Social Media Social Good: Is Commenting Dead?

Category: Social Media Social Good Series

Always plugged-in comic

I used to comment on various blogs ALL the time. It was an indispensible part of growing my Social Media presence. For a variety of reasons, my commenting has slowed down to a trickle. I still advocate the value of commenting in tweets, on #blogchat (where I’m a regular participant), my own #DadChat, and in columns and even when I speak at conferences. So, why have I slowed down so significantly?

Commenting cartoon

The answer is simple. The reason I began to comment is less relevant to my current goals and Social Media needs plus my schedule and day is busier than ever. That said, I still use and rely on for larger distribution – via Twitter – of my writing and do comment – right on Triberr, intermittently. And, whenever a friend sends me a blog or requests a comment, I comply with pleasure.

Why should YOU comment? Why did I comment so much at the advent of my Social Media life? Simply, I commented because it was instant gratification for the writer and me. Often, the writer would comment back after a few of my comments. This was a great way to connect with people I deemed “influential” and/or that I respected. I got more followers. I read good material and I enjoyed validating fellow writers. It was a classic win-win.

For a while I was dubbed The Comment King because I became almost obsessive about posted upwards of 25 comments a day – every day. Other bloggers liked my commenting and wondered how the heck I was able to do it so much. I liked to make pithy, witty, and otherwise good comments that validated the writing, but also offered a good and/or different point-of-view. It was part of my morning routine.

My morning Social Media routine has varied over the years but basically involves answering emails, checking my twitter stream, and commenting on good blogs, columns, posts. It’s been a daily ritual for years. On weekdays, it can take 1-2 hours to simply go through the emails, tweets, and Facebook posts that I do twice a day on my Page.

Why to comment

This routine has changed with the increasing frequency of my own posts, since I now post something new nearly every day. That, along with LIFE, has intruded in my time to comment. So, I no longer am The Comment King, by a long shot.

But, I suspect I’m not the only one that has reduced their commenting. I think everyone that is active in Social Media gets to a similar place as I’ve gotten to of incredible busy-ness, activity, and volume of work. Largely, I like the growth of my SoMe life and career but I do miss the reading and fun I used to have with my regular commenting.

Are there other reasons that commenting has diminished? I have no stats to support this belief but I just feel it – in my gut – that the numbers of comments people make have diminished in the past year or so.

Email Olympics

For newbies in SoMe, I still believe that commenting on relevant blogs in your niche, from people that are well-known and established in your particular specialty, will only pay off or you. It’s free, it’s educational, and it’s a no-lose proposition.

Heck, I hardly read books anymore because I don’t have the time. I watch some television but that activity is starkly reduced as well. I like being active and busy but I do miss some of what I learned from commenting (e.g. reading the variety of blogs I regularly used to read).

So, what do you think? Do you still comment as much as you may have earlier in your SoMe life?

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  • Jennifer G. Hanford

    I actually comment now more than I did earlier in my SoMe days. I was a very shy newbie and really wanted to sound intelligent before I started commenting. Now, I don’t care about sounding intelligent. Just kidding. ; ) As a blogger, I know how good it feels to get a comment – any comment! And I want to pay it forward. It feels good to reward another blogger since I understand how much it matters. I always like your posts, Bruce. They are always well-said and down-to-earth. This one was really awesome!

    • Bruce Sallan

      Well I’m grateful for YOU @jenniferghanford:disqus and I need to goose myself to do more myself!

  • Jon M

    I couldn’t resist commenting on a post about commenting! It is a time thing, although I try to comment each day on different blogs. Between a more than full-time job, managing my own blog site, and (most importantly) spending time with family, time gets crunched. When I comment, I read the most and try to offer something of value in return for what I gained.

    Commenting is a good practice, just need to squeeze it in! Jon

    • Bruce Sallan

      @JonMertz:disqus – obviously we agree Jon – it’s so ironic that all this tech has made our lives so much more hectic. Commenting was my BEST tool when I began and it’s just fallen victim to my increasingly hectic life!

  • Alli Polin

    My commenting goes in cycles but it doesn’t necessarily reflect reading less. I think Social Media has made me a little lazy as if a share, +1 or a Facebook like is a double thumbs up that I’ve read it, enjoyed it and agree it’s good stuff.

