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Attracting Comments 103

OrangeToday (Oct 3rd) has been declared "the Great Mofo Delurk" day, hmm kinda strange name if you ask me. Even if they just lost the ‘the’ it would sound ok, losing mofo would be even better. Anyway, in keeping with the theme (hey I just noticed that theme is the and me, cool!) of the day, I’ll be giving a short lecture on attracting comments. (not that I get that many, I’m on the low end of the scale)

Comments are the lifeblood of blogging, and despite lying, delusional, narcissistic bloggers claiming that they only blog for themselves (yeah sure), no-one would continue to blog if they never received any comments (except for an certain unnamed wannabe comedian, who’s blog title is similar to the title of this post except for the Attracting Comments bit, and who has had only a half a dozen comments in a year of blogging).

In an effort to help those of you who wish you had more (or even some) comments, here’s what I’ve learned over my period (he he, you said period) of blogging.

*Update thanks to Melissa. I knew there was something else that I wanted to say (and this is where I had intended to put it) but I couldn’t remember what it was, kinda like when you pack for a trip and you just know you’ve left something out of your luggage. If you think any of these points are about to you, it’s because you think they apply to you, not because I’ve written them about you. Thanks Melissa.

  1. Don’t start all your posts with "I hate it when" [fill in the blank], or just plain "I hate" [insert peeve here]. People are looking for a diversion, a story that lifts their spirits, or something they can relate to, not tales of how the world is always against you. There are a lot more positive folks around than negative ones (and the positive ones are better commenters). Plus we’ve all got our own problems anyway.
  2. Avoid being insulting or judgemental. It’s really hard to come up with a comment to a post that has just
    insulted an entire demographic, particularly of you are part of that
    demographic.
  3. If you are going to do a rant, make sure you get across fairly early in the piece that it is a rant. You do this by saying something that is so unbelievably outrageous that it’s almost impossible to take seriously. (I say almost as there’s always someone who will think you’re for real)
  4. Posting too many pictures in the one post, will lose all the dialup people, and there’s still quite a lot of them out there. If you do need a lot of pictures for the post, try reducing the size so they will load faster.
  5. Now pay attention, this is important…Get rid of your damn Word Verification! You may stop 5-10 spam comments in a month (I don’t get more than one or two), but in the mean time, you’ve pissed of 100 bloggers (read potential commenters). Take it off for a month and see how many spam comments you actually do get. Most spam is on older posts anyway, so why not just close the comments on anything older than, say, three weeks.
  6. Try not to post about the same thing all the time, your kids and your pets are fantastic, no-one is suggesting otherwise, but it’s hard to come up with new comments when the posts are consistently the same, just with different dates and titles. (I know I’m guilty of this)
  7. Be as regular as you can manage, you want to become part of peoples’ routines. There’s over 80 million blogs out there to choose from so no-one is going to keep coming back if there’s rarely a new post. This doesn’t count for blog buddies, they will always come back, I’m talking about new(ish) readers.
  8. Where possible, write posts that appeal to those who lack in social skills and have few friends, they are more likely to try to communicate through the ether.
  9. Keep your posts to a reasonable length, too short and folks won’t think it deserves their effort to comment, too long and they’ve forgotten what it was bout anyway. Blogging is more like reading a magazine than a book.
  10. Acknowledge your commenters, I prefer to do it in the comments section, but others like to send an email.
  11. Periodically offer prizes, bloggers must all be descended from Native Americans, because they sure like shiny trinkets. (ahh WT, please refer to Point #2) I have seen a blog get 1500 comments on one post because the prize was way better than I’ve ever offered.
  12. Don’t refer to non commenting readers as lurkers. This is a derogatory term that goes back to the alt.binaries newsgroup days when people who only looked at the dirty pictures and didn’t post their own, were called lurkers. Although it has taken on a less sordid meaning these days, but it’s still a bit rude. They are all readers, some comment, some don’t. Don’t forget, you’re trying to get them to comment, and insulting them may not be the best way achieve that goal.
  13. Don’t try to guilt anyone into commenting, no-one likes to be pressured. Tell me what you think.
  14. Finally, try to refrain from calling non commenting readers "mother fucking lurkers". Specially if you are designing a button for an international day devoted to getting people to comment.

Now if you would like to read more about the mechanics of blogging, you might like to read this post, but before you click the link I have to warn you it’s not for the faint hearted, and it’s definitely R rated.

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Sorry, it’s all my fault.

I have an apology to make. After posting the spam emails about the sex pills, I’ve been inundated with spam comments trying to sell me, guess what? So it is with much regret that I’ve had to turn on Word Verification. I’m truly sorry for this, WV really pisses me off, but then most people seem to have it on anyway.

Why do idiots exist??

A first attempt.

Ok, here my first attempt at posting a video (Mark, I didn’t say I couldn’t figure it out, I just said I hadn’t done it yet, I only got broadband yesterday arvo). I think the annoying clicking sound in the background is the autofocus, I’ve since disabled it. In case your interested, that’s an AFL game on the TV that you can hear. Also, it gets a little boring towards the end, but I couldn’t edit it as I don’t have Quicktime editing software installed yet. Anyway, by the time you finished reading this crap, the clip should be ready to go.

