Something I said in my reply to a comment on a post on my blog:
When I first started blogging on WordPress, I didn’t understand the Comments part of blogging. I’d popped my blogging cherry on tumblr, and tumblr was different from WordPress when it came to interaction/commenting.
Comments are a part of the post they’re on.
When you comment on a post, you’re adding content to the content of the post. When the post writer replies to the comments on their posts, they’re also adding more content to the content of their post.
I learned that from those who commented on my posts and shared with me the fact that they often read my posts for the comments and my replies to those comments rather than the post itself.
There also used to be this person who kept referring to their comments on my posts as “posts” and they saw their commenting as blogging with me on my blog. They viewed themselves as being a co-blogger on my blog. It annoyed me, and because it did it made me hmmm… about it, and I realised that they had a good point.
Many bloggers think that the comment section is separate from their post.
That’s how I used to see it, even though long before I started blogging I used to enjoy reading the comments on blog posts because I saw them as adding content to the post itself, but I didn’t think about it consciously until after I started blogging and it took a while to get there.
Because not all bloggers view comments as part of the continued flow of the post – the conversation started in the post itself by the writer continues in the comments and becomes a dialogue rather than a monologue – it can make commenting on a blog post complex, especially if you’re me and you want to chat about what was in the post but the post writer just wants praise, simple feedback and not a conversation, more in depth feedback.
As I’m writing this reply, I’m thinking – I should turn this into a post
Melanie of Sparks sometimes introduces her posts as a comment she wanted to leave on someone’s blog post but she had so much to say that she decided to turn it into a post on her blog instead.
So, your comments on other bloggers’ posts are part of your blogging, they’re posts in a way, they’re just posts on someone else’s blog which become part of their post.
I learn a lot about bloggers from their commenting style on other bloggers’ posts and on their own posts – bloggers who don’t reply to comments… or who only reply to a select few… always interesting to hmmm… about that.
I said that in reply to Angie of King Ben’s Grandma after she said in her comment on my post that: “It’s funny, I actually do more writing in comments than posts, even did a post about it, but I never really considered that part of my blogging. When I think about MY blogging it’s the King Ben’s Grandma page. So weird…“
Angie and I have comment-chatted about her comments before – she has a very unique commenting style.
Her comments stand out from the crowd of comments in a great way… and when I’m reading other blogger’s posts whom I know she also follows, I check to see if she’s left a comment, because I love reading her comments.
Reading her comments is insightful, energising, inspiring, fun.
They can add a spark to a post which is a bit flat – OMG did I say that out loud, that’s so rude. I wonder if all the bloggers whom we both follow will get all offend-y paranoid-y about it… maybe I was talking about her comments on my posts.
Here’s something else I said in reply to an Angie comment:
There’s this thing I do with my blogging – posts, replies and comments – which I also do more now in RL because of doing it in blog, which is to share my thoughts openly. The thoughts behind, what’s going on inside.
Recently I watched the TV series Fleabag.
I keep mentioning it to people. When I first heard about the series – it won some Emmy stuff and was on BBC news because of it. I thought – It’s too popular, I’m not watching it. My partner saw the same news and said – Let’s watch it! He put it on and I thought – I’m going to hate it. Watched a bit – it’s a British Sex and the City, ugh! Watched a bit more – OMG it’s effing brilliant!!!
The genius who created and stars in it has her main character do this to camera reveal of her real thoughts/feelings and then you watch and hear how she acts which is not always true to her thoughts/feelings because – socialising with people, must pretend, be careful, etc!
When I write posts, and sometimes replies and comments, I tend to do the to camera thought/feeling process reveal. Eg. This is what I’m thinking/feeling about this social scenario, it’s me working things out with myself before I say or do something.
Maybe others can relate, maybe they can’t… but most of us think/feel a lot of things before we publicly say and do stuff. We often think we’re alone in those thoughts/feelings, having those kind of thoughts/feelings, but we’re often not – so I share mine in case someone else is having them too and feels alone, confused, afraid, worried, etc, about having them.
