This Post Generated 500 Comments

A blogging friend of mine made a very foolish bet with me and said that I couldn’t write a post that would generate 500 comments. I would like to say that it was a tongue-in-cheek sort of remark but it wasn’t.

It was supposed to be an insightful remark that said something profound about popularity and importance in the blogosphere but he missed the mark. Comments aren’t currency. They aren’t social proof of significance, popularity or importance.

At best they are something that some bloggers use for self validation but even that is questionable.

Smarter bloggers look at their comment sections as a resource that they can mine for blog fodder. Smarter bloggers recognize that not every comment is equal in value but they never say that because they know that people remember how you made them feel. Make people feel stupid and you create issues for yourself.

Smart bloggers understand that the best comments advance and expand the discussion. Those 500 comment posts often have some of those gold nuggets but rarely if ever are the majority of those comments of that caliber.

Look Deeper

The posts that receive the most comments aren’t always those that are the most important, educational or interesting. Sift through this blog and you’ll see heated discussions about whether to refrigerate peanut butter, whether the Great Lakes have beaches and how to hard boil an egg.

Some of those discussions were great but does 198 comments on peanut butter make me an authority on it.  I don’t know. What I do know is that you don’t have to be a dad blogger to agree that toys that make noise are really freaking irritating or that it would be all kinds of fun to replace the signs at Ikea with signs we made up.

Seriously. One day I am going to have a field day roaming through that place and renaming the furniture with something that I think the Swedish Chef might say. Can’t way to see my Skflitenburger next to a Skedoodle and Nugenshtup. Or perhaps a Shtupzen in the bedroom might need a Snorzenfloggen.

Want to know something about dear old Jack? I have never driven a car in the snow. I have the keys to the one in the picture and have driven it many times but I haven’t ever driven it or any vehicle in the snow. Kind of funny to think about because I have been driving for almost thirty years.

But that is tied into our discussion about comments and looking deeper. Sometimes what you see isn’t what you get. Sometimes what you see is something more or something less.

People might tell you to chew Trident because 3 out of 5 dentists recommend it but who are those dentists and what do we know about them. Are they still practicing? Are/were they “good’ dentists that you would want to see or send your children to? How much were they paid to endorse Trident and does that matter?

Am I the only one who wonders about a chewing gum named after a sharp object. Did you know that I called Quaker Oats because I wanted to them to tell me the name of the Quaker on the package.

I don’t know if this particular post will generate 1 comment or a thousand but I can guarantee that it will be read. And that my friends is better than the legend of Babe Ruth calling his shot because very few people know if that happened but thousands know that this post was read.

Do me a favor and go read the posts that I have put together for Nanowrimo and let me know if you love/hate it.

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  1. Xerolooper November 14, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    Interesting thoughtful post. Thank you. Here’s one more comment. 🙂

  2. Sandi Amorim November 13, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    I’m just happy that the Swedish Chef got some attention here 😉

  3. The Rebbetzin's Husband November 13, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    I drive in snow. All the time.

    Toward the end of October the temperature dropped below freezing overnight, and the meteorologist informed us that the last time this had happened in Toronto was April twentysomething. Which means we had six months without frost. Yippee.

    • Jack November 13, 2011 at 9:43 pm

      My friend, we are desert people- this snow thing just doesn’t add up. Can you imagine a burning bush in the snow? Ok, maybe on Yonge Street after the Leafs win the cup but… 😉

      I have friends who tell me that living in the cold is great and that it is not a big deal to drive in the snow- but it seems like a lot of extra work to me.

      Six months without frost. I think that I probably go six years in between seeing it. 😉

  4. Janet Callaway November 13, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    Jack, aloha. Like you and most of the commenters, I have not driven in the snow either. However, I have been a passenger in a car going through the snow.

    Looking at the 500 comments “challenge,” Jack, I think you also have to define “what is a comment?” Any time I have read a post that received 300+ comments, many of them were 1-5 word comments after someone else’s comment–“I agree” or “Ditto.”

    Now, if you want, we can certainly get you the 500 comments. However, I don’t see that it would add to the value of what you say if I and several of your dedicated supporters were to go through your comment section adding such comments.

    Heck, I could have put a comment after the ones above me and said “No snow driving either” which would have given you a few more.

    Your point on dentists made me smile because when people are “hung up” on authority figures and say “well the doctor said so,” I always feel compelled to remind them that not everyone graduated at the top of their class. And, even if they did graduate at the top of their class 30 years ago, do they keep, are they progressive?

