Pages

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

C Is For Comment

When my sister Patti's kids were little, our parents were their babysitters. Mom and Dad hung out over there and got the older kids on the bus, stayed with anyone too little for school, and basically took their show on the road. My mom and dad rarely acted much differently in front of the grandkids since they had perfected the Art Of MicroBickering long ago. Often, their arguments consisted of each merely saying the other's name aloud in various tones, and that would be sufficient. (Name being a general term here: my parents used their ages-old pet names exclusively, Honey and Doll.) Kids, of course, are incredibly perceptive, which was proven not only when the grandchildren put on a skit entitled The Honey and Doll Show, but also when the following scene occurred as my dad encouraged some indoor football with my then-toddler nephew:


Mom: (after several potential disasters) Honey! Now stop egging him on! TJ, you know you're not supposed to do that!
Dad: (not at all sternly) TJ. Grammy says we have to stop.
TJ: (disdainfully, to my dad) She's don't has to comment.

Ah, the Comment! TJ's remains a Family Classic to this day. Even he agrees it's The Best Thing He's Ever Said, and he probably doesn't really remember it. It is now part of Family Lore, and it gets repeated over and over again, sometimes as a punchline for new stories at family gatherings.

A Comment can be that way. It can be like the dozens and dozens on a Yahoo! article--sheer entertainment to fill a few minutes of your day. Sometimes, when I need a laugh, I click on a particularly inane Yahoo! article and read the Comments.

Often, the Comments section of any page is the most interesting and the most illuminating. It is the vast advantage which digital media enjoys over print: internet readers can instantly respond and react to whatever they read. And their Comments can expand other readers' understanding or serve to refine it.

Like TJ said, however, we don't always have to Comment unless we have something to say. But I sometimes find myself hard-pressed to Comment on blogs where the writer doesn't engage with his or her Commenters. Maybe they feel that their original post is enough, and I get that. They've already Made Their Comment, so to speak. But I like chatting with my Commenters and...Commenting on their Comment. I mean, they've reacted to my writing. That means It Worked--I was successful. If they said something that was important to them, or something that made me think or react, I want to acknowledge it. If I had hundreds of Commenters, maybe I would have to rethink this philosophy, but with a core group of Less Than That, I can easily acknowledge and respond to Commenters. And I enjoy the exchange immensely.

About a hundred years ago, bloggers were pretty obsessed with Comments. Then PinTwitFace came along, and now, most bloggers are old and way more relaxed about Stuff. Now we Antique Internet Writers (aka BlogWriters) let PinTwitFace users get all exercised and calisthenic about Likes and Followers and Twits and Pinners or Whatever. Most of us don't care. We let those on PTF worry about those stats. You all know how I feel about All Of That.

No Comment.

image

27 comments:

  1. Funny you choose to talk about comments today. That topic has been on mind this week. I enjoy comments, always respond back to any comment left on my blog-- and make sure that I visit other blogs where I read what is written, then comment. It's that last part that has griped my grits this week. I comment regularly on many blogs, but am finding that more & more bloggers who are pleased as punch to have me leave a comment for them, cannot be arsed to visit my blog and reciprocate with a comment. They will take the attention, but not give any. I don't know if this is another consequence of the PTF mentality, but I don't like it. It does not fly with me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ally Bean--What is it with us? That's twice that we've been sympatico with our thoughts.

      I understand your frustration. I always go back to a Commenter's place and write a thoughtful comment on a recent post. If that Commenter becomes a regular visitor, then I reciprocate. If not, and I like their blog, I continue reading--and Commenting--if I have something of note to add.

      I read a lot of blogs without commenting, but not because they don't comment on mine. I read a lot of blogs and comment without any return on my investment.

      It's okay with me. I'm not for everyone. I'd worry if I were.

      You do respond to every Commenter, and promptly, too. And you post often. You are an Old School Blogger, and I admire that.

      Delete
    2. Thank you. I am an old school blogger, but not sure for how much longer. Instead of getting easier, blogging seems more complex and difficult than it used to be. And I'm less willing to play along. Like the old person I'm becoming. ;-)

      Delete
  2. I was going to comment about how I usually avoid the Comments Section on things but like...here I am so...that doesn't seem right.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. JD--No, it doesn't. And, as I said below, I avoid the Comments on certain things, like racial newspaper articles, and everything in the local paper. But there are some articles wherein I just know the Comments are going to be fantastic--anything about health foods, for example. All celebrity articles are another Comments treasure trove. Try the article I linked to above, and you'll see what I mean.

