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Not that long ago, you’d write a blog post and a handful of people might comment on it. Some of those comments might be one-line approval or disagreement, but others would go some length to engage with what you’d said.

These days, though, I’m finding you’re more likely to get a retweet: “RT”, title of your blog post, and link.

Don’t get me wrong: I love seeing those. Love, love, love them. By all means, retweet away.

But what blog comments give you that retweets can’t (unless the retweeter opts out of Twitter’s retweeting feature to add a few words of their own) is conversation. I love to hear what people thought of what I said. I love for them to agree, disagree, point me to new ideas, or take an idea and run with it. And while we can do that to some degree on Twitter, the 140-character wall is pretty limiting.

I’ve been pretty lucky, actually; since I launched the cartoon, I’ve been attracting a small but growing number of deeply-appreciated comments. I have a few tools that let me import related tweets into the comment stream. And Twitter brings a lot of people here.

I’m hoping that continues… but I have a feeling that bloggers everywhere have to adjust to a world where Twitter means blog comments, and the rich conversation that can come with them, are the exception.

What do you think? Have you seen comments drop off on your blog? And if so, is Twitter the issue, or is something else at work? Comment below… or tweet me.

(P.S. – Was I clear enough about liking the retweets? No? I LIKE THE RETWEETS.)

11 Comments

Forget Twitter. There are still comments and conversations going on, but they're waaay more disseminated. Someone might comment on a Google Reader shared item, or Buzz link, or Facebook link, but not go to the blog post itself to leave a comment.

I hardly ever comment on blog posts and usually just re-tweet or share on Facebook. In fact, I was recently considering starting a small blog about training for my first 5K race, but ended up just sharing updates with friends and family on Facebook because I didn't think anyone would bother to comment — or even subscribe.

Laura: Heh – well, there's nothing any communications channel likes talking about more than itself! (Helps that it was a very good post, too!)

Adam: That's certainly a big factor, too. I'm looking for a good, simple solution to aggregate all that activity on my blog page; I'm happy to see it dispersed, but it would also be nice to collect it all in one place.

Lisa: Me, neither. It's an UNBREAKABLE RULE for me.

Mike: That's a real sign of the times – thanks for sharing that story!

Thanks, Daniel – and your comment is well taken. The great majority of users will nearly always be lurkers (we need a better term for that, if it's the majority!) – it's what's happening to the minority who do comment that I'm wondering about.

But maybe Twitter has a critical role in giving lurkers an easier and less intimidating way to participate… and maybe the price of broadening participation is the loss of a few blog comments.

And I'm delighted you like the cartoons!

Interesting how views converge, listened to Stephen Fry slice commenting to pieces in an interview today

. He related most commenters to self-centered trolls that are barely worth listening to. And unless your @raincoaster – who eats trolls for lunch with a light merlot, and the domestic stuff at that – who would want to get into that.

There is a fear of engaging with online content for the abusive reactions. The Internet has become a fearful place. Do you trust facebook? What is Google tracking on you? Half expect someone to start talking about the old days on the Internet neighbour where everyone left there back doors unlocked and their firewalls down.

Whether any of that is true, who knows, but there are still plenty of great neighbourhoods and I think it is to your credit Rob that people find your site to be one of them. It just like my neighbour down the street and keeps her yard so nice that when you see a blowing piece of plastic the natural reaction is to pick it up – When you see a conversational quality there is a compulsion to engage.

oh ok!! *grumble* *grumble* :p

in my case, i'd like more people to see your toons and have a laugh (and think), a tweet does that very well. from experience, i've figured that sometimes comments can actually 'spoil' a good work. so i'm extra careful :)

PS. the only time i almost commented was on the 'FB-dog' toon, I wanted to know if you'd done a dog-cloud toon yet :)

Believe me, Manu, I've been delighted by – and grateful for – every retweet! (And for this comment.)

And if it helps, I have yet to have a cartoon or blog post that was spoiled by a comment… even the really critical ones. The comments on one particular blog post I wrote – although pretty heated – do a lot to throw the issue I'm discussing there into sharp relief.

By the way, no dog-cloud cartoons yet… but I keep coming back to the dogs, so you never know. I do have an dinosaur-cloud cartoon, though

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