Comment Challenge Catch-Up

31 Day Comment ChallengeI’m slowly catching up on the comment challenge. I’d planned to do a bit more over the weekend. My husband and I went to the bookstore after lunch Saturday, then spent the rest of the afternoon in bed reading. I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the time offline.

Day 13: Write a Blog Post Using Comments

Although the Telecommute Instructional Design Jobs
post wasn’t actually from a standard public comment, I still think it counts. (This came from my Ask A Question page, where readers can submit questions privately, but give me the right to republish.) After all, the point of this seems to be about interacting with the readers. The Ask A Question just gives them another way to do so.

Community Size & Connection Strength is another post based on comments.

Day 14: Turn Your Blog Over to Your Readers

I just did this one today, asking for help answering a reader question in Instructional Design Training Programs. This probably isn’t the most compelling question; maybe I’ll try this one again sometime. Usually when I post a really deep question to readers, it’s after I’ve already written a full post. I do ask questions for tips and help sometimes, and I’ve been very happy with the wonderful responses from the community. I don’t usually let go of control enough to let my readers write the post in the comments though, not at the level of Chris Brogan anyway.

Day 15: Give a Comment Award

I’m copping out of this one. I just can’t imagine picking one person out of all the wonderful commenters I have here. Thank you to everyone who has ever left a non-spammy comment on my blog.

Day 16: Go Back and Catch Up on Something

I’m only three days late on my catch-up day. Not bad, huh?

Day 17: Five in Five

I’m putting this one off for tonight; I’ll come back to it later.

Day 18: Analyze the Comments on Your Own Blog

I wrote up this task partly because I was interested in doing it myself.

Which of your posts have generated the most comments?

I’ve had nine posts which generated 10 comments or more:

# of Comments Post Date
18 Do Instructional Designers Really Need Technology Skills? 06/05/07
16 Social Networking as LMS: Problems and Opportunities 08/18/07
13 Technology Skills for Instructional Designers 06/04/07
12 Diigo or Delicious for Beginners? 03/29/08
12 Is instructional design the right career? 06/20/07
11 Facebook as LMS? 08/16/07
11 Atmosphere for Commenting 05/17/08
11 First Experience with Usability Testing 03/11/08
10 Firefox Extensions 08/21/07

Dates in the table above are American style (MM/DD/YY).

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

I loved the debate about whether instructional designers need technology skills or not. I am so happy that Cammy Bean came here and disagreed with me. First of all, it meant that I found another instructional designer and blogger who I’ve learned lots from over the last year. But the conversation was great because she was able to share a perspective and experience that were quite different from my own. Her initial comments led me to write two other posts, one of which is at the top of the list above. I’ve had other good conversations, but I still think this one was the best. It certainly was very eye-opening for me.

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

I see a couple of trends:

  • Three of these posts were from my series on instructional design careers in June 2007.
  • My two posts about Facebook and other social networking sites as LMS (Learning Management Systems) were also popular.
  • Two are about the tools I use: Diigo and Firefox.
  • Posts that have gotten the most views aren’t necessarily the ones with the most discussion. For example, the post with the most comments has only gotten 500 views total. My all-time top post, Instructional Design Skills, is approaching 2000 views, but doesn’t have a single comment. That post gets lots of search engine traffic, hence a high number of views, but has never started a discussion.

Information about instructional design careers does seem to be a popular topic. In fact, that’s part of why I chose to do the posts on telecommute jobs and training programs; people are looking for this information.

The best discussions were posts where I took a stand on something a bit controversial: the need for technology skills and Facebook/social networking as LMS. When I can find that balance where I make a statement that not everyone agrees with but still make it open for people to discuss and debate, I get great conversations.

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?

Even after doing all this analysis, I’m not sure what to do to increase these qualities in other posts. Certainly, I’ll continue to write more about instructional design careers and just about instructional design in general. The topics that I’m passionate about are more likely to be interesting reads and therefore generate more comments.

