Two way street photo
In an ideal world, a conversation is like a two way street. One person talks while the other one listens and then it’s the other persons turn.

If more than two people are in the room, a conversation often develops between all parties present with each one being heard.

Blogs and their comment sections are like that, too.

The blog author writes a post; visitors read it. Each visitor has the option of leaving a comment and the blog author may or may not respond.  The original commenter might  then return to see what the blog author had to say. During their visits, they might also  read the comments left by others.

Today’s Lesson

As we all know, it’s often the comment section where the post blossoms.

If fact, comment sections can become an extension of a post and will often hold equal if not greater value than the post itself.

Thus, reading comments can be very beneficial.

But in order to all we’d like while blogging, this encompasses more reading. And, more time.

This also raises the issue of checking back to see if the blog author replied to our comment – another demand on our time.

So how do we do it?

Should we subscribe to the comments on each blog we read?

Should we continually go back to the blogs where we left comments checking for updates?

Or, should we not even worry whether the blog author replied to our comment, skip reading the other comments, have our say and move on?

Since it was Hilary of  Positive Letters who contacted me and asked me to discuss this issue, I’ll repeat Hilary’s questions.

Today’s Assignment

Do you take time to read all of the comments on blog posts?

Do you go back to a blog to read the replies from the blog author?

If so, how do you fit this activity into your already crowded schedule?

signature for blog post.

P.S. Thank you Hilary for these thought provoking questions.

Photo Credit: photographer padawan *(xava du)

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Look Who's Talking
  1. Kelvin KaoNo Gravatar says:

    I never use RSS subscriptions for comments. I’ve always thought that it would be a lot of trouble, since I will subscribe to something, and it will have updates for several days, and then it will never be updated again. Then I’ll have to spend time cleaning off old feeds all the time. I don’t want to do that. (But then again, since I’ve never actually done it, I don’t know if that’s indeed the way it works.)

    I prefer to subscribe using email to follow up on the comments, if the blog gets around 15 comments or less per post. If I knew a post is going to get 50 or so comments, I will not subscribe because my inbox will explode. Also, I doubt that people will have 50 different perspectives on the same issue, so it will start to get repetitive beyond 15 comments. For these blogs, I just go back to skim through the comments, if I remember to.

    (And I am not subscribing to the comments to this post, because I know you are too popular and my inbox will explode. I will most likely come back to check them though.)
    .-= Check out Kelvin Kao´s awesome post: My Day Job: iPhone App Development =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Kelvin,

      Subscribing to comments does have its advantages, but you’re right, they do need to be cleaned out whether it’s via RSS feed or email. Although it’s a great way to have everything in one spot, sometimes it’s easier and less time consuming to just go back to the respective post(s).

  2. I seldom read comments, but there are a few blogs that I know always have interesting conversations in comments, and I read those. If I can subscribe to comments (preferably in e-mail), I subscribe whenever I’ve left a comment to see if the blog owner responds. Sometimes I’ll subscribe to a really good conversation but not often. I find it difficult enough to find time to read all the blogs I like.
    .-= Check out Lillie Ammann´s awesome post: Show and Tell Exercises =-.

    • Let me clarify that I do read and respond to every comment on my blog. Since I have a Do-Follow blog, I get a lot of spam and a lot of questionable comments. If it is apparent the blogger didn’t read the post, I delete it. But if they anything remotely relevant, I approve it and reply.

      I seldom read comments on the blogs I read in my reader.
      .-= Check out Lillie Ammann´s awesome post: Ten Tips to Impress an Acquisitions Editor =-.

      • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

        Hi Lillie,

        Reading comments can be very time consuming, but like you said, some blogs do attract awfully good ones.

        As for answering comments on our own blog, like you, I do the same. Sometimes I will miss a comment if someone replied on an old post, but hopefully they’ll forgive me for not catching it.

        And the comments where you wonder if they read the post – those can be confusing, and often it’s best just to delete them if they look like spam or someone just trying to get some link love.

  3. TumblemooseNo Gravatar says:


    In fact, I feel that it’s my job to reply back to the folks that stop by my corner of the world and leave a comment. I do read each and every one and there have been very very few over the past year that did not get a personal reply from yours truly.

    How do I find the time? Geez I don’t know. I just do it. It’s a priority for me. I find it irritating when the blog owner does not reply. I understand it on those big boy blogs I guess, where they get 200 or so comments per post, but us grovelling along in the dirt regular blog types don’t have much of an excuse.

    I think if you don’t have the time to interact with the audience that you work so hard to attract, then you don’t have the time to have a blog or be a blogger.

    .-= Check out Tumblemoose´s awesome post: The Conscious Writer =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi George,

      Yes. It is very important to respond to our readers. Although it does take time out of our day, that is part of blogging and building community. Like you said, we work hard at establishing that, so being lazy and not replying back can give the reader a mixed message that we don’t care.

  4. jan geronimoNo Gravatar says:

    As a blog reader, I always subscribe to the follow-up comments on the posts I find useful. I read them and if I find a comment worth replying to I go back and post my reply.

    I treat comments as conversation. Love the back and forth – it’s not always about promoting yourself out there. Sounds smarmy, but I love making connections out there. So I make time for this. Hard, but I generally squeeze it in my schedule.
    .-= Check out jan geronimo´s awesome post: How to Land a Guest Post at Writing to Exhale =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jan,

      That two way conversation is what blogs are all about – being interactive. I do agree, commenting is not about promoting ourselves as much as it is about meeting others – although commenting is a great way to get noticed (especially for a new blogger).

  5. Hi Barbara!

    I love the comment section of a blog. For me, it is where the real action is happening. First, it will show how welcoming and good a blog owner can handle conversations, rebuttals on his post and friction of different opinions on a post. Second, it is a place where bloggers meet other blogging buddies.

