My Scandalous Love/Hate Relationship With Comments

Photo credit: BenHeine/Deviantart

Photo credit: BenHeine/Deviantart

 Social media comments bring out the good, the bad and the confusing in people – how do you deal with it?

As a blogger and social media enthusiast, I covet comments for various reasons. To me, they prove that you’re relevant. Plus, comments on your blog also prove to search engines that you’re relevant. But it’s not all sunshine and unicorn farts when it comes to comments. I’m what my mum calls “thin-skinned,” which means that when people say something nasty about me or my writing, I take it personally. And online, you’re exposed and vulnerable – to catty comments, cruel barbs and heartless trolls.

The past few weeks I have had a crash course in comments – good, bad and confusing. Of course, my ego would love if all of the comments were glowing reviews, but there aren’t a bunch of Amy clones reading my posts and updates. So I’d like to share my experience with comments on blog posts and social media updates, how it has affected me and what I’ve learned.

The Good

I have to admit that I thought the pinnacle of comment success was raving fans that sung your praises and left comments about how brilliant you are on everything you posted on the Internet. I always smile when a stranger tells me that they like and appreciate what I’ve posted. But I’ve also learned that advice and other points of views are just as good and much more valuable than a virtual pat on the back. Let me use a recent example. I wrote an article on Pinterest Articles and wondered when this feature would be available for bloggers to use. I posted this link to Google+ and a smart cookie by the name of Adrian Jock told me it was available right now, via Rich Pins. He posted a link to an article he wrote that explained the steps of adding Rich Pins. And 30 minutes later, I had it all set up. So even though he didn’t tell me how awesome my article was Adrian helped to make my posts more shareable. On top of that, I can now pass this information along to clients. Thanks Adrian – you made my day and made me a better social media manager.

The Bad

I love a good debate. When someone disagrees with something I’ve written and has an opposite point of view, I welcome a lively debate on the subject in question. It’s a great way to generate interest on posts and updates, and get others chiming in with their thoughts. What I can’t stand is when someone is so sure that they are right and not only are you wrong, but you’re also a lumbering idiot without a clue. I get that they are passionate about what they believe in – I can respect that. What I don’t get is how they think an abusive or rude comment is going to get me to change my opinion. I think that these types of comments do nothing to further the conversation and add no value to posts or updates. I have started implementing a policy where I will post that all opinions are welcome, but abusive comments will not be tolerated. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. And when it doesn’t and the nastiness continues, I have no problems deleting these posts. Go spout your rage somewhere else – nasty people suck.

The Confusing

I’ve touched upon the passionate people whose opinions differ greatly from yours. These comments aren’t nasty – they are strong and firmly believed. No matter what proof you offer up to support your argument, they won’t bend or give an inch. You could rally all day long, drawing out the debate for days or weeks. So my question is: How long to you let this tennis game go on for? You don’t want to give up, especially if you’re passionate about your stance on the subject. Can you just drop it and let it go? Does not answering a comment signal defeat? If you have enough followers, do you hope that others will take up the cause and argue the case for you? When is enough, enough? I struggle with this conundrum the longest. I have other work I need to get to and can’t spend hours trading comments back and forth. I’ve come to solution that works for me. I respond to a certain comment string twice a day. This is a bit of a challenge for me, because I’m the type of person who stews about responses. I want to be heard and understood – just like the people who took time out of their day to comment on my posts.

I would love to hear how you responded to good, bad and confusing comments. Now that I believe that sharing ideas and knowledge is a gift and not an attack on my skill set, please lay it on me! Leave your tips and experiences so we can all pick up something new and apply it on our social media posts and updates.

Comments

  1. says

    Hi Amy,

    Thank you very much for the mention :)

    Let’s get to work… If we pretend that I don’t know who wrote this article and you ask me whether it’s a female or a male, I will definitely tell you that the author is a female. Author’s approach and feelings are not unknown to me. I’ve noticed that many women think alike. Is there something wrong? Of course not. The point is that women and men are different, structurally different. And that’s why in similar situations they think differently. Then inside of both “groups” there are many variations… John and Peter are very different and so are Mary and Amy… We are so different… I guess no one sees my point yet, be patient…

    In most of the cases, there’s no straight answer to an issue. Real life isn’t black and white. Even in simple situations the obvious answer isn’t always the only answer. An example? Math problem: 1+1. What’s your answer? 2, right? What if I think different? (“Let’s impress this lady, my answer is 10″) And that’s the source of many debates. “A” has an opinion and “B” has another one.

