Are Blog Comments Dead?
As engagement and sharing on Twitter, Facebook and other social tools continues to increase, many bloggers are noticing a sharp decrease in comments on their blogs. Of course, that doesn’t mean that interest is declining. RSS and email subscriptions, site traffic and social sharing may all be continuing to increase. These are tracked through a variety of tools and even popular commenting system Disqus scours social networks to find blog posts being shared and displays those as “interactions”.
Increasingly bloggers are concerned that even though they know that their posts are being shared through other channels, that their communities still aren’t commenting on their posts. It’s a completely understandable feeling. You work hard at putting together a thought or position, flesh it out, find an engaging photo or video to help enhance your point and then publish it to the world. A comment makes us feel good and/or helps to extend the post itself. Sometimes the comments are even better than the post. So, when a blogger begins noticing a decrease of comments on their blog, it can be depressing. It can cause bloggers to start rethinking their content strategy and possibly even considering whether or not they should continue blogging.
Every time I’ve been asked whether or not a blogger should be discouraged by a decrease in comments, I immediately ask them whether or not they’ve looked at the sharing of their post through other channels and what the feedback from those channels are. Usually they tell me that their seeing their content being shared online but they still wish they were getting the comments on their blog.
I’ve been thinking about this often. Admittedly, I comment a lot less than I used but I share tons more now. Google Reader trends tell me that I share around 30 articles per day through there. I also regularly share tons more through Twitter and Facebook throughout the day. But, I probably comment on about 75% less blogs than a year or so ago. I know, I need to improve on that.
However, as I’ve been thinking about this, I’ve been considering whether or not the decline in commenting is actually a bad thing. If you stop by and comment on a blog, you may extend that conversation and/or let that blogger know that you appreciate their work. Both are great. Consider though that the conversation will only be seen by that community which is limited by the number of subscribers and the number of visitors to that blog. But, if you share that blog post with your community on Google Reader, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, then you’re promoting that content to your social graph thus extending the total overall reach of that post. By sharing that post with your social graph, it will extend the number of eyes that may be seeing that blog for the very first time. Or, if they’ve ignored other content from that blog, it may be that post that pulls them in and triggers them to subscribe or share it with their networks thus continuing to grow the overall subscriber base and reach of the blog.
You may think that I’m suggesting that comments are dead but I’m not. I love comments as much as the next blogger. I appreciate everyone that takes the time out to share their thoughts. I also value everyone that shares my content with their social graphs because it helps to get my content out to more people.
It’s just something I’ve been debating in my own head lately so I figured I’d spill it out into a blog post and see what you had to say and where you may choose to say it. So, what are your thoughts? Do you prefer comments, social sharing or a combination of both as a measure of the engagement on your blog?
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Photo Credit: premasagar