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The Death of the Blog Comment?

commentFor all the talk about social media being about “conversations”, it has become more apparent that the blog comment landscape is becoming a lot less vibrant and interesting.

At one time, comments on blogs were pretty standard – you read an interesting post, you left a comment. Today, you read an interesting post, and then do a tweet, retweet on Twitter, an update on Facebook, or make a comment on Friendfeed, Reddit or Mixx. Sure, there’s still commentary happening but the blog comment is being shuttled to the sidelines.

Is this a good thing? Does it really matter if there are fewer comments on blogs as long as conversations are happening elsewhere? For blog owners, I’m sure it’s far from ideal because part of the “rewards” from writing a post is getting a reaction – good, bad or indifferent – from readers. Given the new comment landscape, bloggers need to look at a variety of other services to see if they’ve generated any buzz.

What do you think? Is the blog comment heading for extinction?

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  • http://www.jerrytherecruiter.com Jerry_Albright

    No comment.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/markevans markevans

      Great comment. LOL!

  • http://blog.postrank.com Melanie Baker

    I'm kinda biased, since our Analytics service amalgamates social engagement activities. :)

    But to me, I think your use of "commentary" is the best descriptor. I think it's still a comment, even if it's not on the site. I think our definition of a comment being specifically left on the blog will continue to evolve. Especially since more and more tools are evolving to aggregate those diverse sources into one stream — comments, tweets, FriendFeed, etc…

    That said, it is true that what passes for a comment on those other sources tends to be shorter and often more focused on sharing with others than expressing your own opinion, but it's still a social activity and a form of interaction. Just a bit more "snack sized" a lot of the time.

    I think there's also something of a developing etiquette (not sure if that's the right word) of engaging in more in-depth conversations off the grid, as it were. Like on Twitter, how you'd tend to use a DM instead of an @ to say something intended for a specific person. I'd be curious to survey folks and see if they're more inclined to pass along longer, more in-depth response or opinion via an email or other, more private means, that may not end up in the public engagement activity stream.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/markevans markevans

      I think it's fair to say that commentary is quickly replacing comments. That said, I will concede to another comment below by Aaron that there are blogs with engaged readers who continue to leave comments. TechCrunch, for example, seems to be very comment-friendly.

  • http://twitter.com/Traegorn @Traegorn

    I seriously just wrote something about this on Wednesday http://blogs.trhonline.com/getpost.pl?messnumb=12

  • Aaron

    I think your way off base. The blogs I read have a vibrant and *growing* fan base that comment on them, I think your right in part that the discussion created by the blogs is moving into new realms, but it's not leaving the blog itself. I think of it having changed from a "study group" kind of discussion, where you go somewhere to talk about specific issues, to more of a "pub" discussion, where I'm talking with friends, and then they go and talk to their friends etc. how they accomplish that part of it doesn't in any way diminish(ya i suck at spelling) the original conversation, and if the original was that good the people back at the pub are still going to be talking about it. does that make any sense? I find it hard to get thoughts out sometimes.

  • David Bosworth

    I think the easy answer is that the "Blog Comment", as an entity unto itself, is undoubtedly headed toward extinction, as is the Blog, Twitterfeed and every other social media construct we all know so well and love today. Now, if you were to ask if technology-enabled dialogue, unbounded by time or space is headed for extinction, the answer is no way! What we know as social media is here to stay, it's just that the particular tools of social discourse and the labels we put on them will continuously change and evolve.

  • http://jamescogan.com James Cogan

    I agree with Mark and Melanie Baker on this one. I think 'sharing' is replacing brief commentary to some degree. I still think discussions are taking place within blog comments, but I also think the blogosphere has grown to the point that many people who may have have left lengthy comments on someone else's blog previously, may now be more inclined to share their thoughts with a blog post of their own.

  • David Bosworth

    I think the easy answer is that the "Blog Comment", as an entity unto itself, is undoubtedly headed toward extinction, as is the Blog, Twitterfeed and every other social media construct we all know so well and love today. Now, if you were to ask if technology-enabled dialogue, unbounded by time or space is headed for extinction, the answer is no way! What we know as social media is here to stay, it's just that the particular tools of social discourse and the labels we put on them will continuously change and evolve.

  • http://broadcasting-brain.com Mark Dykeman

    "It's not dead, it's resting."

    "It's not resting, it's a stiff! Bereft of life!"

