November 10, 2013

*Tap tap* Is This Thing On?

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Just sitting here. Thinking.
Hello, Sunday readers! Is anybody out there? Just nod if you can hear me. I feel like nobody is reading. I wrote two reviews this week, a rarity for me, and there wasn't much commentary on either. This isn't a pity party. Blogging just seems different now and I'm thinking about why.

Part of it is probably my own fault. I fell off the grid there for awhile and when that happens on the internet, readers tend to fall off. Then there was the death of Google Reader. Where did those subscribers go? Did they find another feed reader or did they just give up blogs altogether? Recently, someone in my Twitter feed mentioned not missing Google Reader one bit. I wondered why. Did all those unread blog posts make them feel guilty? Anxious? Obligated? Maybe once Google Reader disappeared they felt a sense of freedom. I'm not sure.

Not that I'm any better. I find it hard to comment on blogs. I've been using Bloglovin' and one thing I don't like about it is how it truncates posts. In theory, I suppose, people will click through to the blog to read a post. Most of the time I just skim the title and move on. If I read the whole post on my reader, I might feel like I have something to say about it and click through to comment. Am I just weird like that?

I'm also more likely to comment on a blog post to the author on Twitter. A "Oh hey, I read what you thought about blah blah" when I see them hanging out there. It becomes more of a conversation that way. Sometimes I'll forget to go back to a post to read the comments or the author doesn't reply, so catching someone on Twitter is a better option. I think we're all suffering from Commentitis. Is commenting so-last-year?

Book bloggers, has commenting on your blog changed? Are you finding there are fewer comments on your reviews? Have you found a way to encourage more commenting? Are you commenting less? What about you, Blog Readers? Anyone care to comment?

50 comments :

  1. Hey Chris. Still here and reading, even if I've become terrible at commenting myself. It's definitely not just you - reader interaction is not what it used to be. I've spent a lot of time trying to put my finger on the why as well, but I haven't really come up with any answers. I think the move towards tablets and mobile devices may have something to do with it. It's not as easy to comment on them as it is when you have an actual keyboard in front of you, and so people are perhaps starting to move towards a model of content consumption that's more aligned with traditional media. The percentage of people who ever wrote letters to the editor was tiny compared to everyone who subscribed to a newspaper or magazine, and maybe the Internet is becoming more like than and less like the two-way street of communication it was a few years ago. I don't know - I'm speculating and generalising, but I try to think that we're now all sitting in "companionable silence", as Jeanne once put it, rather than putting words into a void.

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    1. I like the idea of "companionable silence" rather than no one reading. Perhaps us older bloggers are too used to how things once were with everyone in the community commenting. You might be right about the mobile reading. I find it difficult to comment on my iPhone. I have to jump through so many hoops. When I'm on my laptop, it's so much easier.

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  2. The ultimate commenting struggle! What used to get the most comments on my blog are now the least commented on. I get a surge of comments now and then though, but I am sometimes surprised by which ones are getting the most responses. With all the social media options, I sometimes will see some thoughts shared more here than in the comments section. In the end, I just don't know. I read somewhere recently that some people think that the comments haven't changed, that we just are not doing enough work to get them. I disagree. Maybe we are just noticing it because we've been around longer?!? I don't know.

    For me, I am way behind on my commenting these days. I am catching up today. I now use Feedly to read, saving those that I want to read and comment on later. These last couple of weeks, I just haven't had a lot of later time to comment and now just have a long backlog!

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    1. I might have to sign up for Feedly, although the work! I'm not lovin' Bloglovin'.

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    2. When I switched, I was able to copy it over from Google Reader, so there was little work. I wonder if there is a similar option to transfer from Bloglovin'?

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  3. I've stopped posting as much as I used to. I used to post three to five times a week; now at at eight to ten times a month. The comments have dropped off in response. I also tend to just post reviews which always get fewer comments than more social type posts.

    I do have the feeling that book blogging is in decline at the moment, but that could just be that so many of the people I've been reading for many, many years are moving on to other things, which is natural. There are probably lots of new people out there that I'm unaware of.

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    1. That's true. It could be that the newer blogger aren't finding us and we're not finding them. Book blogging has gotten to be huge. Keeping an audience is difficult.

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  4. I've been using feedly and it's okay but I do miss Google Reader. Commenting has changed on my blog but I think it's because a lot of the bloggers from "my generation" of blogging have stopped blogging. Right now, I don't have the time or the energy to look for new blogs.

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    1. There's nothing out there that compares to Google Reader, imo. :(

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  5. I'm still reading, but like a lot of people, I'm commenting less than I used to. It's mostly because of time and feeling more spread out. I haven't noticed a huge drop-off in comments at my blog, but it has leveled off. We've seen a small reduction in visitors. I think the growth period is over

    Regarding feed readers, I've been using InoReader and loving it. It's a lot like Google Reader but with some added features that make it even better. (With one click you can read the full text of blogs with truncated feeds.)

