Friday, August 1, 2014

Behind the Scenes: On Commenting & Social Media


Last July, I kicked off a brand new Friday mini-series called Behind the Scenes. I've only been blogging for 3 (!!!) years, but I figured it might be fun to share a little bit with readers how I do things around here. This is, of course, in no way meant to be a post telling you the right or wrong way to do stuff! It's simply an attempt to share the blogging process that works best for me. 

Today, in honor of the start of National Friendship Month, we'll be moving on to one of the more social aspects of the blog: commenting & social media interaction.

On Commenting

There have been plenty of times when I thought about writing about commenting, like when Judith claimed she was bad at commenting or when Hannah talked about her commenting habits. So this post has definitely been a long time in the making! Let's bear in mind, however, that this is just what works best for me, and by no means is it the end all, be all of how commenting will go for you.

First of all, I'm sure I don't have to stress how wonderful & important commenting can be in fostering a sense of community. I seriously adore getting comments, and do read every single one of them! It helps me feel like I'm less alone, and it also introduces me to more people who feel the same way I do about things in my posts. Commenting is a great way to form relationships with other bloggers! It's like opening a conversation with someone, really.

(1) "It's all about YOU."

The "YOU" I refer to in this sentence is, if it isn't obvious, not me, but all the other blogs I visit and leave comments on. The one thing I'd like to stress right now is that, personally, I feel like it's more important to me to reach out and comment on the blogs. This is applicable whether it's something that pops up in my reader, a link a friend sends me or something I come across on Twitter or other sites. However I wind up finding your post, I like to go out of my way to leave a comment when I can.

(2) "It's the thought that counts."

However, there is one standard I hold to when I'm hopping from blog post to blog post in a reading frenzy. I like leaving comments... but only if I have something substantial to say about or in response to a post! I generally try to put some real thought and personality behind my comments. I think it's quality versus quantity when it comes to comments. Tip? Try to talk about the points in the post that really stood out to you!

[Note: Most of the time, my comments tend to lean towards the positive, complete with utter enthusiasm! However, when I do disagree with something or feel differently, I endeavor to be respectful and participate in true dialogue with the blogger. Tip? Even if you don't feel the same way about something, always, always, always be polite and respectful.]

(3) "Work with what {time} you've got."

I'm working with the assumption that majority of us bloggers also lead real lives that are entirely separate from our blogging lives. We have obligations to meet, jobs to attend to, friends and family to spend time with, and so on. Plus, there are just those days when you need a break from everything virtual to fully immerse yourself in reality! 

So, how do you decide how often to comment, you might ask? I wish I could give you a concrete answer, but the truth is, I usually comment when (a) I have free time and (b) I feel so inclined. The best, most sincere comments surface when I'm in the mood to be commenting, so I feel like it's a good thing that I wait till then and do what I do with my reviews (which is just do everything in bulk). 

If it works for you to comment on a daily basis, hurrah! If it works for you to be like me and do it whenever you can or when you feel like it, then hurrah too! All it boils down to is that everyone's schedules are different, so you should feel free to decide when you can comment.

(4) "What should I comment on?"

Obviously, the one thing that determines how many comments you leave or how often you do it is the content you choose to leave comments on. Personally, I just go through all the blogs earmarked on my Feedly account and try to leave as many comments as I can (which often results in me {lovingly} comment bombing the blogs I follow). But I do have a system of sorts that I use, and I thought I'd share it today.

It's simple - I have three folders on Feedly for book blogs: Favorites, Good, and Test Run. I usually prioritize going through my Favorites folder, and comment on just about every single post in it. Then, if I have more time, I'll go through the Good folder. While I don't necessarily comment on every single post in this folder, I'll often do at least 2/3. And then, for the Test Run folder, they are usually blogs I'm trying out. If I feel like I consistently enjoy their posts, I'll move them to one of the other folders; if not, they get weeded out.

[Confession: I usually skip meme posts, as well as reviews of sequels of series I haven't started and in genres that I'm not normally interested in.]

[Note: I also want to make this clear. Even if I don't follow someone on Feedly, I might see that they did an interesting post on Twitter. This often results in me hopping over and randomly commenting on that post. So Twitter is a good way to get some attention for your posts!]

(5) "No strings attached."

I'm personally of the opinion that commenting is not an obligation. You're not required to comment on a blog regularly, or at all. You're also not required to comment back on your blog, though that's a great practice, especially if you get questions a lot. There are no rules to this commenting thing, honestly, except perhaps to be respectful and authentic.

While it may not be a rule, but it's certainly a good habit to have. When you leave a comment, you give the blogger who receives it the opportunity to get to know YOU, your tastes and your opinions. When a blogger knows you're interested, they'll also be more inclined to check out your blog (or Twitter). It's just a fun way to spread the sense of camaraderie and open the door to new relationships!

On Social Media

I figured that including social media in this post would make sense. It's another way that you can form relationships and talk to other like-minded individuals, and I've found that I've made many of my best friends in the world through the use of various social media sites. While I'll be highlighting the two sites I use most often, I'll also include my thoughts on the other ones I use.

(1) Twitter

Hands down, Twitter is definitely the form of social media I use the most! It's the easiest way to express my thoughts briefly, as well as have rapid-fire, real time conversations with friends all over the world. Twitter is a source of entertainment, inspiration, comfort, reflection, fangirling and news to me, and I love that I can get it all in one little timeline.

