Reciprocity In Blogging

Many bloggers are fans of reciprocity in blogging but I am not one of those. Commenting on my blog isn’t a guarantee that I will read or comment on yours. The converse of that is true as well. I don’t expect that every blog I comment upon will lead to a comment on mine.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate comments or that I don’t want the authors of the blogs I visit to comment upon mine because I do. Rather it is a mature approach and a clear understanding of life. We are all busy and we are all being pushed and pulled in a million different directions. Work and personal responsibilities take up huge amount of time so I have to be judicious in when, where and how I spend mine.

I expect that you are doing the same too.

I also understand that some of you are frequent visitors here and that pushes me to come visit your blog. If you participate here consistently I will come by because I think it is the right thing to do but that still doesn’t guarantee that I will comment. I can’t speak for you but I don’t want to guilt people into commenting. I don’t want you to do it because you are obligated but because you want to comment.

Part of building a community is creating a condition in which people enjoy their time here and feel free to comment. If I do my job properly you will be happy to share your thoughts on these posts, or at least some of you will.

Some of you will remain as lurkers. I am always aware of your presence and am most curious about why you come and what you find interesting. One of the reasons that I turned off Livefyre and installed CommentLuv was to make it easier to comment and to provide an incentive to do so.

In other news I am pushing hard to make my Nanowrimo material into something special. If you have free time and the wherewithal you’re welcome to read through the 25k words there. Take a look and let me know if you love it, hate it or are ambivalent.

I am too close to it so my perspective is skewed. I think that I am onto something, but it needs work. Who knows maybe your comment will give me some sort of amazing idea and it will be the thing that turns it into a best seller.

Ok, it is after 1 am and I have to run. See you in the AM.

101 comments
CHOPPERPAPA
CHOPPERPAPA

I've seriously considered eliminating the ability to comment on my site all together. I haven't come to a clear decision and don't know if it would be a good thing or a bad thing.

At times I feel that it takes away from the purity of the post.

Thoughts?

CHOPPERPAPA
CHOPPERPAPA

I've seriously considered eliminating the ability to comment on my site all together. I haven't come to a clear decision and don't know if it would be a good thing or a bad thing. At times I feel that it takes away from the purity of the post. Thoughts?

Davina K. Brewer
Davina K. Brewer

I'm always surprised by the lurkers Jack.. those who RT my blog w/out commenting, or comment on occasion but say the read more often; I had no idea. Which is silly, b/c I am one of those people - I read WAY more than I share/comment. A matter of time/work which sadly means, I haven't had a chance to check out the book. (Best of luck of course.)

Comments aren't currency as you say, but I'd be lying if I said they didn't matter either. I really like the engagement, on my own blog AND when I take the time on others. So when my (IMO) good comment/silly RT are 'ignored,' I notice. It's not about reciprocity, I get people are busy and overwhelmed. IDK I just think it's at least professional courtesy (and curiosity) if someone reads and shares/comments on my blog enough for me to notice them, the least I can do is take the time to glance at their tweets/blog, see if it does hold some interest. FWIW.

Davina K. Brewer
Davina K. Brewer

I'm always surprised by the lurkers Jack.. those who RT my blog w/out commenting, or comment on occasion but say the read more often; I had no idea. Which is silly, b/c I am one of those people - I read WAY more than I share/comment. A matter of time/work which sadly means, I haven't had a chance to check out the book. (Best of luck of course.) Comments aren't currency as you say, but I'd be lying if I said they didn't matter either. I really like the engagement, on my own blog AND when I take the time on others. So when my (IMO) good comment/silly RT are 'ignored,' I notice. It's not about reciprocity, I get people are busy and overwhelmed. IDK I just think it's at least professional courtesy (and curiosity) if someone reads and shares/comments on my blog enough for me to notice them, the least I can do is take the time to glance at their tweets/blog, see if it does hold some interest. FWIW.

