The Becoming People Who Comment Challenge, #4

very sillyHanging in there, Internet? Are you seeing any improvements overall yet, or have you just pretty much stuck to the challenges alone? Also, have you met this new banner? Bellwether made it. FREAKIN’ ADORABLE. Anyway, Internet, let’s get right to it, because I want to get this post up early. I’m really counting on you for comments on this one, and I want to give you maximum thinky time for today’s topic.

Today’s Topic: Let’s Help Each Other Out

Ok, so, we’ve been at this for a little while now. I mean, it’s only the 4th challenge, but you guys have really taken to this thing, judging by a lot of the feedback I’m getting. Everything is actually happening exactly like I hoped, really. I am sure a lot of people are following along with the comments and working their way up, and that’s totally excellent. Other people have taken it a step further and are really starting to note and focus on their own commenting habits outside of the challenges as well, which brings me to today’s topic.

What tips can you give to your fellow Future People Who Comment? What have you found works for you in terms of motivating yourself to make comments?

Let me tell you some of mine.

1. I use the Better GReader extension for Firefox. Once installed, it lets me basically visit the site and comment from inside Google Reader. Kiss your “I like to read through a feed reader” excuse goodbye, kids.

2. When I’m feeling particularly hardcore, I do not allow myself to read blog posts – not even from my most favoritest, most hilariousest bloggers – if I’m not in the mood or don’t have the time to comment. If I don’t have the time or motivation to comment, I don’t have the time to read the blogs. You may not be as into self-punishment as I am, and that’s ok.

So how about you? How are you motivating yourself to become a Person Who Comments? When you’re about to click on to the next blog without making a peep, what makes you have that second thought and go ahead and comment? Is what you feel you get out of commenting serving as motivation at all?

Hey, while we’re talking about it, what are you getting out of your burgeoning commenting habits?

Today’s Challenge: Breaking Bad Habits

To Be Completed by: Thursday, November 19. A FULL WEEK.

Challenge: You may think this is a cop out, Internet, but bear with me. We’re trying to develop a HABIT here, and to develop a good habit, we have to overcome bad habits. You have a full week to break one of the following habits:

1. Reluctance to leave a “Me, too” comment if you feel other people have already said what you would have said; OR
2. Deciding not to comment because you don’t feel like you’d fit in with current or regular commenters on a certain blog; OR
3. Not commenting because you assume that the blogger doesn’t want to hear/doesn’t care about what you have to say; OR
4. Any other fear or insecurity that keeps you from commenting on a certain blog or blogs in general.

Basically – define your biggest commenting block (INSECURITY!) and force yourself to break it, repeatedly, for a full week. In order to become People Who Comment, I think we need to find all the little reasons that we are not YET People Who Comment and stomp them out.

When you’re finished, be sure to email me at PeopleWhoComment [at] gmail.com. Include a link to your favorite post that you’ve written recently, or favorite post that you’ve read recently if you don’t have a blog of your own. Links will be chosen at random for the Practice Section of the next post! I know very well that a lot of you are doing the challenges and not sending and email and you should know – if you’re not sending your email, you are RUINING my LIFE.

Commenting Practice

I’ve assigned a number to all of the emails sent to me after the first challenge and chosen three at random. If you feel like practicing your comments, go flex your muscles on some of your fellow Becoming People Who Comment Challenge participants!

This week, Carries submitted this post about heebiejeebies and surprise wasps, which actually sounds WAY WORSE than surprise penises.

Emma submitted a post from her younger brother’s blog, about a basset hound meet up. I did not know such adorable things existed. Basset hound meet ups, not basset hounds. I knew they existed.

And, one more for the WoW fans, from Adlib – a submission that made her laugh: The Sleazy Fun of Cheap Shots from Mortigan the Lock.

27 thoughts on “The Becoming People Who Comment Challenge, #4

  1. Shelly

    Oh wow. I just found this, and since I’m a notorious lurker, I’d love to participate. I’ll be sending you an email soon.

    Cool idea.

    TJ Reply:

    Hooray! It’s totally not too late to join in.

  2. Tami

    Actually, I think my biggest help has been these challenges. By actually DOING, I’m getting into the habit of DOING. I scrolled through my reader that first time, looking for a post to comment on. Now, I ask myself “can I comment on this” more often than I used to, and knowing that I WANT the answer to be, “Yes!” means it is yes more often than it used to be. =]

  3. Carrie

    I have to agree with Tami. My biggest problem has been shyness. The “I can’t possibly contribute anything to this conversation” kind, plus a little bit of “What if they don’t like what I have to say, or think I’m just being stupid?”. Feeling challenged to comment is helping me get past the shyness and participate, regardless of the consequences.

    It’s difficult, but already I’m seeing improvement. I think I will look into Firefox and that extension you mentioned. Being able to comment from the feed reader that I already have open will no doubt work wonders for me!

    P.S. It still could have been worse. It could have been Surprise Michael Stipe!

  4. Anna

    I agree about just having a reason to comment – once it became a mental thing (You should comment!) it was easier!

    Also – I’ve just downloaded better google reader, and I can’t get the preview thing to work. I have it set to preview always in the settings! Is there another plugin I need to run to make that work?

    TJ Reply:

    Did you get it straightened out? I’m not sure about it, to be honest, it just worked for me.