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    1. I've never heard of InoReader. I'll have to check that out.

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  6. I don't get a lot of comments on my reviews. Hardly any at all actually. Other posts I get tons of comments on. I wish though that I could switch over to a different comment system. That is part of the problem for me. I comment back to every comment on my blog but who comes back and checks those replies? I have though about switching to disqus so that people can at least be alerted that there is a reply to their comment. I thought maybe that might start some conversations going.

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    1. I added Disqus to my site not too long ago, and I agree that the notifications are definitely one of the upsides. Like you, it's what made me want to set up the system in the first place, after getting notifications from commenting on posts where others had Disqus. Like anything else, it has its pros and cons. I like that I don't get notified for everything (if I'm commenting on someone else's site), just when I'm involved in the conversation. However, users names don't automatically link to their blogs the way Blogger/Wordpress commenting does (they have to add their blog to their Disqus profile), so sometimes it's hard to find where someone is coming from. Overall, I do think it's encouraged conversation on my blog and would recommend it.

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    2. I tried IntenseDebate way back when, but I didn't love it and removed it. It was such pain in the butt to remove that I'm reluctant to try anything else.

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  7. Hi Chris - still reading even if I'm not commenting. Why is it, though, that readers drop off when we haven't been posting for a while? If I stop receiving someone's posts, I don't go out looking for them to unsubscribe, so I don't get it, even though I've observed it.

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    1. I don't know. Maybe some people clean out their feed readers occasionally? (Not me!)

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  8. Jumping up and down - I'm here. I sometimes only get to my reader once a week which makes it hard to comment (at least that is my excuse). I have never had many comments on my blog I think in part because I don't comment much on others. But I do read and enjoy.

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    1. Thanks for reading! I'm glad that you do. :)

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  9. I just tweeted out a thought tonight that I'd be ruminating on which was that once Google Reader went away, commenting drastically decreased. I miss the heck out of that Reader, but found that both Digg.com's Reader and Feedly.com have made up for it tremendously. Try one of those out, and you might feel satisfied by it. I think Feedly is the one I'm sticking with.

    I also fell off the blogging planet this past year and noticed readership and participation are just gone from my site. Ah, well. Perhaps I need to join a few readalongs (and actually participate) to get out there again, but it does seem like such a hassle lately.

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    1. Feedly seems to be getting all the votes. I did a couple of readalongs because I wanted to and it helped me get my groove back.

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  10. *I'd been ruminating on NOT I'd be ruminating on... sorry, auto-correct, argh.

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  11. I find that I've been commenting a lot less myself. I really miss google reader! I use feedly and it is okay but definitely doesn't compare. I'm glad that I'm not the only one who has noticed less commenting. It just feels like the bloggy world is a bit quieter lately....

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  12. You're not the only one who'st been getting less comments, or who drops out of blogging for a while now and then. It seems like that's been the trend for a while, even before Google Reader shut down. Idk, I follow 300+ blogs at this point. I comment when I have something to say, but at that volume commenting on a regular basis gets to be overwhelming.

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    1. I cut back on my subscriptions when I went to Bloglovin and even then there are people who rarely post. And I still can't keep up!

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  13. I agree, commenting has changed. I think that the issue of mobile reading is a big one -- it is much harder to comment on a phone/tablet. In fact, if I wasn't at my laptop right now it would have likely felt like too much effort, and then I'd have forgotten to come back! Also, those of us who've been around for a while know that there are so, so many more book blogs these days, it's hard to keep up...and we are also more likely to be posting less often ourselves. The perfect storm? I hope that we all keep posting though, as I do try to get around and read all of my "old friends" regularly, even if I'm not commenting regularly!

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    1. I have to remember to keep commenting on old friends' blog too. I'm definitely reading but, yeah, commenting...

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  14. I think I lost readers when I started posting more infrequently. Now I often have posts where I get zero comments which can be discouraging. I do try to comment on other blogs, especially if I notice no one else has commented on that post. I subscribe to almost 75 blogs using Feedly (I like the Index view) and have settled into that subscription mode fairly well now. I like the Saved for Later function - I usually try to comment right after reading, but then I save that post for later to see if the blogger replied to my comment (if that blogger is not on Wordpress).

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    1. I signed up for Feedly. I just have to figure out how to use it.

