Gini Dietrich

Responding (Or Not) to Blog Comments

By: Gini Dietrich | June 19, 2012 | 

Earlier this year, I traveled to Norway to share a stage with Mitch Joel, Valeria Maltoni, Chris Brogan, and Maggie Fox.

During our stay there, we ended up having a conversation about blog comments and replying to them. In fact, it’s a conversation Mitch and I have nearly every time we talk.

You see, he writes to write. It’s like a disease for him. He has to get the words out of his head and onto the computer screen. He figures he’s had his say by doing that and the comments are for everyone else to have their say.

Valeria, who is one of the smartest people I know, rarely gets any comments, but her blog is one of the go-tos for nearly everyone in marketing. It’s one of a handful of blogs I have come into my email (instead of my RSS feed) so I don’t miss it every day.

And, of course, Chris gets a gazillion comments and he replies to nearly every one of them.

Is it Scientific?

So we have three camps:

  1. The blog is widely read, but no one comments (Valeria);
  2. The blogger has his or her say and leaves the comments open for everyone to debate, argue, or agree with one another, but the blogger rarely responds (Mitch); and
  3. The blogger replies to every comment left on his or her blog post (Chris and me).

I wanted to see if any of the camps leads to a scientific analysis of how well a blog does and I did it solely based on the AdAge listing.

According to the seven scores they use to compile the listing:

  • Chris is #4
  • Mitch is #31
  • Valeria is #52
  • Spin Sucks is #69

So that doesn’t really tell us anything, at least not from a numbers and science perspective, about which way is the right way.

To Reply or Not

It really just depends. If you’re like Mitch and you write for yourself, building community and replying to blog comments isn’t as important. But, if you’re like me, building community, debating ideas, and listening to other people’s perspectives is as equally important as putting the thought onto the computer screen.

Take, for instance, the conversation we had a couple of weeks ago about Warren Buffet buying 63 local newspapers because they’re cashflow positive.

Of course, I wrote that blog post from my perspective. I live in a big city where we have two daily newspapers and the local news is really national news. But many of the comments were from readers in smaller communities and they see huge value in their local paper and their local news.

This is not something I’d considered before I wrote the blog post. We all write from our own perspectives and listening to, debating, and really opening your mind to new and different thoughts is how you grow.

I’m not, by any means, saying those bloggers who don’t respond don’t grow by reading the comments on their blogs. I’m simply saying I learn more by actually having the debate with some of you, in the written word.

So Where Does that Leave Us?

Your blog is your home. You can do with it what you like. Sure, I have some days that I’m traveling or swamped with meetings and I can’t check on the blog throughout the day. Those are the days I find one or two readers is asking as host (without my asking) and baiting people into conversation.

I love that.

But I also love the days where I can check in multiple times and do my own baiting. And, trust me, sometimes I debate people just to see if they’ll come back for more (they don’t always).

But it’s entirely up to you, your blog’s vision, and what you’re trying to achieve. Going into 2014, I’ll be blogging, and commenting for a very specific reason (cough, writing another book, cough) and you’ll discover I’m starting conversations around things I want to use later.

It will be almost more important for me to hear your perspectives, for that purpose, than for me to get my ideas in front of you. Of course, that will be the conversation starter, but it won’t stop there.

None of the three camps is right or wrong. You figure out why you are blogging (or want to blog) and you do it in a way that works for you. Find a blogger who does it that way you do, someone you respect and admire, and emulate them. Don’t do it because of their AdAge ranking or their popularity score.

Do what works for you.

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

  • I like to respond to comments, @gini and totally enjoy reading long comment threads on other people’s blogs. There are times when the comments back and forth are as entertaining and/or educational as the post itself. 

    •  @allenmireles Especially here…with the crazies! We get off on some seriously funny tangents. Of course, I also get slammed for that. There is a certain group of people who think it’s ridiculous and have talked about it behind my back. 🙂

      •  @ginidietrich  @allenmireles Ah, the talking behind the back. I much prefer mocking you to your face.

        •  @KenMueller  @allenmireles I prefer that, as well.

  • I’m in your camp, and it’s something I learned from you and have appreciated from you. I now try to respond to every comment (but sometimes miss a few). I love the engagement and community building aspect. It’s how I got to know you and plenty of other folks. And, like you, the comments serve to make me think more about sides of issues I hadn’t considered. I love the give and take, and the comments and conversations (either on my blog or others) are fodder for future blog posts. 

    •  @KenMueller I love it, too. But I also see the other side. There was an HBR journalist (not blogger) who wrote on the topic. His view was that reporters have never invited comments so this new world was a strange one for him. There definitely is not a one size fits all.

      •  @ginidietrich I’m not proposing one size fits all, but with reporters, they are in the same world that businesses are now in. There used to be a one-way relationship with little feedback. That has changed for businesses, and it is changing for journalists. Not that everyone needs to respond, but the model has changed drastically, and journalists are not immune. It will be interesting to see how this shakes out in another year or two.

        •  @KenMueller Really great point about it no longer being one-way communications. We talk to our clients about this…that totally makes sense.

        •  @ginidietrich I think that when it comes to journalists, with the trouble the newspaper industry is in, this mindset could be a make or break factor. It’s that “adapt or die” philosophy. You can see this in any media. If you look at the history of both television & radio, many have predicted their death, but they’re still here. However they have changed drastically, particularly radio. It’s pretty amazing when you can sit back and look at the whole history of a medium and see how it has adapted in order to survive.

        •  @KenMueller And the music industry, too. I watch that a lot to see how paid and free content will evolve.

        •  @ginidietrich Definitely. That’s even a dicier one, and having worked in that industry, and having a lot of musician friends, I see both sides. And I have musician friends on both sides of the issue. A lot, like businesses, depends on the mindset of the musician.

        •  @KenMueller Yes, like some giving Spotify (or iTunes) access to their songs and others not.

        •  @ginidietrich So many different business models out there for musicians, and no single one is “correct”…but boy, it’s interesting to watch. 

  • burgessct

    I come down on the side of – Yes – it is the blog author’s way to acknowledge the reader (their time was invested in reading your content).  

    •  @burgessct But was their time invested in reading your content for their benefit of yours? That’s where the debate gets heated.

      • burgessct

         @ginidietrich If they visit your site, they have mutually invested – you posted they came – they could have gone elsewhere with those minutes.  Who benefits – both – you know your pieces are read; they were inspired enough to leave a comment.  No heat.

        •  @burgessct Well, you know I agree with you. I’m just trying to see the other side. 🙂

  • I’m not a blogger… But I get hundreds of comments each week on YouTube. I only respond to positive and negative comments. But I almost always ignore anything in between – observations, interesting thoughts, un-interesting thoughts, etc… And on YouTube, there is ALOT of in between – comments that are about the subject matter but not overtly positive or negative. YouTube is a helluva drug…

    •  @fitzternet You mean the, “Great video!” comments? 

      •  @ginidietrich Oh no… My videos are extremely controversial. To baseball fans, at least. But I also get my fair share of totally random/bizarre comments. The price you pay for a few million views.

        •  @fitzternet So give me an example of something that is in between that you wouldn’t respond to.

