Are you a lurker? Do you follow numerous blogs on a regular basis but never contribute any comments? Well, you're missing out! It's like sitting at a dinner party and taking everything in but never uttering a word. I have to admit that there are blogs which I read on a regular basis but never take the time to comment on. After reading through some of the comment guides posted for Thing #12 I have both a better understanding of and appreciation for comments. Here are two ideas that really stood out:
1. Cool Cat Teacher Blog makes the point that we should be teaching commenting. I realized that in school we often ask students to exchange papers and make comments on each other's writing. As a teacher I often had my students exchange their creative writing pieces with two other students for proof-reading purposes. The two reviews were then required to return the paper with two positive comments and one constructive criticism. We need to make sure though that our students are connecting the editing etiquette we teach in the classroom to real world applications. Teaching students how to comment involves teaching how to express a personal opinion, tactfully disagree with someone else, and construct meaningful compliments. As web 2.0 continues to expand into all areas of life, our students need to be equipped to make meaningful contributions to the online conversations going on around them.
2. Darren Rowse makes the point that blog facilitators need to make commenting easy for their readers. At first this seems like a duh statement but with a little more thought I realized that I have my blogs set to allow comments from "registered" users only. Registration can be a hurdle for readers who want an easy way to respond to what you have posted. I think that many bloggers (especially newbies) worry about spam and security when it comes to comments on our blogs. I think though that Darren has a point and that the best route to take is to open your comments up for anyone but set it so that you have to moderate the comments before they appear on your site.
This Thing inspired me to post a comment on two personal interest blogs that I have followed for a while as a lurker. One blog is Beth Moore's Living Proof Ministry blog. She posed an interesting question for her readers (also a great comment increasing tip), so I dove in and posted my thoughts. Another personal interest blog that I have followed for a while is Kelly's Korner blog. Last week she asked for suggestions in one post so I responded with my idea. On both occasions it felt good to be a part of the "conversation" on the blogs as opposed to an observer. My goal now is to become more involved in blogs that interest me professionally.