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  15. DAMNIT BLOGGER JUST ATE MY POST! I use Feedly now that Google Reader is gone, and I love it. The functionality is very similar (posts don't truncate), and I did a lot of reorganizing last week. There's been a lot of talk lately about fewer comments on blogs all around. I can't help but think it's due in large part to the large number of blogs and the fact that many are spread out across so many more social media outlets. I'm lucky--I comment at work when days are slow (shhh!), but I know a lot of people don't have that kind of time.

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    1. I definitely don't spend as much time on the computer which probably contributes to my lack of commenting. It's hard to find the time.

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  16. I'm not commenting quite as much as I was, but I still try to get a good amount written a week and I'd like to get back to commenting more when I can. I've noticed a change but with the time of year and the number of people who seem to be busy at the moment it's about right.

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    1. I don't think there is ever a good time of year! Summer=vacations and then Christmas. lol!

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  17. oops just lost my comment. Let's try this again.

    I stopped reading google reader when my daughter was born 20 months ago! I have tried to remember favorite bloggers and I am subscribed to a few books blogs still via email/bloglovin but to be honest I just have different priorities. I read a total of one book --- one --- in October. Three years ago I was reading 15-20 a month. I don't intend to stop the book blog myself but I just have realigned my priorities and unfortunately commenting on blogs gets the short shaft. Sorry! I do love to read about books but it's had to find time for everything so we must make choices where we can. Maybe when I'm not chasing my toddler?

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    1. I can understand that. My reading has dropped too and I pretty much only read what I really want to these days.

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  18. I'l second the inoreader - it's quite similar to Google Reader. I think I"m spending more time at Librarything about reading stuff - keeping track, chatting with some others. I still read blogs, but as more and more 'old' bloggers stop, it gets easier and easier to stay on top of things. I know I don't comments much, anywhere, and I hadn't even posted to my own blog in 2 months. I got inspired today though. thanks!

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  19. I use Feedly to read my favorite blogs but traffic seems to be down everywhere. It's so close to the holidays now. I suspect even more of a drop in the coming weeks and I am okay with it. I don't have time to plow through blogs like I used to. Not until I hit Christmas break.

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    1. Yeah, there is so much to do! Yesterday I decided to paint my kitchen, so no blogging then.

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  20. I'm reading (though admittedly a pretty new follower)! I am terrible at commenting lately though. More for personal reasons (moving, new baby on the way, left my job, etc etc). I read through Feedly, which is very similar to Google Reader, so not much has changed for me there. I haven't seen much change in my blog's comments, but when it gets slow, I just assume other people have a lot of stuff going on (or that my review was boring, haha). :)

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    1. I think people just get busy. I know I do!

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  21. I'm still reading and commenting as much as I can. I've noticed a drop off in comments since the death of Google Reader as well. I am using bloglovin and I don't like it. I think it's dropped some of the blogs I used to follow. I know it can be frustrating to feel like no one is there, but I hope you know that those of us who are reading appreciate you!

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    1. Yeah, I went with Bloglovin' and I'm not lovin' it.

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  22. In my opinion, it is twitter and Facebook that are taking the time away from blogging. I actually wrote about this on my own blog a while ago. If you'd like to read it, here's the address: http://lettersfromahillfarm.blogspot.com/2013/09/as-world-turns.html

    I never had google reader, and really just go by my bloglist on the sidebar. I scroll down and see if there is a post I want to read, or a person I want to visit, whose blog I haven't gotten to in a while. It all feels a bit like old-fashioned letters to me. Sometimes you write and the person doesn't get to answer for weeks or months, but eventually they do, and the friendship carries on. As far as comments go, I am quite sure that even if there are only a few on a post, there are many more who have read it. I think one difference between me and other bloggers perhaps is that I always read only on my desktop computer. Sounds so retro now, doesn't it? :<)

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    1. Way back when, I had a blogroll and I did the same. Google Reader replaced that for me and I can't see myself going back. I was always stressed out about who to put on it!

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    2. That shows your kindness! I put on those blogs I love to read, people whom I like, people who have been kind enough to leave me comments. I never get to any of them as often as I like, but I do try. Each one enriches my life in some way, and I enjoy their company.

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  23. 45 comments?! Clearly this thing IS on. I'm lucky to get 1 or 2 comments these days. Granted I've been too busy to update much, so people have likely given up on me. I ain't quittin' though, even if it's on life support for a little while. I've always blogged for myself as much as I have to publish, so it doesn't bother me terribly when no one comments. I also feel obligated to respond, and that takes time that I don't often have these days.

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    1. I guess it just feels a little lonely on the blog when no one comments. I still do it for myself too but conversation is nice.

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  24. I'm still here! Reading. Oh yeah, and blogging, though that's been sporadic. I love your posts. Guess I shouldn't lurk so much.

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    1. I think we all lurk these days! It's nice to see someone around though. :)

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