    I look forward to a comment section. I read previous comments and if I find something good, I butt in the conversation in a respectful manner.

    I don’t really subscribe in a comment feed, only if I find conversations and the topics really interesting. Nonetheless, I tend to go back to a blog post when the interaction there is something memorable or exciting.
    .-= Check out elmot l PinoySoundingBoard´s awesome post: Too Cocky With The Party-List System. PoOf! =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Elmot,

      That’s a great point. If we read a blog post and the comments are fascinating, that makes it one worth going back to – not only to see what the blog author has to say, but what new comments have been added.

  6. I wish I had the time to read other people’s comments and to go back to blogs, but I rarely do.

    I usually leave a comment to let the author know I visited, then move on.
    .-= Check out Vered – Blogger for Hire´s awesome post: Visiting Vancouver =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Vered,

      I hear you. When time is of the essence, it’s hard to take it all in, but I think most bloggers appreciate even a short comment letting them know we were there.

  7. Evelyn LimNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t always read all the comments. Mostly, I browse through. If I have a lack of time for that day, I will just write my comments and move on. If I am expecting a question answered, I will go back to the same post to check for the answer by the blogger.
    .-= Check out Evelyn Lim´s awesome post: Creation, Intention, Consciousness =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Evelyn,

      When we have full schedules it’s hard to read all of the comments plus go back and check for the author’s replies. When we ask a question it’s always nice when the author takes the time to respond.

  8. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara. I scan the comments. Sometimes on a very thought-provoking post where my attention is captured, I will read all the comments. When I’m in a hurry, I tend to read comments of bloggers who are familiar to me. About 70% of the time I will return to read the replies; usually, the next time I’m on that blog I will check back to the previous post for their reply.
    .-= Check out Davina´s awesome post: Social Media? Go Ahead, Fly Your Freak Flag =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Davina,

      That’s a real time saver – checking for the author’s reply the next time we’re on their blog. I tend to do that, too.

      Scanning comments saves us time, as well. I do worry that I may be redundant with my words, but at least the blog author knows I read their post.

  9. Like a few others said, I really enjoy not only leaving my own comments, but reading other people’s comments. If there are already 30+ comments, I might scan what others have said for time’s sake, but I do enjoy seeing what my blog friends think about various subjects. It helps me learn more about myself and them, which I appreciate.

    I also go back and see how the author of a post responded to my comment. I do this probably 90% of the time. Again, as you and others have said, it’s a conversation and I like to see conversations through. So many of the blogs I read educate me and I value the author’s opinions; I’m constantly learning and expanding, and an author’s response might help me see something I couldn’t have otherwise.

    Great topic!

    PS – I don’t subscribe to comments via email. I did it once and never did it again because it was just too much.
    .-= Check out Megan “JoyGirl!” Bord´s awesome post: What My Buddy The Body Teaches =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Megan,

      That’s very true. We can learn a lot from other bloggers and if they willingly share in the comment section, it becomes an even bigger learning experience for us.

      I know what you mean about subscribing to comments via email. I did that once on one of Darren’s posts (Problogger) and for weeks my inbox was flooded. Yikes!

  10. Chase MarchNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    It depends on the post.

    There are times when I do read every comment. And then there are times when I just scroll down to add my comment.

    I usually return to this blog and scan down to find my avatar and then keep scanning to find yours so that I can read your reply to my comment.

    That’s what I do.
    .-= Check out Chase March´s awesome post: Komoka Running Tour =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Chase,

      Isn’t it great how the avatars help to find our comment and the blog author’s comment? And now that I’m using threaded comments, my reply is right under your comment. Sweet! 🙂

  11. JeanneNo Gravatar says:

    Hi, Barbara–
    As a newbie on the scene, reading the comments is important to me; I’m eager to know the thoughts of other readers. I follow blogs and their comments to learn, and this is often where I find additional resources and inspiration! Friends, too!

    When I comment, I’ll return to see the blogger’s reply.

    As a newbie blogger, I have ‘WAY more time than you 🙂 so it’s not an issue right now. . .

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jeanne,

      Yes. When we’re new bloggers we do have more time, but for some reason the more we blog, the more we take on and before we know it, we’re cramped for time.

      That’s very smart what you’re doing. By reading the comments of others, you not only get to know a little more about them, but if you like what they say, you’re more apt to check out their blog, too. And obviously, that ‘s works in your favor, too.

      So, for whomever is reading this, check out Jeanne’s new blog. It a fun read.

  12. Hi Barbara,

    On my blog, I read every single comment and I reply to every comment too. I think it is important to create a discussion with readers via the comment section.

    As for when I read other blogs, if I have the time, I will read all the comments. If not, I will skim through the comments and I do not subscribe to comments because as Megan said, it overloaded my mailbox and it just seems wiser to just go back on my own and see how the author replied.

    Regarding the time factor, I think it depends on why a person blogs. If you blog because you love it, I think the whole comment issue is a non-issue. Something becomes work only if you view it as work.

    Another point that I think is important to discuss is that often it is hard to get a comment from a reader who obviously has not read the post. What should we bloggers do then? In my case, I respond graciously and thank the person for the comment. But I have to admit, it is funny when someone leaves a comment and it is obvious that they have not read the post.
    .-= Check out Nadia – Happy Lotus´s awesome post: Sunday Song For August 23, 2009 =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Nadia,

      LOL. Yes, that does happen – comments on our posts and we KNOW they did not read it. You’re handing that correctly – a gracious reply and thank you is appropriate.

