Better living through commenting

Not many people, percentagely-speaking, comment on blogs.  A bit of Jakob Nielsen research showed that:

In most online communities, 90% of users are lurkers who never contribute, 9% of users contribute a little, and 1% of users account for almost all the action.

I write a lot of blog posts every week and it’s nice when someone leaves a comment – whether it’s someone agreeing, disagreeing, adding their own info or correcting my latest balls-up over Capsule‘s listings.

It starts at home though, doesn’t it?  Do unto others and all that.

So I’ve been making more of an effort to comment on other blogs.  Taking that a bit further, what I’d like to do is have a weekly round-up of blog posts that I’ve commented on generated automatically.  Kind of like the link-posts that many people do but slightly different.

I’ve been trying to find the best way to do that:

  • Turns out Backtype isn’t anywhere near useful enough
  • A fall-back option is to tag posts with Delicious and use the Postalicious plugin to round them up
  • But I’ve decided to give the comment-tracking service co.mments a spin and find a way to use the RSS feed it produces to generate a weekly round-up of the posts I comment on. Easy

Although if anyone has any better ideas for how to do it then I’d be pleased to hear them.  Otherwise, hold tight for the first thrilling instalment.

**Update** – co.mments seems to have gone down so I’ve switched to coComment who I originally discounted cos they looked like they were trying to do too much.  Still, as long as they function, eh?

Still no joy automatically compiling the weekly round-up.  I’ll get there…

Published by Chris Unitt

I work at One Further, doing digital projects with cultural organisations. Follow @ChrisUnitt or find me on LinkedIn.

15 replies on “Better living through commenting”

  1. CoComment works well to track- the RSS feed is very slow to push comments through tho’. Might be fine for your idea, I get frustrated trying to use it to see what other people might have said after me.

    Not seen a better solution around yet.

  2. For a different take on the power of comments, check out, a new conversational search engine. The difference between samepoint and backtype, is that samepoint organizes conversations based on what topic is being discussed. It’s a great way to discover new blogs and sites that are of interest to a specific topic.

  3. CG – Thanks for the comment. I liked the BackType interface and ‘feel’ but it doesn’t offer the sort of features I was looking for. I prefer the ability to make a comment and click a button on my browser to add that conversation to a feed. If I knew I’d be commenting often on a smaller number of blogs then the BackType model might’ve suited me better. All the best with the app though.

    Jon – I had a nose at coComment but it looks like they’ve gone for feature overload. I reckon I’ll stick with co.mments and see how far that gets me. If I can work out turning an RSS feed into a weekly post, that is…

  4. Hi,

    Sorry that you feel like we do offer to many features. However, we do understand that our site is sometimes a little confusing and I hope that you will find our next release less overwhelming.

    However, if your main goal is to track, you can use our service in a very simple way:

    To track:
    – Install our browser extension and the conversation will be added to your list without any further action when you comment, or with just one click if you just want to be a “lurker” for this conversation (at least for now…)

    To be notified:
    – Use your coComment RSS feed
    – OR: when the icon in the extension changes and display a red enveleop:
    – Open our sidebar to navigate in your conversations (Shift+Ctrl+Q)
    – Or click on the extension icon to go directly to your conversation page in coComment.

    Then, you might also want to discover other people, sites, conversations, …. Our web site will help you for this: you will find the top commenters, you can see your neighbors and follow where they are commenting, you can register to groups and be notified when someone find an interesting conversation.
    And, you can invite more people to participate in a conversation (this is what I’m doing right now with some of my colleagues with your article ;-))

  5. I’m quite liking backtype – to the extent that it delivers. But that qualification is significant, because it doesn’t deliver near as much as I’d expect. It picked up Jon’s comment here, but not Chris’. And that’s after having used the addblog facility above. It also doesn’t pick up on feedburner, so some B’ham bloggers are not getting their comments added.

    Given that my feedreader parses comments for most blogs, I can get a roundup that way, but it will be nicer if one had options for subscribing to a specific blogpost, a specific blog, and a specific blogger (perhaps using OpenID).

  6. Yeah, I guess it’s early days and those sorts of features might trickle down at some point. Maybe email themor blog about it – they picked up on this post quickly enough.

    Btw, I’ve found coComment ok to use so far but I’m struggling to find a way to generate a weekly list of posts I’ve commented on which is something I’d still really like to try out.

    I could do it manually I guess. Hmm, more thought required.

  7. Hi,

    It looks like the getting a list of post where someone commented over a period is becoming a FAQ 😉

    So I think we are going to provide this feature pretty soon.

    I guess a standard RSS format would be ok ? With a simple request like: GetUserConversations?user=&start=&duration=

  8. @CG: it picks up some commenters just fine, but I have a list of several whose comments have not been updated for months, or whose comments are not picked up at all. I have not been able to write about it in detail, but am hoping things will get sorted.

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