GUEST BLOG: But that’s not what I was saying! How to respond to commenters on your blog!
We’ve all written what we thought was a meaningful and thought provoking blog post that clearly and concisely hits all the points. Upon publishing the blog for the public to read we come to find that a reader has completely missed the point. Do you try to engage your reader in additional dialogue to make them understand your viewpoint? Or do you allow them to have their interpretation? Today’s guest blogger Danielle Navonne shares her experience in this authentic post on responding to blog commenters:
If you’ve done any form of online writing, you know the excitement that comes from receiving new comments on your work. As a fairly new blogger, my excitement over the first comment on my new post was quickly crushed when I realized the comment not only disagreed with my point (which is fine), it totally missed the point of my post.
I wasn’t quite sure what to do: “Was my writing unclear? Should I edit the original post so there’s absolutely no room for misinterpretation again?”
I stared at my post incessantly, trying to find a way to edit my work without compromising its original purpose. After 40 minutes, I realized that there was actually no way to change my work and incorporate a point that wasn’t even a part of my original purpose, without compromising the post in the process. Furthermore, if I started editing posts based on every single not-so-great comment, I’d be editing original posts every other week!
This incident taught me that dealing with disgruntled readers is all about my actions and reflections.
• Never respond/act immediately. “Take 5” and sort through your emotions. My emotions almost led me to compromise my work. (As you’re postponing your response, you may also find that other readers will post comments that counter the negativity before you even say anything. This happened in my case.)
• Respond graciously once you have processed your emotions. Thank him/her for joining the conversation, reading, etc. Your readers will also respect your ability to engage a differing opinion.
• If you’re dealing with something more serious (i.e., sexist, racist comments), you’ll need to consider deleting and addressing the comment more aggressively.
• Listen. If there is value in the comment, take that part and toss the rest.
• You have started a discourse on your topic. As writers, we’re seeking to invoke reaction/reflection in our readers and ourselves. Regardless of agreement, this reader has obviously given thought to your topic.
• Remember that your truth is not everyone’s truth, and that’s perfectly OK.
• Most Important: Remember your original purpose for the post. Don’t make edits or deeply engage discussion that distracts from your purpose. If the comment digs deeper into your purpose, engage it. But don’t go back and forth on something that will take focus off of your original goal.
As was my case in the situation above, our goal should always be to write in a way that authentically conveys a message. Never compromise your work for readership. Remain true to the words that come to you. They will always speak for themselves to those who are listening.
Have you had a disgruntled reader? What was your approach? Please share in the comment section below.
Danielle Navonne is a blogger and freelance writer, committed to providing insight, information, and thought-provoking conversations that inspire readers to live more fulfilling and authentic lives. Committed to living authentically and writing transparently, her blog, “Living Write” can be found here: www.daniellenavonne.wordpress.com. You can also find Danielle on Facebook and Twitter.