Where Have All the Comments Gone?

Picture by Gamerforever.
Picture by Gamerforever.

Many of the comment sections in the blogs I follow are slowly growing quieter.

The content hasn’t changed as far as I can tell, but for some reason people are responding to new posts less often. The funny thing is that, at least for me, the number of visitors who come to this site has increased since I started blogging in 2010. Last month alone I saw a 30% bump in visits.

Is it due to readers posting links to stuff they like on social media instead? I’ve definitely been doing that more and more often over the last couple of years. There definitely is something to be said for telling all 5 (or 50, or 5000) of your followers that you loved a certain link.

Yet I think we’re losing a valuable part of blogging culture.

We’re all wrong sometimes. One of the strengths of reading and writing a public blog is that you rub shoulders with people from all walks of life. Yes, there are occasional trolls, but most of the folks I’ve met online have stretched my mind in good ways. The fact that we see things from different perspectives is a strength, not a weakness. There have been times when the comment section of a particular post is ten times more interesting than what originally sparked the conversation.

Which is why this silence frightens me. I don’t want to live in an echo chamber.

Which is why I’ve decided to comment more often on other people’s posts. For every two links I share, my goal is to leave one comment on sites that don’t require you to sign up on them first. (The annoyance of that is an entirely different post 😉 ).

I hope you will join me.

Maybe we can turn the tide.

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0 Responses to Where Have All the Comments Gone?

  1. I suspect that a lot of people find that social media does suit their online communications better. You can see reactions more quickly, and reactions that include “I enjoyed this” in the short hand of a Like or a +1. It’s also somewhat faster and easier to post things like quick thoughts, enjoyable links, or amusing images. Blogging, on the other hand, lends itself to longer thoughts and essays (which is one of the reasons I still blog).

    How that ties in with comments and lack of comments, I’m not so sure… Except, I suspect that a lot of the sorts of conversations that used to take place in blog comments have moved to social media instead.

  2. I don’t mind having Pete Seeger in my head, loved the guy even if he was a liberal hippie. Perhaps thats a secret I’m in denial about, maybe I’m still a hippie myself. Anyway i have to agree with whats been said. I find myself feeling my irregular tweets to FB and lurking around in others lives and adventures offers somewhat of an ease to the guilt I may feel about not being communicative.

  3. Could be an overload of info from so many different streams. I constantly narrow my FB feed and twitter feed content and no longer have a tv and choose not to have news feeds bombarding me.

    • I agree with Jim. Part of the problem is the sheer amount of information we receive every moment of every day. Maybe we need to fast from time to time. I have thought about taking short, periodic breaks from the media and writing. But, I fear losing readers. I am number cruncher and I can track visitors and page views in relation to the frequency of my writing. I can not write for three days and the numbers stay strong. However, on day four the numbers start to decline. I want to grow readership numbers but I also want to go hike in the mountains with Jim for a week. 🙂

  4. I think social media, along with sites like Reddit, has broadened the discussion somewhat. Maybe… For example, 1,600 visitors came to my blog from Reddit yesterday. No one left a comment and there were two comments on Reddit itself. While the numbers are great, I wish there was more interaction. On Facebook and Twitter my posts generate a few comments. Google+? Very, very few comments.

    What perplexes me the most is the posts I spend the most time writing often generate the fewest comments. Is it because my arguments were “perfect” or that readers agreed with me? I don’t know since they didn’t say.

    A greater problem for me is that I want more comments but when I have a post with a lot of comments then I feel obligated to respond to the comments. This can be overwhelming at times. I am trying a new approach of adding my comments after everyone is done commenting. Rather than addressing each individual commenter, I am trying to address the group that commented on that post.

    I try to comment on the blogs of my friends. It is my way of showing my support for their work. I don’t often comment on the blogs of people I don’t know. Reason? I don’t want to get into debates or arguments.

    So, are blog comments a support system, an atta-boy system? Sometimes, but they can be more than that. Commenters have the power to help me see things differently.

    My two cents.