Are Blog Comments Worth It? Treasure the Conversations

15 thoughts on “Are Blog Comments Worth It? Treasure the Conversations”

    1. Hi Tony! That’s also part of the equation! Although a blog doesn’t necessarily need to be incredibly popular to drag some comments along the lines, it’s always nice to have some kind of dialogue, even though it may not be immediate, at some point; that’s why I enjoy having a few comments here and there without having that overwhelming sense of hundreds, if not thousands of them; that’s when I think the conversation can start losing some of its original core value…

  1. There are two worlds out there: A world where blog comments are respectful and constructive, and they enhance the value of the blog. And the other world, were comments are often (sometimes unintentionally) abusive and often irrelevant.

    I’m regularly impressed by how well comments work within the community of Lotus Bloggers.
    This spirit of two way communications is hugely valuable.

    I think the tone was set by an early expectation that people making comments would use their real names: or at least give verifiable contact details to the blogger. That engendered a culture of respect that is absent in the blogs of newspapers, magazines and many blogs or discussion forums aimed at special interests.

    1. Hi Anthony! Thanks a bunch for the feedback comments and for dropping by! I think you bring in a very very good point as to splitting up the different levels of commenting and engagement there are out there.

      I have been blogging for nearly 7 years now and all along I decided to help facilitate the kinds of conversations you described above in the first case scenario; being capable of putting a name, and perhaps a face, behind a comment makes it even so much more authentic and relevant to the real thing: face to face conversations.

      That’s why all along those are the comments I care about and participate quite gladly. They are the essence of social software interactions and a clear sign that blogging is healthy. No need to get hundreds, nor thousands, of them, but surely a couple of them here and there are the right step forward.

      That’s probably why the Lotus community has always been so engaging and responsive; hiding behind anonymous comments has never been a thing that’s been promoted and encouraged, so it does help having such kind of virtual interactions that can then be augmented tremendously when meeting face to face at events like Lotusphere 😉

      Glad you have made that distinction, sharing across the kind of commenting we should all aspire to. In my opinion, it’s always been more about the quality than the quantity 😀

  2. Good point, Tony. Even if I don’t always get comments, if I didn’t think I had people reading and _potentially_ commenting back (or writing on their own blogs – boy I wished Trackback worked properly), then I would have much less motivation to write.

    1. Those are some interesting thoughts, Jack, adding further up to what Tony also mentioned, but here is a question that’s been in my mind for a while now… I usually don’t post entries with the aim of getting comments, even if I don’t!, but I eventually share those posts more as my Personal Knowledge Management strategy; therefore my blog becomes my default PKM (Or Personal Knowledge Sharing) system.

      Would I be looking for comments with that flavour for the posts I would regularly share? Somehow I feel that need may not be that much of a need anymore… Thoughts?

      1. I see two main reasons for comments. One is for the blogger to learn. I make no secret of the fact that I started my blog in the hope that I would learn about what other people in my position are doing. It’s completely selfish.

        The other reason to allow comments is so that your followers can communicate with each other. Knowledge improves through discussion.

        1. Those are some really really good points, Tony! And funny enough it all comes back to the beginnings of Web 2.0: me, me, me … but with a social context of wanting to learning more engaging with others are part of that knowledge exchange, rather between you and your audience or the audience amongst themselves.

          That’s how I have always seen blogging myself; a learning experience where everyone interested can take part and add their ¢2 as part of that continuous learning activity of bouncing back and forth an idea 🙂

  3. Agree that comments are important … BUT, I tend to comment on other people’s blogs way more than I expect comments on my own – in no small part due to the fact that I never started blogging for others; I started blogging for me; the comments were a nice addition, but lack of them isn’t a problem.

    I know, however, that I’m unusual in that – hence tending to comment on a fair proportion of what I read – as I know most bloggers blog for an audience. So I like to let them know I was there!

    1. Thanks for bringing that point, Emma, and for dropping by letting us know “you are here!” 😀 I agree, that’s, in part, how I think about blogging myself all along; if I were just blogging for an audience, I would have abandoned it already a few years back! I still do it every so often as my own Personal Knowledge Management / Sharing system where I can dump thoughts I would want to come back to at some point in the near future.

      If folks comment on those blog posts all the better; it adds further up into my original thinking, but if not, it’s ok. I will be developing that thought at a later time and if folks comment then that’s fine. If not, I will keep maturing that thought even some more.

      All part of my PKM and learning experience, I suppose; but one I have learned to treasure over the years 😉

  4. Luis, I guess there are other parts of the equation too, one of the most important is the style/size of the audiences you reach. Just imagine hundreds of comments to any of your blogposts made – would it be the same? Like if you write a post on losing weight (or something that everyone has an opinion about :), it pick-uped by the media and now all kinds of random people are coming to comment. It’s one story if you enjoy that, but if you don’t have time to participate on that scale and don’t care about offering others a space to talk between themselves, why keeping the comments open?

    In my PhD I distinguish between uses of a weblog for publishing, conversations with self (~inward focused part of PKM) and conversations with others. If publishing (and reaching audiences as big as possible) is your main interest than comments are not necessary. Conversations, especially those with others, are totally different story – in those cases comments are essential.

    1. Hi Lilia! Great commentary and very thought provoking, indeed! I am wondering though, why would I want to close off comments on a blog for that kind of publishing of getting hundreds of comments if I can let (Or even better, facilitate) multiple conversations to happen. Yes, I am not involved in them myself, for sure, but doesn’t mean that other folks may be interested in them and accordingly keep up with them.

      I am sure you must have seen how different blog posts get “hijacked” by an audience engaging in those conversations without you having much more to add, or perhaps nothing at all due to time constraints. I think in that context having comments enable is still a good thing to do; it’s part of the conversation.

      I think the challenge would be to set up the right level of expectations with your readers as to how you would best engage in those conversations yourself, i.e. commenting on each and everyone of those comments or only on the ones you feel most compelled to comment on.

      One thing I know for sure, specially after the three years I have been involved with micro-sharing/-blogging is that I don’t need, nor want, to be a bottleneck for those conversations; or to close them off altogether; better let them be and see where the conversation flow.

      Agree with you that things would not be the same anymore. It’s like a “private” conversation amongst just a few going crazy into the hundreds / thousands, but still a conversation, don’t you think?

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