Ever once and awhile, from the usual known faces that visit my blog, I am also charmed and delighted to see new ones that comment. Most are fellow newbie bloggers while others are just plain commentators with the same love for all things anime, manga, and otherwise. And yes, they do in fact return. Thinking about this closely has lead me to question: Why or what is purpose for commenting? While it does seem to lend an interactive hand between the producer of content and the audience consuming it, I am sure their is much more to it than meets the eye.
Keeping my fellow bloggers in mind as both the producers of content and consumers of others, bonds are made relatively quickly based on not just content, yet also how the other responds. Or I would I like to think. When someone does comment with this dual functionally you hold, you feel compelled to do the same for them; whether you like the content or not; thus playing into the idea of reciprocity. In this case, reciprocity refers to a mutual exchange between blogger A for commenting and blogger B simply returns the favor in kind. Of course, if A likes B’s content and returns afterwards not feeling compelling for any other reason than interested in B’s content (and vice versa), then the reciprocity is balanced and still stands. It is just that simple…or is it? Because, let’s be realistic for a second, folks: 9 times out of 10 you are not going to exactly churn out interesting content. It is half the battle for most bloggers, but if you have people generally attracted to what you do, the same desired effect can be achieved through reciprocity as well as being active in the community. If you are confident you can churn out generally interesting content frequently without fail and ignore the aforementioned, allow me to congratulate you as a flawless human being. On the other hand, what is utter garbage to you could pique the curiosity of another, so this does have a few exceptions….
At any rate, reciprocity still does not quite explain why people bothering commenting at all regardless of what content is present. I do however have a general idea. In one respect, commenting with another blogger opens a channel of friendship and comradery; thus allowing you to spreading your name to other like-minded individuals that might enjoy what you do. Just like in daily life for work, school, etc – people increasingly form connections and build rapport in exchange for things like: recommendations, interviews, meet other individuals, and so on. Positive reciprocity between bloggers would look similar. Then again, their is a such thing as negative reciprocity, both sides in a mutual channel of understanding, yet only to solely try to exploit one another. Once again, this is something humans are well accustomed to by nature just like any other social creature. I see this less in blogging, but it does occur. However, between these two contrasting ideas, I solely believe (or like to at least) that people just comment to share their views and opinions on whatever comes to mind. Simple, yes, but does seem to be the most valid idea between any virtual settings or reality for that matter. Everyone has something to say.
Moving away from blogging for awhile into the area of forums, this idea could not be any farther from the truth. Looking at my usual
stalked haunts of MAL, Biglobe, ANN, and various others; comments within threads are quite interesting to read just as the content brought forth by the original poster. Of course, the level of discussion is only as captivating as the people taking part; which makes it disheartening when the comments/debates turn into derogatory shouting matches or pointless banter to display superiority. For example: one thread I viewed about a certain anime poll seemed to be mostly filled to the rim of venomous or sardonic remarks between participants with little else of value to add. While a clash of views and opinions occurred, the reciprocity of anything meaningful said did not quite happen. However, a similar thread in another forum along the same lines did provide quite a rich exchange of opinions and also gave me window into the elements many fans look for in anime. Depending on the atmosphere (and if people are not being immature) forum activity and other hotspots are usual key places for good, wholesome debates and also finding something new while you are at it. Reciprocity at work through comments at its best.
Whether it be blogging, short tweets on Twitter, asking questions on social ask me sites, or even forum participation; anime will always have a social face rather than the usually one of solitude. While this still leaves a plethora of room open for debate of exactly why people comment and why they care if their opinion are heard, I believe choosing blogging to be my tool of choice was the right one. After all, I am asking questions; open-ended ones with multiple different ways to answer to receive the same in kind. This kind of reciprocity, to hear different opinions is what success means to me as a blogger and everything else is just a nice bonus. So with that said, how do you perceive commenting for both blogging and regular social sites? Why do you comment and care if yours is read? And how do you general perceive debates on the aforementioned sites? Kind and courteous? Respectful and well-mannered? Or just plain rude and spiteful?
- This was way more condensed and also somewhat winded as I planned, but this is generally the start of my new editorial block Deciphering Anime Fandom. I will post these ever once and while; touching upon subject matter that weighs on my mind dealing with general anime fandom elements. I promise the next one will be shorter and more easier on the eyes, yet this topic has been in my query for months on end now.
- Related post come from the esteemed AOIA blogger, @fkeroge (that posted his hours before me and shorter to boot) on Anime Blogger opinions and the equally awesome Yumeka that did one on types of commemorators.