    And now here’s my surprise… in many cases no one is wrong despite of the fact that one says yes and the other one says no. What they don’t actually notice is that they think that they talk about the same thing, but they don’t. Each one has a different perspective, a different approach, a different goal, and so on. BTW, 1+1=10 is correct. In the binary system. See my point? LOL

    Now let’s move to blog commenting… I disagree with some of your thoughts, policies, etc, showcased in this article. Do you think that I’m gonna say that you’re wrong? Well, nope. Remember the first two paragraphs of this “story”. We’re looking at the same picture (blog commenting) but since we’re different and we stay in different positions, the things we see are different. It doesn’t mean that one of us is wrong.

    All paragraphs above form a model of thinking. Is that right or wrong? I’m not gonna say it. You can’t judge it, I can’t judge it. We’re different, remember? For example, how can you judge something from my perspective when you’re not me and you’re not in my place? Well, you can judge it, but it doesn’t automatically mean that your judgement is correct. Or incorrect! It will be just your judgement…

    Now let me answer some of your questions. To me, there are no good, bad, or confusing comments. I have a different perspective (not saying that your perspective is wrong, OK?). A comment cannot be good or bad. A comment may or may not comply with my simple blog comment policy. Period. Does the commenter disagree with me? So what? As long as a comment is decent it will be approved. Deleting comments? No such thing unless they are spam or not understandable (very bad English command or a different language). Do you want to keep fighting and defend your opinion? Good, you’re free to do it.

    How do I stop it if I still disagree with you? Every time when there’s an answer required… Not answering isn’t an option in my books. That’s not polite and let’s not forget that no matter what… I’m the host. If you want to be a successful blogger you forget about the policy, “That’s my blog, I do whatever I want. I can even delete all your comments”. That’s for weak people. A blog without visitors isn’t a blog. That’s why a successful blog has to be a win-win venture, forget about “I’m the owner, I do whatever I want”. So… what’s my solution? A simple and sure one: we agree that we disagree and this is it. There’s nothing you can add. You cannot say that I’m wrong.

    Once again… that’s my vision. It’s not the best in the world, there’s no such thing. Isn’t the correct one, it’s hard to say what’s wrong and what’s corrct. It’s just my vision. Do you or someone else disagree? Just perfectly fine.

    Now, Amy, believe me, I can keep writing on this topic. But this is already an article, not a comment LOL I’ll stop it here. I didn’t develop all my thoughts and even the thoughts revealed above are not very detailed. However, I hope that my story is pretty understandable and it makes sense. I’m quite tired and I’ve just tried to post some food for thoughts… Something is missing? I’m sure. The reader is asked to be kind and fill the gaps alone. I’m just a human being. No human being is perfect :)

    Adrian

    P.S. I hope this is not the weirdest comment you ever got! :)

    • Amy Tokic says

      Adrian,
      I’m always happy to hear your comments, and no, this isn’t the weirdest one… not even close :)
      As for women vs men, I can only speak for myself. This is how I deal with comments, and with time and more experience (dealing with more comments of all kinds), I’m sure I’ll come up with an evolving policy. I’m sure that my commenting chops will become more confident and I will respond with the best of them. But for now, this is what I think is right. And I’m with you – there’s no wrong or right.

  2. Catherine Wilfong says

    Hi Amy, Great article. I do agree with Adrian Jock. I have not started my blog yet, but have been very active on G+ recently. I have experienced a few “Troll’s” and I wondered what to do about them. I have been very neutral in what I have been posting on G+ so I have not yet experienced many differences of opinions or debates. However, I did answer one persons question on a post with my point of view and another poster came back and tried to debate me. This gave me an opportunity to decide how I would handle opposing views.

    I said “This is not an argument, this is my opinion. You are entitled to your opinion and I would like to agree to disagree.” Now, I did not spend a huge amount of time and energy in the post, so I was not invested. So, this decision was an easy one.

    I can understand wanting specific policies in place in order to maintain control over your time and energy. So, what works for you right now might not work in the future. What works for Adrian Jock right now might not work for him in the future. I believe you have hit upon a great topic for everyone who is blogging and trying to deal with an ever-changing site. This is just like a small company that goes through growing pains becoming a large company. As you get more and more readers and exposure you will have to change how you handle your business.

    • Amy Tokic says

      Hi Catherine and thanks for stopping by.
      I do have some confidence issues to overcome with comments, especially when it’s a couple of people whose opinion is different than mine. I just have to grow a set :)
      And I agree – I think my policy will change over time, once I get more posts up and more people to bounce my ideas off of.
      Ah growing pains! I guess you need them in order to know that you’re growing!

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