I’ve found an unusual dynamic brewing among bloggers and the Internet foodie cognoscenti. I’ve known for quite a while that a great way to build blog-brand awareness is to comment on other blogs. Simple. But to garner the most comment-ship, if you want to call it that, the best thing to do is respond to each of the comments that you get and be sure to post with frequency and even a bit of controversy. I found one thing disconcerting a while back, when a blogger that used to post comments frequently on my blog suddenly stopped. When I left a comment on her blog asking her why she stopped leaving me comments, she replied by saying that since I wasn’t returning the comments back, I (as in my blog) wasn’t worth the “investment” for her.
Many food readers (let’s call them consumers of food writing) may not even understand this because they’re not avid commenters. Either they’re “lurkers”, internet slang for people that simply read with out giving feedback, or they just don’t care. But every major information site and blog has some sort of feedback system, as they both drive traffic and often provide refreshing information, correction, or dialogue with regards to that particular post or article.
So this little dilemma about what to comment and how to comment. My take is: just give feedback because you care and because you want to, not because you want to get something in return. I think if the content is good, you will always get a decent number of comments. Many bloggers see the number of comments they receive as a certain “status” or validation – I wouldn’t fall into that trap either. Sometimes your posts just don’t generate the necessary feedback but that doesn’t mean your stuff isn’t good – just keep plugging away and writing about what’s interesting to you.
Now, if you want to make a quick name for yourself in the blogosphere, I think the best way to do it is to leave smart, witty comments that make an impact. I have to admit that I’m not always the best at this. Trying to leave good comments is easier said than done! But these comments are the modern day form of “Letters to the Editor” that are now going the way of the dinosaur since print publication is diving like a shelled U-boat. That said, don’t be a jerk by having your way with words under the veil of anonymity. It’s crass, rude, distasteful, irresponsible, and shameless. I’d like to think our “enlightened” generation is better than that (but I know better – we’re certainly degrading in that sense).
Comments are the public’s affirmation and lifeline to the reasonable and instantaneous exchange of information on this digital superhighway, and blogs are the utility pipes undergirding the flow. They’re constantly creating content, they’re easy mechanisms of information interplay, yet they generally follow one line, one slant, or one area (i.e. food, fashion, politics). Blogs are not merely an emerging force in the world of food writing and media – aggregately they are the leading influence, with denizens of bloggers/photographers chronicling recipes, restaurants, eateries, wines, and more. You don’t have to write your own blog – you can do everyone a favor by giving your two cents.