      That does bring up another point – when readers take something out of context and reply to just that. Again, a tactful answer is usually all’s that’s needed.

      To tag onto your comment about the time factor, I think many bloggers think they HAVE to do what others do (i.e. visit other blogs and comment), and that’s not necessarily true. If a blogger prefers not to visit others, that’s fine. There are no blogging rules to say what’s right or wrong, however, it does appear those bloggers who like the interaction are the ones who you’ll see building their reputation throughout blogosphere.

  13. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara .. that was quick work – thank you! I agree we should reply to each and everyone of our own readers’ comments. Nadia’s comments about getting a comment on a post that obviously hasn’t been read is strange .. and one can only be polite, as she said. I try and scan and take in comments on other posts – sometimes I don’t get there ..

    I probably concentrate too much .. I should be more relaxed – but I guess my brain is just not completely mine at the moment .. so it just moves along in its own way.

    There’s one food blog I like because it’s just not food it’s about a life change and a vineyard development .. I always visit .. and leave a brief comment – and don’t expect a reply .. but it’s my ‘release’ post! My dream of the day .. food, wine, space and sheer enjoyment …

    It’ll be interesting to see others’ remarks .. I’ll be back .. I’ll answer my own questions:

    1. I struggle, sometimes I do
    2. I do – if I remember where I asked them!
    3. I don’t know .. there has to be an easier way I think?

    Thanks for asking the questions on my behalf …

    all the best – Hilary Melton-Butcher
    Positive Letters Inspirational Stories
    .-= Check out Hilary´s awesome post: Pigs, Vineyards, Bloomsbury and murals … =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Hilary,

      After reading the comments, I feel you’ll have lots of great information to pick from and then find what works best for you and your schedule.

      As I mentioned to Nadia, what works for some of us, may not work for others. Plus, some don’t care to put that much time into blogging. And, often they don’t have the time.

      I’d say, don’t worry about it. Soon you’ll find your own blogging rhythm and the pieces will all fall into place.

  14. Hi Barbara,
    I comment back to the comments on my blogs (though sometimes not immediately, which I feel guilty about). I leave comments to all blogs I visit. I check back to see if the author replied, always. Depending on the blog topic, I will read all the comments or just those by my friends. I love learning more about them via their perspective on various topics. I have to admit I am a little put-off by bloggers who don’t respond to comments, as well as those bloggers who are all over the blogopshere with very bland comments, clearly just digging for readers. Sincerity is what impresses me, always! Have a great week, Barbara!
    .-= Check out Jodi at Joy Discovered´s awesome post: The Inner Voice vs. The Voice in Our Head =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jodi,

      Unfortunately some bloggers don’t respond to comments, and for some reason they don’t feel it’s important. I do understand why the big boys and/or girls might not though as their comments can number in the hundreds.

      The “bland” comments may get a person’s name out there, but chances are other readers won’t click on their name to find out more about them. I think it comes down to we get out of it what we put into it.

      Like you, I don’t always get to the comments quickly. I usually save them up for late at night when the house is quiet and I can reread what was said and answer appropriately. It’s like a late night treat. 🙂

  15. I agree with Tumblemoose. I’m still graveling in the dirt. I answer nearly all comments unless I’m traveling and can’t get to it.

    I’ll communicate with my commenters before any TV show or other time wasting nonsense.

    I will follow the people I admire and learn from in the comment section. Lance, Jannie and you are three. I especially like Jannie Eye Avatar because it stands out and I find it quickly. I’ve made friends with people whose comments I comment on.

    When I get overwhelmed I can choose to post less and remember to blog for the joy and bliss of it all.

    Life is what we make it even in the blogging world!

    .-= Check out Tess The Bold Life´s awesome post: Let’s Finish Strong! =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Tess,

      That is wonderful advice. And you’re right. If we begin to feel too overwhelmed we can cut back on our own posting or make other concessions so we can concentrate on those parts of blogging we truly enjoy.

      Like you, I have made many friends in the comment sections of blogs. I like the way their words can captivate us to want to learn more about them.

  16. J.D. MeierNo Gravatar says:

    I like how blogs and comments are asynchronous conversations.

    Some conversations are great in real time, while others I enjoy the ups and downs and spikes of things. Especially when the topic is timeless.

    I scan and drill and I think some conversations are more engaging than others, while some are more FYI, while others are more interaction-oriented, while for others, everything that needs to be said, was said.

    I know for me, I like when there’s variety … depth, breadth, and sometimes just some lightweight fun.
    .-= Check out J.D. Meier´s awesome post: Time Management Quotes =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi J.D.,

      That is so true. We need to remember to have fun with blogging. Although we may think of our blogs as our babies and be protective of them, just like in life, cutting loose once in awhile is a great outlet.

      And variety, isn’t that suppose to be the spice of life? 🙂

  17. DotNo Gravatar says:

    It changes according to how busy I am. I always read and respond to all comments on my blog. I don’t read all the comments on other blogs when there are a lot. In that case, I skim through them. When I remember, I go back to see the author’s response, though at times that can be very hard to find.

    I wish someone would write a widget (like CommentLuv) which tells you when and where you have unread responses from comments to bloggers. That would be a real time-saver.
    .-= Check out Dot´s awesome post: Comment on Auntie Meme by V.Shankar =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Dot,

      You may be onto something. That would be a great widget – we could be notified via email or a feed that tells us the blog author has now responded to our comment.

      I wonder if there are any widget makers reading this.

  18. I subscribe to comments if that’s an option. If not and I’m really interested in other comments that come after mine (including responses from the author), I save the post to delicious and refer to it later when I have free time.
    .-= Check out carla | green and chic´s awesome post: “Are you close to your family?” =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Carla,

      That’s a great idea – saving the post to delicious. I’ve done that with some I want for reference, but never thought about doing that for reading the comments later. What a huge time saver. Thank you!

