We Need More Response Posts

Woman sitting on edge of white concrete stairs and looking at her laptop.I started blogging back in the early 2000s when most of the bloggers I knew used Blogspot. One of the things I miss the most from that era are response posts.

If you don’t know what a response post is, here’s an example of how this sort of thing works.

Finley: Here are seven reasons why Picard is the best Star Trek captain of them all. 

Rory: The other day I read Finley’s post about why Picard is the best Star Trek captain of them all. Here’s a link to their post for anyone who hasn’t read it yet. While I agree with most of their points, today I wanted to talk about why Captain Sisqo was an even better example of top-notch Star Trek leadership. 

That is, Rory noticed something in Finley’s original post that made them decide to write a response to it in order to dig more deeply into the topic of which Star Trek captain is the best of them all or to explain where their opinion differed from what Finley thinks about that universe.

Just like WordPress today, some blogging platforms back then had notification systems that would let the original blogger(s) know someone had linked to their work. Other bloggers could read both of these posts and then write their own replies about which captain they thought was the best. Sometimes this sparked conversations that lasted for weeks or months and took place over many different sites as new people added in their opinions and the original participants replied again to clarify their point of view or ask a question.

I’ve seen echoes of this phenomenon on occasional Tumblr posts, but I’m not seeing it happen in the blogosphere much at all these days. If someone strongly agrees or disagrees with a post, they tend to create Twitter threads or leave a comment instead. 

Comment sections and Twitter threads are fun, but I prefer blog posts for discussions like these for a few different reasons.

Longevity

 It’s been my experience that responses last longer and are easier to find if they’re turned into a blog post. Few people scroll months or years back into someone else’s Twitter stream, and I’ve had experiences in the past where old comments on my various blogs disappeared with site updates. 

Blog posts have a way of sticking around on the Internet for years after their publication date. Occasionally, I still find references to posts that went “viral” in the blogosphere many years ago.

In addition, one of the first things I do when I discover a new blog is to poke around their archives and see what they were talking about months or years ago. There can be posts there that I’ll then share with the people I know who are interested in comparing Star Trek captains, for example.

More In-Depth Discussions

There are many things I appreciate about social media, but it’s hard to fit complex ideas or discussions into a few 280-character tweets. The beautiful thing about the blogosphere is how much more room there is in a blog post to add subtley to your point of view. 

A tweet might only have room to mention one or two things you loved about Jean Luc Picard. In a blog post, you could mention everything you admired about him, compare it to the strengths and weaknesses of other captains, and respond to someone who had complained earlier about how silly is it for him to specify every single time that he wants his Earl Grey tea to be hot when that’s something that the replicators on the Enterprise really should be able to assume based on that captain’s long history of drinking hot tea.

Any Trekkie who stumbled across this hypothetical response post could share it on social media and ignite an entirely new round of discussions on the strengths and weaknesses of all of the Star Trek captains.

Community Building

Image of legs of people standing in a circle and pointing their toes to each other. Yes, communities can and absolutely do exist on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and other social media sites.

One of the biggest differences between building an online community on social media and in the blogosphere lies in how easy it is to keep up with everyone. I’ll take a step back from my Star Trek analogy for a moment to discuss something serious that actually happened in one of my social circles recently.

Without giving away too many identifying details, a friend of mine recently went through something difficult. They talked about it on social media, but because of the time of day they shared them as well as some of the silly marketing gimmicks on that site I – along with many other friends of theirs – never saw their updates. 

It wasn’t until they shared another status update talking about how lonely they felt that most of us realized something was wrong. Had this been a blog post on my RSS feed instead, I would have seen and responded to it within a day or so of it being published. 

I Want to Write More Response Posts

As the saying goes, “be the change you want to see in the world.” While that phrase was originally coined to describe far more pressing issues than this one, I think I’m going to start shuffling my editorial calendar around on this blog a bit to allow for occasional response posts.

Maybe they’ll come back into fashion again if more bloggers realize just how useful they can be. If you write something thought-provoking, your post just might be the one I pick! 

For those of you who have experience with them, what do you think of response posts? Are you also interested in bringing this style of blog post back? 

9 Responses to We Need More Response Posts

  1. I completely agree! I’ve written a few response posts to some booktube videos, but that doesn’t really work as well because they’re in such different formats. But it is really fun expanding on someone’s ideas or sharing your two cents on whatever the topic is.

  2. I used to have numerous blog friends and we had lively discussions, but slowly they all dropped out. It was like a death when each one said they no longer had the time to devote to blogging. Fb really sucks as a substitute. The only blogger friend I have like that now is Berthold and it is from him that I learned of Audrey Driscoll and this site. I’ve enjoyed getting back into responding to the challenges and having fellow writers leave comments. Keep this going.

    • Yeah, I had the same experience. Many blogs and message boards started drying up as soon as Facebook/social media hit the scene. It’s too bad, but I’m glad some of us have kept going.

      I will definitely keep blogging. I hope you do, too!

  3. Lydia, I don’t think I ever used Blogger, or if so, I didn’t use it for long. But I often wrote posts after reading another blogger’s post. I started blogging in 2002 and blog world was so different then. I had a “blog roll” on Movable Type and that was like my newspaper. I read through all the posts every morning with coffee. We all knew each other, or it seemed that way. I miss that. I am on Word Press now and I like lots of things about it, but I still haven’t found my old tribe like I had back in the day. I do “follow” some people, which WP makes it easy to do, so I get their posts, but Gmail has made it simple to overlook or quickly scroll through notifications. I miss the blog roll ritual. And I left Facebook awhile ago just so I could devote more time to reading and responding to blogs I really love. Like yours!

    • Aww, thank you. Your site is great, too.

      Yeah, those blog roll things were really cool. It’s too bad they’re not around anymore.

      Do you use an RSS reeder for any of the blogs you follow?

  4. I started on Blogspot too 🙂 It was fun and easy to follow those I liked, and I could see at a glance, on the ‘blog roll’, what they were posting about.
    I did a few response posts and got into some interesting discussions. But I haven’t done one for ages, not since I left Blogspot. I experienced the same thing as Cindy in the comment above – those I enjoyed following have gradually stopped blogging. The blogs I do visit now don’t really post anything that’s conducive to a response, if you know what I mean.
    I totally agree with you. Maybe we should just start writing response posts 🙂 Will have to put my thinking cap on. I’m already looking forward to your posts!

  5. I would LOVE to do these! I don’t know if I will have time to start one in the next bit, but I would be very interested in responded to some if I can.

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