Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Epic Fail


I tried an experiment this week. I've noticed more and more bloggers responding to comments by email. I usually respond in my comments section, which I realize is not ideal because there's an excellent chance that person will never come back and read the comments. I do like this method, though, because when I read another blogger's comments, often I'm interested to see what that person had to say in response to someone else's comment. Also, if I'm really interested, I will go back and check a post again to see if the blogger replied, so it's not that these return comments are never read.

So I decided to try an experiment: I would reply by email to those people who left comments on my Sunday post. Here's where the epic fail part comes in. I'm going to tell you this at the risk of looking like a complete idiot. It's important to be able to laugh at ourselves, right?

I start by going to each commenter's profile, finding their email address, and manually adding it into my contacts list. Sure, it's time consuming, but I figure I'll only have to do it the first time. So I've sent a good twelve or so emails this way before I realize that when I receive one of these response emails, my comment is printed at the bottom of the email so I know what I said in the first place. Obviously that's not happening on these emails I'm creating from scratch, so these poor people will have no idea what I'm talking about. That's when I remember the handy little "subscribe to comments by email" button that I've never used. Super-duh! So I stopped about halfway through my list. So, if you didn't receive a response from your comment, I'm sorry. If your received a completely senseless email from me, I'm also sorry. Live and learn, right?

So, I went back and subscribed to my comments by email. The next time a comment came up, I hit the "reply" button, and my email was all set up. Nothing could be easier. Even easier than responding in the comments, I'd say.

Now I've tried both methods, and they both seem to work great. What I'd like to toss around today is this: How do you prefer to have other bloggers respond to your comments - in the comments section, in an email, or none of the above. And do you have any insights on either of these methods that you can share?

Happy Thursday, Everyone!

60 comments:

Lilah Pierce said...

Personally, I'm fine with receiving a comment to my comment, via your comments :) (Yes, I had fun typing that.) If I leave a comment for you, I come back and look to see if you reply. If I forget, well, the world won't end, right?

Susan Fields said...

Lilah - I'm glad you're fine with receiving a comment to your comment via the comments (you were having so much fun, I just had to try it!)

Thanks for sharing your comment. :)

Niki said...

I pop back and check, but now I have learnt (when I remember) to click the subscribe by email when I make a comment. :o)

Jayne said...

For me I like to pop back and check the comments - I like to see what other people have put as well. Didn't think of the email thing!

On my blog I sometimes get behind with my replies but I do reply to each comment. However I do worry that perhaps people won't see my replies and that I should be quicker (oh how I wish I could just do this full-time!). Your comment on my latest post did make me laugh - agree with the sugar!

KarenG said...

I used to go back and check and recheck comments, my own and everyone else's, on blogs I was following. Then I started following and commenting on a lot more blogs so sometimes I still do but more often not. I tried the suscribe by email to follow comments but that was too much. I haven't generally answered comments via email. I guess I'm pretty hit and miss with the whole thing. Hopefully that doesn't offend anyone. I do worry about it though.

Piedmont Writer said...

I comment in the comments and only the use the regular e-mail if there's something personal I wish to say to that person that shouldn't be said in the comments.

I don't use reply by email.

I also go back and read if the person has commented back to me. And I'm usually diappointed when I found out they didn't.

Aubrie said...

I didn't know about that! Thanks for sharing.
I think replying by email would be too time consuming for me.

Jen said...

Well good for you for taking a chance on trying to find a more simple route! I love to read my wonderful comments, and I love to see what others write, so I respond the way I'd like to have it done to me, in the little comment section provided down at the bottom of the blog! Hey everyone is different though!

Old Kitty said...

Oh Susan Fields!

I didn't know for a very long time that having my email live means that bloggers responding to my comments may wish to use this option so the response can also go to my email account.

I'd be so surprised when my email account would have lovely bloggers responding to my comments and I never knew how they did that!

lol!

I'm constantly and forever amazed what else blogger has to offer!

Well done you for discovering and sharing how to use the email thingy!

Take care
x

Joanne said...

I always reply in the comments because I tend to think of blogs as dialogues, with lots of back anf forth. Even if the original commenter doesn't return, any commenters who stop by can follow along and add to the talk going on.

Theresa Milstein said...

