Are Comments Dead?

One of my favorite bloggers, Mara, wrote a great post yesterday expressing some frustration she’s feeling as a blogger lately. She feels like she is writing into the black abyss — or posting for the sake of posting — and I can definitely relate to both of those sentiments, especially the first one (and, a couple years ago, could have better related to the second one).

While my readership has remained steady and I produce content 3-5 times a week, comments have been next to none the past few months … and I think I know what is behind this shift.

My take? Feeds and mobile phones have changed how loyal blog readers feel about commenting. When I began reading blogs, I went to individual sites and commenting was easy. But today, I read something on a mobile device via an app like Feeddler or on my desktop via Google Reader (soon to be extinct) … and it’s a royal PITA to get to the comments section. You have to go to the blog’s site, scroll down, and then type in a bunch of data to write a simple comment … So I don’t say anything on 99% of blog posts I read, and it takes a really special post to get me to go to the trouble of commenting on a blog.

Whereas the comment section used to be where conversations took place on my blog, it’s not the case anymore. There is no conversation lately, save for the back and forth I might have with a commenter. I don’t have a lot of photos or graphics on my blog, so it’s unlikely someone would go to my main site to “see more.”

Of course, on some of the bigger blogs I read, there is no shortage of comments. So you might say my theory isn’t accurate. But I think for smaller, less-known blogs, comments probably are down. And I think the big blogs will always have comments. These bloggers post content that tends to be photo-heavy, advertisement-heavy … and, as a result, they tend to have good traffic. If you’re reading these blogs on a mobile device, you might be more inclined to click to the main site than on a simplistic blog like mine. I personally still don’t generally comment even on the bigger blogs … but I definitely haven’t noticed a downward trend in commenting on those blogs.

It’s funny. I’ve never written for the sake of comments/feedback … but from the beginning, I had hoped to cultivate a community here in the blogosphere. When my focus changed from disordered eating to motherhood and body image, naturally, that changed the composition of my readership. I understood this would happen, and I’ve accepted that — because of this — sometimes I am just writing into the vast interwebs jammed with content.

I’m not the niche blogger I was before, and that means I’ve changed what I post about: motherhood, Maya, raising a toddler, body image, fitness, food, weight, pregnancy … I am no longer pigeon-holed by disordered eating, yet I am still deeply tied to that period of my life because it did help define me. I haven’t forgotten those roots and do try to tie as much as I can back to it because I know that not everyone who reads my blog is as excited about potty-training, for example, as they might have been about supporting me during a relapse years ago.

And through the years, I’ve often been surprised by which posts get the most comments and interaction. It’s not usually the posts I am SURE people will relate to. With those, I tend to hear crickets. It’s the random post that attracts attention and comments. In spite of this, I write. Because, like Mara, I enjoy blogging. And while all my posts won’t resonate with all my readers,  hopefully someone will be able to relate … even if they don’t express it in the comments section of the blog.

I don’t think comments overall are dead … but I have definitely seen a downward decline in them the past year or so and don’t see the scale tipping in my favor anytime soon — especially as more and more readers consume content via mobile devices and feeds.

How about you? Have you noticed your commenting on blogs (yours or others) dying down? Do you tend to comment on bigger blogs more often than smaller blogs?

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6 thoughts on “Are Comments Dead?

  1. I have to comment because the saddest thing ever would be a blog post about lack of comments that, well, lacked comments, right? lol

    I have noticed this in blogs that I read, even amongst so-called “popular” or “big” bloggers. It makes me sad, but I think people find it easier (due to mobile devices) to respond to bloggers on FB or Twitter. For me, fewer comments on smaller blogs make me feel self-conscious about the responses I want to leave. I feel more secure being one among some, rather than alone. Weird, maybe?

  2. I have noticed a huge drop in comments as well. If I do get comments, it’s from the same two or three people. I’m not sure what is causing it, but I try not to worry about it too much.

  3. I rarely comment because I do read my blogs on my phone (feedly or google reader) and it is a huge PITA to leave a comment. I don’t even read blogs that make me leave the feedly list to visit the real site unless the beginning of the post is incredibly interesting. I read your blog pretty faithfully, though sometimes I get way behind in my feed and miss some entries, but I wouldn’t comment unless I thought I had something earth-shattering to say.

  4. You’re absolutely right and I feel so bad about it as well. I love the blogs I read and want to leave positive feedback/start a conversation, etc, but it seems to take so much more effort to do so now that I tend to read them on the go.

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