To Comment or Not to Comment

So there are some great conversations going on at I Should Be Folding Laundry and Fried Okra and Sorta Crunchy about the value of blog comments, which has prompted me to go public with a very personal battle.

Hello, I'm Kelly, and I'm a blog addict.

It's a joke, yes, but I'm guessing for many of us, it strikes a little too close to home.

I'm learning to balance (mega-huge life word for me) this fun and sometimes consuming hobby. To walk away from the computer when my kids needs me -- even if I haven't finished the post I've been working on for the past 45 minutes. To turn the computer off at night when my husband wants to see me -- even if my Bloglines account still shows 32 68 new posts. I'm even trying to train my brain to leave what happens at the computer, on the computer, because I've noticed lately that I have a habit of becoming mindless. My body may be playing Candy Land with Connor or nursing Teyla or drawing with Natalie, but my mind is 1,000 kilobytes away.

And friends? That is not loving well.

So. The conversations I mentioned esteem comments greatly. (Don't we all?) They want people to know that any comments, all comments, even random comments are encouraging and appreciated. Beth compares comments to a paycheck for bloggers, which is a great analogy. Comments are little bits of validation in our In Box. What's not to love, right?

But here's where I'm stuck. I read many, many blogs regularly. (The exact number will be left undisclosed lest Corey hold it against me.) I would love to comment on each and every post, each and every day. But if I did that, I would have no free time, no time to pay attention to my kids, no time to listen to my husband if he should feel like talking that day, and little time to sleep.

Heck, I wouldn't even have time to write for my own blog.

So what do I do? What do you do? How do you balance this whole blogging thing with your real life? Do you comment on every blog? If not, what is the proportion of comments left to read-only blogs? And what tips the scale for you -- what type of post is a "must comment" post?

Note: I realize the irony in asking you to comment on a post about comments. But that's not stopping me from doing it, is it?

So leave me a comment, and we'll continue the conversation.


  1. You definitely hit close to home for me. I follow way too many blogs.

    I try to comment when people leave comments for me. Otherwise, I tend to comment on whatever strikes my fancy. But, that also means that there are plenty of excellent posts that I only read. That is probably clear as mud.

  2. I only comment if I feel I can add something to the conversation or if I really, really want to compliment the post.

  3. Can you give yourself a daily quota for comments? Like 5 a day?

  4. I couldn't possible comment on everything, I tend to only comment on blogs when something really strikes well with me. If they get 40 comments or more regularly, well, I just lurk.
    I hear you on the blogging thing, I am cutting back on the number I read so I can enjoy those little gifts of mine a little more!

  5. Seriously, blogging addiction is BAD for me. Very bad. Bad in a way where my family HATES it. My four year old sometimes says to me "Mommy could you just get OFF OF the computer please?!" Now that, is sad. And embarrassing. But I too READ a lot of blogs. If I have been reading it a while, I will comment sometimes...sometimes. Like yours. Then there are others where a real friendship has resulted so I always comment there. Always. Then there are times where it's just a blog I've stumbled upon and if it was something that was amazing to me, I comment and go about my way. Otherwise, I don't comment. I just read. I read a LOT as well. I coudn't even tell you how much b/c well, it's just too much.

    There are some blogs you just instinctively know you will be reading regularly, so I tell them I enjoy it, that I will be adding them to my roll (which btw you are on)....and sometimes that's about it. But one comment rule I always try to abide by, even if I don't have time to comment on other blogs, I always try to comment back to those on mine.... b/c they have taken the time to "drop by" so I try to keep that up with them.

    WAY MORE of an answer than was probably neccessary, but I have also been trying to manage my blog time....for the greater good of the fam.... and well, as you can's not so easy. HA!

  6. I'm giggling over here, and you know why. I know nobody who knows my blog is going to believe a WORD I'm saying, but I'm going to say it anyway.

    I LOVE comments, but I also - don't really care as much about getting them as I used to, this week's post notwithstanding.

    Comments are awesome, comments are validating - but the reciprocal nature of "earning" comments gets to be far more work than it's worth.

    For a long time there I was commenting ALL OVER the place. I had a bajillion blogs in my reader and I felt like I had to comment on every single new post that came up. (Because if I didn't? I felt rude and I was afraid they would never comment on MY blog again.) And it started to take over my life, which is, frankly, ridiculous.

