Jeff O'Handley, Author

Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

Hannibal Says

“Quid pro quo, Clarice–comment on my blog, I’ll comment on yours.”

Doesn’t social media feel this way sometimes? Someone has just left a comment on your blog; a new person has just signed on as a follower–what next? Well, the way a lot of people see it, you should just jump on over to their blog and leave a comment for them. And follow them, too. Quid pro quo, as the not-so-good Dr. Lecter would say.

It makes sense: this is social media, after all, and the point of it, as far as I know, is reaching out and connecting with others, which is exactly what happens when we follow and are followed. But I don’t like that sense of obligation, that pressure. Am I alone on this? Do you believe we should automatically follow our followers and comment on our commenters?


When I used the phrase “comment on our commenters” I meant it as in going to their blogs and commenting on their posts. As I read over the comments here and looked again at that last line, I see I was not clear about that. I absolutely agree that if someone makes a comment here, they deserve a response, and over the last couple of years I’ve played around with different response methods–the nested reply to each comment, the personal e-mail response to each comment, and the currently-in-use method of gang replies. I sometimes miss people, but I try not to. So. Do you feel that someone leaving a comment on your blog means you should automatically go to their blog and leave a comment on their most recent post? Thanks for reading and commenting, and sorry for the confusion.

6 Responses

  1. For the most part, I agree. I figure if someone has commented on or followed my blog, we're probably interested in the same kinds of things (namely writing and reading). However, there are some exceptions. Spammers obviously. If I pop over to their blog and something about it makes me uncomfortable, I don't follow. Sometimes not even comment if I'm really uncomfortable 🙂

  2. In some ways I agree with you. It can be a real time commitment to do that. But I've made some great blogging friends through it, so I won't complain.

  3. I do check out new people who have commented on my site. If they have a blog (sometimes they don't) and I can read it (no white letters on black backgrounds!), AND it looks interesting (so many stipulations, huh?), I'll add them to my list. Doesn't mean I'll read them all the time. Not unless they become a regular on my blog or their blog post draws my attention. But if I comment on their blog a few times and never get a response? Bye-bye!

    I always comment on my commenters. Well… except for spam. Those, I delete. But I haven't had that in a long time (thank goodness). If I didn't comment on the commenters, then why bother having a blog? Or accept comments at all? I like the two-way interaction.

  4. I'd say yes with the exception of blogs that do nothing but plug products (even if they're books). I hate hard sellers and want to feel I'm connecting with a real person.

  5. There's no question, I've met some great people through blogging, some people I would consider actual friends. But I realize now after reading Stacy's comment in particular, and reading my own last line in the blog, that I did not make this clear. Commenting on comments, here, in this blog–absolutely. Sometimes I'm a little slow, but I do it and I believe in it. Two-way interaction is what it's about, though it is difficult to attain in blogger format. However, what I meant was, do you feel like we should automatically zip off and comment on their blogs? As in, "Oh, I got comments from Donna, Stacy, Lexa and Jemi, now I have to visit each of them in turn and leave comments on their blogs."

  6. Okay, now. To answer THAT question, No. Most likely I already FOLLOW the commenter. I may have visited their blog, but if there wasn't anything to comment about (i.e. no question or a question I can't answer), then I don't comment. I do pay attention to the blogs from my regular commenters, though (and most likely visit every time I see a new post is up).

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