August 5th, 2008

Thoughts on Blogging
Comments, Validation and Why We Need the Audience

Stephen wrote a interesting entry on blog validation in the form of comments at his blog One Life. I think most of us share what he is feeling sometimes (or most of the time).

When a blog entry is published, we can safely assume (with the exception of a locked private blog) that the author expects an appreciative audience . And rightly so, for we, as writers, would spend many hours trying to come up with, and edit to near-perfection, a post worthy of publishing to the world.

I used to spend quite a bit of my time wondering why only 1 out of 100 readers would leave me a comment but realised most of the time I myself am not participating in the conversation on other blogs because there’s really nothing new or interesting to add.

Unless a post is particularly provocative, the reaction generally consists of a few variations of agreement or disagreement. It’s like being in a classroom discussion– after the 11th person has voiced his opinion, there’s nothing much left to say that has not already been said.

Types of Blog Comments

Still, it’s great to have comments! My first blog was running for 7 months before I got my first comment – which is still one of the most exciting days in my early blogging history. :) I also look out for the best critics among my commenters as they are the ones who tell you like it is and probably move in between camps (for/against/neutral) according to what you’re posting.

Here’s something good to know: Problogger has about 50,000 subscribers (according to the displayed Feedburner widget). The actual number of readers may well be more than this but these 50,000 readers are the ones considered “engaged” — readers who care enough about the content of the blog to actually subscribe to the feed. A quick browse through some of the posts shows that less than 1% (or 500) of the readers would actually leave a comment. Steve Pavlina also mentioned in his blog that “well below 1% of visitors ever post a comment“. What are the other 99% doing? Probably just nodding quietly to themselves. How do I know? Because I myself did quite a bit of that nodding thing today. :D


While some of us see a comment count as the mark of a successful interactive blog, others preach high subscriber count at the true indicator of a blog’s success. Damien on the other hand has gone on to develop his own quantifiable rating system of measuring the success of his Funny Farm – i.e. CAN™.

With a blog that focuses on money-making, success is usually directly proportional to the number of readers the blog has. For other types of blogs, some people have said that the number of readers play a less important role in defining success.

I personally believe that we need an audience no matter what because we want to feel appreciated for our art, in this case, our writing. I don’t want to paint a beautiful picture and keep it locked in a room where nobody will ever see (even if I do not have the intention of selling it). I want it displayed in a gallery for all to appreciate and admire. I call this my “Excellence in Giving to Others”, or *ahem* ego for short. ;)

My Ego Can Be Huge. And Ugly.

My ego loves performing in front of huge appreciative audience. She would like to thank you for choosing to read this entry. She is also fond of comments so please leave one (or two)? :D

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Speaking as one of your best critics, I can tell you that flattery will get you everywhere. I've often wondered, though, why I don't get more comments, and I wish I did. I don't always check my blog stats (I keep forgetting how to, actually) but when I do it appears I'm getting a fair number of visitors. Some have told me they don't have anything to add, other than saying, "Yes!" I can't fault them for that. I don't always comment on other blogs for the same reason, and I rarely write a post in response to someone else's blog post. Even though this is a good way to attract visitors, I often feel the original author has made their point very well, and anything I could add would just be self-serving piggybacking, or possibly even plagiarism. Of course there's also the danger that I'll find a post so thought-provoking I'll leave a ridiculously long comment, when it would probably be better for both me and the post author if I wrote it up as an entry on my own blog.
Christopher Waldrop  at 12:50 pm on August 5, 2008
Here's something fun that we put on our blog & people are really responding to. It's a new thing called Wordle: Make your own & send us the link so we can see your wordle creation. In Caffection, Mariah/Byron
MariahByron  at 6:52 pm on August 8, 2008
I know what the other 99% are doing... they are lurking. Just like ME most of the time! :o) What is up with that, huh? As a blogger - I know how wonderful comments can be (and how destructive too, if you let them) and yet I find myself in a time crunch and I just don't do it. Shamey on me. Great post.
Dory  at 9:55 pm on August 9, 2008
I lurk a lot. But, I also comment a lot too. Sometimes too much to the chagrin of my employer. This is a good post and makes me really evaluate my participation on all of the social networking sites.
kim  at 10:47 am on August 12, 2008
@Christopher -thank you for your always insightful comment.
@Dory - well you left a comment on this one! I appreciate that!
@kim - I lurked a lot before I started blogging!
Ginger M  at 2:39 am on August 13, 2008
One point I think you've missed is that blog posts are often just a form of record keeping. I will often write tips and tricks purly for myself so that I have a searchable database of stuff I have figured out. It great that other can find and utilize that information but I don't expect any comments from it. I measure the success of those posts by the number of related searches that let to that article. That way I know I have helped someone.
seyDoggy  at 9:23 am on August 14, 2008
[...] Thoughts on Blogging [...]
Blog Stats August 2008  at 2:03 pm on December 3, 2008

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