Monday, November 30, 2009

Are Blogs Becoming Less Social?

Is it just me or do are do you get the feeling that blogs are not really all that social?

As a blogger, I want people to comment and I want my posts to start a conversation. The more comments I get then the the better my blog right? Well … maybe not.

One blog in particular that I have been reading for a while now used to attract a nice stream of readers and a moderate number of comments. It was good because the I like the writer and the content and I always felt I could contribute to the conversation and people would read my comments in the context of the post and other comments.

The blogger has worked hard and smart in the last 12 months to build their blog into a powerful one and widen their audience. I am sure they believe they have been successful and I am sure if the stats were wheeled out then all signs would point to success. Certainly if we could move a client/corporate blog ahead like this then there would be plenty of slaps on the hall

But here is the rub. What I find more and more is that the blog in question, and to be honest plenty are moving down this path, attract so many comments I feel that my opinion will not add anything. It is kind of like going to a party. If you are in a  small group then everyone has their say, adds to the conversation and gets listened to. Every one seems happy and is entertained. Go to a public debate and you’ll probably get drowned out even if you get a chance to talk and many will leave thinking “I never got my say”.

Time is also a factor. Sometimes I get to a blog and it has 20-30 comments already. I have something great to say but to be honest I feel like people probably won’t read it because there are so many other comments. So I often just don;t bother commenting. Maybe it is just that the conversation has passed me by?

Add to this situation that some bloggers are happy to post and let people comment but really don’t tend to their comments all that often. Makes me think they are very un-social and makes me think twice about helping their blog by leaving comments in the future.




karalee said...

I wish I had that problem, Daniel!

But I think you're right, it is hard to contribute when there are already 20 or so comments, many of which have covered an opinion from all angles.

I suppose (which you say) it's that point of which you can either try and steer the conversation in a complimentary direction covering new ground, or just pack up and let it pass you by?

Julian said...

I am shocking on responding to comments on my own blog and very rarely leave comments on other peoples blog.

From my perspective, I really like reading other people's blogs however most of the time I do not feel like commenting. I do not want to have a conversation, I just want to hear what they have to say.

I would not say that the main objective of my blog is to start conversations, I just want to be a valuable resource to other people and the way I see myself doing that is by being an information source. I give people case studies, lists and then mix it with opinion pieces. I measure success from visit, reactions (RTs) and comments.

James Duthie said...

I agree Oyst, although in a slightly different context. I've noticed commenting fatigue (downward trends) on many of the blogs I frequent. Indeed, many of the peeps I knew to be avid commenters in the past now go for the easy RT option.

Take this post I wrote a few months ago:

If it was posted the same time last year I reckon it would've attracted 50+ comments. Instead it attracts around 15 comments, but over 100 RTs.

It's that behaviour to me that is making blogs less social

Nathan Bush said...

I actually delete comments on my blog just to make sure you keep commenting Oyster. That's how much you mean to me.

But I agree, once there's comment overkill everything has usually been covered or has skewed in a different direction. For example, Mumbrella has great content but I no longer comment because you can't keep track of the convo and you don't know the people involved.

Also, I don't think most blogs are set up to follow the convo with a notify me of further comments or a feature (albeit slightly flawed) like Diqus. And then you don't want notifications every time you comment on a post that has 30 replies. Opp for Google Wave?

Daniel Oyston said...

Thanks all, you all make some very good points. It would appear that a few years ago the purpose of a blog was fairly standard but as it matures as a medium, and we start using other mediums in conjunction e.g. Twitter, then what blogs can/do offer also changes.

Zac Martin said...

The paradox of popularity?

I would love to see some kind of peer ranking system introduced to comments, so the good ones float to the top therefore making them more interesting to read and with incentive for others to post good content.