Thoughts on Thursday: The Art of Commenting


The Art of Commenting

It has come to my attention (thank you inner self) that I…well…how do I say this nicely? Hmm. OK. I’m just gonna come out and say it.

I suck at commenting.

I really, really do. I had this great discussion post about blog tours and three stars that garnered some wonderful comments..and at the time of writing this post I still have not responded to a single comment. And I’m not ignoring you on Twitter, I’m really not…I. Just. Suck. I’m sorry.

It got me to thinking about the art of commenting and responding to others on our blogs and on the various social media platforms we use. I don’t know what is wrong with me. And by the time I get around to thinking, “Ya know, I need to respond to…OHMYGOD! Twenty-three new comments!?!” at that point I’m overwhelmed…and hyperventilating a bit. My next thought after that is, “It’s been two weeks. Will they even remember?”

Guys, if there was a class in Comment and Response Suck a Tude, I’d get an A…minus. I know. It’s bad.

That’s why I need y’all’s help. How do you all do it? What is your commenting method? 

I have a (more than) full-time job. I’m a public school teacher, and I thank stars that most of you understand the inner struggles and time consumption of being one. (Thank you!) I don’t have a family, at least not in the traditional sense of the word, so I don’t have sticky-fingered minions running around amuck terrorizing the dog and romantic, practical, social and financial conversations to have with my SO. My weekends are typically my own. I have a very boring relaxed real life.

And yet I am sucking so hardcore at this when many of you do have families and spouses and hectic and wonderful lives. I know some of y’all out there who have completely full and busy lives, and I’m just like, “How do you even?” Super Woman Awards to you all! (Will you settle for stickers? Teacher, remember? :))

How do I not have time for something that’s so important? So what’s my problem? How come I can’t get it together?

Where do you find the time to “do it all”?

What is your comment-back method?

How much time do you spend responding to comments? 

48 thoughts on “Thoughts on Thursday: The Art of Commenting

  1. I’m more of a C+/B- at comment replying because it does get so overwhelming. I’ve found the way that works best for me is to reply on my phone. I have the Blogger app and at night when I’m watching a show I’ll reply to as many comments as I can. I’m still behind but I’m making progress so that makes me feel a little better. I know there’s a blogger who has a commenting policy that I thought made sense – she only replied to comments if there was a question asked but used her focus to return the visit. Good luck and don’t beat yourself up!

  2. Time is always a struggle, but I find that it is much easier from my phone. The mobile app is working better since the upgrade even if the reader is less useful. ..I’m not sure that I have a method, it that I am particularly good at it. Some times you just have to say thanks, or click like, and that is okay…as far as time, I spend about an hour in the morning reading and responding and at least an hour at night writing. Scheduling posts really helps keep your content flowing with out having to write all day. 😊

    • Yes, time IS always a struggle. I go back and forth with keeping the app on my phone. For the longest I never used it. Maybe I’ll keep it specifically for replying to comments during the day.

  3. When I was over on Blogger, I used IntenseDebate which would send me emails when I received a new comment. I didn’t have to visit the site to respond so I could do it anytime, and pretty much anywhere. Plus the commenter was notified that there was a response.

    When I moved over to WordPress (self-hosted), IntenseDebate wasn’t an option so I moved over to Disqus which had the same ability. After reading some articles recently, I dropped Disqus and went to the native WP Comments backed with Postmatic and CommentLuv plus one other plugin that allows users to edit their comments within 5 minutes of posting (I’m blanking on the name).

    In addition to this, I created a filter in Gmail that moves all emails related to Comments to a specific directory. So I can focus solely on responding to comments when I have a few minutes to spare. (I do the same thing with incoming Blog Post notifications from other bloggers.)

    I also figured out that after 8 hours of sitting at computer at work the last thing I wanted to do on a weeknight is be sitting in front of my laptop at home. So I created some keystroke shortcuts on my iPad mini for my name, email address and website so I can be more efficient responding to comments and commenting on other blog posts during the week instead of focusing all those activities on the weekends.

    This seems to work for me, but with the recent move to the native WP comments, I still need to rework my Gmail filters.

    Terri M., the Director
    Second Run Reviews

      • When I created my blog I limited the days per week I was posting and most of the time I am able to keep that schedule. This allows some down time between posts which I need and have grown to love. I know what days I will get comments and can set aside some time to review posts on those days. Not that I don’t get comments on the off days, but it not as many as the days I make a post live.

