This post, by Alice Bradley, originally appeared on the Babble Voices blog on 2/3/12.
Having addressed reader reviews in the last post, I now move on, AS PROMISED, to blog comments. I am nothing if not trustworthy! You can let me hold your bag when you go to the ladies’ room! Or men’s room! Whichever!
Why do you have so many pens in your bag? And why do none of them work?
Now. Blog comments on your blog (that part is important*) are an entirely different animal from reader reviews, in that 1) they are meant for you, and therefore 2) it is appropriate, and often necessary, for you to respond to them. If you’ve enabled comments, it means you want feedback and discussion among your readers. You’re part of your community, so you should get in there as well.
You can’t control what your readers think, and this is both unfortunate and fortunate. Unfortunate in that sometimes a reader will dislike what you said or simply dislike you, and that can sting. Fortunate in that if you could control your reader’s thoughts we’d all be living in some creepy dystopia where you control everything, and you’d probably like that, LITTLE MS. CONTROL FREAK. God! What’s your blog? I’m going to go write an angry comment on it.
It’s pretty obvious what to do when your commenters love you or at least respect you and want you to respond to their comments: you respond, right? (Unless they’re demanding your home address and/or your blood type. You might want to demur in that case.) It’s all quite simple, until that day, the one where you finally get it: the unhappy commenter. The reader who thinks you suck. The person who knows you are an utter fraud and liar and kitten-kicker and calls you on it.
Listen, if no one cared you wouldn’t have received a comment like this. Either the commenter is annoyed (but cares enough to share his or her annoyance) OR either people care about you and that really gets this commenter’s goat, so he/she had to lash out. Pretty much every blogger who’s read by more people than her immediate family will deal with criticism, in one form or another. It’s okay. It’s all going to be okay. There, there.
Now that you’ve gone for a walk and maybe petted a cat for a while (if you like cats), ask yourself a few questions. Like so:
1. Does the reader have a valid point?