Why Blog? Why Comment?

Melanie Booth over at Prattlenog was recently featured on Freshly Pressed for a post she wrote called Verb: To Blog.  She explored the reasons why she believes she blogs and then asked this of her readers:

“What are your thoughts about “to blog?” Please share!”

So we did.  I loved reading the answers from her 60+ commenters.  Some people seem to have similar motivations as me for blogging, but others were quite unexpected.  One commenter’s blog is devoted to her clothing line, one guy uses his blog to “help readers to solve their dilemmas”, someone uses their blog as a study guide for his/her course work, one woman is posting an online book.  There were a couple of people who wrote non-English language blogs.  I googled “Why Blog?” and came up with 424,000,000 search results.

I found an interesting article called Rumors of the Death of Blogs are Greatly Exaggerated.  It contains a very nice summary of Technorati’s 2009 The State of the Blogosphere, which was given at the 2009 Blogworld Expo (from this article I learned that are things called “Technorati”, “State of the Blogosphere” and “Blogworld Expo”.  Who knew?  Go to the article for all of the accompanying links).  One of the graphs I liked was the “Please tell us the reasons why you blog”, shown below.

Go here for methodology, and here for the original graph.

So yeah, yeah, yeah…there are a gazillion and one reasons why people blog – personal, professional, selfish, selfless…it’s all good.  Blog if you want to, don’t if you don’t.  This question of “why blog” is critical to bloggers and those who use blogs, but it’s also exhaustively studied.

A more interesting question, in my opinion, started bumping around in my brain when one of Prattlenog’s commenters said that blogging is selfish because only 3% of bloggers comment on other people’s blogs.  I started wondering:

Why and when do people comment on other blogs?

*Usually, I comment mostly when I feel that I have some knowledge, experience or opinion that can add to and continue the conversation.  Social interaction, pure and simple.  It’s fun to engage in intelligent debate and to share ideas with like-minded individuals.

*But I also blog to let authors know that I’m there.  It is a thrill to receive comments from people, especially from new readers or from readers who don’t normally comment.  Knowing how I feel when I get comments encourages me to comment on other blogs. 

*Reader participation questions like Melanie’s (prattlenog) are another reason to comment.  The author is asking What is your opinion?  What do you think?  Why do you do this?  Okey-doke.  I’m game.

*Lastly, and most self-servingly, making a particularly pithy or intelligent comment can actually draw new readership.  Well-written comments at someone else’s blog are a form of advertisement, a sort of “if you like what you read here, zip on over to my blog for more!”  Thus continues the social interaction, but now I’m the originator of new discussions.

Fun!

So if any of y’all 15 or so readers care to chime in, why do you comment on blogs – not necessarily on mine, but in general?  Have I covered the main reasons or are there others?*

*Note the clever comment fishing with the “Reader Participation Question” as outlined in bullet 3 above!

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5 Responses to “Why Blog? Why Comment?”

  1. melaniebooth Says:

    Thanks for posing the question! The interesting thing is that I think it’s actually kind of hard to track comments. When I post, I feed it to Facebook and I get a lot of comments and conversation there and not on the blog itself. Likewise, I assume some people Tweet their posts, and then people Tweet back or re-Tweet.

    Why do I comment though? Usually, it’s because the post speaks to me in some way and I want to add my 2 cents.

    I suspect you’ll see my 2 cents here more often. (Careful what you wish for!)

  2. Hubby Says:

    I don’t blog but I will comment on blogs if:
    – I have applicable knowledge or experience.
    – I want to interact with like-mined people.
    – someone asks an open ended question.
    I will seldom comment on a blog to debate non-like-minded people.

  3. didacticpirate Says:

    This is a great post. Many of the blogs I comment on are written by friends of mine, but there’s an increasing number of them that I interactive with now because we share common blogworthy interests. My own blog is mainly about parenting and teaching, since those are the two endeavors that fill my days. And since both pursuits can be REALLY isolating, commenting on those sites (and receiving comments on mine) flat-out feels good.

    • biodork Says:

      Hey – thanks for visiting, and for commenting!

      I tend to try to step up the commenting for my friends and family, mainly because of the whole pass-on-the-love idea. I agree with the Hubby also about seldom commenting on a blog to debate non-minded people. Blogging and commenting should feel good or fulfilling. If not, why do it? I don’t understand the excitement of creating drama by posting incindiary or flat-out rude comments on other people’s sites. Debate is one thing, ad hominen attacks are…well, not debate.

  4. leogirl1975 Says:

    I love to comment on someone’s blog to spread the love, as you say, but also if I have something I can add or share about the topic.

    I love to write, always have since I learned how, and I find blogs are a wonderful outlet for that. I have 2 blogs, and each are different. One is of a very personal nature, and the other (my WordPress one) is more for things that interest me and are more impersonal. I really love to have a space to write, even if it is just me reading it, lol!

    BTW, I LOVE reading your blog. I don’t get to see you or talk to you as often as I would like and it very much helps me to stay current in what’s going on with you. :)

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