I don’t get it. Why do some blogs generate dozens of comments (and shares and likes), while others sit pristine like wallflowers?
Bloggers can check click rates to see if anyone’s reading. But what if people are reading but not commenting? What does that mean?
And why should I care?
Before I launched my blog in 2009, I’d never read yoga blogs, as I discussed in The Wide World of Yoga Blogs. I just wanted to organize my free-floating thoughts about yoga. I was curious to see if I could sustain my stream of thoughts or if the well would run dry.
Once I became a blogger, I got sucked into the milieu. I skim the gamut of blogs: food, travel, writing, knitting (and I can’t knit!). Blogging is unlike old print media in the expectation of audience response: Before, the lag time between publication and response was long (think “letters to the editor”). Now, instant feedback rules—and any feedback is better than none!
So, if a post generates zero comments, it disheartens me. Momentarily. Then I remind myself why I blog:
Blogging as writing practice
By blogging, I am “practicing” writing. By crystallizing an idea and playing with words, I am working my mind. I end up with a tangible product, a blog post. Regardless of audience feedback, the act of writing itself is transformative. I am different before and after writing a post. Maybe that’s enough.
I’m reminded of the way people might consider law school to be process learning: one supposedly learns to “think like a lawyer.” Laws differ state by state, but a lawyer’s analytical skills ideally should be transferable. Likewise, my blog posts themselves might have limited consequences, but my mental transformation should be lasting.
Blogging as discipline
In my first six months of blogging, I was prolific. Now, I feel productive if I post once weekly. Where’s my discipline?! In Resurrecting my blog: inspiration from a cactus, I wrote about my blog’s slowdown. Could it thrive and grow again? Or do bloggers have only one shot at making it?
It can be hard to be disciplined about an unpaid blog. Maybe that’s the crux of discipline. If we’re forced to do something, for work or other obligations, we’re not being disciplined, just diligent.
At first, my audience comprised mainly fellow yoga bloggers, including YogaDork, Roseanne, Eco Yogini, and others mentioned in Peer-reviewed blogs. Locally I heard from fellow writers, including Eve Johnson and Jessica Berger Gross, both excellent writers. Non-blogger yogis tend rarely to comment. They might email me about a post (I’m heartened by the gesture of camaraderie) but my blog would be much livelier with public comments, shares, and likes!
Of course, I can empathize with those who are private and busy with their own lives. Indeed, I’ve never considered yoga as a social pursuit. Online, while I initially made connections with other bloggers, I’ve since lost contact (and sometimes my place on their blogrolls) because I can barely keep afloat in my own life and thus rarely comment myself. But I enjoy checking back when I can—and I’d be disappointed if their blogs were gone.
Blogging as 21st-century experience
I occasionally meet people who still don’t use email. Or who can’t quite define “blog.” Unbelievable. But I can relate: I much prefer reading the print edition of the New York Times! I use my cell phone only when necessary. I created a Yoga Spy Facebook account, reluctantly, as late as spring 2011.
That said, the Internet is indispensable to my existence. Websites are my go-to sources for information, and if I have the chance to create my own, why not go for it? Live in the 21st century. Be a participant. (In the 2000s, I missed the entire run of The Sopranos because I didn’t have HBO. Sure, it’s just a TV series, but I’m missing a slice of that decade. What else did I miss? What am I missing from this decade?)
Blogging as karma yoga
Regardless of audience feedback, I keep blogging. Why? In my all-time favorite post, Ginger and karma yoga, I highlight my late kitty’s example of karma yoga: To do one’s duties, or dharma, in life, without concern for reward. If I choose blogging as a current duty, I shouldn’t waste time questioning why, much less whether anyone cares. Just do it!
Image: wallflowers, apartment therapy; Alex Gregory cartoon, The New Yorker, The Cartoon Bank
Dear Luci –
I read your blog with great pleasure and return to it in search of your thinking on specific topics as they arise in my asana and meditation practice.