    So, Jack, should we put the word out to the tribes for 500 comments? Personally, if that’s what you want, I don’t see any problem getting that for you.

    You and your blog matter! Let me know. Until next time, aloha. Janet

    • Jack November 13, 2011 at 9:41 pm

      Hi Janet,

      I have a niece and nephews who live back East who find it amazing that I have never driven in the snow. It is kind of funny to me, because I have been a passenger, but just never the driver. Sort of a silly thing, but…

      Anyhoo, the dentist/doctor/authority figure discussion is one that just irks me. A title doesn’t mean that you know anything- just that you have a title. I don’t automatically discount or ignore opinions but I like knowing a little bit more about a person’s background before I give them the keys to the kingdom.

      As for the comments, well I very much appreciate your offer but don’t worry about it. I’ll come looking for help with promoting my book and would rather save asking for a favor for something important.

      Thank you again, I really do appreciate you.

  5. Shonali Burke November 13, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Hard boiling an egg is much tougher than it sounds. After much trial and error, my HBEs come out well when they have boiled for 9 minutes and then sat in cold water for another 20 minutes. So it also takes much longer than one would think.

    • Jack November 13, 2011 at 9:29 pm

      Hello Shonali,

      The one thing that bugs me more than anything about hard boiled eggs is when they are difficult to peel. Irks me to no end to lose the “meat” because you can’t pull the shell off of it.

      I don’t know if I ever thought about how long it takes, but I suppose you are right about that.

  6. Adrienne November 13, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    Hey Jack,

    I’ve been driving now for 38 years and have never driven in snow. For one thing, we very seldom have it so we are the last people who need to act like we know what we’re doing. Talk about dangerous being on the road when it snows here.

    The majority of the posts that receive a high amount of comments like 500 are usually some controversial topic that warrant everyone stopping by to give their 2 cents worth. The problem I see with people bragging that they received that many comments is that it’s usually a one time shot.

    For me personally, I would rather have the interaction then the number being higher. I won’t turn them away that’s for sure but I would much rather people visit and comment because they want to. Not because I’ve made a bet or it was a topic I won’t normally write about just to get the reaction.

    Personally, I just enjoy reading your posts because they come from who you are.

    So what’s the bet? Anything good?

    • Jack November 13, 2011 at 9:27 pm


      I don’t think that many people even consider what sort of affect their presence will have on other drivers. It is nice that you do.

      I am a bigger fan of solid interaction and engagement than sheer numbers. Occasionally it is nice to have that sort of thing but most of the time it doesn’t do much for me. Don’t get me wrong, it is nice to have, but I really prefer something deeper.

      As for the bet, well we haven’t really determined whether anyone gets a prize or not. I suppose that we’ll talk about it again some time.

      Always good to see you here.

  7. Tracie November 13, 2011 at 11:39 am

    I have never driven in snow, either. Living most of your life in Florida will do that to you.

    But I have driven in a hurricane.

  8. Barbara November 13, 2011 at 6:22 am

    Here is another #2

    Would you honestly like to get 500 comments? Would this not be like trying to have a meaningful discussion in a stadium?

    I have driven in snow countless times (living in Switzerland!) but I do not recommend it. Yet alone, having to put snow chains on your tyres with tons of snow falling from the skies.

    • Jack November 13, 2011 at 2:19 pm

      Hi Barbara,

      I have had lots of post go over 100 but never close to 500. As you mentioned it gets to be quite tough to stay on top of them.

      I am vaguely curious about driving in the snow but it is not that big a deal to me. I am sure that I’ll do it one day.

  9. Bill Dorman November 13, 2011 at 5:55 am

    Do NOT put peanut butter in the fridge unless you are just going to eat it with a spoon.

    I have driven in snow, but only like 3 or 4 times. Not a comfortable feeling.

    Ah, the validation points; what makes us great, right? Yes, I like comments because I like the dialogue. If it doesn’t happen at my place then I will seek it out elsewhere. I probably could do a better job of engaging my community instead of just replying back, but I really don’t give that a lot of thought. I just reply with whatever is rolling around in this over-sized head of mine.

    Ok, here is comment # 1…..:).

    • Jack November 13, 2011 at 2:17 pm

      I am with you Bill. If I want cold peanut butter it will be peanut butter flavored ice cream.

      Snow is a funny thing to me. Been in it a bunch of times but just never had the occasion to drive in it, at least nothing heavy. Driven through slushy remnants, but that doesn’t count in my mind.

      I have another friend who gave up blogging because she couldn’t deal with having to respond to 40 comments on each post. She was grateful for them but…

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