The Lazy and Selfish Guide to Commenting

The Only Blogger Left Alive - The Anti-Social MediaI hate commenting on blogs. I’m terrible at it. Commenting is something I force myself to do, like scooping my cat’s litter box. Often, I don’t feel like I have much to say in comments, or I’ll want to add something sarcastic and snarky, but I fear the author will react negatively rather than having fun with me.

There’s a whole art to getting more comments on your blog, but that’s a discussion for another day. Stop worrying about why you aren’t getting comments and stop pretending you’re the only person only the internet. Instead, focus on the insight you can give to other people.

I know, altruism is hard. The internet is a daily exercise in self-indulgent narcissism and glorification. But you can feed your gluttonous personal brand all while under the guise of being helpful to the masses.

Here are some tips to get off your lazy butt and get started leaving your little turds of wisdom across the web.

  • Make time to leave comments - If you aren’t writing comments because of a time factor, make time for it. It can be as little as five minutes a day, or an hour once a week. Whatever works for you on your busy schedule. Setting time aside for leaving comments gives it priority and forces you to be social for all of five minutes. Really, you won’t miss anything that important on Twitter in those five minutes.
  • Disagree - It’s insane to think you’ll agree with everything you read online. If you want to contradict an author’s point, go for it. Explain why it doesn’t work. But when you do make a point, be nice about it. Constructive criticism diversifies and builds the usefulness of the conversation. Again, don’t be an asshole. We have enough of those on YouTube and news website alone to fill a separate internet just for haters.
  • Write helpful comments - Maybe you have a funny story to tell. Maybe you have a relevant anecdote. Maybe you’re a weirdo you just like to help people. People will appreciate your comments more if you can make them think or provide them actual help.
  • Consider posting an image or video - The story doesn’t always need to be told in words. If it’s possible and relevant, share a video or image. Sometimes it speaks much louder than any other post.  If nothing else, it’s probably more eye-catching than the other twenty comments made of text.

There’s a whole internet out there of bloggers waiting for you to comment on their lonely, little blog.  Find ten minutes and get out there react to something someone else wrote.  It may turn out you actually enjoy reading other people’s work.

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32 Responses to “The Lazy and Selfish Guide to Commenting”

  1. aburtch January 12, 2011 at 8:50 am #

    I love to leave comments! Sometimes I just stop by to ramble and talk about things that have nothing to do with the post at all. Other times I actually try to help the conversation along. Since bloggers love lists, here are my five top commenting styles:

    1. Annoying: “FIRST!!!! (beey-och)”

    2. Thoughtful: “You raise an excellent point here Jay. Commenting on blog posts you enjoy can often lead to a value added conversation where everyone comes away more educated.”

    3. Contrarian: “Totally disagree! Everyone knows comments are for idiots. I mean how many times do you read comments and it’s just ‘cheap Nikes for sale here!’ and ‘get Viagra at!’ Besides the internet was built for lurkers…didn’t you know that!?”

    4. Non Sequitur: “You know the ancient Egyptians really had it going on with the pyramids and stuff. Amazing architecture. I mean, we couldn’t build those things today if we tried!! Have you read the Mashable post on crowd-sourced engineering? So cool! Wait…what were we talking about?”

    5. Self Promotional: “Great point Jay! You know I REALLY enjoy comments on my blog Everyone should stop on by and leave lots of comments!”

    So as you can see, commenting is an art I take very seriously ;) Isn’t the internet a great thing!

    • Jay January 12, 2011 at 9:16 am #

      And here I was thinking “I’m writing a quality blog. We have good conversations here.” Then you went ahead and gave me every terrible stereotype in one quick swoop.

      Thanks for the laugh Anson!

    • Dino Dogan January 12, 2011 at 6:03 pm #

      This might be the best comment Ive ever seen…anywhere…ever!

  2. Katy January 12, 2011 at 9:13 am #

    I’ve been trying to integrate commenting into my daily social media routine - and it has proven rather strenuous and time-consuming. Still, I believe it’s important for us social media bloggers to have a conversation. I feel like the sharing options which accommodate blog posts may be partially at fault for the lack of comments…when people like an article they may believe that sharing it on Twitter is sufficient. But as a blogger and an avid reader of blogs - I value comments over retweets. Social media is still growing and well-informed discussion is an excellent way to foster its growth.

    • Jay January 12, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

      Strenuous. That is the exact word I think of when commenting.

      I’m really glad when someone chooses to engage me in any fashion, whether her eon my blog, Facebook, or Twitter. Still, I like comments a lot because they aren’t as fleeting, and they allow for longer forms of communication than just a quick update.

  3. Paul Sutton January 12, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    Nice. And thanks for the comment on my blog this morning! :o )

    • Jay January 12, 2011 at 1:41 pm #

      I try my best to practice what I preach.

  4. Rob January 12, 2011 at 11:46 am #

    I’ve found that it is quite overwhelming trying to post and interact with numerous blogs when you are first getting started, too. I’ve decided that it is better to focus on a few blogs that I really want to be interacting with or that interest me the most first. After I get more in tune with those, then I can start adding others to my routine little by little. Pace yourself so you don’t burn out.

    • Jay January 12, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

      Great point. I started with just 5 minutes a day. It was all I could tolerate. I’m somewhere in the realm of 30 minutes a day, which is almost overwhelming to me. The trick is to find the happy point for you.

  5. Brad January 12, 2011 at 12:00 pm #


    \o o’
    / \ (\


    (…and hopes the formatting isn’t stripped. :) )

    • Brad January 12, 2011 at 12:01 pm #

      If I can’t make ICANHAZ-style comments with images or ASCII, then it’s not worth it. :)

      • Jay January 12, 2011 at 1:21 pm #


    • Jonha | January 12, 2011 at 8:45 pm #

      Oh I love cats!haha

      Jay: I love that you used the word “MAKE” time instead of just finding it, because everyone is having a hard time to do so.

