People Are Commenting On Your Blog Posts – On Other Websites

Imagine this scenario:

  1. You write a post on your blog.
  2. Someone submits your blog post to a link-sharing site like Digg, StumbleUpon, or FriendFeed.
  3. Tons of people comment on that link on Digg, Mixx, or FriendFeed, and an interesting conversation ensues independent of your blog.
  4. Meanwhile, your blog proper has: 0 comments.

Does this bother you as a blogger? How about as a user?

Most predictably, some bloggers feel that this conversation-relocation is detrimental to the blog itself. Comments are part of the reason why readers visit your blog, and moving the comments might mean a drop in traffic. People may misjudge the popularity of your blog if it appears to have no comments.

The contrary opinion is that the blogger has no ownership of the conversation. For example, after you watch a movie, people leave the theater and go to other places to talk about the movie. There is no sanity in requesting the conversation about the movie stay at movie theater.

What’s my take? The above scenario doesn’t bother me. Considering my blog as one destination that everyone must visit sounds decidedly old-fashioned. For a blogger to say that all comments should be retained at the original blog sounds like something a newspaper website would say. It stems from that same provincialism that discourages linking to other websites, or splitting articles into ten pieces in order to retain traffic.

So how do you feel about the above scenario? If it concerns you, can you suggest any possible solutions?

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Comments

  1. says

    I never considered this before. I guess if we start leaving open ended questions on our post that compels the reader to respond back to you on an idividual basis then this may not be much of a problem.

  2. says

    I understand why some might be upset about it, but I’d be more apt to be happy that people are discussing my content at all. Talk elsewhere is better than no talk at all, right?

    And there’s nothing stopping you from joining the discussion on digg, Mixx, etc. If people notice the author commenting alongside them, they might be more apt to look further into your site and brand.

  3. says

    I think its fun when people talk about posts from my site on another — its like being a fly on the wall. People will say different things in their own community or forum than they will say on your blog.

    And really, isn’t that the ultimate point anyway — to spur thought? If people are talking at the water cooler the next day about something you wrote, that’s a compliment. And ultimately, if what you do is valuable, the readers will come back.

  4. says

    Robert, that’s a good one :)

    It’s good hear that others are okay with this, and looking at the bigger picture of any discussion is better than none at all, and to encourage conversation, wherever it may be.

  5. says

    Two strategies for steering some chatter back your way if that’s your goal would be to dive into the conversation taking place elsewhere or to write a new post pointing out how much reaction the post did receive, with links for readers who may have missed it.

  6. says

    Some good points there, Jason. I use Google Alerts to send me a daily email whenever anyone mentions my blog or my nickname which means I can at least see what has been said.
    I wonder if it would be practical to put together an RSS feed of comments from other blogs/social networks that could be displayed below the comments on an article on my blog. Might be worth a try.

  7. says

    How would you even track comments about your blog on another site, like Digg? I’m pretty confident I’ve never been “dugg,” but I would like to know how to find out. There are so many social media services now that there should be an easy way to track links to your content across all of them. Smells like a job for a WordPress plugin.

    Also, if we have FriendFeed, why don’t we have a “CommentFeed” that consolidates all of the comments from Digg etc. into one site? What’s wrong with the web2.0 marketplace?! :)

  8. says

    I was just thinking about this yesterday…I wish there was a way to incorporate the FriendFeed/twitter activity into your blog…the conversation has moved elsewhere for sure.

  9. says

    Assuming there’s an RSS feed for the data you want, it would be fairly straightforward to integrate that into your blog. Not “easy” if you’re not a programmer, but straightforward for a codemonkey.

    The assumption about RSS feeds may be a big one. I haven’t signed up for FeedFriend or Twitter yet, so I don’t know enough about how they work off the top of my head.

    If there aren’t feeds, then the difficulty goes way up as you have to dig into each tool’s API.

  10. says

    The worst thing is when someone just copy your work and publish it as it is without even a referring link… However if a link to your site is mentioned, that could be helpful if you are getting lots of comments, it will ease the load on your server ;)!

  11. says

    Why be upset about it? If someone is talking about your blog it’s a good thing, and I think it is actually better if they discuss it elsewhere as it can help convince new visitors to come take a look.

  12. says

    I guess it would bother me a bit but it would be wrong to let it bother me :)
    Having said this, in the past I wrote some songs that got picked up by local bands, I now gave up playing while these people are playing fairly big stages with one of the song being their war horse.
    I get no credit most of the time but it’s still good to hear the song, hey it’s better that than a dead song.

  13. says

    This “problem” has existed for a long time. Back in the early days of Blogger, which didn’t have its own commenting feature at all, you had to use external/plugin services such as Haloscan to add the ability to comment to your blog. The idea of having to use Haloscan bothered me because I knew that one day Blogger would certainly have its own commenting feature and then how would I be able to retain all those Haloscan comments? As it turns out, there is so much ephemeral in the blogosphere — the only way to truly retain everything is to host everything yourself (making sure to back everything up regularly). No thanks, but maybe someday…

  14. says

    I personally haven’t recieved much comments as my website doesn’t yet get very much traffic. In general terms however i don’t think much comments happen on sites such as Digg, or at least none that i’ve seen.

  15. says

    I think Jeremy is right, as long as you get link and credit, discussion about your blog/topic elsewhere is I think a win/win situation, besides like the movie theatre scenario cannot see how you can stop it. I would be pleased if someone linked to and discussed my photoblog.

  16. says

    Perhaps it makes most sense to consider whether you’re a blogger first or a social media maven. If your social media activities are largely done in support of or to promote your blogging – which is suspect is typically the case – then wouldn’t you want the conversations to occur there, at the point of origin?

    Personally, I suppose I’d be gratified if people were talking about my blog posts anywhere! that said, I’d far rather see comments on my blog than via Facebook, Twitter, FriendFeed, or some other ancillary venue.

    Comments are still the best, most direct validation that a blogger gets. Traffic stats, linkbacks, and such are all great, but they don’t really tell you if your efforts are finding interested eyes. Comments – either good or bad – let you know if people have taken notice and if your words have connected with them in some way.

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