Theresa Torres
Theresa Torres

Hi Jack,
You're right, there is no obligation although it would be nice to also receive a visit even just once. That's what I do just to have a look-see. If I like the content, I might stay and lurk or leave a comment.
It's funny but sometimes if a post speaks out to me, I'm eager to comment but words fail me. I know how busy bloggers are but it really gives me a nice warm feeling when there's a reply to my comment.
I know I shouldn't be but I feel kind of hurt when I contribute something of value and it's not acknowledged. Some bloggers mentioned that this may probably be because it went to their spam folder so I try my best to keep an open mind.

Theresa Torres
Theresa Torres

Hi Jack, You're right, there is no obligation although it would be nice to also receive a visit even just once. That's what I do just to have a look-see. If I like the content, I might stay and lurk or leave a comment. It's funny but sometimes if a post speaks out to me, I'm eager to comment but words fail me. I know how busy bloggers are but it really gives me a nice warm feeling when there's a reply to my comment. I know I shouldn't be but I feel kind of hurt when I contribute something of value and it's not acknowledged. Some bloggers mentioned that this may probably be because it went to their spam folder so I try my best to keep an open mind.

Nina
Nina

Excellent post, Jack! I'm working on a guest post for another blogger who specifically asked me to write about comments (how I get them, manage them.) I have to really think about the answer because the truth is, I'm not sure.

I DO really like the comment luv feature and wish I could use it on Wordpress.com. I'm STILL using the free site. I just can't see myself managing all the tech stuff, but maybe one day I'll switch. I remember when you switched over all of your stuff yourself. You're a pro now! The newest version looks great too.

Nina
Nina

Excellent post, Jack! I'm working on a guest post for another blogger who specifically asked me to write about comments (how I get them, manage them.) I have to really think about the answer because the truth is, I'm not sure. I DO really like the comment luv feature and wish I could use it on Wordpress.com. I'm STILL using the free site. I just can't see myself managing all the tech stuff, but maybe one day I'll switch. I remember when you switched over all of your stuff yourself. You're a pro now! The newest version looks great too.

Janet Callaway
Janet Callaway

Jack, aloha. Good news/bad news. The good news is that last night I started reading your book-in-process; the bad news is that I did not have nearly as much times as I anticipated.

Jack, I love it and can hardly wait to read more. Because of you, Jack, I find myself wishing away my day so that I can get to the evening to continue reading your story.

It's a definite winner--as, of course, are you.

Will report back as I continue on with my reading. Thank you for sharing your life with us, Jack. Until later, aloha. Janet

Janet Callaway
Janet Callaway

Jack, aloha. Good news/bad news. The good news is that last night I started reading your book-in-process; the bad news is that I did not have nearly as much times as I anticipated. Jack, I love it and can hardly wait to read more. Because of you, Jack, I find myself wishing away my day so that I can get to the evening to continue reading your story. It's a definite winner--as, of course, are you. Will report back as I continue on with my reading. Thank you for sharing your life with us, Jack. Until later, aloha. Janet

Mikel King
Mikel King

Hi Jack,

I like this post as it is above all things honest.

I leave comments for the sole reason to let the writer know that I appreciate their work. I know as a writer you put a lot of time and energy into your work and sometimes it circulates for months before someone leaves a comment positive of negative. Let's be honest feedback is the only way to improve.

Even if I do not have much to say beyond 'good work' I always leave a comment and if I like the article I ALWAYS click an ad. I feel it is important to let people know you appreciate their work.

Oh yeah by the way: Good work! ;-D

Cheers,
Mikel King
http://jafdip.com

Mikel King
Mikel King

Hi Jack, I like this post as it is above all things honest. I leave comments for the sole reason to let the writer know that I appreciate their work. I know as a writer you put a lot of time and energy into your work and sometimes it circulates for months before someone leaves a comment positive of negative. Let's be honest feedback is the only way to improve. Even if I do not have much to say beyond 'good work' I always leave a comment and if I like the article I ALWAYS click an ad. I feel it is important to let people know you appreciate their work. Oh yeah by the way: Good work! ;-D Cheers, Mikel King http://jafdip.com

Carol Staples
Carol Staples

Hello Jack,
I am reasonably new to the blogworld, and I visit blogs because they entertain, fascinate, provoke me into thinking about a subject - whatever. I do agree with you about comments, although I must say that sometimes I wish visitors would give me a little feedback!
Thanks for another interesting read!

