My Online Voice

What does your online voice sound like? We’ve all got one. We all make decisions about what our internet presence is going to be, but how often do we take the time to try and think about that objectively?

The reason I ask is that I worry, occasionally, about mine.

Ali over at 12 Books in 12 Months wrote a great post a while back about ‘how to blog, and the importance of commenting on other people’s blog posts. (I say a while back – I thought it was a few months ago, but it was actually last February!)

I hardly EVER comment on other people’s blogs, and I worry sometimes that other bloggers may think me unfriendly because of it. That’s not the case at all. My online voice is just like my real life voice, and I only comment if I really feel I’ve got something new and interesting to contribute.

I used to be put under pressure – by teachers at school and then by tutors at university – who would tell me to speak up more in class, and to share my thoughts out loud more often. “Come on,” they’d say. “You’ve got valuable contributions to make.” But that’s just not how I work. It’s not a lack of confidence, or shyness, it’s just how my brain works. I observe, and listen, and then take time to formulate my thoughts.

Blogging is the same.

If I’ve really enjoyed someone else’s blog post, rather than commenting I’ll quite often share it on Twitter or on my Facebook page, so that other people can enjoy it too. If something really inspires me, I’ll write a post about it, and then link back to the original.

But I’m not really one to leave a comment just for the sake of it saying ‘nice pic’ or ‘great post’. More often than not I’ll find myself only commenting on a posts I strongly disagree with, rather than ones that have me nodding along in agreement.

But is that fair? I love getting comments on my own blog. (even if they do just say ‘nice pic‘ or ‘great post‘). Is it greedy to want that affirmation on my own blog if I’m not providing it for others? Is it a bit selfish to expect other people to understand that my online voice is just a bit quieter than theirs?

What do you think? What does your voice sound like online?

28 responses

  1. “What do you think? What does your voice sound like online?”
    If you enjoy positive feedback, then it would seem to make sense that others may too?
    Minimally, if you enjoyed a post say so, simply?

  2. Ah now I do this sometimes, hopefully not quite ‘nice post’ but not a lengthy in depth comment. I think for me it’s possibly a selfish thing. So for example halfway through the summer hols I realised I had been so caught up in ‘real life’ and setting up new stuff that I hadn’t read your blog in 3 or 4 weeks so I swung by and commented on the first post I saw, a 366 photo post I think. Now I probably only said something like ‘lovely photo as always’ but the comment wasn’t for comments sake – it was to let you know that I had visited your blog and thought of you.

    I think what I am trying to say is that sometimes I feel that leaving a comment, no matter how short, can be more than a passing comment but a sort of blogger to blogger ‘heads up’ and sort new skool version of the old skool ‘I wuz ere’ !

  3. I hardly comment on other blogs either. Just as you pointed out I usually share posts I like on different mediums, like G+, twitter, Facebook, pinterest and if I really love the post I put it on ‘loveallblogs’.

    So yes i probably should comment on blogs I read more often?

  4. Really interesting post. I think my online voice is much the same as my real life voice. I chat far too much in real life and that’s probably reflected online. I don’t always have something witty to contribute, but I like to be part of the conversation, because that’s just me – in real life AND online. x

  5. *Doesn’t leave comment*

    Only joking! *rolls eyes at self*

    I know I have a different voice online to my real life one. I’m pretty shy in person, at least until I get to know a person/get drunk enough to not care, whereas online I’m pretty happy to say what I think. Of course that’s helped by having as much time as I need to consider my responses.

    I quite like that although the pageviews on my blog have dropped dramatically over the last couple of months I am still getting the engagement of comments, and that they tend to be more in depth than just “great post”. Much as I’d like to be able to say I’m blogging for myself, that’s simply not true, if I had no indication at all that people were reading, whether it is on the stats page or in the comment box, I’d probably have stopped writing posts by now.

    Great post 😉

  6. After 10 years blogging I can say with certainty that I’d rather have 1 great, thought-out comment than 10 “nice pics”, that way I can maintain a dialogue with the commenter (which is kinda the point, I feel?)

  7. I know what you mean, but I’ve come to the conclusion that the idea you must comment in blogs to get comments is actually not true. I comment in blogs that provoke a response and often they are not bloggers who comment on mine. Also I don’t always comment on the blogs of people who do comment on mine. How really does anyone know whether you or I comment in blogs. I think perhaps it’s more important to welcome people to your blog with good content and responses to their comments.

    Great post 😉

  8. This is a tricky one. When I started out – and didn’t get many comments on my posts – I was dismayed and really felt like no-one was actually reading.
    I was told by many bloggers that I’d need to give a few comments, in order to receive.
    And I have found that, once I’ve commented on a post I’ve really enjoyed, that blogger suddenly pops up with a comment somewhere on my blog.
    But life takes over and I don’t have time to be constantly posting “I agree” and “nice pic”.
    There are some bloggers I read and comment on who never comment back. But because I like them, I don’t change my reading habits.
    I’d love you to comment on something I’ve written – but I equally appreciate that you retweet my stuff a lot.
    For me, I take the time occasionally (once a week if I can manage it) to get around the blogosphere and drop a few of my words of wisdom (if I have any).
    But I think you can tell when someone has forced themselves to comment. You need to be yourself and do what’s natural to you.

