Yesterday, I did a post on the 3 Core Components of a Blockbuster Blogs and talked about how one of the key things great blogs do is connect people. That connection may be between blog author and blog reader, but it also can be between readers via conversation in the comments.
But one of the things I mentioned was how I've noticed that over my last three years of blogging, commenting has declined even though hits and numbers of visitors have gone up. I used to get more comments when I had 2k hits a month than when I had 12k. Strange, right?
So of course, this made me wonder if a) I was doing something wrong or b) something broader was happening. In the comments on my post yesterday, a few people mentioned that they've noticed a similar drop in comments despite traffic being good on their blogs as well.
So what's the deal? Is anyone out there? *taps screen*
Here are some of my theories:
Keep in mind, this is just conjecture. I'd love to hear from you (IN THE COMMENTS, lol) on what you think could be the reason.
1. Commenting is cumbersome and with our social media time stretched between so many platforms now--blogs, twitter, facebook, tumblr, pinterest, google +, etc., we just don't have the time.
This is one of the reasons I barely comment on blogs anymore. I'm much more likely to retweet a post I like or put it in my Fill-Me-In Friday round up to show my appreciation instead of commenting. A post has to really stir me or be about something I have a strong opinion on to get me to comment. It's not for lack of wanting to comment, it's simply just a lack of time.
2. When reciprocation slows down, commenting goes with it.
When you first start blogging, you're gung ho. (And often you're not yet a paid writer, so don't have deadline pressures and such starting at you.) So, you make bloggy friends. You go comment on all your friends' blogs every day. They in turn comment on yours. It's a happy thriving little community. But it takes a LOT of time to keep up. (See my post on The Life Cycle of a Blogger if you want to see what happens when you hit your limit.) So, when you start slacking off on being the ultimate bloggy friend, people stop reciprocating.
3. Blog Oversaturation
SO many people are blogging these days. And writers are no exception. Links to posts fly by on Twitter at the speed of a CNN ticker. It's hard to stand out. Do I really need to read ANOTHER post about sagging middles? That post may be perfect for someone brand new to the writing blogosphere, but after you've been online a while, you start to see the rerun of topics. Hell, I've found myself blogging about those things more than once too. So it's hard to come up with a comment about something that you're tired of hearing about. And even if you come up with some fun new stuff to blog about, unless the post provides something for the reader, it's going to be hard to compel people to stop by. "Come talk about your favorite movie" is not going to inspire me to click. As much fun as that conversation could be, it doesn't provide me with anything and sounds like something that will just waste more time.
4. When a blog seems like a BIG DEAL or the person appears uber important, followers can feel distant from the blogger.
Sometimes I find myself reluctant to leave a comment because the person seems like a BIG DEAL. Whether it's because they have a super successful blog or they are an established authors. They have that celebrity vibe, and it becomes a bit intimidating to leave a comment OR you feel like they don't "need" the comment or won't really be reading it anyway, so why bother.
5. It always could be that the posts are lame, uninspiring, unrelatable, navel gazing, or boring as hell. Always a possibility :)
I'm hoping this isn't the case for most of us, but it's always something to keep in mind. Sometimes we may have simply veered off our path and let the quality of our posts suffer. There are obviously still blogs out there getting 50-100 comments a day, so it is possible we are doing something wrong. >.<
I don't know the answers. It could be any of these, none of them, or some combination, but those are my thoughts. I'd love to hear yours.
What do you think? Have you noticed a trend in your own comments--either on your blog or your own commenting behavior? Do you have any of your own theories?