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10 differences between commenting on social media and blogs

social media commenting

If you prefer to comment on social media rather than blogs, I'm not surprised.

The commenting trend transferred from blogs to social media in 2014 after some popular and eminent bloggers turned their commenting systems off.

This resulted in a mass change in mindset in how to comment. The environment was different, and devices and mechanisms for commenting developed to accommodate this.

Why move to social media?

It was all due to a rise in spam. Spamming became a real problem, mostly because it was done via robots. And this was delivered with such voracity it completely swamped out real comments for some bloggers.

Those who had the task to moderate comments were inundated with useless or inappropriate comments. Thousands of them every day! Now for those people who didn't get many comments this was something they couldn't fathom what an absolute nuisance this was.

It was totally understandable that drastic action needed to be taken. Obviously there was a need to continue engaging with readers, but there was also a need to save time and sanity for those who managed the blog.

What impact did this have on commenting?

Closing the comments on a blog means the readers are unable to submit their responses in situ, underneath the post in question. This meant the blog became a static website, with no means of interaction between readers and the blogger.

The main intent was to move commenting to social media. However, this lost the connection to the original post. There was a physical move to a different platform, which lessened the spontaneity of commenting. And some readers may have felt it was imposing to seek out the author on social media purely to say they liked the post.

And commenting on social media commands a different approach. It is another way of communicating, socialising and making contact. It expects a different style of writing and expression.

Response rates

The first thing to note is pace; delivery, response, expectations and answers. Social media is a fast moving environment; nothing sticks around for long. It thrives on instant reactions and responses, all delivered in real time.

Blog comments don't have that luxury. Because of spam, it is necessary to have moderation systems in place to check comments before they are published. This results in a delay in the comment getting published and a reply being written.

This means blog comments need to be written to accommodate that delay. A lack of instant response requires more substantial content. And the reader requires patience as well as a desire to return to check the comment has been accepted.

Moderation

Social media comments are not moderated. This means they are instantly published, which is gratifying for the commenter. However, it also means that there is no check on these comments, and anything is published regardless of whether it is suitable or not.

Blog comments should be moderated, because it is wise action to do. Spammers target blogs much more than social media, and if unregulated could cause harm if their comments are published. Spam comments could contain links that reduce the blog's ranking and drive readers away.

Moderation prevents blog comments from happening in real time. But this delay is to safeguard the blog and its readers. Therefore blog comments need to be written in a different style to overcome this barrier to instant communication.

Longevity

Social media comments are not meant to last a long time. They are a spontaneous reaction to what's been said, or to other comments before them. They are expected to be superseded by later posts and comments, so their content is equally as ethereal.

However, blog comments will last forever (or for as long as the blog exists), directly under the post they refer to. They may get a bit swamped if the blog is very popular, but they are still accessible.

Ironically some readers are reluctant to comment on blogs because they consider these contributions as being more visible. Even though social media has a much larger audience, and anyone can read a comment there, a blog comment has more staying power and deemed to be more permanent.

Length

Social media comments are about instant communication. They are shorter, less descriptive, and only touch on a specific problem or topic. Their nature is to be responsive to a statement, rather than to provide a more coherent answer to a question or problem.

Blog comments require more in-depth content. As they are unable to respond in real time, considerably more information is needed to make the comment worthwhile. Here is a chance to solve a problem or answer a frequently asked question, or enhance the host post through conversation or discussion.

This makes writing a blog comment more difficult. Some thought is needed beforehand, rather than a knee-jerk response usually reserved for social media commenting. This is because there won't be the instant response real time social commenting provides, so a quick-fire conversation is not possible.

Sociability

Social media lives up to its name by being sociable. This is where friends communicate with each other, as well as making new relationships. This environment allows free expression and the ability to watch and listen before jumping in with a comment. There is very little restriction to hinder you.

Blogs may be written for a readership, but in reality are accessed by strangers. Search results place posts in front of a new audience who may be unacquainted with the blog. Therefore blog comments tend to show more respect for the author.

However, if you want to express an opinion in more than a few words, blog commenting provides this opportunity. Here you can really explore the subject at a much deeper level than you could on social media.

Content

In social media you can comment about anything! Even if it is unrelated to the original subject, it seems acceptable to go off on a tangent as long as it's interesting or entertaining. This is using the social aspect to develop your personality and talk about your passions.

Blog comments require more focus. It is necessary to thoroughly read the post and other comments first before submitting your observation or point of view. And it is also important to keep to the subject, as mentioning anything else is not tolerated.

Blog comments are about establishing your personality, showcasing your expertise or enhancing the post with added value. Social media develops your personality through unhindered conversations which are easier to follow because of the immediate response.

Audience

Social media should be used to find and connect with people. Users seek out influential followers or important personalities as well as their immediate friends. Existing status updates and comments are readily read and commented on as a way of drawing attention and hopefully creating a conversation.

Blog commenters are more reserved. Gaining a regular readership means they either approve or are in awe of what you write about. Even if they haven't sought out the blogger, they will have been attracted by the quality of the content.

Therefore bloggers need to be aware it takes courage to write a blog comment. They need to write their posts to encourage readers to have their say, and the mechanism made easier to use. Blogs should be seen as a safe haven for expression and showing appreciation.

