Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

I left 63 comments on other people’s blogs in one day!

with 74 comments

One Sunday a couple of months ago I set myself a challenge: I wondered if I could leave a hundred comments on other people’s blogs that day. The comments couldn’t be just a quick word or phrase like “Wonderful” or “Great picture,” but had to be at least a good-size sentence and preferably several sentences, so that I was truly interacting with the other people. From the title of today’s post you can see that I got only five-eighths of the way to meeting my self-imposed goal, but that still wasn’t a bad showing. (If you’re wondering how I knew I’d left 63 comments, I made a tally mark on a piece of paper after I posted each comment.)

So now to you, dear reader: have you ever tried to leave a lot of comments in one day? If so, tell us how it went. If not, and if you’d like to try the experiment, come back here after you’ve given it a shot and report the results.

In the meantime, so as not to leave you with a pictureless post, here’s a cluster of marsh fleabane flowers, Pluchea odorata, that I photographed at Brushy Creek Lake Park in the town of Cedar Park four years ago today. Texas was in a historic drought that summer, but some species still managed to thrive.

Marsh Fleabane Flowers 0275

Click for greater size and detail.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 26, 2015 at 5:34 AM

74 Responses

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  1. Writing 63 comments is a feat in itself. I am not even going to try and start doing what you did.


    July 26, 2015 at 6:12 AM

  2. Everyday I like a bunch of blogs on my reader that seem interesting, then I go to “my likes” on the sidebar and read each one and leave a comment if it’s something I can relate to or honestly found interesting. It makes it much easier to make sure I’m actually reading and “following” the blogs I’ve chosen to hit the “follow” button on. I also try to add a few new blogs to my reader each day. Surprisingly, it doesn’t take that long. It takes maybe 15-20 minutes (though, I am a fast reader) and I feel like I’ve really participated in the blogosphere. Great picture, by the way. I feel like I could write a story using these flowers, surviving despite harsh conditions. Thanks for sharing! A great endeavor to undertake as well!


    July 26, 2015 at 6:13 AM

    • Thanks for your detailed comment, which shows you’ve worked out an efficient system for yourself. As you said, not all posts are on topics a person can relate to or knows anything about. Posts that are primarily verbal take longer to go through (especially for a slow reader like me) than posts that are wholly or mostly visual. You just gave me an idea: an appropriate response to a post consisting primarily of a work of art would be another work of art, rather than words.

      If you do write a story about these (or other) flowers surviving (or flourishing) despite harsh conditions, please let us know.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 26, 2015 at 11:21 AM

  3. I would have a very difficult time trying to leave even the slightest comment on every blog I follow in one day. Most of the time I’m reading on a tablet, which is fine for reading but it’s not very fast at leaving comments. The consolidation, for me, is that it has an excellent display and the photos look very nice on it. Chances are I’ll be able to interact more once I replace the computer and cold weather forces me inside.


    July 26, 2015 at 6:23 AM

    • I’ve occasionally answered comments from my iPhone, which isn’t fun to do either. As you said, if you follow many blogs, there’s no way to leave a comment on each one each day.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 26, 2015 at 7:51 AM

  4. Lovely photo to soothe my mind before I go to sleep. 63 comments! I am not up to that many comments at the moment. On a good day, I would make about 20 comments, maximum.


    July 26, 2015 at 7:18 AM

    • Happy soothing for bedtime there, morning here.
      I couldn’t sustain even 20 comments a day as an average. The 63 was a one-time effort.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 26, 2015 at 8:01 AM

      • I hope you get to do the ton, one day. Not quite the right expression but it does relate to 100.


        July 26, 2015 at 5:57 PM

        • Your mention of a ton reminds me that Eve’s grand-niece told us that “heaps of [something]” is a common expression in New Zealand, but I don’t know if that’s true in general or mainly among young people.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 26, 2015 at 6:33 PM

          • Hmmm……I do say heaps of……. but perhaps not as much as I used to. I would use loads or lots more than heaps. But there are heaps of differences in word usages between North and South.


            July 26, 2015 at 7:04 PM

            • Well phrased. When I was growing up in the North (of the USA, that is), I used to say (and still do) “tons of.”

              Steve Schwartzman

              July 26, 2015 at 7:11 PM

              • Now I am remembering that we used to sign off our letters, with heaps of love and sometimes tons of love. 🙂


                July 26, 2015 at 7:44 PM

                • That raises the great metaphysical question of size order among a heap, a ton, a lot, and a load.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  July 26, 2015 at 7:52 PM

                • Indeed. Some products were sold by the heap, and still are in some markets around the world. A heap is most likely smaller than a ton, either a short ton or a long ton or even a tonne. This is reminding me of all the hours I spent learning Imperial Units https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_units .


