Monday Musings About Interacting With Other Bloggers

Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…

• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!

If you’re a new blogger looking for advice, everyone will tell you to get social because many of us have found the social aspect of blogging the most enjoyable part. What not everyone will tell you is that not all comments are equal. I’ve tried a variety of ways of finding blogs to comment on and today I’d like to talk about the best ways to spend your commenting time if you want to create meaningful interactions, make blogging friends, and draw some new readers to your blog.

I’ve always thought of myself as a social blogger. When I first started blogging, that included replying to all the comments on my blog; trying to comment on a few posts each time I checked my feed reader; and periodically visiting and commenting on my followers blogs and blogs that used the wordpress tags “books” and “non-fiction.” There were a few things wrong with that strategy. First, I only went through my reader once or twice a week, so commenting on a few of those posts meant I was commenting on a very small percentage of the blogs I was reading. And second, commenting on blogs using the same wordpress tags as you often leads to one reply comment and that’s it, since one post that shared one tag with your posts does not a deep shared interest make. So what have I done that’s better and has made me feel more involved with the book blogging community? I thought you’d never ask 🙂

Here’s what I do these days:

I don’t just try to comment on a few posts when I check my reader every few days. I’ve finally, finally, finally gotten caught up to where each day, I only have that days posts to go through and I read all the posts in my reader thinking about a way I could make a meaningful comment at the end. This means I don’t read my posts when I’m feeling rushed for time and am only going to skim if I try to read them.

This may seem obvious to some of you but I recently started not  just replying to every comment on my blog, but also re-visiting the commentors blog to comment there. I never make a comment if can’t say something meaningful (well almost never… sometimes cute animal pictures just deserve an “Awwww” ok? :-P) but I do go through the commentors most recent posts and try to find one that I can make a good comment on. Does this mean that you get comments that you know are “just ” reciprocal comments? Of course. But as long as someone took the time to make a meaningful comment on my blog, the thoughtfulness, the conversation and the connection are there.

For contact with new bloggers, I comment on the 3-5 blogs ahead of mine in each linky in which I participate. I’ve found that I have more in common with these bloggers than bloggers who just share some wordpress tags, so these comments are more likely to turn into long term interactions.

Finally, I’ve gotten brave enough to actually talk to people on twitter. Yes, it can feel strange and intrusive to randomly tweet someone, but I just remember that I’m always happy when someone randomly contacts me.

And that’s Katie’s advice for making bloggish friends and meeting people 🙂 What would you add to the list? Are there ways of commenting and interacting with other bloggers that you would avoid or others which you’d recommend for particularly good interactions?


Filed under Monday Musings

58 responses to “Monday Musings About Interacting With Other Bloggers

  1. I like how you describe the meaningful comments. Sometimes there’s so much you want to say or just a feeling you can’t quite put into words and you don’t want to just word-vomit all over someone’s comment section. It’s one of the things I do appreciate about the like button on WordPress, it allows me to say I’ve read this and thought it was great, but doesn’t force me to spend ages agonizing over a comment.

    • I agree completely about the like button! Sometimes I really do just want to say that I liked a post and a comment that just says “nice review!” can easily come across as spammy.

  2. Keeping up with commenting can be really hard when you’re busy but I try my best. Commenting is a great way to interact because it makes other people aware of your blog – sometimes people reading the blog will notice it. I appreciate every comment I get.

    • It’s definitely one of the more time consuming parts of blogging! In part because there’s always more commenting you could do. I’m excited about each comment I get too 🙂

  3. Fantastic advice! I find commenting hard, because I often find I don’t have anything relevant to say and don’t want to comment for the sake of getting a comment back on my blog. Twitter is another fantastic tool, I enjoy a book blogger encounter there 😀

    • I used to just not get twitter, but I love the spontaneous conversations that can happen that way now. Plus tweeting posts you like is a nice way to recognize another blogger 🙂

  4. Nice post. I’ve been blogging for a couple of months only and I’m still trying to figure a lot of things about blogging. And commenting is one of them. So, your post is great advice.

  5. Great point about meaningful comments, and I agree with Geoff W above that the “like” button can be a much better option than agonizing over a comment.

    • I agree with you both 🙂 I hate when blogs have the “like” button turned off because I don’t always have something I want to say, even when I do like a post.

  6. I agree with all your points, and I really like the linky one you brought out, because I’ve met so many bloggers with similar interests that way. Twitter can be a bit intimidating, but I’ve also had fun book conversations on there (as well as branching out to talk about other hobbies/interests). 🙂 Great discussion topic!