        •  @ginidietrich Ok… I don’t respond to observations. Last week I received this comment – “Lol!!! At least he told the catcher to get out of the way”
          If you saw the video, you know exactly what he’s talking about and there’s really nothing more to add, so I don’t.
          I also don’t respond if somebody simply comments “I love this!” or “This sucks!.” 
          But if they take the time to explain why they like or dislike a video, I’ll thank them and/or explain why I agree or disagree. But I NEVER delete negative comments unless it involves a personal attack on someone in the video.
          And I always respond to questions about how the videos were made. I also always respond to questions about what is going on in the videos. Because if you haven’t seen the TV show, some of the clips may not make sense. After all, there are over 500 clips on YouTube b/c I’m a big believer in using the long tail of video content to promote the videos in the head of the tail.

        •  @fitzternet Love this breakdown. Thanks!

    •  @fitzternet
       Why wouldn’t you blog to help promote your YouTube posts? Very interesting; are you missing an opportunity or ignoring a challenge?

      •  @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing  @fitzternet My YouTube videos are kind of caught in a viral infinite loop. No matter what I do (or don’t do), I get about 10k views everyday during baseball season. During the winter, it drops to 5k… Most of the efforts I made to get to this point involved YouTube marketing (comments, likes, getting subscribers, annotations, etc.).
        Blogging certainly helps in most cases, but in my case it wasn’t a factor. I did try blogging early on though.

        •  @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing Actually, those numbers are wrong… I get about 6.5k views per day in the summer and 4k-5k in winter. I just posted a screenshot on Twitter if you want to take a look.

  • geoffliving

     I think the AdAge ranking isn’t a really good metric for anything. I have been in and out of the 150 over the past six years depending on whether or nor I decide to play by their metrics and the amining they require, as well as the frequency of the posts necessary to be in that rank.

    • geoffliving

      Gaming, not amining. Dear LiveFyre, get an editing feature.

      •  @geoffliving The new beta version has that, I believe. I’m testing it out on my blog, and a newer version comes out within the next week or so. 

      •  @geoffliving Dear Geoff – learn to type properly. 😉

    •  @geoffliving I agree. I used it only to show responding to comments (or not) really doesn’t have a scientific way of measuring it. 

      • geoffliving

         @ginidietrich I am not really sure I agree with that comment based on your post, “I wanted to see if any of the camps leads to a scientific analysis of how well a blog does and I did it solely based on the AdAge listing.” Here’s the thing Gini, if I wanted to be a 150 blogger, I could be. In three months.  The metric means nothing. It’s a choice of time investment and effort.

        •  @geoffliving Right. I wanted to show if using AdAge led to a reasonable, and scientific (numbers based), conclusion as to whether or not you should respond to comments. By no means did I mean you couldn’t get in the top 150. Quite honestly, I’m surprised you’re not, based on your content alone. My point only was that not even a ranking can determine whether or not you should respond to comments – only you can determine that. Perhaps I didn’t articulate that clearly enough.

        •  @geoffliving  @ginidietrich I think that’s a challenge being issued here – the three months start here. 🙂

        • geoffliving

           @DannyBrown  @ginidietrich Tell that to Soleil when she’s crying because her Daddy’s is wanking off on a laptop instead of reading a book to her.

        •  @geoffliving  @ginidietrich I was on about AdAge – you’re bringing porn into the game?

        •  @geoffliving  @DannyBrown  @ginidietrich #FamilyKlout

  • StaceyHood

    @ginidietrich I’m going to guess, respond? Was that right?

    • ginidietrich

      @StaceyHood Nope! It depends.

      • StaceyHood

        @ginidietrich Dang it.

  • Fascinating thinking, and I’ve often wondered why some bloggers rarely get comments. Wonder why that is? My theory has much to do with the welcome mat…you open it widely without wrinkles and people come on in and stay awhile. How friendly is your house?

    •  @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing I think, in Valeria’s case, it’s because she’s so smart, no one wants to leave a comment for fear of not sounding as smart as she is. I’ve seen this at Solis’s blog, too. He’s still very widely read, but hardly anyone comments anymore. 

      •  @ginidietrich  @Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing Is that REALLY the case? It’s very chicken-egg. If you know someone is not going to reply, then why would you bother to comment at all? Think that’s when many of us bookmark it for future reference, then take the discussion elsewhere.
        Frankly there are times when someone’s post is either so ‘pie in the sky’ theory I don’t know WTH they’re talking about, so I don’t comment; have the same theory on Oscar-bait movies – they’re so out there, so the critics rave b/c they don’t want to get caught not getting it. Or a post is so ‘I’m right, everyone’s wrong, haters gonna hate’ – clearly they aren’t open to new ideas, so again why would I take the time to comment?
        IDK I know there are stats out there showing page views (will debate actually ‘read’ another time), but we’re assuming we know why some bloggers don’t get comments. Then it’s also a matter of content – some posts just lend themselves to a lot more interaction. FWIW.

  • C_Pappas

    @ginidietrich I get upset when I dont get a response 🙂 I took the time, shouldnt they?

    • burgessct

      @C_Pappas invested time is valuable time

    • ginidietrich

      @C_Pappas Some feel like they had their say in the blog post and the comments are for the readers, not for them to interject

      • C_Pappas

        @ginidietrich That’s interesting. But Im not sure we, as commenters, necessarily know that all the time. Should be more clear!

        • ginidietrich

          @C_Pappas I liked what Maggie said on the blog – if you aren’t writing for business or to generate leads, why respond?

        • C_Pappas

          @ginidietrich Me too! I actually just responded to her 🙂

  • kehutchinson

    Terrific, well rounded analysis, Gini! When I first began blogging, I never replied to comments because I thought that was “cheating,” boosting the number of comments by answering them myself. I am not a widely read blog now, as I was then, but now, I want to reply to comments when I get them, because I do want to build a community. I am never satisfied with just the post, I always need to clarify and explicate. 

    •  @kehutchinson Ha! It’s funny you say that because I had a colleague who would say, “Well, you really only got 30 comments, not 60.” Fair point. I also like your point about need to clarify and explicate. I feel the same way, especially when people’s different perspectives make me look at things differently.

  • You went to Norway!? I’m jealous! That must have been an incredible trip. And, I just purchased Marketing in the Round and am currently reading it on my iPad – incredible. 
    I come to Spin Sucks for two main reasons: you (of course) and your commenting community.  I love how interactive everyone is and although I don’t comment all the time, I’m always here seeing everyone’s side and opinion.  I love how you interact with everyone and I think it makes commenters feel appreciated and encourages them to come back. 
    Remember when I first met you? You know why I love you so much? You DM’d me after I retweeted one of your posts and said this was one of the smartest people I know – you said “did my mom pay you to say that!”. You made me laugh out loud! Plus it was the interaction that me love ya! 

    •  @samtaracollier I didn’t love Norway. I had trouble sleeping (which is rare for me) and Oslo wasn’t a very pretty city. It was a really long way to go for a one hour speaking engagement, but I did enjoy hanging out with my peers.
      My mom. She’s a sneaky one. She randomly sends checks to people for saying nice things about me, but she CLEARLY has you on the payroll.
      BTW. The blog post I wrote for you guys was cracking me up last night. I hope you like it!