Carol Staples
Carol Staples

Hello Jack, I am reasonably new to the blogworld, and I visit blogs because they entertain, fascinate, provoke me into thinking about a subject - whatever. I do agree with you about comments, although I must say that sometimes I wish visitors would give me a little feedback! Thanks for another interesting read!

DorkDad
DorkDad

Boy, I really noticed that culture once I jumped into the "twitterverse" (at the suggestion of another dad-blogger), which I did, in turn, to broaden the reach of my own blog. I've found that the reciprocation phenomena extends there too. "You follow me, I'll follow you". I was even advised to use twitter that way ("I generally follow anyone who follows me") by the dad-blogger who talked me into twitter. The result: a totally cluttered, practically unusable twitter feed, and maybe two hits on my blog for every 90 from facebook.

We blog because we want to connect with people over topics that we find interesting, and I won't begrudge anyone for not finding my blog interesting. As a new-ish blogger who's lucky to get ANY comments on my blog posts (I notice you've already got 34 on this post), what I'd find just as valuable as a "reply" would be a "link" or a "share". If your post speaks to me I may not comment below, but I can share it within my digital sphere of influence, and maybe broaden your readership in the process.

-Dork Dad

DorkDad
DorkDad

Boy, I really noticed that culture once I jumped into the "twitterverse" (at the suggestion of another dad-blogger), which I did, in turn, to broaden the reach of my own blog. I've found that the reciprocation phenomena extends there too. "You follow me, I'll follow you". I was even advised to use twitter that way ("I generally follow anyone who follows me") by the dad-blogger who talked me into twitter. The result: a totally cluttered, practically unusable twitter feed, and maybe two hits on my blog for every 90 from facebook. We blog because we want to connect with people over topics that we find interesting, and I won't begrudge anyone for not finding my blog interesting. As a new-ish blogger who's lucky to get ANY comments on my blog posts (I notice you've already got 34 on this post), what I'd find just as valuable as a "reply" would be a "link" or a "share". If your post speaks to me I may not comment below, but I can share it within my digital sphere of influence, and maybe broaden your readership in the process. -Dork Dad

Mitch Mitchell
Mitch Mitchell

I have to admit that I almost disagreed with this post. Then I had to think about it and realize that over time I don't comment on a lot of blogs, but not for the reason you might think. I won't comment on blogs that have comment systems I dislike, and if I see those comment systems I won't even read those blogs.

However, I do feel an obligation more often than not to comment on a blog I'm going to retweet, or comment on the link when I retweet it to show I actually read it.

I'll say this. Since you and I do respond to comments we're doing what we can to encourage the blogging community; that's probably just as important as visiting other blogs. Then again, this is my night of visiting as many blogs as I can.

Mitch Mitchell
Mitch Mitchell

I have to admit that I almost disagreed with this post. Then I had to think about it and realize that over time I don't comment on a lot of blogs, but not for the reason you might think. I won't comment on blogs that have comment systems I dislike, and if I see those comment systems I won't even read those blogs. However, I do feel an obligation more often than not to comment on a blog I'm going to retweet, or comment on the link when I retweet it to show I actually read it. I'll say this. Since you and I do respond to comments we're doing what we can to encourage the blogging community; that's probably just as important as visiting other blogs. Then again, this is my night of visiting as many blogs as I can.

Adam Toporek
Adam Toporek

Jack, I really agree with your philosophy on this one. I know I've sort of discussed this at Bill's place before -- but if you go into this expecting tit for tat then 1) you're focused on the wrong things and 2) you are likely to be disappointed. I'm pretty sparse with my commenting, so it is easy for me to not expect a lot in return. But I think what you said in your comment to Craig about "Those who love blogging are those who last and grow" is one of the reasons to pace yourself and not burnout. Just remember that others are pacing themselves too, and it's usually not personal if they don't comment.

Adam Toporek
Adam Toporek

Jack,

I really agree with your philosophy on this one. I know I've sort of discussed this at Bill's place before -- but if you go into this expecting tit for tat then 1) you're focused on the wrong things and 2) you are likely to be disappointed.