  19. Barbara (and Hilary) — This is great topic. I’m definitely a “comment and run” kind of person. I almost never go back to see if I get a return comment. I’m not saying this is good. By not going back, I probably miss the dialogues that can develop via the comment box, but this how it works for me:~)

    I also don’t subscribe to comments. I did this once and ended up getting EVERYONE’S comments on a very popular post, which totally filled my mailbox. As I had forgotten that I subscribed to comments, I couldn’t figure why I was getting that particular blogger’s mail. I decided to not do that again, especially since I’m older and more forgetful.

    On the other hand, I believe strongly in blogging etiquette. I DO read and reply to all the comments that come to my site. I also return the favor by leaving comments at the site of person who left a comment on mine. Fortunately, this isn’t a difficult task, because I really DO enjoy reading other people’s posts:~)
    .-= Check out Sara B. Healy´s awesome post: Picture Story: Sandtrap =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Sara,

      By leaving a comment and not returning you’re probably saving yourself loads of time. It is true, we will miss out on dialogues that happen afterward, but if our time is best used elsewhere, this is probably the best technique to practice.

  20. Wilma HamNo Gravatar says:

    I ask myself the question first; “Why am I here and why should I comment here?”
    I visit blogs that are worthwhile my time and so I read them.
    Then I really like to add value to what is written so I take my time with my comments.
    As I am interested to learn, I go back to the blog and read all the other comments and the author’s comment. When I visit the next new post I go back to the old, previous one to read the author’s comment and the comments made that came after me. I do not subscribe to follow up notifications.
    I schedule time in for this and I do what I can.
    I always comment on comments on my own blog because mine are too not in the hundreds and I do want to honor reader’s contributions.
    .-= Check out Wilma Ham´s awesome post: My daughter, my heart and that little voice of mine. =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Wilma,

      That’s a wonderful way of entering a blog – asking yourself why you’re there and why should you comment. And, I’m guessing at times you may say, “I don’t care to be here” and just leave.

      Making a conscious effort of wanting to leave value based comments helps us to focus more on the post and the message the author is trying to convey. I find if I’m experiencing a time crunch, that’s when reading other blogs needs to be put off until later.

  21. Do you take time to read all of the comments on blog posts? No. For example on this one I read the first 8 or so.

    On my blog I read them all and reply to them all. That’s the only way to build a real community.

    Do you go back to a blog to read the replies from the blog author? I usually subscribe to comments so I can see what they say. What if they do ask a question? I hate as an author to be left hanging so I don’t do that.

    When I don’t want to choose to make time (we all have the time) I simply don’t visit as many blogs.

    If so, how do you fit this activity into your already crowded schedule? It’s a choice like all use of resources is a choice.
    .-= Check out Tom Volkar / Delightful Work´s awesome post: Ripening Bliss =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Tom,

      Now I feel like I should ask you a question. 🙂

      I figured you must subscribe to the comments as in the past, I’ve asked you and question and you kindly returned and answered it.

      What you said is so true. We all have time, but it’s how we choose to use it. Your idea of visiting less blogs is a great way to give us the time for that which we’re feeling is more important.

  22. KeithNo Gravatar says:

    On my blog I respond to every comment that is left. Granted, I don’t have thousands of daily visitors, but it is important to me to connect with those that have read my article and had something to say. That is why I blog to begin with! 🙂

    When I leave comments I most always return to see what the blog owner had to add to the conversation, because that is why I left the comment in the first place!

    Great article! Thanks!
    .-= Check out Keith´s awesome post: Weigh Anchor! =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Keith,

      That’s true. Answering the comments on our own blogs does build community, and as much as I know some prefer not to engage with their readers, like you, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

      Returning to blogs and reading what other commenters or the blog author have added is a great way to gain an even better perspective on the topic.

      Haha! I just reread this and thought, “I wonder if Keith will think I added any more value with this comment”. 🙂

  23. LanceNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,
    Comments…it’s where the real community develops. On my own blog, I read and respond to all comments. On other blogs – it depends. It depends on the author and the nature of the article. Some articles are more deeply connected to me, and those I’ll tend to read more of the comments. On sites where I know the author replies back to comments, I almost always come back to read any replies. And like Tess, there are certain people I have gotten to know well, and if I see a comment by them, I’m likely to stop and read it – even if I might normally skim over the comments (based on the content of the post).
    .-= Check out Lance´s awesome post: Sunday Thought For The Day =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Lance,

      That’s true, isn’t it? Like Tess said, and now you. When we see comments from bloggers we’re familiar with we ‘re more apt to stop and read what they are sharing. It not only lets us get to know them better, but often they are commenting on posts that brings out a different side of them.

  24. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    I respond to my commentors as I am also a do follow site. I also enjoy reading the comments on other blogs! The real interesting stuff to some blogs are the comment section! I may be among the many but I feel it is part of my job as a blogger to do it all. It not only makes you credible but your blog as well.
    .-= Check out Linda´s awesome post: A Green New World =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Linda,

      Isn’t that the truth. Often the comment section takes off and issues the post didn’t even address are now being discussed and resolved. Oh what fun!

