Friday, May 2, 2008

31 Day Comment Challenge - Day 1

The 31 Day Comment Challenge has been kicked off by Michele Martin. Details can be found on Michele's blog and the Challenge wiki. The Challenge replicates the 31 Day Blog Challenge and has been designed to encourage people to think about how they comment on blogs and how they create a space for people to comment on their own blogs.

Day 1 of the Challenge involves running an audit of my comment behavior - what are my comment skills and strategies? To help in the audit, I have been asked to review an article about blog comments written by Gina Trapanui.

How often do you comment on other blogs during a typical week?
I honestly do not know the answer to this question. It very much depends on my workload and how much time I have to read blogs. I probably comment on at least one blog post every day.

Do you track your blog comments? How? What do you do with your tracking?
I track my comments with co.mments unless the blog post has an inbuilt facility for tracking. However, I only track my comments if I am really interested in the topic of conversation or if I want to check that the blogger has responded to me. If I leave comments on a blog and there are no responses from the blog owner after two or three comments, then I do not go back to the blog. The only exception to the rule is when I comment on the famous blogs. The owners are usually too inundated to respond to individual comments and I do not expect them to.

Do you tend to comment at the same blogs or do you try to comment on at least one new blog per week?
I have my favorite blogs that I comment on all the time such as those belonging to Michele Martin, Sue Waters, Carolyn McIntosh and Leigh Blackall. And the reason they are my favorite blogs is because Michele, Sue, Leigh and Carolyn put themselves out to respond to me personally. I also follow their blogs because the topics they write about interest me.

But I also make a point of commenting on new blogs in an effort to expand my network and also to try to attract people back to my blog. I do not know how successful that is as a strategy. Whilst the number readers is growing there hasn't been a noticeable reciprocation in my comments. The increase in readership could be more to do with my increased networking on Twitter and the advertising of my blog by other means.

Gina Trapanui's advice on leaving comments
On the whole I agree with everything Gina says about things like being courteous, keeping to topic and adding to the thread. On the whole, I am pretty good at sticking to the guidelines that Gina suggests.

The only thing I would disagree with is her rule: don't comment for the sake of commenting. Sometimes, everything that can be said has been said but I may say a few words to signal my appreciation of the post. Whilst it may add nothing to the conversation, it is important to me that the blogger knows he/she has contributed to my learning. One example of this is the story of Al Upton and the mini legends. Whilst I had absolutely nothing new to add to the discussion, I left a comment to indicate my support for him and his students.

When did you last leave a comment on a blog?

Image: 'Another Subversive Comment' duncan


Sue Waters said...

I totally love the photo you've used. I'm taking the 5th ammendment on the number of comments I post :) .

You know it's interesting one of my other friends says they only track some comments. Whereas I track all comments (although sometimes my comment tracking tools let me down). My thoughts are if I've taken the effort to write a comment it must have been important enough.

Still don't agreed about the famous bloggers. They can say thanks everyone for the comments -- doesn't have to be to each can be a collective thanks. We all lead busy lives.

While I enjoyed reading Gina's post I didn't necessarily agree with everything she wrote and if time will write about it.

Michele Martin said...

Hi Sarah, I agree with you that leaving a comment to show support is a good idea, especially for new bloggers. I suspect that Gina lives in a world where there are dozens of comments on a post and bloggers are no longer grateful for each comment they get. :-)

I'm glad you're participating in the Challenge--one thing to point out though is that I'm actually a tag-along. This is the brainchild of Sue Waters and Kim Cofino. I got pulled in to help organize the activities, which I'm really enjoying!

Sarah Stewart said...

Hi Michele and Sue, thanks for popping by.

Sue: I have to say now that I have thought about it, I think I agree with you about staying off topic. Sometimes going off topic is relevant and appropriate. Sometimes I make humorous off-topic comments. I think this gives the commenter a human face and can help to make connections.
Thanks for making me think again.

Lee said...

Hi Sarah,
This topic is quickly becoming a favorite of mine since I blogged about this recently. My post and the comments left were so insightful that I find myself commenting in different ways and also thinking differently about the ways I re-comment on my own blog. One string running through the conversation was that people enjoyed responses and wanted to be part of the conversation, however, I urge you and your readers to go over there and read Karl Fisch's comment, only because he gives a slightly different perspective on why a blogger might conciously choose not to respond to his own comments. I'm very much enjoying your blog! Take care, Lee

Cristina Costa said...

Sarah! I totally agree with you. Comments are the fuel people need to become better bloggers and keep blogging. But commenting just for the sake of commenting is not that good.
In this day and age we live faast lives and most times we almost forget to stop for one minute or 2 and tell people how greatly they are doing; how relevant what they say is and how they have touched our way of being and acting with their words and deeds. IMHO That is what the role comments play in blogs. It is the written proof of one's virtual ear! :-)
It is good to see people talk about what goes on in their minds and worlds, but it is even better to learn others do listen to what you have to say.
And then there is something about the written word: people open up more when they write than when they talk - online there is no eye-contact, thus theoretically less fear of what others are thinking as you express yourself, and hence more heartfelt words...
Am I going off topic here?
Glad to be part of this challenge!

Sue Waters said...

Sarah - your humour is your strength.

Karl does makes some interesting points but it gets back to what you are trying to achieve with blogging and community building.

If you all want some even more challenging views on commenting practices check out the comments on Darren's post. I can feel a blog post forming that will have to eventually get out.

No I don't think you went off topic Cristina when you said "And then there is something about the written word: people open up more when they write than when they talk - online there is no eye-contact, thus theoretically less fear of what others are thinking as you express yourself, and hence more heartfelt words..." I do think I express my thoughts sometimes more online.

Sarah Stewart said...

Thank you, everyone, for continuing the conversation. Its fascinating the diverse opinions that have come up in your post, Lee and Darren's post.

I see commenting and facilitating comments an important part of community building and one of the aims of this blog. But someone once said to me on this blog that blogging is not about me trying to build a community - it is up to the reader to take charge of his/her own learning and make his/her own community - I wish I could find the original quote because it was quite challenging.