Comments and Change

blogging photo

I was going through blog posts I wrote almost ten years ago, and I noticed something interesting. Back then, blog posts—and I don’t think just mine, either—tended to generate comments. It was typical for my average blog post to receive at least two or three comments back then.

I know one issue is that I don’t write often, so perhaps newer posts are not being seen. Then again, there are over 3,000 people who subscribe to this blog via email updates. I have often had someone leave a comment that mentions they have been “lurking” for years but never commented.

I’m not bothered by the lack of comments, but I am curious as to why commenting happens less frequently now. It it just being too busy? Do people really still read blogs anymore? Despite predictions to the contrary, blogging seems to be thriving again, though it looks different now than it did when I started nearly twelve years ago now. The lower number of comments is something I am seeing not just here but also on other blogs I read.

I am also seeing a trend I don’t really care for on social media, both on Twitter and Facebook, to made threads or longform updates. I suppose it’s your social media account, and you can do what you like, but I see Twitter and Facebook to be most useful for quick updates.

Without this blog, I wouldn’t be the teacher I am today. I made so many friends through this blog. I learned so much and thought so much about teaching in this space. I was not as reflective as a teacher until I started blogging. Now I find I don’t even need to blog to reflect, which may be why I don’t blog as much as I want to.

Back in the days when my boss was a bully, and I was contending with feeling like a failure as an educator, this space saved my self-esteem. I was validated by commenters agreeing with my ideas and challenged by those who didn’t. I needed this space to think through what I believed.

I suppose I’m just curious about reading habits. Do people still read blogs? Why? What do you think is behind the lower numbers of comments on blogs?

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12 thoughts on “Comments and Change”

  1. Dana, I love your blog and have commented in the past. I also blog and am interested in the culture of commenting. I just tried commenting using the WordPress app and couldn’t figure out how to do it. I actually got here through the email notification, which offered me the “comment” button. Anyway, I think Instagram and Facebook are taking a serious toll on the blog genre, but mine (chukarculture.com) seems to have a healthy life for older folks who don’t mind reading and there’s actually a vibrant commenting community. Not sure why. But I wanted to let you know I hope you keep doing this. I’ve learned a lot from you.

    1. Oh, I hope I didn’t sound alarmist. Twelve years is too long to stop blogging. I have so much trouble myself commenting with Blogger blogs. I’m sure technology issues are part of it.

  2. I think social media has had an impact in several ways (both good and bad). I too think that blogging is enjoying a bit of a Renaissance, and in that regard, I think social media is contributing. Blogs are no longer stationary or “destination” based. They are mobile, and get sent out via link to networks of social media.

    On the flip side, I think the relationship between blog and reader is changing as well. People often look to blogs that “say what they want to say” and then they share them. The sharers get the comments as much as/more than the bloggers themselves.

    On a third front, I think social media/article comments sections–bot-laden and cess-poolian as they are–have turned people off from commenting a bit because they feel like they are arguing with a brick wall or a fake AI bot.

    Only two of my blog posts have had direct comments on them. I need to look at the page data to get a sense as to what people think about something I’ve written. The higher the hit count/unique user count, the wider the spread. Ironically, one of my posts that has never been commented upon is one of the most frequently read–and part of the reason for the latter is your mention of it on YOUR blog.

    So to TL/DR the whole thing–I think people are reading blogs more than ever. But how they respond to them has changed due to technology and social media.

    1. You know, I think that was what I was trying to get at. I look at statistics, and I see blogs posts are read, but I don’t get comments. I also close comments after a year so people aren’t commenting on older blog posts. Sometimes I think I shouldn’t, but most of the comments I used to get on older posts didn’t contribute much to the conversation.

  3. I love blogs! I subscribe to 50+ blogs through my Feedly account. One of my favorite things to do is scroll through at the end of a workday and catch up. With that being said, there are two main reasons why I don’t comment:
    1. Time–I barely have time to read much less comment on every blog. If I do comment, it is because the post spoke to me in some way; and
    2. I worry about trolls who are always trying to pick a fight in comments. This usually doesn’t happen too much on the blogs I read, but I have seen it enough on FB to turn me off to commenting.

    I hope you are enjoying summer break. I am also a high school teacher (special needs English), and I am trying to recharge and prepare for the upcoming school year this summer.

    1. Trolls are a big problem. I won’t publish their comments. One reason I moderate comments is trolls. On the other hand, I think they haven’t really bothered to comment much on this site precisely because they don’t have a soapbox.

  4. Still reading blogs. 😀 I’m not a commenter, but I’ve noticed the blogs who get the most comments end their posts with 2-3 questions in regards to the post.

    1. True, but I am not sure that mattered as much ten years ago. Now I try to end with an invitation to add comments, but back then, even if I didn’t, I usually received at least a couple. And I want to point out I see this phenomenon on a lot of blogs. I certainly don’t advocate commenting just to comment, but I miss the conversation.

  5. I’ll be honest–my blog reading went WAY down with the death of Google Reader. I’m reading this post now using Flipboard. I used to use the Flipboard app a lot more, but I don’t as much anymore. I’ve been following people on Instagram and on Facebook. Also, I’m a member of a few teacher FB groups that I follow. I like the shorter bits of info, and if I like what I’m reading, I’ll go look at the longer stuff that’s mentioned.

    1. I really miss Google Reader. I find it too hard to keep track using other tools. I have tried Flipboard, too, and I don’t know what it is, but I just can’t keep it going.

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