Posts Tagged ‘comments’

Should Blog Comments Be Rewarded?

As Twitter and Facebook have become more popular as ways to share and react to content, the blog comment has lost a lot of its mojo.

Sure, there are some blog post that generate a lot of comments but the enthusiasm for comments is nowhere close to what it was like five or six years ago when blogs were shiny and new.

blog commentIt would be interesting to quantify the number of blog posts that attract comments, but I would guess that most posts don’t get any comments.

It’s not that the content is bad or doesn’t deserve a reaction; it’s just easier to do something on Twitter or Facebook. That’s just the reality of social engagement these days.

Let’s take the position, however, that blog comments are a good thing to drive conversation and the exchange ideas.

Using this as our thesis, what about the idea of rewarding blogs for attracting comments, and people for leaving comments.

What if Google and other search engines embraced the blog comment as a front and centre SEO pillar?

In theory, it would encourage more people to leave comments on blogs, and be a great way to motivate bloggers to keep writing posts.

Of course, there would have to be some way to stop the spammers and link-builders from abusing this approach to comments.

It would likely require some kind of effective link and comment analysis to make everything work, but you figure Google has enough technology to make it happen.

For some people, this idea may be far-fetched, illogical or unnecessary. After all, updates on Twitter and Facebook may be enough boost for blogs because they help to attract a bigger audience.

But there is something romantic about blog comments. They require someone to make an investment in reading a post, and then crafting a comment.

In a world world where people are time-strapped, comments required effort, thought and intent. It’s why they have so much value for bloggers.

What do you think? Should there be some way to reward blog comments?

More: Here’s Google’s Matt Cutts on comments made on forums and blogs.

Is the Blog Comment Sexy Again?

blog commentLast week, Livefyre raised $15-million in venture capital from a blue-chip group of investors that includes U.S. Venture Partners, Greycroft Partners, Cue Ball, HillsVen Group, and ff Venture Capital. Among other things, the money will be used to let Livefyre continue its “aggressive growth”.

So what’s interesting about a $15-million financing at a time when many startups are attracting lots of venture capital?

For people interested in blogging, the Livefyre deal is interesting because, in some respects, it puts the comment back into the spotlight.

Remember, the blog comment? When blogging hit the mainstream five or six years ago, there was a flurry of comments. This was probably because the ability to react to content was new and exciting.

Since then, however, the blog comment has seemed to fade into the background. Many people find it easier to use Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn to share content, rather than write a comment.

But Livefyre’s financing could suggest the blog comment has more value than we think. Within the company’s product portfolio is Livefyre Comments, which many bloggers have adopted as an alternative to WordPress’s native comment system or third-party services such as Disqus.

Livefyre Comments has gained a lot of traction because it lets commenters highlight their only content, while publishers get a new way to use social media to drive content distribution.

“Livefyre gives brands and publishers the power to bring visitors back to their sites and build communities around their content,” said Livefyre Founder and CEO Jordan Kretchmer. “Dozens of the world’s largest media companies utilize our platform to turn their pages into real-time streams of social content.”

The question is whether $15-million of venture capital for Livefyre suggests comments are poised to stage a renaissance because there are tangible benefits for both publishers and the people who take the time and effort to leave a blog comment.

In other words, Livefyre makes the comment a win-win proposition for everyone involved.

As someone who has blogged for a long time, anything that will encourage people to leave comments is a good thing. A big part of what makes blogging so rewarding is having people engaged and involved with your content, so here’s hoping comments are on the comeback trail.

What do you think? Do blog comments still have value? Can the comment thrive amid so much social competition?

Is the Blog Comment Alive and Well?

There has been a lot of hand-wringing about the death of the blog comment in recent months.

Part of it has to do with the fact there are so many places to leave a comment such as Twitter, Friendfeed, Facebook and LinkedIn. It also has to do with the fact the novelty of the blog comment may have dissipated. Then, there was Facebook’s recently foray into the comment market, which was seen by some people as another blow to the blog comment.

In the wake of this concern, it is interesting to see Disqus announce a $10-million financing round led by Union Square Ventures and North Bridge. Disqus, one of the leading blog comment systems, also said it is close to attracting 500 million unique visitors/month. Disqus, which was spawned at YCombinator, said the money will be used to expand its “team, our products” and “on building our long-term business.”

So what should we make of Disqus’ financing? Is it a sign that rumours of the blog comment’s death have been greatly exaggerated? Is could also mean Disqus has emerged as the top dog in the comment business, pushing aside rival Intense Debate and, for the time being, Facebook?

From personal experience, the blog comment appears to doing well amid lots of different kinds of competition. On the Sysomos blog, there are posts that generate a lot of comments, which demonstrates the right kind of content can strike enough of a chord to spark a response.

Aside from good content, the other important issue is making it as easy as possible to leave a comment. If you make it at all difficult to comment, most people will click away rather than spend the time to leap over a hurdle – and this includes making people register, which is an absolute non-starter.

So here’s to the blog comment’s health. May it continue to live a long and prosperous life!

Is Facebook Comments a Good Thing?

One of the key elements of blogging has been the ability to comment on posts. It has made blogging more vibrant, interactive, lively, entertaining and educational.

But one of the challenges of the comment landscape has been creating a system that would do three things: effectively administer comments on a blog, create universal identities to make commenting easier, and, as important, establish a system that would make comments more accessible than just having them sit on a single site.

There has been a lot of activity with players such as Disqus, JS-Kit and Intense Debate taking a crack at the problem. As social media has grown, the comment landscape has become more disperate with people putting comments on other services such as Friendfeed and Quora, or using their Twitter or Google IDs.

