Bottle of Blog | Profiles in Cloddiness

Regardless of whether you pay for commercial hosting or you prefer the freebie, I think it’s safe to say that even the most casual blogger puts a fair amount of effort into his or her own blog.  So then if that is accurate, then why the hell doesn’t anyone leave any QUALITY commentary?

After spending well over a decade in the digital trenches, I think I have a few theories as to why you may just be talking to yourself in a blogger’s echo chamber of sorts instead of generating any kind of substantive interest.

Note here that I’m defining interest as the quantity & quality of comments as to your material.  I am not talking about the number of followers or how many people have elected to receive email notification of new content.  Just because you may have hundreds of followers doesn’t mean that they are religiously reading your blog.

While there is no shortage of didacticisms on the web regarding how to entice readers into commenting, I don’t believe that it is about writing “compelling” material.  Sure, that’s part of the appeal, but to rely on it exclusively assumes that the reason you aren’t generating any quality commentary (if at all) is because your content sucks.

Call me prejudiced, but I disagree.

Big time.

Case in point:  This blog is not compartmentalized into any kind of specific content, like say, someone who blogs about mullets.  On these pages is a goodly amount of information on topics ranging from soup-to-nuts.  The subject matter is staggering, even if I do say so myself. There is literally something for everyone here, assuming the audience’s eyeballs are attached to a brain with some EEG activity going on. But do you want to know what the most popular topics are in terms of search words that led Internet users to this space?

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but the top search words with thousands of hits include the following:

Hell

Whore

Fatass

Fat people

Really fat people

This is the sum total interest in a blog that has a #2 page ranking with Google.

Puts into perspective for you the level that the average Internet user is on, doesn’t it? No wonder the History Channel has abandoned history- themed programming in favor of white trash television in the prime time slot.

While Prattle has received some ongoing thoughtful and astute discourse, it is only because the people who left it are predominantly fellow bloggers I’ve become acquainted with. People in the same boat I’m in. Writers in search of a committed audience. The same blogger’s echo chamber referenced above.

As far as random passersby, I’ve had exactly one intelligent reply left by an anonymous netizen. Other commentary I’ve received from incognitos both on this blog and elsewhere has fallen strictly into the category of gratuitous self-promotion.  In other words, leaving a parting shot that has nothing whatsoever to do with the topic being responded to.

My comment policy affords a very wide latitude in that I will allow for pretty much anyone’s opinion provided that the comment has the potential to lead to wider discussion. In fact, I have been known to approve comments that are boorish, sarcastic & completely devoid of any critical thought.  Even if it disagrees with my premise, so long as the comment in question is not of a trolling, spamming, ad hominem attack or of an overly self-promotional nature, I will still approve it.

But unfortunately, when others do bother to comment, and I haven’t previously made their acquaintance, the resulting remark is one that attempts to shanghai readers to the person’s own blog.

The gist of the comment looks something like this:

Hey! Look at me! I’m an attention whore! Yayyyy! Visit my blog! Vist my blog!

Just this morning, I deleted two comments left by the same random WordPress chucklehead (not to be confused with a spammer) whose only reason was so that he could hijack the topic in favor of posting a link pointing to his own content.  It is astonishing to me that he even bothered, particularly since it was obvious the comment had to be approved before appearing. I suppose he could have accomplished the same objective had he just done what the Internet tough guy did a few weeks back, but I digress.

Really, the thing that blows my mind the most with regard to commenting is when I guest blog and the site’s owner not only allows a 100% self-promotional comment to my article, but actually thanks the b00b for stopping by!  I’m not saying that it happens all the time, but it does, in fact, occur.  Just goes to show that before you agree to allow your content to be posted elsewhere, it behooves you to find out what the comment-approval policy is, if any.

Live & learn, I guess.

Frankly, I would rather have one, quality comment versus one hundred comments left by self-absorbed attention whores all clamoring to be in the limelight no matter how inappropriate. But that’s just me.

PS:  Notwithstanding the above referenced, I still wouldn’t whore myself out for free to a major publication.

©2009-2011 Peyton Farquhar™ and Prattle On, Boyo™. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Peyton Farquhar™ and Prattle On, Boyo™ with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

12 Responses to Bottle of Blog | Profiles in Cloddiness

  1. Brent Allard says:

    Great article. I think the main trouble is there is so much to read out there and so many different ways to leave feedback. On a blog such as this one, that I regularly read and enjoy, the main intention is typically to say “I read and enjoyed that.” How does a comment or “like” on FB compare to a comment on the blog itself? Personally I love both but on the blog comments for some odd reason feel more valid. Reciprocity can have good effects. There are blogs I comment on regularly, who often return the favor. But, that is also faulty because in an ideal world it would be purely the content that drives such things. I recently lightened up my “comment permissions” and this has produced, as you mentioned, the anonymous linkbackers by the droves. Luckily most anonymous posts still get flagged as spam, but it is rather interesting, I think the ideal blog to elicit comments would have very very short posts ending with very simple questions. I typically content myself with the knowledge that a post was read.