  • Great explantation of the three camps. As I always say, different strokes for different folks. There is no right or wrong way. It all depends on your goals.
    Much like you, I want to encourage dialogue and make people feel like they’re welcome. I want to answer questions and get new ideas. By responding to every comment, it gives the signal that I’m listening and that I’ll hear and respond to what people have to say. 
    However, what bloggers need to remember is that a very small percentage of readers actually take the time to comment. I know I was very slow to get on board because I equated commenting with the nasty stuff I saw in local newspapers. I felt like people only commented to insight a riot and throw out their hateful ideas. After awhile, I realized the blogosphere is much different than the traditional media world and the people who comment there. It’s far more welcoming here. But, I think there are plenty of people who don’t comment for that reason, lack of time or not realizing that it can be valuable to do so. But, that is a different topic altogether. 😉

    •  @lauraclick You know what’s interesting about your comment? I write for Crain’s (the business journal here). I’ve never seen so many nasty comments as I do on those columns. Sometimes I do a revise of something I’ve written here and sometimes I run what I”ve written for them here a couple of weeks later. Either way, the same content makes it’s way here and the comments are always positive (even if they don’t agree) and never nasty. It’s really, really interesting how that plays out in papers vs. blogs.

      •  @ginidietrich SO. TRUE. With my old job, I spoke to judges groups quite a bit about media/social media, etc., and commenting on newspapers always came up. In fact, I was on a panel once with a reporter and someone from the newspaper association and we had a huge riot on our hands about how to deal with the awful, and largely untrue, comments people would make on newspaper sites.
        Papers are really struggling with how to deal with it. I think, for some, they’re ditching comments altogether (though, I’m sure that impacts pageviews considerably) or they’re moving to Facebook commenting to get away from anonymous commenting, which seems to encourage awful comments.
        The difference between blogs and papers is really striking. Though, I’m surprised it’s bad on Crain’s. I’ve been writing for the Nashville Business Journal the last couple of months and they hardly get any comments. However, they are using Facebook comments, so that may have something to do with it. Who knows?

        •  @lauraclick  @ginidietrich Anonymous commenting sucks.

        •  @lauraclick Facebook commenting is a really good fix! I’m going to mention that to my editor. Thanks!

        •  @ginidietrich It is. Our local daily, the Tennessean, implemented Facebook comments  at the end of the year and the quality of comments has increased dramatically. They said they got a handful of complaints, but the overall response has been positive.

  • Comments (and answering them) create a community, rather than an audience. That is a positive, but not an imperative. To measure it, I would look at percentage of “new” visitors among each blog, as well as the conversion rate among commenters and repeat visitors.
    The quandary is time spent answering comments vs. whether that time gets you and your company closer to a behavior or action that builds your business. I would argue (although I’ve never tested it) that commenters are much more likely to socially share (possibly because they want others to see their smart comment), thus comments increase top of the funnel visibility.
    I answer most comments, but I think about this question a lot. Good post, G. 

    •  @JayBaer And, of course, adding in the quandary of the number of people who read but don’t comment. Our commenters are about one percent of our total readers. It is interesting to think about time invested vs. the ROI. We’ve gotten business both from those who comment and those who do not. It’s not an easy one to measure!

      •  @ginidietrich  @JayBaer Interesting point. As I look at my commenters, they are generally not people who are, or become, clients. So those who visit my site, and don’t comment, are a better measure of prospective clients for me. 

        •  @KenMueller  What?!? You mean I’m not a prospect for you?? Hrumph.

        •  @ginidietrich Not as a client…

      •  @ginidietrich I’m in the same boat, though the numbers tend to skew more towards those who don’t comment (at least for me).
        I’m reminded of what you said during your BW talk, @jaybaer , about individual posts being like feathers and the necessity of having a brick amongst your content. Thinking.  

      •  @ginidietrich 
        The lurkers fascinate me. Some of my readers never comment on the blog but they show up on Facebook or in my email. You never know who is reading and what they are taking from all this.

        •  @TheJackB It always shocks me, though I know it shouldn’t, when someone says, “I read such and such on your blog.” Wait, what? You did?? 

    • I have always admired folks like @JayBaer for replying to nearly every comment. As he said (& I agree with), comments create a community rather than an audience. I do my best  to reply to each and every comment. Then again, my blog posts don’t get hundreds of comments. Ha!
      As a newer reader (& commenter) to Spin Sucks, I aslo see that @ginidietrich replies to not all – but most – comments.
      That’s my style too.

      •  @djwaldow  I try really hard to comment to all. Sometimes I have nothing else to add so I’ll like the comment, but I try to reply to all. Especially if I need to call them and they have the wrong number in their email signature.

        •  @ginidietrich !!!!!! Damn you. Well played though. UNCLE! You win. No fair though. What I write on FB *stays* on FB. Right? Ha.

        •  @djwaldow I never said where I saw it!

        •  @ginidietrich Ha. Was just kidding. You crack me up.

  • Maggie Fox

    Hey Gini, thanks for the link! When I blogged more – waaaay back when (and even now, when I write the occasional post) I used to respond to comments that needed responding to – a challenge, a question, etc. That’s generally my rule of thumb. Great to have the chance to hang out in Norway!

    •  @Maggie Fox That’s a very good rule of thumb! So no comments on the “great blog post” or anything that agrees with what you wrote?

      • Maggie Fox

         @ginidietrich Nah, not really – it feels a little like a lovefest, and while I appreciate the praise, I’m much more interested in the debate 😉

        •  @Maggie Fox  @ginidietrich Agree 100%.

  • Unless it’s a convo between commenters that doesn’t get a value-add by my jumping in, I respond to all comments. At least for now. What will change is my commenting strategy on others’ blogs. But that’s a whole other long story:) Cheers! Kaarina

    •  @KDillabough Yes, that changed for me this year. I just can’t comment on all of the blogs I read. I still read them all, but my commenting has gone done considerably. Some people have been real jerks about it to me, but, just like everything else you have to prioritize. 

      •  @ginidietrich Totally. But I wonder how many people “compete” to get “A-listers” to engage, and then feel deflated when they see them at some blogs, but not at theirs. The chopped liver syndrome. When I started blogging, I had it bad. I’m over it. It is what it is. Now I feel like singing que sera, sera, haha.

        •  @KDillabough It is easy to get sucked up in that game but it it is a waste of time and energy. Ego kills blogs and blogging.
          It can be frustrating to see some other blogger receive accolades and attention when you don’t see them as producing content that is better than yours and worse when you think it is inferior.
          We are all human. Sometimes it irks me when I am left off of some of the blogging lists, especially when they use bloggers who have basically quit blogging.
          But if you sustain your effort and keep plugging away good things tend to come from that.

        •  @TheJackB Got sucked up in the beginning. No longer. Thanks Jack: I will sustain:)

  • I like to respond to comments when I can make a cheap joke.
    Yeah. I’m terrible.

    •  @JayDolan WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?!?! Did you run your half-marathon? Why aren’t you answering tweets? Do you hate me? I miss you!

      •  @ginidietrich And THAT comment illustrates the very reason this blog gets so many comments and has such a community feel. Thank you for illustrating the point Gertrude.

        •  @Sean McGinnis I was going to return your call in a minute, but now I’m rethinking it.

      •  @ginidietrich Long story short, I needed a break to focus on some real world stuff.
        In related news – buying a house and moving takes a lot of time and resources.

        •  @JayDolan Buying a house is one of the most painful things you will ever do. But I’m super proud of you for doing that AND running the half marathon!

        •  @ginidietrich  @JayDolan  I didn’t want to talk to Gertrude anyway. I needed to talk to the “good” twin, Gini.