      Delete
  3. I read a few "personal" blogs like yours and always feel I SHOULD comment, but rarely do. It's not I don't like the content, I just can't usually be clever enough. Some blogs - this one in particular http://royalmusingsblogspotcom.blogspot.com/ - have ratings you can leave for the writer. You don't have to actually say anything but you can let her know you read the entry.

    In general I feel that if I am clever enough to always comment, then I'm clever enough to have my own blog. Well, I'm NOT and I DON'T.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gammyjill--I have no issue with readers who comment infrequently. As I mentioned in my closing paragraphs, those of us who are Longtime BlogWriters no longer get crazy about collecting Comments. Readers/visitors show up in our analytics and stats, if we really need to look at those.

      I have the option of placing those little buttons on my posts as well, where readers can click up to three descriptors: "funny", "interesting", "enlightening"--whatever I want them to say (they can be customized. I've just chosen not to use them since I don't like how they try to distill my post down to one word, which may or may not fit.

      Thank you for taking the time to Comment when you do. It is always appreciated.

      Delete
  4. Ouch, I'm terrible at replying to comments left on my blog and I've noticed you're really good at it. When did you start your blog? I think I started later and never learned blog etiquette but I promise I'll try to improve, as it is more fun that way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rose--I'm not singling anyone out, and thank you for the compliment. I started my blog in 2005, right around the second peak of blogging. It was a Learn-As-You-Go process, for sure. Responding to comments is definitely a blogger's prerogative: it's not strictly a matter of etiquette. There are plenty of BlogWriters who don't do it and never have. I just think it's not only a Nice Thing To Do, but also a Reasonable Thing To Do. And as you said, it's so much more Fun.

      Delete
  5. Ah, haven't posted to my blog in so long, I'm just using it as an archive. I actually retrieved pics of a neighbor's dragon bicycle that was stolen and gotten back because I had the only pics of it. As for comments, I usually only comment when I can give myself a chuckle or someone else a groan. The subject of comments brings me to newspaper comments which I read, but hate, and would/should join a 12 step program if such existed. Having said that, I must share THE BEST newspaper article comment EVER. The story was about a woman whose pants caught fire after she had put some phosphorus covered rocks from the beach in her pockets. The comment "How can we believe her, HER PANTS WERE ON FIRE!"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sillyak--I get what you mean about your blog serving as an archive. Although I still actively post, I use mine that way too, as an active memory bank. So wonderful as a reference!

      I don't have an issue with anyone who doesn't Comment if he or she simply has nothing to add or has no reaction to the post. Not everyone will have something to say about what I have written about. And sometimes, a discussion will break out about Comments. That happens, too.

      I love, love, love the comment that you shared about the burning pants woman. See--that's why I read comments on goofy articles.

      Delete
  6. A delightful read, Nance! The fact that there was a Honey and Doll Show and T.J.'s comment are awesome.

    Goodness, yes, such noteworthy comments often get recycled a gazillion times over the years. One of Mr. GFE's grandmother's was the source of several that come up again and again. Everyone chuckles appreciatively each time they're re-uttered. Many times they're uttered in unison.

    I can't say that I've enjoyed comments on articles that often. Usually I'm wondering who the idiots are leaving such comments. Maybe I've just been unlucky with all the articles I've read? Repeatedly. Usually I tell myself, don't read the comments, don't read the comments ...

    Blogs tend to be a somewhat different story, but I don't see comments of much consequence on most blogs these days. There's now a tit-for-tat commenting thing that's orchestrated in Facebook groups. Otherwise, folks won't comment. I'm not kidding. Of course, that goes back to PinTwitFace. :-( I agree with Ally Bean that not many are willing to leave comments on blogs any more. I really miss that. I used to love that dialogue. It made me feel like I was really offering something worthwhile.

    Shirley

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shirley--Thank you. I agree that some Comments Sections of certain sites can be nothing but frustrating or even upsetting. I don't go near my local newspaper's comments section; it's full of horrifying ignorance, backbiting, and sheer hatred. But the fluffy stuff in Yahoo! that I purposely choose for Comments-reading never fails me.

      I think the lack of commenting on blogs is due in large part to feed reader services. Lots of people simply download or get blogs in their email. They have to then make the effort in some cases to go to the site as a separate activity in order to comment. It's not convenient.

