Are Blog Reactions Really Better Than Blog Comments?


Two weeks ago, I began an experiment here at ‘Patrick’s Place’ searching for an alternative that might be better than blog comments.

Bloggers have been searching for a way for readers to interact that might be better than blog comments.

I would never say comments were ever guaranteed. But I remember a time when I could post something and almost always receive at least a couple of comments.

Then sites like Facebook and Twitter happened. Comments quickly became a casualty of social media.

Some of us continued blogging with the hope that comments would make a comeback. As we hoped, we felt gratitude for every person who’d still post a response of some kind.

But those responses — in the form of comments — largely became fewer and further between.

Many bloggers began turning off blog comments.

I think a lot of bloggers who turned off comments on their site did so to prevent embarassment.

Many would say they did so because they were spending “too much time” dealing with spam comments.

I suspect they didn’t want their readers to see how few comments the bloggers received. Post after post with no comments looks like no one’s reading, even if Google Analytics suggests otherwise. But readers don’t see analytics; only the bloggers do.

Two weeks ago, I made a change.

When I saw that Mack Collier, who created the #Blogchat Twitter chat, turned off his comments, I began thinking. Maybe it was time.

So I decided to close comments.

In their place, I added a blog reactions comment. You can now scroll down to the bottom of this post, for example, and click a reaction. Your choices are Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, or Grr. When you click the reaction of your choice, it tabulates them. As more people “react,” the numbers increase.

I can see, on the backend, reactions posts are receiving. I can also see which reactions are getting clicked the most.

At the time of this writing, here’s the breakdown across the whole site (I rounded percentages to the closest half-percentage point):

  • Like – 23.5%
  • Love – 10.5%
  • Haha – 10.5%
  • Wow – 10.5%
  • Sad – 29%
  • Grrr – 17%

I hate to think the majority of the responses are “sad,” since I want to think this is a fairly happy place. Then again, some of the topics I write about can certainly be a bit sad. And when they involve a lack of common sense, they can produce that angry “Grrr” reaction, too.

Are blog reactions really better than blog comments?

No. They aren’t.

But I look at it like this: in the past two weeks, I received 38 reactions. In the past two weeks before I closed comments, I received only one single comment.

I’d rather have discussion. I think every blogger would feel that way.

But let’s face it: It takes more time and effort to leave comments than it does to click a single reaction button. I get it. We feel more and more demands on our time every day. Something must give.

In the blogosphere, comments seemed to be that something.

Some interaction, I’d argue, is better than almost none.

Leave me a reaction below!

Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.