Blogging 103: Commenting on Blogs

In one sense, a blog is just a Web site.

A Web site that, because of easy-to-use and free software like WordPress, anyone can publish. You could decide to use WordPress.com as your content-management system, to produce your own one-way Web site. All you would have to do is turn off the comments feature, either for the whole site or for individual posts. In this way, you would have an easy Web publishing system.

But what sets blogs apart from traditional Web sites (Can you believe that? I used the word “traditional” to describe something that first started in 1994!) is the ability to invite comments and create conversations.

That’s what makes blogs interesting.

Yet most people who read blogs never participate in the discussion by leaving a comment. Forrester research indicates that about 33 percent of Internet users are “Spectators” who read blogs, listen to podcasts or watch YouTube videos without leaving any comments, and 52 percent of users are “Inactives” who don’t even read blogs. (I think the inactives number is overstated because, as I said earlier, a blog is just a Web site. People are going to blogs without even knowing it.)

In keeping with our SMUG goal of getting people to stretch into new areas of social media, in Blogging 103 I hope to help some of those Inactives and Spectators move up the Forrester Ladder of Participation into the Critics category.

Just complete the assignment below, and you’ll climb a rung or two.

Assignment:

Click the “Comments” link at the bottom of this post. It looks something like this if no one has commented yet:

Or if some people have commented, it will have a number in front of the word “Comments” – like this:

Then you’ll see the full post reload, showing any comments from others, and at the bottom you will have a chance to add yours.

I’ll bet you can figure out how to fill in that comment form.

In a future post, I’ll show you how to participate most effectively, but for now, it’s important to just take that first step and make a comment.

You’ll note that I have set this blog to accept comments without being approved by me. In other words, I’m not “moderating” comments in advance. So you’ll get the immediate gratification of seeing your comment show up right away after you submit it, provided you’re a real human being. I use Akismet to weed out the automated comment spam that unsavory characters use to promote their herbal Viagra alternatives and the like. More on that in a future post, too.

But I also know that one reason why people don’t comment on blogs is because they don’t know exactly what to say. So I’ll set you up with a couple of questions to prime the pump, just to make it easier for you to dive in.

  1. Is this your first time commenting on a blog? If so, what has been the main barrier that keeps you from commenting?
  2. If you do comment sometimes, what are the factors that cause you to join the conversation?
  3. For extra credit, what social media topics are most interesting to you? What questions about social media would you like to see answered and discussed further?

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Author: Lee Aase

Married father of six and grandfather of seven, and the Chancellor of SMUG - Social Media University, Global. By day I'm the Director of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network. Whatever I say here is my personal opinion, and doesn't reflect the positions of my employer.

9 thoughts on “Blogging 103: Commenting on Blogs”

  1. I heard about your university at a Creative Memories convention. WOW! Thank you for helping me learn how to use the web to connect with others! I have a blog up and running (in less than four minutes) now it is time to figure out how to post on it…

  2. Answer to question one.
    I felt that I had nothing to add that had not already been said.

    Answer to question two.
    It was an assignment for this course.

  3. 1) Is this your first time commenting on a blog? If so, what has been the main barrier that keeps you from commenting?
    No, this is not my first blog comment. I have chosen a handful bloggers to follow, who blog about social media and marketing, and I try to comment on each one at least once a week. However, I do lurk in some blogs whose content interests me but I don’t comment because I don’t feel like I know enough about the subject to do so.

    2) If you do comment sometimes, what are the factors that cause you to join the conversation?
    As I mentioned above I comment on the few blogs that I follow due to their content.

    3) For extra credit, what social media topics are most interesting to you? What questions about social media would you like to see answered and discussed further?
    I’m especially intrigued by social media marketing. As a MBA Marketing student that only is offered one course on e-marketing I like to learn more about engaging customers via SM, SEO, and ROI.

  4. Thanks for posting this Lee! I work for a hospital and health system that is dipping its toe into the world of social media – your curriculum is very helpful!

  5. This is my first time commenting. One always like to understand the etiquette first.

    The course has been good so far. I’ve had to have a number of updates done to my work computer to even allow the things I need for this course – such as an updated Flash. Business don’t need to ban Social Media – they just need to keep the computers in the dark ages and not let you upgrade them! Perhaps a chapter on pre-requisites?

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