A Blog Without Comments Is Not A Blog, It's An Online Journal

jan-kahanek-184675-unsplash.jpg (Photo by Jan Kahánek on Unsplash)

A few months ago, while I was researching how to start a personal blog/website, I kept running into this idea that a blog, without a system that allows comments, is not a blog. One popular blogger even likened it to a telephone with no earpiece.

I can understand how it would be nice for a blog to have comments, especially if you are blogging with the intent of building a community or blogging with the intent of making money. If your blog is to have any chance of being popular, you have to cultivate a relationship with your audience. And one way to do that is to enable comments on your blog.

However I also can't help but feel that this is somewhat of an elitist statement. It might not be intentional, but I feel like it discredits other people who look to blogging as a creative outlet or a hobby. Just because someone wants to post about something and didn't have comments enabled, doesn't mean that their post is any less worthy of being found online.

The problem I believe lies in how we define the word “blog”. Nowadays, blog posts are written in a way that fosters a two-way conversation with readers. It didn't use to be this way. Older blogs were more like online diaries or simple log entries, where the author just wanted to write about something and made it available online. However the power of the modern web have made blogs even more social. So now comments are an expected requirement when it comes to creating or maintaining blogs.

So where does that leave people with blogs who don't have comments enabled? I think it is pretty simple. What those people have are online journals. Or online diaries, though I think calling it an online “journal” is a better fit.

Thinking about it as “online journals” makes perfect sense to me. Back in the day when people wrote in their journals, there was no expectation of other people commenting on their entries. You write for yourself and that was a good enough reason to keep a journal. That shouldn't be any different for anyone who wants their journal to be available online.

Update: 2/10/2021 — After reading this, you might have been surprised to find a comments system at the bottom of this post. My viewpoint on adding comments to this journal has changed over time. I explain my reason for adding comments here.

Tags: #Blogging #Comments

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