Night of the living comments
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Gavin has a post about leaving comments, and how to encourage visitors to your blog to speak up and make a contribution. It's funny because I've been dancing around this same topic for a while, how to convert the lurkers into community members, ie, commenters.
Finally I realized that visitors will only comment if they want to, and that no one can 'make' them become involved if they don't want to be. Then I got to thinking, maybe I'm looking at this from a 'what can you do for me' angle, instead of 'what can I do for you?'. Maybe the best way to get more people to comment on my blog is to first comment on their blog? Doesn't make much sense when I preach about joining the community, then want the community to come to me.
So here is my idea. From now until Monday, I leave 100 comments on 100 blogs. I can't control whether or not anyone comments on MY blog, but I can definitely control whether or not *I* comment on any other blogs. I checked my Bloglines feeds and I've got around 60-65 blogs on there now. Add in another 35-40, and that gets me up to 100.
So in the spirit of walking the walk, I'm going to spend quite a bit of time out in the community today and through the weekend. You might not see me here, but you'll probably see me on your blog. Who knows, maybe I'll get a few new commenters here, or better yet, maybe some of you will decide to join in on the fun and go on your own commenting spree.
Poe said it best: "Hey everyone when I walk the walk, I gotta back it all up, can I talk the talk?"
posted by Mack Collier @ 8:18 PM,
- At 11:12 AM, Eric Kintz said...
I want to be the first one to leave a comment! Great post and congrats for walking the walk. Maybe you will get 100 comments? :)
- At 12:19 PM, Burbanked said...
It's a great idea, and I've done a variation on this as well. I call it "unleashing the comment beast" and I just zip around all day trying to find new blogs and hopefully new visitors waiting for me back home.
100 is quite ambitious, so I admire your determination! If it's not perfectly obvious, stop on by Burbanked and chime in!
- At 12:33 PM, Asi said...
back ago when you blogged about similar issue and asked for comments you wrote that you'd like to see more commenters that dispute/refute your ideas.
While usually your words of wisdom are like music to my ears (or rather poetry to my eyes) I have to play the devil's advocate here.
In principle, your idea has a lot of substance to it, yet it is one of the oldest tricks to generate traffic to your blog. As you said, you cannot artificially 'make' people comment on your blog with whatever activity. At least no ad-hoc one.
What I really like about blogging and the community (as oppose to what I don't like in marketing in ggeneral) is that you can hardly fake it or take any short cuts. Put differently, you cannot build a community in one weekend of 100 comments.
If one wants comments on your blog one has to write clever, provocative, mind-blowing, inspiring posts. And over time one has to actively participate in the community and enrich the community with his/her comments and posts.
In the viral garden you're doing just that and you're doing it brilliantly with hard work - don't give people the impression that old media mentality (i.e. one-off heavy campaign) can work in the new world - its the nurturing of long term relationship that works for the community.
- At 12:49 PM, Mack Collier said...
Asi it might generate traffic, I hadn't really thought of that. And even if it does, as we both know traffic doesn't matter, community does.
If anything, I want to get more of us talking on as many blogs as possible. The great thing about blogging is that it gives us all a voice, and so often we can become discouraged if we don't get a comment on that post that we thought was great.
Guess I'm just looking at it as if you want comments, you have to give them to get them ;)
- At 1:20 PM, Monica Powers said...
That's interesting. I have noticed I have more lurkers on my blog than comment posters -- many of them prefer to contact me by email and not on the blog -- perhaps they think if they start commenting they'll open up a whole new can of worms! I actually enjoy talking to them both on-blog and off. Either way works for me.
- At 1:33 PM, Jordan Behan said...
I want to chime in here and say that Mack has always "walked the walk" with regards to commenting on other people's blogs, not just as a way of increasing his blog's reach, but to truly contribute to the conversation with real value. In this regard, this 'experiment' won't resemble in any way what Asi calls 'old media mentality.'
I agree that a one-off won't create a tidal wave of traffic or subscriptions, but a sincere interest in other people's writing certainly won't hurt the cause.
Mack, I appreciate very much that you are one of the faithful few who always have a word or two to contribute to my entires. I suspect that many of the 35 new blogs that you'll be checking out will begin to see the same, such is your commitment to 'the conversation.'
- At 2:29 PM, david armano said...
Mack, I think you need to market this effort and call it the "Collier Comment Tour" or something.
...coming to a blog near you.
- At 3:51 PM, Tim Jackson- Masi Guy said...
You have hit on my number one ruule for blogging- go out and comment! Find blogs that read your blog, especially the ones that comment, and go spread the love around.
