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October 30, 2011

Spreading Blog Traffic - Where to Respond?

With the increase in the number of social media platforms, and with the urge to spread ourselves over as many of them as possible to get our words out to the largest group of people, it sometimes feels like overload. Not an overload of information, but an overload of time and effort, checking the various venues where we hang out to see if somebody has responded to our work. It also has that effect on the reader too, especially if you're following somebody who's on all these different platforms. Where is it best to respond?

Dawn, a friend of mine who often comments on this blog (and vice versa), recently went through a rather frightening experience with an unknown man potentially trying to abduct her, that also has turned into a good lesson in safety for all of us. She posted what happened, as well as what it has taught her, on her blog. She wants to share her insights with the rest of us, and I think it's a very valuable (not to mention gutsy, re-living it in order to write about it, and then share it publicly) post, and I encourage you to go read it when I'm done here (or, if you promise to come back, you can go read it now...but you'd better stick to that promise! I'll be watching.).

It's a powerful post, as well as being filled with great advice and information.

The night it happened, I happened to be on Facebook when she posted it in her status (another cosmic "coincidence", Dawnie?  Since I very rarely see FB status updates?) and was one of the many commenters going back and forth talking about it, advising, or just being there for her.

Since I had already been there on Facebook, the "what happened" part of Dawn's post was already known to me, but the rest of it (the life lessons that can be derived from her experience, following your instincts, etc) was new. So I read the post and greatly enjoyed doing so (Dawn's blog is well-worth following). I wanted to respond, leave a comment.

However, I was reading it on my phone, and responding to Blogger blogs (and blogs in general, I think) can be pretty irritating on the device. I told myself I'd respond later, when I was on my computer.

Then I was browsing the Google+ app on my phone, and saw that she had posted the link there as well. She, like many bloggers, posts the link to the various social media avenues that she inhabits (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and feel free to tell me where else if I'm missing anything). We sometimes, especially on Twitter, have communities that don't overlap with our other communities, and we want to make sure these people see our work as well. I'm the same way.

Since I was already there, I decided to leave a comment on her Google+ entry.

Then it hit me. If I respond there, is there any point in responding on her actual blog? She's already seen my comment. I can't think that my comment on her blog would be any different, though I would like to think, if I did decide to leave one, that I wouldn't copy and paste.

This started me thinking about blogging in general, and how spread out we are, not just as bloggers, but as readers as well. Yes, as mentioned above, our communities in the various social networks can be different, but there is a lot of overlap there. I'm "friends" with Dawn on Facebook, she's in my Google+ circles, we follow each other on Twitter. I subscribe to her blog too (though I haven't looked at my Reader in a while). That's four different places where I can find her stuff, not to mention actually being there on Facebook immediately after it happened.

Where is it appropriate to comment? Should we be consistent, or comment wherever we happen to be when we stumble across a post?

This is mostly a rhetorical question, because the obvious answer is "it's up to you." There is no right answer.

But it does bring to mind how thinly we can be spread sometimes. As a blogger, you have to be keeping an eye on all of these various social networks, or you'll miss a response. Most of us are already doing that, so it's pretty automatic, but it can still feel strange carrying on different conversations in different places. This is especially true if somebody comments in more than one area!

I don't get enough response to be confused, but I can see where higher-traffic bloggers might. I think that if I ever get that kind of traffic, I'd have to wrap my head around it before I became proficient at it.

It's not really a question that I need an answer to. It was just a thought process sparked by what happened this weekend. Something I thought I would explore and see if anybody shares similar thoughts. Even if you're not a blogger, do you find this to be true as a reader? 


  1. I tend to default to always commenting on the actual blog post, if I'm able to. You and I both know that that's not always an easy task to accomplish, because we never know when Blogger or our browser will be ornery and thwart that action.

    The reason I think it's important to comment on the actual blog post is that something we say there might impact another reader in the comment thread in an important manner. Blogging is about a sense of community and fostering conversation, so the comments there are going to of the most value.

    That being said, I get what you're saying here. I have some readers of my blog who have never posted a comment. They're not comfortable doing that for whatever reason. Many of them will email me privately to respond to a given article. Some comment on my personal FB page or the Healing Morning FB fan page. Others just visit my blog, read and never make comments. The important thing, at the end of the day, is that my work is getting read. Comments do matter, yes, as they're a good yardstick to let us know if we're communicating the thoughts we set out to communicate. I appreciate every single person who takes time to visit Healing Morning and go that next step to post a comment on anything I have written there.

    Finally, thank you so much for the mention here, Dave. The subject matter you and I both discussed of that unfortunate experience I had is one that no one likes to hear about, but I did think it was important to write about it. If sharing the experience will keep other people safe in similar circumstances, then it was worth reliving and writing about it.

    Great big smiles, hugs and appreciation for this wonderful friendship we share, buddy! :)

    - Dawnie

  2. I find that it depends on where I am when I get the alert that things have gone out. I try to respond by phone if I am on the phone, which as we all just discovered doesn't always work. But I also find I might read something on my phone, love it and then later when I am on a place where I can respond semi-reliably I forget to make a comment. In my blond head I did (read my mind apparently). The problem I find isn't where or when to reply, it is the mass of friends I love to keep up with...when I lose track of them (out of site out of mind) only to discover they either aren't there any more, or they have literally passed away. That blows my mind. But I think we are headed to the time when if something like that happens an alert will go out. LOL Big brother-ish I know, but I can see it none the less. *hugs to you Dave*

  3. Thank you for your thoughts, ladies!!!

    Dawn, I agree with you about liking comments on the posts themselves if at all possible. I too have friends (at least one) who for some reason don't like to leave comments on the blog but instead leave them on Facebook.

    But like Lisa mentioned, I sometimes forget that I haven't commented if I read it somewhere else first. That's the main reason that I tend to comment where I'm able to.

    And thank you for sharing this post around too! I hope that it does spark some people to think about what happened to you and to take care of themselves as well.

    Lisa, did you know that I was blond until around age 10? I think that's why I have blonde moments (though the wife just calls them "being a man") and I am the same as you! I forget to comment later.

    That fear of losing touch with our friends online when we have so many of them, it's something that I fear as well. I have posted about it before, actually.

    Love you both!

  4. Dave, I generally comment directly on the blog… when I get the chance. Since there are only a bazillion blogs out there, and of course one doesn’t have time to read and comment on even a small fraction of them, I make it a point (if time allows) to respond to those who’ve kindly visited and left feedback on mine ;-) And some I’ve read and really enjoyed but didn’t comment because I was too busy responding to my own readers. For instance, your lemonade stand post awhile back was just outstanding, and I kept intending to respond, but then I lost track of it and well, it went away too soon. So I’ll say it now; I appreciate your indignation over that one. Ditto!

  5. Thanks, Debra!!! I enjoy doing posts like that, and I'm glad they resonate with some people.

  6. I prefer to to comment on the blog... I also limit myself to other various social media... just because it is time consuming and very draining... I also keep my reading and now have kept my posting limited...
    It is hard keeping up with all ....but in the end I do have to make a choice so I go where I connect... or and if I find a post that grabs my attention...Like this one!

  7. Thank you for stopping by, Savira!

    I can understand trying to cut out as much as possible if it drains you. I sometimes feel the same way, though I quickly change my mind. :)


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