A few days ago, Judy K wrote an open letter to the Slicing community asking what she was doing wrong in her writing: for eight days straight, she hadn’t received a single comment on her slices! Since her letter went Slice-version-of-viral, she’s received many comments, on that post and others. She even wrote a grateful follow-up letter to thank the community for reaching out and showering her with feedback and connection.
Cara Wegryzen, who blogs at Wonders All Around, shared her experience with comments and asked a wonderful question in a comment she left for Judy:
This is my second time participating in the March SOL, and I, too, have had days when my writing has gone unread (though not for 8 days straight.) I tell myself that I’m writing for myself, but getting feedback from others makes writing much less lonely. I wondered how it is that some people regularly get more than 10 comments when others are lucky to get one. Do they know these people outside of SOL? I hope it’s just due to the luck of when I post (which this year has been all over the place.) On the plus side, this experience has made me realize how important it is for my own students to have daily time to share their writing and hear what others think.Cara Wegryzen
Although I have now met several of my regular commenters in person (usually at NCTE, often in long book lines where I suddenly make eye contact with the person standing next to me and realize oh my gosh, that’s Catherine Flynn, whose blog I love! Catherine and I seem to have this experience every year at the Exhibit Hall at NCTE.), most I know only online.
So where do all those comments come from? There probably is a little bit of luck in it (and timing–publish early for more comments), but mostly they come from careful cultivation of online relationships and community.
Comments come from the year-round Slicing community. I think it’s much easier to build relationships in the year-round Tuesday slicing community than it is during March. It’s a much smaller group of dedicated bloggers, so you will see the same people each week–and they will see you.
Comments come from other connected learning communities online. Most of the more popular Slicers do more than slice on Tuesdays. They are active in other weekly blogging communities, such as It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? or Poetry Friday; they join annual events like #MustReadin2019, #letswrite2019, or #cyberPD. They blog regularly, and they’re often active on Twitter or in Facebook professional learning groups.
Comments come from reciprocating comments. If you visit the blogs of the people who comment on my blog, you’ll probably see a comment I left for them. Many Slicers value reciprocity as a way to build community: if you visit my blog and take the time to leave feedback, I’m going to try to visit your blog and leave a comment too.
Comments come from consistent comments. I love the serendipity of commenting of those slicers who post near me each day, but community is built through consistent commenting. Most days I have one or two newcomers who comment on my blog, but for the most part, it’s the same people reading and commenting every single day for the entire month. Some of my readers leave me 31 comments this month! And I leave 31 comments for them. I think this is probably the most overlooked and easiest way to build readers for your own blog: show up every single day in the comments section on the same blogs.
Comments come from copious comments. Three isn’t enough if you’re trying to build a regular readership for your blog. I’m off my regular schedule right now, but normally I comment on at least 10 slices a day (it’s often closer to 25). And normally I also reply to every comment I receive. In other words: lots and lots AND LOTS of comments.
And yes, comments also come from my mom. Thanks, Mom, for reading everything I write!
Where do your comments come from?