Read & Respond week 10: Comment Culture

This week we’ll be talking about talking: How to get people talking about your work (promotion) and how to deal with those who are talking about it (commenters). The links you’ll be looking through touch on each of these areas. Lots of material here, so skim to the stuff that serves you.

Promotion

  • How do you promote your blog? Start with this list – we’ve already discussed several (commenting elsewhere; building long-term content). Pay particular attention to the Rule of 100.
  • Learn about SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Jeff Goins offers some tactics for writing SEO heds and posts, but beware – there can be a fine line between SEO and Clickbait.
  • (Then again, maybe it’s all Clickbait…)
  • Are you using Twitter as a tool or still just tweeting about mozzarella sticks with your buddies? If you just can’t adulterate your personal account, consider making a separate one to get your professional name out there.

Comments

Remember to respond to these readings in a comment to this post by  11:59 p.m. on Sunday, March 13. More importantly, come prepared to discuss these examples and, ideally, some of your own.

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18 Responses to Read & Respond week 10: Comment Culture

  1. amdewitt94 says:

    I enjoyed this week’s selection of readings because a lot of them tie into what I have been working on in my own personal blog, about social media marketing. The first thing that stood out to me was the link on Search Engine Optimization, because this is something that is often discussed when talking about promoting your brand on social media. Similarly, we are promoting our work, so it will tie in nicely.

    I really like the suggestion to not tweak your page for two months after making its initial design. I think this is important, because when trying to draw an audience, uniformity is often key. Changing up your page every time someone goes to visit it will confuse them and leave them to give up. Another good piece of advice they suggest? Networking is key. Commenting is also very important. Comment on other writers’ blogs to get your name out there. Even more importantly, make sure to REPLY to comments that YOU receive!

    I also especially enjoyed the article about promotion on Twitter since I have spent such an extensive amount of time researching that for my blog. Changing your Twitter handle, not using automatic, impersonal tweets, and consider making a separate Twitter account for business and pleasure (for example I have my common college Twitter account, but I also have my journalism account that I had created for my internship).

  2. I really found the first half of the readings dealing with promotion very helpful. Personally, I’ve had no experience with promoting my blog or anything like that and I found the tips given within the three articles helpful. One tip that I found extremely helpful was to start off with an idea of what you want to achieve. This is fundamental with a blog because the idea you come up with is what you are going to focus on for the most part, but having a solid idea will help your blog because you won’t be switching topics halfway through. I also thought the tip in regard to tweaking your blog helpful. Once it’s set up, don’t tweak it. Instead, focus on promotion and attracting an audience.The last article 11 Ways to Use Twitter to Promote Your Blog or Podcast offered a lot of tips that we went over in class, but it did add to our class instruction by recommending being human and relationship-focused. Basically, focus on building a relationship with someone first instead of just spamming people with your content.

    The The Idiot-proof Basics of Writing SEO Pages article gave a really good run down of SEO pages and how to execute one in a manner that was very understandable. One of the main goals of our blog is to attract and audience and the tips offered in this article can help with that aspect. I was already aware of choosing keywords and writing a title, but I never thought about using the keyword early on in the content. I usually do this anyways within my content but was never aware of the effect it may have on generating an audience to my blog.

    The articles related to the comment section of the blog were very interesting in that we see this everyday. You can go and look at any comment section on any video or probably any content for that matter and see those people who are using that comment section negatively or for their own uses. In the comment section of the Obama Baby video, a lot of the comments were politically driven and offered negative criticism toward Obama. However, users didn’t have to use their real names. But this isn’t uncommon! The internet allows individuals to hide behind fake names while making negative and perhaps hurtful comments. If you try and take those freedoms away from individuals, like google tried to do, individuals get angry.

  3. tuellkristen says:

    The first article, “10 Smart Thing…” was really interesting to me, and I think it could be very valuable as we begin our group blogs. These tips will help us construct a very specific idea as to where we want our group blogs to go. They will also be very useful in helping us stay on track and organized when it comes to promoting and advancing our blogs. I really liked the tip about building an email list. I had never thought about this for my own blog since I don’t have to interview people for my celebrity focused blog, but for our Humans of Morgantown blog, this would be a great way to get viewers and alert every single person we interview of a new blog post. The power of 100 rule seems a little daunting for us new bloggers, but it is an incredible idea to build a network.

    I couldn’t get through the first post about SEO until I looked at Jeff Goins article. His was much easier to understand because he didn’t write for us like we were robots. His article really lays out the perfect way to be easily accessible on search engines. Right now, if you Google the topics I’m writing about on my personal blog, a million other results would appear before mine would, and that’s something I need to work on for my blog.

