Tuesday, 6 October 2015

It's not you it's me. Well, OK, it might be a *bit* you. Are you one of these kinds of blog-commenter?

Speaking as someone who had a full Catholic school experience, and who also once accidentally stood on the snail she was keeping as a pet, I didn't think I had the capacity to feel any more guilt in my lifetime.

But that was all before I brought up the subject of blog commenting ...

When I set out on my challenge to leave 300 blog comments in 30 days it was for two key reasons that really had little to do with you ... and everything to do with me.

Reason 1.
I was aware that, when I set up this blog on November 8th 2008, I brought over with me people I already knew from the UKScrappers forum and from the design team blogs I was part of at the time.

My recent thinking has been that, as I no longer frequently share scrapbooking or craft projects here, [a decision which genuinely caused me some anxiety ... but more of this some other time, or never!] then perhaps that explained why I don't really generate a lot of commenting here.

And ...

Reason 2.
With my blog writing and reading focus slightly shifting I wanted to find some new content to reflect my preferences and I knew that the quickest - and perhaps only - way to do that would be to simply launch myself into a concerted expedition of discovery and connection by commenting.

What this was never intended to be was a criticism of anyone who reads my blog but who doesn't comment. 

As the comments on my introductory post began to roll in I began to feel like I'd unwittingly started a Mexican wave of guilt amongst lapsed and non-commenters!

It's not you ... it's me ... 

Honestly, if I'd wanted to make this about why people don't leave comments for me, I'd have made it more obvious as I prefer to have everything out in the open here [and not just here ... ask James!]. I really don't go in for passive-aggression. 

In fact I avoid passive-aggression like I avoid dogs and people I once went to school with. 

So I really wasn't trying to subtly elicit guilty feelings, or guilty comments from anyone. However ...

... the fact that so many of you spoke up to let me know you were feeling bad really has been a revelation. When something of an impromptu census took place in the comments section of my initial '300 in 30 days' post I was really touched by how many of you spoke up explaining the reasons you don't comment.

While reading - and replying - to all of them [I'm tempted to count those in my 300 comments!] I detected a few patterns in the responses, so I thought I'd share them here to shine a light on the whole etiquette of commenting.

Perhaps you'll recognise yourself amongst the or perhaps you'll be able to better understand your own blog readers from some of the examples. So here we go, let's take a look at the three distinct categories of commenter who piped up on my earlier post ...

[a] The quiet ones, the shy ones, the ones battling confidence issues:

This one blind-sided me.

Some of you spoke up to reveal that you didn't leave comments [not just here, but on other blogs to] because you were:
  • "shy", 
  • "a bit secretive" 
  • or you were concerned about having to "put myself out there"or hoping to avoid rejection "in case they don't care/reciprocate" or that "no one is interested in what I have to say". 
 Never had it crossed my mind that anyone would feel too awkward or vulnerable to leave me a comment. And yet I shouldn't have been surprised.

I always strive to be inclusive here, to be friendly, welcoming ... and I'm not worried about sharing my imperfections or vulnerabilities [dog phobic, introvert, frequent weeper!], or my past reliance on plastic zebras.

So it makes perfect sense for my blog to attract quiet nervy types!! And, while I wasn't completely clear on that before, I am now.

Thank you for making me aware and for thinking enough of me that you wanted to speak up and set the record straight! And, from now on, feel free to read in peace and never worry about commenting here again.

And now that I know, I know. I know you're here, I know I'm not talking to myself, I know you're having a decent enough time when you get here. And now you know that I know.

We're sorted. As you were. Carry on as before. OK?

Not you? Well maybe you'll recognise yourself in the next category of commenter ...

[b] The blog-weary ones, the busy ones, the lax and the lurkers. 