    Alice @ Alice in Readerland

    • I’ve been amazed at how well the linky thing works! If nothing else, I usually have a recent post related to the linky that people can comment back on which is enough to at least start a conversation 🙂

  7. this is really great post, especially about the topic of commenting. i’ll keep your words of advice, it really helps a lot to know about what others have in mind before and after making comments. 🙂

  8. i try my best to visit and comment when people comment on my blog….but I must say I get a little miffed when I comment regularly on a blog and never get a comment back.

    • Interesting! I really only recently started commenting back regularly so I’m not bothered when people don’t respond to my comments. In retrospect, it is kind of an obvious courtesy and one I wish I’d started practicing sooner. It leads to such good conversations 🙂

  9. Thanks for your post about commenting. It takes awhile to get used to doing it. I agree that it is not good to rush through reading blogs.

    • It’s definitely taken me some time to find a commenting system that works for me. It can be challenging to find something that isn’t too time consuming, but which still leads to good interactions with other bloggers!

  10. Interesting post. I try to visit blogs I like and comment when I have something to say. Here is my muse: MM

  11. I think commenting is sooooo important! Social interaction is key in the blogging world!

    • It’s true! I’ve always enjoyed interacting with other bloggers, but was shocked at what a difference it’s made to reciprocally comment with other bloggers. It starts to feel like you’re getting to know each other because you interact regularly and you can get some really good conversations going 🙂

  12. Great discussion! Commenting on blogs is one of my favorite things 😀 I just like to chat for one thing, lol, and I know how much I personally appreciate every comment I receive as well. Sometimes it isn’t easy to leave a meaningful comment but I sure try 😉 Twitter is so great! I’ve made such great connections there. It’s amazing how well you can get to know someone in a few 140 character chats. Just so you know, you can tweet me ANY TIME and I’d be thrilled! @jenhartling

    • Thanks Jen! I can tell you enjoy commenting and always love how enthusiastic your comments are. I follow you on twitter so hopefully we’ll get to talk more soon.:)

  13. Great post — I appreciate your thoughts and observations on how to interact as a blogger! The thoughtful comment vs/or/and the reciprocal commenting thing is quite good to highlight — I think we all struggle with the time balance of commenting on everyone, the value the comment might add, and wanting to maintain that ‘circle’ of connection with bloggers. i certainly appreciate it when folks make time to comment on my posts — I’ve not had the big discussions on books I’d like, but I often don’t read things that provoke conversation, I guess — or my posts don’t invite it.

    However, I’m a huge fan of twitter as it does sort of … I don’t know, create a sort of open party convo. Do jump in — and feel free to tweet me anytime (@unabridgedchick) — I’ve had lovely convos on twitter on writers, genre, publishing, etc etc. It’s be quite fun, and I know I interact with some bloggers there more than I do via the blog — and I think that’s ok!

    • I already follow you on twitter and am looking forward to future conversations 🙂 It really can be hard to take the time to write thoughtful comments on ALL of the blogs, so I do my best but will occasionally skip a blog if I can’t come up with something that I think contributes to the conversation.

  14. Some great advice! I feel like the hardest part with interacting with bloggers is that it’s just so time-consuming! When I first started blogging, I would reply to every comment on mine, visit the commentor’s blog and leave a comment, and also go through my feed and comment on other blogs. That was fine when there was only… five comments on a post. But now there are times when I get 25 comments on a post and I feel like there’s no way I can keep up (especially when I post every single day)! I still reply to every single comment, but don’t get to visit other’s blogs every time. I try and choose at least one day a week where I have a post with many comments that I can do that with, but it doesn’t always work out. Usually now I just limit myself to sorting through my feed and commenting on those posts that look interesting and that I can talk about. But yes, so time consuming!

    Oh, and Twitter is huge. I was SO hesitant to use it when I first started blogging. While I’m still not comfortable with it completely, I do use it quite a bit now and have definitely enjoyed it. It’s the easiest way to make friends in the community I think!

    • Yeah, it’s just starting to hit me how time consuming it can be. I completely love how much more involved in the book blogging community I feel now that I have a lot of people I comment back and forth with. At the same time, I might have to try doing something more like you do as I get more comments. There’s only so much time!

