What makes you leave a comment?

Image from birindersignh.blogspot.com
I have what should be a fairly easy question to answer for you all today, but one that I have been contemplating seriously over the last week or so.

What makes you leave a comment on someone else's blog?

I first started pondering this question when I noticed that a couple of my reviews had gone up and although they had attracted many viewers, not a single person had left a comment.

I had a look through some of my statistics and noticed that this is actually a bit of a trend. Take for example, my 'Most Popular Posts'widget in the sidebar. I have this set to display the top 5 most viewed posts in the last week. At the moment, one of the 5 posts is a  very old post from last year. Even though it has attracted the most views this week, none of those people have actually left a comment on the posts. Then another of the top 5 posts is a more recent one, but again no one has left a comment on despite the large number of visitors.

So what is it that makes us leave a comment?

I actually find it harder than I expected to identify the reason I leave a comment on some posts and not others. Most of the time, I leave a comment on reviews of books I have read before and can therefore contribute something from my own experience of it, or else I leave a comment on reviews of books that I want to read at some time in the near future.

A lot of the time, it depends on what I feel like I contribute with my comment. I am guilty to leaving those comments that say something along the lines of: "I would really love to read this because of all of the good reviews about, thanks for reminding me to give it a go". Although these comments are well meant, I do sometimes worry that they aren't very useful - they don't contribute anything to the discussion or review of the books that's for sure.

Image from The Reputation Manager
Most of the time, when I do leave a comment I want to contribute the discussion about the book. I want to comment on something the reviewer has said about the book - something that shows I have read the review and given some thought to what I have said.

I think this means that I probably comment more on reviews of books that I have read, rather than those books that I haven't. But this is very limiting. On some occasions, where someone has read a stunning review of a book that I have read, but the review is so thoroughly insightful, I don't leave a comment because I feel like I would only sound dimwitted in comparison with the reviewer.

These are some of the factors that influence how I comment on other people's blogs, but I wonder what it is that influences other people. No doubt these factors, plus many others infuence our decision. For example, things such as the length of the review, the quality of the review, the genre of the book, the content of the review, the images (or lack thereof) in the review, the length of the paragraphs and many many others.

I also wonder if there is something more to it. Something related to our modern day use of social media, which is let's face it, what blogging is a form of. Why we use social media to interact with people and how we use to interact are no doubt big influences on how we use blogs and therefore how and why we leave comments on other people's blogs. At the moment, I don't feel qualified enough to espouse an opinion on how our use of social media in general might effect these types of decisions - but I would love to hear other people's opinions on this issue.

I don't have the answer to this question, but I would very much be interested in what other people think. It is the sort of question that could answer many other questions. How do you attract follower/readers? How do you build an online community? How do you make your reviews interesting and appealing to others to read? How can you use social media to share your interests with others?

So what do you think? What is it about a review that makes you leave a comment and more broadly, why do you think people in general might comment on other blogs?

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