Whether you manage a blog or fill your free time reading blogs you like, commenting is essential to providing a sense of community to readers and writers alike. After all, we write to communicate — and if no one is responding, it can feel very much like we are communicating with a wall. Here are some tips to consider when posting comments to build community.
Tone is Everything
Nobody wants to talk to a robot. When commenting on a blog or responding to a comment made on your blog, remember that a lot of the rules in real-world, face-to-face communication still hold true. People want to feel comfortable and at ease, and writing in a personal tone will help accomplish this task.
- Remember that your “writing voice” has to essentially replace all of your body language that happens in face-to-face communication.
- Having a real name and a picture on whatever account you are using can remind people that they are indeed communicating with a human.
- Responding to comments that others have made shows your audience that you have also been reading—or listening—to what they want you to know.
- Showing personality through the use of short anecdotes to relate your life to your words is a good way to demonstrate that you are a living, breathing, thinking human being.
- Don’t be scared to make a joke to make the conversation a little more lighthearted.
When you are unsure, share your feelings. Adding a brief digression to show your awareness of your humanity — your ability to make a miscalculation and be wrong — is a great way to tread lightly and not step on any toes while politely disagreeing with another reader or writer.
No one wants to be proven wrong in a public forum. It’s always worse, though, when the person proving you wrong is too full of him or herself. Then you just feel like the bad-guy won.
Piggybacking on the last section, it is important to remember that asking questions can show your audience that you understand that you don’t know everything. It’s a very simple idea with great promise—not only do you show your own willingness to learn from someone else, you also engage your audience in a way that makes them feel smarter (everyone likes to feel smart!) while upping your chances of getting a response back at all. Everybody wins.
It’s hard to be taken seriously if your comments lack proper spelling and grammar. If you feel as though you aren’t confident with your ability to write without a spellchecker, write your comments in a word processor before entering your comment on a blog or website. Copy and paste is a truly beautiful thing.
Say Hello and Thank You
I don’t want to pretend that I am your parent and remind you when to mind your manners with others, but simple acknowledgements go a long way. Saying “Hi!” to your audience, especially when you have returning commenters, can make the commenter feel like part of a community. We all want to feel as though we belong somewhere. Right?
Welcoming others to your blog or to the comments section of your favorite blog is great, but praise is greater. Thanking someone doesn’t just provide him or her with an ego boost. Instead, and I apologize for the redundancy (see what I did there?), it shows that you are not above learning from someone else. It hints at the idea that you are equal.
Commenting on blogs in your industry can help you connect with thought leaders and writers – when done correctly. Most relationships have unwritten rules by which people follow out of societal conditioning, and hopefully these written rules will help your online relationships to grow and flourish.