Do you see a pattern in what generates good conversation, either on your own blog or here? What makes you not just comment once, but come back to comment again?

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9 thoughts on “Comment Challenge Catch-Up”

  1. Does an AI-generated comment on a 16-year-old blog post really make your business look better? If you’ve got something to contribute, I publish new posts every week.

  2. Hey Cammy, nice to see you out and about in the blogosphere again. 🙂 It was a great conversation, and I’m sure we will continue to have more. I think the conversations about whether a degree is needed or not were also great; not much of that was on my blog, but the conversation on your blog, John Curry’s, and others was excellent.

    I realized several days after I wrote this post that I missed a commonality in my analysis. In 3 cases, when I good discussion was going on a particular topic, I posted a second time on that topic (Technology skills, Facebook, and Diigo–although with Diigo the earlier conversation was on their site rather than here). When a conversation already had momentum like that, posting again and bringing in ideas from the comments kept the momentum going. In fact, my second posts got more comments than the first.

    Your comment was the one that sparked the first deep conversation here though, and I’m extremely grateful for that.

  3. Hey Christy,

    (My first comment in quite a while!) I’m so honored to have been a part of this conversation, too. It’s certainly sparked a lot of great conversation all over the place. Hoping for more of the same as time rolls on…


  4. Pingback: Learning from Great Comments « Experiencing E-Learning

  5. Although it won’t work as well for this challenge, you might try AideRSS to get a rough estimate. It seems to only go back to February 26 for your blog, Michele. Still, that gives you an automatic analysis of March, April, and this month. AideRSS looks at comments, delicious links, tweets, and other trackbacks. If you look at your top 20, you’ll see what they consider your most active conversations.

    My top 20 by their calculations isn’t the same as my list above, but it does provide a quick and dirty analysis.

    Sorry I didn’t mention this before–I just realized we could use this took for this task.

  6. Michele, you probably aren’t going to like my answer. This was a bunch of manual logging in a spreadsheet. In WordPress’ new dashboard, you can see a list of posts, 25 on a page. The number of comments is included in that list. I skimmed all the pages in the list for ones that were higher numbers and logged them in my spreadsheet. It wasn’t terribly quick, but it’s certainly faster than going through all 400+ posts individually would have been.

    Does Typepad have anything where you can see a list of multiple posts at once?

  7. Christy–I’m curious about how you pulled together your list. Did you go back through all of your posts or did you have an idea of which posts had generated the most comments and then just check those out. I want to do this kind of analysis, but with 600+ posts, I’m not feeling too keen on going back through every one. 🙂

  8. I am absolutely thrilled with these stats. If you notice, I started blogging just after Christmas 2006; January 2007 was my first full month of blogging. But none of the posts on the top comments list happen until after I’d been blogging about 6 months. I had one post in March 2007 that got 4 comments & 2 trackbacks; that was certainly the best conversation up to that point. That post gave me a spike in views and a big increase in feed subscribers.

    I haven’t seen a statistical study on blogs, but I’ve seen lots of people cite the 90-9-1 rule. For every 100 people who read a blog, 90 will just lurk and be passive recipients of the content. 9 will write a comment themselves once in a while. 1 will be very active and participate all the time. That 1 might also create something new–a blog post, an image, a podcast, whatever. I think Sue Waters is the “1” for a lot of blogs. 🙂

    Check out Wikipatterns on the 90-9-1 Theory and Tony Karrer’s recent post on the same topic. The Wikipatterns article does cite a study of Wikipedia participation and other research.

  9. Kia Ora Christy!

    I really admire the statistics of your post comments. As one new to blogging I’d like to aim for these sort of numbers. It must be a joy to you to have such input to the ideas in your posts.

    One thing that has puzzled me, ever since I started to take in interest in comment numbers, is the amazingly small proportion of comments that even the most popular blogs (that I’ve seen) manage to attract from such a potentially huge capability – millions, possibly billions.

    It would be interesting to compare the hits on a post with the number of comments put on the same post. Do you know if any statistical study has been done of this?

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