One of the things I've noticed in the education blogosphere is that — with the exception of very well-known blogs — not a lot of people are commenting. True, teachers are very busy. Additionally, it's a dangerous time to put yourself out there these days.
But consider: In order to build our online PLCs, the communities we need in order to grow and survive as teachers, we need to collaborate and converse with one another.
The best way to do this online is through blog commenting. Basically, this means that you write a comment, usually below the post, leaving your name or username, and your website address. Your comment fosters conversation, which enables other readers to learn, and also to contribute their thoughts.
Here are a few more reasons to comment on blogs:
1. It's the right thing to do.
Teaching can already be a thankless job in the current political and social climate. Unlike business bloggers, teachers are being attacked from all directions (or so it seems some days). Teachers need to stick together, to support one another in our endeavors to reflect, to grow, and to survive.
2. Make friends and influence people
Blog authors will notice you if you're commenting on their blogs. If you're asking great questions, adding unique perspectives to their commentary, they will enjoy your presence and conversing with your.
3. Get known, liked, and trusted — on your site
By contributing to the conversation elsewhere, you are encouraging others to check out your website, and see what you have to say. One of the hardest things to do as a blogger is get others to comment on your website. By reaching out first, you'll make it much more likely that readers will reciprocate. And this could even lead to a cross blog conversation.
4. Practice the critical thinking that you're teaching
Yes, you should practice what you preach. By reading critically, and looking for something to add to the conversation, you are training your brain to be a better blogger. Not to mention, I'm sure you're encouraging your students to ask good questions, to contribute their own connections to the conversation in class. You should be doing the same.
5. Improve your own blogging
Pay attention to the types of posts you like to comment on, and the ones that get the most comments on other teacher's blogs. These are the types of posts you need to be including on your blog, provided they are appropriate for your audience and purpose. (In other words, as an English teacher, I would not write a blog post on the Top 10 Tips For Teaching Quadratic Equations, even if another teacher blogger has a bazillion comments on a similar post on her blog.)
Additionally, what you've written in your comment could be expanded into a blog post on your site, with a link to the other blogger's post. There is nothing like linking to another blogger's site to encourage that author to link back to you.
6. Find new education friends
As you read comments, and contribute to the conversation, other people get to know you. Those people then head over to your site to see what you have to say…
7. You scratch my back…
…and then they comment on your site. It's a win, win, right?
8. Explore fresh ideas
Asking questions or contributing your perspectives on a blog can open up a conversation that results in ideas or attitudes you did not even know about, or were only vaguely familiar with. What a great way to explore new ideas and fresh concepts!
Consider these 8 reasons to comment on other educator's blogs.
Then you're welcome to practice commenting right here on this post!
NOTE: Read the next post in this series, which explains how to write a great comment. If you're new to commenting, or you just want to make sure you're doing it right, be sure to follow my teacher entrepreneur blog.
And the people said… “Amen!”
I have been inconsistent about this at best, but wholeheartedly concur. It is not so very difficult to find things with which we agree, or which challenge us, or encourage us, and to specifically point them out in support or recognition. Comments need not be long or erudite – I can assure you from experience that a few short words, agreement or not, are ridiculously validating.
Time allowing, I’m a fan of specific feedback when possible – if you liked a post, what did you like about it? If you’d add something or shift the focus, what would that look like? But if that’s not practical, let the blogger know what they’ve written mattered to you in some way. You don’t need to be disingenuous… find the parts you CAN support.
Love love love love love this – Mrs. Waters = #educrush
Since I completely agree that blog commenting opens a discussion and creates a conversation that can benefit all teachers, let this comment be my promise to engage with other teachers more often via their blogs. Who doesn’t like to know that what he/she has written has been read and instigated thought–even if it’s a disagreement?
Blue, Dan, I have also struggled with being consistent in commenting on other teacher’s blogs. I think it’s because the internet is so scattered today. When I first started building my own PLCs online, there were a handful of message boards in my community with several thousand members each. We’d all participate together in the conversation. But then when blogs became easy to setup by anyone, suddenly the conversation was taking place on dozens of different sites. Fortunately, Feedly makes it possible to follow all those blogs and save the posts that resonate with me.
So, one of my ACHIEVE resolutions this year is to at least comment on those blogs that meant enough for me to save in Feedly, retweet, or email to myself or someone else. I should at least let those authors know what their message meant to me.
Thank you, guys!
You make some great points! It’s kind of similar to the tree in the forest metaphor. If we write a blog and no one comments or does anything to bring it forward, did it make a “sound.” In short, we all hope that our words have value and will an affect on someone even if it is just one person. By taking the time to comment, we are sending the message that the words and ideas were important and worth further discussion and reflection.
Thanks for the reminder. I will endeavor to do better myself!
You are right. We ask our students to engage with text. We need to do the same. That’s when the real learning occurs. People commenting on my blog has helped me find other bloggers to follow myself. Also, it has helped me get to know my audience, though probably not as much as Twitter. Thank you for writing this!
I think often we believe a retweet or a share on FB is enough…you’re right, the conversation is as meaningful as the original post. I will do better. I will do better.
Everyone’s responses are so encouraging! I can’t wait to have conversations with you on your blogs and here.
You’re right Mrs. Waters, everyone targets the large, well known blogs; however, overlooking the smaller blogs is a big mistake.
I love number 5 in your list, this is a huge benefit. For those who create content, reading other peoples work and joining the conversion can spark new ideas that can be a real time saver when it comes to creating content that your readers will value and enjoy.
One of the reasons people don’t comment I think is because the actual site/blog owner doesn’t appear to actively respond to comments. Seeing you on here with multiple responses is highly conducive to getting great conversions going.
Thank you, Alex!
Blogging gives students an chance to become published authors and showcase their writing skills.
Thanks for sharing this.
Wonderful article. I completely agree with you, because I am also a teacher.
Thanks for sharing your ideas on blog commenting. It helps in an engagement with the topics shared on the post and enhances the understanding about the writers thought on the topic. Agreed to the points shared by you. Good and informative post, thanks for your efforts in compiling the useful post, Mrs. Waters, keep sharing your ideas with us. Good Luck!
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