You are the ones I completely expected;  after all, I count myself one of you. You are the ones who explained your infrequent commenting as:
  • part of a wider feeling of being "very lax with blogging lately";
  • of recognising this and of wanting to "make more of an effort";
  • of reminding yourself that "there is a person at the other end of a blog";
  • of enjoying a particular blog but of just not making the transition from 'reader' to 'commenter';
  • of using your spare time anywhere but on a computer. [One of the main reasons I try to avoid spending my evenings and weekends online ... which is making my 300 in 30 days challenge a bit of a struggle!!].
Like all of you I've just got a bit complacent lately. I've been taking in the content but not digesting and pausing long enough to reflect and comment. It's easily done. There's a lot of content out there, but I think I've recently reached the point where I want quality over quantity. But first I think I need to work out what 'quality' means to me ... what I'm going to find useful, what I'm going to be happy using my spare time reading. And that's all part of my experiment! 

I'm not there yet, and I won't swear that I'll be an entirely reformed character once my 30 days are over ... but I'm already learning about and honing my priorities. 

Thank you to those of you who found the time to un-lurk, de-lurk, to poke your head up and say hello on my previous post. Your efforts were appreciated!

Still don't recognise yourself? Then maybe you fit into the third catagory of lapsed commenters: 

[c]The ones battling with technology, with platforms, with crocodiles, with accounts, with devices. 

[OK maybe not with crocodiles. I put that one in there to see if you were paying attention. But if you do battle crocodiles in order to leave comments, then Bravo you! You're the best. But perhaps the also the most misguided.]

Thank you to those of you who wrangled your devices long enough to leave a comment and let me know I'm not talking to myself over here. 

You were the ones who talked of being willing to comment more if only ...
  • it wasn't "so time consuming to add a comment";
  • if only "the process was more streamlined"
  • or your iPhone and iPad cooperated with blog-commenting technology;
  •  or if you didn't have to log in and out of various accounts ... or set up an acount in the first place. 
I hear you. I am you. 

As someone so used the the speed and general efficiency of Facebook, I find it so frustrating logging in and out of Blogger, or Disqus, or having to authorise the Twitter app to let me comment! Or any of the other myriad ways the different platforms demand you use in order to leave a simple hello.

And if I found it frustrating while I was being a lax lurker [wasn't he in Superman?] and only commenting occasionally ... then imagine how much I'm enjoying it now that I'm trying to leave 300 of the darlings!! So it doesn't surprise me that I'm waaaay behind schedule and may not reach the 300 target.

If it's any use to anyone I'm finding using Disqus a slightly easier method ... it even updates you when the blogger replies to your comments which is useful for forging a connection. It's not ideal, it updates me via the email address I use to log into Blogger ... and that's not my regular email, because Google made me change it. [Another hoop to jump through!] plus it leads people back to a profile that I really have no interest in personalising ... but it is speedy [a bit like Facebook] and while I'm trying to leave so many comments per day, I feel the need for speed. 

But I don't have an answer to this one; the technology is tying us all in knots when all we want to do is connect. Maybe it'll be a case of VHS vs Betamax and somewhere down the line all the different platforms will be streamlined. Who knows.

So, OK, it is me ... but maybe it's also bit you too ...

It wasn't meant to be about you.

My #300in30Days challenge was just about me, about what I could do do maintain and widen my blogging circle. Or at least that's what I intended when I started all this.

Yet now you've all been commenting, giving me feedback, highlighting how we're all having the same issues ... maybe it is me and you ... and all the other people writing and reading blogs right now. 

As ever - as blogging so often shows me - I'm learning that I'm not alone:

  • Not alone in wishing for more comments
  • Not alone in being guilty of reading and running without leaving comments! 
  • Not alone in almost being tipped over the edge by having to type in yet another password before being able to leave a comment!!
  • And I'm not even alone in making an extra effort to comment as several of you are joining-in generally in the spirit of increased connections while others are actually planning to reach 300 too! 

I'm going to see this experiment through, even if I don't reach the target, because - as your comments and conversations already prove - there's more to this than a number.

