Commenting to Bring Community

Kyle Reed // @kylereed

Positives and negatives are everywhere. You find them in mathematics, types of people, and the effects of a decision. Positives and negatives work their way into the life of almost everything.

I am terrible at math, but I know that when the positive number is greater than the negative number you will end up with a positive answer.
I also am terrible at life (kidding), but I know that when faced with a difficult decision weighing the positives and negatives assist you in making an important decision. Weighing one outcome against the other gives us a way to find the benefits of something…to get an answer to the problem that is in front of us.

We have all heard experts talk about the negative effects of social networking. They talk about how we have lost the ability to show emotion and communicate clearly. The negatives of social networking seem to be great, but I would say that the positives far out weigh the negatives.

The reason social networking has taken off is the ability to connect people with other people. The greatest way this is demonstrated is in the blog world. It seems like everyone has a blog these days, babies even have blogs. Blogs have become a way to express ourselves for the world to see in a safe environment. What has changed blogs into a place of community is the opportunity to comment and converse with the author and readers.

The greatest thing that separates people is distance. We typically are friends with people that we live around. We do life with these people that are close to where we live. But this has all changed in the last several years. What was once the greatest separator of man, space, has now become the vehicle that is bringing them together. The ability to have your own space to share your ideas, thoughts, feelings, and emotions has changed the way we do community. This is best demonstrated inside the comment stream of a blog.

Most blogs (I am mainly talking about Christian blogs) are in existence to create community. I have read several times on multiple different blogs that the authors are very appreciative of the people that comment and often say they are learning from the comments just as much as we are learning from them. The ability to take several different thoughts and feelings about a certain subject and dialogue about it is something that is making the blog experience well worth the time invested. Through commenting on different blogs and weighing in on the conversation, community is had by all participants.

I read a comment from someone yesterday about their favorite blogs they read. They listed out all the blogs that they follow and then added this at the end, “but I do not comment on any of them.” A couple of thoughts ran through my mind. A) Why did he feel it necessary to throw that in at the end? B) Why doesn’t he comment? But what got me thinking the most about this statement is the community that this guy is missing out on. Bloggers write post for you to comment on. They are not just writing for the sake of themselves. Bloggers write so that others comment. They write so that they can create community, community that brings about growth and learning.

Remember, Commenting brings Community.


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Kyle Reed

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I create websites, conversations, and ideas. Advocate for the 20 somethings. Looking to connect everyone to a mentor. Married to my best friend, Ginny. I like my coffee black and my dog Jack. I currently live in Nashville and work at Sony Music/Provident in Nashville
  • tyler

    I'm looking forward to this series. Will you be addressing anonymous commenters and "forum trolls?" I'm curious what you think about them and how they fit into the picture.

    • klreed189

      I cannot tell if this is a joke or you are serious and what the heck it a forum troll?
      But yes I will talk about anonymous commenters.

    • klreed189

      what is forum trolls and are you being sarcastic or serious.
      I will get to some of this though on Thursday

  • Brennan

    i'm curious as to when Kyle Reed will comment on my blog post? :)

    • klreed189

      you stopped posting. And the one you did a couple of weeks ago I forgot about. Hence the whole you stopped posting comment.

  • @joshua_w_hunt

    personally, I haven't heard an expert talk about social networking…not to mention someone speak negative about it…other than people mentioning how it consumes and wastes your time…and I'm sure there are some wacks out there saying that social networking could even cause cancer…since everything in this world can cause cancer..

    …who would these experts be in this world of social networking that is still considered to be "new and growing" daily? The creators of it? Would a creator of something speak negative about it?

    When the power goes out, where is the community? it's not on-line…can't check twitter or facebook unless I have my smart phone available…but even then, a battery will die…

    I guess the point I'm going to bring to this table is that, my comment on here creates no more community than me hugging my computer. On-line social network community does not exist past our computers, laptops or cell phones….but you are thinking, hey, i'm going to meet up with this person…then it is no longer a social networking community, you have engaged in a relationship that is beyond a computer screen.

    not to mention, i could sit here and throw mud at your blog or tell Brennan how much he sucks at updating his blog or tell Tyler how much of a troll he is and then hide behind my computer screen….no personal interaction other than typing some words that may or may not hurt someone…but is that community?

    I think social networking can be really amazing when used in the right context…but to use it as a base for community? I couldn't stand only having community or interaction through a stream of comments on my blog….

    To each his own i guess…but I don't know if I'd say commenting builds community as much as it does walls against personal interaction….

    getting out of our homes and living our lives with people in person is more community than myspace/xanga/facebook/twitter/blogger/wordpress/intensedebate can ever create

    • klreed189

      I agree with you on the fact that being with people in person cannot be replaced by any social networking tool. As well as there are some side affects that come with blogging and commenting. It is hard to read people and have follow up conversations.
      But, I will say that through commenting on blogs I have built relationships with people that I would have never have met before if not for the blog world where we connected. This is best seen through places like church crunch, ragamuffin soul etc…there are several people on there that I have talked to and have extended our conversation beyond just a comment to an im or tokbox session or even a phone call.
      The reason I say commenting brings community is because when someone comments it forces you to think. It forces you to respond to their view, whether you agree or disagree. You are connecting with them and the subject and interacting. I wish I could sit in a room with 10 people everyday and just talk about what is on our mind, but that just doesn't happen. But the blog world gives me the opportunity to ask you the question about commenting, then respond and have a dialogue.

      Yes that cannot be replaced, but it is using a tool to bring about some form of community.

  • Brennan

    just waiting :)

  • Tyler Hughes

    I was being serious Kyle. I'm surprised that a net-guru like yourself hasn't come across the forum troll either as mentioned in articles or in an actual blog/forum/thread. If commenters promote community then trolls are the anti-community.

    Looking forward to your next post.

    • klreed189

      I guess I am not that hip. I do know what you are talking about and have several examples of that. i will talk about that as well.

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