    So I scaled back. I still read a lot of blogs, but I don't comment as much. There are a few blogs where I comment almost every time, but they are few and far between. These days I mostly lurk and stick to commenting only occasionally on most of the blogs I read.

    When I decided to do that, my comment count went down significantly (um, except for this week, obviously), and I really was totally o.k. with that. I know those people are still (mostly) reading because I'm still a little compulsive about looking at my traffic stats. And now and then, they delurk.

    When they delurked this week, a few people mentioned that I rarely commented on their blogs, and I felt a little bad, but not all that much. Because HOW CRAZY WOULD IT BE if I WAS commenting on every blog, every time? I'm a MOM, not a robot.

    Sorry, I hijacked your comments and wrote a book, but I've been thinking about this a TON this week, and it was totally therapeutic to blather on about it. THANK YOU.

  7. Oh my gosh, I'm so embarrassed by the length of that comment. EGADS.


  8. I've only been blogging a couple months. It is indeed addicting. But as I work at home, NOT on the computer, I have to limit what I do. I have about 20 blogs I scan daily.

    Sometimes I comment, sometimes I don't. It depends if I have something to say about the post. And if there are 20 comments already, I don't bother. Who's going to read my little comment anyway? Plus, some people write way better than I do....

    I do visit the blogs that have commented on mine. And I will comment there if I have something to say. If not, I just read them with my other blogs.

    It is a thrill when someone leaves a comment though : ) Someone actually does read my blog. But I'll post whether I get comments or not. My blog is a place for me to write down all those thoughts that run around in my head.

  9. BTW, I can't remember how I ended up at your blog, but I am enjoying it : )

  10. If I'm reading a blog and find myself saying, "Oh yeah... that's me!" then I comment.
    Like today... I read a ton of blogs (my husband would fuss at me for wasting time if he knew how many!!), but only comment occasionally.

    :) Good post.

  11. I comment on any post that touches me. And I probably comment on my daily reads twice a week or so.

  12. Great insights, Kelly, and something I think about WAY TOO MUCH.

    Where to start? (Should I start by confessing that I let the chocolate chip cookies get a leeeeeetle too brown in the oven just now because I got distracted by Sue's comments and then I had to go over and peruse her blog and now I've found ANOTHER blog I just have to add to my feed reader? I have a slight problem.)

    Okay, like Sue said, I used to do the whole reciprocal comment thing. I commented anywhere and everywhere - big timers, small timers, anyone who tickled my fancy. And you know what? I did start to build a readership. And it fed my ego and I loved it. And then I started to feel really in bondage to it all. I've already got plenty of bondage in my non-internet life, so I have been talking myself through weaning off the bloggy/comment-y/blog roll-y cycle.

    Now I have a select few that I read daily and comment (mostly) daily. These are women with whom I have formed friendships and don't comment out of obligation. If I have time, I usually pop by the blogs of those who leave comments for me and say a little something at their place. Again, not because I feel obligated to - just to return the favor.

    Of course, I usually get ten comments per post, so i have time to do things like that.

    There are many, many I read but don't have time to comment on. That's just life. I appreciate full feeds because it affords me the ability to read quickly and keep caught up.

    So that's that . . . like I said, I think about it WAY too much!

  13. This is a hard topic, Kelly. I hate feeling like comment-leaving is like a jr. high popularity contest!

    That said, I love getting comments as much as the next girl. Don't you get giddy seeing new comments in your email? I do. It can make or break my day, and THAT'S sad.

    I tend to go in spurts (if you hadn't noticed!) where I read for a few days, and then catch up on commenting all in one sitting. It's annoying to myself and probably others. But sometimes I only have a minute to check blogs and don't have time to comment, but I make a mental note to come back later. I think the solution would be to NOT feel like I have to comment. My criteria for that? I don't know and that's my problem.

    I do need to cut back on my blog reading/commenting though... my girls have been wearing the same clothes for 3 days and are living off of raisins from the pantry. Okay, not really, but I don't want it to come to that.

    I also find myself living out life in this cyberworld and telling Gary about things that happened to x or z and when he asks who I'm talking about, I realize that they're actually just blogs I read and I don't know these people! (Except now, he believes you're a true, bonafide, non-imaginary friend.)

    There are just so many good blogs out there. Okay... off to follow a few links and make new friends...