Susan, such a hard question! Elana Johnson started the recent trend, I think. She had a post about using e-mail. But I like the "conversation" I get on my blog. Some don't come back, but some do. And some commenters comment about what I've commented about. (Yeah, that sentence made sense.)

I don't always go back to see comments. I comment on too many blogs! But sometimes I do. There's no perfect way in the blogosphere. If only when we commented back it would do an automatic e-mail too. Blogspot, are you reading this?

MT said...

I'll say both. I like getting an email in response (saves me the time of checking comments on old blog posts), but I like seeing the whole back and forth thing too. I think I'll try the email sometimes. :) Thanks for the tip on 'how to'.

Kelly said...

I think both ways are fine, but I think commenting in the comment area is fun because more people can join in if they want. Sometimes there is really informative (or fun and silly) dialogue happening there!

Jaydee Morgan said...

I asked the same question recently as well. I'm still not decided what works, or which I like, better. Go with what works for you :)

Susan Fields said...

Niki - I know you pop back and check - remember when we had a little conversation in Sharon Mayhew's comment section? I almost thought about mentioning that in this post, but it was getting too long as it was. That is definitely a nice thing about responding in the comments section. :)

Jayne - Don't worry if you can't get back and comment soon enough - it's a nice thing, but I don't think anyone expects it. I used to be a tea with sugar-aholic, but now I'm just a black coffee-aholic. :)

Karen - I agree, don't worry about it - it's nice if you check back and the blogger's replied, or if they send an email, but I don't think anyone expects it - I know I sure don't (we've all got enough going on as it is!)

Anne - I'm liking your solution of commenting mostly in the comments section but using email for more personal responses. That's probably the way I'm leaning at this point. I did go back and read your response to my comment about posting my logline, and I very much appreciated your input on that.

Aubrie - The surprising thing is, I actually think the replying by email is faster and easier than replying in the comments, because if you have their comment in your email, you can just hit the "reply" button and you're good to go. But from the responses I'm reading, it sounds like many people like reading the blogger's return comments in the comments section anyway.

Susan Fields said...

Jen - I figure it doesn't hurt to experiment a little, right? But I'm glad I asked this question, it sounds like most people like things the way they were. :)

Old Kitty - Blogger is pretty amazing, isn't it? There's still so much about it I don't know, and then I'll see somebody do something and I can't for the life of me figure out how they did it. So, even though I botched my experiment, I definitely learned something. :)

Joanne - I agree, that's one thing I really like about replying in the comments section. Often I'll learn more in the comments section than I did in the actual post, so it's great to have that dialogue going on.

Theresa - I know, I used to check back on other people's comments more than I do now, but now I just go to too many blogs, so I only check back if there was something that particularly stuck out to me. I do always appreciate it when I got back to a comments section and see that the blogger replied to my comment, though.

MT - one more thing on the "how-to" - maybe there's a better way, but the only way I found to subscribe to the comments was to leave a comment in the first place. I don't think the little option comes up until you're actually leaving a comment. So then I guess you could leave a comment, subscribe by email, and then delete the comment.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Not tried the email trick, although some bloggers respond that way. I just get so many emails already - 300+ a day! And I like the interaction on my blog.

Susan Fields said...

Kelly - I agree - I do like to read the comments section and see the blogger's replies, even to other people's comments, if I have time. It's fun to have that back-and-forth.

Jaydee - I think there are definite benefits both ways. I agree - there won't necessarily be one "best" solution for everyone and every situation.

Susan Fields said...

L. Diane - 300 emails a day?! I can't imagine! If I got that many, I don't think I'd be happy about getting a whole bunch more.

Christine Danek said...

I sometimes pop back. I have a limited amount of time so I sometimes don't get to see what your response would be. Sorry. I don't always get to respond to people who comment on my blog for the same reason. I don't mean to be rude. I read all of them I just don't get the time to respond. Sorry blogger buddies--I love all of you and love your comments. So don't stop.:) Emailing your comment is fine. I read that too. It's nice to get mail.:)

Cynthia Reese said...

I like the comments in the comment trail, mainly because it creates a little mini-forum. If folks didn't see the comments, then they might not get the idea that they ultimately shared.

Caledonia Lass said...

I usually post my reply in the comments section as well. There are quite a few that have the "no-reply" thing going on in their email address when I try to respond. I usually will shoot off an email if I am able, but leaving a comment of my own is my usual.
Have a great day!

