May 132008
 

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Day 9: Should We Be Commenting on Blogs?

Check out this article and the many references to bloggers who think that comments should be disabled on blogs. Read through those posts and consider whether or not you think it’s better to build community through comments or through conversations occurring across blogs–or maybe a combination of both. What, to your mind, is the purpose of comments on blogs and are we better served by encouraging people to respond to ideas on our blogs or over on their own blogs?

I read the article. Interesting. My short answer to the big question “Should we be commenting?”: it’s up to the blogger. Perhaps you want interaction on your own blog. Perhaps you don’t. Consider your purpose and audience and go from there. Incidentally, lots of non-blog websites offer a space for people to share and interact. Again, it depends on the purpose and what you hope to achieve. And perhaps you can turn on / off comments for a particular post, allowing you to play it by ear.

My perspective

If I didn’t want people to interact with me, I wouldn’t have started blogging in the first place. Whether that interaction comes via a trackback, a Tweet, or a comment makes little difference to me — I just want to connect. And enabling comments is an easy way for that to happen. As I said earlier, I have also realized recently that I often say more interesting and substantial things on other people’s blogs than I do on my own. I’m better at being invited than being the invitee, I guess.

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 13 May, 2008  Posted by at 2:56 pm Writing Tagged with:  4 Responses »
May 102008
 

[Edit: if anyone can help me properly use footnotes, I’d be much obliged! Thanks!]

Ok, so we’re on what, Day 10? And I am still thinking about Day 7.

Here’s the thing: I’ve been falling behind because I am, on some level, not finding the Comment Challenge to be such a challenge.

Let me explain. The purpose of the Comment Challenge is to:

. . . [become] better blog citizens . . . by actively participating in conversations and [share] your learning, especially with those new to blogging . . .

And I get that, I really do. That is, in fact, why I signed up for the challenge. Indeed, I even was initially intimidated by the challenge:

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And I even understand the purpose of the Daily Activities, which is to

challenge our thinking, writing and . . . aid in the process of becoming better commenters.

But here is my problem: I think I am already a good commenter, without the Daily Activities.
Task 1 was a good starting place, and definitely uncovered some areas for me that I need to focus on in my commenting. Basically, after the Self-Audit I felt more mindful of how I make my presence understood as I go about life in the online world, interacting with people who have never met me. I realized that at times, my tone is unclear and perhaps not accurate, and so I have been more cognizant of what I say and how I say it.

Tasks for Days 2 through 6 were things that were not unusual for me — i.e., I do these things anyway, fairly regularly. So I didn’t really, officially, do them as part of the Comment Challenge.1 And then I got to Day 7 (even though today is Day 10) and thought, Hmm… what am I really learning here?

Answers:

  • I often make comments on others‘ blogs that are perhaps even more insightful than what I post here on my own blog. Therefore, I think I am better at responding to others’ ideas than coming up with my own. Question: What does that say about me? Am I not that innovative? Or am I just too social?
  • I don’t need prompted tasks to make sure I am expanding my PLN, communicating with the people in it, and respectfully disagreeing with people. Perhaps others do, but I don’t.
  • I comment enough, but definitely since the challenge began, I have been commenting more — which I guess was the point, so … ta-da! Mission (thus far) accomplished.

And one more question for anyone reading this: Is there a word which means “not having discovered something new and epiphanous2 when one was expecting to?”


1(Even coComment was already installed on my Firefox browser at home, though I had not enabled it in a while. The only new thing I needed to do was enable it on my tablet at school.)
2Ok, I made that word up.

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 10 May, 2008  Posted by at 5:00 pm On the Personal Side, Writing Tagged with:  15 Responses »
May 042008
 

Ok, I am a bit late to the party (hard to keep up, man! I’ve got a busy life!), but seeing as I am participating in the 31-Day-Comment Challenge, I figured I should follow Langwitches’s instructions for a Self-Audit.

For this activity, do the following:

Answer the following questions:

  1. How often do you comment on other blogs during a typical week?
    Hmm. Probably on average, twice a week.
  2. Do you track your blog comments? How? What do you do with your tracking?
    I track comments made on blogs that I comment on, usually via the e-mail subscription or an RSS feed. As for what I do with them, well, I basically don’t “do” anything with them. I just read, follow, and follow-up if necessary. I try to always respond to comments left on my own blog. However, I also realize that at some point a conversation has to end, and not everything needs a reply.
  3. Do you tend to comment at the same blogs or do you try to comment on at least one new blog per week?
    I pretty much comment on the same blogs. So, I think it’s time to branch out a bit. There is so much out there!

Now review Gina Trapani’s Guide to Blog Comments and ask yourself how well you’re doing in each of the different areas. Are there any specific areas where you think you need to do some work? What do you want to do to address these issues?

  1. Stay on topic. I am pretty good at this, though often I make references to other issues that are related.
  2. Contribute new information to the discussion. This is often what holds me back from commenting. I often feel like I simply agree with what has already been said, so I say nothing. Or I say, “I agree with so-and-so” which I realize is not useful. I guess I need to think more carefully about what I am adding that is new.
  3. Don’t comment for the sake of commenting. Yeah, I’m okay with this. Mostly just because I don’t have the time!
  4. Know when to comment and when to e-mail. I think I am pretty good with this area, too. I understand the boundaries, especially with those whom I know very well.
  5. Remember that nobody likes a know-it-all.  OOoh, I think I have been guilty of this at times. Perhaps I need to tone things down a bit. I will admit that there are times when I need to address things more diplomatically. Often I should re-draft comments before hitting “submit”!
  6. Make the tone of your message clear.  I think this is related to my problem in #5 above. :-)
  7. Own your comment. I am very consistent with this, but I will admit that I have left the WRONG URL on a couple of comments. oops!
  8. Be succinct.  Again, the re-drafting thing. Hmmm… I do this in my e-mails… why do I think I don’t need to in my comments? Point taken!
  9. Cite your sources with links or inline quoting. Yes, I try to do this as often as possible. But it’s hard sometimes — again, a time issue.
  10. Be courteous.  I think this goes without saying. Just because it’s the blogosphere and written in words does not mean that there are not people behind those words.
  11. Do not feed or tease the trolls.  I have no tolerance for this online, really.

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       4 May, 2008  Posted by at 4:21 pm Writing Tagged with:  9 Responses »