  9. Leaving comments is good practise I think 🙂 It generates a continuing nourishment for the global community – people often write only one word at the end of my posts – “Beautiful” – and just that one word buoys me up, and makes me smile!

  10. I don’t think it’s greedy to want people to comment just because you comment in moderation. By taking a nice pic or writing a great post you’ve already put in as much or more time and effort than you’d probably spend on a brief comment. In the past I have found myself thinking I should get into the habit of commenting more, then caught myself feeling very cynical – am I in fact purely trawling round blogs making superfluous comments in the hope someone will return the favour?! That’s no way to live…

    Anyway, in answer to your question, my online voice is probably louder and more confident than my real life one. I suspect this is down to the power that comes from being able to edit things before other people see them. Also I would be reading your online voice even if you didn’t share my stuff (thanks for linking back to my post!), because I like it.

  11. I loved this post. I’ve been thinking about this lately myself.

    My online voice is often a little more optimistic than I may be feeling. I try to always end on an up note–sort of a “fake it till you make it” thing. I do it as much for myself as for my readers.

  12. I like getting comments so I figure other people do too. So I leave comments. Not always a literary masterpiece, but it shows I’ve passed by and have liked what I read. I don’t just leave a comment for comments sake though. Hopefully I haven’t contradicted myself there 😉

  13. Pingback: Subjective truth, Singing politicians and Scantily-clad bodies – Scottish Roundup

  14. I do leave “I love this!” comments because sometimes I don’t have anything to add to a discussion but I do genuinely love the post. I believe in telling people when they do something good (hence my mission to always tell people about good customer service) and leaving them a comment takes seconds but can mean a lot.
    I think if you like something you should say so. If you write a post you’re really proud of and no one comments on it how do you know if they liked it or not? You might be able to see that 100 people have viewed it and you might have seen a couple of RTs, but really you don’t know what they’re thinking about it.
    I think it’s good manners, really.

    • And I forgot to say that I also give my online voice a lot of thought. I have a Twitter account that’s separate from my StitchNStretch one and it’s so so different. I hold strong views on certain things that I wouldn’t bring into my blogging world because they’re not relevant to what I write about but would alienate some of my readers. It’s important to consider how you come across but it’s nice to have the freedom to decide how you want to be seen and to have the time to make sure you don’t accidentally slip up. If only real life could be like that!

  15. Interesting post. I write as I speak (mostly), I comment when I feel I have something to say, I share on social media, I save things on bolt for future reference. The wonderful thing about the internet is that we all use it in the way that works for us. No excuses necessary.

  16. I find this really interesting, I am a new blogger and personally really enjoy getting comments on my blog, its nice to know that people are actually reading it even if it is just a quick one liner I still like reading comments. Maybe its because its all still new to me and I feel I need a bit of validation or something, I don’t know.
    I dont always comment on every blog I read because I think I would be spending my life glued to my computer screen but if I see something that I feel the urge to comment on then I will, whether it is a one liner or a big comment. I don’t do it so others will comment on mine, but its still a nice feeling when they do.
    If I like someones blog I wouldnt stop reading it simply because they didnt comment on mine,
    in my opinion whether someone retweets, reblogs, facebooks or comments on one of your posts it all means the same thing, that they like your blog, which is good enough for me.
    BTW I like getting ‘likes’ as well. . . .I know I am so superficial 😉

  17. Great post! I think its important to just be very true to yourself – you shouldn’t feel in a position – where you ‘have to’ comment. I will always carry on reading blogs, even though the writer might not comment on mine.

  18. I think it also depends on HOW you are reading. I read most blogs via Google Reader. So I don’t even see the option to comment unless I am so moved by the piece that I click through to the original blog.

  19. Very valid question and a ‘great post’ :0) Seriously I’ve always committed even in my first days of my blogging journey. However short in order that the writer knows how much I appreciated the piece and it really didn’t matter how popular they were or not. I’m sure the bloggers who’s work you tweeted appreciated you spreading the word, but its also lovely for your to comment, in order that they get o know you as well. You have something to say and to share, and the blog is vast. I’ve found many wonderful blogs via the comments their writers left for me.

  20. I think you are doing just fine. I think there can be a lot of pressure to comment left, right and centre on other people’s blogs when you get started blogging, it is only when you find your feet as a blogger that you hopefully get into your groove. I’ve always tried never to leave pointless comments, but the reality is that commenting can suck up a lot of time. So, like you, I am much more likely to tweet or FB a post that I really like, it is quicker and also hopefully helps drive more traffic to see the post, which can only be a good thing for whoever put their time into writing it. I think the first rule of blogging should be to do what feels right for you, that’s how you can be sure that your true voice is heard and understood.

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