                  July 26, 2015 at 8:15 PM

                • As you know, some of those units are still in use in the United States, which keeps refusing to go metric.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  July 26, 2015 at 9:25 PM

                • How do you cope? 😉


                  July 27, 2015 at 12:24 AM

                • I grew up with feet, yards, miles, inches, pints, quarts, gallons, acres, pounds, and ounces, so they’re familiar and don’t seem strange. One surprise is that inch and ounce are etymologically the same word.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  July 27, 2015 at 5:48 AM

                • I am surprised about inch and ounce.


                  July 27, 2015 at 7:11 AM

                • Both words trace back to Latin ūncia, but by different paths. In the case of inch, Old English borrowed directly from Latin, whereas ounce came via Old French.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  July 27, 2015 at 7:21 AM

                • By the way, the United States has been slow to switch to credit cards with an electronic chip in each one. We’re finally going to be getting them by the end of the year. That would have simplified my transactions in New Zealand, where I had to sign my name each time.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  July 27, 2015 at 5:52 AM

                • That will make life heaps easier. 😉


                  July 27, 2015 at 7:11 AM

                • True, but we’ll still have to pay the same amount for the heaps of things we buy.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  July 27, 2015 at 7:21 AM

                • Also true!


                  July 27, 2015 at 7:22 AM

  5. I have a hard enough time thinking of anything to say, Steve. You may have noticed? I like to receive comments and try to be sure to return the favor, but am not very good at the job. Additionally, I don’t always have a lot of time which is one reason that I do not follow every blogger who comments or likes my page. I wish I could.

    Steve Gingold

    July 26, 2015 at 7:22 AM

    • As the French say, Chacun à son goût, Each to his own taste. Or as we say in English, Different strokes for different folks. We all understand the time constraints, and I think we all appreciate whatever comments people can eke out, given that inconvenient little thing (in this regard, at least) called life.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 26, 2015 at 8:06 AM

  6. I wish I had the opportunities to do the same, but even to answer comments on my own blog is sometimes hard enough, that is to find the time (shame on me). Lovely photo.


    July 26, 2015 at 7:52 AM

    • People with a large number of subscribers, like you, have a burden just keeping up with replies to comments on your own blog, much less reaching out to some of those many other people. The spirit is willing but the fingers are weak.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 26, 2015 at 8:10 AM

  7. Since I prefer comments over the “like” button, I do a good bit of commenting, but a hundred in a day would certainly take the entire day, and part of the night. The math alone (!) tells the tale. I suppose the least amount of time I spend on a given post — reading, thinking, commenting — is five minutes. Ten minutes is more common, depending on the nature of the post. And if something catches my attention and makes me curious (as your previous Gaillardia photo did) I can be digging around for anywhere from fifteen minutes to a half-hour.

    So, in answer to your question: yes, I’m constantly trying to leave a lot of comments in a day, but what that number turns out to be is highly variable.

    What’s not variable is my enjoyment of your photos. That marsh fleabane is delightful.


    July 26, 2015 at 7:56 AM

    • Your comments are on average the most detailed and thoughtful of anyone’s I know, so it’s clearly a case of quality over quantity—an observation that doesn’t take any special mathematics.

      The marsh fleabane is one more example of many I could give of worthy pictures I took that never saw the light of day and that I’d forgotten about until I looked in my archive.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 26, 2015 at 10:43 AM

  8. Pretty color, seems right for a calm summer day.

    The Brighter Side of 40

    July 26, 2015 at 7:56 AM

  9. Pink Fleabane?! Wow~that is really pretty. My daughter does that, counting things. Mention math to her and she gets that deer-in-the-headlights look to her, and yet she spontaneously will count things. It doesn’t occur to me to do that but I do like to connect with as many people every day as I can. I set a time limit of an hour but that quickly becomes 2….


    July 26, 2015 at 9:18 AM

    • Your exclamatory sentence made me wonder about the color of the flowers that you know as fleabane. That common name has been applied to various plants that people believed (correctly or not) would repel or kill fleas (the word bana in Old English meant ‘killer’).

      Setting a time limit for commenting strikes me as a prudent thing to do, even if you don’t always meet that limit (but in the opposite direction from my self-imposed limit that Sunday, where I ended up under rather than over).

      Not everyone likes math or has an affinity for it, but most people can be shown some neat mathematical tricks and patterns that will grab their attention. I certainly pointed out many such things to my students over the decades.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 26, 2015 at 10:51 AM

  10. A hard task indeed. I’m guessing it must have taken you at least a couple of hours, even if you only took a minute to read each post and a minute to post each comment – quite tiring on the brain and fingers!

