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Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Blog comment should make you want to say FU not Thank You

I recently found a post on Sam Huleatt's blog about how blog comments are the new black. As we know, I'm always looking for the next black and I truly love a good charcoal. Before I digress more, this linked post talks about how we have many ways to engage and connect with someone online but a comment on someone's blog is the best way to begin building a relationship. There is a community around blogs and the comments are the gateway for that community to connect with each other and build offline relationships.

Social media is all about creating dialogue and blog comments have been declared to be the most meaningful. Not all blog comments are created equal just like not all dialogue leads to meaningful relationships. Today's health care summit is a fine example of dialogue not creating any meaningful sense let alone improved relationships. A good blog comment can introduce a new idea to a post, push the author on a particular point, elaborate on an example, or demonstrate that you share a similar background or values with the author that will lead to greater connection.

There are also blog comment that do not further the conversation is the equivalent of a "Like" in Facebook. On the other spectrum, there are comments on entertainment blogs for example whose contribution to a Miley Cyrus article about her sleepovers are to ask if she is a raging lesbian slut or merely a huge lesbian slut (apologies to anyone who found this via Google while searching for Miley Cyrus lesbian slut and are now extremely disappointed).

Digressions aside, I need to offer an apology in advance to readers who previously merely commented that they liked my posts. I appreciate your comments and they made me smile. However, I would rather see a comment to a blog post that made me write a response that started with "FU" rather than "Thank you." I'd rather have my arguments pushed and challenged then just praised. I would rather have to rethink my position then bask in the glow of how right I am.

For blog comments to truly be the new black, they need to create dialogue. Conflict can build relationships because it leads to debates which leads to better understanding of each other. A rich debate with differing view points in the comments section creates a more compelling blog post. There are some blogs where I read the comment section as eagerly as the blog post.

There are also some blog posts where I skip the comment section because there's no additional value or contribution. The Brazen Careerist, a Generation Y career-focused community site and Untemplater, a work/life style blog are some of the biggest sinners. Although I shouldn't bite the website that was kind of enough to feature my posts (Brazen Careerist) or one where I have submitted a post for consideration (Untemplater), I'll keep my straight talk express going. The comments section on these website's blogs is a cascading series of "I like that post so much that I want to marry it." This Untemplator post is an example where the comments section is a huge series of high fives. There is some pushing the topic further but the affirmation after affirmation really makes it look like an echo chamber as opposed to serious dialogue. In a community, not everyone will agree with each other all the time. Neither should blog comments.

One example of a blog where the comments were almost as good as the posts is the Leveraged Sell-Out. The comments were brutal, debates raged, people get their feelings hurt, and it was the best thing on the web. Thank you's were non-existent and FU was one of the milder responses. However, I understanding the investment banking culture more than I ever wanted to because of the comments section. Another good example of a comments section that meets this new black criteria is Penelope Trunk's blog. Generally 1/3 of the comments tell Trunk that she understands their pains, fears, hopes, and dreams better than their family and she is completely right about everything, 1/3 of the comments swear this is the last time that they will ever read anything by Trunk again and that she is the dumbest person on the web, and 1/3 promote their own theories and philosophies. It's taken me a while to appreciate Trunk's blog comments and community because I used to fall pretty solidly in the middle group. Given, that I've turned Trunk's material into 3 posts of my own, I've probably moved into the last group and I have began to realize the brilliance in her marketing.

For any future comments on my blog, may I say FU, may you swear back at me, and let's break bread and have a real dialogue. If I need someone to high five me and give me a hug, I'll go find my 2 year old son rather than write a blog post.


Ryan Paugh said...

WTF man?!? I thought we were friends!

Just kidding ... I get where you're coming from. I call it the "You're Amazing" syndrome. A lot of people feel inclined to say nice things to people without providing any real insight. It's innocent, but it doesn't make the blog post any more valuable.

People do this on Twitter too. Lots of "You're Amazing" just saturating my feed. Hopefully your post will encourage people to think before they write.

Deadhedge said...

Ryan, so close but not there. At least your response had an F in it but keep going with it. If it pissed you off, tell me why, and give me your side. We can still be friends and argue about it.

You don't have to agree with this post. Channel that WTF.

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