Well, what you you think?

I’m getting there.

It’s about 2:00am Sunday morning and I’ve finally downloaded just about all the stuff I need to be able to get back online safely. I had to download around 180Mb of Windows updates and virus definitions, and on a 56k modem that’s just not fun.

I’ve been around to a lot of blogs but I’m not leaving comments at this stage because I’ve still got a few bits of software to get to make that a bit easier. Tomorrow I’ll spend most of the day re-installing drivers and software for my peripherals.

I thought I’d give SeaMonkey a try for a change, but so far I’ve found that there aren’t as many add-ons and themes available as there are for Firefox and Thunderbird, plus it’s eerily similar to Netscape so I’m wondering how up to date it really is.

Anyway, time for bed…..

Looks like mass hysteria.

Warning: Rant Alert.
Opinion Expressed Alert.

Read at you own discretion, you have been forewarned.

(Don’t bother trying to click on the links, they are not links they are just underlined for readability.)

Let me start by saying congratulations to everyone nominated for a Blogger’s Choice Award, but let me add that I still think they are full of shit. As well as a little presumptuous. As I wove my way through the Fun Monday posts, I came across a blog that had so much bling in the sidebars that I got tired of sitting and waiting for the picture of the bad hair to load. While it loaded I went and made breakfast (toast, eggs and coffee). Before you jump all over me and tell me it’s my fault because I can only get dialup here…I know that! This is not about all the garbage that people load their blogs with, its about this…

When I came back after eating breakfast (no shit!) the picture still hadn’t loaded so I started reading the previous post as it was text only and was already there. I was sort of amused to see this " [Redacted] has been nominated for the oh, so very prestigious and highly coveted Blogger’s Choice Awards.  It’s like the bloggy Pulitzer.  It’s that gold ring hanging out there that we all recognize as symbolizing greatness, but will always be out of reach for the likes of me". Exsqueeze me?! Are we talking about the same awards? Now If I had written that, you would know that it was hyperbole, but this was written in good faith.

Prestigious and coveted? How can they be, when they have only just been unleashed on a naive public for the first time this year?  Always out of the reach of the author? I doubt it. As far as ‘always’ goes, who knows if it will even be here next year? As for ‘being out of reach’, not so! All you have to do is nominate yourself then spend countless posts cajoling people to vote for you; just like all the blogs I found (while doing background for this post) were doing. Unless of course you were a catholic blog, then you rabidly harangued your readers with the threat that some heathen might win if you don’t vote (ah, brought back memories of when I used to go to church).

This whole award thing is getting out of hand, it’s fine if it’s just a simple show of appreciation, like the Thinking Blogger or the Perfect Post type awards. But this is just rampant commercialism and does no great service to the blogging community as a whole. If you don’t believe me, why don’t you look at what is written about it by supporting sites. I found these while looking for verification that this was the first time the awards have been held. I had to look further afield than I first thought, as Bloggers Choice had removed the reference to it being their first year from the ‘About’ page (which I had previously read), possibly in an effort to make them look prestigious and coveted.

From the Bloggers Choice itself: 
"This awards competition is sponsored by PayPerPost and our other advertisers."

From Quick Online tips:
We all love blog awards, and Blogger’s Choice Awards is another opportunity to showcase your blog to the world and get some free traffic and subscribers.
You can nominate your own blog or other favorite blogs in a range of popular categories, and also vote and comment on others blogs that have already been submitted. There are no restrictions to nominations, votes, or comments.
Make money online – Sign up for AdSense.

From Bloggers Blog:

PayPerPost has launched the Blogger’s Choice Awards
. Blogs can be nominated in dozens of categories including Best Blog of All Time, Best Animal Bloggers, Best Geek Blog…There’s also a bunch of badges available for nominated blogs.
We buy compelling stories, both original and reprints.

So please, spare me the bullshit about this crap being a reward for excellence.

Oh, and why am I taking this so personally and getting so steamed? Well because the second paragraph of the post in question said this:  "Which is why I really want [Redacted] to get it!  I think it’s time someone who doesn’t use profanity or go to extreme lengths to make other people look like complete idiots, someone who doesn’t intentionally set out to break every one of the ten commandments…every day…should win this thing.  It would be a message to the world that it doesn’t have to be vulgar or caustic for folks to find it funny."

Speaking as one who is both vulgar and caustic with a side order of profanity and commandment breaking, I naturally took offense (not at the author mind you, but at the sentiment). Take a look back through my archives, I have never spoken badly about what anyone believes or how they choose to live their lives (you may think I have, but you’ll be surprised to find that I don’t do that), so why do some people find it necessary validate themselves by attacking others.

And I never did get to see the photo.

And you thought I was kidding.

Bca_badge_blogofalltimeYes that’s right, I was nominated, but I graciously declined. It’s "Best Everything in the Universe" or nothing, as far as I’m concerned. Who wants to only be the Best Blog of all Time? Hell I already am that!

