First of all, thanks to those of you who commented on my last post—it's nice to hear how other people navigate the blog world as I work on defining my own response to it. I've got some ideas on why my attitude might be what it is about some things; more on that in a minute.
First, some comments on comments:
Allison - I agree about the time management aspect of things! I don't know how people keep up with dozens of personal blogs on a daily basis.
Dr. Wifey - Thanks for the tip to the SITS site. That's a good idea—for people who must have a LOT of time on their hands! I can tell just from looking at it that I'd be overwhelmed by it pretty quickly.
K Storm - I'm always happy to hear what you have to say! I use the blog roll to see which blogs are updated, too, though I've noticed my blog roll doesn't always reflect things correctly: Sometimes it'll say a blog hasn't been updated for 5 days but when I check the blog there's a new post from that day. So maybe the blog roll just has a delay in its update times. I'm never sure what time zone it's working with, anyway...
Jen - I read a few blogs that are for information, too (related to the field of technical communications, in my case); if I ever do comment on them (which I haven't yet) I definitely wouldn't expect any comments on my personal blog in return. And I know what you mean about commenting sometimes keeping you up late at night—I've occasionally done the same!
Now, some thoughts about my attitude toward blogs and commenting. There are definitely different categories of blogs: Ones I consider professional or informational, which I read for the same reason I read articles on something like CNN; blogs of friends I know outside the blogging world, where I may or may not comment since we communicate in other ways; and blogs of people who I only know through their blogs. As I've been searching for blog friends I find blogs that look like they're written by nice people but I'm not necessarily looking at the content specifically. If I comment on several posts and don't get any response, though, then the content starts to matter more since that's all I have to go on. It's similar to if I try to befriend someone in person: If I'm doing all the talking and it seems like the person really doesn't want to relate to me then I'm probably not going to continue that "friendship" (which really isn't a friendship but more of a one-sided monologue) for very long. In the blog world—or any other online-only discipline—that two-way interaction is even more "removed" (the best way I can think to describe it) than face-to-face interaction. The truth of the matter is if I'm reading a blog about a family, for instance, then the kids may be very cute and they may do fun things, but since I don't have a connection to that family it isn't very real to me. Reciprocal comments on each other's blogs make people—and their families—much more real to me and establish that connection. When I look for blog friends I'm looking for that blog-level connection.
I'm also finding that quality is much better than quantity (back to that how do people keep up thing!) so I'm not complaining, just analyzing why I (and others, I imagine) might act the way I do.
On that note I'm off to class to learn about usability studies and technical communication theory. Happy blogging, everyone!