Blogging protip:

Respond to many of the comments you get and don’t run away when someone challenges you. I know this is the Internet and it’s easy to just not answer something, but would you do it in person? Would you say something, listen to a rebuttal, stare blankly at the other person, then walk away silently? Unless you are a tool, you would not. Don’t do it on your blog.

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2 Responses

  1. Maybe I’m over-generalizing what you’ve posted. I think I see it differently, particularly as blogs grow readership. As you noted, this is the internet, not face to face, one on one. So it is reasonable that expectations are different. Here, it’s more collaborative, distributed, and continuous — a relay. It’s a bit like speaking in a public square. You’ve make your speech from the centre, and now the crowd gathered around you is chaotically shouting out responses at you and at each other. Some are having whole conversations with their own audiences. But in internet-land, even as you walk away, they keep on. For days. Do you have an obligation to every single one? Just reading blog posts takes a long time (for me anyway). I’ve never written one. I can’t imagine investing the amount of time it would take to read the comments and respond individually to even a portion of them, so I am not at all offended (indeed I don’t even check) if nobody responds to my comment. The blogger almost certainly has better things to do. And other commenters can respond anyway, and while I’m asleep, someone else may expand or defend what I’ve said (or maybe the consensus will be I’m a fool). The crowd isn’t always right, but once it has found a place to talk, it’s rarely silent. I do think if you scan the comments and notice a string of contrary comments all saying similar things, or if the discussions are becoming unhealthy in some way, responding via a new blog post is wise. Then all readers will be sure to see it, including those who don’t read the comments.

  2. I considered that, Randy. The only reason I didn’t go into that much detail was because I wanted to be concise in making my primary point. That said, you’re right when it comes to high traffic blogs. It would be unreasonable for a blogger to respond to every single person.

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