        Terri M., the Director
        Second Run Reviews

  4. I’ve read several time management workshops and read some books. I can sum it all up as: You can’t do it all. You just have to realize it, accept it and move on. It’s also a lot about prioritizing. Is your blog your priority? How important are your readers?

    I always comment back. Sometimes it’s as short as thank you. Other times it’s a bit longer. Depends but I do try my best cause I want my readers to know they matter to me. It doesn’t usually take me very long to reply 🙂

    • See, I think that’s where I struggle. I invest so much of myself and time at school with being efficient in accomplishing tasks and planning (because a teacher’s work is never done) that when I come home I want to be the exact opposite of that. Y’all are important to me! I need to work at showing it better. 🙂

  5. I try to respond to every blog comment. I go through all my social media sites two or three times daily…and acknowledge all personal comments though I do not engage in extended conversations. I save those for emails as need. Must admit marketing takes up my writing time, but I feel it important to reply to anyone who acknowledges my work as a writer or blogger.

    • I can’t imagine trying to write and market yourself. I would need a bazillion hours to get it all done! But I agree, I also think it’s important to respond to those who acknowledge our work. I’m working on getting better!

  6. I totally understand your problem. I mostly don’t get a lot of comments :P, but when there are too many comments, I ‘LIKE’ those comments where there’s nothing to reply…and reply when I feel there is something worth replying. But, I DO feel guilty. In my case, it’s not always lack of time..I just find it a lil’ overwhelming to start a conversation. It’s a dilemma: on one hand I put up a post or a status and on the other hand, I don’t want to interact. I’m like: what’s the point of debating on social media…

  7. The question is : commenting back how? Replying to comments on your blog, or returning a comment on theirs?

    I don’t feel you should feel awful for being less than the best at commenting. Every blogger around knows that we ALL have lives outside of our blogs, and sometimes it is hard.

    Since you use wordpress, have you thought about getting the wordpress app? You can reply to comments on your blog then. While standing in line, laying in bed, or whatever. and it’s SO easy.

    As for me? I typically comment when I can, usually at breaks at work on on my phone while the passenger in the car lol I think trying out different things and finding out what works best for YOU is key.

  8. I try to respond to comments on my blog with in a few days, if not the day it’s left. But that’s mostly because I’m a forgetful person and am libel to forget I haven’t responded if I leave them too long.

    Which is one reason I LOVE the plugin “Comments Not Replied To”. It shows me quickly and easily which comments I haven’t responded to yet. Which makes them harder for me to forget about!

  9. I know what you mean, I end up replying to comments each weekend and I’ll have comments to respond to that are over a week old and just think ‘has it been too long?’ and question if I should have a twice weekly routine. I am the worst. And I always worry that people think I’m being rude, but when you work full time have actual real life things to attend to, and need time to write the content for your blog it is so easy to fall behind on other things. Thankfully all comments are emailed to me so as long as I don’t delete my emails I can easily stay on top of my comments, but I don’t know how some people manage to stay so organised with their comments. Don’t feel bad because you’re not alone.

    • It is definitely easy to fall behind on other things! And I’m a pretty organized person, but I feel like sometimes I’m in a perpetual state of behindness. :/ I’m hoping everyone’s ideas help!

  10. I’ll have a sticker! *grabby hands*

    I don’t respond to EVERY comment. If someone’s just said, “Nice book haul, come check mine out” there’s really nothing to respond to. I only comment back if I can think of something to say.

    And I WILL comment (eventually) even if weeks have gone by, because I always think it’s nice when someone does that to me and I get a nice little email that someone cares enough to respond to my comment on their blog.

    So I kind of set some time aside and do all of my commenting back in one chunk, like once a week or whatever.

  11. I love the WordPress App for replying to comments on my blog. Then on the weekends, I try to visit the blogs of everyone who commented and leave a comment on theirs. I do suck at commenting on other interesting blog posts I come across.

    • I try to take advantage of the Save feature on FB and the Favorite feature on Twitter. If I found something during the day that someone posted I can go back and read it and comment later. I just delete the link or unfavorite it once I’ve reviewed the article and/or commented. Probably not exactly what the Twitter folks had in mind for the Favorite, but it works for me.