  • MackCollier

    Valeria doesn’t get many comments because she’s too damn smart.  I have had this conversation with her, but I think most of her blog posts intimidate the hell out of her readers.  I know they do me.
    I love writing music marketing posts, and a few years ago I began to notice that whenever I would write about how a Rockstar was connecting with their fans, these posts almost always got little to no comments.  I finally asked my readers at the end of one of these posts if they simply didn’t like these posts, and asked if that’s why they weren”t commenting?  They all started commenting and said they loved the posts, but honestly didn’t know what to add, so they didn’t comment.  (PS: When I started tying the Rockstar examples back to examples of how companies were using social media, it clicked and my readers started commenting).  
    I think it’s the same with many of Valeria’s posts.  Of course this is also a good reminder that just because you aren’t getting any/many comments does NOT necessarily mean you are creating content that’s not resonating with your readers.

    • ryanstephens

       @MackCollier  To piggy back off of you Mack, I pretty much agree with your sentiment with respect to Valeria’s posts. I’d add that there’s a couple of other things at play as well.
      1.) Not only is her content awesome, but she doesn’t leave many gaps for people to ‘add stuff’ because of the thorough approach she takes with each post. (Basically what you’ve stated).
      2.) Her content is typically a deeper dive into the realm of marketing. Other people (like Chris) often write about things that appeal to a broader audience and/or things that are related more to social media and/or life in general. The breadth of people that can understand his content and contribute is simply a larger pool of people.
      3.) Finally, people are told to comment to build their own audiences so they go where they perceive people to be ‘rockstars’ and Chris has more ‘name value’ to the layman. Also, the fact that he responds to a lot of comments gives people that gratification. When I first started blogging I know I was all *OMG* Chris Brogan responded to my comment.  That said, I know I’ve learned so much from my interactions, questions, and comments on Valeria’s blog.

      •  @ryanstephens  Really great point about how thorough Valeria is, Ryan. I know I tend to leave some holes (on purpose) so I can extend the conversation in the comments. I’ve just never articulated it that way, but now that you bring it up, it’s totally what I do.

    •  @MackCollier That’s exactly the conversation I’ve had with her, Mack. She’s soooo smart, it is intimidating. Heck, just having a conversation with her is intimidating. You don’t want to say or do anything to make yourself look less smart.

  • Communic8nHowe

    I think if responding to comments is incredibly important to blogging. It’s what makes it a social media platform by making it interactive. But it needs to include the author.
    No offence to Mitch and Geoff but if you don’t respond to comments either individually or a group of them collectively, you might as well turn off the comments like Seth Godin does. At that point, I don’t consider it to be a blog but rather a series of articles–but if you’re writing for yourself that’s pretty much what you’re doing anyhow.
    I believe blogging implies taking your approach. I think Jay Baer is bang on with his comments. But then again maybe I’m only commenting so that I can retweet the post so that people see my “smart” comments. But isn’t that worth something?


      Articles vs blog is a good way of looking at it.  I guess it depends on whether you are writing for yourself or your readers – if its your readers it seems to me that you should be involved in the conversation.

      • Communic8nHowe

        Thanks for adding your perspective . I always understood that the difference between an article and a blog was the ability to comment. But without the author being involved at some level, you risk making them irrelevant like newspapers have.

    •  @Communic8nHowe Mitch wrote a blog post today in response to this so you can see his reasoning. I don’t think he’s wrong, by any means. I just blog for a very different reason. Writing a book has been an interesting experience. I’m so accustomed to immediate feedback through blogging that it was really painful to wait six months, after the content was written, to get any feedback. I really love the conversations blogging generates and that’s why I do it.

  • Ha, this is the typical “There is no answer, except what works for you” solution! 🙂

  • Oh, also – is the link to Valeria’s blog supposed to be: ?

    •  @RandyGreene Yeah…I caught that mistake and changed it a bit ago. Sorry about that.

  • mitchjoel

    @scottmonty @ginidietrich @SpinSucks She’s still my Social Media Wife…

    • ginidietrich

      @mitchjoel xoxoxo

  • sometimesicing

    Totes: “My industry has a specific capability in taking smart and able people and burning them out to the point of no return.” – @mitchjoel

  • tjohansmeyer

    @lisagerber @spinsucks I usually ignore them — they’re all nuts 😉

    • lisagerber

      @tjohansmeyer I can see that in your situation! LOL!

      • tjohansmeyer

        @lisagerber yeah, I know. But, I’ve mellowed with age.

        • lisagerber

          @tjohansmeyer Oh no, I meant the sites you write for, not you. 🙂

        • tjohansmeyer

          @lisagerber I know, I know 🙂

  • Quick separate note – do you have enough sharing options at the end of the post? 😉
    There’s no right answer. For me, I like to respond to all comments that warrant a response (i.e., not just a “great post” type of comment), because that person has taken the time out of their day to visit my blog as opposed to the millions of others out there. So the very least I can do to thank them is offer a response to their comment.
    But, it’s entirely down to the individual and their goals.

    •  @DannyBrown I’m with you on this, Danny. I’ll engage commenters who add insights and value into the conversation for the very same reasons. The “great post” type of comment get old quickly, and I’ve tried to encourage meater, more thoughtful discussions when possible. The results have been mixed. 🙂
      It’s also a good reminder that comments are an ego-driven measure, much like traffic. I still get discouraged from time to time when a post I was quite sure was going to prompt some good discussion and debate seems to languish, only to catch hold weeks later. 

      •  @jasonkonopinski Ah, the beauty of blogging – it’s the posts you think you nailed that get little traction. hey ho! 🙂

      •  @jasonkonopinski @DannyBrown 
        I try to engage with everyone including the “great post” people. It is hard to do because I don’t have the time to do it the way I want to but when I am able to I almost always see positive results come from it.
        I agree with @Mark_Harai that it is a useful tool for building relationships. 
        There certainly isn’t any one way to do this. On a personal level I am one of those people who writes because I have to. I produce content at a pace that most people can’t/won’t keep up with but many of my personal favorites come because of the interaction with others.
        People drive the blogosphere.

        •  @TheJackB  @jasonkonopinski  @Mark_Harai Great comment!

    •  @DannyBrown And that’s where you and I agree. Darn it.

  • Um… why did you skip a year… or is 2013 already accounted for? 
    It’s like you said – to each their own, do what works for you, etc. I will say this, however; for me, you (speaking generally) have to be Seth Godin to get away with not replying to blog comments. I don’t care if you do it late (I’m guilty of doing this), but do it.
    Outside of the fact that you write and publish a ton of good content on SS, one of the major reasons people flock here is because YOU respond to them. Not anyone else – YOU. This is not to start the personal branding debate, but 99% of the time, there is one persona that is more closely associated with a blog, even if it publishes from a variety of authors. That is the persona that drives the blog community, and that’s what you do really well.

    •  @Shonali Um, because I can’t write another book next year. I’m learning from Geoff. One every year is too much.

    •  @Shonali you know @ginidietrich wen’t into PR like we did… she can’t count.

      •  @jeffespo  @Shonali  @ginidietrich And now she’s pissed she never came ip with PRkting.

        •  @DannyBrown  @jeffespo  @Shonali I am mad about that for sure!