    • Bruce Sallan

      Me too @allipolin:disqus – but my cycle has been dormant lately – and I want to get it going again! I do think the thumbs up, likes, and +1 are the lazy ways to give validation but it’s better than nothing!

  • Dianne Velazquez-Hunt

    My commenting varies. If I really like what I read then I’ll comment and say why. Or I read a blog post that asks a question, like this blog post, and it’s relevant to me then I’ll comment. 🙂

    • Bruce Sallan

      I think that is likely the consensus @diannevelazquezhunt:disqus – that it varies among all of us, but I still think it may be a downward trend…I always try to ask a question at the end of a column, but you have to hope a reader gets THERE!

  • Renee Dobbs

    I don’t comment as much as I used to or would like to for the same reasons as you stated. There just are not enough hours in the day.

    • Bruce Sallan

      If only we could live without sleep, huh @reneedobbs:disqus

  • OneDay/LJCM

    I think I’m commenting a little less on blogs themselves mostly because
    there are so many different platforms. I find myself looking for that
    blog’s facebook or twitter page and leaving comments and feedback there rather than
    on the blogs, I do enjoy traditional commenting though and go back to
    it whenever possible.Time is definitely a factor. As others have said if there’s post that really helpful, interesting or funny then I’ll comment if an immediate response comes to mind. 🙂

    • Bruce Sallan

      @TheAL77:disqus It’s interesting that the comments on THIS post are so relevant and adding to the discussion…

  • Steve (JoeBugBuster) Case

    I admit that I have been commenting less than I used to, but not because I want to. I like commenting when I enjoy a blog; I’ve just gotten tired of fighting the commenting systems. Several ways to keep me from commenting on a blog:
    . Make me register on your site
    . Make me register on a commenting site

    . Make me sign-on using a Twitter, Facebook, or another social media account
    . Kaptcha. ‘Nuff said.

    • Bruce Sallan

      @9244be245818bdb91a780193449e095a:disqus – I fully agree about having to fight to comment as a total turn-off but have you reduced in general (as have I)?

      • Steve (JoeBugBuster) Case

        Perhaps I haven’t cut my total commenting Bruce. What I do have is a shorter fuse when I realize I won’t be able to comment. (I won’t spend much time figuring out *how* to comment.) In fact, I’ll be reluctant to read more posts at the same blog, knowing I won’t be able to comment.

        • Bruce Sallan

          @9244be245818bdb91a780193449e095a:disqus – WE are on the same page, Steve!

    • nathashaalvarez

      Totally agree!

  • Paul Wandason

    I wasn’t sure if this was a trick question – asking me to leave a comment about whether I comment! 😉
    Anyway…I like commenting on blogs because I like receiving them and I figure I may as well share the happiness, as it were. I only comment if I’ve read the article, and found it particularly good or thought provoking; commenting for the sake of it is not for me though.
    Commenting does take a lot of time though, and sometimes I do wonder whether I should concentrate my energies on writing my own posts instead!

    • Bruce Sallan

      @fromadaddy:disqus – I was just having fun asking for comments on this post. Commenting was an incredible “way in” for me when I began in Social Media. I “met” so many people by leaving funny and/or valuable comments. It was and still is “work” but I believe it’s worth the effort. Sadly, I’ve slacked of late and that is what made me wonder if it’s a bigger change of habit for many. Plus, we can “validate” with simpler clicks of a button – but that just isn’t the engagement of commenting, IMO…

  • Gail Gardner

    I love commenting and comments – but as everyone knows time limits how much we can do of either. Something else may be hurting comments in the CommentLuv blogosphere and that is the Penguin updates. Many are now afraid to link to their own sites for fear of being penalized for doing so. One former CL blogger I know will not link to anything in a comment any more because of Google.

    We don’t use CommentLuv for SEO reasons – we use it to find out more about each other and share what matters to us so that readers from the blogs where we comment will follow us back to our own blogs. I love CommentLuv, but Google is trying to kill it.

    As I look at your commenters since I know nothing about them the odds are good I won’t visit their blogs. If I knew they were related to something I care about, I would. THAT is why we use CommentLuv.

    • Bruce Sallan

      What does CommentLuv give you that Disqus or Lifefyre don’t @GrowMap:disqus ?

      • Gail Gardner

        They are almost totally separate communities with very little overlap. Go look in my blog if you’re not familiar with how CommentLuv differs from Disqus and Livefyre. I have mine set up to show me what is most important to you so I can immediately tell what you write about and what niche you’re in.