      Terri M., the Director
      Second Run Reviews

  12. I don’t reply to comments as soon as I get them, and a lot of the time, it’ll take a few days for the reply, not because I’m busy, but because I need to let it stew you know? I read the comments as soon as I get them, but I like to have a think about my response, take in all the opinions, see how I feel about it all, get a feel for what it is people think, you know? It’s okay to not know what to say, even if it’s just a thank you for commenting or liking the post, or saying ‘so pleased you agree’ or ‘it’s great to get other perspectives’ – just reply as you would like to be replied to, and you’ll be fine 🙂

    • If I did that I’d never remember to go back to them! I’m really bad about reading FB messages, but not being able to respond right away, and then I just forget! I agree – sometimes you need to let things stew.

  13. I mostly try to pick one hour each day for replying to comments on my blog and for commenting back. Then if I have mroe tiem I actualy visit some more blogs and comment. Else that’s for the weekends only, when I have more time or when I have a less busy day. If you reply to comments as soon as possible, at leats it helps not having suddenly a lot of comments, but I agree it still takes a lot of time. I also reply very late to comments sometimes. Maybe that’s more for myself as for the peoepl who left the comment, but I feel better having replied to them.

    • I feel better having replied to people, too. After I while I’ll realize I haven’t, and I feel really, really bad. Once school starts I won’t be able to respond until I get home, so I think I’m going to get into the groove of setting aside one hour at home to catch up from that day while watching TV.

  14. You can just drop a sticker any time 😉 Teaching is HARD, it is absolutely more than a full time job! I think with commenting, you just have to cut yourself some slack. A few will get missed or lost in the shuffle, but I promise we will still love you 😀

    That said, I should really take my own advice here. I am like, stressed out about commenting about 100% of the time. But like you said- TIME. There isn’t any. So I look at my blog, and it’s like I FINALLY finish a post, and then BAM, I realize there are a crapton of comments I have from two posts ago. I don’t have a job- at least not one that pays any money hahha- but I have two small humans, and man, they are time sucks. The problem is, even when they DON’T require ALL the attention, they still prevent ME from doing anything. The second I try to get on a computer, suddenly they both need something (they’re 4 and almost 2) and I have done nothing. Add to that a non-supportive spouse who works 12 hour days and well… you get the idea.

    My bottom line? I have no idea. I don’t sleep much, but I don’t recommend that- as I said, I recommend cutting yourself some slack 😉 Also, I think it is absolutely okay to respond after the fact- even on social media. I do it ALL the time, because there is literally no other way for me to communicate! Good luck, I know the struggle, and it is REAL.

    • Teaching IS hard. Uhh. I know what you mean. Baby does the same thing when I get into the computer, and she’s only a dog! Those kids need some scheduled naps! Take them to McD’s and let them run around on the playground. 🙂

  15. I usually try and reply back within 48 hours of receiving comments on the blog, quicker if it is twitter. I also try and go round the blogs I follow via the Digg app at least once a week. It is so difficult and actual life is that little bit more important than virtual life (well some of the time!)

  16. I like replying to comments in blocks, because like you I’ll open up my comment box and go “YIKES NO”. I mean, I LOVE comments. I love it when people take the time to write something lovely on a blog post I’ve worked hard on. But it sometimes does take me a while to get back to them.

    As for commenting back, I do click on their blogs and see if there’s anything that catches my eye. But it’s not mandatory for me. I only comment if I actually have something to say.

  17. There is a lot of good advice in these comments. I am pretty good about replying to comments, I always answer questions and if I have nothing valuable to say back to a general statement I’ll go visit and save my comment for their blog. I’m still in the stage of trying to build regular visitors, so I keep track with the WP Top Commentators plugin/widget. That way I at least know the top 10 people who have something to say to me.
    I don’t reply to comments that are just a “nice post” and I don’t feel the need to always say thanks, but again I will visit their blog.
    I’ve written a discussion post about commenting, but I keep putting off posting it because it seems like everyone else is writing one, too. But maybe it’s something we qll want to talk about a lot…?

  18. I comment on other people’s blogs all the time, but it used to drive me bonkers because there was always a lot of blogs to comment on, but I think the secret to it is to just do it at your own pace. Do 5 a day or 10 a day or whatever – stop when you feel like you’ve done too much or you’re already starting to feel demotivated. It’s not good if you feel forced while doing it! And I never reply like straight away most of the time… I wait for a day or two then start cracking on the links 😉

    Faye at The Social Potato

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