So, a while back I wrote a post about how I intended to be a better Internet citizen, and one of the things I said I intended to do was to comment more often on the blogs I read.
When I said it, it sounded like a simple enough task, but after a day or two of not… actually doing it, I came to realize that there is me, and then there are People Who Comment.
Asking around on Twitter and various other Internet forums has only supported that conclusion. There are people who make a habit of commenting regularly – in fact, it seems like second nature to them to add a thought or idea to everything they read. Then, there are people who just don’t, but really wish they were better at it.
That, too, seemed pretty universal. For those of us who don’t comment regularly, we really wish we were better at it. However, I’ve seen all kinds of excuses for not commenting, that I hope to be able to address over this next few weeks.
I’ve been working on becoming a Person Who Comments for a little while now, and when I’ve mentioned it on Twitter, a few people have mentioned that my efforts have urged them to try to get closer to being a Person Who Comments themselves. I know from my own experience over the last few weeks, though, that it’s just not as easy as it sounds.
While becoming a Person Who Comments has many different benefits (for real, I’m totally not just blowing smoke up your ass), there’s equally as many excuses for not commenting, all of which I have heard from various people over the last few weeks. For my next feat of blog, I will tell you why all of your reasons are bullshit. This is not because I am mean, but because I am trying to encourage your participation in my project, and I am not one for gentle coaxing, more like “Your way sucks and here’s why, let’s do it my way instead.”
Let’s talk about the two main reasons that people (myself included, of course) cite as excuses for not commenting on blogs:
“I don’t have time!”
You have time to read blogs. Commenting, once you’re practiced at it, takes mere moments more. Just because you don’t have time to write a novel in response is no excuse for not commenting at all. Also? Many of you actually WRITE BLOGS. You tell me that you have time to be all long winded and detailed talking about your shoe collection, time to read about the shoe collections of 1800 other people, and no time to say “Wow, I really like those shoes?” Seriously, that is pretty effing weak.
Things we will address to kick that excuse in the nads:
- Working on cutting down the time it takes you to leave a comment
- Some tools that totally streamline the whole process
- Actually practicing leaving comments. Because, come on.
“I don’t have anything to say, so I don’t say anything!”
Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Ok, are you human? Have you been to the grocery store, the mall, Target, ANYWHERE PUBLIC recently? 95% of us have nothing worthwhile to say and we all say it anyway. All the time. Constantly. We talk. A lot. When someone says something brainless and pointless to us, we say something equally brainless and pointless back. Not that all blogs and comments are brainless and pointless, I am just expressing to you that “I have nothing to say, so I said nothing?” Yeah, and what planet are you from? We’re people. We LIVE to say shit when we don’t actually have anything to say.
Secondly? If you are a blogger? How many times have you thought to yourself, “Wow, if people can’t say something totally witty, deeply insightful, perfectly composed and dripping with brilliance, I WISH THEY WOULDN’T COMMENT AT ALL!” Yeah? Never. So stick that in your pipe and smoke it. Damn.
Things we will address to overcome this ridiculously craptastic excuse:
- How to recognize actual potential comments as they float through your brain
- Overcoming your Commenter Inadequacy Anxiety
- How commenting makes you a good listener
Becoming a Person Who Comments really hasn’t been easy for me. I wouldn’t say I’m even close to there yet. However, I know I’m doing better than a lot of people, and I know everything (like NaBloPoMo) is easier when you’re doing it with other people.
What I’ve actually made work for myself was addressing my own reasons for not commenting, and then setting myself various challenges to meet each day or week, depending on the challenge. This has lead to a couple of things:
1. It’s not totally consistent yet, but I do find myself commenting more and more naturally all the time, in the way that I think People Who Comment must.
2. In the short time that I’ve been commenting more, I’ve had some really great conversations, come in contact with some awesome people, seen my own blog traffic go up, and actually kind of had a lot more fun on the Internet than I had been recently.
If you’re interested in following along with the challenges (I will start with the same easy ones I started with, don’t worry) and working on becoming a Person Who Comments, all you have to do is the following two things:
THING THE ONETH: Every Monday (at least, though additional days are possible), there will be a new challenge intended to help you become a Person Who Comments, and a day by which to complete it. Your job? Complete the challenge.
THING THE TWOTH: Once you have completed the challenge, and on or before the day the challenge is to be completed, email me at PeopleWhoComment [at] gmail.com to let me know you’ve completed it, along with a recent post you’ve written on your own blog (or a recent favorite on another blog, if you are a non-blogger) that you’d like to see featured on Becoming a Person Who Comments. Why? Because one, people who are trying to become People Who Comment need things on which to comment and two, I cannot afford prizes, but I can send you a couple of my tens of readers for your worthwhile efforts. Also? If you manage to complete every single challenge? I will definitely come up with… something. I promise.
Challenge for Monday, November 2
To be completed by: Wednesday, November 4th.
Challenge: We’re starting easy. All you have to do, by Wednesday, is answer the following questions in the comments:
1. What’s your standard commenting style? Once in a while? Never?
2. What’s your standard excuse for NOT commenting? (It’s probably lame, mine were)
3. Do you think you’ll be able to become a Person Who Comments?
Answer those questions in the comments section by Wednesday and email PeopleWhoComment [at] gmail.com with your favorite recent blog post (by you or someone else) and you’ll be done with the first Becoming People Who Comment challenge.
I promise, it’s actually pretty worthwhile.
PS – if you have the MS Paint skills to make a tiny banner I can put above these posts, I’ll give you my undying gratitude. Also, if you are capable of making badge thingers, I’d like that, too. If you haven’t noticed, my site is kind of plain (no, really! It is!) and I’d like to be able to make these posts stand out a little more.