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Social media evaluation: Is getting comments on your blog still the Holy Grail?

Helen Standing posted this on

blog, commentPut your hand up if you regularly comment on blogs. What, not even those by people you rate that are well written, engaging and leave the debate open? Not even if you have been asked as an expert in the field to share your thoughts?

The reality is that even prolific tweeters who are experts in their field are reluctant to comment on blogs, even when asked to and when doing so would benefit their own profile.

What does having no comments say about your blog to readers?

We have always felt that the Holy Grail of a good quality blog is good quality comments from relevant people. After all, social media is supposed to be about engagement and scrolling down a page of blog posts with no comments on them looks as static as a website.

Why don’t people comment on blogs?

Not only do many find commenting on blogs daunting, it is often not very easy to do if you’re not already registered on the site. It is much easier to tweet, comment on Facebook or post a LinkedIn update to share your thoughts on a blog. And that way, it is likely that more relevant people will get to see it. Blogs with no comments are often part of a much bigger conversation elsewhere on the web.

How can you make it easier for people to comment on your blog?

Many blogs now show the number of tweets and Facebook ‘likes’ a blog has received but not usually the content of comments made on other social media platforms. But some are now showing ‘reactions’ to blog posts from twitter and other platforms, rather than relying on people posting comments directly onto blogs. Blogger also have a ‘reactions’ tool that allows readers to rate the blog (as ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘interesting’, ‘funny’) at the click of a button.

But, what about the quality of ‘reactions’ to your blog in 140 characters or a multiple choice descriptor? Will giving readers the easy option just make them even less likely to post a meaningful comment on your blog that actually adds to the debate?

Comments:

  1. The lengths people go to not to comment…

    Some send emails; some are happy to comment face to face (so you know they read your blog); but few leave (relevant) comments.

    When I’ve asked people about this asymmetry, they’ve usually said that they didn’t feel confident about making a contribution. ‘What do I have to add?’ they think.

    Quality comments are a measure of a blog’s impact, but not the measure.

  2. Thanks for the comment Richard! I wonder whether anyone has read what you’ve said and now feels they don’t have anything further to add so are now even more hesitant to comment… I have to admit I thought that myself just now when deciding whether to respond.

    Perhaps there is more the blogger could do to make people feel comfortable just saying that they do or don’t agree with the blog or any of the comments? Or pointing in the direction of further information as people do with tweets?

    If only there was a way to capture the things people say about your blog directly to you without being pushy?

    Anyone got any examples of this?

  3. Beyond the question of vanity, blogs with few or no comments are not the worst thing.

    Worse are those blogs with obviously fake and one-sidedly supportive comments. Worse still are sites that encourage one-way showing off (I fear the new CIPR Conversations community is turning into just such a place).

  4. My response to Helen’s sharp question is this – I am still tentative about my use of social media. I read tweets and Facebook, randomly follow LinkedIn. I rarely comment. I know I need to define my professional offer before launching myself, as I advise others to do. Consequently, I am cautious to the point of inaction, about what I can offer to a debate and what I would gain, other than mild anxiety.
    However, should there be a sufficient hook, I would go for it. I need to be provoked (like now), enraged, to strongly disagree, to be able to confidently supply alternative sound evidence/views or to want to support or congratulate.

    Basically and before anyone points it out to me, I need to provide myself with the (business) clarity which would give me confidence, then the step into the exposed world of social media wouldn’t feel big and scary anymore, in fact possibly even exciting.

    And running underneath all this is lifestyle and choice. If I had to earn all my living in the modern communications or business world, I would be totally up to speed with social media, commenting all over the place, I would have no choice. But I’m don’t – and so I will continue to edge towards it, at least while this sunshine lasts. One day ………………

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