Community

Social media is a massive community. Huge. Vast. All the action can be potentially seen by all sorts of people, good, bad and ugly. Users are much more exposed to inappropriate comments and fake news. And anything good or worthy doesn't hang around for long.

Blogs are a more confined space to develop a community of like-minded readers. This is a safe place to express an opinion, knowing it will be appreciated by others who understand your point of view.

And because blog comments are moderated, any spam, irrelevant, disagreeable or trollish comments are easily deleted before they can offend anyone. This in turns helps to develop a much stronger community that could help each other.

Purpose

Social media commenting can be successful on an ad hoc basis. It depends upon understanding who you are communicating to, and using the correct words they can relate to. It's easy to engage and create conversations without any purpose, and yet still achieve results.

Blog commenting will fare much better if it is used with a goal in mind. Merely populating comment boxes with inappropriately short responses won't get you anywhere. The focus should be to continue the blog post through conversation and suitable enhancement.

Therefore blog comments need to be written with the content in mind. One aim is to seek approval from the blog's author and fellow readers. So offering relevance and value means the comment is more likely to get published.

Competition

Social media commenting can be tailored to target a particular demographic. However, since the aim is to attract attention through social engagement, comments need to be written to please a wider audience. This is more challenging in such a competitive environment.

Blogs are fortunate to not encounter this kind of competition (unless you belong to a linky or a popular subject group). They also target a specific kind of audience, but the reach is limited and dependent upon sharing and engagement from readers.

Blogging isn't the same as updating on social media. Communication varies due to space restrictions and audience expectations. Therefore the kind of comments that arise needs to be adapted to suit their environment.

Do you have any other comparisons?

Perhaps you are more comfortable and confident to comment on social media. Or perhaps you prefer the quiet confinement of a blog to have your say. Or you may even enjoy both platforms! Let me know your opinions on this subject in the comment box below.

Please leave a comment below, we would love to hear from you!


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  • I’m nervous to post after your comments about moderation! I’d not thought about that aspect – that blog hosts may not publish your comment if it doesn’t add anything to the conversation. Interesting.

    For me, I’ve often felt that a blog is someone’s personal space and to comment is to invade that space. Whereas social media seems much more open and public.

    I’ve no idea why I’ve felt like this as I write blogs to encourage conversation and learn from others.

    As my boys would say “you need to keep a growth mindset”!

    • Thank you for your comment, Tracey-Jane. You cover many topics here.

      Moderation is purely up to the blogger’s discretion. They can publish all comments, or only a select few. However, it is wise to include some you may not actually like, because they offer an alternative point of view or disagree with you. These are the ones that show you have a diverse readership, which makes your blog more interesting.

      Blogs are personal, and social media is less so. I deem my profile pages are just as personal as my blogs. However, I welcome comments on both. If you are happy to post comments on your friend’s Facebook profile page, you should do the same for their blog.

      And you’re right, blogs should be written to encourage conversation. You can say so much more in a post than you can in a social update. ‘Tis a pity that the conversation is more likely to happen on social media than on your blog. But then that is the way it has been designed and what people expect.

      • Tracey-Jane Hughes says:

        Thanks Alice. Lots to consider.

        I do feel that we sometimes consider so much we don’t do anything! So I need to be careful about that too! 😉

  • Laura says:

    I like the comparison. It gives me a sound reason to go comment on someone’s blog site if I want to build a relationship with them.

    I’m also guilty of commenting on social media because it’s fast…. and in the old days on LI commenting in the discussions about a blog post were dynamic (not now).

    I’ve been wondering about Medium – it’s kind of a cross between a writing space and a social space… sometimes I don’t comment there because I don’t have time to log in.

    Clearly, like Tracey-Jane, I have some things to think about now! Thank you!

    • Hi Laura, thanks for commenting. Social media is fast, but that’s because you don’t need to put too much thought into it. Blog commenting requires you to stop and really think about what you want to say.

      Commenting in the old days were dynamic, but social media has scuppered all of this. Facebook has changed its algorithms to focus on more meaningful comments, in an attempt to prevent this ping-ponging way of commenting. We shall see if they succeed.

      Medium hinders commenting because it requires you to log in. This is marginally better than blogs who close their comments, but this is still a barrier. And comment systems that require you to remember your social media passwords is also a complete bind.

      It is interesting you say you don’t have the time to log in to comment on Medium. Is this time factor another reason why social media has taken over from blog commenting?

  • Laura says:

    Comment 2: It feels weird… I see a post on Esther’s blog share group or Sarah’s 30 day challenge… then I go to the blog to comment… the one on FB feels “lonely” – but it seems weird to copy the comment from here to there… maybe I’ll develop standard text that can be easily pasted: please see my response in the blog post comments.

    • Hi Laura, the Facebook comment is lonely because it is disassociated with the blog post you are commenting about, unless you are able to add it below a thread in a group.

      However, I would not recommend you copying comments from one platform to another. Duplication is not tolerated by both readers and the search engines. It could be seen as plagiarism or even classed as spam, as that is what spammers do to thousands of unfortunate blogs to try to succeed in spreading their mischief.

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