Simple English ~ Nicola Prentis

Thoughts on ELT, English and whatever else comes into my head

The etiquette of blogging

I should possibly stay off Twitter. I don’t seem to have the etiquette mapped out. It seems you either have to be seriously, canonisingly nice or troll people. Mildly argumentative or just sort of throwing your opinion around  marks you out as a troublemaker.

Or at least that’s the feeling I get.


I might well be failing to understand something about blogging too. Someone Tweeted something about not understanding why bloggers didn’t respond when a reader commented on their blog even if it didn’t seem necessary. I chipped into this just because I happened to see it and the thing with Twitter is it’s like joining in a conversation you overhear on the bus.

I thought it was obvious. If it’s not necessary, then it gets low priority because people don’t have time. Blogging, interacting on Twitter and Facebook (and I’ve got two blogs and Twitter accounts to manage) work email, personal email (massively lagging behind the others – too long form for me now I indulge in more bite size/commentary/sharing aspects of Social Media) and that other little thing I do – writing – these things all take a lot of time.

I never realised there was some expectation about responding to anyone who responds to me. Where would it stop? Do they then have to reply to my reply? God forbid do we actually have to get into a conversation of mutual pingbacks and “I love what you wrote”, “I love that you loved it”, “I love that you replied”, “I love that you love that I replied”?

When I innocently offered my time reason, the response was that if you have time to blog you have the five minutes it takes to reply. Well, er…no actually. I’m busy doing all those other things so unless the comment is an interesting point I probably treat it as the end of the dialogue that started with my post. Ten replies to comments at 5 mins each and what with cutting split ends, tidying up my desk and wandering to the cupboard where I no longer dare keep biscuits – too dangerous – I’d have not written anything of any meaningful content for a whole hour. Six more of those and you get a day like today – naff all done.

I pointed that out, less loquaciously in 140 characters and the slap down (replete with smiley, of course because this person is NICE) that I probably didn’t get that many comments on my blog.

Well, maybe I get so many comments that I can’t reply to them all and ever leave my desk. Actually I don’t and I might well have replied to most of them but I wasn’t keeping track so can’t say for sure. But is that the aim of blogging? Am I supposed to be counting the number of comments and comparing myself?

Now I do have some personal issues like this. I apparently don’t compliment friends enough – I am thinking it, I just forget to say it most of the time – and I often don’t have the correct response when someone says they’ve been to a funeral. So this is maybe part of my slightly higher than normal on the Autism scale score (I assume, never having taken such a test, but since I really hate touching people I bet I’m on it). I did not know I was supposed to reply to comments.

And I sort of suspected – cue more trouble-making – that the reason a lot of people comment is, not necessarily because blogging invites dialogue, but because they want to direct traffic to their own blog. I mean all that “thanks for stopping by my blog stuff”. People read or don’t read, as they like. Aren’t they really just thanking them so that unobservable “like” is noticed by the other party’s readership too?

Something else I never do but I wonder now if that’s part of my Social Media sociopathy is thank people for retweets. Again, it’s not a real thanks is it? It’s to get more people seeing you. And the whole FF and whatever the hell MT is. I haven’t bothered to find out what MT is because I am sure I’m not going to do whatever it is.

I guess I am not coming across quite nicely enough. That’s OK, I’m like this in real life too. You might like me if we met, you might not. I predict if you wear drawstring linen trousers often and say things like “everyone’s entitled to their own opinion”, you’ll be in the latter category. No problem; everyone’s entitled to their….just kidding. I’d never say that.

Actually, I blog because I like writing. That’s more or less it. I like that it’s public, it spurs me to write in the way a journal no longer has the power to do. If people want to comment or I want to comment on theirs, I’d rather it was because we all had something content-ful to say.Maybe it’s because, as a writer (damn I am comfortable with that now) I’m used to the fact that the vast majority of things I write will never be acknowledged or cared about by anyone other than me.

If you want every little thing you do to be noticed and praised, commented on and appreciated, make sure your mum’s on your mailing list.


12 comments on “The etiquette of blogging

  1. luanaaraceli
    January 31, 2013

    I agree one hundred percent with this. Blogging takes time and it takes effort; there’s no reason to reply to every person who responds to a post. Especially when it’s a simple “That was awesome.”

    I feel that when someone truly seeks a response to a comment, they will put in the time and effort into writing their own comment before expecting to see a response.

    If I write “That was awesome,” or “I loved this,” I’m not going to expect a reply. That doesn’t take me more than five seconds to write!

    On the other hand, if I write something that inspires being replied to, I’m secure in the knowledge that the person will reply to me.

