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Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Attention Email Subscribers – and Others Too

Comments, conversation and community are the life blood of blogs. Many of us have become good friends having first “met” one another in the comments sections of our blogs. Plus, the comments provide a lot of additional information, ideas and thoughts without which this, and any blog, would be just another column of one-way communication.

Recently, there has been a large uptick in the number of email messages I receive in response to the stories published here – more than I have time to respond to individually. They are obviously intended to be part of the conversation, but they never appear in the comments section of the post because they show up only in my email inbox.

Here is how that happens: You receive Time Goes By via email. When you want to respond, you click “Reply,” write your message and click “Send.” What happens then is the same as when you reply to a personal email from anyone; your message is routed to my email inbox.

To appear on the blog, your comment must be entered on the website. As Virginia DeBolt's Elder Geek column made clear yesterday, it can be difficult to learn all the different things we need to know about our computers, the programs we use and websites. So here are instructions to get your messages into the comments section of the blog where everyone can read them:

  1. DO NOT CLICK “REPLY” IN YOUR EMAIL PROGRAM

  2. Instead, click the title of the story at the top of the email

  3. Your browser will open the page of blog where that story resides, the same story you just read in the email feed

  4. Scroll down to the bottom of the story

  5. You will see comments from other readers (if there are any yet)

  6. Below the story or other comments is a box labeled “Post a Comment”

  7. Write your comment in that box

  8. Fill in your name (any name you want)

  9. Fill in your email address (it will not be published)

  10. Add the URL of your blog; if you don't have one, leave the space blank

  11. Click “Post” and your comment will appear

There is also a “Preview” button which allows you to check your comment and make any changes or corrections you desire before publishing.

Many bloggers send only the first two or three paragraphs of a story in their email feeds which requires you to click “Read more” to finish the story at the website. This inflates page views, which bloggers like to have, of course, but I personally find it annoying to be interrupted part way through a story, so not wanting to inflict that on subscribers, I send the entire story in the feed.

But my inbox is so full of “reply” comments these days, that I may switch to partial feeds. If you would like to help prevent that move, re-read the above instructions for commenting. Most importantly, bloggers love to read what people say about their efforts and I know that many readers check comments throughout the day and often respond to one another.

I also field a lot of messages from email subscribers telling me I've forgotten to include the video, audio or photos that are referenced in the story. It is not that I have forgotten; audio and video are not embedded in the email so, like commenting, it is necessary to visit the website to see or hear these elements. Just click the title of the story and the blog will open in your browser where you can see the video or hear the audio.

Photos included in a blog post may or may not appear in your email feed. That is controlled entirely by you. If you do not see photos that are referenced in the text, it means you have set your email program to not load images “inline”. You can change that under “Tools” or “Options”.

I hope this helps you understand blog commenting and that you will now be able to join the conversation with other readers who have made me laugh and cry and taught me so much over the years. If you have any questions, just post them in the Comments below and I will respond there.


This story has been cross-posted at Time Goes By.

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

Thank you, I often respond to your second writer offerings, somehow I thought just hitting reply wasn't the way...I will do better...thanks for the steps...
Mary Follett

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