        • Bruce Sallan

          I like that Comment Luv shows the commenters recent postings AND gives the commenter the option of which is shown — that is cool!

          • Gail Gardner

            Free CommentLuv lets you choose one of your last ten posts. Premium lets you also choose from an additional five posts published any time that are most important to you. So if you want to go commenting you can swap those in.

            The premium version also encourages readers to share your content on G+, Facebook and Twitter. They can do all three.

            As I mentioned, an almost totally separate blogging community arises based on which you use with CommentLuv bloggers reading, sharing and commenting primarily without that community.

            Although I do sometimes comment on blogs using Disqus, Facebook, G+, or Intense Debate commenting systems, if I have to log into WP or can’t get logged into any of them I don’t comment. I almost never comment in a blog using Livefyre. And where I don’t comment I also very rarely share or read.

            I tell bloggers to give their decision serious thought because what commenting system you use greatly affects who reads, shares and comments in your content.

          • Bruce Sallan

            Thanks for sharing that excellent advice @GrowMap:disqus

          • Gail Gardner

            You’re welcome, Bruce. I don’t get to comment as much as I’d like, but I do pop in when a title is of particular interest. Many are now afraid to have a link to their site in their comments thanks to Penguin, but it does still work – unless you end up with an unnatural links penalty.

          • Bruce Sallan

            @GrowMap:disqus – you’ve now ventured way out of my “pay grade” with Penquin (I only know it as an animal and yogurt chain) and “unnatural links penalty?”

          • Gail Gardner

            Sorry, Bruce. There are two black and white creatures created by Google that are destroying the incomes of small businesses: Panda and Penguin. Actually more than one Penguin. They are penalties levied on businesses that take away their rankings and traffic. The most common reason is because a site has an “unnatural” links profile – usually too many of one kind of links and not enough of other kinds.

            For example, if a blogger commented a lot in other blogs, but their site never got any other kind of incoming links, they might lose some, most or all of their search engine traffic because their link profile was “unnatural” to the algorithm.

            That is but one reason why bloggers really need to form collaborations. By becoming aware of the other blogs in your niche and linking to them you help them to avoid penalties, rank better, have a higher Google PageRank and Moz Domain Authority and lower Alexa numbers.

            You can search on any or all of those things if you haven’t come across them before, or ask me. (Sorry for the delay – I don’t use Disqus all that often.)

            We’ve been running on parallel paths for a long time now. If you use Skype you could add me (username growmap) and I could find out if you want to join our Blogger Mastermind Skype group or get access to blogging resources and paid opportunities.

          • Bruce Sallan

            @GrowMap:disqus – I’ve added you, but I’m lost with these comments?

          • Gail Gardner

            I sent you a message on Skype. Thanks for connecting.

          • Patrick

            Wait a second, why do you “almost never” comment on a blog using Livefyre? Why discriminate against those of us who use Livefyre? My blog, for example, allows you to comment as a guest, but utilizes Livefyre as the mechanism to display that comment. So I’m curious to know what the issue is with Livefyre specifically.

          • Bruce Sallan

            No, you misunderstood – I think Livefyre is great – as is CommentLuv and Disqus – most of the others I haven’t liked or ANY that make me go through hoops to get my comment posted via sign-ups or links that don’t work!

          • Gail Gardner

            Patrick meant me; I commented that I avoid Livefyre blogs. I don’t stay on top of my Intense Debate or Disqus comments the way I could if I weren’t so busy, but I usually leave without reading, sharing or commenting if a blogger uses Livefyre.

          • Patrick

            Gail, with all due respect, it’s a little hard for me to accept your assurances that you mean “nothing against me or my site” when you also say that you feel Livefyre attracts people who are “self-centered” and that you usually leave without even sharing the content of a blog just because it happens to use Livefyre.

            If content is good, the comment system shouldn’t stop you from even SHARING it. That, frankly, is absurd.

            As for how “self-centered” I am, I made sure that Livefyre on my site is configured so that no login is required: people can leave a comment as a guest without any additional work. I don’t require that a comment be held in moderation like many other bloggers do because I’d rather allow “live” conversation to take place among my readers (even if I’m not in front of the keyboard) as practically as possible. I regularly check my Livefyre administration panel to make sure that no legitimate comments have fallen through the cracks.

