On Wednesday, Bryan Eisenberg asked a very important question about the nature of blogging: “What Makes You Comment?”
Before posting, Bryan scoured the Web, in search of a similar post but was unable to find one. Sure, there were plenty of posts about the value of commenting (notably by Chris Garrett, who Bryan links to in his piece), yet nobody had seemed to ask the fundamental question. Then, just one day later, we noticed that Steven J. Dubner, bestselling co-author of Freakonomics, had posed the same question to his readers.
Now, we’re not the types to suggest that correlation equals causality–particularly not to Dubner & Levitt–but the responses to this question on both blogs have been truly enlightening. Today, Dubner shared some insights he’s gathered from asking why you comment.
Above all, I learned that you, the people who read this blog, are amazing! Based on yesterday’s comments, you are interesting, kind, smart, inquisitive, and a few other things. I will say this: it seems that the typical blog commenter is more of a Type-A personality than the typical first-time commenter who wrote in yesterday. This is not surprising. As we all know, web dialogue can encourage, and even reward, a sort aggression that is actually punished in the real world. Indeed, there are sectors of the web where the aggression is so robust that it discourages the saner folks from even bothering. I am very pleased, and proud, to be the co-host of a site where so much sanity is practiced. Thanks to all of you for taking the time to think about this subject, to respond, and to continue reading.
At this point, we’re still more interested in reading your comments than drawing conclusions, but it’s interesting to see commonalities between our readers responses, particularly in terms of how answers may have been shaped by the ways in which the questions were asked. What other factors might be at play? Site traffic? Reputation? Scope of topics covered? Gender, even?
In her Marketing to Women Online blog, our own Holly Buchanan adds some post-post analysis of what she’s noticed about our comment-post commenters (yikes!):
It seems the female respondents were more likely to add positive “great post” supportive comments. Some of the guys felt that was a waste of time.
Some of the guys [even] felt comments as a whole were a waste of time and didn’t bother reading them.
So, what do you think? Do great mind blog alike, or what? And, if they do, do great minds comment alike as well?