Commenting Self-Audit

31-Day Comment ChallengeLike many others, I’m participating in the 31-Day Comment Challenge. The first task is a commenting self-audit.

How often do you comment on other blogs during a typical week?

Looking at my tracked comments & conversations, I’ve tracked 147 comments since I started using co.mments last August. That works out to about 4 comment conversations per week, or a little more than 1 every other day. That number doesn’t include conversations where I comment more than once though, so it’s probably a little higher than that.

Do you track your blog comments? How? What do you do with your tracking?

Obviously, yes, I track my comments. There’s no way I’d comment as much as I do if I wasn’t tracking them. Before I knew there were such tools, I really didn’t comment much because I never remembered to go back to the sites and see the responses. With tracking and an RSS feed, I can keep track of it all much more easily.

Do you tend to comment at the same blogs or do you try to comment on at least one new blog per week?

I do tend to comment on a lot of the same blogs over time. That commenting helps build and maintain relationships with other bloggers, so I do see value in that. I don’t have a set goal about commenting on new blogs, but I do try to check out new blogs, especially when they link to me. If someone links to me, I try to go at least thank them for the link, even if I don’t leave a substantive comment.

The second part of this task is looking at the suggestions in Gina Trapani’s guide to comments. I’ve broken all of those at one point or another, but I think I actually do pretty well usually. I can certainly work on being more succinct in both my comments and posts though. For example, this comment I left on our team blog for work was absurdly long. Normally I’d move something that long into a post instead of a comment, but we have a set posting schedule and topics for that blog.

As a whole, I think I’m about average for my commenting. I comment pretty regularly. I gravitate towards certain blogs where I comment more regularly, but I try to branch out. I consider myself a decent online citizen, and I think I’ve been able to disagree with people without being too disagreeable. I can do more to reach out to new blogs and to really make sure I’m adding value to the conversation when I do. I’ve been trying to do more to interact with other commenters and not just the blog author, but I’m sure I can do better in that area too.

More than anything else, what I’m hoping to get out of this challenge is just becoming more aware of my commenting. Much of it just happens out of habit for me, so I hope that a bit of self-examination will help me be more deliberate and thoughtful of what I’m doing.

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9 thoughts on “Commenting Self-Audit”

  1. Pingback: Community Size & Connection Strength « Experiencing E-Learning

  2. Britt, that’s an interesting question. Some of this certainly depends on the individual; where you can manage 40, others might only really be able to manage 15. I have many more RSS subscriptions, but I don’t really interact even with everyone in my reader.

    Perhaps in my network, I see different levels of connection intensity, as it were.

    Strong: I have a handful of people I interact with pretty regularly, like Michele. Those are stronger connections.
    Medium: I have a bigger group of people I’ve interacted with several times, but maybe it’s less regular. These medium connections might be people I interacted with several times over the course of a few weeks but haven’t talked to in months since then.
    Weak: I have a large group of weak connections. Some of these are blogs I read but haven’t ever directly talked to. I read Stephen Downes for months before I commented or emailed him; ditto for Jane Hart. Sometimes I might comment on a blog once but not subscribe. That happens now when I get trackbacks here. I try to go out and read any posts where someone links to me, and I often comment. Sometimes I also subscribe, but I have too many subscriptions already to add everyone to my list though. So I might have a weak connection to someone who reads my blog but I don’t read theirs.

    Perhaps when I think of “community” online, I don’t see it as something with hard and fast borders. The edges are much fuzzier than that; it sort of gradually fades from strong to weak. I haven’t read any of Shirky’s work yet, so I can’t speak to that. However, I think I see the blogging community as being much looser and less uniform than we generally perceive face-to-face communities.

    Deep philosophical thoughts for a Sunday morning. 🙂

  3. Christy:

    Enjoyed your audit and do many of the same things you do. I liked your comment about blogging with the same folks to build community (which I do) but am also enjoying this challenge and meeting new folks like you. A question I think for all of us – which ties in with Shirky’s latest book – is at what point does a “communuity” grow to the point where you can no longer connect with everyone. I have 40 some blogs that I track with RSS…which to me can be managed. Any thoughts or suggestions?

  4. The thing is, I’m not using WordPress’ tagging, so those tags ARE in the text of my post. They link directly to Technorati, too. I just double checked their site, and it was picking up tags generated this way as recently as 2 weeks ago (I can see the TCC08 tag that I used while liveblogging a conference). Maybe Technorati changed something in the last few weeks that means it isn’t recognizing what I do in my text anymore.

    Ah well. I’m not doing this to try to drive lots and lots of traffic to my site. 🙂

  5. We have to use Technorati tag search because normal technorati search is picking up test posts to cocomment which we don’t want. I’ve subscribe to the technorati tag feed we are using in my Google Reader and checked your post using words you have used in your post and searching within that feed. It definitely isn’t picking up your posts 🙂 My gut feeling is your post will be more findable if it’s contained within your text.

    You always add to the conversations

  6. Hi Sue,

    Technorati picked up my post just fine, it just hasn’t made it to the wiki yet. Keep in mind that the RSS feed on the wiki is limited to only 20 posts, so not everything will actually appear there with the current settings. There are MANY more posts shown on Technorati than what the wiki is showing currently.

    As for Google blog search, I’m not sure they’ve pinged me since I did this post. Google blog search is always 12-24 hours behind Technorati for my blog, sometimes more. I’ve had it not ping me for 3-4 days at a time before.

    Thanks for the compliments. Glad I am adding to the conversations!

  7. Hey Christy, what I love about you is how your comments add to the conversations. After having the pleasure of interacting with you on and off for the last year I know that you are a decent online citizen.

    Now we do have a slight problem Houston. Even though you have added technorati tag comment08 technorati isn’t finding your posts. We have the RSS for this tag term coming into the wiki so if people use this page they won’t find your posts.

    Now with my Edublogs blogs (which are wordpress) if I use their tags technorati is finding. The easiest solution for you is to add the words “And if you are part of The Comment Challenge remember to tag your posts “comment08” in the text at the bottom of your post. This will definitely work because technorati searches within the body of posts for the search term.

    Contact me if you need more explanation. And yes definite mutter (Google Blog search isn’t finding you either).

  8. Kevin, from reading your self-audit, it does sound like we are in similar places. Exposure to new blogs is a big benefit from this. I’ll be honest that I’m not sure how many of them I’ll actually subscribe to though; I’m pretty close to my upper limit on RSS feeds at the moment.

    How many subscriptions do you have in your reader?

  9. You know, my engagement in this commenting adventure is similar to yours: I want to reflect on my own role as a visitor to other sites and explore new blogs that might have otherwise been outside of my RSS radar screen.
    Thanks for sharing
    Kevin Hodgson

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