        •  @DannyBrown How do you pronounce that, “parakeeting”? OMG, Danny, there is a post in there!!! @jeffespo  @ginidietrich 

      •  @jeffespo HAHAHAHAH!!!!!! @ginidietrich 

  • So, is the repetitive response ‘who are you’ I get here baiting? Oh, I have plenty of responses but now that you are a high falootin’ published author with a legitimate audience I try to stay on my best behavior so I won’t get banned like @skypulsemedia has at Mashable. 
    Of course, you are still waiting for an intelligent, informed response from me you can actually respond to, but it’s all about the points to me; I think I’m over 2,000 now. 
    Yes, it’s your house and you can do as you like. In my humble opinion, the people who don’t respond might as well be a snooze fest; very similar to following a one sided tweet from an athlete or a celebrity. Boooooorrrrrinnnngggg……….
    I would give you a hall pass however, just because; and Jenny Lawson @TheBloggess gets one, just because too. Everybody else…………fuhgetaboutit. 
    Even if you are crazy busy you seem to be able to respond; I just hope it never gets so overwhelming you have to change that part of your model. It makes you uniquely you and it’s why everybody loves Gini. And that’s a fact……….

    •  @bdorman264  Ahhhhh. For the first time in a long time, I won’t ask you who you are and just say thank you.

  • I’m in Mitch’s camp and glad to see I’m not the only one who feels like that. I write because I love writing. Period. I don’t get paid to blog, I don’t do it to generate business or leads (I have a full-time job), and I’m not on any lists nor do I aspire to be. I write when I have time, and while I occasionally try to respond to comments, most of the time I just…don’t. I sometimes feel guilty about it and worry that I should do better…then I remind myself that blogging is a hobby for me and the people I need to worry about interacting with live in my house, not on the interwebs. I’d rather get it wrong by not optimizing the community I could have through my blog if I were more interactive than get it wrong by spending even more time online than I already do at the expense of my husband, kids and IRL friends.

    •  @maggielmcg I love your take here and after reading this post I hadnt considered just not replying. I see comments come in to my blog and I feel anxious that I have to respond right away. I do go online at the expense of my loved ones to get things done – including add responses – and Im re-thinking that.. I blog because I enjoy it. It makes me think about things and it always helps me practice writing.

      •  @C_Pappas I got over the instant responding about a year ago. Now I do it when I can, and never at the expense of my business or my family.

    •  @maggielmcg You know, it’s a really good point about why you blog – and it’s not for business or to generate leads or to even find a job. That’s why the answer really is, “it depends.”

  • ginidietrich

    @ScottMonty LOL! Nice, Scott. Way to get me in trouble! @mitchjoel

  • If you just want to write and serve up valuable information, that’s all good, and effective too. If you want to connect with people in the same way and develop deeper relationships with folks you’re drawn to – that can only happen by joining in conversations with them.
    For me, I prefer the relationship benefits that social media provides. That does take an investment of time, just like the personal and business relationships you’ve developed offline. After all, they’re just as real and valuable as your offline relationships, and often even more so.
    These relationships can develop into much more than just a reader of your valuable content.
    If you don’t happen to be a Mitch Joel, Chris Brogan, or Gini Dietrich, it’s also the best way to establish trust and develop a relationships with people who don’t know you, but would like to.
    Hope all is well in Gini’s world : )

    •  @Mark_Harai And, to your point, none of us got where we are without the communities we’ve built. 

  • I usually think people are commenting because they want to start a conversation, so I respond to offer that. Most of the time, that single comment was the single thing they had to say. But there are comments I really want to just Like (I have Livefyre) and leave alone because they really don’t require a response.
    I read and share @mitchjoel because I appreciate his thoughts. I just don’t comment, because when I do it’s because I want to start a dialogue (albeit brief) with the author, not just speak my piece and go.
    No matter how responsive a blogger is to commenters, if the content isn’t worth the time, it won’t grow regardless. If the content is wonderful, everyone will be all over it regardless. So I think as readers we learn the rules at everyone’s blog; we’ll take the good stuff however it comes to us.

    •  @ShakirahDawud  It really does come down to why you’re blogging. It’s entirely up to you and your goals. No one can tell you the right or wrong way to do it.

  • I really enjoy the blog comments, interaction & banter. I feel it adds character to the blog as well as the article. You can also learn a great deal about the author thru comments.  I find the comments to be a extension of the blog itself, many times giving more insight into the topic and thought process that was behind it. 
    Our blog isnt one that gets many comments, but I find I enjoy it more when there are some, almost motivates me to write more.  Its like discussing a book in a book club.  I would rather have a discussion, than feel like I just rambled on to dead air. 

    •  @sydcon_mktg Book club is a VERY good analogy!

  • AaronStrout

    @jaybaer i try to. but you are the master. one of the reason why i think you have such a large and dedicated following. #smartblogger

  • GrizzardComm

    As usual, the answer is “It depends.” RT @ginidietrich Responding (or not) to blog comments

    • ginidietrich

      @GrizzardComm As usual

  • KristenDaukas

    @ginidietrich The irony? I can’t leave a comment because I can’t login to @livefyre … and it was a good one, too.

    • ginidietrich

      @KristenDaukas But you did leave a comment!

      • KristenDaukas

        @ginidietrich Yeah.. had to close it down and go back in. Very odd.

  • Aha!! Got in. 
    There are posts that I write that really don’t warrant comments, so when I don’t get them I’m okay with that. But there are ones that I write that are VERY open to comments & that’s what I want and when I don’t get them, it bothers me. Well, not in the “cry myself to sleep, throw in the towel” sense but still… And NOTHING makes me crazier than when I make a comment on someones blog and they don’t respond.

    •  @KristenDaukas Why does it bother you if you leave a comment and they don’t respond (I’m asking for a reason)?

      •  @ginidietrich Quite honestly, my attitude is that if what you have written inspired me enough to comment, then a response should be given. Of course, I’m not talking about  a comment like “nice post” but rather one that the person is voicing their opinion or just has a good, valid statement. 

        •  @KristenDaukas So, if you left a really well thought-out comment and the blogger didn’t respond, would you go back? If the answer is no, does your answer change if the content is spectacular?

        •  @ginidietrich I may go back IF they’re an amazing blogger that I really like, but if it’s a common Joe – probably not. Yes.. I’m a snob that way. I liken it to other parts of social media – if I said something to you at a party and you just turned and walked away without responding, that would be pretty rude. Why would I want to try again? You may write spectacular stuff but if you treat your audience like they mean nothing, pretty soon you won’t have an audience and then who cares how spectacular you are? Sometimes I will miss a comment and it will be a couple of weeks before I respond and let me tell you – I feel AWFUL about it.

  • iparcel1

    @jaybaer @ginidietrich Yes!

  • Hi Gini,
    I’ll be honest. If someone goes to the trouble to write a well thought out comment I feel I owe it to that person to at least respond, but that’s me and I might change my view on this as I go. Commenters add to the conversation and a great comment is often the catalyst for a new blog post.
    But like Danny said, there is no right answer.
    For me, as a relatively new blogger (ahem, Bill Dorman will jump in and bust my chops for this statement) comments are Extremely important. Why? Well in my case they’ve helped me clarify what I want to do here. Comments turn into great conversations which often move to Skype or email. They’ve helped guide me.
    Also, I met some great people at BlogWorld and those relationships started on the comment sections of their respective blogs. Still amped-up by the event.
    –Build community;
    –You help others and they help you;
    –Lead to friendships or  business relationships;
    –I could go on …
    Okay, enough, right? Time to gather ’round and sing “Kumbaya” 🙂

    •  @Craig McBreen Since @bdorman264 hasn’t arrived back here yet, I’ll bust your chops:)

      •  @KDillabough   You are the “kick in the shins” lady 😉

      •  @KDillabough  @Craig McBreen Way to go Kaarina……..