Here are a few tips:
  • Make use of the lists feature! I am seriously in love with the fact that I can group the people I follow into different categories. Whether you make your list public or private, doing this ensures you don't miss tweets from your favorites.
  • Favorites are useful too! I often use favorites to keep track of links I want to check out later. It's also helpful for keeping track of witty comments, as well as contest entries for Twitter giveaways.
  • Be respectful! As with commenting, there's nothing more important than being respectful. If you're going to jump into a conversation, make sure you do so in a way that's respectful and appropriate. If you're going to comment on something that's happening (like news or community situations), please be tactful and cautious about what you choose to say. 
  • Let your personality shine. Don't forget to be as authentically YOU as you can manage. People who follow you form an impression of you based on your tweets (seriously!), so what you say and how you say it will definitely affect that. 
  • Some conversations are meant for your eyes only. There are just certain things you don't really have to discuss on Twitter, and I'd highly recommend recognizing when something is sensitive or requires more privacy. 
(2) Instagram

I'm no photographer. But I delight in sharing snapshots of my life (and current reads) (and old photos) via that nifty little thing called Instagram! It's definitely honed my photo skills a bit, as well as helped me a bit pickier about how I choose to present things. Plus, I get visual updates of my friends' lives too, and can comment on them (again starting a conversation!). With Instagram, two of the tips above are applicable: be respectful & let your personality shine! 

(3) Tumblr

Tumblr is mostly where I share visual things, like pretty book covers, photos & quotes. I most often use it for cover reveals I want to do, as a place to share Instagram photos and to reblog the prettiness I find on there. It's a great place to fan the flames of your fandoms, as there is just so much material to look at! (For instance, if you type Throne of Glass in the search, you'll find some amazing stuff!)

(4) Pinterest

Pinterest is something I use mostly for myself, where I keep track of inspirational images, recipes I want to try, fashion I want to imitate or DIY that I want to do. I think it's great for aspiring writers, as it's fun to gather all your inspiration from the Internet in one place. I also use it to share some of my 5 star reviews, and my personal blog posts!

(5) Facebook

I use my Facebook page as a method of updating the people who follow me there (via their feeds) what's happening on the blog at the moment! I honestly don't make too much use of this page, so I'd be curious to hear how/if you think this is still something that's necessary to keep. If you have suggestions, please, please, please enlighten me with your wisdom!

Alright, there you have it! Those were my thoughts on commenting and social media, as well as how I choose to handle them both. It really boils down to the fact that I enjoy the connection it affords me with other members of the book blogging community - bloggers, authors, publishers and more - and the way that we can have conversations.

Hope you enjoyed taking a peek "behind the scenes"!
Come back next week as we'll be talking blog collaborations!

8 comments:

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    ReplyDelete
  2. Alexis, you have always been such a delightful commenter! I always appreciate it when you stop by my blog because I know I'm going to get sincere, thoughtful feedback from you. I admire that so much!! As for social media when it comes to my blog I use twitter and instagram (though I do have a facebook page -- I always forget about it, oops). I like to converse with others, so twitter is a great platform for that. Instagram is a lot of fun, too.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm really loving this feature! I'm going to be honest: I am the WORST at commenting. I read a ton of posts, mostly on my phone but rarely leave comments. I'm trying to be better at it but it's not going to well. I absolutely love Twitter but I am the worst at that as well; my social anxiety (well, my anxiety in general) really make me uncomfortable tweeting which is really weird.

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  4. I also use a system between favorite blogs/good blogs and the ones I want to test out. I use Bloglovin' for favorite + good and Feedly for the blogs I'm testing. I think everyone should try out different things when it comes to commenting. Some people like to comment a lot on one day when others might benefit from commenting throughout the week. There is no 'right' or 'wrong' system. And I used to feel the pressure that I HAD to return a comment, but I've managed to let go of that feeling. It would be too much otherwise.

    Mel@thedailyprophecy

    ReplyDelete
  5. "It's the thought that counts" YESSSSS!!!! I try to leave comments on all the videos I watch and posts I read. However, I only read/watch things that interest me. Sometimes on meme posts it's really obvious that a person is only commenting because they want you to check out their blog whether its "hey, I followed you. follow me back?" or something just brief and really generic like "great post!"

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh! Forgot to mention this in my last comment :) Separating your favorites from test run blogs is so brilliant. I need to start doing that in bloglovin'. Sometimes I subscribe to someone as a test run, but because I have all the logs jumbled together, I forget to pay attention to who wrote the posts I just mark as read because they don't look that great. Thanks for the tip!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I've been really enjoying this feature! I have always liked seeing what goes on "behind the scenes" with different bloggers.


    I often struggle with commenting. It's usually the last thing on my to-do list after real-life priorities {school, extracurriculars, family, friends, and the like}, writing blog posts, and maintaining my site. However, I love reading many great blogs, so when I have the time, I try to comment on the posts that I really like or stood out to me for some reason.


    I love that you mention the "no strings attached" policy. Everyone's different, so going in with no expectations works out better in the end!


    Lovely post! I'm excited to see what you have to say on blog collaborations.


    Bella @ Ciao Bella
    chicandpetite.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. I do appreciate your no strings attached sentiment. So often I find myself starting down a rabbit hole of guilt feeling like I haven't been commenting enough or tracking who comments on my blog to comment back on theirs and that just makes me want to throw up my hands and not comment at all from the stress! I have to keep reminding myself that even just a few comments a day is better than I do other days and that's okay since it is all I can manage currently ;)

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)

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