  14. Leaving novel-long comments doesn't help matters, does it?!

  15. Another thought...

    I often feel obligated to comment on blogs whose authors comment on mine. You know, as a courtesy. But truth be told, I probably wouldn't regularly read their blog and maybe don't even like it. But yet, when they leave comments on every post of mine, I feel like a snob if I don't, and then I feel trapped.

    Surely I'm not alone?!

  16. just stopped by your blog. interesting subject. i've been blogging for about 6 mo or so and i'm addicted. its fun to read, its fun to share yourself with others, and there are a ton of fun, neat gals out here in cyberland. i tend to read a few blogs daily and those are the ones i comment on regularly. there are others that i read and lurk. like others if its a well read/comment fat blog i don't bother adding my 2 cents. and then i have blogs like sewing or craftying that i never comment on but i love cuz i learn so much.

    one gal is actually not blogging or checking her blogs one day a week, just to get more done at home. i think that is a doable goal for myself as well. i can waste/spend hours reading blogs!

  17. Just kidding :) Your blog is the only blog I comment on. I would also like to point out that I was your first comment on your first blog. I had signed up on this blog site with the name fickle friend. I didn't know how everything worked and I thought my comment would say the name 'Julie,' but it said fickle friend. I was so sad that your first comment was from a fickle friend. Now I at least know how to change my display name. I love reading your blog !!! You are such a gifted writer !!!!!

  18. I'll admit it...I comment A LOT!

    I'm always impressed with people who only comment when they have somthing to add...but I tried that, and realized if I did that, I'd never comment, I really never have anything very important to I usually don't leave anything very "deep" but hey, its a comment! :)

    I do spend WAY TOO much time at the computer...I'm hopeing summer will help me kick the habit...until fall comes :)

  19. I read the whole debate yesterday at Beth and Megan's blogs, and I totally understand what you are saying. The reading is easy, it's the commenting that takes the time. And I don't comment for a lot of reasons, the main one being that I feel like it was a great post and enough said. What more could I add? Uusally, nothing.

    I rarely comment on a blog if you have commented ahead of me because you are hands down the best commenter ev-ah and anything witty I could try to say after you would just sound dorky.

    I just recently gave up on the blog reading. I had too. It was taking too much time and like you, even when I was with my family, I was thinking about the people that live in the computer.
    I read 10 blogs a day, tops. The same old 10 every day. And I usually comment on those, because they are my peeps. (Like you!)
    Then I have about 30 or so that I check in with every couple of weeks to catch up or see if they've had anything interesting going on. I rarely comment on those.

    I know it is said that commenting is the way to build readership, and I know that is true, but I am much happier with a clean house and the laundry done than with a big readership. Sometimes it is hard to walk away from, but once I hide the laptop, I'm usually okay!

    The flip side of that though, is I feel extremely guilty when people read or regularly comment on my blog and I don't return the favor. Because I don't like to be rude. So I always try to answer as many comments as I can with an email just saying a quick thanks, and I appreciate them reading. I'm thinking I may just copy this comment into my own post, it would sure save me the trouble of writing something else tonight!

    Hope you are having a good day!

  20. oh yes, totally understand. i want to read and comment on all in my bloglines and, and those new people who visit my blog. but i do not have the time to do all that even with high speed internet access. especially when things get busy at home like they are now. then i start to feel guilty like i'm neglecting my blog friends.

  21. I just wanted to say hi and thanks for visiting my blog. I look forward to reading yours. I also have to say that our second was a no med. birth as well. And it was also not on my list but something I can say i did! So i know the feeling! I just linked you and would be honored to be linked here. talk to yousoon. H

  22. Oh! To comment!! Definitely in favor. And speaking of comments, thanks for leaving yours over on mine. Thank you for the blessing of your heart being poured out in a way I really need to witness right now. Thanks be to God for women who can share openly and be laid bare so that others might be so deeply blesed and comforted.

    Thanks, thanks, and ever thanks.


  23. Comments, for me, begins first as reciprocation. I think it was Megan (Sortacrunchy) who mentioned the building of {blog} relationships. But usually if the comments are going to continue, it's because the writing draws the comment right out of me--as though I were literally at the conversation and can't wait to say my two bits--no matter how inane.

    See, just did it again.

  24. Let me start by saying that I LOVE comments. :-)

    I too have very little free time, and even less it seems lately. I have unsubscribed from a few on my Bloglines, and not very often do I comment. My blogging is part ministry/part just for fun. It's great that I can combine the two! But if I commented on all the blogs I read, well, like you said: I don't have time for important things. So my comments are pretty scattered...