        •  @bdorman264  @Craig McBreen You know I’ve always got your back Bill:)

    •  @Craig McBreen Uh…I saw Bill’s blog post. Bust your chops is putting it mildly!

      •  @ginidietrich I’m still recovering 😉 Does it get worse? 🙂

        •  @Craig McBreen Nah…I think you saw the worst of it.

      •  @ginidietrich  @Craig McBreen That’s called ‘tough love’…..:).

  • mitchjoel

    I started writing a comment and I kept writing and writing and wouldn’t you know it, a new blog post was birthed. I’ve added my thoughts right here: (you many want to pack a lunch).
    Thanks for always insipiring, @ginidietrich

  • ShakirahDawud

    @pmswish Post was a thought-provoker. When I visited Mitch’s blog for the 1st time, I commented. Haven’t since, but haven’t stopped reading.

    • pmswish

      @shakirahdawud I share your sentiments about thinking people want to converse…usually they don’t. They want to be heard.Tx. for the reply.

  • I love all of the conversation- and additional blog posts!-that this has spawned. I think the only unique thought (and perhaps this has already been said) that I can add is sometimes you don’t know and can’t predict the outcome of engagement. Case study- I sell.  Yet I read Spin Sucks because I like it- well written, informative, funny. Then Gini follows me on twitter, which encourages me to comment, she responds, we add on linked in, I comment more, we become FB friends, she buys zombie garden gnomes, I feel she is my soul sister and I can’t wait to meet her in person. Aww, unicorns and rainbows and puppies all around! But what has the value been for Gini up until now? Sure, I bought 1 copy of Marketing in the Round (which she WILL autograph!). I chose to use my PD funds on Social Mix this year for a chance to see her live.  Still not earth shattering.  But what Gini does not know is because of this I have submitted her name to speak at a conference held by Canada’s top business school. Perhaps she will be invited, perhaps she will not, perhaps she will decline the invitation if it is offered. But I don’t think either of us would have been able to predict that this opportunity should arise, whatever becomes of it.  I thank you Gini for making me feel welcome in your community.

    •  @RebeccaTodd You do know Chicago people aren’t allowed in Canada after July 26? 😉

      •  @DannyBrown @RebeccaTodd or before either. Just that day. Like a one day Amnesty in support of the Canadian Sheep Industry.

    •  @RebeccaTodd Wow. I think, zombie garden gnomes and all, I might cry. THIS is why I comment, blog, do social media, and get to know people like you. You make it all worth it and I CANNOT WAIT to see you!!

  • As a reader it’s enjoyable to interact with the blogger on an interesting topic, but I agree there is no one right way to handle comments.  I think what’s really brilliant though, is that a single blog post like this (and you are brilliant @ginidietrich ) is that it has sparked so much more conversation not only in comments, but in other blog posts as well – like @mitchjoel who recently “commented” via his own blog post on this topic.  Now that’s interaction &  community!!  

    •  @lizreusswig  Not only are you reading blogs while on vacation, you’re commenting too??! Oh my, oh my.

  • Hi Gini, I’m in the respond to comments camp, like you and Chris. To me it seems that if someone takes the time to visit my place and leave a comment, then I should respond. If someone came to my home and talked to me, I would respond back, so I guess I feel as if my blog is my virtual home in a way. 
    I have visited blogs where the content is mostly informational and the author doesn’t respond. That’s fine but it doesn’t build a sense of community and that’s a big part of the pleasure of blogging for me.

    •  @wonderoftech You know what this makes me want to do? Invite you to my house and just stare at you. No?

  • There isn’t nothing more lovelier than a good comment or just any comment – debate, discuss, agree, disagree. But having the author respond to it makes it all the more worthwhile somehow. I always feel that if the reader has taken the interest and the initiative to read one’s post and then have their ideas about it, it makes more sense to respond to it. Well, comments like  “Nice post, come visit my blog at so and so dot com” can be left as they are; but the others do need to be addressed. At least an acknowledgment, but I would always comments to be responded to. 
    For me its like someone coming over to my place, I offering them drinks and then leaving them with the drinks and going back to my room… poor souls would probably never come back…. Just sayin’…

    •  @Hajra  LOL!! I love the idea of you offering people drinks and then hiding in your room. You should try it and see what happens. Heck! I’ll try it and report back!

      •  @ginidietrich They won’t come back; and if they do it will just to throw stones at my glass windows….. or maybe huge rocks…. and my mom wouldn’t be surprised… 
        Do tell me what happens…. 

  • I’m a responder, or at least I try to be. Sometimes a post gets responded to weeks or occasionally months later and I miss it. But the ones I see I like to respond to ASAP.  I don’t think there’s something inherently wrong with folks who don’t respond, but I *do* appreciate blogs by authors who have no intention of responding who link to their forums instead. Why waste the comments space (and in my opinion, waste my time) if you have absolutely no intention of responding? It truly does depend on what your goals are though. 

    •  @Tinu Yep…that’s why it really is: It depends. My goals are different than yours than Mitch’s. 

      •  @ginidietrich Yeah I think one of the biggest mistakes in the spread of social media has been all these dictates that there’s one right way to do this or that thing. I’ve always believed that depending on what your goals are, there are ways that are *effective& and things that aren’t. If it works for you and it’s not hurting anyone, I say go for it. At the same time, it’s not smart to get locked into doing it your way if it’s not getting you the results you want.

  • JBBC

    @CraigMcBreen i read it earlier. Think if someone goes to trouble of leaving a comment you should reply to them

    • CraigMcBreen

      @JBBC Agreed! 🙂

  • I think I’m going to have to read @mitchjoel ‘s post and any from the others names who decide to weigh in on this discussion. Not that I’m blogging much these days but I agree with @DannyBrown  in that if someone takes the time to post a thoughtful comment, I’d like to show them I’m listening. Like you, I also find what they have to say is valuable although I’m not sure I’m as comfortable with confrontation. 

    •  @EdenSpodek  @mitchjoel  @DannyBrown Same. Especially since my blog is smaller than any of the ones analyzed here, I like to show my readers that I appreciate that they took the time to comment. And I find that when I comment, they are more likely to comment again.

      •  @AdamBritten  You have to start somewhere, right?!? In the beginning, I sent people personal notes to thank them for commenting. Of course, that wasn’t sustainable, but it worked!

    •  @EdenSpodek  I see you read Mitch’s post. I still have to comment. 🙂

      •  @ginidietrich I see you commented. I’ve been reading Mitch’s blog for years. He’ll tell you so. I used to comment regularly. I can also reminisce about our geek dinners back in the early days. 😉 

    •  @EdenSpodek @DannyBrown @mitchjoel @AdamBritten I also find the platforms are important. @livefyre I am sure generates more comments. My blogger comment system sucks. But then I don’t like when people comment so it is a great platform for me. a deterrent of sorts. Mitch has that little box that says pixels. Which is brilliant. If you aren’t smart enough to type that word in the box…he doesn’t want you commenting. Took me 4 months to figure out what that box was for.

