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.
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:
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.
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