    Jokes about dead parrots aside, I do not think that blog comments are dead. However, I think that the folks who are embracing the newer Web 2.0 technologies are more creative in, when, and how they add commentary to blog posts. There's a lot of overlap between those people and the people who frequent technology blogs.

    I think that blog comments are alive and well in other sectors of the blogosphere, however, where people may be slower to adopt Twitter, FriendFeed, etc. or on blogs whether they don't have to use Disqus (just as an example; there's nothing wrong with Disqus, it just seems a bit daunting to the uninitiated, like Intense Debate used to be). I'd also point out that MSM outposts on the Web (like any major newspaper, as an example) still attract tons of comments, and some of them are great quality.

    However, we might be lacking an intimacy of communication that used to be stronger when there were few bloggers, commentators, or lurkers.

    Does that make sense?

  • http://twitter.com/TuckerTues @TuckerTues

    I came here to make most of the same points as Melanie, Tragorne, Mark and David have made. It is more about sharing via mutiple venues. I love Disqus, and use it whenever I can to comment and post those to my Typepad, wordpress or Tumblr account. While it can be a bit daunting for the casual user, at first, Disqus like is the most likely future direction of commenting.

  • http://twitter.com/effyhan @effyhan

    I like Disqus too, for keeping the reactions and comments together. Feedly is also nice as I sometimes see the friendfeed conversations embedded at the bottom of a post as well as the "tweet stream".

  • http://spidvid.com Jeremy

    I think it all depends on which blogs you read. Some blogs seem to get tons of comments and healthy conversations happening, while others get a low amount of comments that seem pretty spammy with the primary goal of getting inbound links.

    I think it's up to the blog owner to establish a solid connection with his or her readers which encourages interesting comments. See Chris Brogan on this one.

    I have to admit that I used to comment more on blog posts, but even though I don't quite as much anymore I still enjoy it very much when I do.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/markevans markevans

      Thanks for the comment. As much as having a blog post tweeted about, comments are different – sort of like getting a letter rather than an e-mail message.

      cheers, Mark

  • http://twitter.com/mikeschwede @mikeschwede

    Nice and true thought. I think it is a big problem, that the conversation continue on different tools, channels, applications. All conversations including comments should be saved centralized. I think that's one idea of google wave. See the video and go to time 3:20

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6pgxLaDdQw

  • http://twitter.com/PedroDCardoso @PedroDCardoso

    I may be an outlier, but I consider commenting and sharing to be two very different things. @SharonHayes just posted what I think is a relevant piece (http://bit.ly/7EbSPk) that leads us more broadly to a discussion about the trend of "information snacking" and whether short attention spans are an unavoidable part of the knowledge management ecosystem of the 21st century.

    Leaving a "comment", I argue, suggests that the pre-requisite activity of Consumption, Comprehension, Reflection and Opinion Formation has occurred. These are all activities that take time – time not being spent as too many spin from tweet to tweet, post to post, trying to get "through" their reading lists…for what purpose exactly, other than being "done", I am unclear…

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/markevans markevans

      Pedro,

      Thanks for the link to Sharon's blog. I agree with your contention that blog comments require time, effort and some reflection. As we race around the Web from service to service, many people simply don't want to invest the time or effort necessary.

      Mark

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  • Gratis Guidance

    I think you may be right.
    I have been asking people for quite a quite what drives them to comment and the majority are not actually that bothered. Those who might, will only do so if another comment doesn’t cover their opinion – hope that helps you with your forecast for blogs!

  • http://www.variousmarks.com Mary

    Blog commenting is in extension, but we can avoid this writing or posting a very good or a very unique and interesting article. Readers comments on posts that caught their interest.

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  • http://goldcoastaccommodationdeals.com @GoldCoastEddie

    Mark, I don’t think that the blog comment heading for extinction. People want to comment directly back to the author (especially if they disagree). The best way to do this is to comment right on the page below the article or post.

  • http://landscapingqld.com.au/ Gold Coast Landscape

    Thanks for the post!

    I don’t agree that people use blog commenting less. In fact, a lot of people do blog commentary since with this strategy, they get a lot info and at the same they can promote their sites. Blog commenting can be simple but it has been very reliable ever since.

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  • http://www.buybacklinksrightnow.com/ Caitlin Backlinker

    I don’t think blog comments would be dead. Posting in other social media networks is just a way to drive people to the blog. Whether they leave a comment or not – whether in the blog or in the social network, it is still beneficial to your blog.

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