  • Sometimes, it can come down to having the time to either reply to all of your comments or continue to create content that helps your readers and gives them something to discuss.  Personally, I’d rather take the time to create the content – although I’d love to reply to the comments that comes with each piece, it’s tough, and if I have to choose, I choose to create.  🙂

    • mitchjoel

      @Kristi Hines This sounds like me as well.

      • sethmsparks

         @mitchjoel  @Kristi If I had to choose between Mitch responding to comments or creating brilliant pieces of work, I’d choose his brilliance anytime.

        •  @sethmsparks  @mitchjoel  @Kristi I’m with you, Seth. I’m totally cool with Mitch not responding to my comments if it means he keeps writing awesome content. 

      •  @mitchjoel  @Kristi Mitch you spend 12 hours a day sipping lattes listen to Slayer and Metallica. How would you have time to respond to comments? 8)

    •  @Kristi Hines It really depends on the blogger. I don’t  have kids and I spend a TON of time in hotels and airports. So it’s a big easier for me to comment. But if it were taking time away from running my business or my family, I’d choose differently, too.

  • I love how you break it down into 3 different styles! I blog for community involvement and conversation …

    Great post!

  • margieclayman

    I try really hard to respond to comments – I figure someone took the time to read my brainz and respond to my brainz. They should at the very least get more of my brainz. A crappy reward, no doubt, but it’s the thought that counts 🙂 (So I tell myself). 

    •  @margieclayman I comment on your blog only so I can see how your crazy brainz work. You seriously make me laugh. If that’s not a good ROI, I don’t know what is.

  • accuconference

    @ginidietrich Spin Sucks isn’t out of control – You are!

    • ginidietrich

      @accuconference Oh. Good point. Dang.

  • KristenDaukas

    @ginidietrich No kidding!! KABAM!

    • ginidietrich

      @KristenDaukas Ha!

      • KristenDaukas

        @ginidietrich You use @triberr, right?

        • ginidietrich

          @KristenDaukas I do use Triberr

        • JustInTheSouth

          @ginidietrich Hello Twitter Friend!

        • ginidietrich

          @JustInTheSouth Hi Brackett!

        • JustInTheSouth

          @ginidietrich Hows this day treating you?

        • dino_dogan

          @ginidietrich @KristenDaukas Gini is actually one of our earliest members 🙂 Hi Aunt Gini 🙂

        • ginidietrich

          @dino_dogan Who is this? Do I know you? @KristenDaukas

        • ginidietrich

          @JustInTheSouth It looks like it’s going to be hot and windy. Again.

        • JustInTheSouth

          @ginidietrich Nothing like the Mid West.

        • KristenDaukas

          @ginidietrich I set up my acct a while ago but am trying to figure out how to find & join tribes & am lost. Any “how to” articles?

        • JustInTheSouth

          @ginidietrich you have one of these wright ?

        • TroyClaus

          @justinthesouth @ginidietrich – Thats pretty cool.

        • JustInTheSouth

          @TroyClaus I love it man! Wicked cool. How are things for you Troy?

        • TroyClaus

          @justinthesouth – Rockin and Rollin, Top Shelf, Fantastical…that about sums it up 🙂 and you?

        • JustInTheSouth

          @TroyClaus LOL. Doing great. Loving live in the early days of @ShiftDM

        • TroyClaus

          @justinthesouth @ShiftDM – Thats great! I’m a fan 🙂

        • ginidietrich

          @KristenDaukas I’m going to try to find you some stuff. Give me a bit.

        • ginidietrich

          @JustInTheSouth That is super cool!

        • KristenDaukas

          @ginidietrich No rush.. but thank you. I think I have part of it figured out but definitely lacking!

  • KatherineBull

    Cough, cough 🙂

    •  @KatherineBull Shhhhhh! 2014, I said!

      • KatherineBull

        I predict 2014 will be a very fine year.

        •  @KatherineBull  @ginidietrich Cough cough ;p

        •  @KatherineBull @ginidietrich 2014? not if the Mayan Calendar is right. Is that the year women will get equal pay in the US? I had hoped this year. Congress failed to call Gini to testify. Again.

  • ikepigott

    @ginidietrich What is this “blog” of which you speak?

    • ginidietrich

      @ikepigott It’s this kind of trendy thing that is going to fade away into the sunset soon

  • ginidietrich

    @DKS_Systems Thank you!!

  • ginidietrich

    @CraigMcBreen The crazies are out in full force today!

    • CraigMcBreen

      @ginidietrich Indeed. They have taken over 😉

  • Comments are what make us better.  My humble li’l blog is absolutely nothing more than the things I simply have to get out of my head if I’m going to have a chance at doing something considered “productive” in a world that has no use for what’s on my mind.  And I get a fair number of comments on it, too, which is great.  But through the discussion these diversions of mine become more clear, crystalline thoughts that sometimes add up to something far more than they were when I had to clear them out.  
    It’s always best to talk these things through and be social about it.  So why not respond and be a part of a discussion?  I’ve been blessed with a community that rarely gives me “great post!” or other BS comments and they rarely stray far off the topic at hand, so why shouldn’t I be a part of the discussion?  
    Good comments make us better – as writers, as philosophers, as humans.

    •  @wabbitoid That’s my feeling on it, too. But bloggers like Mitch and Valeria fully bake their ideas before they write them. I don’t. It sounds like you don’t. I guess my point is there isn’t a right or wrong way to do it. Just different ways. I lean on the side that you do.

  • First thing to consider, for those having an offline life, is time and answering to comments if there are many is really time consuming especially if someone is also logged in on FB. But many times I think it’s a matter of respect for readers who take the time to leave a comment and not just to enflate the blogger Ego.
    Probably stating the comments policy is the best way to go so readers don’t get upset by writing a comment and waiting ages for a reply, imho. 🙂
    As you rightly say also it depends from circumstances and personal tastes or styles.

    •  @Andrea T.H.W. I think a policy about comments is a really good idea! That way people know what to expect (assuming they read the policy). 

  • rdopping

     @ginidietrich   Juicy content for sure. There is no way I have time to read 202 comments. Guess that’s your job. I dunno, it seems like if I put something out there then if someone actually takes time out of their busy life to leave a comment that I should respect that and acknowledge it.
    Also, I blog to learn and comments are where you gain some perspective on what you wrote and the repartee is where the cool stuff happens. That’s where I would love to be and is what I am aiming for in my blogging.

    •  @rdopping That’s my feeling on it, too. I learn a ton from the comments here…different perspectives, different walks of life. And I also get to know the readers better, which I love. Except you. You’re kinda weird.

      • rdopping

         @ginidietrich waaaaa…..when are you going to like me?

    •  @rdopping fyi 173 of the comments are @ginidietrich ‘s

  • ginidietrich

    @rdopping And that’s me being nice

  • Wonderful and thoughtful post G’, as always, and you know this is something I’ve thought about like 1,435,677 time to this point.
    Here’s the bottom line for me: Comments are great, conversation is healthy, and words from others can certainly inspire….Not withstanding, you (or me, or anyone else) should never feel guilty if business and life simply don’t allow for responses.
    And readers should respect that.

