Comment Self Audit

31 day

Bloggers from around the world have enrolled in the 31 Day Comment Challenge to work collectively on becoming better blog citizens. Kim Cofino, Sue Waters, and Michele Martin have each blogged extensively about the hows and whys of this challenge, and Michele has suggested that those participating start with a “commenting self audit,” using Gina Trapani’s Guide to Blog Comments as a resource.

As Michele noted, one of the goals of the 31 Day Comment Challenge is for us to improve our commenting skills and draw more people into blog conversations. To get a better picture of my blog commenting skills and strategies, I was asked to answer the following questions:

  • How often do you comment on other blogs during a typical week?
  • Do you track your blog comments? How? What do you do with your tracking?
  • Do you tend to comment at the same blogs or do you try to comment on at least one new blog per week?

How often do I comment? I currently subscribe (using RSS feeds) to around 40 blogs, so I would estimate that I am reviewing via Google Reader around a hundred to a hundred-twenty blog posts a week. Of those, I typically open up the post and tag to delicious around twenty each week that I either want to save for myself or highlight to my network. Within these twenty, I would estimate that I comment to approximately five a week. I do feel pretty comfortable (but would welcome feedback) that I have – as Gina suggested – contributed to the discussions when I have commented, provided links where I saw opportunities, and remained courteous to those to whom I was commenting (and their subject matter). I will admit that I have gotten a bit whiny about the state of American education – but I plead extenuating circumstances – it begs whining!

Jeff Nugent passed me via Twitter a wonderful video of Clay Shirky discussing the cognitive surplus. In a nutshell, Clay talks about how much time is “wasted” watching TV, how many have shifted from passively viewing TV to creating content on the web, and how a slight increase in this time shift could potentially create thousands of Wikipedia-sized projects. In other words, I am not spending much time currently commenting, and I should be dipping in to my cognitive surplus to do more.

I have occasionally viewed my blog statistics using Technorati and of course watch the counts using ClustrMap. But I have not been consciously tracking my commenting before now. I plan to use CoComment this month to track my commenting and watch for trends and potential improvements.

I do see this challenge as an opportunity to explore new blogs. My forty that I track have been pretty consistent for the past four months, and I consciously subscribe to both edublogs, technology blogs, and business blogs to keep me abreast of events and initiatives that impact my field of faculty development. This challenge opens up new opportunities. At the same time, I do feel that there is a finite number of subscriptions one can follow. I believe I saw Sue twitter this morning that she is subscribed to some two hundred…my hats off to her (and generally is anyway). This may be an opportunity to stretch and see what my limits are.

Should be an interesting month. I would welcome comments from others with suggestions on improving my ideas here.

RSS Aware

3 thoughts on “Comment Self Audit

  1. Hi Britt

    Well done on doing your first task (I’m already behind).

    Here are some of my thoughts:
    “Of those, I typically open up the post and tag to delicious around twenty each week that I either want to save for myself or highlight to my network”. I’m not tagging many posts to delicious because I have them sitting in GReader and can easily locate them using Search if I want to. If I want to share with my network I click on share and then they can read via GReader or my shared reader. I’m probably being a bad delicious citizen so would be interested with your thoughts? It’s just with the number of subscriptions I need to be time effect.

    With commenting level I do think we need to fit in what we have time for – we all still need to have a life 🙂 but comment tracking makes it easier to have that life.

    I recommend that you add the technorati tag for the challenge to your Google Reader. When you do the daily tasks check out other peoples posts to see how they change your thoughts. Here is the technorati tag to use .

  2. Hi Britt,

    I second Sue’s advice to add the blog posts that you tag in to your shared Google Reader (if you use GR). One of my favorite (and first) things to do when I open up my reader is check out the posts others have shared.

    Not only does it take the pressure off having to sift through the 200 (too many, but still less than Sue, I’m sure) blogs I have in my reader, but those shared feeds are usually both the most interesting posts and often written by bloggers I don’t subscribe to myself. This way I get the best of the best, already pre-filtered by my network.

    I have to admit, I was tracking my comments about a year and a half ago, then gave up, and am now back on. Although sometimes the RSS feature for the tracking isn’t quite as intuitive as I’d like it to be, it’s so much easier to be part of the conversation when it’s coming to you, rather than you having to go out and find it.

    Thank you so much for your fantastic start to the Comment Challenge!

  3. Greetings
    Like you, I am wandering into this challenge in hopes of finding some new resources and insights into education. I may or may not use co-comment, too.

    Time is an issue, and although I do have quite a few blogs in my RSS reader, I don’t “read” them all — I scan for interest and then move deeper.

    I’ve talked to other teachers about this and we have wondered if this kind of reading is different from our traditional perceptions of reading. The web and its use of short, detailed information, with links to deeper resources, seems to encourage a sort of power-reading in students.

    Whether this is a good skill, or not, is up for debate, I suppose.

    Kevin Hodgson

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