Why do you blog? I know it’s a bit early for such existential musings. And, of course, you may be reading this and saying, ‘I don’t’. Lots of people do. Read this – and other blogs, that is – without being bloggers. But it’s the bloggers in particular I’m asking because they tend to be the ones who leave comments. And comments, feedback, dialogue, discussion – it’s one of the reasons I blog, or I thought it was. That, and maintain a regular writing habit. Oh and an online ‘author platform’ (as the publicists call it). Oh and I almost forgot, there’s my original reason – sharing. Sharing pics and milestones with family and friends who live far away.
But back to comments. I enjoy getting comments. We all do (I suspect). It’s a bit like getting letters from your readers – even the ones written in green ink are worth having. I don’t deliberately court them; I know there are things you can do (I’ve read about them on other blogs) like end posts with a question but unless that happens to be an essential part of whatever I’m writing it seems artificial. I realise some posts by their very nature will stir people into action and others, well , speak for themselves. And I’m fine with all that. What I would like is to be able to predict with some accuracy which posts will and which posts won’t. And I can’t. I really can’t tell.
Some bloggers, of course, get loads all the time. And the comments are often as good as the posts. Some bloggers are very good at commenting on other people’s sites; I’m not – or haven’t been of late – partly because with two pre-schoolers in the house I’m reading on my phone most of the time, and commenting there ain’t easy. With Twitter, of course, there’s an added dimension to the discussion – people frequently refer to a post in a tweet rather than sign in and write a comment, which is fair enough and just as welcome.
And even if they’re not commenting, people are certainly reading. Posts have been getting a stack of hits lately and I’ve fairly zoomed up the Tots100 rankings (three hundred and something places!). Lots of folks are reading. But there’s not a lot of talking. I know I answer most of my own questions most of the time. It’s a dirty rhetorical habit I’ve been trained to do. And – as I said – I enjoy comments when they come. But I find I’m perfectly relaxed about the posts that don’t seem to get the same kind of attention. It’s a bit like the comfortable silence you enjoy with somebody you know really well. There isn’t the need to fill the silence with words. Sometimes, just being there is enough. As Philip Larkin once wrote, ‘nothing to be said’ is sometimes more than enough. And…
…saying so to some
Means nothing; others it leaves
Nothing to be said.
But would I go as far as some have done and remove the comment box completely?