      I love the extra conversation here at the Dept. to extend the conversation personally with my commenters. They do add "something worthwhile" when they comment here.

      Delete
  7. Oof - guilty as charged!! And I have such fine conversations with my commenters in my head... I'd like to blame it on my recent blogging malaise, but really, I've never been consistent about replying to comments. Sigh. And yet, one of the things I love about your blog is the conversations we have in the comments. Perhaps I shall turn over a new leaf.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bug--As I said to others here, I'm not singling anyone out. I read lots of blogs, and I comment on several. It's a blogwriter's choice and personal philosophy, but also a commenter's. No one is beholden to my philosophy at all.

      Regarding Blogger's Malaise--Ugh. I hear you! Why do you think I stole your Alphabet Topic Idea? For a person who can talk about anything at any time, I seem to have a terrible time coming up with ideas for posts anymore. It's like trying to decide what to make for dinner. If Rick would just tell me what to make, I can cook up a storm. Even if he just says one word, like "chicken" or "pasta"--I can take it from there. But days and days go by with no help from him, and I'd rather go without eating than come up with an entree by myself. Sigh.

      Delete
  8. I remember those heady days of blog comments being the most important thing ever. That was when I was super de dooper into blogging, and when it was the norm to link to each other and comment everywhere. People would then comment back, thus driving up traffic, of course. But then I began to realize that I was spending a significant amount of my time constantly responding to (perfectly respectable) but somewhat boring blogs just because I felt obligated to do so. That is when I dialed it back a bit, and also began my semi-pro blogging and I just didn't have the time any more.

    For a website with truly wonderful comments, I recommend Pajiba. I have never commented there myself, but I enjoy lurking and reading everything there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gina--I remember that, the feeling of Obligation to link to people in your blog and yada yada yada. Hated that and refused to do it. I wanted to Write in my blog, not advertise. Then came the ideas of Personal Branding and SEO and that's when Blogging Died. Period. It killed itself. It stopped being true to itself, which was to be a WeB Log, a sort of diary of your thoughts. It got way too commercial and full of itself.

      I'd like to say that my motives for NOT joining the blogging rat race were pure and virtuous, but of course they were not. It was one motive: Sloth. I didn't want to invest all that time and energy into commercializing/branding/whatevering my blog. Sounded Way Too Worky to me. So the Dept. remains a very teensy production.

      Thanks for the recommendation. I never heard of it, but it doesn't mean that my meanderings haven't led me there at least once. I'll visit.

      Delete
  9. My main issue is time. Even though I don't comment here regularly, I always stop by and read your entry, as well as all the comments, and your replies. Everyone here seems to have an actual working brain (so short in supply in the real world), and it's a great side trip during lunch or when I have ten minutes. I enjoy all the interesting people and what they think about what you've written.

    If I truly feel the need to add something, then I do, but I tend to write and edit and write and edit until I get what I want to say exactly right. Even though it ends up (usually) being exactly what I want to say, I get far too involved in all the details, and it all takes much longer than it should. I'm far too perfectionistic sometimes for my own good...


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LaFF--Thank you for being a Regular Reader. It means a lot to me, and I'm glad to know that you enjoy reading the Comments section as well. I, too, enjoy and value my Commenters and what they add to the entries that I write. It really makes for a great discussion all around.

      As I mentioned above--someplace!--I don't get keyed up about the number of Comments anymore, and if I really want to see how many "hits" my blog or individual posts get, I can look at and analyze my stats. I know which readers get me via email and I know how many readers get me in a newsfeed. It's not something I pay a lot of attention to unless something goes wrong with one of those channels.

      Hell, I'm just happy that people read me, and I'm happy that people like to chat here about what I wrote about, however marginally in some cases.

      I wish you wouldn't get too persnickety about your comments here, as far as editing the heck out of them until you're frazzled. We're all So Darn Wonderful And Gorgeously Kind that we'd not only understand what you meant, but that you were in a tearing hurry to get them down before going back to your desk or out to the horse barn. Truly, we'd just give any stray typos a Pass.

      Delete
  10. I've always liked how you reply to comments...it makes it more of a conversation. I sometimes do it, but sometimes I don't. I can't really point to a difference other than my mood that day. Ridiculous, I know. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. J@jj--Thank you. I don't always respond to my Commenters the day that their comments appear, either. It's often better for me if I wait until I am in the proper frame of mind to be chatty.