      The other thing about commenting is when you comment just for the sake of backlinks, you’re totally doing it RIGHT with the wrong reasons. I mean it’s just the icing of the cake but it’s always important that you ADD value to what is already said by the others. It’s a fun way to get to know other visitors too.

      • Jay January 13, 2011 at 12:25 am #

        I think to think of comments as bonus points. The blog post is the test, and anything you say should add to it.

  6. Robin Carey January 12, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    This title is totally disingenuous - it’s neither a lazy or selfish guide, but some of the best advice I’ve seen about effective commenting. Perhaps the “lazy” part is for those of us who don’t need a lot of extra verbiage to get the point.

    • Jay January 13, 2011 at 12:32 am #

      Yeah, the title is a lie to get people to read. But, i’m glad that behind the lie is some of the best advice

      That title is totally my SEO strategy to get spammers to read my blog more. ;-)

    • aburtch January 14, 2011 at 9:21 pm #

      @Robin Carey - I think you’ve hit on the genius of the work Jay does here on the Anti Social Media. While he bashes it and makes fun of it, he actually dispenses the best social media advice around.

  7. Björn Sennbrink January 12, 2011 at 4:38 pm #

    Comments is not what it used to be before Twitter came along and killed the conversation. I miss 14 pages long conversations that extend way beyond the original blog post and in the end we all hold hands and sing f*cking Kumbaya =)

    • Jay January 13, 2011 at 12:27 am #

      F*cking Kumbaya is my favorite version of Kumbaya.

  8. Leslie January 12, 2011 at 4:40 pm #

    aburtch, you forgot a style…Complimentary, i.e. stuff sunshine up his/her arse ad infinitum.

    For example,

    Jay, there are a couple of things I appreciate in a blog: K.I.S.S. and humor. By K.I.S.S., I mean - keep it short and to the point, and well, by humor I mean…well, you know what I mean.

    I have recently found both of these items in your blog, and while I often find myself new blog-hopping each day, I have devotedly read your entries each day since finding your blog among the top ten on SME. I appreciate your style of writing and your humor. Thank you for becoming the first blogger for whose posts I will anxiously await arrival in my inbox.

    Kind regards,
    Leslie (aka Rational Chica)

    • Jay January 13, 2011 at 12:41 am #

      Thank you. Those who drink the Kool-aid will not be forgotten as the Anti-Social Media rises to the top of the blog world.

  9. Dino Dogan January 12, 2011 at 6:03 pm #

    Snarky, sarcastic comments are always welcome on my blog. Have at it brother :-)

    • Jay January 13, 2011 at 12:24 am #

      Glad to know. Consider this your only warning.

  10. Aimee Woodall January 13, 2011 at 10:56 am #

    I’ll admit it, the reason I started my blog commenting project
    wasn’t just to make people feel good about their blogs. I began to interact
    with the blogging community so that my blog could eventually be found
    EVERYWHERE. You may feel commenting is like cleaning out the litter box, but
    I have 2 cats and still the most apt description I can come up with is the
    ever unpleasant pulling teeth sensation. Painful. But I have to agree with
    you, I feel my most successful comments are those that go beyond the “Nice
    post! Now let me reiterate what you said…” mentality and do, as you
    suggest, offer a helpful idea. I try to bring their main point to the next
    level, perhaps highlighting a possible action or a related topic they didn’t
    cover. And ok, I also feel good when I can link to a relevant post of mine
    as well. So shoot me.

  11. seancomm January 13, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

    My favorite comment genre is the d-baggy, condescending “hope the helps” suggestion.

    “Good tips, Jay. I did notice a couple of grammatical mistakes in your copy. I hate those people that try to correct other people’s grammar, but thought you should know that: “I know, altruism is hard.” is a run-on sentence. What we have hear are two independent clauses that should be separated by a semicolon or made into two sentences.

    In my former career as a journalist I really liked having Strunk and White’s “Elements of Style” and of course the “AP Style Guide.”

    Hope that helps.

  12. Pauline January 14, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    I’ve only just fallen over your site, having travelled a convoluted route via Twitter (yes, OK, I obviously hadn’t been looking hard enough or I’d have found you before)

    Having trawled through all the insightful comments above I realise that I’m now left with either repeating what everyone has said or reproducing something unintelligible from my spam folder.

    Or I could just say that I’ve enjoyed my visit so far and will probably call back again ;)

  13. Ariane January 14, 2011 at 3:45 pm #

    Ok, I’m intrigued. How exactly do you leave a video comment? Can you embed one from YouTube?

    • Jay January 14, 2011 at 8:31 pm #

      Depending on the site, yes you can embed one from YouTube

      • Ariane January 14, 2011 at 10:07 pm #

        Any chance of you doing a followup with an explanation of how to embed video in a comment? Or sample? Make sure you mention not to stick your face two inches in front of the webcam when doing a comment. It looks really lovely when people do that.

  14. Lisa Irby January 15, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

    This post was so refreshing and I love the spin on your blog in general. I’m actually going to AGREE on the part about DISAGREEING with everything (lol). Now that my blog gets more comments, I don’t typically have the time to visit the blogs of all commenters, but if someone takes the time to disagree and makes a stance I’m more likely to pay attention to who they are and maybe visit their site. Chances are, my visitors do the same.

    Love the insight. Gonna stick around and see what other goodies you have here.

  15. seancomm January 13, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

    “What we have here..”

    Hope that helps…

  16. Jay January 13, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

    Sean, I hope your own mistake gives a gentle reminder that everyone is fallible in our uses of grammar and spelling.

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