I’ve been a horrible challenge participant and fallen behind. Here’s a stab at catching up and keeping you all up to speed on both my thoughts and the ideas shared in this challenge about evaluating and improving blog commenting.

Day 23: What Makes a Great Comment?

Describe the feature and characteristics of a great comment: Personally, one thing I think makes a blog post interesting, inviting, and better is the questions it asks and not necessarily the questions it answers. So, this carries over to comments. When I leave a comment on someone else’s blog, I like to take a stab at answering or responding to the main question asked but also like to include another question. This keeps the conversation going and what are blogs and comments for but enabling conversation!

Day 24: Comment on a Blog Written in a Foreign Language

There are growing numbers of translating services available online to help you find and read blog posts and websites that are generated in other languages. Although this isn’t a blog, for this challenge I started following and sent messages to a few Twitter users from Madrid. I was actually feeling nervous when I sent the first message in Spanish, but received kind replies and have enjoyed following the new connections.

Day 25: Take a Break!

I have obviously taken a break from some blogging/commenting but it is all due to heavy work load of a project about to launch that I will blog about in a few minutes!

Day 26: Exploring Other Ways to Comment

Explore how you might use multimedia for a richer commenting experience. Consider whether or not you think multimedia is a better option and how it might impact learning.

I am excited by enriching conversations by multimedia commenting and look forward to incorporating more into my own blog. I often find that I begin to leave a comment on another blog and realize I’ve written a few paragraphs and still have more to say. So, I will just turn that comment into a blog post here and link back to the post as a more interesting and fleshed out comment. This is the same for linking back to posts that spur you to get out thoughts using Seesmic, Utterz or something similar. I’m curious if any of you have enjoyed exploring new options for commenting/posting/sharing.

Day 27: What Do You Communicate About Your Personal Brand Through Comments

To me, this goes back to the “What makes a great comment” question. I think that much of what I try to do both on this blog and in the many events/trainings I coordinate and help with is to ask more questions than answer more questions. I love sharing the ideas, thoughts, experiences and opinions I have about nonprofits and social media. But, I think that there is a great deal of value in the questions we can ask to help guide strategies, adoption, decisions, and work. So, in a face-to-face meeting, email, blog or comments, I’m always trying to stir up, consider and provoke questions. How am I doing?

Day 28: What’s Your Blog Commenting Strategy?

Commenting wasn’t something I really looked at strategically prior to this 31 day challenge. Something that I have taken from all of these wonderful opportunities for self reflection and evaluation is that commenting, just like blogging and other social media practices, needs to be done strategically if it is going to be successful and at the same time not drive you mad. There are so many insightful and interesting blogs out there that I could read and comment all day long, every day. That wouldn’t be very strategic, though. I have decided to try to have ‘blogging’ days and ‘commenting’ days where I do one or the other with the amount of time I would otherwise try to spend on both together. So far, I am really finding it a good balance and much less stressful as I’m not worried about commenting too long and not getting to the blog, or vice versa. Do you have a strategy for your commenting? Or commenting rules you use when leaving comments?

There are lots of questions embedded in the different topics above, but, one thing I’d also like to hear from you is a suggestion for a blog you read but have never commented on and what keeps you from taking that next step in the conversation.

31-Day Comment Challenge (catching up!)
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  • APKC

    Often I feel that I do not want to be seen as “teaching my grandmother to suck eggs” and so I hold back because I do not know what the level of knowledge or expertise is.

    Also what I work with on a daily basis has become so well known and second nature to me that I feel as if everybody has the same degree of knowledge and expertise.

    Sometimes too it may appear as thought there are a core group of participants in a blog, or many of the respondents are personally known to the blogger. When that is the impression it can also be a disincentive to responding.

  • Good question.
    You know, there are some tech-head-style blogs that I subscribe to in my RSS that I read but never comment on. I guess it feels as if I am outside my “zone” and that the deep tech, while interesting to read, is not something I can contribute to.
    But most education/teacher blogs, I feel no qualms about when it comes to commenting, even if I don’t know the person. I guess I feel as if we may have some affinity of experience.
    Thanks for asking
    Kevin

  • Hi Amy–I like your idea of having devoting some days to blogging and some to commenting. One thing that has emerged for me in the challenge is the realization of how easy it can be for me to get bogged down in blogging without having the balance of also commenting. When we did the 31 Days to Building a Better Blog Challenge last summer, one of the activities was to plan a week’s worth of posts. I’ve been forced to do that for the Challenge, so I’ve had one day where I wrote several posts, leaving me other days to comment. That’s something I’m going to try to continue to do as much as I can, although the downside of planning out my posts is that they tend to be a little less timely in responding to what’s happening online. At any rate, I think your suggestion to balance blogging and commenting is a a great one!

  • @ Michele- That’s a great example, thanks! It is hard to believe that we can get bogged down in doing something we enjoy, but it is true! And through this challenge, I have rediscovered how much I enjoy finding and reading new blogs and commenting!

    @ Kevin- I completely agree that we put ourselves either consciously or not into a fenced area that is comfortable, we may go adventuring elsewhere, but don’t want to speak up. This challenge has encouraged me to step outside that box and start new conversations. I can’t say that it was always a successful ongoing conversation, but I did feel like I expanded my world. Thanks for sharing!

    @APKC- I have the same impression often that because I work with it, think about it, talk about it all day long that everyone else does as well. But then I walk down to the office kitchen and start a conversation there and remember that isn’t the case at all. I hope to create a relationship with my readers and bloggers but not one that discourages new participants, though can’t speak for any one else’s blog. I think everyone wants to create a ‘group of friends’ of sorts on the blog but like any group of people, the group naturally becomes open or closed. Thanks for commenting and sharing those thoughts!

  • Michele,

    The idea of planning out a week of posts is interesting and requires some good thinking, just like lesson plans. It helps to have a theme in mind that you are developing but I do agree that this can help us as bloggers. And you may get folks hooked on Day One.
    Kevin