I'm pretty sparse with my commenting, so it is easy for me to not expect a lot in return. But I think what you said in your comment to Craig about "Those who love blogging are those who last and grow" is one of the reasons to pace yourself and not burnout. Just remember that others are pacing themselves too, and it's usually not personal if they don't comment.

Aaron Biebert
Aaron Biebert

Jack, I agree. I'd love to read everyone's blog, but I hardly have any extra time to write on my own blog.

I wish I had more time...

Aaron Biebert
Aaron Biebert

Jack, I agree. I'd love to read everyone's blog, but I hardly have any extra time to write on my own blog. I wish I had more time...

Janet Callaway
Janet Callaway

Jack, aloha. Like you and Adrienne, I started out the same way and have evolved as you two have.

Jack, I read a lot more than I comment--sometimes because of time constraints and sometimes "just because." Oftentimes when I am reading a post before tweeting, if I am rushed for time, I make plans to return thought sometimes that just doesn't happen.

Look forward to reading your 25K tonight. Until later, aloha. Janet

Janet Callaway
Janet Callaway

Jack, aloha. Like you and Adrienne, I started out the same way and have evolved as you two have. Jack, I read a lot more than I comment--sometimes because of time constraints and sometimes "just because." Oftentimes when I am reading a post before tweeting, if I am rushed for time, I make plans to return thought sometimes that just doesn't happen. Look forward to reading your 25K tonight. Until later, aloha. Janet

Cathy
Cathy

I agree that there should be no guarantee of reciprocity but I've noticed that if I visit a blog repeatedly and offer up comments, to never have a single acknowledgement is kind of off-putting. Maybe it has to do with why I'm out here reading which has nothing to do with the fact that I have my own blog and want people to read and comment. I enjoy the community aspect and there is no community of it's all one-way.

Cathy
Cathy

I agree that there should be no guarantee of reciprocity but I've noticed that if I visit a blog repeatedly and offer up comments, to never have a single acknowledgement is kind of off-putting. Maybe it has to do with why I'm out here reading which has nothing to do with the fact that I have my own blog and want people to read and comment. I enjoy the community aspect and there is no community of it's all one-way.

Jack
Jack

It really depends on what you want. I like comments and often find that there are gold nuggets "buried" in there.

That engagement and interaction makes a huge difference for me so I am in favor of keeping them.

Jack
Jack

It really depends on what you want. I like comments and often find that there are gold nuggets "buried" in there. That engagement and interaction makes a huge difference for me so I am in favor of keeping them.

Jack
Jack

Hi Davina,

The lurkers fascinate me. That may sound silly but I am always curious about who they are and what brings them around.

If someone comments here on a regular basis I will make a point to check out their blog. I try to do it with most commenters but there is still no guarantee I will comment. Most of that is related to time but sometimes I don't know what to say.

There are commenters here who run blogs that look a bit like spam accounts but they leave solid comments so...

And there is no doubt that a good comment crew can help build your community.

Jack
Jack

Hi Davina, The lurkers fascinate me. That may sound silly but I am always curious about who they are and what brings them around. If someone comments here on a regular basis I will make a point to check out their blog. I try to do it with most commenters but there is still no guarantee I will comment. Most of that is related to time but sometimes I don't know what to say. There are commenters here who run blogs that look a bit like spam accounts but they leave solid comments so... And there is no doubt that a good comment crew can help build your community.

Jack
Jack

Hi Nina,

Nice to see you. You can manage all the tech stuff. It really isn't that hard and there are a million different tutorials/resources to draw upon.

I wouldn't say I am a pro, but I am getting more proficient. It is the same thing with the writing and community side. Practice, practice, practice and you figure out what works for you.

Jack
Jack

Hi Nina, Nice to see you. You can manage all the tech stuff. It really isn't that hard and there are a million different tutorials/resources to draw upon. I wouldn't say I am a pro, but I am getting more proficient. It is the same thing with the writing and community side. Practice, practice, practice and you figure out what works for you.

Jack
Jack

Janet,

You are being too kind and I really appreciate it. I have been working on this story on and off for a number of years- so this year is to get it out of me.