  5. Tracey

    Maybe I’m just an addon-idiot, but could someone explain how the better google reader helps? I’ve been using google reader, and the firefox addon…well, it doesn’t seem to do much… What am I missing?

  6. morgan

    I like when you have the other blogs for us to check out … I’m too lazy to find worthwhile blogs to read myself!

    TJ Reply:

    That is why people should remember to send in their email, or I have nothing to feature!

  7. Maria

    I just downloaded that plugin.

    The reason (excuse?) that I don’t comment as often as I should is that I generaly catch up on my reader while I’m nursing. And my son flips out if I lean over him to type. I usually end up opening a few tabs to commenting on a handful once he’s done.

    TJ Reply:

    Ok, babies are a totally different and reasonable excuse compared to, “I am nervous the blogger will think I’m dumb!”

  8. Adlib

    @Anna, the comments on the download page for the addon say that others are having that problem. I haven’t seen if the author has added a fix yet.

  9. Alicia @ bethsix

    I have managed never to know about that Firefox extension because I am an idiot. I have just installed it, and once I restart! Firefox, I hope to make commenting all the easier.

    I try to comment on anything that resonates with me, but I do have moments of “There are already so many comments; I can’t possibly add anything to this conversation” or “These comments have taken a totally different path than I was thinking, and I don’t want to look like a douche” or “I’m not a regular commenter, and these people already seem so friendly/cliquey with each other”… but I try to ignore those insecurities. Which probably makes me the person that is constantly saying exactly what everyone else said or exactly the opposite… So, yeah, I think I’m doing it wrong.

    I always read in Google Reader, and a lot of times, I read on my Blackberry in the car (typically as the passenger, heh). Anyway, I hate commenting with my phone, so I will uncheck the “Mark as Read” box at the bottom if I have something I want to say. Then, when I get home, it’s still unread, and I click through to the actual blog. Sometimes, though, by the time I’m on my laptop in the evening, several hours have passed, and I have lost the motivation to comment.

    TJ Reply:

    I’ve noticed the motivation to comment thing, too – if I don’t do it immediately, I’m not likely to do it. I need to work on that, too.

  10. Lara

    Oh man, I love that banner! Awesome.

    TJ Reply:

    I know, freakin’ adorable! I still have others, too, and I am totally going to send them to you as soon as my fingers are free.

    Lara Reply:

    Oh hey, no rush. Hope that didn’t sound like a hint, heh.

  11. Swistle

    What helps me comment is:

    1. Worrying that the blogger will think it’s not a good post if it doesn’t get comments, when it IS a good post.

    2. Wanting the blogger to know I’m here and reading.

    What most inhibits my commenting is:

    1. Worrying that because I didn’t read the other comments, I’ll be repeating someone else’s comment almost exactly, to comic effect.

    2. Worrying that because I kind of skimmed the post, I’ll be leaving a comment that shows clearly that I skimmed.

    TJ Reply:

    I’ve decided to just thunder into comment sections all willy nilly, throw my words out there and thunder away without thought to looking a little silly or repetitive. If I give myself too much time to think about it, I end up deleting everything and slinking away.

  12. Aunt Becky

    That plugin makes me want to hump your blog. And you.

    TJ Reply:

    It is just about the best thing that has ever happened to the entire Internet.

  13. Alias Mother

    I think this concept is great, and the challenges are strangely reminiscent of what I went through when I first started commenting in earnest a while ago. But, I’ve got a question.

    (Excuse me, I’m trying to think of how to phrase this without sounding like a whiny baby.)

    I actually used to comment a lot more, but I’ve kind of stopped because, well, I got tired of being ignored. I don’t think a blogger needs to respond to every comment (god, no), but do you think it’s reasonable for a regular commenter to expect an occasional response, either in the comments, via e-mail, or with a return blog visit? If I regularly leave thoughtful comments for months on end and get no acknowledgment, I assume that I’m either talking into a void or that the blogger hates me and wishes I would go away. So I go away.

    Fair or not?

    (It’s okay; you can tell me I’m being a baby. Sometimes I am a baby.)

    TJ Reply:

    You are totally not being a baby. I talked about this with a couple people recently about replying to comments. I used to only do it through email, then tried doing it on the site as well. Sometimes I reply to NO ONE and sometimes I try to reply to EVERYONE and it’s so hard to find the right balance that doesn’t eat too much of my time but also doesn’t make me look like an asshole.

    HOWEVER – no matter how much I comment back, I do READ every single comment and I do recognize names, and I try not to let someone comment more than a couple of times before they get some kind of response from me. I don’t think that’s unreasonable, and it’s something that I, personally, try to stick to. Now, when someone is getting thousands of comments, it’s different, but I try very hard to at least do that much. I can’t commit to answering everything, but I do try to make sure that every person gets some response at some point.

    You’re not being a baby. I definitely understand where you’re coming from, and understand it from both sides. I can pretty much 100% assure you, though, that even if you don’t get responses (even if that is kind of lame), the blogger definitely does not hate you. I promise.

  14. Gnomeaggedon

    Nice one!

    I don’t really have the time to comment right now, but it’s too late because I have started.

    Reminds me of a little post I did ages ago…

    I will dig it up…

    Meanwhile, it’s been nice commenting.

    Thank you!

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