I get evidence almost every day that people are not reading my posts properly before they either comment, ask for a guest post or share it on social media.
People have become lazy when it comes to reading. Some could argue we live in a time-poor world. The concept of actually sitting down to read every single word in a post or article, savouring it all and taking the time to properly understand everything, is now a thing of the past.
This is particularly true amongst young people – they genuinely are not reading anything properly nowadays. I don't think they know how to. Unfortunately they are bombarded with content, so have had to learn how to sift the wheat from the chaff from an early age.
But this doesn't teach them how not reading things properly isn't a good idea when it comes to commenting. This infographic explains more:
And here's some code you could paste into your own posts (via the text mode) if you want to share this Infographic with your readers.
Is skim-reading a bad thing?
The average person now has an attention span which is less than a goldfish's. And we don't endlessly swim round glass bowls either. It has become a real problem with children and young people, who now expect to be continuously entertained and immediately gratified.
This probably has arisen due to social media being in real-time. We can receive instant replies to our social posts, resulting in bitty, disjointed conversations which contain no real substance. And they arrive so fast skim-reading has become imperative in order to keep up.
However, the ability to read things at a million miles an hour isn't necessarily a good thing. Much of what is valuable and worthy is missed. Even the old concept of spelling, grammar and sentence syntax is misconstrued and badly interpreted because of not reading things properly.
What is the point of missing the point?
I despair at the majority of guest post requests I receive. So many of them haven't even bothered to check out my blog, let alone read my posts. As a result they get the subject matter completely wrong. They offer to write posts about topics which are nothing to do with what I write about!
This is what I call 'missing the point'. If you are not reading everything properly, you aren't going to get even get anywhere near the correct gist of what is going on. As a result you make assumptions, always a bad thing in my book, which can be sometimes way off the mark.
You want to make a good impression on the blogger you want to guest post with? Then you need to show you have taken time to thoroughly read their content and make a concerted effort to understand it. This is exactly the same for bloggers and authors when it comes to writing comments.
What was the post about anyway?
It beggar's belief that people can get away with writing a comment on a post they haven't bothered to understand what it was about. Yet they do this all the time, and it is immediately obvious this is the case. And it's not just commenting, but requesting to write a guest post as well, on a blog they haven't bothered to read or acknowledge the subject.
It is important to remember you have been invited to comment. It is very easy for the blogger to shut down the commenting facilities on their blog. So if the comment box is open, at least make an effort to thoroughly read the post before submitting your point of view.
Writing a comment about what you want to write about is not acceptable. This is what spammers do. Comments are not somewhere for you to promote your business. This is an opportunity to acknowledge the subject (once you've fully understood it), find an element of the post which resonates with you, and tell the blogger/author how it relates to your life or business.
Surely it's better to have a correct opinion?
Everybody is entitled to have their own opinion, but expressing what you think will have far more value if it is relevant to what you are commenting on. Not reading the posts properly beforehand means you will be less likely to be relevant, and will offer something which is more likely to be rejected and deleted.
Even if you did read a bit of the post, and tried to make sense of it, it's best to make a concerted effort to avoid offering the wrong perspective. This usually results in your comment going off at a tangent. There are ways of writing a coherent comment whilst not knowing anything about the subject, as long as it's a bit more than just "Nice post".
Bloggers welcome interesting and alternative comments, even if they are a bit controversial. However, if you do disagree, it's best to do this politely, and with sufficient evidence and facts to back up your theory. This will certainly result in a response from the author, which could develop further into a discussion.
Do you always want to look foolish?
Those people who practice not reading blogs, posts and articles before responding with totally inappropriate comments are usually are unaware of how ridiculous they appear to the blogger or author. They are considered a waste of time, a nuisance, a blight in the commenting world, nothing more than a load of spammers.
Sometimes it's worth being aware that these comments may not have been written by humans, but by commenting bots programmed to spam as many blogs as possible. They are created in the hope that some blogs won't have put the necessary moderating guards in place, so that their comments are automatically published.
But if you are a real, bona fide commenter, the last thing you want to come across as is foolish. Your whole purpose is to communicate with the blogger or author to let them know how you have been affected by what they wrote. Therefore it is so important to take sufficient time to stop, properly read, understand and think before forming a considered contribution.
Is showing respect important to you?
People who continue to avoid reading blogs and articles properly before submitting a comment will continue to be tarnished as spammers. It's obvious they don't care about the blogger, their blog and all the hard work they have done to produce their content.
Showing tolerance and respect can go a long way towards being accepted. Especially if your objective is to become a regular commenter. This way you'll be more likely to get yourself noticed for your expertise, reputation and status within your industry.
Therefore it's a good thing to make an intentional effort to thoroughly read posts, work out their meaning, and see how you can relate to the subject. This will result in a much more worthwhile comment, something which shows your appreciation of the author. Being polite and considerate will open you up to further commenting, thus increasing your chances of making a connection.
Are you going to stop not reading posts from now on?
How about breaking a habit of a lifetime, and block out time in your schedule to focus on some proper reading for a change? I know this may sound strange for people with busy lifestyles, but you'd be amazed how much you would learn if you slowed down with your reading.
Allow yourself to actually read every word, savour its meaning, and understand it within the context of the article. This will pay you much more dividends than rushing through the text. Total comprehension of the subject, what the author is driving towards, and what the main message is, could be a life-changer for you as well!
And once you've managed to obtain all of this, why not increase your time out, and stop to think before writing you comment in return. Only then will you realise how detrimental not reading posts properly before replying has been for your engagement strategy.
Let me know what you think about this in the comments below, we would love to hear from you.