Are You Talking at Me or With Me?

I think that sometimes as bloggers we tend to forget what our purpose is.  While many of us would continue blogging even if there were no visitors, many of us are in it for the money as well.  And the only good way to get any bit of money is to have a pretty good flow of traffic.  And unless you can find a way to get the search engine crawlers to click on ads and show as impressions, that traffic is most likely going to be in the form of readers.  A.K.A real live human beings.

Those readers WILL have an opinion on every little thing that you do.  Every post you make is open to their criticism. Every design flaw will be spotted.  And every poor choice will be amplified.

Such an event evidently happened over at John Cow recently.  In my opinion, John Cow responded quite poorly.  In a post entitled “Our Blog Is Not Your Bitch,” the Cow quickly and concisely derides the reader and in the process seems to deride all of the remaining readers.

But is your blog public property? We think not. A blogger pays for his or her domain name, hosting, design and devotes time and effort in writing posts. They provide the public with yet another digital hangout, for free. So what does a reader do? They read, sometimes have discussions in the comments section and –well, there’s no and. Thats basically it, that’s all they do.

I think someone has forgotten who pays the bills.  He goes on to blather about how it’s a readers choice as to whether they read a blog or not and that it’s his choice what content he puts out.

We don’t like it when people tell us what to do –especially not with our own personal blog. Reading our blog is your free choice, writing it is ours.

Well.  You’ve been told haven’t you.

I’m not going to say that the Cow doesn’t have some right to be like this.  It is his blog and as such, he can write whatever he wants.  And yes, if the reader doesn’t like it, it is their choice as to whether they read or not.  However, the blogosphere is a community. And in a community, people talk WITH each other, not AT each other.  What John Cow just made clear with that post is that he wants to talk AT you.  Do you want to be talked at?  Me either.

About Shane Ede

Shane Ede is an IT guy by day and a Entrepreneurial Blogger by night. You can follow him here on Thatedeguy or over on Twitter and Google+.


  1. I have to agree with you. What is the purpose of a comment if you can’t comment freely in it. I guess the Cow has gone a lil’ serious this few weeks maybe due to the fact that he is doing it full time now.

    I always tought that your blog readers is your customer, and customer always come first.

  2. Who pays the bills? He pays the bills – commentators don’t pay the bills. Those that leave negative comments have definitely not helped to pay the bills. Have you helped to pay the bills?

    People talk WITH each other? Yeah, right. ONE person gets their name on the site and gets their voice heard almost 100x more than anyone else on the site. Together blogs form a community, but you’ll get talked AT on a single site.

  3. Thatedeguy says

    I beg to differ. Where does he get the money to pay the bills. Independently wealthy? I don’t think so. More likely, he pays the bills with the advertisements that he sold off of the site. Those same advertisements are probably based on how many visitors he gets in a month. If he only got one visitor a month, then he probably wouldn’t be making 3k a month. He does get more than one visitor a month, however, he might not for long if he keeps thinking that the commentators don’t matter.
    Yes, blogs can form a community, but so to do the users and writers of a single blog. Go tell Marc at that his blog community isn’t a community because he doesn’t have more than one blog involved in it.

  4. What if he paid the bills from Euro Wiki earnings? And what if the bulk of those visitors come from search engines and his high listings are the result of his hard work advertising? Commentators are never any more than 3% of total readers – that hardly pays the bills.

    There’s a difference between readers and commentators too. He wasn’t telling people to stop reading – just to stop thinking that you own a part of the site.

    This is the first time that I’ve been here – do I have the right to consider myself a part-owner of this site as I help pay the bills? Do I have the right to tell you what to write about? Will you be sending me a commission from your TextLinkAds earnings?

  5. Everyone is entitled to your own opinion.. There is always 2 way of looking at everything including blogs and comments. Whether you take a negative comments in a positively or bash the commentors is up to you. But for me comments ARE not built for ONLY POSITIVE comments! You get good ones, and sometimes you get bad ones.

    Commentators ARE readers. They don’t comment if they don’t read the blog.

    But to tell your commentors not to comment/bitch about what you can or not do in a post is just lame..

    and that is only my humble opinion..which I am entitled to..

  6. Thatedeguy says

    Readers who take the time to comment are generally the ones that are most sticky. They help build the community.
    Technically, you do not own a part of this blog, but as a reader, I don’t want to ostracize you either. If you have an opinion about my writing, I want you to be able to express it, good or bad, so that I can try and improve as a blogger. I don’t like talking to a wall, I like talking to people. You do have a right to tell me what to write about. I may not listen to you, but you do have the right to say something.