Across various writing groups on Facebook, I’ve seen a lot of people talk and ask about engagement on their blogs and other projects. “How do I get people to comment on my posts?” they ask. “Why are people reading and liking my posts but not commenting on them?”
I get why these questions are asked so often. With a goal of trying to reach more people or start conversations or share information, it can become frustrating when you feel you’re continuously creating content that no one seems to be interested in.
But many people forget that counting comments — or lack thereof — doesn’t necessarily mean there’s something wrong with your content or that you need to drastically change what you’re doing to increase engagement.
To be clear, tracking engagement on your work is a great way to tell if people are resonating with what you’re saying. But it’s also important to remember that just because something you write doesn’t get a lot of likes or comments doesn’t mean it was terrible or that it didn’t make a difference to someone.
In grad school, we talked a lot about internet culture and why some people engage with content online while others rarely bother. In a nutshell, there are — generally — two kinds of people: those who desire to actively participate in things, and those who sit back and observe.
In terms of creativity specifically, there are people who feel the need to physically create things, and there are people who prefer instead only to consume the things other people are making.
I, for example, am primarily a creator.
Of course I say “primarily” because these parameters are just generalizations. You can be both a creator and consumer — and in fact, many people who create largely benefit from consuming other creators’ content. You’re not necessarily only one or the other.
But these boundaries do explain why there are people who will read your content religiously and never say a word. Some people either have no interest in engaging with people online. Others don’t even consider it — they read a post or watch a video and immediately go on to the next thing, even if that piece of content made them think or had an impact on them somehow.
There’s nothing wrong with not wanting to actively participate in a movement or experience some type of media with other people. Don’t let a lack of conversation surrounding a blog post or something else you’ve written discourage you. It could just be that those reading your work aren’t the kinds of people interested in talking about it.
Of course, it also could be that you’re just starting out and no one’s been around your stuff long enough to feel comfortable commenting on it. I probably blogged for five or six years before I got my first comment. Or that’s what it felt like, anyway! Keep writing. When it comes down to it, that’s really all that matters, isn’t it?
I’ll leave you with this: If this isn’t the first post on Novelty Revisions you’ve ever read, and you’ve never left a comment before, go for it! Say hi! There’s no pressure to tell your life story or ask questions if you’re too shy or don’t have any. But sometimes it’s fun to introduce yourselves to fellow writers even if you never meet in person.
Observing can be rewarding. But so can being part of a community of people who can openly discuss things and connect with one another,
(Honestly, I don’t count comments or care whether or not I get them. But I’m always looking to connect with new people. It’s always been a goal of mine to make this a community and not just a place where I talk at you. Let’s work on that together. Or not! Carry on!)
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.