  25. Hi Barbara,
    As always the perfect timing for this post. I think you are telepathic…how did you know i was wondering about this very issue…cause very recently i had a comment..and it seemed like they had read the article from the comment…but then…it wasn’t addressed to me…lol…i had a laugh.
    But on my blog i reply and read every comment. I feel like its an extension of my post and the comments make my post come alive.
    When i visit other blogs…like Yours 😉 ….i make it a point to read almost all much to learn here na…Thats why i can agree with Nadia and Lance on this topic.
    I love reading comments on the blogs i visit and i Love getting comments and being i presume everyone must love it too.But i don’t subscribe to them…i prefer going back and reading them on my own time. That way my reader doesn’t get too full..and i don’t feel overwhelmed when i open my reader…thinking..’oh god so much to read..where do i begin’.
    .-= Check out Zeenat{Positive Provocations}´s awesome post: Good Will Bank =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Zeenat,

      I know what you mean about your reader getting full and getting overwhelmed. Subscribing to comments can fill up a reader or email box quickly. Like you, I also prefer to go back to the site and see what the author and other commenters have contributed.

      P.S. I don’t think I’m telepathic. HeeHee. 🙂

  26. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    @ Kelvin – the inbox does overdose seems a challenge; and the email subscription reply I must try. Thanks for being so specific to the questions.

    @ Lillie – another I see using email to reply, and you know your bloggers. I note that you filter the dodgy comments and if necessary reply appropriately. Also you use your reader.

    @ Tumblemoose – as you are the blogger of the moment I must get over to have a look. Good for you for replying to each and everyone. Time – yes we just do it; I don’t like people not at least saying thanks for popping by – they just post my comment and that’s it = that ‘upsets’ me! Your comment about the interaction is so important as it is exactly we are aiming for a valued audience, whom as bloggers we respect their time visiting our blog.
    Thanks George

    @ Jan – you make some good points, especially regarding the connections that we make & as you say it definitely is not about promoting ourselves.

    @ Elmot – it’s good to hear the comment section is where the action is really happening – here at Barbara’s blog that is definitely so, and there’s that rapport with others – which is fun: as you say I enjoy seeing others blogging relationships & it helps us with our relationships with the blogger and the commentator – we can relax a little and immediately get into the swing of things, something I know I don’t do very well.
    Thanks Elmot .. good to know your interest in the interaction via the comments.

    @ Vered – you’re honest .. and those Mum’s have really busy lives and you fall into that category. It’s just good to know you’re around and with us.

    @ Evelyn – me too .. I try and read the comments, but sometimes just skip through, then feel I miss out. It’s good you go back to check if there’s an answer .. I sometimes wonder if people do.

    @ Davina – I think I do what you do .. scan the comments, read the peoples’ I ‘know’ and yes – go back when the next new comment comes up to see if my comment was answered.

    @ Megan “Joygirl” – thanks for reconfirming that we all seem to work in our own ways. Enjoying and learning from the conversation is important – we get to know everyone, as you say. Email subscription .. overload – reiterating what others have said.

    @ Chase – Thanks for letting us know your approach .. I do too and I like to give replies

    @ Jeanne – welcome and yes like you I followed along at the beginning, as you say we get new resources, new friends and inspiration. Glad to know you check out the reply. Then I found other blogs I liked – held off for a while and then added another batch and now I’m about to add a few more – it is an interesting process, as you’ll learn.

    @ Barbara .. thanks for replying to all the comments – it’s been a fun exercise, a learning process

    Hilary: Positive Letters Inspirational Stories
    .-= Check out Hilary´s awesome post: Pigs, Vineyards, Bloomsbury and murals … =-.

  27. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    @ Nadia .. yes you certainly do read every comment and reply individually – it’s a great attribute and an example to us all. Your comments are pertinent and relevant: for that I thank you. Inbox overload seems a ‘no no’; yes I can see your point re comments – and you’re right to judge that we are actively engaged for our own pleasure and therefore comments should not be a chore and my question should have not been framed! Thanks for being honest .. and you’re right – it was the mechanics I wanted to know about .. if anyone had any bright ideas!

    I agree with you about being specific to the post – I personally hate leaving nebulous comments that don’t mean anything, or it is obvious that they haven’t read the post. You are gracious and you can laugh and you do reply, if short and sweet to those non readers.

    I see @ Barbara has added re the out of context – being tactful, it’s the etiquette about not upsetting anyone – life should be positive and not negative; As you and others have said it is the interaction and support, learning and joy we get through our blogging relationships.
    @ Barbara .. thanks for replying to my comment .. I’m so interested in everyone’s replies and it’s been great to learn .. I try and be consistent with the blogs I visit .. as you say I’ll develop my own rythm

    @ Jodi – you confirm other readers’ thoughts.

    I knew there was one on the bland comment – it doesn’t take much to put a little content in does it? As you say sincerity becomes questionable and I too like to know my bloggers and feel ‘at home’ with them, or I’m learning from them and respect their views etc Thanks for that thought.

    @ Tess – you’re pretty good at answering comments. Lance, Jannie and Barbara have great relationships with their blogging readers. As you say Jannie’s eye does stand out. Good comment on ‘making your own time’ ie doing less if that’s the way life is taking you – life is more important.

    @ JD – you seem to have nailed the whys and hows and set out a time management skill some will be good at, others not so, the same with people’s characters to the reply: some straight to the point, others more thoughtful ..
    Good reply especially the part re variety .. depth, breadth and sometimes just lightweight fun ..

    @ Dot – I must look up Comment Luv .. and as you say it would save time. It’s good to know you go back to check out the replies.

    @ Carla .. that’s an interesting idea: I’ll have to look into it.
    @ Barbara @ Carla .. that got a huge tick as a time saver .. thanks Carla

    @ Sara – thanks for that. You too had inbox overload. As you say etiquette is so important .. and it’s good to hear you enjoy reading others’ posts. You’re honest in your approach!

    @ Wilma – yes, I agree we should read blogs that add value for us – then exactly as you say you can add value in your reply. It’s good to know you take time to comment. Thanks for telling us your approach .. doing what you can and essentially commenting on the replies to your own post.