    Emily Scott

    July 26, 2015 at 9:23 AM

    • It was a good deal more than an hour or two, Emily. I worked on and off for much of the day. I wish I were a better typist. My brain goes a lot faster than my fingers, and with a lot fewer mistakes.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 26, 2015 at 10:53 AM

  11. I try to leave comments but it can be a time-consuming task when the rest of life is calling. I see nothing wrong with at least saying “great capture” beautiful or at least a like to show I have been there.


    July 26, 2015 at 9:33 AM

    • There’s nothing wrong with saying “great capture,” but I wanted to set myself a harder challenge. You’re right that it takes up a lot of time to leave longer comments, and we all have other things going on in our lives.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 26, 2015 at 10:57 AM

      • I commend you for doing so, I do feel bad about just leaving a like, or a 2 word comment. On the days when I have time (like right now) I enjoy connecting with fellow bloggers and often get into interesting conversations!


        July 26, 2015 at 3:12 PM

  12. Do I even know 63 people so I could comment? Doubtful. I keep a short leash. I do try to leave comments that are worthy. The one word comments leave something to be desired.

    Great color in that flower. How would you classify it? Magenta?

    Jim in IA

    July 26, 2015 at 9:51 AM

    • I didn’t “know” all of the people whose blogs I commented on. In some cases I left a comment on a familiar blog and then clicked on the name of someone else who had left a comment there too to see if it led me to a post I felt I could say something about.

      As for the color of the fleabane, your suggestion of magenta seems about right. Some people are a lot better than I when it comes to attaching names to less-familiar colors.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 26, 2015 at 11:02 AM

      • Now and then I do some commenter mining to see their blog. It has led to some good ones. The people who leave nice comments are generally good bloggers, too. They are willing to communicate. After all, isn’t that what blogging is mostly about?

        Jim in IA

        July 26, 2015 at 7:05 PM

        • I like your phrase “commenter mining.” It’s good to hear that that has led you to some happy communications, and I can say it has done so for me as well.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 26, 2015 at 7:14 PM

  13. Yikes! And your comments are not by any stretch the equivalent of hitting “like,” either. I don’t seem to manage more than a couple a day, and even at that seem to spend a longer time than makes any sense trying to come up with anything remotely worthwhile to say.

    Susan Scheid

    July 26, 2015 at 10:09 AM

    • Your posts are so full of information that I’m drawn to leave longer rather than shorter comments there. I normally average many fewer comments than the 63 on that Olympics sort of a day, probably only half a dozen or so.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 26, 2015 at 11:09 AM

  14. great picture Steve !!


    July 26, 2015 at 12:30 PM

  15. I like to comment on most of the blogs I follow, some more in depth than others as it depends on the blog. Nice photo by the way.

    Raewyn's Photos

    July 26, 2015 at 2:38 PM

    • It sounds like your commenting keeps you pretty busy.
      I’m pleased with the photo too, so I’m glad I rediscovered that set of pictures.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 26, 2015 at 3:02 PM

  16. The fleabane image is lovely – rich pinks, nice grouping. 63 comments is quite a feat! I thought I’d catch up on what some other people are doing, but I don’t think I’ll come close to that kind of generosity.


    July 26, 2015 at 8:01 PM

    • You’re right: there’s no reason to flee from this fleabane image. I’d say there is a reason to flee from the idea of leaving 63 comments as a routine thing.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 26, 2015 at 9:23 PM

  17. No shortage of comments here. But 100? A GOAL? Not me. Ever.

    I type fast, and I tend to type like I talk, so I’m pretty quick with the comment. But I don’t comment every time,, refrain from commenting when a blogger never interacts (there are exceptions), and rarely comment (or even ‘like’) when I have NO free time. I continue blog-reading in the ‘off-season’ from a tablet, but rarely comment that way. I’ve not missed any of your posts. 😀

    Sometimes, I re-read comments I’ve left years ago. Such a sign of the times!


    July 27, 2015 at 10:43 AM

    • As you say, It’s fun to go back and re-read old things other people said and our responses to them, and vice versa. In looking back, I’ve found that some people haven’t continued with their blogs, which is hardly surprising, because life intervenes. Similarly, in 2004 (long before I had anything to do with blogs), during the months when we sold our former house and bought the current one, I took practically no photographs. It’s impressive how many people do manage to keep up a blog and interact over a long period.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 27, 2015 at 11:37 AM

      • Indeed. Some of my favorite bloggers have ‘fallen off’ into the jaws of life. But yours was the first blog I officially ‘followed’ when I began in early 2012, most likely due to your fresh pressed piece on (guess what?) a BUG…on a flower. Two things that go great together. Some things never change.

        My blogging ebbs and flows, but I love it here and won’t let blogging take over my life (which is the better of the two).

        PS — working on purple martin post now. Got pooped on by a quarter-million birds last night!! So cool.


