-over from the days of writing for print publications only. It was so rare and such a thrill to get any feedback that a word of thanks always seemed in order. I still feel honored when I know someone has read or been able to use something I've done.

I am sure I don't get the number of blog comments that you do - you are a rising star, you know. I figure I spend about the same time answering emails and such as I would playing a round of golf or watching a stupid movie each week. If you haven't heard or read Clay Shirky's talk about how we're changing how we spend our leisure time, it's worth a look!

Good luck with the challenge and I hope your move was successful!


May 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

Hi Doug,

My RSS feed is a lifeline for professional development, but it has made me a greedy bugger. I gobble posts from you, Joyce, CommonCraft, Beyond School, Not So Different Future (the list goes on), and work hard to process it all. I forget that bloggers need food, too. Your request for feedback is well taken, and I'll start to take a more active role in the conversation.

May 15, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRobin Cicchetti

Thanks, Doug! I am new to blogging and have been disappointed that I don't get more comments on my blogposts. (I probably don't have enough tags out there.) But it is like the old saying--to have a friend, be a friend. So I am jumping in with both feet and hoping for the best!

July 16, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermyska

HI Myska,

Send me your blog URL and I'll add a comment!


July 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

I'm new at this blogging stuff, so I appreciate your hyperlinks and thoughtful advice. I do, however, feel a need for even more advice, especially for keeping up with it all. How do all these authors & commenters find the time to participate?

July 17, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRubyRed

Hi RubyRed,

My single biggest time saver is using an RSS feed aggregator (GoogleReader, Bloglines, etc.) and then doing a lot of scanning and skimming of blog posts. Somedays I get a chance to read many posts; on other days it is pretty cursory.

You've pointed out a problem we all face!


July 18, 2008 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

Thanks for the encouragement to comment on the blogs of others. I have just begun blogging and leaving comments on other people's blogs. Again, thanks for your post. :)

July 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnnette
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