      I have very little Conversation in my Usual Day, aside from my running commentary with the cats and my daily check-ins with St. Patsy. There is a lot of Electronic Conversation with distant friends and the boys, so this fits right in.

      Delete
  11. I almost always respond to comments - unless they are vague junk like, "This is a really good blog I like it." I have a series of blogs I read and comment on pretty consistently, but I do draw the line at commenting on things that just don't interest me or that I don't care about - I can't be bothered to knock myself out coming up with something germane just so someone has a comment. And, frankly, if the topic doesn't interest me, I'm not interested in encouraging them to write more about it (gosh, that sounded mean. I'm really not mean. Just practical and cranky.)

    I loved TJ's comment above - our Family Lore is full of them as well. The best one came from #2, who was with my mother in the Ladies' Room (he was 3 or 4 at the time) when she discovered to her chagrin that there was no toilet paper in the dispenser. "That's alright, Nana," he replied bracingly, "just shake it."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MsCaroline--I even respond to those vague comments, unless they are accompanied by obvious spam, and let me tell you why.

      I have a friend who has a part-time job as an online and over-the-phone tutor, helping people to master conversational English. She talks with them and also encourages them to use written conversational English by leaving comments on blogs. She tells them to try and read as much as they can of the post, but if they can't understand it, to simply compliment the blog itself or the writing.
      SO--just in case it is one of Lisa's clients, I always at least respond pleasantly with a thank you. ;-)

      Regarding commenting on blogs in general, I agree with you completely. I don't comment at all if I really don't have anything to say that would add to the conversation or if I wasn't struck by anything at all in or about the post itself. Your remark about not encouraging a writer to continue in a certain subject made me laugh. I had one reader contact me via email to ask me to please stop writing about cows! He said it bored him and was sure those posts bored everyone else as well. I didn't respond directly to that in particular, but thanked him for his time and input, and said that I appreciated his continued readership.

      Responding to Comments also gives us the chance to expound more upon things that would have made our original posts much too long and daunting to read. And it's like writing a little appendix for each reader!

      Love your son's Helpful Comment to his granny in the loo. What I would have given to see her take such loving advice!

      Delete
  12. Hey you! An antique checking in here to comment. I remember the days of "oh, I have to make the rounds and comment..." and then thinking,"wouldn't it be great if this was an actual job...?" and then I had to get a job and thus my commenting career ended. It's good to "see" you. I confess, I bookfaced myself a bit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laura--HEY, Yourself! Are you still in Texas? That was where you relocated, wasn't it? Or...wait. Did you leave TX and go to MI? I forget, darnit. Anyway, it's wonderful to see you here again.

      I, too, remember those heady days of Making The Rounds and dropping comments on more than a dozen blogs almost nightly. I loved it. We had a great time, but I get what you mean about the time invested being sizable and wishing it was billable, too. I was working at the time, and still commenting regularly, but not a single parent, either.

      As a FBer, you are the Rule rather than the Exception since the majority of people on the Interwebs are on FB. In my Immediate Family, I believe only Sam, the youngest son, is on FB out of us all, and of my Original Family (ruled by St. Patsy), only my youngest sibling Susan is on FB.

      These Whippersnappers! LOL.

      I hope you have been Well and Happy and that your son and daughter are also. Please stop by again as often as you can. It was so great to see you here, like Olde Tymes! XO

      Delete
  13. I'm rather hit or miss with responding to comments. I do make it a point to drop by his or her blog when a new person comments.

    I am one of the last holdouts, refusing to join Facebook. I do miss some of my old favorite bloggers who have stopped blogging and use FB posts instead. I miss them, but I don't miss them enough to sign up. The last thing I need is a reason to spend more time on electronic devices.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. NCm--Like you on all fronts. I drop by a new commenter's blog immediately and try to comment on at least one of their latest posts. Sometimes it's difficult, especially if they write a blog about which I have zero interest or their post is not something I can really relate to. A few times, I've been stymied in that effort since the commenter has no blog, merely an identity so that they can comment.

      I also have no FB presence and no plan to ever join any social media arena. I get heavy pressure from a variety of sources for each, but I just cannot do it. Like you, I know it will be more of a TimeSuck; I also know it's one more way for others to contact me more easily, and I am not okay with relinquishing my privacy any further.

      Delete

Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...