And so [to paraphrase Oliver!] if you've logged into a long lost account, fought an iPhone, fought your shyness, caught a kangaroo, or gone to Timbuctu ... and back again in order to tell me your side of the commenting story then consider it a job well done!

Messages received, understood and appreciated!

How about we just keep going now?

Some of us will write, others will read. Some will comment, others not. Some will enjoy with their feet up and a warm mug in their hand, others might be inspired to start a blog of their own.

But hopefully we'll all feel accompanied.

See you again. Here. Or at your place. [I've got 154 comments to leave in the next 11 days so I'm not done blog seeking yet!].


p.s: I'm not going to ask you leave a comment today or suggest we chat about anything in particular there ... because, judging by your responses last time ... you're going to go your own way and reveal all kinds of things I couldn't have anticipated. So ... I'll leave you to it ...

Photographs © Julie Kirk 2015. [It's great having a weird and wonderful back-catalogue of photos to turn to when I need something to illustrate an idea!]


  1. Oh my, your original post has unleashed a lot :). And I should think that replying to comments on here definitely counts, as part of a continuing conversation? A thoughtful and inclusive read as always. (And if you only have seven or eight hours sleep a night, and comment once an hour, then by my reckoning you might just make that total after all!).

  2. I don't remember if I actually commented on your original post, but I am trying to comment now (being in the technology-password challenged group above) just to say how much I enjoy your blog!

  3. Catholic guilt---sometimes it's not so bad!!! I figure it keeps us on the straight and narrow! About the blog commenting---I generally only comment when I think I have something useful to say. I appreciated your challenge. I'd say I probably actually comment on 3-5 blogs a day. And I don't comment on all the blogs I read. Some that have huge followings, I never comment on. What's the point? Everything's been said! I prefer to comment on blogs that don't get many comments for the very reason you mentioned---so they blogger knows someone is out there and reading! I don't get many comments on my blog, but I satisfy myself by checking the page views occasionally. I have about 100-150 a day, so obviously someone is reading/checking!

  4. Thank you..for taking the trouble to read our comments and for always writing an interesting blog.

  5. I read, had a wry smile and was all for moving on ... but I stopped myself and left you these few words!

  6. One thing I can say that no matter what, your blog is never not interesting, Julie! I am so fascinated especially with your month in numbers but guess I don't do all that much in my own life to figure out what my own month of numbers would or could be. lol

    As always, I love your blog and your style of writing and never leave without a smile or a laugh or two [you crack me up at times, girlfriend! LOL]

    Have a good day!


  7. I tend to comment from my phone, which can be a pain at times, so I end up being a lurker or a one line commenter.
    Im also lax with blogging, as I dont get much chance to scrapbook anymore and im not sure people want to see all my life via blogger!

  8. Not sure what group I fit into above! I comment regularly on blogs. I think people get sick of me popping in and commenting and probably think 'oh no not her again!' :-) I am still doing the 300in30days but it is getting harder due to people not posting regularly and also trying to find blogs that are still active. Thank you for setting up this challenge even though I am hunched over my big old table top computer (no iphone, laptop or ipad for this old dinosaur!) I found some new blogs that appeal to me and hopefully I will have some people that like what I have to say on my blog too. Maybe I should stop the depressing poetry though as I am sure it frightens people away! :-)

  9. There are many things I could say and many more things I identify with here....but....mostly I'm smiling because the title of my last blog post was "It's Not Me, It's You"!

  10. I've had people say to me too that they feel they haven't anything to add so they just say nothing. Which I have to admit I find a bit frustrating. Um, you could just say hello. I'd love that. Pinterest..there's another one. I rarely get a comment from a pinner, so I've been making an effort to say "I love this and I'd like to pin it" more often. Just realised I should have gone back and read all the comments on your last post before I started writing this..

