Comments, Comments, Comments

I've been on a recent commenting spree over a number of blogs since my last post. It got me wondering about the relationship between my posts and the comments I've had over the two and half years I've been writing here. Comments outnumber posts by about 2.5 : 1. Recently, I went through the comments here and found out some interesting things about who comments, how often and when.

Of 980 odd comments, the biggest commenter here at TGZ is me - adding my voice to the conversation 115 times.

Trackbacks account for 97 but I couldn't be bothered breaking them down according to source, preferring to working on the 216 individuals who've given their time, thoughts and words to my musings.

Top ten contributors:
Alexander Hayes 43
Bill Kerr 25
Doug Noon 24
Artichoke 22
Leigh Blackall 19
James Farmer 17
Chris Harbeck 17
Sue Waters 16
Al Upton 16
Jo McLeay 15

There were 10 other commenters who've reached double figures and 114 one time only comment leavers.

It was interesting scrolling back through the archives and sort of seeing trends come and go over the life of this blog. It made me realise that I've lost touch with some important bloggers but that commenters tend to ebb and flow depending on the topic at hand. I'd love to know how many comments I've left on other people's blogs in the same time period. I know there are tools that track comments - I've had a CoComment account but its success depends on using the same browser with the plugin and I'm too undisciplined to make it accurate. (Sort of like my ignorance in the use of Technorati tags!) Sometimes, the gold can be in the comments. It's a shame that like an iceberg, RSS readers have posts' comments hidden from view. I know that ticking the "subscribe to comments" box can be one way of tracking the conversation and maybe using Bloglines Beta might be a better tool for this purpose.

What continues to fascinate me though is how hard it is to predict what types of posts will attract comments and "go viral". Sometimes, it is just a few paragraphs spilt out in a frenzy that hit chords with readers, while the more measured, carefully crafted post will go uncommented upon. Of course, no comments doesn't mean that no-one is reading but having some feedback is always a good indicator.

So, feel free to add your voice here!

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14 thoughts on “Comments, Comments, Comments

  1. Jess

    Hi Graham,

    I’m a new reader of your blog and after reading this post have decided myself to go on a commenting spree! I was planning to anyway but after I read this I thought that I may as well start now. Nothing like seizing the moment – especially this late on a sat night 🙂

    Reply
  2. Doug Noon

    It surprises me to see my name in your top 10 because I’m not a prolific commenter on blogs in general. For tracking my own comments, I use del.icio.us to tag those posts. I see that I made nearly 100 comments in 2007. Maybe that’s a lot, I don’t know, but it doesn’t feel like much as I go along. I don’t tag all of them, but it’s pretty easy to do, since I bookmark so much stuff anyway.

    Reply
  3. Sarah Stewart

    I have decided to leave more comments this year in an effort to network more. I use co.mments and ‘think’ thats successful – I’m a newbie at all this so am just trying things out.

    Like you, I have been surprised at what has inspired posts and what hasn’t I wrote a very ‘heart-felt’ post about my job as a midwife which was meant to attract lots of comments and didn’t get hardly any, which really surprised me. But another post that was a ‘quickie’ got lots of comments and was debated on other blogs – as you said, you just never know.

    I would love to know more about ‘technorati tags’

    Reply
  4. dswaters

    Okay Graham you have me pondering. Did you manually have to total up the number of comments by each individual or was there a faster way?

    In terms of commenting I also use co.mments (http://co.mments.com/) and I send the feed through my RSS reader which makes it easy for me to respond back. Since I started using it in August I have posted over 340 comments. Co.mments is really easy to use – just drag the bookmark to the Firefox web browser.

    Don’t stress about Technorati tags. Technorati searches for the term within your blog post so even if you have not used the tags it will find your posts. As you say Blogline beta now includes the comments but with the number of posts I read, although comments are important, I don’t have time to read posts and all the comments.

    Reply
  5. Graham Wegner

    Sue, I have to admit that I added them all up manually. Pretty boring, hey. I agree that Technorati tags seem a lot of trouble for what they supposedly achieve – when I get to the end of writing a post, I just want to hit “post” and get it out there.

    Reply
  6. Jo McLeay

    Hey Graham, so glad to be included in your top ten list, even if it was just by a whisker. So glad in fact that it has inspired me to write another comment. Keep up with the commenting and the analysis. It’s interesting. I use cocomment to track mine

    Reply
  7. Sue Waters

    Wow – full credit to you for taking the time to add them manually. Now that would be a cool statistic if you could get it done automatically. While I was doing the 31 Day Project I subscribe to feeds from Technorati and Google Blog Searches – so can confirm that adding technorati tags doesn’t do much. But when you remember it is worthwhile using variations of the keyword within your post, provided it doesn’t distract from the post, as it will be found by technorati. However saying all that a lot of people are now relying on links to posts in Twitter rather than using Feed Readers – oh the joys of changing goal posts.

    Reply
  8. Kerrie Smith

    One of my belated New Year’s resolutions Graham is to pay more attention to what people are saying and to comment on their blogs more. I am impressed by the fact that you have been blogging for over 2.5 years and I do monitor what you say 🙂

    Reply
  9. ken

    A top ten list, eh? Of people who comment, eh?

    Did you ever stop to think that counting comments, subscribers, and trackbacks can become an all-encompassing, soul-crushing investment of time?

    Anyhow, I’d post more, but I need to see my stats @ Feedburner.

    Reply
  10. Graham Wegner

    @ken – don’t know about soul-crushing, but it was probably my OCD streak coming through once I started checking the comments. Plus I needed to find some stats of some description for Dan’s latest comp. This is what I do in the evenings instead of watching TV and as the pressure of the school year is still a fortnight away, it’s the only time to indulge in something as deliberately tedious as analysing comments!!

    Reply
  11. Miss Profe

    Hi, Graham. It’s been awhile. ¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

    The thing about commenting is, at least for me, is that I say some of my best stuff at times in comments, and then I think, “Wow, that would be a good post to blog.”

    Still, I don’t get around the blogosphere as much as I would like.

    BTW: I like the stats you compiled. And, you’re not wierd.:)

    Reply
  12. murcha

    Comments are so important to bloggers. However, sometimes I read blogs, enjoy, leave them and move onto other blogs to read and forget about commenting or just do not make the time to do so. However real conversations can take place, extra knowledge gleaned and a new social network established. It helps you understand who is reading your blogs and why and can often add to the depth of a blog. For students it is a wonderful means of showing that there is an authentic audience for their work. The content of those comments will often trigger explorations on the topics mentioned and encourages self education. Comments can be highly motivational.

    Reply

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