    @ Barbara, Wilma .. it’s good to have value comments in reply to the actual message of the post.

    @ Tom – thanks I too sometimes only read a few if there are lots; as you say you reply to all your own comments. Engagement can be a tricky thing .. as it is time consuming .. and like you I like to have things tied up. Making time is the trick .. and as you say it’s a choice

    .-= Check out Hilary´s awesome post: Pigs, Vineyards, Bloomsbury and murals … =-.

  28. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    @ Keith – thanks – you do what we should all be doing .. engaging with our readers and enjoying (we hope!) their comments. Glad you enjoyed the Article – Barbara wrote a good one .. thank you B!

    @ Lance – as you (& @ Tess) say this is where the community begins and you have a great take on life with your blogging buddies. I guess we all do what you’re doing (or try to emulate you!) .. taking in the necessary ideas, responding accordingly, interacting as necessary – so thanks for those salient thoughts. Continue laughing ..

    @ Linda – yes as you say we have standards we set ourselves; but I like your comment that the interesting stuff can be in the comments – resources, ideas, stimulation – as @ Jeanne said earlier.
    And as you rightly say you make yourself credible, as well as your blog.

    @ Zeenat – glad you laughed! We are allowed to get muddled sometimes .. I know I do too often: then I need to laugh at myself! Yes we all enjoy being acknowledged and accepted into the blogging world and you certainly seem to have the right attitude to the whole concept. Taking your own time makes absolute sense. Good to know you a little better – your comments are always to the point and resonate with the subject.

    Thanks Hilary
    .-= Check out Hilary´s awesome post: Pigs, Vineyards, Bloomsbury and murals … =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      WOW Hillary,

      You’ve been busy. It sounds like the comments on this post have given you lots to think about. If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

      These questions you asked proved to be a great lesson that not only taught you, but made the rest of us think, too. Thank you.

  29. NaturalNo Gravatar says:

    i go back and read the response to my comment, but not on all the blogs i visit, there just isn’t enough time. i don’t subscribe to comments, thought about it, but never signed up with anyone. no i also don’t read all of the comments on a blogger’s post, especially if there is a lot, maybe one or two blogs i read 90% of them or i do a quick scan, but again, the time factor.

    maybe on the next visit, if i have some time, i will go back to the previous post i commented on and see what they had to say, if anything. 🙂
    .-= Check out Natural´s awesome post: Herstory In the Making =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Natural,

      Like a lot of the others, you bring up the time issue. And, if we read a lot of blogs, time is often of the essence and we want to move on. Not reading the other comments can be a real time saver, but leaving one at least lets the blog author know we’re still there.

  30. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    @ Barbara and everyone ..

    I’m going thru quickly the recommended link posts Barbara put up .. the first:

    Control your Comments Gain Readers: @ Ricardo and @ Barbara – like that when the blogger sends a welcome email to a new commenter. I have done that to new followers when they’ve appeared on the front of the blog: as you say it expresses caring – as you say Barbara. However I do believe we should each reply to visitors’ comments to our own blog.
    @ Debbie .. yes I believe we should give readers a fair shot and not overly socialise with just one or two .. We need to be appreciated and/or acknowledged, otherwise we leave I agree.
    @ Mark – I like your comments: our goal is to create community, inspire each other and feel good – succinct and for me right!
    @ Nicole and @ Barbara .. Nicole seems to have cracked the professional challenge – not being personal, but being general and polite: I think it’s great that you’re blogging Nicole.

    No Comments: @ Barbara in the post you make a good comment – perhaps at the bottom of each post we should put a note – thank you to all who are reading our blogs – good point, as well as replying to comments.
    @ Wendi .. that’s interesting to know that you read 30 a day .. and that you can’t contribute to each daily, but can regularly ..that’s probably the right way ..

    Liz Strauss – How does she inspire her readers to join in the conversation:
    @ Barbara .. one year ago today!!: As she has 70,000 comments on her blog I guess we could just all learn something from her .. to you all – anyone interested – go read!

    Should you edit your readers’ comments: No – I know I wouldn’t – it would be too time consuming and I’m not a professor of English, so I’d struggle to explain it all.

    The Unseen Benefits of Commenting: @ Barbara sometimes I need to take a time out & relate to what is being said before I can make a sensible comment, if the blog is too deep I can struggle, though I want to learn about the subject – I perhaps struggle with the time and energy into relating to what’s being said.
    and there are 63 comments .. I now ‘give up’ ..
    @ everyone .. there is so much fabulous information on Barbara’s site .. it’s a wealth resource!! Gold mine ..

    and perhaps “Think before we comment” occasionally .. I know I hit the backspace quite often ..

    @ Stacey – another idea .. retaining the running commentary with the blog (staring an offline running log of comments she leaves on other blogs, creating a new comment document for each month, so her comments are in one location) – that is so organised! That’s the way I’d like to be – but am not ..
    @ all Yes – answering the comment correctly .. I’ve taken to using notepad .. I used to go back and forth .. but today Notepad seems to have come into its own, and the comment is there next to my answer as I type …
    @ Sara – seeing the 360 degree view = good point; and 360 degree of people too ..
    @ I love Dennis’s comment re “drive byers” .. wonderful description .. fly by nighters ..
    @ Kevin and Barbara .. “the sheer number of comments on this post spells utter carthartic bliss” – good to comment and good to receive them ..

    Thanks – that’s all folks ..
    .-= Check out Hilary´s awesome post: Pigs, Vineyards, Bloomsbury and murals … =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’ve been busy, Hillary.

      I’m happy to hear you found some good posts buried in the archives that are helping you with the comment issue.