I am glad that you enjoy it and hope you enjoy what is to come because I am just getting warmed up.

Jack
Jack

Janet, You are being too kind and I really appreciate it. I have been working on this story on and off for a number of years- so this year is to get it out of me. I am glad that you enjoy it and hope you enjoy what is to come because I am just getting warmed up.

Jack
Jack

Hi Mikel,

I am a fan of leaving comments all over even if they are only a few words. Some people dislike receiving comments that say "good post" but not me. I am appreciative of the response.

Thank you for sharing that with us. Hope to see you again real soon.

Jack
Jack

Hi Mikel, I am a fan of leaving comments all over even if they are only a few words. Some people dislike receiving comments that say "good post" but not me. I am appreciative of the response. Thank you for sharing that with us. Hope to see you again real soon.

Jack
Jack

Hi Carol,

Welcome to the blog. Blogs that entertain and or educate are always of interest to me. I understand what you are saying about feedback. That never hurts.

Jack
Jack

Hi Carol, Welcome to the blog. Blogs that entertain and or educate are always of interest to me. I understand what you are saying about feedback. That never hurts.

Jack
Jack

Twitter really is an entirely different animal. I use Hootsuite and lists to keep thing organized. It makes it much easier for me to stay on top of things.

But within the blogosphere I work extra hard to try and build a community that enjoys spending time here and interacting with each other.

If you can try not to get caught up in comment numbers. Comments aren't currency and it is easy mistake a post with 100 comments as having more value than it does.

Jack
Jack

Twitter really is an entirely different animal. I use Hootsuite and lists to keep thing organized. It makes it much easier for me to stay on top of things. But within the blogosphere I work extra hard to try and build a community that enjoys spending time here and interacting with each other. If you can try not to get caught up in comment numbers. Comments aren't currency and it is easy mistake a post with 100 comments as having more value than it does.

Jack
Jack

Hi Mitch,

If I have trouble with a comment system I tend not to bother with it so I understand what you are saying.

Your comment and others about community are important and really should lead to a second post about reciprocity.

Except this time it is regarding comments on your own blog. If people take the time to comment on your blog you owe them some sort of response.

Jack
Jack

Hi Mitch, If I have trouble with a comment system I tend not to bother with it so I understand what you are saying. Your comment and others about community are important and really should lead to a second post about reciprocity. Except this time it is regarding comments on your own blog. If people take the time to comment on your blog you owe them some sort of response.

Jack
Jack

Adam, Not taking it personally is solid advice and something that many of us sometimes fall short on. I have seen a lot of hurt feelings in the blogosphere, including myself and most of the time it is just not worth it. More often than not it really isn't personal and there is simply no reason to waste time worrying about it.

Jack
Jack

Adam,

Not taking it personally is solid advice and something that many of us sometimes fall short on.

I have seen a lot of hurt feelings in the blogosphere, including myself and most of the time it is just not worth it.

More often than not it really isn't personal and there is simply no reason to waste time worrying about it.

Jack
Jack

Aaron, I am still working on inventing the 32 hour day- hope lives. ;)

Jack
Jack

Aaron, I am still working on inventing the 32 hour day- hope lives. ;)

Jack
Jack

Aloha Janet,

I understand that. I often talk about how blog readers are like an iceberg. Three quarters of the iceberg is located under water.

Out here in the blogosphere three quarters of our readers never comment- but they are out there.

Jack
Jack

Aloha Janet, I understand that. I often talk about how blog readers are like an iceberg. Three quarters of the iceberg is located under water. Out here in the blogosphere three quarters of our readers never comment- but they are out there.

Jack
Jack

Hi Cathy. I am in agreement with you there too. If someone visits my blog regularly I try to make a point to show up and look around at theirs.

What irks me is when they never respond to the comments I leave. You don't have come comment here but if I show up at your place than it is only right to reply.

Jack
Jack

Hi Cathy. I am in agreement with you there too. If someone visits my blog regularly I try to make a point to show up and look around at theirs. What irks me is when they never respond to the comments I leave. You don't have come comment here but if I show up at your place than it is only right to reply.