“The comments are what differentiates a blog from a website, ” they told us. “Engage!” they said. “It’s about building community…”
…And engage we did. Ever since I published my first blog post in the late 90’s, I lived for the interaction. It was the spirit of community that really made it all worthwhile. I’m a chatter. I like to talk to people. So when people I didn’t even know became regulars -first on my humor blog, then on my freelance writing blog – it was a great rush and a truly valuable experience.
I can honestly say I owe my entire social media career to the people who commented on my blogs over the years. So why would I shut down comments?
To me, shutting down comments is silencing all the people who helped me to become a success.
Compared to my past successful blogs, this one here receives very little traffic and fewer comments. In fact, I’ve gotten so busy lately that I don’t always have time to respond to the people who do comment on my sporadic posts. Still, I see comments here and value every single one of them. When someone has a question, I am there for them and I hope I always will be. Comments tell me people are reading and they care what I have to say. They also tell me when I’m off the mark. I have received the most awesome feedback from people all over the world via the comments on my blogs.
So now closing blog comments is a thing and I’m not sure how I feel about it. Actually, no, I do know how I feel about… I’m not a fan. It smacks of “I don’t need you anymore.” While this probably isn’t the case, as a reader of popular blogs that closed their comments sections, the option to participate is what makes the experience more pleasant, educational, and memorable. Knowing I can ask a question or interact with others,or just read more tips and ideas from other blog readers is the best part of a blog.
Now I know folks can interact elsewhere, but I’m not a fan of “read it here and talk about it there.” If I have to go somewhere else to comment, I’ll probably pass and I know I’m not the only one. Unless it’s something I’m passionate about, I don’t want to have to Like a Facebook page just to comment and I certainly don’t want to join an exclusive community just to comment. It’s a very rare blog post that incites my passion anymore, anyway.
I get some of the reasons for not wanting to deal with comments. Spam and negativity certainly put a damper on things. They’re an inconvenience but not so much that I would tell all the people who followed me since day one that they can no longer comment on my blog.
I guess what really worries me about cutting off comments is whether or not it signifies a decline in community. People gave up forums for the social networks and now even the social networks are changing the way brands can communicate with their friends and fans. Algorithms are changing, social networks are getting spammier, and it’s getting more difficult to find a true conversation that isn’t centered around links and promotion. Retweets are now more important than comments, blogrolls, and the general sharing that endeared blogging to many of us back in the day. Maybe I’m just too old school for all of this anymore.
I don’t have a wildly popular blog, I don’t have a huge Facebook page, or an influential Twitter account, and I have never been a person who sells, but there are people who honor me by reading what I have to say every time I post. In return, I will continue to honor them by giving them a place to have a voice, even if it’s not so convenient for me at times.