        July 27, 2015 at 12:08 PM

        • I don’t remember if I knew that this was the first blog you “officially” followed, but I appreciate it. That Freshly Pressed came when this blog was only a month old, and I had a great response to it, but I’ve wondered what the outcome would have been if I’d had the 4-years-and-counting daily track record I have now.

          Your resolve not to let blogging take over your life sounds like the right one, and you’re always talking about adventures with your kids, which is the right investment of your energy.

          I understand the hazards of your purple martin adventure. I remember the difficulties of mine two Julys ago:


          Some spectators had come with umbrellas, but I couldn’t take pictures that way.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 27, 2015 at 1:06 PM

          • Fantastic! I could have guessed you had already checked this off your list. I took a similar shot with a wide angle zoom, but the flash won’t allow for a faster shutter speed than 1/250. My flashless shots came out much better. My shoulders were covered, but my friend got one right in the face!

            Where do they roost in Austin? Is there one up north near Round Rock?

            You remain one of the few blogs I’ve followed that has ‘stayed the path.’ That daily posting thing must be time-consuming, given the demand of your faithful commenters…and that you have great comment-reply etiquette. Cheers, Steve! Enjoy the rest of The Scorcher (aka Texas summer).


            July 27, 2015 at 1:15 PM

            • I’d read about Austin’s purple martins in the local newspaper a short time before I went to the site, which is at the north end of what used to be the Highland Mall shopping center and is now a branch of Austin Community College. My Canon camera allows for high-speed flash synchronization (though it require a Canon brand flash), and I see I used a fast shutter speed of 1/800 sec. to freeze as much of the birds’ motion as I could. I parked my car a bit away from the main action but it still ended up with a few splatters. I feel sorry for your friend who took one right in the face. Yuck.

              Yes, daily posting has been time-consuming, and I’ve been thinking switching to a less-frequent schedule, which is what the large majority of bloggers follow.

              Steve Schwartzman

              July 27, 2015 at 2:21 PM

  18. I’ll happily hand over the trophy to you, Steve! What a feat. And I know you’re not one to leave skimpy remarks. I appreciate your dedication almost as much as I admire your intelligence. Thanks for being so generous with both!


    July 27, 2015 at 3:22 PM

    • It’s not a trophy I’d want to seek again, Kathryn. It was a one-time experiment to see how far I could get, and as I recall, we went to a classical music concert that afternoon, so there went a couple of hours out of the day that saved me from having to leave more than the 63 comments I eked out. In any case, thanks for your thanks.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 27, 2015 at 4:30 PM

  19. Sixty-three? On average I make about ten comments but they may be quite long, as in several paragraphs. Some days I’ve written over thirty. Lately, I’m finding this unsustainable though. I simply can’t read enough blogs and think of intelligent comments or questions to write. I think I may be a little intimidated by the wittiness of some of the people I follow, such as yourself. 😉 By the way, the postcards are in the mail and no, it’s not like when people say “the cheque is in the mail.” They really are on their the way at last! I’m sorry but my mind is too tired to make this the longest comment on record. That may be another challenge for you Steve. I wonder how long your longest comment has been. 🙂


    July 28, 2015 at 5:53 AM

    • It sounds as if you’re in the running for Queen of the Long Comments. One other blogger I know also often leaves long comments. I’ve never tried to see how long a comment I could leave, but you could try the experiment yourself and then write up your results as a post akin to this one about the number of comments in a day.

      Thanks for letting me know the postcards are on their way. As soon as a began to read that sentence I thought “The check is in the mail,” and then I got to the next line and saw you’d thought the same thing.
      I’d say you have no reason to be intimidated by wittiness, given that your posts usually have plenty of light-hearted and engaging writing.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 28, 2015 at 7:26 AM

  20. You’re mad! hahaha….lol…why on earth would you want to do that?! You’ve retired from life, have you….hahahaha.



    July 28, 2015 at 7:15 AM

    • Oh, PS: Pretty flowers…


      July 28, 2015 at 7:16 AM

    • I am largely retired from a daily job, it’s true, but even if I had still been on a schedule, I did my experiment on a Sunday, and it only lasted one day. There are indeed too many other things going on in life to withdraw from it for more than a short while.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 28, 2015 at 7:29 AM

  21. What a good idea…I love it when I have lots of free time to really reflect on and comment on others’ posts. Too often I feel hurried, but will try for a ‘record’ soon, on a day off or Sunday!
    BTW, the flowers are a wonderfully bright and cheery close to your post ;-D

    Birder's Journey

    July 28, 2015 at 6:16 PM

    • Great, let us know what record you hit.
      I agree that the flowers made a bright and cheery close to this post. I originally had a less pretty picture there, so I’m glad I changed it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 28, 2015 at 6:26 PM

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