  11. Another thought-provoking post about blog commenting Julie! I am a mostly a), a bit shy, but with sprinklings of b) and c)!! I agree with Barbara above, I don't comment much on the blogs with huge followings. I guess that's a confidence thing with me, whey would they take any notice of little ol' me?
    My major take away from the 300 in 30 is how time consuming it is! I'm finding some interesting new blogs, but of course you have to read more than 1 post, which is taking some time! Easy to get behind with the numbers.

  12. Okay: I've been back and browsed the comments and I think you can totally congratulate yourself on persuading all those lurkers to say hello. That's a job well done!

  13. Great post and well written as always! :)

  14. Just taking a few moments away from my Wednesday night crocodile wrestling to say hello and good luck with reaching your target!

  15. So well written Julie. I'm in the same position you are, my blog doesn't get the comments it used to either, although now I suspect lurkers, which is FINE with me. I just don't want to be talking to myself, lol. I too, have trouble finding time to comment and/or think by commenting I may be wasting the blogger's time, i mean, if everybody already said "good job", one more seems like just a waste of time to the person having to read all the comments. I'll change that thinking now. Hope your Fall is going well.

  16. I always love receiving comments because it feels like a real interaction and discussion with my audience, but I often forget (or am just completely unaware) of all the "lurkers" out there who read every post but never comment (like a few people have emailed to tell me!). It's a funny thing, blog-reading and commenting. Sometimes, I read blog posts but don't feel the need to comment and other times (like this post), I'll read a post and want to think about it more before commenting. Other times, I just fall miserably behind in catching up, which is why I'm thankful for the Bloglovin' app!

  17. This is such a great idea! Like many my problem is that my phone wont let me comment, but I agree comments brighten someones day. And yours were so lovely on my blog

  18. I read this originally on my iPhone. Only when i went to leave a comment i needed to sign into google but i have set that up to send a code to my phone (which i didn't have to hand) so i gave up trying to reply - and now I've forgotten what i was going to say!
    I think it was something about admiring your drive to find a variety of blogs to read. Some of the tip/most popular blogs are little more than glorified advertising sites and the authors don't come across as 'genuine' - that's why i love your blog (and the others i visit regularly).
    I am being lazy (also teenage kids and teaching leaves me short of any time during the term) and using your pinterest list and seeing if I find other blogs to enjoy - good job I'm not doing 300 in 30 days as I think so far I have visited 6 new blogs from it x

    1. to explain the iPhone isn't my main phone (as some of the buttons are dodgy) but i prefer to use the apps on it!

  19. I don't know which category I fall into, but I must admit I dip in and out of commenting on some blogs. Honestly,I'm have no idea why! Like everyone, I love itbwhen people take the time to comment on my blog, I get a bit of a buzz, is that shallow of me? I do wonder sometimes if I follow too many blogs, as I often seem to be catching up with my blog reading

  20. Sorry I'm a little late to this party. I think both your posts regarding Your challenge for 300 comments in 30 days were both well thought out, well said. On Sian's post about the same subject (inspired by you) I said that I started to blog because I really wanted to be part of a community. I was one of those lurkers for a long time, too shy to comment, but then I started and look at me now - a blogger too! I have been very fortunate to have been be-friended by many talented bloggers. As I received a lot of encouragement & hand holding from Lady Ella at http://flowers-of-progress.blogspot.co.uk/ I would recommend that you visit her. She has an amazing writing talent & skill, although a little quiet this week but I know she'll be back soon. I have found my confidence in participating in scheduled link ins/ups and have received so much kindness in return. Thanks for your encouragement to all of us to contribute :)

    1. I know what you mean 'Patio' - sometimes you read comments on blogs and everyone seems to 'know' each other. It takes you right back to the playground and standing at the edge of a group of friends, hoping they would notice you. What I have found is that these bloggers are all waiting with open arms to welcome us in and get us to join in the fun... I wish school had been so easy!

