Blog commenting: I guess I’m wired differently

October 2, 2008

Darren Rowse at Problogger has a great post up today where he asked “10 Prolific Bloggers” to share advice on how they make their blogs more conversational, although the question sent via email read “How do you foster conversation on your blog?”

9 out 10 bloggers talked about tricks in posts, such as being controversial, asking questions at the end of posts, and engaging with readers in the comments.

1 blogger wrote about Disqus and FriendFeed, and the need to make commenting as easy as possible, and facilitating conversations where people want to have them.

If you guessed I was the odd one out, you’d be right 🙂

I don’t disagree with the other 9, and there’s some really good advice there for new and even experience bloggers, but I presumed most of what they say is a given. To my way of thinking, if you write good content, the comments will follow. But if you make commenting easier, and you facilitate it on sites such as FriendFeed (and you can import those comments in + allow users to post directly to FriendFeed from your site so it’s a WIN/ WIN), you increase the odds that people will comment and participate, and with both, you increase the chances that comments turn into long and interesting conversations.

Or maybe I’m just wired differently 🙂

29 responses to Blog commenting: I guess I’m wired differently

  1. well yes, you are wired differently 🙂 but I think your advice was also very good. I think the integreation of comments between services is the way things will continue to go – they certainly seem to lengthen conversations as you point out.

  2. Are you not doing the same here in this article, ie. being controversial? Granted it's not like 'OMFG he didn't just say that did he' controversial, but still it potentially could be said that you're insinuating that the other 9 were being tricksters.

    Despite the stir, I agree with you. Content is king way beyond search traffic and authority, it definitely makes me want to comment.

  3. Is FriendFeed integration and using Disqus really important for non tech blogs? I'm working on a music blog and while my users are familiar with Facebook, Myspace and maybe; very few would use Twitter and none would use FriendFeed. If my users are going to comment based on the content being decent quality, surely they couldn't care less what type of commenting system is in place?

  4. Mat, you don't know me well enough, this is my personal blog, I couldn't give a shit about the traffic. It was just an observation as to how I read the question differently to everyone else, that's all + I wanted to give Darren a link as well.

    No, I'm not suggesting the others are tricksters at all, there's some really good advice there, although as I noted in the post here, a lot of the stuff I'd take as a given. Contextually though, it's great advice for Darren's site.

  5. Mike, fair call, and I guess I could have been a bit clearer; they're my two choices, but it doesn't have to be yours, but the underlying prinicple remains the same: you need to make the commenting experience as simple and as user friendly as possible. FF may not fit your blog, but Disqus, or any one of its competitors might, for example, b5media runs Sezwho on its celeb blogs. The key is offering simplicity AND followup. There most definitely is a difference in my experience, and with others I've spoken to, between not running a commenting 2.0 service and running one…besides, you've got nothing to lose if you do try running one 🙂

    As a side note, Facebook is moving into blog commenting, so this might be something you want to look at. There was a WP plugin leaked in September, it was pulled because it wasn't ready apparently, but certainly FB integration with blog comments is going to be a reality this year. If so, I'd definitely recommend taking a look.

  6. I also find people tend to openly comment in communities they feel comfortable. Since it's harder (imo) to build communities on a blog, FF plug-ins (or any equivalent) is nothing but beneficial. But hey, what do I know? 🙂

  7. Unfortunately its quite clear to a lot of us that certain bloggers will bait their readers with controversial subject matter simply for traffic. Although an effective method, it gets irritating and I often have found myself unsubscribing to these people.

    I agree with your statement Dunc however in the end it all comes down to what the overall goal of the blog is – do you want people in your community who share the same vision as you or do you just want numbers and are willing to put your credibility on the line for hits?

  8. Sorry Duncan, it was a stir.

  9. Duncan – just curious here: do you have a regular plan of backup for the third party hosted comments “just in case” Disqus/FF melts down? So many third party sites come and go, just check the Google 2001 database. This is the primary reason to stay away from these third party hosted systems. I know the comments left 5+ years ago at my blog are still in tact and still searchable. Do you envision that will be the case for Disqus and FF?

  10. I agree that commenting needs to be made simple and user friendly, but after trialing Disqus on my blog, I don't know what I'd get out of using it overWordpress' standard comments with Ajax Edit Comments and Subscribe To Comments plugins (and at least I get to host my own comments that way).

    I've been watching the Facebook Connect plugin very closely – I think it would suit my commenters quite well (although not all of them will want to use it – it's much harder to talk absolute crap when your real name and picture is above the comment!)

  11. TDavid,
    the latest version of the Disqus WP API plugin keeps comments locally stored as well on Disqus, so if it's down…or even if it was to collapse, the same comments appear as standard WP comments because there's always a local copy synced and kept up to date. Wasn't always this way of course, but I feel a lot more comfortable for the very reasons you raise now that it is .

  12. I can understand the conversational element in a post generating conversation. And a well written article will have this. But sadly I have found that with the massive noise of the blogosphere one has to be a little sensationalistic in order to at least kick of some of the conversation. That said there are blogs that people will just comment on regardless as to what is said. Maybe they just want to be seen commenting in that community, I don't know. If some works it all out let me know.

  13. I guess that really wied blogging
    they certainly seem to lengthen conversations as you point out.

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  15. absolutely agree with Darren.

    you are wired differently 🙂 but I think your advice was also very good. I think the integreation of comments between services is the way things will continue to go

  16. Heh, nice! 🙂

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