    Blogging is social. It’s about connecting and getting that social platform that all aspiring authors/writers are expected to have in today’s industry.

    That being said, if someone doesn’t spend a decent amount of time crafting their response to my blog entries, why on earth would they expect me to give them any time in replying to their inane comments?

    I don’t think you have some sort of social ineptitude because you don’t want to reply to everyone’s responses or tweets. Why waste words on trivialities when you can spend them in better, more thought-provoking places?

    • Nicola
      February 1, 2013

      Especially when a comment is as long as the post! I honestly never even thought about whether someone replies to my comment regardless of the type of comment I made.So maybe I was exaggerating about having an autistic response..but the non touching is a sign right?!

      • luanaaraceli
        February 1, 2013

        Not really. There are people in my family who hate to be touched. There’s no real reason for it, they just don’t like the feel of other people’s skin on theirs. I know it bothers them, so I don’t try to hug them unless they initiate it because all of us have things we dislike.

        It’s the things that make us different that make us human, after all. 😛

  2. eflnotes
    January 31, 2013

    have you read this article ?

    possibly backs up your suspicion that commenting is a minority sport :O


    • Nicola
      February 1, 2013

      Ah yes….”But whether that value can be translated into a meaningful measure of the article and researcher performance remains an open question. The fact that comments come from such a tiny and likely non-representative minority of readers makes the challenge even greater.” Always nice to be backed up by articles with statistics in them!

  3. Tyson Seburn (@seburnt)
    February 1, 2013

    I appreciate your blogging about a conversation that is stunted by virtue of it being on Twitter. In part, I do think you’ve emphasised a part of my initial point that I didn’t intend to be emphasised: that a comment is required when not necessary, like on comments thanking you for it being a good post.

    My stronger lack of understanding actually stems from me making a worthwhile comment on the content of a post, which seemed prompted by the content of the post, only to have no reply to it (for whatever reason). A week, a few weeks, a month goes by and more comments, a mixture of simple thanks and meaty potential discussions, and no replies from the author. This, to me, seems incongruous with the point of posting in the first place. I’m aware now that this was not communicated well in my first tweet.

    I also didn’t intend to offend you with a remark about the number of replies your blog gets. I simply meant that, based on my own experience of blogging over the past several years, you probably also don’t get 50 comments on a post either, making it unlikely you’d need to spend that much time reply to each and every one.

    Comments on blogs are great; I love them to hear more opinions and get inspiration from those who read my posts than an RT provides. I wish they resulted in longer conversations than they do. Perhaps the lesson here is that blogs are a generally effective way to share ideas and get a bit of feedback, but ultimately not the ideal forum for extended dialogues.

    • Tyson Seburn (@seburnt)
      February 1, 2013

      Btw, I don’t think you’re a troublemaker. I hardly know you. In fact, I was elated that someone started a conversation about my tweet there. Perhaps I am the troublemaker in this case. 🙂

      • Nicola
        February 1, 2013

        Tongue in cheek, but Twitter does make tone impossible and sometimes I feel like I’m in an argument whereas in person it would just be banter!

    • Nicola
      February 1, 2013

      I wasn’t offended! I write for effect as much as anything else so I pick and choose what to emphasise.My blogging voice is like the one I had as a restaurant reviewer – a bit cocky. I agree with you essentially, a blog is like a magazine written by one person and not for extended conversations. However, I think as with many things in life, people sometimes don’t do things e.g. reply to a comment because they just miss it or simply can’t be arsed. And that’s fine. I hope I’m busy enough writing my own stuff that I don’t ever feel like I’m waiting for a reply to a comment 🙂

      • Tyson Seburn (@seburnt)
        February 1, 2013

        Yeah, perhaps I’m too conscientious with comments. I make a concerted effort because I know I appreciate replies when not an obvious end to the conversation (this comment, btw, does not require a reply. hahaha)

        Btw, I never consider anything discussed on Twitter (or really asynchronous platform) an argument: such an inefficient place for such a thing. I’m very easy going and just respond to what’s there.

      • Nicola
        February 1, 2013

        Yes but I just wanted to say that I love it that you replied to my reply to your reply to my reply on your comment on my post 🙂

  4. Licoricce Boom
    February 4, 2013

    Think up an automatic response that acknowledges the more mundane replies, and a couple of others that acknowledge the more thoughtful ones. Social media is an important marketing tool now and in using it, even simple bloggers (as opposed to businesses/entrepreneurs/fame seekers) are marketing themselves, whether they like it or not. You never know who you’re going to need!

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This entry was posted on January 31, 2013 by in Thoughts and tagged , , , .
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