    •  @Marcus_Sheridan Just like the conversation we had about getting beat up because I can’t comment like I used to. Everyone is busy. Everyone has different priorities. What works for me doesn’t work for you doesn’t work for someone else.

  • jennwhinnem

    I find it hard to buy the whole “I write for myself” thing when that writing is appearing on a public blog. If you just “need to get it out” why do you need to do it in a public forum? Clearly there’s something more at work.

    •  @jennwhinnem I write for the glory, fame, and honor. 😉

      • jennwhinnem

         @Marcus_Sheridan Love the honesty of that!

      •  @Marcus_Sheridan  LOL!! You kill me. 

    •  @jennwhinnem I don’t think that’s necessarily true. Maggie Leifer McGary has a FT job so she isn’t blogging for work, for leads, or to build a personal brand in order to find a new job. She’s not speaking or writing books. She writes because she enjoys it. So I’d guess it’s a little less important for her to build community than for someone like me who uses blogging for all of those reasons.

    •  @jennwhinnem Love this! The things I write truly for myself are never shown to anyone. I think some people would be more accurate saying “I write to express myself” or “I write to process new thoughts”, but semantically saying “I write for myself” but needing to publish it publicly doesn’t quite fit for me, either. 

      •  @jennwhinnem @ginidietrich Contextual example- Struggling to formulate a polite reply to a customer, have deleted no less than 5 tweets and 7 email drafts which I truly wrote for myself to work out my frustration and cool my jets (literally- Popsicle time!).  I am fresh and ready to give them the respectful answer they deserve, now that I have regained my focus as to the true audience for this missive. 

        •  @RebeccaTodd  @jennwhinnem I have to do that. Sometimes I have to shut the computer down and walk away. It’s always easier after you cool your jets. But remind me never to get on your bad side!

        •  @ginidietrich  @jennwhinnem It’s kind of funny- this is a customer I really like. I always try to remind myself of this old teaching quote- “If I teach and you don’t learn, what can I do differently?” Sometimes I believe I have explained myself thoroughly and clearly, but if my audience does not understand my message, I need to look at how I can re-approach my content, rather than just repeating it LOUDER. 

  • Like everyone else, Your Mileage May Vary.
    — Why are you blogging? Is it business or pleasure, to grow a community, to make yourself king of the Lecture Circuit or sell a few books? YMMV.
    — What are you writing? Is it all thought leadership? Is it lead generation and inbound marketing? SEO and links and lists? Are you writing for comments, a little debate or controversy? YMMV. 
    — Who is really reading? Who is commenting? Lurkers lurk. Maybe you’re going after the business owners and communications managers, but it’s just ‘us’ SM and PR types doing all the commenting and tweeting? MMV. 
    — Is a blog a passion – or obligation? MMV. If you’re selling a grapefruit and pistachio diet, you gotta be seen eating that, losing weight with it right? It’s why so many agency blogs are unread, uncommented IMO – they’re just going through the motions.
    Not naming names but it doesn’t escape my notice when I leave what I think is a smart comment that somewhat disagrees/debates doesn’t get a reply, but ones that build on the original post get something in reply. It also doesn’t escape my notice when bloggers hype, preach, rant about twee notions of engagement, listening, of participating and community (audience being different, h/t @JayBaer ) and then they don’t walk that talk. YMMV.
    Many of the people you’ve listed – I sometimes read what they post, I respect what they have to share. If I find what they share valuable, that’s up to me if I want to take the time to comment. Clearly I’m in love with the sound of my own typing, can’t help myself. 😉
    As for my blog I don’t have the luxury of 100 comments per post, so it’s very easy for me to say that I’ll reply to comments. If I put something out there for the world to see, it’s b/c I want it to do something (see the list above) and b/c I’m interested in seeing if anyone else either feels the same or totally hates it – and can help me learn something new. Fact is: if someone honors my blog w/ their eyeballs, a link back or gives me the time and consideration of a smart comment, least I can do is reply. FWIW.

    •  @3HatsComm  You’re in love with the sound of your own typing. LOL!
      You and I are in the same camp. I certainly see the other camps and don’t think they’re doing it wrong, either. It’s just that my blogging (and yours too) goal is different. 

    • kstaxman

       @3HatsComm Great take on an important part of social media… We aren’t all here for the same reasons! And you rightly point out that there is no “absolute” right way to do social. Hats off for a great reply!

      •  @kstaxman There are certainly some wrong ways and ways that are right – for me, for my business and my life. And things change; we try something and over time, learn that we’re actually better off doing something a little different. Thx.

  • Cough, as a reader, I appreciate and frequent bloggers who engage with their audience, cough. I guess I didn’t really need to cough there. Also, sounds like I’m missing out on Valeria’s blog.. cough, I’ll go visit it, cough.

    •  @SociallyGenius LOL!! Yes, you definitely need to go visit Valeria. Coughing and all.

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  • msrasberryinc

    I respond to all comments on my blogs- positive or negative. I feel it’s the least I can do to acknowledge someone who’s taken the time to not only read my post but to also comment. Granted, I don’t get hundreds (or even dozens) of comments per post. If that were the case I might reevaluate. At the very least I think someone who is putting their writing out for public consumption should attempt to care about feedback, even if you can’t respond to every single comment. It’s like the folks on Twitter who promote but never engage – what’s the point?

    •  @msrasberryinc You know, that’s a good point about promoting on Twitter, but not engaging. I’m adding that point to my defense for responding list!

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  • AbsoNarcissism

    If my lil’ ol’ blog got 162 retweets, I’m not sure I would even know where to go with that. I’d be too busy grinning ear to ear! 🙂

    •  @AbsoNarcissism Ha! It certainly didn’t happen overnight. When I started blogging, not even my mom read it!

  • I’d add that responding to comments tells readers the author is listening. That fact alone will surely encourage more (and better) conversations. But you’re right, there is no right or wrong. There’s only what works for you. Good stuff 🙂

    •  @TonyEscobar I’ve been thinking more about this. I wonder if some feel like they’re journalists in that they don’t necessarily want to comment? I know most reporters write their stories and move on. It’s definitely an interesting debate.

      •  @ginidietrich You’re right! Didn’t think of it like that, but totally makes sense.

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  • I love the way to you put things into perspective with an angle, perhaps that’s what draws in people with comments.

  • @jennwhinnem Perhaps for the same reason you felt compelled to write a comment and not leave it in your head?

    • jennwhinnem

      @Ari HerzogNo, when Gini blogs, it’s a conversation. So I was participating in a conversation. Not depositing a comment on her lawn.

      • @jennwhinnem Understood but I reacted to your comment about Mitch. If his blog is his lawn, he is compelled to blog to the same degree you’re compelled to comment to Gini, no?

    • @Ari Herzog  Ari, Ari. Play nice! @jennwhinnem

  • @Marcus_Sheridan As a business person, how do you react to other businesses with their own blogs who choose to not respond to comments on other blogs about them? For instance, if an external blog wrote about swimming pools and mentioned your business, why would you not respond?

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  • @ginidietrich  @TonyEscobar Definitely agree with this point. I know a few writers who resist getting sucked into debates because–unless there’s a factual error–they prefer to let the original post stand on its own. I go both ways as I love to get to know and show my appreciation for reader-contributors.

    • @Allison Leahy  @TonyEscobar I go both ways, too, because I feel like I sometimes miss things that are brought up in the comments – a different perspective, different cultures – that add to the original piece.

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