Myrna Foster said...

I like replies in the comments section better for a lot of the reasons that have already been listed, but whatever you want to do is fine.

Hema P. said...

Good question, Susan! I prefer to respond to the comments in my own blog via the blog's comments section, as oppossed to personal email, because that is the least intrusive. This way, the response is there for the reader to come back to if he/she so wishes.

Susan Fields said...

Christine - We're all so busy, a lot of times it's hard to get back and comment. That's okay, I think everyone understands that. And yes, I do like to get the emails, too - they're always fun to read.

Cynthia - I like the mini-forum, too. Sometimes some great conversations go on there.

Caledonia - I haven't run into the No Reply thing yet, but then again, I haven't tried to send that many emails. You have a great day, too!

Myrna - I still want to know why Jackee's baskets are lucky! I'll have to post a comment on your blog, in case you don't get back here to read my reply to your comment. :)

Hema - Great point! That's one thing about the emails that concerns me, is that maybe that person would rather not get an email from me, though I always love when I get them from other bloggers.

Elaine AM Smith said...

I'm happy with replies in the replies: either on the Blog I commented on or over on mine. Dialogue is great.

Jackee said...

Well, at least your fail turned into a success in the end. :o)

I like to comment by email because that way I know the messages get to them, are more personal, and honestly... it's easier on me.

I rarely check back in the comments to see if they've responded there because I never have enough time to blog as I'd like. But then again, I've already defended myself on these points before, haven't I? :o)

Susan Fields said...

Elaine - yes, dialogue is great. Sometimes I reply to an email reply, in fact, fairly often. But it's nice to see what other bloggers are talking about, also.

Jackee - I know, this subject has been discussed before. I do think it's just a personal decision - whatever works best for you - and it won't be the same for all of us, so I was interested to find out what my followers think so I can decide what's best for me. Now that I know you prefer email, I'll try to remember to reply to your comments that way. I'm really not sold on either method, but I'd like to do whatever works best for the people who are kind enough to leave me comments - like you! :)

Myrna Foster said...

Read this post. It's funny, and it'll explain why I said Jackee's baskets are lucky. http://storyqueenscastle.blogspot.com/2010/03/basket-of-luck-contest.html

Myrna Foster said...

I wish I knew why sometimes those actually turn into links and sometimes they don't. I'm sorry you have to type it.

Susan Fields said...

Thanks Myrna - I just read that post. If an agent loves my manuscript, I will so be copying her!

Niki said...

hehe yes I do remember that conversation. I think I was following you all round blogsphere that day :o)

Susan Fields said...

Niki - See? We're doing it again! :)

Christi Goddard said...

I don't use the email functions at all. I comment, then check back when the blogger posts a new blog to see if they replied to my comment from the last one. In fact... I'm having serious deja vu here... I think I've said that already.

Susan Fields said...

Christi - I'm getting deja vu on this post too. I think I've typed the words "comment" and "blogger" at least fifty times today. :)

Tess said...

Look at you being all creative and thoughtful. I'm impressed!

and, I prefer the comment thread. If I had a response in my email box from every blog I commented on .. well ,that would be a mess.

Susan Fields said...

Tess - good point! I do get a few, and I always enjoy reading them, but it could get out of hand quickly if we all did that, I suppose.

Ben Hutchins said...

Can I just say, comment :)

Susan Fields said...

Ben - of course you can! Thanks for your input. :)

Paul C said...

I like to do a blanket comment at the end of the day for each of my posts. I tend to lift out the themes of the comments and thank my readers for taking the time to leave a note. I am afraid of showing favouritism. (I guess it's the teacher coming out in me.)I like your explanation about a direct email. Thanks.

Susan Fields said...

Paul - I wasn't as clear in my post as I should have been, but (as far as I can tell) you can't subscribe to comments by email until you've left a comment. It took me a while to figure that one out. You can always go back and delete the comment once you've posted it. I'm sure more experienced bloggers out there have a better way.

I like how you do a blanket comment that lifts out the themes of the comments - a nice, concise wrap-up - great idea!

T.J. Carson said...

