A while back, I made a post using the term “Comment Whore” which is a term designed to generate a bit of emotion and reaction. I would define a comment whore as someone who is putting out content with the express intention of getting lots of comments. I suppose there is a kinder, gentler name for this practice, but I’m not sure what it is. I know of at least one blog out there, that this is all she does. She asks questions to her readers like, “What if you were a pencil, what would life be like?” or “Tell about any goal that you had as a child that remains unfulfilled.” And she gets tons and tons of comments. Some of the posts are shallow, some are deep. Most of them do really provoke some thought. It’s what she does, and she does it exceedingly well, generating hundreds of comments.
Another blogger just happens to have a huge enough and interested enough readership that she can generate 100 comments just by writing about mayonnaise. Seriously. I could not believe it myself and left her a comment telling her so.
Bloggers lurve comments. The ones that say they don’t care are lying. But I will say that when my comment box exceeds 10 comments, I get really nervous. It’s sometimes a good nervous but sometimes bad. If I happen to look at the number and it is too large, I’m wondering what the heck is going on! Did I offend some group? Did I start a fight somewhere? Usually, it is because Liz has posted my URL on some other prominent board or to some group or linked to me somehow, which results in this dramatic spike in readership. If I was making money from this thing, I would seriously have to put her on the payroll.
There is a price to be paid for generating a lot of comments, and not many bloggers are keen to pay this toll. Namely, many of the comments are going to be critical, angry, nasty screeds that will flatten a body’s ego. In the above mentioned mayonnaise controversy, there was more than one flame on the person’s character about her treatment of mayonnaise packets. This was a ludicrous waste of bandwidth, which is why I left a comment flaming the flamers for being so petty and shallow.
I accept that most people who read will not comment. It takes awhile for most bloggers to really and truly accept the fact that most readers who like reading don’t always feel like saying much. I subscribe to many more blogs than appear on my blogroll, and RSS does not lend itself to commenting, especially since I do my reading offline. I like the fact that several people have found things that I have written to be helpful and encouraging and I know that is the case because I do check stats and see what people are reading.
I can say definitively that comments and other blogs have helped shape my thinking on many things. By reading a few blogs by regular education teachers, I get a feel for what their days are like. I know I am not alone by reading blogs by other special ed teachers. I am also encouraged and inspired by reading blogs written by parents and by the people themselves who have disabilities or different abilities. In fact, reading blogs by people on the autistic spectrum has shifted my thinking mightily in the way I look at efforts to cure and treat autism. I’ve found a fair number of these through comments , either here or on other sites. Even nasty critical comments give me cause for pause, and get me to think about where I am at, mentally just before I delete them.
The biggest key to getting comments is to leave some. I think almost every blogger will follow a commenter back to their place if they have one and leave the link. Another step is to answer back and respond to comments. I try to do this, but I am not always so good about it. Sometimes I get to it and sometimes I don’t.
“Comment Whore” is a pretty tough label. When it comes write down to it, all of us who blog are “Attention Whores” of one sort or another. Why else would we post stuff out on the internet for all to see?