I am doing my natal Chiron in the 7th – heal yourself by revealing yourself, and maybe someone else finds healing for themselves in your healing of self by sharing your “wounds” and general messed up self
The faux facade thing hurts all of us.
I’m going to go off on an Astrology tangent now – skip this bit if you’re not interested (how will you know when this bit is over? Hmmm… I’ll put a pic or something after this bit as a sign of its end), but it is about writing.
Writing isn’t just about writing a post, or writing a book if you’re a book-writing blogger, it includes writing comments and replies.
When I blog I’m not only doing my natal Chiron, I’m also doing other placements in my whole chart, which includes my natal Mercury.
Here’s an excerpt from an excellent article – Mercury: The Writer’s Friend by Arlan Wise on Astrodienst – which is both about writing and Mercury – Mercury’s part in writing:
“In this article, we’ll focus on Mercury as the writer’s friend and examine his role in and his effect upon communication.
Now let’s mix in the planets. Mercury adapts to the energy of the planet that he is near. He can do this because he is a shape shifter.
In Greek mythology, Mercury, called Hermes, is the little brother of Apollo, the Sun god. Mercury is tethered to the Sun and can only move 28 degrees away. When we find him in the same sign as the Sun he is saying “I think it, therefore it’s true”. One’s thinking is subjective with a strong identification with oneself. Mercury combined with the Sun writes autobiographies and opinion pieces. His work is original. When Mercury is running before the Sun, he gathers information and gives us time to think before acting. When he follows the Sun, action precedes thinking and there is rationalization. When Mercury is in a sign before or after the Sun’s sign he has some objectivity and distance from the ego.
Mercury combined with Moon is reflective, sensitive. The Moon is Mercury’s mother, or father in the Vedic system where Moon is masculine. Both are planets that have to do with memory and influence one to write about home and family and use the emotions of the past.
Mercury combined with Venus gives artistry to one’s words. He puts his thoughts in a pretty package. He writes beautiful descriptions of nature. He writes love stories and romance novels.
Mercury plus Mars gives impulsive, provocative, and persuasive writing. He likes to stir up controversy. He writes books about war and emergencies. He can write on science. He will be a whistle blower. He prefers to be a journalist rather than a novelist. He loves investigative journalism where he can stir up trouble by telling the truth. He is a prolific writer who writes quickly.
Mercury combined with Jupiter writes travel guides and stories about foreign countries. He is adept at writing spiritual literature and philosophical works. He uses many words and can write long books. He may be too verbose tending towards verbal diarrhea. He needs to find a good editor.
Mercury and Saturn is a good combination for a writer. It gives the concentration that is necessary to finish and edit a piece of writing. They are friends and work well together. The writing is precise clear, realistic, and accurate. They love to do research and write about history, finances, and business.
Mercury and Uranus send the mind to the outer edges and come up with some strange ideas. This combination gives originality and ingenuity. They create exciting, upsetting writings. They can indicate a genius, an innovative person who thinks in new ways. People with this combination write science fiction, utopian and dystopian stories. The work is thrilling and always pushes against the outer edge of accepted thinking.
Mercury melded with Neptune writes poetry. They use intuition to produce fables and works of fantasy. They love to write inspiring spiritual words. They write stories about romance and glamour. They think nothing of bending the truth.
Mercury combined with Pluto gives a mind that is penetrating, investigative, often interested in medical subjects. They write detective novels, horror stories, psychological thrillers and murder mysteries. They will write transformative literature.
Mercury with the Nodes. These people are born to write and communicate. Mercury walks with you thorough life. He is the guide to your destiny.