You'll get more comments in not ime- that's a promise.
- At 6:57 PM, my name is kate said...
Great to remind us all of this blogging fundamental, Mack! I try to leave at least three comments a day. Some days I make it, some days I don't . I know three doesn't seem like a lot, but it's one of those little habits - once you start building consistency, you get better and better.
I also make it a priority to leave a "thanks for the shout out" comment on blogs that refer to mine. Acknowledging the link love is super important!
Cheers .. Kate
- At 9:32 PM, Paul McEnany said...
I think comments are good.
I dare you to disagree. :)
- At 9:54 PM, CK said...
Way to go Mack...I love Armano's idea of branding it.
- At 1:05 AM, Roger von Oech said...
As I've been out commenting the past couple of days, I've noticed your comments in three or four different places. I thought to myself, "Mack is a real extrovert -- he's really out there."
Then I discovered this post. It all makes sense.
Good idea, and good post.
You can comment on my site any time you wish! (how shameless!)
- At 7:12 AM, Asi said...
oh, I know all too well that feeling of writing a post which you believe is the most interesting you've written so far and is deserved to generate a fascinating blogversation and that's just not happening....
good luck with this - do brand it as David suggested and I expec your visit on No Man's Blog anytime soon...
- At 10:20 AM, Ann Handley said...
I'm with you, brother...I get a certain thrill out of discovering new blogs and leaving a comment behind. And I do like the idea of The VIral Comment Tou, and see it as totally consistent with Mr. Community's persona and reputation.
That being said, I agree with Asi here... it will certainly be a fun thing to do, but I'm not sure that long-term it will pay back. It might offer a momentary upswing in traffic, but longer-term, the most meaningful thing isn't random comments but consistent engagement and conversation.
Then again, I might be totally full of it.
So have fun!! It will be a great experiment!
- At 11:05 AM, Mack Collier said...
Honestly, I didn't do this to draw attention to myself, and I definitely don't want to 'brand' my commenting on blogs, because I should be doing that anyway.
What I was hoping would happen is that other bloggers would read this and think 'that's a good idea, maybe *I* should do that and comment on a buncha blogs'. Of course what's going to happen is that you'll find some great new blogs that you'll start READING, and the blogs you are commenting on will come back to YOUR blog, and maybe start reading and commenting on YOUR blog.
I really didn't mean this to be a 'let's bring attention to Mack' deal. In fact looking back I probably should have just left the comments and not this post.
But again, my thinking was that instead of trying to find ways that we can get more comments on our blogs, maybe the best way is to go out and leave more comments ourselves. That was my main point.
- At 11:25 AM, Ann Handley said...
In terms of modeling behavior for others, it's great.
But really - you've been a terrible self-promoter since we were kids!
- At 12:18 PM, Tim Jackson- Masi Guy said...
Being an active member of the commnity will always work. I've got a great group of folks in Minneapolis because I spend a lot of time commenting in that area. They've become my blogging buddies and now the brand is doing better there than it has in many years. (It's all because of me, of course...)
I'm with you Mack. Spread the love around, with sincerity of course, and the love will come back around to you.
(BTW- Ann's a nut...)
- At 2:19 PM, The Great Swifty said...
Leaving comments on other blogs, to me, can be quite a disheartening affair, especially when you've put alot in a particular comment, yet realizing that for some strange reason, the blog owner is seemingly not replying to you. Your presence is entirely ignored, which, well, sucks.
- At 3:55 PM, Easton Ellsworth said...
Great idea, Mack! Let me recommend coComment to you as a conversation enhancement/tracking tool. I love its Firefox extension to bits. (Maybe that's why I'm in the top 10 hopeless addicts list at the coComment site ...)
I've found that commenting avidly at other blogs has not driven much traffic at all to my own blog - but it has done something far more important: it has helped me make friends with good people.
- At 5:03 PM, Dirk said...
Someone said to me that 75% of blogging is done OFF your blog and ON others. I think you're doing it right.
- At 7:07 PM, Mack Collier said...
BTW thanks Eric and Jordan ;)
Swifty my stance is that I try to stay out of comments because I don't want to 'hijack' the thread, and honestly I think you guys are smart enough that I want to see where you'll go with it.
Easton I looked at CoComment a few weeks ago, and I think there was some reason why it wouldn't work with Blogger.
Or some reason why this blogger couldn't get it to work, I forget which ;)
- At 11:39 AM, Dave said...
It's all about connecting with others to something that resonates within. (like the Wharton article below. I had read it before and was dumbfounded)
What's cool about expanding your horizons in the quest of 100 blogs is that you're going to find a few that you'll want to latch onto...and they'll latch onto you as well.