      Happy Digging!

  31. EvitaNo Gravatar says:

    Oh this is actually a tough one Barbara! Sometimes I do read all, sometimes some comments and sometimes none on other’s blogs. It really all just depends, on the topics discussed and the time at hand.

    And I have to say, I have come across a few bloggers now, yourself included that respond to every comment and I think that is amazing!!!! I definitely like the features on the blogs where you get to be notified of upcoming comments, that keeps things easier.

    And while yes I do reply to every comment at this time, I see sometimes the 30 or 50 or more comments that people get and think, my God, how do they do it, respond to everyone – it is an amazing feat for sure and I hope I can carry it on as well, I know it adds a personal touch for sure. But then one may argue, what if there is no significance to your replying, what if most don’t come back to read it, etc…

    Good thoughts indeed to ponder here today!
    .-= Check out Evita´s awesome post: Interview With Akashic Record Reader: Akemi Gaines =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Evita,

      Answering all of the comments that come in can take up time, but I believe that’s also part of maintaining a blog. Like you mentioned, I know not everyone comes back to read my replies (or the replies on other blogs), but as a blog author it makes me feel good that I took the time to answer, just as those who comment, took the time to comment. I see that as part of the unwritten blog etiquette.

  32. Sometimes I’ll subscribe to comments…and other times, I’ll wait and see. It all depends upon how interesting the topic is.

    There are some blogs at which I’ll be sure to everything written, like here and MwP – I learn a lot from the discussions!
    .-= Check out Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach´s awesome post: Income Fitness FINALLY….LIVE! And what incredible bonuses! =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Barbara,

      Isn’t that true? We certainly learn from the discussions that happen the comment section. I think as blog authors we often only see something from our own perspective, but then when others share their thoughts, it opens the discussion up to greater possibilities – so together we create a wonderful forum of great minds. I love how that works.

  33. Like Vered, I too wish I had the time to read everyone’s comments on other blogs, but in reality, I don’t have that kind of time. There are a couple factors as to when I will read other comments:

    1. If the article was informative and was exactly what I was looking for. Then I’ll head into the comment section and see what others have to add from their experiences.

    2. There are only a couple comments so far.

    I do typically subscribe to comments and watch in my email box for if the author replies. Once they do and if that article gets lots of comments, I’ll then remove my email subscription.
    .-= Check out John Hoff – WpBlogHost´s awesome post: SEO Tips For WordPress Bloggers by Matt Cutts =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi John,

      That’s a good point. If we find an article that is what we’ve been looking for, it’s often in the comment section we find more answers and solutions to problems, as well. I love how so many bloggers will willingly share from their experience. Often we can learn from their mistakes.

  34. CarolineNo Gravatar says:

    This has been on my mind for weeks now! I love reading comments and getting involved with the discussion. However, it’s really really time consuming! I am having a hard time just keeping up on my blog. I know that since I have not been so good at answering each comment directly, I am losing some readers. I do visit blogs of those who leave comments and try to reciprocate that way. In regards to going back and seeing if there is an answer for my comment…I usually don’t (but there are a few blogs that I will go back to…yours being 1 of them ;)).
    .-= Check out Caroline´s awesome post: Your gift =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Caroline,

      What you said is very true. When we’re busy on our own blog, it hard to make the rounds, read and comment on others (and also read the comments). I think it comes down to our priorities. Like for me, I know I have to take care of my own blog first, then when I have free time, I’ll visit as many blogs as I can. Some days, that’s none. Other days I might visit up to 20.

      I can imagine you’re also busier then you were in the beginning as you now have your photo blog to maintain, as well.

  35. Ann-MarieNo Gravatar says:

    Hi there
    What a great discussion. So many view points.
    Barbara, I thought your comment ‘There are no blogging rules to say what’s right or wrong’ was very valuable. As said before there are many different reasons why people blog so their subsequent actions will vary.
    Whatever it is that you do, ensure that it works for you, that you enjoy it.

    Like Wilma, I ask myself when reading a post ‘Does this resonate with me?’
    If I answer ‘Yes’, I get involved in the conversation. If not I don’t.

    Thanks Barbara and Hilary for such insightful questions. I have learnt heaps here, appreciate it.
    .-= Check out Ann-Marie´s awesome post: Who Am I? =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome, Ann Marie, and thank you for your kind words.

      Yes, this is a great discussion. And like you said, “ensure it works for you”. That’s one of the bonuses to blogging – we don’t have to “follow the leader” to have success.

  36. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    @ Natural .. you sound like most of us, just doing what we can, when we can.

    @ Barbara .. I’d asked the question and I felt you’d probably answered a great many of my thoughts – if I’d had the temerity to go through your blog first – fortunately you just highlighted the ones with similarity points – which was extremely helpful to me. And we’re still going .. apparently!

    @ Evita .. I don’t get many comments on my blog .. but by doing this on Barbara’s I’ve learnt to use Notepad to do the answers.

    As Barbara says our own blog is the important thing first, so those answers are essential & the posting ..

    @ Evita – the point to replying is that others read that you’ve replied and maybe to them that’s important – they know you’re interested in receiving comments .. and perhaps learning from them, or having a nod that your blog is fun, informative etc
    Exactly as Barbara says

    @ Barbara Ling – yes we can learn from others, especially here and from the dialogue

    @ Jeff – you’re obviously organised in your blogging life. As barbara says we can learn so much from others.

    @ Caroline – I’m sure I’d lose readers if I wasn’t participating via the replies on my own blog, and by going back to others’ blogs to keep that interaction going.
    and if you have a photo blog too … good for you!

