How many times have you heard that when it comes to social media, that 'it's all about the conversation?' We all have, and 'the conversation' is terribly important.
But I think the misconception many of us have is that all you need to have a conversation, is comments. Check out this post by Olivier. Notice it has 266 comments (currently). But look closer and you'll see that almost all of those comments are coming from one side of the issue.
That's not a conversation, that's a buncha comments. And I think this is a problem that many bloggers have, in that we don't always effectively manage comments so that people that come down on both sides of the issue feel like they can be heard.
I'm not picking on Olivier here, notice this post I wrote last week on Mashable. Almost all of the commenters agreed with me, but Mike offered a differing viewpoint that I really didn't touch on. That was my fault, and I should have done a better job of addressing what Mike said. Doing so might have opened up the comments to more viewpoints.
So if you're a blogger that's wanting to get conversations started on your blog, remember that you need more than just comments. You need interaction, if all you have are a buncha 'Amen!' comments, well that might make YOU feel good, but it's not the best way to get a conversation started.
And if you do get a differing viewpoint (or someone that flatly says you are full of it), EMBRACE that, because they are giving an opening to anyone that has another viewpoint to chime in. More viewpoints means a better chance of turning a few comments into a vibrant conversation that we can ALL learn from.
That's how your blog gets traction and respect. Not by having comments, but by having conversations.
Pic via Flickr user db*photography