Hit Count Isn’t Everything

In this day and age, the ability to work from home is a perk enjoyed by many tech-sector employees. VPN, remote desktop, and reliable internet connections leave little that can’t be done from the comfort of the home office. If you are sick or suffering a case of the stinky-farts, and you have the ability to work from home, please do! I don’t deny the convenience and flexibility the permission to work from home has afforded me, nor would I want to give up the option to do so when it’s necessary. There’s the crux of it: when necessary.

I believe that reputations, not to mention friendships, are built upon communication. Communication works best when it is in person, especially if you are part of a team working towards a group goal. If you aren’t in the office, you can’t make those random, human connections that come with seeing someone in all sorts of weather and throughout the gamut of emotions. You can’t get to know the moods of your coworkers, that one sings when he’s happy and another gets mean if she’s hungry. Consider this: what do you remember from the job you had five years ago? The details of a technical report or the way you laughed and argued with the people you met?

It’s much, much harder to make a memorable, positive impression when you are not meeting in person. How often have you visited a newbie’s blog and found them wondering about, begging for, or otherwise lamenting the lack of comments/visitors/page hits?  If the blogger is saying something of value, I’ll respond. Not because I want them to reach some magical hit count, but because I view a blog post as an invitation by the blogger to engage in a conversation. I have a limited amount of time to spend engaged in authentic, enriching communication and I won’t keep going back to a blog that complains about a lack of popularity, but never says word one in response to my comments. I understand the blogger is busy; trust me, I get that. It takes diligence, time, and effort to respond to commenters, but if you open a dialog with the world and someone responds, reply to them! Okay, if you have hundreds of commenters, perhaps you can’t physically manage that load. Pick a few, though, let us know you still care. If you’re the wondering beggar, do yourself a favor and take the two minutes to reply to your commenters. Not doing so is equivalent to being a new hire in an office and refusing to speak to the people who come by to welcome you. Imagine how often they’re going to come back, how quickly they’ll tell their team-mates to chat you up!

I’ve recently been invited to join a Triberr guild of speculative fiction writers, The Emissaries of Strange. I am fairly certain that if I had never responded to comments or visited and left comments on other writer’s posts, I would not have gotten to know the person who invited me. If it weren’t for the very human act of communication, I would not have  the online support group of writers that I have now. Newbie bloggers: I’m proof that you can build a supportive network of like-minded people in under six months. My page views have gone up, but I  have something better: communication with outstanding writers who also happen to be fascinating people.

Don’t just take my word for it! Visit them, leave a comment. They’ll respond!

Marie Loughin– “I wanna be …”

Jonathan AllenShaggin’ the Muse

Paul DailA horror writer’s not necessarily horrific blog.

Jaye Manus Writer + Readers = Value

Margo LerwillUnsafe Haven

Penelope CroweAs the Crowe Flies

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10 thoughts on “Hit Count Isn’t Everything

  1. Yahoo! What makes me wonder if when I see a blogger who only responds to a couple comments… like, I’m not good enough for your response? I can understand if everyone is saying the same thing in the comments, but to only pick one or two people out of ten? I dunno’. I’m imagining their logic is that they feel like they need to respond to some of the comments, but don’t want to have to respond to all of them. Not sure if that’s better than not responding to anyone.

    It’s time consuming to respond to everyone, but like you said, I like the communication. On the flip side, I often wonder how often blog commenters check back to my blog to see if I’ve responded. I know I bookmark blogs where I comment to check back. But yeah, after awhile if they never respond to my comments, I definitely visit less.

    Thanks for the plug. Glad to have you aboard our little tribe.

    Paul D. Dail
    http://www.pauldail.com- A horror writer’s not necessarily horrific blog

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    • If I’m a regular reader of a particular blog, I tend to check back on previous comments the next time I stop by to read a new post. This changes if I ask a question of the blogger; in that case, I either request follow-up comment emails or I just come back the next day. No one is perfect, on either side of any communication, but the beauty of that is the chance to improve.

      It was a shameless plug for TES, but I think you all are great & would love it if you catapulted to fame and fortune and got to write full time so I would never, ever run out of books written by people I know. 🙂

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  2. Thanks for the shout out. I love it when people comment on my blog, and sometimes what readers say leads to ideas for other posts. I don’t write a lot of blog posts that call for comments. Most are straight info or a how-to piece. A good (I hope) take-away message, but not a lot of room for discussion. It’s the pieces filled with speculation or me being cranky where I get the comments. I really like that. I get my best post ideas from commentators.

    My comment numbers are low enough right now for me to write thoughtful replies. And I do try to acknowledge everyone, though I miss a few and then I feel bad. If the numbers start getting ridiculous, I’d have to go to the route many popular bloggers seem to choose: Here’s my piece, folks, now you have the floor. Talk amongst yourselves.

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    • You’re welcome for the shout out! I’m very excited to be getting to ‘hang out’ with all of you over at the tribal stream. Everyone in the group has interesting ideas, and wow! can you all write!

      Yes, I suspect a different approach is necessary if you are getting hundreds or even tens of comments. The people who are worried about not being popular enough don’t fall into that category yet, and will have trouble getting there if they don’t put forth some more effort to interact. There is some expectation that just because you’ve written something, that the world is obligated to visit you. Not even close to true! The wonderful thing about comments is that it means someone has chosen to visit you – and as the host, one should respond.

      Yep, I know I’m repeating myself here – I think it’s that important!

      Thanks for visiting!

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  3. I completely agree. It’s all about building relationships. You can have a kabillion followers, but without that interaction and relationship building, then it’s useless. Great post to encourage me to work just a bit harder at making sure I interact as much as I possibly can.

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    • Angela, hi!

      I hopped over to check out your blog and discovered that you’re also doing #WIP500! Not only has it been good for my writing, it has also been a lot of fun getting to meet the #WIP500 group. I think Cara’s awesome for updating all our stats daily.

      Without interaction and relationship building (to totally reuse your awesome phrasing), a blog loses it’s very ‘blogginess.’ It becomes more like a traditional magazine: possibly glossy, probably titillating, but definitely devoid of relationship. I like the interaction blogs allow and I appreciate you leaving me a comment.

      See you over at #WIP500!

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