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Day 15: Give a Comment Award

I’m supposed to recognize one or a few commenters on my blog today, and for whatever parameters I choose (they write good comments, they comment frequently, they make me think, etc.).

I’m going to recognize a few commenters who really challenge me and make me think. Many of the comments I get challenge me, but these are the people who have done it regularly over the years:

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So thanks for disagreeing with me and either making me think of things in a different way or challenging me to better defend my ideas. Supportive comments are always appreciated, but I think sometimes people don’t realize that disagreeing is encouraged on most blogs and adds a lot to the conversation. So disagree away!

Day 16: Go Back and Catch Up on Something

I think that’s what I’m doing today! :)

Day 17: Five in Five

This activity actually came from our profession’s very own Tony Tallent from the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenberg County. The goal is to write five comments in five minutes without resorting to superficial “I agree” or “that’s good” comments.

What I learned from this is that it’s impossible for me. I not only spend a good bit of time reading thoughtful posts, but I really do think about what I’m going to say in my comment. I want to contribute something useful, and I’m unwilling to do that for the sake of time. In fact, I’d say I spend more time per word on my comments than on my blog, because it’s like being in someone else’s house — it makes you a little more careful. God forbid I break something!

I think it took me about 15 minutes to do this. First, I went through my aggregator and found posts I wanted to comment on, and I purposely picked two that had very few words and one I’d already read. Next, I composed a comment for each. Some required more thought and care than others. But I did manage to comment on five posts.

While I guess I was a dismal failure at this, it did make me think about how I feel about commenting at other people’s blogs.

Day 18: Analyze the Comments on Your Own Blog

Today I’m doing a self-audit on my blog posts and the comments they do or don’t attract:

Which of your posts have generated the most comments?

In 2008, these are the posts that have gotten between 14 and 48 comments:

Eight high-comment posts in 4 1/2 months? Not bad!

Which has generated the best conversation? (The last question is about quantity; this one is about quality.)

I’d say these are the ones that have led to the most interesting conversations over the past 4 1/2 months:

Are there any patterns to the commenting on your own blog? Do certain types of posts generate more comments than others?

Patterns? Absolutely! The posts that generate the best comments are usually the ones I’m most nervous to write because I have no idea how people will respond. When I’ve written about gender issues, the ALA, staff issues, library school, and career stuff I usually get a lot of comments. These are the sort of topics about which people have strong feelings and opinions. I also have gotten a lot of comments on posts where I’ve announced good news, but those are just congratulatory-type posts.

If you do see a pattern or commonality between posts that generate good comments, what can you do to increase those qualities in other posts?

I don’t think I really want to make changes to the way I blog. Not every post on this blog needs to generate that sort of intense conversation. I like taking part in conversations on many blogs and I don’t know if I’d have the time if I was so focused on generating and taking part in continuous conversations on my blog. Similarly, I read lots of interesting blog posts from others that I don’t feel compelled at all to comment on. It doesn’t make them bad posts; it’s just that they’re less conversational. I’m pretty happy with the number of posts that get lots of comments; seems just right to me.

The fact is, I still don’t see conversation as being the only thing that blogs are about (nor do I see comments as the primary measure of success). If your blog isn’t getting the number of comments mine is, it doesn’t make it an unsuccessful blog. There are plenty of blogs I read and enjoy greatly that I never comment on. There are as many types of blogs as there are bloggers, and I’m glad for it.