            Also, I use a function within Livefyre that posts a follow-back link to fellow users much the way CommentLuv does as well as a widget that promotes my top commenters of the month. Both of these steps are done to further encourage my visitors to patronize the blogs of those kind enough to leave a comment on my blog.

            I am all about building community. I don’t choose to discriminate against people because of the comment system they use. I choose, instead, to keep in mind that not everyone has overwhelming success with every comment system. I’ve had issues with several of them, in fact, but had the fewest problems — and by far the BEST customer support — from Livefyre.

            If I visited your non-Livefyre site and found enjoyable content, the LAST thing I’d do is choose to “punish” you by refusing to share it on my social networks just because you used a different comment system.

            To me, that would be “self-centered” on MY part.

          • Bruce Sallan

            @Patricksplace:disqus – we so feel the same about moderation Patrick…that is about the only thing that turns me off with a commenting system! Also, as I know you do, I’m checking my comments very regularly and try hard to reply to every one. Sadly, I don’t comment as much as I used to and miss it. But, the flip side of that is that I’m busy in a great way!

          • Patrick

            I can thoroughly understand being busy. I think these days we all are for one reason or another. I can’t understand refusing to even share content by other bloggers based on what comment system they choose, especially when so few people actually take the time to comment after reading, anyway.

          • Bruce Sallan

            @Patricksplace:disqus – I have chosen not to get in the middle of your “debate” with Gail. I don’t think a comment system is reason to judge someone but a bad experience can certainly taint someone towards something…

          • Patrick

            No worries…I don’t expect you to, Bruce. For the record, I quite agree with you that a bad experience can tarnish someone’s opinion of a particular service. I can certainly understand that.

            What I can’t fathom is the level at which someone’s dislike of a comment system based on one bad experience turns into a systematic rejection of any blog that happens to employ it to the point that one refuses to even share its content or the assumption that people who uses it must be “self-centered”.

            There’s not one blog I read BECAUSE it uses Livefyre. There’s not one blog I’d refuse to share a link to BECAUSE it uses something else.

          • Gail Gardner

            Hi Bruce,

            I didn’t mean to ignore your reply – I just don’t see Disqus comments very often. I assure you I wasn’t punishing you or your blog – I don’t recall ever seeing it before. That certainly isn’t because of the quality or content.

            Most likely it is because our blogging communities don’t overlap. That’s why I advise bloggers to evaluate carefully before deciding which commenting system they will use – because that decides who your audience is. It isn’t that I’ve avoided your site. There just isn’t as much chance I’ll see it.

            It sounds like you’ve done everything you can to make your Livefyre welcoming to commenters. The thing is you are building a community within Livefyre while I am building a community across the CommentLuv community. They rarely overlap.

          • Gail Gardner

            Livefyre censored what I tried to share, so commenting may be a waste of time since I don’t know what they will post and what they will block. Nothing against you or your site.

            The other reason is that Livefyre attracts more people who are self-centered versus CommentLuv which attracts those who support each other’s efforts.

            I encourage bloggers to research and then think hard when deciding which commenting system to use because what they use determines who reads their blogs and comments. Where I don’t comment, I don’t read or share either.

          • Bruce Sallan

            @GrowMap:disqus – my website uses Disqus so I don’t know what the problem was?

  • Joyce Mason

    I’ve seen comments on my blogs trickle to almost nothing but my Facebook interactions are increasing. I like comments, myself, because they’re an ongoing part of the blog history… sort of a scrapbook of the posts and people’s interactions. Twitter and FB feeds are always moving and they aren’t as easy to go back to as a comment directly on a blog. So true, they do encourage the author. Glad to discover you and your blog through a link in a Tweet.

    • Bruce Sallan

      @5494e8dcd303cb2ebfe13cb0c2667744:disqus – You are confirming a consensus that commenting hasn’t really slowed down but has shifted to other means – with thumbs up, likes, and other such things begin so much easier. I still prefer the interaction. Look at us – you came here, you commented, you sent me an email, and we engaged!

  • Sandy

    For me.. it’s a time thing. Working long hours, even though it’s a social media job – commenting isn’t one of my priorities in my personal social media life. I also get frustrated when I do go to comment, and for whatever reason… their comment plug-in is a pain to use – or I have to in put too much info. Of course.. those are just excuses. 🙂 Yes.. I need to get better at it again.

