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The way you respond to comments determines the community you build

Apr14

Written by:
2010/04/14 07:40 AM RssIcon

community Commenting is an integral part of blogging. Whether you comment on other blogs or other readers comment on yours. Comments build a community, or rather the comment policy that you employ on your blog will determine the type of community surrounding your blog.

As the owner and author of your blog you have the right to determine and set the comment policy of your blog. But you need to understand what you want from your community and it’s involvement.

Today I don’t want to focus on comments, but rather on how you respond to comments. There has been a few heated debates on how bloggers, especially the so called A-Listers, respond to comments, or rather the lack thereof.

I’m not here to fuel that argument but rather to look at how different response policies will determine the community you build

You might be fully aware of what you are doing and the consequences, or you might not. Either way, how you respond to comments determines the dynamics of your community.

No comments

Many bloggers out there have turned off comments on their blog. For whatever reason. Now I do not agree with this, but that’s life. This type of blog is a tutorial or lecture blog. Where readers come to receive knowledge and have no desire or need to give back.

This blog type can still have loads of readers, but no interaction at all. No comments no response.

No response

This has fuelled many a lively debate in the blogosphere. Many of the popular A-list blogs have hundreds of comments per post, with very little or no response.

Larger blogs will be able to get away with this, but smaller blogs will not. Not responding tells your community that you are not interested in their thoughts.

The type of community that will be built here is a clergy-laity community. A us and them. Larger community can sustain themselves. But smaller ones will soon die.

Selective Response

This type of response has the danger of building cliques. Favouring certain readers while deterring yourself from others.

This type of response is good if your end goal is to create an exclusive readership where only certain people are welcome. Nothing wrong, but make sure that’s what you want.

Individual Response.

Responding to each and every comment is probably an ideal scenario. This will work for smaller blogs, but as your blog grows and your comments grow, it becomes increasingly difficult to give each and every reader the personal attention they crave and even perhaps deserve.

This type of response will definitely build a very loyal and close knit community. But can be very taxing and time consuming.

Responding just for the sake of response can also show you are not genuinely interested in the comment but just want to make up the numbers.

Group Response

This is when you respond to a group of comments with one comment. Either by grouping similar comments together and answering them as a collective, or by responding to individuals in the one single response outlining each individual by the mention of their name.

This is probably the most popular, especially amongst the larger more busy blogs.

It’s not real conversation, but will encourage readers to come back and comment. Often seen as a win win situation.

Deserved Response

Now this is the one that I champion. Respond to a comment that deserves a response. While it is noble to try to respond to every comment. You might just come across as spamming your own comments when you respond to a comment that needs no response.

When a group of people are in conversation at a dinner table, you would not respond to every person that talks, you would only respond to the one that you feel needs a response.

This type of response, in my mind, builds a much stronger genuine community. Where readers know that your response is meaningful and personal. Where your response carries weight because it is not made flippantly.

Where readers know that you care for the community and that your response is aimed at providing useful information, or timely guidance, or a spot of encouragement.

Conclusion

What type of community are you building, or you wish to build with your comment response policy. Whether you like it or not, whether you are doing it consciously or not. You are building a community.

Or perhaps you are destroying the community you want.

Thanks to: http://bloggingwithoutablog.com/how-your-comment-response-policy-can-change-the-dynamics-of-your-community/

Related Reading:

Should I reply to every blog comment?

Your comments make content more valuable

10 Rules of blog posts and comments.

7 Reasons why people are not commenting on your blog

Remember you can win a weeks worth of free ad space just for commenting. The best comments during the week will get a weeks free advertising space. Check out: Win free advertising for your blog

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