4 October 2010

Is leaving a comment just BSP?

Technorati's State of the Blogosphere in 2010 survey raised among other things the topic of why "we" blog, what we enjoy about blogging, and suggested that one of the enjoyable things was getting comments from other bloggers.

Zen Leaf wrote a Sunday Salon post about what someone said to her about leaving comments and I've been watching the vibrant conversation there, after throwing my own comment into the ring (of course). The gist of the original statement made to her was that commenting is a form of self-advertising.

When I talk to people just starting out on blogging, I do suggest that one of the ways to bring your blog to the notice of others is to begin leaving comments on their blogs. So I guess in that sense it is advertising, BSP, or whatever you like to call it. For me, commenting in this way has been the beginning of good cyber-friendships.  Here's a post (where the image comes from actually) that has some sensible things to say about commenting being an important part of social networking.

The other thing that I suggest people do is reply to the comments that others leave. I do believe that blogging can be the beginnings of a conversation. Sadly, despite my own belief in the practice, I don't always get around to doing it.

I monitor well over 100 blogs through my RSS reader and through Blogs I'm watching, and through Crime and mystery fiction on FriendFeed and I don't always get around to leaving comments on people's blogs.
But I know how much I enjoy comments, and the conversations that can flow, not just between me and the commenter,but between fellow commenters. This blog post talks about the role of commenting in building relationships.

One of the things I hate are spam comments - you know the sort I mean - the ones that make you put commenting into moderation from time to time until the "person" gets tired of visiting. But I certainly don't object to friends who leave comments that just indicate they've read and enjoyed (or hated) the post. BTW you don't always have to agree with me.

So what is your attitude to comments and commenting? What practices do you recommend?

BSP="blatant self promotion"


Marg said...

You know I have never thought of comments as BSP and I kind of find it astonishing that people do.

Sure there are certain types of comments that are - those where they clearly haven't read the content of the post and just leave a link to their own blog with generic nice post type of comment.

For the most part though comments are a way of interacting with the original poster, a way of getting to know new people who you otherwise not find in the huge blogosphere and a way of promoting a discussion.

Of course, I might have to leave a link to my blog now in the interest of BSP for my own blog! ;-p

Gary Corby said...

I've found the incidence of BSP in blog comments to be so rare that it hasn't been a problem. There are often some great conversations in comments so perhaps it's drowned out.

What's more of an issue are human spammers and spambots who leave those generic comments followed by a link to their favourite fake meds site. Those I delete at once.

Amanda said...

Thanks for advertising my blog post for me. ;P

In all seriousness, though, I do agree commenting is the best way to grow readership, but to me that's because it's the best way to grow friendships, not because it's the best way to advertise.

Anonymous said...

Kerrie - I've never thought of leaving a comment as BSP. I think of comments as a way to get a discussion going, or participate in one. I admit that I don't always leave as many comments as I would like to, either. It's very hard to keep up with all of the blogs out there. Also, there are times when my response would be a simple agreement or head nod; when I don't feel I have anything productive to add to a discussion, I try to keep my cyber-mouth shut. But I do very much enjoy the comment process, and I am always flattered when people leave comments at my blog.

Sean Wright said...

I have come across BSP on book blogs only in relation to memes. People read your meme post then post a link to theirs. It doesn't bother me that much.

I like to engage with blog writers an get involved with comment threads that are interesting.

At other times I like to just drop in and say hi, let the author know that at least one of their unique visits isn't a google bot.

Gary Corby said...

I'm totally with Amanda on the value of comments.

At the risk of sounding like BSP, I started my blog as an overflow for book research. I thought maybe four people would read it.

To my surprise this terrific little community grew up all on its own, people interested in ancient history, and now there are a couple of hundred people who drop in from time to time. Often the comments are a whole lot more interesting than my posts. A few of the comments have saved me from errors in my books!

Anonymous said...

I, too, never thought of comments as a form of BSP. Now maybe if I said something like "come to see me at....", but I mean my comments to be conversation. Or affirmation that I read what you had to say and agree or have a question. I don't comment on every post I read, but I do go through periods where I chime in frequently.

Kerrie said...

I sometimes do leave links in a comment too - particularly if I want to direct someone to somthing specific like the Agatha Christie Reading Carnival - but some times MiP too. I guess that is advertising but I've never really thought of it that way.

I like the comments that point me to something else to check too. And I like seeing new faces come up.

Vanda Symon said...

I like to comment, if I've got something useful or relevant to say. I love reading other people's comments and enjoy the discussions that come about. On of my writery friends nailed it quite nicely by saying blogging and commenting was like water cooler chat, an often very international one.

Bernadette said...

I certainly don't leave comments as a form of BSP - if I have something to say I'll comment and occasionally leave a link but that is very rare - otherwise it's just to let the blogger know I'm interested in what they had to say.

I come across blatant BSP (generic comment with a link) but only occasionally and I just ignore them - I think most people work out fairly quickly that it's not really good promotion if their comments don't add some kind of value to the discussion.

Jose Ignacio Escribano said...

Never thought comments are a form of BSP. It's just another mean of comunication. As such it can be used for BSP as any another comunication tool, but that's a different issue, I think.

Margaret @ BooksPlease said...

I only comment if I have something to say about the post but I've seen many comments that are just obviously BSP and they annoy me.

The thing I find a bit difficult is responding to comments people have made on my blog - sometimes I don't do it when I should.

My spam catcher is quite good (fingers crossed it stays that way) and in any case I have to approve a post if the person hasn't commented before, so very little spam gets through. Some of it is quite amusing - in broken English etc.

I like reading comments (when they're relevant) and often link through to other blogs - so it is a form of self-promotion, and is useful, because I've found interesting blogs that way.

Maxine Clarke said...

I like it when people comment to a post, particularly if they show they have read it ;-). I like the conversations in comments. I hate the form of BSP you sometimes see in comments when someone has a hard-wired "signoff" advertising their blog or publication, often going on several lines. They write a short comment and then you have to scroll past five or six lines of "self advert" before you can reply.

If you are commenting at a post, in my view, you are joining the discussion of the post, not advertising yourself (which you can do subtly if you like via your name being a live link to your site or blog).


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