    • Bruce Sallan

      The pain-in-the-a** part of commenting that you refer to inhibits EVERYONE from doing it – when the commenting system requires too much effort @288426f22502d36316e2c6e006b16989:disqus – we agree!

  • nathashaalvarez

    Reasons why I don’t comment:
    1. The post has nothing interesting or original.
    2. The writing is so horrible that I get distracted.
    3. Commenting is too difficult. I shouldn’t want to give my life away to make a comment.
    4. I’ve seen the way the writer does or doesn’t respond to those who comment.
    That’s why I don’t comment.

    • Bruce Sallan

      Well, I’d better respond @nathashaalvarez:disqus – and I agree with you completely. If a column doesn’t grab me in the first couple of paragraphs, I tend not to finish it.

      • nathashaalvarez

        You did a great job! @brucesallan:disqus

  • netster


    I have slow down my commenting


    I like commenting, like what I just did. Playful and looks silly at time. I comment when I have time. However, maybe it is because the writer of the blog are a bit serious… It didn’t invite playful commenter like me hahahaha who want a silly comment on their blog? *Wink wink*

    Anyway, another area blogger need to take note is that your commenting system has to adapt the current web design we call “responsive”. Most of us are on mobile and a responsive design blog certainly make commenter feel at home 🙂


    • Bruce Sallan

      You are SO correct @netster:disqus – and you can ALWAYS be playful with me!

  • Patrick

    I’m commenting more now because I’ve made it a point to make an effort to comment. It’s hard to sit back and complain about not receiving “enough” comments when I’m barely leaving any myself.

    I love all interaction, naturally, even if it’s only on Twitter or Facebook. But part of me, honestly, DOES wish people would comment ON the blog: but it’s only a partly-selfish reason.

    Yes, comments on the blog means metrics like “time spent on the page” go up. But it also boosts the level of conversation so that OTHER readers have the chance to hear more points of view and have a better experience themselves.

    So I try to comment ON blogs rather than on various social media platforms. If I’m really taken with a post, I may comment on social media AS WELL. But I always try to comment on the person’s actual blog first.

    Am I placing too much importance on that? I don’t think that I am, but I’m open to hearing arguments to the contrary.

    • Bruce Sallan

      I’m totally with you @Patricksplace:disqus – you are NOT putting too much importance on it – for me, it’s just a time management issue rather than desire/interest. And, I’ve gotten out of the habit!

  • Charity Kountz

    I find that commenting varies for me. If I have available time, I comment more but if my time is limited I comment less, in fact I read less. The challenge I see is there’s so many blogs, so many voices that it’s hard to narrow it down and avoid being overwhelmed. When bloggers post daily, I generally don’t find myself commenting right away. My online reading time is generally reserved for evenings and weekends and only if a subject or title catches my attention. So there’s a complex decision making process that occurs, and for each individual that is unique. Impossible to predict. Hence why bloggers have to decide the best strategies for themselves as bloggers, otherwise they’ll go crazy trying to meet the assumed needs for a moving target.

    • Bruce Sallan

      @charitykountz:disqus – very well put, Charity! Thx for commenting!

  • David Weber

    Although I don’t frequent too many blogs — indeed, in terms of FREQUENTING online writings, Bruce’s (blog posts, articles, columns, etc.) are the only ones I do keep up with. I attempt to leave a comment, even a brief one, on each item he publishes on line.

    I do visit certain blogs and websites but don’t usually comment…very seldom comment. One reason is that it would be more for my own enjoyment — i.e., it’s fun to express yourself — and much less because I think anyone is going to read and comment on my comments. Sometimes that happens, but usually not … it seems to me that most comments get commented on only by the host/curator of the blog/website. That’s something, I guess.

    Bruce is good about commenting on comments and doing so is apparently a must-do netiquette thing for bloggers and such like.

    The main reason I don’t comment, though, is because of the log-in task that more and more must be done. It is time-consuming. I have a facebook account and a gmail account and can log in via those SOMETIMES…but I don’t like to use Fbook as a log-in platform, because I just don’t like or trust facebook at so many levels. Gmail account is OK, but not necessarily one that is available at every blog I visit. Ditto some of the other login approaches…if I am not a subscriber to any of the portals in the first place, I can’t log in to comment and so don’t comment.

    • Bruce Sallan

      NO ONE comments as much or as well as you do – on my material – @disqus_IeGo6Zakqo:disqus!