    @ Barbara and Caroline .. I sometimes (now) don’t do the blog rounds in day, but when I get there may be I’ll do two posts at once – that helps save time, and I pop back to see the reply to my previous comment.

    @ Ann Marie – quite right what you say .. we do what we do. and there are some blogs that have switched me off – just not my sort, so I just can’t get interested. Very glad to hear that you’ve enjoyed the question and the numerous brilliant and honest answers we’ve had from everyone ..

    @ Barbara .. when I hit your coloured pencils .. it just spread rainbows round for me!! Thanks.
    .-= Check out Hilary´s awesome post: Pigs, Vineyards, Bloomsbury and murals … =-.

  37. RobinNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Babara and Hilary – I do and I don’t. Sometimes I just don’t have time – and others I’ll do all of the above. Quite often I’ll check for the blogger’s reply before going to the next post of theirs I read.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Robin,

      That’s a real time saver, isn’t it? – Waiting until we return to the blog to read the reply.

  38. Debbie YostNo Gravatar says:

    So, I thought, what an interesting topic. I wonder what others have to say, and started skimming the comments. I made it through about 5 then moved on. It’s not that I don’t think others have something intesting to say, but like many, I don’t have time. I have 5 minutes till I leave for work and am way behind on my blog reading. I don’t follow comments normally but just go back and check to see what the bloggers’ comment is.

    I admit, I’m not always good at replying to those who comment on my blog. I mean to, but again, time is an issue. But then, I’m bad at sending Thank You cards, too. 🙂
    .-= Check out Debbie Yost´s awesome post: Oh, The Possibilities =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Debbie,

      I often wonder how you do all you do, as it is. With a family, a special needs daughter, a job, a blog and a life, I can understand why you don’t always have time to reply to each comment on your blog.

      As a regular reader of yours, and knowing your hectic schedule, I’m not offended at all if you don’t personally reply to my comments.

  39. Mike FosterNo Gravatar says:

    I make it a point to return and respond to all comments left on my posts. I try to read as many posts as humanly possible and of those, peruse the comments, searching for interesting points or possible sites I’d like to visit.

    .-= Check out Mike Foster´s awesome post: Plum Crazy! =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mike,

      I had to laugh at the part of your comment where you wrote, “…I try to read as many posts as humanly possible…”. I hear you. In fact it makes me wonder if maybe I should learn speed reading. 🙂

  40. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    @ Robin .. yes it seems the way for most of us; like you I tend to check out the blogger’s reply to my previous comment.

    @ Debbie .. it is time and with little ones it makes it more difficult. We do what we can and set our own standards.

    @ Mike .. As you say it’s good to respond to comments on your blog, and some posts grab our attention so we’re keen to learn from the comments.

    Thanks – Hilary Melton-Butcher
    Positive Letters Inspirational Stories
    .-= Check out Hilary´s awesome post: Aquitaine, Dormitories and a Crab … =-.

  41. Hi-

    I am a little late this week but yes I read comments and bloggers comments. I find it all part of blogging and being a member of the community.

    Commenting and responding is a good interaction to meet other bloggers. I try to do it twice a week or when I have a free evening.

    Also reading other comments peak interest to other blog authors. I have found many great blogs on this site and friends.
    .-= Check out Bunnygot blog´s awesome post: Lost In A Sea Of Identities =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Bunny,

      What you said is very true. When we make the time to read the comments of others, it gives us a glimpse into other bloggers lives that we may not have met yet. Comment sections are a fabulous spot to meet others and to find great blogs.

  42. […] discussed in the comments of the He Said, She Said, They Said post, many bloggers don’t go back to check for a response to their comment until they visit […]

  43. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    @ Bunny .. thanks and good for you reading all the comments – but as you say it’s an eye opener into our lives .. the way the commenters see things – part of the general feel and community.

    @ Barbara … and … everyone ..

    re comments – we all see things so differently, as Nadia Julie & Julia post ( in her blog in reply to a comment by JD said three people see an event = three stories .. one post .. lots of ‘takes’ on it …

    .-= Check out Hilary´s awesome post: Aquitaine, Dormitories and a Crab … =-.

  44. Petra NorrisNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara – blogging is indeed a two way street most of the time. I also think it could hinder the dialogue within the commentators by responding to each comment therefore stopping the flow.

    Typically, I always comment back as long as there are just a few comments. But when there is a great dialogue – why intervene when there is a great discussion. That does not mean I won’t comment back at all, I just wait and see how the discussion goes.
    .-= Check out Petra Norris´s awesome post: Lakeland FL Real Estate for Sale – Biweekly Update Newly Listed 08/10-08/23/09 =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Petra,

      That’s a good point – waiting to see how the dialogue goes. Often the commenters enjoy communicating amongst themselves, so it can be beneficial for the blog author to wait until they respond.

  45. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    @ Petra and Barbara – sometimes I too don’t comment and wait .. but then I think – no go back and comment, then it’s done .. it’s a time thing too. However as you say it’s worth going back and seeing what everyone says as here .. this has been a great commenters’ gathering –

    thank you everyone! Hilary
    .-= Check out Hilary´s awesome post: Hounslow Heath, Powder Mills, Flying Machines … =-.

  46. With the priorities I’ve chosen for my business (plus wanting to have a life), I don’t have much time to read blog posts, so reading comments rarely happens.

    There are a few blogs where I read the comments, but when I respond to a post, I always subscribe to comments via email so I do read the comments left by people after me.
    .-= Check out Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome´s awesome post: The Healing Power of the Dance Floor: Pop Music Positivity =-.

  47. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Alex,

    I hear what you’re saying. When life keeps us busy outside of blogging, or with other blogging endeavors, we don’t have a lot of time to read the comments of the posts we read and/or comment on.