      I’m also still adjusting to twitter, but I love it when I’m brave enough to use it. It can lead to some of the best conversations 🙂

  15. Great post! I find what really helped me out with commenting and interacting is changing the comment system on my blog. With blogger, there’s no response feature unless the person subscribes to the entire comment feed every time they leave a comment. With Intense Debate, when I respond to a comment, the person will get an email notification. I started using it when I noticed another fellow blogger used it and was always able to reply. I wonder how many bloggers replied to my comment, but I never knew about it because I never get notifications.
    It’s the number one reason I’m not a social blogger! How can people talk back and forth if they never get notifications?
    Your tips are great. I try to comment as much as possible. I enjoy the meme hopping with FF and other things, but I also enjoy the discussion posts and reviews that make me feel like I may have something to contribute.
    I was nervous about twitter, too, but I think I’m making progress! =)
    I still don’t feel like I’m really in the crowd yet, but at least I’m sitting at the book blogging lunch table, right?! =)

    • I love that you have a system that e-mails out replies! I’ve gotten a few of those e-mails myself and I think they’re great 🙂 With blogger blogs I try to check old posts I commented on the next time I visit, but it’s hard and doesn’t happen as often as I’d like.

      I’m glad you’re getting happier with twitter too! I find the whole premise of twitter a little awkward, but I love the great conversations I can have with anyone from book bloggers to authors if I’m brave enough to use it.

  16. In my three years of blogging, I feel I’ve grown in my social interaction. Once, I only sporadically responded to comments. Now I answer all comments and reciprocate with a visit too.

    It’s interesting to hear how everyone else handles social interaction, because I still struggle with a balance when it comes to reading other blogs too. Every couple of months, I try to visit bloggers who follow me, along with select blogs of personal interest. So many blogs, so little time!

    • In my experience, finding a way to comment that gets you good interactions and isn’t ridiculously time consuming is one of the harder parts of blogging. It’s nice to feel like you’re getting better at if over time 🙂 I certainly hope I have!

  17. I’m kind of lazy so interacting with other bloggers is the hard part for me. Plus I keep my blogging separate from my other online activities, so maybe I’m on my regular Twitter instead of my blogging Twitter when there are interesting things happening. (Tweetdeck helps with that a lot.) When I started blogging two months ago, I let some of my other stuff online slide, but I don’t want that so it’s a struggle to keep a balance without spending 100% of my free time sitting at the keyboard.

    With linkys I visit the 5 people in front of me and if signups are really active then or I have time to go back later I visit the 5 after me. When I can’t think of anything to say on that post, I try to find a recent post and leave a comment there. I always reply to comments on my own blog and if I can find a link, I visit that person’s blog too. (That’s how I got here!)

    • Oh wow, yeah, I don’t even have a personal twitter or pinterest and I hardly use my personal facebook page. I can’t imagine how hard it is to fit in both when I struggle just to keep up with by blog’s social media!

      I’ve enjoyed meeting people through linky’s and am glad that other people take the time to visit everyone else’s links too! Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog 🙂

  18. I’m so jealous that you’re caught up with your Reader! I’m very random with checking that, plus I have tons of blogs I follow on Feedly, so I really should cut some of them off. I find I get to the ones I follow by email more faithfully. I like your advice on commenting. I’m glad to know that when I sometimes just click on the “Like” button, that’s OK!

    • I’m sure it won’t last for long! I’m finding that while what I’m doing is great for my blog, it is time consuming enough that I might consider making some changes although I will keep it up if I can 🙂 I don’t know about other people, but I definitely appreciate likes. I also think they’re nicer and less time consuming than a comment that doesn’t say anything, so I’m always glad when blogs have that option.

  19. I’ve nominated you for a Versatile Blogger Award because I really enjoy your posts. If you choose to accept then you need to do the following:
    1. Display the Award Certificate on your blog.
    2. Announce your win with a post. Make sure to post a link back to me as a ‘thank you’ for the nomination.
    3. Present 15 awards to deserving bloggers.
    4. Drop them a comment to tip them off after you have linked them in the post.
    5. Post 7 interesting things about yourself.
    Keep up the good work.

    • Oh wow! Your comment got spammed for some weird reason and when I found it, it just made my day 🙂 I’m out of town at a conference this weekend, but when I get home next week, I’ll be sure to pass the award along.

  20. Such a great discussion. I do my best to keep up with my reader feed, but don’t always get around to it which leads to the inevitable ‘mark all as read’ thing that makes me feel guilty. But it also lets me start fresh. I do try to leave something meaningful behind on each blog I visit and to check in with my regular visitors as much as possible. Looking for new blog is where I skip up. I love when new bloggers approach me because I get to be the lazy one (terrible…haha), but participating in reading events has been the easiest way to find lovely new bloggers to befriend. Also, BookTube. There’s a great community happening over there!

