Commenting is an amazing resource. Many people use the internet as a ‘look but don’t touch’ source of entertainment and information. They don’t even realize the vast opportunities that commenting and forums provide. I myself will admit to having had this outlook for a very long time. It lasted until I actually began using these foreign notions of online communication. Once I began there was no going back.
Let me tell you about an experience that I had with comments on ColourLovers. I had just created a new palette and someone commented with a question about my profile picture. The question was in Chinese. I don’t speak Chinese. I used the translation tools offered by Google and got to a point where I understood what was being asked quite clearly. I reverse translated my reply and as soon as I had sent it I realized, I was conversing with someone in Chinese! It was such a cool thought, that I could easily communicate with somebody who was across the world, using a language I had no clue how to speak, helping another creative with her interest and being assisted in return! This wild world of actually (gasp) TALKING to other people on the internet isn’t as bad or as time consuming it’s made out to be.
One nuisance when it comes to these forms of communication, is people not respecting the recipient enough to think about what they’re saying. You get comments that say nothing but an emoticon on a forum that was asking for actual advice! This isn’t intrinsically a bad thing when responding to a request for positive or negative opinions with no need for further details, however; on a form thread that is wanting help finding an actual solution, it muddies up the comment line and makes it necessary to weed through the unusable content for the replies that carry weight. It is generally a good thing to get as many comments as one can, and receiving comments that do nothing but sing your praises are nice, sure, but they don’t actually help with the subject at hand. The real point and purpose of comments and forums is to provide well thought out, honest feedback to the person or persons who posted the work. To help them with their work and to give them a better understanding of how it looks to the people who haven’t been a part of it’s creation. You may be surprised at how different things look to someone who doesn’t know the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ of the thing.
Commenting is a useful option for the ‘more than casual’ internet user. Not to mention it’s fun! just try to make sure your reply is relevant to the situation, and don’t be afraid to ask people to give feedback. Most of the time the people who would comment are genuinely trying to help you out or get your thoughts on something.