Quid pro quote

How d’ya like ’em?

I must post upwards of a dozen blog comments a month. Some months it’s well above that, and I’m by no means not alone in that respect.
Usually it’s for someone I follow regularly or occasionally I find something in cyberspace that captures my imagination. Often I choose to comment because it’s a fellow author at Musa or a comrade on Strictly or someone else I have connections with (and for the preceding reasons), and who wouldn’t want to support a buddy? 
I used to feel a certain pressure with commenting and I have to say that I’ve long since noted a marked inequity between what I give and what I receive. However, that equation actually liberates me. If it’s not a checks and balances arrangement then I’m free to comment when and how I feel like it, although I try to make it meaningful. After all, I want them to know I have read their piece and that I’m paying attention.
Blog posting is a strange and captivating world. It’s the column you always dreamed of (minus the money or the guarantee of a readership, of course) or it’s a confessional to the world. However, blogs do not write themselves. They take time and effort and focus. In short, they’re like any other form of writing.
Commenting does two things:
1. It lets the blogger know that their post has been read and understood. (Or, in the case of the person who wanted to sell me the services of a detective in Arizona, completely ignored but for the odd keyword.)
2. It opens up the possibility of a dialogue. Writers love dialogues – and they needn’t be solely about their own work and how wonderful it is, although that can be a great way to start the day/week/coffee break.
I like to ask questions too, partly because I’m a nosey sod and partly because I hope other commenters and readers will enjoy the answers. 
So I may not comment on your blog all the time, but be sure that when I do it’s because I want to, and not because I feel a sense of obligation (well, maybe occasionally!). And if I don’t comment, it’s only because I don’t have anything to say.
If you have something to say, why not make a writer’s day (and any blogger is a writer) and drop them a line. You never know where the conversation will take you.


  1. Anna says:

    The blogging comment system is horrible for holding conversations, so I don't try. I'm just a drive-by commenter: leave a comment, never check back.

  2. Derek says:

    Hi, Anna. That can be true as well. Not that you'll ever know I said that!

  3. I completely agree! I know perfectly well (from seeing the stats) that far more people read my blog than comment, and I would never expect it to be otherwise. There are lots of reasons that make me choose to comment or not to comment on a blog I read, and actually nowadays I read painfully few. Something has to give.

    If there's a whole load of obligation (both ways) it all becomes rather against the spirit of blogging, I think.

  4. Derek says:

    Hi Nicola, and thanks for stopping by. Yep, in the rush for social media mastery, it's easy to forget why we wanted to be writers in the first place – to write!

  5. Rachael Acks says:

    I don't tend to blog comment very much. It's partially a function of not having useful to add, and because I tend to do my blog reading via google reader on my phone, and that's not really comment friendly.

  6. Chloe says:

    I was like you – always felt obliged to comment, but now I'm more relaxed about it. I try to comment as a way of supporting the writers I know, but if I don't have anything to say, I don't say it!

    Of course, now you've written this blog post I'm going to feel like I need to have something really important to say before I can comment on your blog!

  7. Derek says:

    Good point, Rachael. I didn't realise that different devices delivered different blog functionality. And yes, it can be hard to add something meaningful if the subject doesn't grab you by the lapels.

  8. Derek says:

    Hi, Chloe. I hope I'm becoming more like you. And you've accomplished your mission! If the comment doesn't add to the conversation then yes, you're right, we're not really contributing. We might just as well add a smiley face. I think in part it's down to the focus of the bog too.

  9. Derek says:

    Now that was funny. I did, of course, mean the focus of the BLOG, not the bog. A Freudian flush…

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