Monday, April 28, 2008

Party In The Comments!

Comments on the Comments
I've been in education for nearly 25 years and I've always been one who's up for the next challenge. Taking on the world of blogging has been an exciting new world for me. As a relatively new blogger, I'm finding that the writing and etiquette of blogging is quite different than most that we deal with away from the keyboard.

What Was I Thinking?
When I first set out to write the previous post, I really just wanted to know what makes people tick when it comes to commenting. I mean, I could tell people were passing through here, yet not too many were leaving comments. What is it about a post that stimulates readers to comment? The resulting comments were so enlightening that I thought I would take the time to write a follow-up post to summarize. I think for all of us who write blogs and for all of us who read blogs, we can learn a thing or two here.

Passion seems to be the one thing to cause people to start clicking their keys. Keamac and David both express how important a personal connection to the blogger is. Whether that connection is established through the blog itself or through Twitter doesn't really matter. I can definitely agree here. The more I get into the social networking circle, the more comfortable I am commenting on others' blogs. I find myself visiting blogs as if I'm dropping by some friends' houses. I see my pals on Twitter as if I'm passing them on the street, but if I want to spend more time with them, I go to their homes (their blogs).

Blogging? Twitter? Education? What happens when you get people together and talk about the things they love? You betcha... you've got a party! Diane's comments show it, this post for me shows it, Sue's post for her Open PD on Blogging shows it and so does Cathy's post about edubloggers show it. Point being these comments point to their most numerous comments ever being for posts about blogging and Twittering! When you bring people together to talk about what they love, you've got the makings for comment-soup!

Controversy is another winner! Kim's blog got many comments when he started getting political and Frank's comments here were quite enlightening about the blogs that raise an element of conflict or "posts which stimulate readers to comment most are not those about education or academics, or professional this or that. But, they are those posts that hit a raw nerve with other bloggers. People love controversy and conflict it seems, like rubbernecking to see an accident." As I responded to Frank, I don't think I'll risk losing my job over reeling in some more comments, although I'd have to admit that it would probably be a lot of fun!

Conversation! Most of all, the main theme running through all of the comments here and on many other blogs running the same questions these days is that readers don't want to be spoken AT. They don't want a broadcast. Like Lisa and Kathy, they want to be part of a conversation. According to Riptide, "When a blogger takes time to actually read and maybe respond to comments, it makes it worth it somehow." I'll venture to guess that's one of the reasons why Sue is so successful with her blogs. She responds to every post and every comment and responds again and again. She is very attentive and when you read her blog and leave a comment, you definitely don't feel ignored. I've noticed on a few other blogs, I may leave a comment and will go back to check on it and it is still waiting in moderation weeks later. Clearly the blogger is not following up on his/her comments and is not interested in the conversation that he/she started in the first place. We all know people like that in real life. They start conversations, ask a question and then actually walk away mid conversation. Well, nah... not for me. And apparently, not for you either.

Guilty As Charged!

As readers ourselves, we admit that we are guilty of not commenting for many reasons. Sometimes, we just don't have the time. Often, we do want to say something but can't organize our thoughts and time gets away from us and we just lose that lovin' feelin'. Some of us prefer to email the blogger directly, not realizing the negative impact on the commenting community. Although, sometimes there are times when it is not appropriate to leave a public comment and discretion of course should be used. Some are intimidated by the public forum or fearful of exposing an imperfection in our writing or thoughts. Then there's RSS Readers. IMC Guy does a GREAT job explaining what the problem is with RSS Readers in his comment. Thanks for bringing this up. I learned a lot here. All very valid.

I'm Ignoring You!
Sometimes the best posts get ignored, as with Linda's brilliant analogy in her blog that I urge you to check out and comment on! One thing I think we can all agree on is that we do ALL still get very excited when we see those comments on our blogs (see, Elementarytechteacher, not just you!). No matter how long we've been blogging, it's still so important to know there are readers who are interested and want to contribute. And, it doesn't hurt to promote each other's blogs either. Per Sarah's point, are posts really so brilliant if they get a lot of hits because they were promoted by someone else or were they just really so brilliant? Well, who cares? Time will tell once the readership hangs around for awhile right? So, I urge everyone to add some new blogs to your blogroll and when you do find a blog you like, or even a post you like, send out a tweet or post it on your own blog with a link back to the original blog.

Best Lessons Learned Circle Back
The best lessons learned will circle back in life and I appreciate that you stopped by here to drop off your tidbits of wisdom. Thank you! I'll see you at the next blog along the way! ~Lee


the shupester said...

What- is it not enough that you have provided another distraction for us in our busy day with your pithy observations and intriguing analysis? Now you want more of our time to create a thoughtful response to that subject that you already so intricately dissected?


(errr, am I the first post?!)

Sarah Stewart said...

Hi Lee, nice post. It fits nicely with the new comment challenge thats being developed.

Can you do me a favour. The link you provided to my name doesn't work-leads to a dead end. Would you be able to fix that. Thanks so much.

See you in the comment challenge?

cheers Sarah

Lee Kolbert said...

@Gordon Ha! Yes, now I have you under my power!

@Sarah Good catch! My apologies...I actually had a very hard time writing this post last night. Not the content but getting Blogger to cooperate. As soon as I published, the size of the text went crazy, top to bottom went from huge to tiny. Links weren't working right and my attempts to fix it were marginal (as you can see). Good luck with the challenge. I'll have to check it out... what are you taking about?

laily said...

Hi lee, I like the topic you brought up. interesting I always wonder why people did not leave comments so now I know it. I guess I need to improve on my blog.

Anonymous said...

I strolled on by to link you to my new post and there I was mentioned in your "Party In the Comments" post. Thank your for praising my writing. It made me blush. I was tagged for a meme-watch out I am tagging you next.
I realized I was so proud of that post because it is the complete summation of my teaching philosophy. You made my day!

日月神教-向左使 said...
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