Blog Comments Are Not Currency

My friend Marcus Sheridan wrote a good post about whether Livefyre is destroying the value of a blog comments.

You see, I don’t even know if ‘commenting’ platform is a proper description for Livefyre. It’smore of a conversation/awareness tool that happens to be used by many bloggers in their comment section. And when one looks at all it does, with its many notifications, real time ‘new comment’ alerts, ‘likes’, etc—it’s no wonder so many bloggers have embraced this new platform.

But that’s the thing about Livefyre- It’s too good with garnering comments.

You really should read the post and come back but I’ll try to sum it up for those who don’t.  Marcus goes on to discuss whether tools like LifeFyre and Triberr have artificially inflated tweets and comments to the point where they have been devalued. He also says that he expects that one day he will move from the native WP commenting platform but that for now he won’t because he thinks that people might be intimidated by it.

Marcus is a sharp guy and quite successful but I think that he is missing the boat on this one. The majority of most blog readers never or very rarely comment on posts. They don’t for a multitude of reasons that often have little to do with the system and more to do with other things. Some people are intimidated by posts that have large numbers of comments or appear to be populated by cliques. Some people don’t comment because they feel that they have nothing to add to the conversation or just because they don’t.

People like to think that they act based upon logic and reason but most of the time we do things for arbitrary reasons that are based on feeling. But that is a topic for a different day.

Blog Comments Are Not Currency

I do things here differently than some other bloggers. I believe in building my community around me. I want you to play an active role here. You are welcome to comment here, on my Facebook page and to follow me on Twitter. I respond to people who contact me through the blog and or email because that is the right thing to do and I appreciate your time.

But it is important to me to mention that I don’t measure the success or failure of a post based upon the number of comments it received. I see that as being soft and lacking substance. Some posts are 100 comments of people cracking jokes and or screwing around. That doesn’t bother me. Most of the time you’ll find me stirring the pot and mixing things up.

That is all fine and good but it doesn’t always advance the conversation. It doesn’t necessarily make that post more valuable than others. Sometimes a third or more of the banter comes from a very small group of commenters. The question I ask myself is does any of this really matter.

That answer varies and is contingent upon your goals.

For me I like the idea of building a community and I think that Livefyre does a good job of facilitating it. I liked what Danny Brown had to say in the comments.

I don’t see Livefyre as a “one-sentence commentary” option; far from it. Yes, it’s great for that type of comment, but it also fosters amazing discussion too. I’ve seen amazing, in-depth conversations take place via Livefyre, while the bloger can “take a backseat”, because it encourages more than just the initial readers to take part.

I’m biased, obviously, but I love the way my readers use Livefyre, and I’ve seen the same cool interaction elsewhere on other Livefyre-enabled blogs.

If the blogger hasn’t put in the effort to be welcoming and encouraging from the start (and helped with questions about changes to their blog), that’s their “fault” if they’re not enjoying the conversations they want.

My job is to make people feel comfortable here. My job is to provide content that makes people want to read and comment. My job is to make the comment section inviting.  The way that I do it is just like I said above- I build my community around me. I write about the things that fire me up. I share my thoughts and my life and along the way others who appreciate it and or feel similarly have shown up.

It is a slower path. It doesn’t build the comment section as fast as some other ways could but I suspect that it makes for more loyal readers and does a better job of developing relationships. I write for me first and then for you because that is what works for me and makes all this fun and interesting.

Stream of Consciousness

This post is all stream of consciousness. It is a 15 minute exercise in which I have tried to share some thoughts and ideas about this. They may not be as well formed as they should be or as I would like but I am ok with that.  Because with a little help from my community we’ll jump on this in the comment section and hash some of it out. I may even decide that I need to modify my stance, who knows.

What do you think about all this? Should bloggers view comments as currency? What do you hope to do at your own blog?

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