My personal gig for something like this is exactly what I am doing now. I call it my six degrees of blogging. I am sort of violating an earlier principle in which I must be six degrees away from Seth Godin (I'd bet everyone reading this is one degree away from the master marketer) but there sure appears to be some interesting folks hanging out here Mack.
Please do not misread. I love Seth and his stuff. But the farther I can get away, the more new stuff I'll learn.
- At 7:40 PM, Mack Collier said...
"Please do not misread. I love Seth and his stuff. But the farther I can get away, the more new stuff I'll learn."
Exactly. This is exactly why I spend very little time reading the blogs that are widely-considered to be 'A-List'. I want to be exposed to new ideas from new sources. If the A-Listers come up with a good idea, it will surely be linked to by the other blogs I read.
And maybe I'm a bit cynical, but I prefer to read blogs from people that have no idea who the A-List bloggers are, or what their Technorati ranking is.
- At 10:54 PM, Mike Sansone said...
Mack, you are truly a community and commentor leader.
For some, leaving the first comment is like being the first one on the dance floor -- harder yet if it's their own first comment (Gavin hinted at this in his post).
Commenting on blogs -- especially newer ones -- has a positive direction for the author, for the commentor, and also for the reader. It's a much safer place to comment when a comment (or 23) is already up.
Keep leading, buddy. I'm behind you all the way:-)
- At 12:31 AM, Gavin Heaton said...
How are the 100 coming along? I am guessing you are too busy commenting to post on it ... we probably needed someone else blogging on your progress so that you could satisfy our rampant curiosity!
Looking forward to hearing about the gems that turn up! Thanks for starting this discussion with a link to me!
- At 1:51 PM, Lewis Green said...
By now, you probably have tired fingers. What surprises me is that since I began blogging and commenting, I have been (virtually) meeting great people. Many of them commented on this post. I still don't get lots of comments at my blog but do better at the Daily Fix. I think it's kind of like church: Most people prefer the back pews.
- At 4:47 PM, BobG said...
You definitley walk the talk, Mack - I'm linking to you and Gavin - then posting on a similar "project" undertaken in my zaadz community.
These journeys take us on paths unimagined. It feels something like a Grimms fairy tale sans the monsters :)
- At 5:04 PM, Mack Collier said...
Bob what is a 'zaadz' community?
- At 7:55 PM, Allen Voivod said...
Thanks very much for making us one of the beneficiaries of your 100 comments! And in the truly giving spirit, you also turned us on to the 90-9-1 rule by linking to Gavin in this post.
It's a pleasure to be moving from your "90" to your "9" with this comment. (Baby steps, dontcha know.)
(of Lani & Allen Voivod,
aka "The Content Lovers")
- At 10:37 PM, Toby said...
Mack - not to sound a bit sappy but comments are like a quick wave 'hello' that reminds me people/friends are passing by.
- At 12:33 PM, anne simons said...
Interesting post, Mack. I do think it makes a difference when a blogger visits other blogs and leaves comments---it's an acknowledgement of their existence, and a compliment (assuming that the comment is positive!) A comment on my blog always elicits a visit to the commenter's blog because I'm curious to learn about them and read some of their other posts.
Being familiar with the blog is a factor in making me feel comfortable about leaving a comment, so I suppose I do 'lurk' for awhile. I think the term 'lurker' is unfortunate because it seems to disparage people who just want to come and read and perhaps take some time to get comfortable before commenting.
Anyway, it's just like the 'real' world I suppose. Sometimes people like to be on the periphery of the conversation, sometimes people are in the center of the conversation.
One of the things I like about your blog is that you often respond to comments. When a blogger responds it makes people feel their comments were welcome and encourages them to comment again. I don't think it's necessary to respond to every comment, but if someone's a frequent commenter, it's nice to acknowledge them once in a while, even if it's just a "thanks for stopping by." After all, aren't many commenters interested in a conversation?
I'll be interested to read a follow-up post on the results of your 'experiment.'
- At 3:12 AM, Mack Collier said...
Lewis if you read this, please leave your blog addy, I've lost it.
Anne I agree, and that's where I think leaving comments on other people's blogs makes them more comfortable commenting on yours. I love links, but I'd rather have comments because I learn so much from everyone here. BTW the comment spree was a big success, I found several new blogs, and several interesting threads on other blogs. I'm going to try to do it every Friday!
Toby, I agree!
- At 9:41 AM, servizi cartomanzia said...
i think you hit the right point about having a good blog! comoliments