I greatly value your thoughtful perspectives and insights, and would DEFINITELY miss your blog presence. Yet I rarely comment – sometimes because i don’t feel I can add anything meaningful, sometimes because of reticence to share comments publicly that I might be comfortable sharing with you, and often because a simple “thank you, I enjoyed this” doesn’t seem sufficient.
So…from a blogger’s perspective, what kind of feedback – and where – do you experience most value? Public comments on individual postings; private comments with more specificity? Perhaps both have value for different reasons – numbers of comments on individual postings as assessment of size of readership; nature of comments as a measure of impact on readership (feedback on your writing, sharing experiences). It’s still a new world for me…
THANKS for your comment, Melissa. Consider my posts and your comments as a conversation: If you comment publicly, it’s like a group discussion. Your contribution spur others to share theirs. And while you might not share your deepest, darkest thoughts/feelings to a group, that doesn’t diminish your comment’s value.
In the personal context, friend to friend, colleague to colleague, private comments are more valuable. That is how we deepen our relationship, which goes beyond my blog.
So, yes, I value both. It’s like how I value a sociable chat in class or in a group… and how I also value one-to-one exchanges, in person or by email. Inside, I’m much more of a one-to-one person that a group person;-) But when I put myself “out there” (as in my blog), I really welcome a response.
i don’t do yoga and i usually don’t comment but i do read your blog when it comes to me. i read it because i like you and i like your writing style. you probably know what i have learned — a lot more people are reading than are commenting. usually people don’t comment unless they want to bitch or snark (look at the comments on any news website). thanks for writing, yoga spy! JL in Lihue
Good point about “why” people comment. You’re right that people often comment to publicize themselves, whether their own blogs or their own cleverness! Maybe the whole commenting thing is out of hand. Yes, it is more important that people read… and then comment… Aloha to my writing compatriot on Kauai.
Hey Luci! (I had no idea that was your name!)
I totally agree 100%, i LOVE getting comments and have no idea why some posts generate more comments than others. Sometimes I write things thinking– Wow this is going to cause some discussion… and then no one comments. Weird. I think partly because blogger sucks– You were so smart to go wordpress.
It is also tricky to remember to visit and comment, but i do read your posts! Yay canadian yogis!
Maybe our posts are harder to comment on than, say, a food or fashion blog filled with photos. It’s easy to write, “Mmm, my mouth is watering!” or “Only a chick that gorgeous could pull off wearing Mom jeans” or whatever.
Maybe the more thoughtful a post is, the more thought is required to comment;-)
It might be an option to import a Blogger blog to WordPress. I have no complaints about WordPress.
Best to you in Halifax from me in Vancouver!
Like Lisa, I am surprised at which of my posts get comments and which don’t. When I started blogging about 6 months ago I possibly read my first simple little post about 40 times before I found the courage to click ‘publish’. It took awhile to build up commenting courage too! But now I rock!!!:) Perhaps that is a part of the struggle that others have. A special writer friend told me in the beginning to always remember that first and foremost, blog for yourself. This will make you a better blogger. Wise words and words that have helped me feel less pressured at times when I want to post something that I am fairly sure will not have a wide appeal. Ties in with your feelings expressed in your last paragraph! Anyway, as a beginner yogi type I find your blog inspiring. Thanks.
Many thanks for your comment. I agree with every point you made.
Note to my colleagues from South Africa: This blogger is based in (and writes about) South Africa. Check out her blog, filled with interesting photos.
I have never commented on a blog before, but I’m here to say that I appreciate your blog, but in a quiet, introspective way that doesn’t compel me to comment, but does not diminish your blog’s value to me. Keep it up!
I always read your posts…no matter the length between them, rather than just filling up space you write when something needs to be written…I can appreciate that, I started my own little blog a while back and this post really resonates with me. I love comments & rarely get them…maybe just another way I am learning it is all about the offering without expectation…anyway thanks for sharing!