  25. Good thoughts! I didn't read all of your comments because well, because of everything you said, too. :) So this may have all been said...

    I used to comment more, but now that I read more blogs, I can't comment on all of them all the time. I try to comment once every few posts on people I'm trying to build relationships with. I used to try to visit all of my commenters, but I can't do that anymore. That makes me sad. But it is a balance that works for me.

  26. I really only have 7 or 8 blogs that I read regularly. I comment when I've identified with a post or something to that nature.

    I do love comments though! But I don't get many! I think the MOST I've gotten on one post was 6! That's ok with me though :)

  27. Great topic... I feel similarly to you. I love to comment, but I read so many blogs that if I comment on each one every time I would never get my work done or feed my family. I don't have a definitive answer... curious to see what others say here:-)

  28. Great post. I too follow way too many blogs. SO hard to cut down though

  29. I do a lot of lurking, and comment only when something pops immediately to mind. Otherwise I spend way too much time trying to be clever.

  30. Yes, I follow WAY too many blogs. And I blog-stalk. I leave comments on some, and on some I don't. But I know that I love to have people comment on my blog.

    And I am a blog addict! I admit! AAAHHH! I've tried talking to hubby about my blog-friends, but he just doesn't get it. He doesn't understand how I can be friends with someone I've never met and someone I just read about.

  31. I only comment when I feel like i have something to say. Just like in a conversation .... I may stop by and not have a thought or response to someone's post and that's okay. But if I do, then I leave a comment.

  32. I think I blog more out of relationship than the need to read. (I come here because we've had such fun para-post emails and I know we'd be great buddies in real life! Heck, I consider you my buddy now. :) I'm much less likely to read/comment somewhere the writer has never acknowledged I exist. It's kind of like calling someone on the phone and they just sit there. Eventually you quit calling, right? But then on the flip, sometimes I comment knowing it's all one-sided because the post was just too funny or touching not to.

    With that said, I try to respond in some way to everyone who comments on my blog but 'no reply' bloggers make that very hard. I don't always have time for full-blown visits but I do try to acknowledge commenters with a quick email as a talk-back to what they said to me, especially if a question is asked. For some this may be unrealistic but if I hit a few every day I think I eventually get everyone. (If they have an email that is!)

    Does that make any sense whatsoever?


  33. There's the rub. It's a very difficult river to navigate. I don't know the answer. Trying daily to evaluate things, make things more efficient. Always asking the question is it worth it? I'm not sure. I can answer either way on the head of a dime.

  34. I had to carve out certain hours of the day to do it. I can justify it better now that I am running The Denver Post site. I generally get the most work done in the early-morning hours or during my children's naptimes. Or when they're over at Grandma's like tonight. :-)

  35. I too posted about the comment debate.

    For me, I comment on many of the blogs I read. If I have absolutely nothing to say, I of course don't comment.

    I did get the "talks too much in class" on every report card, kindergarten through senior year though ;)

  36. It came to my attention just before naptime today that my attitude toward comments on my blog has become rather like that of Yertle the Turtle. More! Higher! The Highest! And well, I'm ashamed. I need to get back to doing a better job focusing on what I'm giving, and letting what comes of that come.

    So I've spent more time this week commenting on the blogs I read, responding to the comments I do receive and generally working more on being a good friend and blogging "citizen" vs. being the Turtle King. Can't comment on every blog, every day, but CAN comment enough to develop relationships and hopefully make others feel valued and appreciated.

  37. I know what you mean. I'm really trying to step away from the computer more these days. But I do value comments on my blog, and like to leave them for others too. Of course, like you said, time is the big issue! Lately I try to check in with my favorite blogs every few days (giving up checking every day) and "catch up" on their posts from the past week. Then I leave one comment on the most recent post. (usually)But I definitely do my fair share of "lurking"- especically when people already get a lot of comments.

  38. I have a puppy in a cage in my garage.

    His food dish has a lid over it that opens for a split second every time I get a comment on my blog.

    I'd hate to think what's going to happen to my puppy if the comments dry up over at my place.

  39. Oh, I seriously struggle with this. I'm like, do I comment or do I post? I started off with a precedent of commenting on every post for every blog I visit and now it is OUT OF CONTROL. I am trying to find a balance, but I struggle!