    • You know, being caught up on my reader had made is to much easier to make meaningful comments on a lot of blogs that I think it justifies just marking everything as read to get to that point 🙂 If I get very behind again, I think that’s what I’ll do. I haven’t ever used BookTube, since I generally don’t like watching videos as much as reading articles and don’t do video reviews myself. At some point I might feel adventurous enough to give it a try though. It seems like you could interact with people more like in real life with video.

  21. Lovely post, Dewey. I am a new blogger and you can say that I am still learning the ropes. Normally, I am anti-social and refuse to go out from my shell. You can just imagine that when I started blogging around April this year, I am the only one viewing my blog for almost 2 months. Or my twitter account having only 5-6 followers.
    Being the introvert that I am, I find it awkward to comment on people’s blogs. However, I realized after some reflection that my anti-socialness could not go on. What’s the purpose of having a blog when I do not socialize? How can I share my love of reading books when no one knows that my blog existed?
    So I start joining readathon challenges and discovered that it was somewhat fun especially when people start visiting and leaving comments on my blog. Eventually, I began joining memes and it was so uplifting to find your mail being flooded with comment notification. And right now, I am the greatest stalker of all. I discovered that I have this OC side of me to reply to any discussion posts. 😀

    Thoughts and Pens

    • I’m so glad you’ve gotten more comfortable commenting on posts and using twitter! I’m much more outgoing online than I used to be and I’ve grown to really love the interactions with people.I don’t think it would be totally meaningless to have a blog without followers, since it would still help me remember books I read, but it would take a lot of the fun out of it 🙂

  22. Some really great advice there! I do have to admit though, it can get quite time consuming replying to comments on your own blog and then also thinking up meaningful comments on the other person’s blog as well. And sometimes when the comment that you’ve gotten on your own blog is just “great review!” or “sounds like an interesting book!” I can hardly muster up the energy to comment on that person’s blog when clearly they haven’t even read my posts properly…

    And I definitely agree that cute animal photos deserve an “awwww, cute!” That’s meaningful enough haha 😛

    • I have to admit, I do sometimes let myself off the hook on making a meaningful comment if the person I’m replying to left a short comment that doesn’t say much. I always visit their blog and try to come up with something, but if it’s hard to do that, I’ll let myself leave a comment comparable to theirs.

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  24. My most consistent practice of leaving comments is to visit the bloggers who have commented on my posts and try to leave a comment on a recent post. At first I felt bad about it just being “reciprocal,” but since I try to only leave comments that add to something and, when I have time, make an effort to visit other bloggers, it seems to work for me.

    • I think it’s great! I notice when people comment on my blog after I leave them a comment, but as long as it’s not something like “nice post!” (or worse still… “nice post. Check out my blog at URL”) I don’t think that they’re “just” returning a comment. I think that it was considerate of them to make the time to return my visit to their blog 🙂

  25. I like the idea of commenting on 3-5 blogs before yours when you are participating in a meme and signing up via a linky. I always get overwhelmed there because there are usually so many bloggers participating and I know I can’t get to them all. This is a great and manageable tip though. Thanks for sharing!

  26. These are good advises! I’m really bummed out when someone comments on my blog, I reply to their comment and go visit their blog, but the last few posts are blog tours or random memes… I just don’t know what to say that will make sense. “Cool book, I’ll check it out”? Nope. I usually like to wait until they post a review or a discussion post so I can leave a decent comment.

    And yees, talking on twitter is so much fun! Esp if it’s with people who share your interests, like books, music, movies, etc.

    • Thanks, I’m glad you liked it 🙂 I think I’m getting better at finding meaningful things to say on blog tours and memes by finding little things that aren’t the point of the post but which I can relate to. However, I will choose not to leave a comment rather than leave one that doesn’t say anything, in which case I might like you try back later.

  27. I am a fairly new blogger (less than 2 years) and I have found that the best way to develop social connections with other book bloggers is to get involved in memes, read-a-thons, challenges, clubs, etc. This gives you an “excuse” to jump into comment conversations with new people (which helps if you feel shy about that) and it also helps you to find bloggers whose interests are similar to yours. I participated in a crime alphabet meme where I discovered several wonderful bloggers who write about crime fiction and the Classics Club has connected me to a range of blogs that focus on books I am interested in. Thanks for starting this conversation!

    • I think that’s great advice! I’ve always enjoyed the interactions I’ve had when I join community events and I’ll definitely keep looking for more to get involved in 🙂

  28. I try to check my reader every day because it’s so easy to get behind. I also have categories for “active” and “other” bloggers so that I can prioritize when I have limited time. And you can always tweet me 🙂

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