With this in mind, it is interesting to see Facebook’s new comment system, which was rolled out to a number of Web sites earlier this week. If you’re logged into Facebook, your identity is already established when you leave a comment.

If you let Facebook to also post your comment, it appears within your stream with a link to the original post, letting your friends know about your comment and the post.

There are obviously pros and cons – with the biggest con being the fact this is yet another way that Facebook will be able to gather your data and Web activity.

On the plus side, it does make comments more “real” by making people use their Facebook profiles. As well, it addresses the big issue of how to make the world know about a comment beyond the walls of a blog post.

For blog owners, Facebook Comments have the potential to drive traffic by providing a high-profile vehicle to highlight your blog posts. It could also make comments more legitimate, while providing a system to rank comments based on “Likes”.

The downside is Facebook now has another tentacle to gather data so there is a price to paid to use Facebook Comments. There’s no integration with Twitter or Google, and you’re giving up control of the comment system and how it works.

Like most thing Facebook does, Facebook Comments are controversial because there are definite benefits and disadvantages. Nothing Facebook does comes without a cost or, as important, a way to let Facebook expand its empire even wider.

As a long-time blogger who loves comments and has tried multiple commenting system, I’m not ready to embrace Facebook Comments because there seems to be far more benefits for Facebook. As well, the big issue is it’s Facebook, which has other motives than simply trying to offer a great comment system. To me, that’s a deal-breaker for the time being.

For more thoughts on Facebook Comments, including a break out of the pros and cons, check out this post by TechCrunch, which has implemented the system.

Twitter vs. the Blog Comment

In the early days of blogging, there were no lack of comments because pre-Twitter and pre-Facebook, it was one of the few ways that people could engage with content.

Today, there are lots of options – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Friendfeed, etc. While comments are still alive, my take is people aren’t as enthusiastic about them, and they don’t have the same cache as they might have a few years ago.

One of the biggest impacts on the comment is Twitter, which lets people post a mini-comment about a blog post or retweet a post they find interesting. A Twitter update or retweet is a faster and more efficient way to respond, and whatever the person has to say gets instantly distributed to their network.

So the question that begs to be asked whether the update and retweet has supplanted the comment as the way to engage with blogs? While comments are still happening and much appreciated by bloggers, Twitter is becoming, in many respects, a blog comment system in and of itself.

Comments Here, There and Everywhere

For people who write blogs, comments are one of the non-financial rewards for writing something that has resonated with someone enough for them to get engaged.

When blogs initially became popular a few years ago, there seemed to a lot more comments. Maybe this happened because the medium was new so people found it a novelty to easily leave a comment – something that wasn’t possible if you wanted to comment on a newspaper or magazine article.

But with the rise of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and social media services, there isn’t as much excitement about blog comments. Perhaps the novelty has worn off but another reason may be that people can now leave comments in a variety of places.

If an article catches your attention, it’s a snap to make short comment on Twitter with a link to the article. The same goes for Facebook and LinkedIn.

So on one hand, it is easier than ever to make a comment. But for bloggers, it can be a challenge keeping track of where comments are made given they could happen here, there and everywhere. While your blog could have few or no comments, there could be a vibrant conversation about a particular post happening on another social medium.

It is somewhat surprising that comment aggregation has not received more attention given how much currency companies and individual place on what’s being said about their content, products and services.

In the meantime, there remains a major void in the social landscape for a service that can aggregate and display comments in a variety of places in a user-friendly way. Perhaps content aggregation will become part of the content curation trend now emerging.

Comments: Social Media’s Orphans?

When blogs were the greatest thing since sliced bread, the comments came fast and furious – probably because it was so easy to leave your opinion and participate in a new forum.

Today, it seems comments have become a social media orphan. While there are still plenty of people leaving comments (and thanks to everyone who takes the time to write comments on our blog), it just seems like the comment has been shuffled to the corner.

Perhaps people find it easier to leave a “comment” on Twitter or Facebook rather than a blog because it creates content for their digital activity as opposed to someone else’s. Maybe it’s services such as Friendfeed that are moving comments and commentary away from blogs.

Not that this kind of activity is a bad thing but, in some respects, it does take away from a blog’s vitality and, as important, moves conversations that are often better than a blog post itself to another forum.

As Danny Brown nailed it on the head in a blog post, comments are “digital gold” because they set the stage for real conversations.

So, here’s a toast to the comment. Maybe it have a long and vital existence within the fast-changing social media landscape.

Twitter: The Blog Comment Killer?

One of the things that has made blogs such a vibrant medium is how comments can provide as much insight and information as the blog post itself. The ability to have a conversation with the blog writer, as well as other people leaving comments is part of the “goodness” of blogging.

That said, it is interested to see how Twitter is becoming a place where people comment on blog posts, along with providing a link to the blog. It raises the issue about whether Twitter could kill blog comments or, at least, seriously wound them.

Twitter could be becoming an increasingly popular place to have comments for a few reasons.

One, it is more of a popular medium than leaving a comment on a blog. On Twitter, it’s easy for people see what you think about a blog post, rather than having to visit a blog or search for comments. At the same time, Twitter also lets people show and share other people what they have been reading.

The rise of Twitter as a way to comment on blog posts is just another way comments have become more scattered. These days, you can leave a comment about a post on places such as Friendfeed, Facebook and Hacker News.

In many respects, comments have escaped, and there’s no way to put them back in the Genie’s bottle. Of course, it does create an opportunity for a comment aggregater to take advantage of this conversation fragmentation.

For more thoughts, check out this post by Danny Brown, which ironically attracted 105 comments.