  21. Hi Julie, thank you for commenting on my blog (your number 179). I'm sure it will broaden your horizons to visit many new blogs. Anyway, I thought I'd visit yours and I read about the 'book club'. That is a great idea. I will probably 'lurk' on that one and see what comes of it. (Lurkers have officially been given permission).
    And your post today about commenting is thought provoking in a way. On the other hand, it's no science. Some days I have the time and some days I have to do other things. Like you, I don't want to spend the whole day at my computer. And I don't fall into any category really. But it was interesting reading about your thoughts on this whole thing.
    I wish you much fun with your challenge. (It's only 10 comments a day after all!)

  22. GIGGS! That's a pretty good summary, I think.....dammit, woman...... I so do NOT need any more blogs to follow...but I suspect I'll poke my head in from time to time. Love the way you write. Authentic comes to mind....LOVED the bookclub idea. No time springs to mind....& looking forward to lurking a bit with a comment popping up from the rabbit burrow occasionally [well, I DO live 'down under'....] on that lame note..... I'm off.... & hopping - I mean running....

  23. Hello, hello (waving madly!) I've found you....finally.

    Still trying to get my brain around Disqus - as a recent deserter of blogger. But it worked...I think.

    I love your post and I would probably out a little bit of me in all three categories. Quiet, a bit of a lurker and technology 'phew!'...as you may of found at - I'm rubbish with.

    But it's so lovely to finally found you. Good luck with the 154 in 11 days.

    Nina x

    ps. having to use my old google log in as I can't figure out which profile to use as there is no name/url option.

  24. Yet another thought provoking and well written post Julie. Gosh - I can see so much clearer too. I get so frustrated when I'm using my mobile and invariably the time and effort it takes means I do not leave as many comments as I would like. I'm not in the shy category, but busy, technology problems, spending more time on other things (including Facebook) and crocodiles.... oh yes!!! That is me!
    I 'm not going to set an unrealistic challenge for myself but I do want to get back into a habit of visiting blogs again so this is a good way to refocus. Thank you Julie, your timing is good and as always your ideas and what generates is just brilliant!

  25. Brave you for starting this discussion. And I agree: for me it's definitely become more 'quality over quantity' recently. Would love recommendations for any writing blogs you might have come across (when you've reached your 300 target, obviously!)

  26. Your blog never fails to make me laugh. I'm a guilty lurker (without the added weight of Catholicism, lapsed or otherwise). Don't go changing! I've been wondering why no one comments on my blog anymore but thanks to you I've realised it's because I'm setting a bad example ;-) Right off to make a concerted effort to comment more - rest assured this is about me not you!

  27. I just clicked on your link from the Blogtacular group and have to say that I can completely relate - as both a blogger and a reader. I've been looking back over some old posts (reformatting after a new layout) and there are LOADS of comments on those compared to now. I was asking myself all the questions that you have and I'm glad to read your findings as it saves me repeating the experiment. I have resigned myself to the following (1) my stats tell me people are reading my blog, (2) regular core readers are connecting via social media and email (3) there are lots of regular lurkers and that's good too (4) I'd probably write it even if no one were reading it, so it doesn't really matter.

    Anyway, I enjoyed reading your blog today and will come back - I may even leave a comment ;) x

  28. Thank you for this post and the original one (which I also managed to comment on). Since reading it I have been leaving more comments. In the past I would think "I don't really have that much to say" or "It's not that important" but now when I feel the urge to say something, I go ahead and comment! Because now I'm more sure that the blogger will appreciate even the smallest comment, and I'm more mindful of the fact that so many blogs have so few comments, so even my small contribution might make somebody's day. =)
    Also I have to tell you that I really appreciated you leaving a comment on my poor, neglected blog the other day. (It was in response to my excited comment that I got tickets to a movie theatre showing of Hamlet, after discovering that through your post) I was trying to build up the motivation to rejuvenate my blog and your comment really helped! I've already done two new posts and have plans for more. So, thanks again! =)


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