Mercury and Chiron find the words that heal self and others. They write about alternative methods of health and healing, often going back to once used but forgotten methods. The words they use may hurt and process of writing can be uncomfortable as it heals.”excerpt from Mercury: The Writer’s Friend by Arlan Wise on Astrodienst
For those of you who think my posts are exceedingly long… that’s apparently due to my natal Mercury being aspected by natal Jupiter: “He uses many words and can write long books. He may be too verbose tending towards verbal diarrhea. He needs to find a good editor.“
My natal Mercury makes connections with: The Moon, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, The Nodes, the Ascendant (which is Virgo, whose ruling planet is Mercury) and Midheaven (which is in Gemini, whose ruling planet is Mercury).
Mercury is also the Dominant planet of my natal chart – one of the top posts on my blog is a guide to finding the Dominant planet of your chart: What Planet Dominates You?
I wrote that post after I got frustrated while searching online for a guide to showing how to find my Dominant planet, so I wrote a How-To for anyone else who might be searching for the same thing to make their search easier than mine was…
Later on I came across a bit of advice from a blogging guru who recommended writing How-To’s as a way to make your blog popular.
That particular blogging guru added the proviso to only do that if:
1 – No one else had done it before – in other words you couldn’t find the How-to when you needed it so you created one in case others needed it like you.
I remember that because it made me happy that for once in my life I’d actually followed advice… even if I’d done it before reading the advice (I tend to do things backwards like that).
2 – Others had done a How-To on that before, but you could improve on what they’d done in a helpful manner.
That blogging guru recommended adding links to other How-To’s on the same thing as yours, especially if those How-To’s were helpful to you and you’d used them as inspiration for yours.
Sometime this year I happened upon an astrology blog while looking up something else and found they’d done a post on How-To find your Dominant planet which was almost identical to mine in how they’d worded it and done it… naughty naughty blogger.
Copying other people’s posts and writing style in a way that is basically a copy and paste theft does happen more often than it really should in the blogosphere… if you find yourself tempted to do it, don’t do it, it’ll do your own style of writing more damage than you realise even if it gets your stats to go boom.
It’s similar to a singer trying to sing in a style which isn’t suited to their natural voice – you’ll fuck up your vocal chords.
Bloggers who blatantly copy and paste other blogger’s posts and pretend they wrote them tend to be super paranoid about other bloggers doing that to them and copyright themselves up the wazoo, putting huge WARNING signs about how super duper copryrighted their work is. That paranoia is a short cut to writer’s block.
If you’re a blogger worried about having your writing stolen – don’t blog.
Or don’t post anything which would crush you if it was copied, plagiarised, etc.
This is the internet.
But be aware that worrying about that will curb your creative flare and creativity, and sap the fun out of expressing yourself freely on your blog.
Remember this – if you’re the source, you’ll always be the source, and even when you ask them not to… others can steal, copy, plagiarise, imitate, and try to pretend to be the source but they’re not the source of your stuff and they can’t take that away from you – they’re taking some water from your stream, but you’re the stream and you know where the source of that stream is – within you.
Being inspired by the style of writing and posting of another blogger, and experimenting with your version of it is something else entirely – do give credit where credit is due, it’s inspiring for those who inspire you to know they’ve inspired you.
I went off on a tangent within a tangent, what I was actually going to say and do was – if you would like to explore your natal Mercury and you’ve never had your chart done before:
Go to Astrodienst (Astro.com) and use their Free Horoscopes feature which has a free natal chart generator which you can access as a Guest User so no account necessary and your data gets deleted once you’re done with it. And you can use their free AstroClick Portait to get a free interpretation – so just click on Mercury and it’ll tell you all about it.
Mercury is the stickman with horns on his head – those horns are actually antennae picking up communication waves from the air.
This is sort of what it’ll look like (I’ve added some extras to the basic chart):
Okay Astrology tangent over…
Wtf was this post about?
The Ultimate(ly pointless) Guide to Blog Comments… I called it that because I was messing around with the sort of titles blogging gurus use and ultimately… the best guide is the one you create by yourself, from personal experience, for yourself.