    • Prattle On, Boyo says:

      Agreed. There are many ways to leave feedback, but as a blogger, I prefer to leave a comment because that is what I would find gratifiable. I think a well-thought out concise reply demonstrates that the reader got something out of the material. It doesn’t necessarily have to agree with my opinion, but that’s just me.

  2. Dawn says:

    This was a thought provoking post, in that you’ve given voice to complaints and irritations most of your fellow bloggers think and feel at some point. I know I’ve thought the same thoughts.

    I have to admit to being a bit stunned…and not in a good way…at the top hitting key words you listed. That’s just a rather sad commentary on the depth of human intellect!

    I don’t get as many endless chains of comments as some bloggers do, simply because I have finite time to engage the way that I used to when I first began blogging. I firmly agree that reciprocity is going to gain you those readers who offer constructive, sincere comments and a good level of intellectual exchange. As long as I have a fair number of those types of comments when I publish an article, then I’m happy. Would I like to be one of those bloggers who get hundreds of comments on every single blog I post? Well, maybe – if they have more brain power behind them than “Great post, enjoyed it”. <–That type of comment is trained circus animal input and annoys me, I must admit!

    I find that people land on my blog for a reason, and my readership growth is more of the tortoise approach. Same goes for comments. I'm happy with the guality versus quantity theme there. As always, I enjoyed my time here & will return!

    - Dawn

  3. Dawn says:

    Quality versus quantity! How embarrassing – I really do know how to spell, I promise! Although now I’m wondering exactly what “guality” might encompass in an alternate world…. ;-)

    • Prattle On, Boyo says:

      Hey, a new word >> Guality = good quality

      With regard to receiving hundreds of comments on a regularly occurring basis, I think I would probably be really enthusiastic with it for maybe a week, and, thereafter, would be selective as to which comments I addressed directly. But I don’t think this is something I’m going to have to worry about just yet. Eh, interest in any given topic seems to be hit or miss. I mostly write to amuse myself, but am always happy even if it reaches only one other set of eyeballs.

  4. Dawn says:

    *L* We should start our own Urban Dictionary. I love the new definition of “guality”! :) And your stuff reaches my eyeballs regularly. I might not comment on every single post, but I do read each one when it hits my Inbox.

  5. Though I’ve only been in the blogosphere for a short while I’ve seen it all.

    First, on QUALITY commentary… like you and Dawn, I aim for meaningful comments, some of which have even inspired sequels to the post commented upon – not often but on occasion this has happened.

    And then there are those who clearly did not read the post, so irrelevant to the topic were their remarks. These I can do without.

    But the worst experience I’ve had in my short blogging history is to have entered a blog hop. Not realizing I was treading into shallow terrain, I received worthless feedback such as, “Discovered you at Rita’s and now following you. Please return the love. http://freegiveaways.com”

    But, as you say, live and learn.

    So, what I hear you saying is that I just need to use *hell* and *whore* and *fatass* to get more attention? :)

    • Prattle On, Boyo says:

      lol, yes, Debra, you too can be in the top 5 google search engine results if only you would use terms like fatass & whore. :D

  6. THREE words to conclude/explain this phenomenon:
    Egocentrism.
    Narcissism.
    Egotism.

    Happens everywhere we look, even in the mirror.

  7. Hilde says:

    Well, guess everybody who runs a blog and takes some heartblood into it and – in the best case – also some brain cells, knows your pain.
    I think, many people just read for distraction, not so much out of real interest. I saw a huge difference, after I left Facebook. From those contant about 60 hits a day, suddenly it went down to a hand full. Not very ego-boosting, because then you knew it was just a click on a status out of a spontaneous mood, while the thoughts you (or in that case I) shared had no real meaning to the people. What I will survive of course.
    But back to you. I think, you have a number of very special readers, who follow you contantly. High intellectual like Three, etc. Not that those others, I don’t name now feel excluded. Just too lazy to list them all. Better to look on the quality of those who remain and give you regular feed back.

    For those masses you want to reach, well, there is so much out there on information. To find your blog now under all may be difficult. And maybe it is also just on a level of quality or intellect, which doesn’t reach the mass.

    Those chosen words from the search machines refer surely to certain pictures, you used in sarcastic manner, don’t let them get you down or see them as signal. I think you will get more readers with the time, when people, who value your writing set a link to you on their pages.
    I just activated it again, because I just found out that you still wrote. Due to the change of my email, I didn’t get updates and last year when I checked, it seemed to be just silent. Give things a time, it surely will work out.

    In the end, you write because you love to share, independent from reactions, but I know, they boost the ego, so I tried to babble now in my usual novel style lol.

    • Prattle On, Boyo says:

      Hi Hilde – thanks for stopping by and supplying your new email address. I think you may be on to something regarding the usage of trashy images on this site (such as the attention whores referenced above). I’m still in the process of fine-tuning the SEO (search engine optimization) for Prattle, and once that is tweaked to spec, hopefully the key word searches for all things trash will be minimized.

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