Monday, April 7, 2008

Comment Sense

Comments on blogs are an interesting phenomenon aren't they? I'm sure we've all been through those early blogging days when we chased readership, comments and links to our blogs. I've got to a ripe old age in blog years and am at the stage when I jot words down as and when they come to me, some get published straight away and others languish in draft form for months, maybe never to be published.

I guess I think of myself as quite wise in blog knowledge too. I'm not one of those geeky fellows, the ones who can tell you all about the latest tricks and ways of getting millions of readers with every word you write. RSS feeds are a thing I know nothing about, not even which animals eat them. But, I know some basics. I can spot the cynical blogs, the ones who are chasing readership at all costs, from about half a mile away.

Most of the old regulars in the Sri Lankan blogosphere are quite mellow too. People like Java, the Domestic Goddess and Mrs Sansoni operate their blogs just as they wish to do so, without chasing readership and writing all sort of rubbish about young naked girls and ways to make money from blogging.

Yet, despite my "knowledge", a term I do use loosely, there's one nugget of wisdom that alludes me. It's the ability to predict whether a post will get no comments at all or if it will attract more interest than a quiet month on the Mihin Air balance sheet. I never can tell.

I'll happily chuck a post out thinking that it's an innocuous one that people won't react to, only to find comments coming at me quicker than tuk tuks heading towards a German tourist standing outside one of CMB's five star hotels. Or I'll type out a long thought out pseudo intellectual post and expect to kick off some serious debate among my reader and find that no one is vaguely interested.

Acceptance is a wonderful thing and I'm now content with the knowledge that I publish something and it may or may not get comments galore. I have a friend who will often tell me what will get comments and what won't, she's usually right too. But it does baffle me.

What about you? Do other bloggers know what's going to attract comments like flies or are you as clueless as me?

I suppose it would be ironic if this post got no comments too.


Ian Selvarajah said...

Interesting question...

I really enjoy comments because one of my favourite things about blogging is the conversation a post generates and the interaction us common folk can have with authors.

Do I blog just to generate comments? Not particularly, but I guess I do hope people want to join in the discussion.

Given that it's a numbers game, one thing that I do make sure of is to make my post titles specific (read: Google friendly) so that it can get picked up by search engines. I started off with clever titles like yours, which are great, but now I'm more likely to write something like: "How to generate comments on your blog?"

However, it can be argued that the random person who comes across your post from Google is unlikely to comment especially if it's an old post...

To answer your question: Besides making completely stupid or highly controversial statements, I can't think of any accurate method of figuring out if a post will generate comments! :)

Jane Doe said...

Well, I generally don't expect comments because I assume people won't have much to say except agree or disagree seeing as I don't really blog about anything super interesting. Other than my life that is...
I backspaced five times while writing this comment and made several changes (to what I was saying) before I published it. :) Unfortunately I'm no where close to your mature blogger status.

Dinidu de Alwis said...

I confess. I do look at my hit counts, and I love it when people comment.

But I've noticed something you've said. Pseudo-intellect rarely gets comments. But, emotionally done, heartfelt ones do. I've noticed that trend on mine. And my Godaya posts get a lot of comments. Maybe cos I'm just being Goday about them.

But as I said, your's is one of the best blogs out there, and I love reading it. So don't you dare stop mister!

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Ian - I've noticed that you and Java are particularly good at replying to comments and creating a "discussion" too. It's something I'm pretty crap at, but maybe should try more.

Jane Doe - I think that's part of my point; I never know which things will be interesting to people and which won't be.

Dinidu - Thanks, but I'm not gong out with you in the Fiat ok!

Darwin said...

Haven't really bothered to check which posts get comments and which ones don't. I guess off the cuff I'd have to say the sciency ones where I discuss peer reviewed research won't get much comments as it's not everyone's cup of tea.

I only check stats to see what search terms lead people to my blog to make sure no one I know in real life is trying to google my blog!

Anonymous said...

Clueless about the posts that get more comments! But, honestly, I love to hear from people, and the interaction, which is why I blog!I can't afford to enjoy a socially active "real" life with my kind of housewifely this anonymous alternative is something I quite appreciate!

Java Jones said...

Comments are cool and I welcome them if they make sense and are relevant to the subject of discussion. The ones I don't appreciate are the ones that are not.

This "friend" of yours - if "she's usually right", I have an experiment in mind.

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