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Audience, Blogging, engagement, SOCIAL MEDIA, Social Networks

Social Media A to Z Series: C is for Comments-10 Dos and 10 Don’ts

Ok we have talked about  A is for Audience and B is for Blogs. The two together is  the conversation via comments. C is for Comments.

It might be obvious but I thought that there may be “some worth” shining a light on “comments”. Comments are how you interact with the  author and community of the site – be it a blog, group, forum or network.

So why would you want to comment? Isn’t it a little intimidating? 

  • When you comment, you are engaging.
  • Comments are usually well received  regardless of how small the response might be.
  • Comments are a signal that someone is listening. So don’t be afraid to respond even if it is clicking the “like”  button to say you liked the piece- it is a good thing. Don’t be shy.

Having said that, there are many reasons and motivations why people comment. Some include:

  • They want to share their ideas.
  • They are passionate about a topic and want to engage.
  • They want to build a relationship with the author or community members.
  • They want to share knowledge and expertise.
  • They want to increase their visibility in the community.

How should you comment?


  1. Play nice. You can still share your perspective or alternative viewpoint, however be polite and respectful.
  2. Be part of the community and introduce yourself.
  3. Be transparent.
  4. Be on topic. It is about the conversation.
  5. Reach-out to author on very sensitive topics. If an issue is very sensitive and you find that you have a very strong reaction to what is being said, consider reaching out to the author before responding publicly. You want to manage your internet reputation.
  6. Be a global ambassador. You are communicating with many countries and cultures. Remember the internet is an international forum. So you need to be sensitive to this level of diversity
  7. Understand the audience and the site’s culture. It will help you formulate your response and messages.
  8. Be succinct.
  9. Abide by  the rules. Many groups or forums have rules for posting comments.
  10. Share  the post if the post resonated with you. The act of sharing is a very positive gesture. If you do not have a network to share with , you can click the  +1 or Like button as additional endorsement for that post. Trust me, authors love it when you do either or both!


  1. Spam.
  2. Self promote.
  3. Promote products.
  4. Aggressively ask for favors  especially without introducing yourself.
  5. Use all CAPS. It comes across as shouting.
  6. Be overly negative.
  7. Be overly sensitive. Communicating is 60-70% body language, 10-20% tone of your voice. Yet online, we are using primarily text. The probabilities are high for misinterpretation. So always seek clarification and specificity before reacting.
  8. Put yourself at risk.
  9. Be closed to new ideas or interpretations.
  10. Make sweeping generalizations.
Comments is about having the conversation. The dialogue. Ideally it should be a rewarding experience.
Conversations- comments are important in social media: it represents engagement 

Are your comments public?

  • You should always be aware of the site’s/community’s privacy and security policies.
  • In many communities the comments are contained within that community. You do have a level of control about who you want to  share information with by  determining the level of privacy in your privacy and security options on the site. However there are  some communities where your comments are searchable by major search engines. So it is always a good practice to check the privacy and security policies of the site and community.

In summary

Remember when you are communicating, your tone and body language cannot be seen which is usually a very important part of communicating. So when writing your comments be descriptive and specific in your address. Secondly, remember that social media communities are about relationship building and conversations, therefore you should treat them accordingly. It is not a me  mentality. It is  about being social.

It is about many “Cs, namely: Collaboration and Conversations about the Content with a Cool Collective in a Community usually for a Common  Cause or goal.

There are many Cs, I  just happen to choose C for Comments for this post. Now it is your turn. Can you share any best practice about commenting? I also have a poll for quick feedback.

If you enjoyed this post, do share it with your network and encourage them to join us! The more the merrier. As I mentioned above, if you don’t have a network, go ahead and hit the like or +1 button (or both)!

Thank you again!


Photo courtesy of FlickrCarbonNYC; Cartoon used with permission of Cartoonist. other resources include The Ultimate Social Media Etiquette Handbook, Tamar and Weinberg


About Shirley Williams

I have a passion to create, resolve and build.I have had a pretty dynamic career that some say has led to a solid reputation as a visionary, result-driven and passionate leader. I say, simplify the complexity, work WITH people and you have a formula that not only deliver results but forms bonds that will stand the test of time. I have led numerous initiatives with a geographical scope that has included Canada, US, The South Americas,Europe and Australia. My professional career spans Biotechnology, Brand & Generic Pharmaceuticals, IBM Business Consulting Services, Healthcare, Retail, Electronics, more recently Mining and now Social Media. I am a biochemist and have a Master of Scence degree in endocrine pharmacology. I am a certified practitioner and professional in Change Management (Prosci), Project Management (PMP/PMI) and Social Media (OMCP, Online Marketing Certified Professional). So that makes my full title to be: Shirley Williams, MSc. PMP. CMC. OCMP. Having spent many years in the LifeSciences (you can check my career profile on Linkedin ) I have now directed my attention to bridging strategy and goals with social media. Loving it! In fact I am passionate about it. I have also produced and currently host my own internet radio show. My programs to-date have included Rise Of The Patient and Give Startups A Chance. I consider myself as an Experience Enabler. I facilitate and advocate for improved experience from the consumer perspective. Thank you for stopping by to check me out!


2 thoughts on “Social Media A to Z Series: C is for Comments-10 Dos and 10 Don’ts

  1. Well this was an enjoyable view, thank you so much on your effort in the homework. This amazing site gets book-marked guaranteed!

    Posted by ira vs roth ira | January 9, 2012, 1:42 am


  1. Pingback: Breaking Down The Complexity of Social Media: A to Z Series « Social Media Pearls: Welcome! - September 3, 2011

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