This guest post is by David Hartstein of Wired Impact.
I’m sure you’ve heard well-reasoned, logical arguments for why you should be commenting on blogs:
- “You can be a part of the conversation happening out there.”
- “You can build your own authority.”
- “You can drive traffic to your blog.”
But, while there may be a burned, unpopped kernel of truth in these statements, none of them take into account the many reasons you should never comment on a blog.
Well here are some of those reasons for your consideration.
First of all, you shouldn’t even begin to think about commenting unless you have something really profound to say. If you merely express agreement, it is likely judgment will rain down upon you. As, to be fair, it should. There is no room for mere opinions in the comment section of a blog. It is a blog after all. No feelings, just facts.
Plus, there’s a good chance you don’t have the authority to be commenting on a post. I mean, if someone is writing a post, they are certainly held in high esteem by all of the peers in their field. The Internet won’t let just anyone publish. And if you’re not an expert, you likely don’t have much to offer. Sure, maybe you have some ideas, but are they the kind that are best kept to yourself? Unless you have a graduate degree in the subject at hand, they should probably be filed away in your journal.
Additionally, if no one else has commented yet, you’re essentially lowering your head onto the chopping block. You could write the first one, but doing so opens you up to being the minority opinion. It’s very possible that just after you finish singing the praises of a particular post, a series of users will go on an angry tirade ripping the author apart. You’d look really dumb. Who cares what you thought? Those other commenters probably know more than you anyway.
Also, don’t forget that browser spellcheck leaves something to be desired. Sure, it will catch a word that you’ve butchered, but what about something more minute? And forget any kind of oversight on your grammar. Plus, there’s a very good chance that a misspelled word will leave whatever you have to say incomprehensible, leading to angry comments about the spam you are leaving behind.
Once you’ve waded through the murky waters of actually drafting your comment, you’re still faced with giving away your personal information. If you’re anything like the average web user, you probably haven’t given out much personal info online before, perhaps with the notable exception of some obscure social networking site.
If you do feel the need to comment, you have the requisite authority to do so, and other people already have commented, consider taking the following action:
- Draft the comment in a word processor.
- Check the comment for spelling and grammar mistakes, both with the built-in tools and manually.
- Send it to a family member or a friend for their thoughts (pick someone smart).
- Print it out, sleep on it, and revisit it at breakfast the next day.
- If you’re still feeling the urge, go ahead and publish it.
- Deal with the ensuing fallout.
If, after reading this, you are still wont to publish a comment from time to time, go ahead. But consider yourself warned. It’s a dangerous game.
And, whatever you do, don’t you dare write a comment on this post!