BLOGS: their Number is UP, Comments are DOWN. How Come?

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Blogs are UP and comments are DOWN! Is that a probable picture of what is happening to bloggers these days?  It seems high-level, veteran bloggers are finding a slowdown in the number of comments to their posts. Judy Dunn on her fascinating Cat's Eye Writer.com has a great post on this subject, here's the link:
http://catseyewriter.com/2011/05/31/are-blogs-really-getting-fewer-comments-these-days-a-livefyre-update/

And would you know it? She got an unusually large number of comments reacting to her post, close to 70, easily double her average!

The blogosphere is full of advice on how to raise the number of comments on your blog: take a look below, I've collected some of the more interesting articles for you.

At the end of the day, what is really good advice?

I confess that not being tech-savvy, I'm a little lost. I've had one reader tell me I should make my comment box more visible. I use Disqus which I find very useful (sends me the comments straight to my email box and makes it easy for me to reply directly, right under the comment made) and apparently there's also a lot of good to be said for Livefyre.

But I don't think it's the comments technology that can make that much difference. It's the sheer NUMBER of blogs out there - overwhelming information! Even online communities have a plethora of fora and threads. It may well be that this abundance discourages people from stopping by and taking the time to make comments. If you do that - actually write down a comment, even a short one - you always have the ghastly feeling that you're wasting your time on a particular site when so much more interesting things might be happening elsewhere!

Only Twitter seems to be able to appease this particular angst - no doubt why twitter is fast becoming such a big success: there are even twitter bloggers now, and (I just discovered) Twitter poets!

Another thing: I'm quite convinced you can have an interesting blog and yet few comments because you don't elicit either negative or positive reactions: you just don't leave people space for expressing their reaction. You've covered the whole ground, you've done it objectively and convincingly, so there's nothing to add. Maybe one should write posts that are a little screwy, unfinished, opened to question to get good reactions!

Or you can write in a "niche" providing good advice: that's what Konrath does for aspiring writers, encouraging them to self-publish. That message has had a resounding success and his blog is widely read (and commented upon - but then writers are probably the easiest kind of readers who'll take to their pen to respond: writing is in their nature!)

Or you can be someone people look up to or want something from. A celebrity, a big writer, or even just a professional with useful advice, like for example a literary agent giving out advice to aspiring writers about how the publishing industry works, how to write a winning query letter etc. 

Or you can focus on the visual. I've got a friend on my Facebook page (in the news feed) who posts a new picture she has taken everyday - sometimes it's a donkey, or a litter of fluffy kittens, or a red sunset on the sea, whatever, but it's sure to be nice looking, full of colors and (to my taste) rather, well...
cliché (I suppose that's appropriate for a photograph!) But she gets far more comments that I ever get with my "serious", so-called "interesting" posts. Dozens of comments every time she posts a picture! Amazing!

Just yesterday I got a reader commenting on one of my short stories. She loved it and I was very moved: few people comment on fiction work, I don't know why. In case you're interested,  it's in my archives on this blog, here's the link: I am not leaving you behind . It's flash fiction - a sci-fi piece on what would happen if we ever conquered aging and dropped dead while still looking young. So I checked out her blog and discovered she lives in Singapore and has surrounded herself with a wonderful world of pictures that she shares with her followers - here are the links to beautiful ones (an antique Chinese fashion show) and funny ones (weird portraits of an interchanging man and woman). And notice the number of comments! With lovely photographs, she manages to get 20 to 30 comments every time! And deservedly so.

As a friend of mine said, ours is a "culture of the image". And no wonder, images are immediate, you get it right away, as fast - nay faster! - than Twitter!

What's your take on this? What do you think makes readers want to comment? Why do you ever want to comment?

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