Wow never really thought about it. If I commented on something I felt truly passionate about then I check back and maybe reply to their replies of my initial comment (did that make sense?). I tried subscribing by email but that got a little annoying since I would get these other comments that other people were posting with short comments like "congratulations" "what a great post" "cool idea", you know... nothing really profound, more of an observation than brain buster comment. When I comment on people's post I say more than "nice", I like to give my opinion and give the blogger the attention their post deserves. If I have nothing to say about their post but want to give them some blog love, I look through some of their other posts and find one or two or three that speak to me and go to town...as you can see ahaha. It feels nice to give and receive more. But I think I would prefer to just check back to the post I've commented on. (BTW replied to your comment on my wednesday post :)).

Susan Fields said...

Hi T.J. - I replied to your comment on my comment on your Wednesday post. :)

Southpaw said...

I'm one of those who prefer comments to comments in the comment section as well.

Talli Roland said...

Emails are nice, but personally I don't care too much if a blogger doesn't respond to my comment. I'm mostly commenting to let them know I was there and enjoyed their post, not to enter into a dialogue.

Susan Fields said...

Southpaw - I'm definitely noticing a trend here. :)

Talli - There are times when I hope the blogger will respond to my comment, but for the most part I don't go back and check, either. I think emails are nice, too.

T.J. Carson said...

Awesome, that actually works really well for me. I just started reading Shelley's and school gets out in less than 3 weeks (so there's alot of work plus one novel to read) so once summer vay-cay starts I'll have tons of time! That works out perfectly. Take your time on your edits, I'm in no hurry. :)

Jai Joshi said...

Any which way they like. I'm not too picky about it but it's nice to see the comments all together on the blog post itself. Still, I'm happy to hear from readers however they want to contact me.

Jai

Lola Sharp said...

I don't mind if other blogs reply to my comment via email, but I rarely do so.

I don't always respond to every single comment on my blog, though I read every single one. I do make sure to answer any questions.

I like to spend the bulk of my time reading and commenting on all of YOUR blogs! :)

Happy Mother's Day and weekend!
Love,
Lola

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'm mixed as to what I do. If the individual isn't 'non-blogger reply' then I'll reply to their message via email. Sometimes I'll leave a comment on the post, but I know not everyone reads those comment (er, like me). It's too time consuming.

T.J. Carson said...

WINNER!

T.J. Carson said...

Oh yeah and email me @ sarahem@udel.edu for the whole beta buddy thing!

Lynn said...

I haven't tried that email trick. I usually don't check back to see if someone has replied to my comment. I comment to let someone know I was there and enjoyed their post. Right now I'll comment back on my blog, and go visit the bloggers that commented, and then comment on their blog. Feels like a supportive community that way!

Susan Fields said...

T.J. - okay, I'm looking forward to it! And I'm so excited to be a winner - I'll be looking forward to seeing the other winners when your blogger starts cooperating again. :(

Jai - I'm with you, either way is fine with me, too.

Lola - yes, I agree, I like to spend most of my time reading and commenting on other blogs - there's so much good stuff out there I like to keep up on!

Stina - thanks for you input, it's great to hear how everyone else does it!

Lynn - Yes, I think we have a very supportive community here, I love it!

Lilah Pierce said...

Susan, sorry it won't work for you, again! I'm going to talk to Simply Linked and see if there is something about certain sites or emails that we should know. But I just want to be sure that you're *not* copy and pasting your address from the address bar directly. When you do that, it copies the http:// part, and that is already in the box.

T.J. Carson said...

Blog is working! Go see your win :)

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Wow, Susan...I've been wondering the same thing this week. I like to conversational feeling that comment responses on the blog gives. I've been doing some private email responses, but it doesn't feel as natural as doing in on my blog. I go subscribe via email if I leave a post I thought worthy of a response on somones blog.

Susan Fields said...

Lilah - Thanks for signing me up!

T.J. - Hooray! I'm so glad Blogger's working for you again.

Sharon - Thanks for you input! I think a mixture of both seems like a good solution.

SKIZO said...

In your honour and in the honour of wall the Writwrs and Poets, I published an ilustration.

Diane J. said...

I am so glad I stumbled across your blog. I have been flustered by this same question. Sometimes I think responding in the comment section is best, but the email is so much easier and I know the person will see my response. I just don't want people to feel like I'm ignoring them.

Have a great day!