I’m going to do one of those bullet point type of things which I totally suck at doing so it won’t be that at all:
If you’re a new blogger (or even if you’re not) and haven’t read any blogging guru advice guides at all…
1 – Think about why you haven’t done that yet.
Maybe it’s better not to…
I didn’t read any of those when I was a new blogger either, because I know myself and I wouldn’t have been able to blog at all if I’d read those before I’d just done some blogging first.
I did however follow a lot of blogs before the idea of having a blog of my own entered my head (thanks to my niece – I thought she was crazy when she told me to tumblr myself, but I was having a midlife crisis Uranus transit which made me up for doing and being “crazy”), and so I had absorbed a lot of inspiration, had a vague guideline from looking at blogs and loving them and what they did from the outside.
Looking at a blog from the inside is different from looking at it from the outside.
I made a mess of mistakes… and learned a lot from them.
When I felt ready enough not to freak out and delete my blog due to feeling useless, unworthy, not good enough, etc… I looked at blogging guides.
2 – When you’re ready to read How-To Blog posts… here are some tips for reading blogging advice:
- most blogging advice which is good is simple and easy to understand… it’s basically common sense, the sort of thing you figure out for yourself by blogging, making mistakes and learning from those.
- top popular posts giving great blogging advice tend to be copy/pasted like crazy – sometimes ruthless people claim ownership of that advice and don’t link to where they got it from because they want to be the source. If you can – find the original, the source, Google can help with that, so can forums sometimes. The original author probably wrote other informative guides too and usually has a great blog.
- pay attention to how reading the blogging advice makes you feel. If you feel bad and want to delete your blog, perhaps start from scratch, it’s not a good blogging guru or good blogging advice for you even if everyone else swears by them and it. Get away from it ASAP! (That includes this post and me). If you feel good, encouraged, supported, etc – then it’s good for you.
- if the blogging advice is on a blog dedicated to giving blogging advice – check to see if your blogging guru doling out blogging advice has a blog other than a blogging advice blog – usually they do, they often have more than one. The best blogging gurus have usually been blogging since blogging began and was far more difficult to do than it is now, and tend to have at least one active blog (and probably have had many other blogs which may no longer be active or exist) separate from their blogging advice blog to which they link because they’re open and frankly it’s a good way to get traffic to their other blog. If all the blogging guru has is a blog about blogging – how can you check if they follow their own advice and if it works, and other questions?
If you’re not sure where to start…
Start here – a very good all round blogging guide (not all the authors of those posts have blogs of their own but they work, still work or did work, for WordPress):
This particular article – Calling Emily Post: A Blogging Etiquette Roundup by Ben Huberman – has sections with links to relevant posts on:
- The ethical use of others’ content
- Reacting to unwanted attention
- How not to appear spammy
- Sensitive topics and sensitive readers
In the section – How not to appear spammy – there’s a link to – Say Something: Commenting Etiquette – which gives practical and truly good commenting advice (below are excerpts from that post – some are more excerpted than others, so go visit the post!):
- Read thoroughly. Before commenting, make sure you’ve read the entire post and the other comments before yours.
- Contribute something of value. Every post can be the start of a conversation. Try to add something substantial to move that conversation forward.
- Keep your comment comment-sized. If you have a lot to say on a certain subject, leave two or three representative sentences in the comment section, then link to a post on your own blog where you have expanded on the topic.
- Don’t leave shameless plugs. One of the top complaints in the comment thread on my last column was commenters who leave nothing but a link and a ‘thanks!’ There’s no shortcut to building a readership – intelligent and thoughtful comments are the way to go.
- But do link to your correct site. If you leave intriguing comments, other people will want to check out your blog – so make it easy for them to find you!
- Mind your manners. If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it in their comment thread. Criticism is fine, but there’s no need to be hateful. And remember, only a blog author can delete a comment, so if you comment in haste you might repent at leisure.