The other day I mentioned in passing that I wasn’t nominated for anything in the Blogger’s Choice Awards (well, okay have it your way, I wrote a lengthy post about it). You may recall that there was absoposilutely no rancor involved, in fact I fully supported the situation, and further, I said that if I was nominated that I would decline.

Well it turns out that I did get nominated, and while I would probably have been chuffed if it was a real nomination (more on this later), I said that I didn’t want to be nominated and I’m nothing if not stubborn to the point of stupidity a man of principle. So, that being the case, here is the reply I received from Jamie Gillespie this morning in response to my request to him:-

Hi!
Thank you for contacting the Blogger’s Choice Awards! I have removed your nomination at your request.
Jamie Gillespie
Developer, Blogger’s Choice Awards

See, it wasn’t simply a ploy on my part to garner sympathy in the hopes that some kind soul would nominate me for something (anything). As I told you, I actually I don’t want to be part of all this gratuitous award giving that seems to be plaguing the blogoshpere of late, and it’s not just because I don’t get nominated for the girlie stuff either.

Now back to the nomination itself…

Given that it was for the "Best Blog of All Time" (a rather humble title don’t you think? and one that neatly fits my self image), I would have expected a somewhat flowery and complimentary description, along the lines of… "This well written blog is full of wit and wisdom. The superbly crafted essays manage to capture the essence of what blogging is all about. Readers are randomly regaled with side splitting observations about life, transported to a world of adventure through startlingly descriptive anecdotes, or shown the sublime joys of pet ownership with some of the most expressive pictures seen anywhere on the internet. The cast of characters are as endearing as they are amazing. You owe it to yourself to read the Dingo!"

Well, at least that’s what I would have liked to have seen, however you may prefer what was actually written… "If angrily ranting against nothing was an artform this guy would be Van Gogh.  He’s a bellowing, angry, raving lunatic and I fear for the safety of the world if he doesn’t win this award.  Seriously, the guy is a total nutjob.  You should totally vote for him."

Two guesses as to who nominated my blog and lavished such high praise upon me. My two guesses would  be Melissa or Jenny (Marnie is way too nice to say such hurtful things about me, yeah sure).

Here’s a clue…"Alright, you roguish hooligan.  You’ve just been nominated for Best Blog Ever In The History of the Whole World.  And not only did I nominate you, but I also voted for you.  Why?  Because you’re annoying.  Also, because you do crack me up on a regular basis". – Jenny.

That was from the comments of the post that I wrote about not being nominated. I thought she was just bullshitting so I didn’t even bother to check out the site, it was only when Marnie told me about it that I went to see for myself. Turns out she was telling the truth! Ha ha ha ha!  Jenny you wascal! TouchĂ©.

Arrrgghh! Not the Thinking Blogger!!

Thinkingblogger_2
Of all the awards in all the blogoshpere, this one has to come in to the "Dingo’s got My Barbie" (apologies to H. Bogart).

Thank you Swampy, and I suspect there may be more of you to thank later. My readers (yes I mean you) are a rather witty bunch of individuals and I suspect that I’ll be nominated again out of sheer perversity. In the past I have griped about not being brought into the fold and awarded whatever the current award was, and for the most part I’ve be vilified publicly and privately (mostly privately and sometimes anonymously), but still didn’t get awarded. I think that it might have had something to do with he whole "Hey you darned women, I’m the best there is, give me a goddamn award too!" approach not being all that effective.

So this time I accepted the fact that those who were nominated actually deserved it (something that I still believe), and that just this once, I didn’t qualify. I was happy about missing out on this honour not because I stood up to pee, but because I’m about as shallow as a petri dish, and I can live with that. So of course now I get nominated!

Ok now for some housekeeping:

The rules for accepting this award are:

1) If you get tagged, write a post with links to five (5) blogs that make you think.

2) Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact location of the MeMe.

3) Optional: Proudly display the Thinking Blogger Award with a link to the post that you wrote.

1) Ok, so I guess this is the post and these must be my five nominations:

  • Marnie, the very first person to ever comment on my blog, and someone who always makes me laugh.
  • Melissa, talk about snarky! but she needs the traffic since she stopped blogging a while ago and the numbers dropped of.
  • Mark, because like me he doesn’t like to be thought of as a thinker and I’d like to see his response.
  • Simply Jen, a relative newbie but writes some good stuff and she could use some support.
  • Heather, one of the most profound writers I’ve come across. You won’t find glibness, but theres plenty of thought provoking going on.

(Obviously there are many more, in fact every blog I read regularly (I wouldn’t read them if they were fluff) but most of the ones I could have picked have already been nominated so I tried to pick the award virgins.) Anyone know the rules on grammar? Is it like maths where you can nest parentheses? If not ignore the innermost set in that last soliloquy.

2) Done.

3) Huh? Link to this post? Oh I get it, put the award in the sidebar…see I told you I wasn’t a thinker!

Updated** Sorry Swampy, I should have linked to you.