Don’t Just Read a Blog. Comment!

Before I began blogging last year, I spent several months reading a variety of blogs. I subscribed to book review blogs, political blogs, spiritual blogs, and blogs for writers. I read posts written by those who had just entered the blogosphere, and posts written by those who had been blogging for years. I finally initiated my own blog, Pen Station, in May, 2010.


But there’s more to blogging than writing your own blog and reading those written by others. The blogosphere is a community, and community means interaction. Most blogs are not intended to be monologues. They’re meant to be part of a dialogue between writers and their readers. The ensuing “conversation” can broaden the worlds of both parties.

So how do you join the community and add to the conversation? The easiest way is to provide meaningful feedback by commenting on individual blog posts. Many bloggers make it a practice to end each blog post with a question that invites the reader to participate. What do you think? Have you had a similar experience? How have you responded to this situation? What would you do if this happened to you?

The way to answer these questions, and perhaps post one or two of your own, is by leaving a comment. Most blogs have a Comment hyperlink at the top of the post or a Comment box at the end of the post.

What kind of comment should you leave? In her book, Blogophobia Conquered, social media expert and Blogging Barista Laura Christianson notes, “When readers compliment my writing, it stokes my ego, But the comments I value most are the ones that challenge my statements, share information I forgot to include, or offer meaningful commentary.”

Laura also identified several types of commenters:

Fervent Fans – people who love the blog
Personal Promoters – people who comment to promote themselves
Happy Hecklers – people who post nasty comments just to irritate the writer
Deferential Dissenters – people who courteously disagree and open a dialogue with the intent of learning through sharing
Irrational Inciters – people who hate the blog

I would add one more type: the non-commenter or lurker. I confess I am often guilty of belonging to this last category. I slip in and out of blogs, reading but not responding. Taking, but not giving. Listening, but not adding to the discussion.

I want that to change. Community requires interaction. Conversation requires dialogue. I’m looking forward to not just learning, but also sharing what I’m learning.

Care to comment?

What type of commenter are you?


Blogophobia Conquered

I’m one of those people who breathes a sigh of relief and a prayer of thanks when I turn on the computer and it actually turns on. Error messages make me twitch, and solid blue screens cause me to see red. I love to teach and write. Bits and bytes–not so much. Creating and updating my own website (www.AvaWrites.com) was a major feat. Well, actually Jason Walker created the website (thanks, Jason!), but I do update it myself.

With my technically-challenged background, the idea of starting a blog was more than a bit intimidating. Not to mention that I wondered where I would find the time to begin yet another writing commitment (oops, I just mentioned it).

Anyway, I stalled, postponed, and delayed, and then I stalled some more. Then I read Laura Christianson’s book, Blogophobia Conquered. And I saw myself throughout the book, beginning with Chapter 1: Technophobia. Other chapters include Decidophobia, Scriptophobia, Formatophobia, Socialphobia, Borophobia, and Addictophobia.

Laura covers everything from how to set up a blog to how to write effective blog posts. She provides a comprehensive guide without getting bogged down in technical terms. Blogophobia Conquered is now my go-to reference for all things blogging related. Laura’s easy-to-understand descriptions and practical tips helped me overcome my blogophobia…and here I am!

(“Special thanks to Laura Christianson at Blogging Bistro for sending me a review copy of Blogophobia Conquered.”)