- Be yourself. I’ve discovered many favorite blogs by becoming a fan of a certain commenter. Rather than any one comment, it’s the style and personality of a commenter that really makes me want to read more of their work. Whether you are smart, witty, or just plain bizarre – be you! No matter your perspective, a unique voice will get attention.
The last point on that bullet point list brings me around in a circle to where I started this post.
I’m a fan of Angie’s comments! I’ve already said this to her in comment-chat – she could copy/paste her own comments and create posts out of them on her blog if she wanted to do that, that’s how awesome they are!!!
If you’re new to commenting…
Introverted or shy (I know it may seem like I’m not, but I’ve been painfully shy all my life)…
Unsure of how to introduce yourself via comment to other bloggers.
Start off easy, easy on yourself and others, like in RL, with some small talk (yes, I’m an Introvert, and I know small talk is ugh, nope, I can’t do this!!!) – eg. “Great post!”, “I enjoyed reading your post, it gave me inspiration”, “I loved what you wrote, I can relate, thank you for sharing”
Yes, I know what I said about that in a previous post, but it is a good method to start off with… small talk should ideally be the warm-up to other kinds of talk… at some point you need to evolve it beyond that, especially with those bloggers whose posts you regularly read and comment upon.
It’s like in RL, once you get to know someone you want to know more about them and hopefully vice versa, once you’re a regular… small talk should shift to a more regular type of talk.
“Great post! I like this bit because it reminded me of [share your story here and maybe even share a link to a post on your blog where you wrote about something similar – but be sure that blogger is okay with shared links, most are, I am totally cool with it… just not if I don’t know you, that’s all you’re sharing and you haven’t explained why you’re sharing the link – if you’re just sharing a link to your blog to promote your blog on mine and you don’t give a shit about my post or blog… grrr!]
If you’re a blogger and you have “Comments” open on your blog:
Reply to all the comments!
Some bloggers view replying to comments as being time-consuming. It can be if you reply like I do (takes me longer to reply to comments than write an exceedingly long post) and write a post-length reply, but I love consuming my time like that! I get a lot out of your comments and my replies to you, our comment-chats.
If it’s a problem for you, if you don’t have enough time to do it, just say “Thank you” that takes about a couple of seconds to do, you’ve at least got that much time to spare, don’t you… if someone took the time to read your post and leave a comment, then you have time to read their comment and reply.
If you’re just not into replying to comments…
But don’t want to remove the “comments” option because you want others to comment but you don’t want to reply…
1 – Warn people you don’t reply to comments in the blurb you can edit which is above the comment box – the default is Leave A Reply – but love and appreciate getting them. Then they know not to expect a reply and it’s up to them whether they comment anyway.
2 – There’s a handy “Like” button to “Like” a comment so the person who commented gets acknowledgment of receipt and reading of their comment, and doesn’t feel like an idiot for commenting – if I comment and I don’t get a reply or a comment-Like, I’m never commenting again. I might never read another one of your posts – if you don’t have time for me and my words… why should I have time for you and your words? Unless I know you and know you don’t reply to comments or do so sporadically… even then you could “Like” the comment to acknowledge that you’ve received it.
No one “Likes” being ignored. Do you?
3 – If when you comment on someone else’s post you like getting an acknowledgment of your comment from that blogger… and you get hurt when they ignore your comment, but it’s okay for you to ignore comments on your posts because that’s different – it’s not different!
BUT we are all different, unique individuals, even when and if we share similarities, we create our own blogging experience by being ourselves even when we’re trying to be someone else because you can be anyone you want to be online…
Let’s end this pointlessness with a famous quote?
Now you just have to figure out How-To be yourself…
Blogging is quite useful for that, through your posts, replies to comments on your posts, and comments on the posts of others… you discover yourself!
Keep an eye out for when you say you’re “this” in your posts but you’re “that” in your replies or no-replies to comments on your posts and you’re “the other” in your comments on other bloggers’ posts.
Over to you!
ps. If you’re a new blogger, and have never commented before and somehow stumbled into this post and got this far… you can use my post to test out your commenting.