I’ve thought about why some blogs/posts get more comments than others and came up with my own small hypothsis:
1) some blogs/posts are reflective in nature and, to quote Melissa above (because she summed it up rather nicely), “…sometimes because i don’t feel I can add anything meaningful, sometimes because of reticence to share comments publicly that I might be comfortable sharing with you, and often because a simple “thank you, I enjoyed this” doesn’t seem sufficient.
2) I think a person’s personality comes through in blogging/writing. Extroverts are more willing to lay it all out, Introverts, not quite so much. I think the extroverted posts tend to draw people in. And as you noted to Eco’s post, the more thoughtful the blog/post, the more thought required for commenting.
3) And in some cases, I think it’s just a time factor. Some people love to hangout on line, socializing, and some keep it just to reading.
I enjoy your posts immensely, even though I rarely comment. Thank you!
This is awesome. I never thought of blogging as karma yoga….I like your voice, too. I’m totally gonna subscribe, and in an effort to pay it foreward, I’ll comment as often as I remember 😉
For what it’s worth, after reading your blog for two years I started writing my own blog a month ago. It’s in Hebrew if anyone wants to take a look ( http://karmayogaisrael.wordpress.com/ ) . You are one of my inspirations and you might even come across The Simpsons there 🙂
Since the main theme is Karma Yoga I can certainly relate to the qualities of writing, regardless of comments and feedback. We just do what we do and find the peace in it.
As long as you are having fun and learning through the process of writing, perhaps that is enough. It is heartening, encouraging, and motivating to have others read and comment–the sense of throwing out words in the infinite, empty cyberspace can be isolating.
I think many of us must go through a similar process. After being a reluctant blogger, writing posts became enjoyable. For me, the structure of regular writing was a process of shaping and molding of thoughts and by extension, the mind. My readers come from around the world and are the silent, quiet types, and that is just fine. They don’t see it as a discussion forum as much as an informational or teaching forum.
After some months of writing and posting regularly (for a while two posts a week), the momentum slowed. There was less to write, more to reflect. I did not want to become a magazine writer with self-imposed pressures of a deadline and a quota. Now, I write when I feel like it, if there is anything worth expressing.
There are times when other undertakings require more time–like making a meditation CD, putting together a special session for a charity fundraiser.
I am glad that my blog is not an addiction and that it does not matter how many read or feel compelled to comment–that and would take away the joy of it all.
Many thanks for your thoughtful response. I agree that blogging would lose its appeal under the pressure of quotas and deadlines. Maybe it is like yoga practice: the impetus must come from within, and the audience/external participation might be welcome but is unnecessary.
Please share the link to your blog,
Yes, for me it is very much a part of yoga–jnana yoga. The blog just provides a defined structure for it and it has helped evolve and clarify much.
The blog is http://www.yogamedblog.wordpress.com and the website is http://www.mahasriyoga.com.
I just started blogging. Im so new only my friends are commenting :). I did have a visitor from Britain leave a compliment. If you have a moment, check my blog out. I have yet to unveil it to my yoga students. We’ll see. Shanti!!
Yoga is the best exercise for our health and fitness.
It improves both physical and mental health.
It regulates the circulation of blood in whole body,
controls the blood pressure, prevents from heart problems,
handles the stress, and depression.
Just came upon this post and wanted to offer a word of encouragement. I know how you feel. I often don’t get comments on what I thought was a great article, but when I do get that positive feedback it makes it all worthwhile. Love your style, keep blogging, I added you to my favorites.
I agree Yoga Guardian, whether or not folks posts on a blog has so many factors. I often think people may not value the worth of their own comments, so they simply read and don’t post. I also think readers choose to comment specifically when they have a service that they need from the blogger, because that’s when I see that women usually tend to send me messages on my blog: https://yitdotsfitness.com/the-blog. Anyway it is simply good to keep writing because it is liberating and leaves a trail of breadcrumbs to where you’ve been.
Good informative blog
It’s indeed not easy to keep prolific when you’re a blogger.