    I thought the Twitter promotions post was pretty cool. I hadn’t thought about creating a new twitter just for my blog, but for the Humans of Morgantown group blog, it could be really useful to include a picture and a short quote that would then link to the full story. I think that would really draw students and local residents in to read our work.

    In the video clip, the first comment I saw was, “Maybe if Obama kisses the Republicans they will stop crying too.” This person probably gained a lot of supporters and “haters” from this comment. It’s easy for commenters to quickly form coalitions and enemies. Everyone has an opinion and it’s so easy to share these opinions when you’re hiding behind a computer screen. Which is why I think it was a bold and genius move for Popular Science to get rid of their comments section. Dealing with opposing opinions and negative comments is sometimes useful if you take it as constructive criticism, but a lot of negative comments are simply just negative. It seems creativity and blog posts can flow more organically without having the worry of comments and spam appearing on every post.

  4. audriek says:

    In my opinion, one of the most informational links provided was the first SEO website. The first comment said about search engines acting as a global library is something i’ve never thought about before but in a sense, that is exactly what it is! Learning how to effectively search what you’re in need of finding is crutial. Think of all the wasted time you can or have wasted otherwise!
    Another helpful link that I will utilize is the promotional blogging one. There are 10 very good ideas followed by explanations written by someone who has probably done all the numbered items and ended out on the other end with a very “successful” blog.
    An interesting point made in the nymwar link was when Google made the decision in 2014 to reverse what once was their police to use only real names. This however, excluded a lot of people from the conversation. For example, people who wanted to be involved but couldn’t because of the once-standing policy.
    Lastly, within the “10 smartest things to do…” link, number 2 says to wait 60 days to tweak your site. Personally, that would be one of the hardest ones to execute because I’m the type of person who will read through something that I have written and almost immediately go back and re-work it. However, the outcome of doing so seems worth the challenge so it will be one that I consider.

  5. Promotion:

    I promote my blog mostly through Twitter and Facebook, and occasionally by commenting on other blog sites. The readings really opened my eyes to other ways that I can promote my blog and increase audience.

    First off, Jeff Goins is such a great writer! He made me want to read the entire post he wrote. I found his six easy steps to actually be easy and very useful. I hope to increase my on-page SEO through his six steps.

    I really liked the video on the Search Engine Land website. I found it to be very helpful, as it improved my understanding of what SEO was and how to take the necessary steps to optimize my blog’s results. The video stated, “Good SEO, is about making sure your website has great content that is supported by the ingredients that search engines need for their recipes.”

    Comments:

    Comment sections can be god and bad. As we saw in the comments section of the Obama Makes Baby Stop Crying video, the comments ranged from “Trump would have Deported the baby ” to “Michelle is built like a linebacker. We know who the man is in that family.” People don’t hold back in comments and can be quite rude.

    The Kotaku article wasn’t very useful to me because it just repeated what other sites were doing to eliminate the “hate speech” and vulgar comments on blogs. The thing that I liked though, was how I can use the blog as an example when writing my own blogs- making sure I don’t just reiterate what another blog writes.

    I did find the Popular Science article to be interesting, however, because they explained why they were getting rid of their comment section completely. They mentioned that comments often skew the way the audience interprets a story. They also said that disagreements between commentators impact the reader’s perception of science. Popular Science did point out that there are other ways the audience can add their own opinion, such as the typical social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, as well as Google+ and live chats.

    Going off of the NymWars discussion, I think that is why commentators think they can comment whatever they want- because they don’t use their real name. The thing about anonymity is that it is risky and gives more freedom to the user. Look at YikYak for example: Many students have gotten in big trouble with the University by being a part of organizing the riots after the Baylor game. The students (hopefully) wouldn’t have posted that if their real names were showing. If someone were to post a death or bomb threat on a website using an anonymous name, there are ways to trace that back to the commentator and get them in trouble.

  6. emilyeisenhuth says:

    In the readings, I thought that it was really interesting when they mention that you don’t want to tweak your blog. I personally just switched my other one because I am trying to think of something on my own to blog about. I still haven’t decided what my main focus is going to be and that is why I still haven’t started on the other blog. All the different tips that the readings provided really helped me think narrower with what I want to do and how I have to start it. It is extremely important to put comments on other people’s blogs too to build a relationship. I haven’t gotten many comments but when I did get those it was all because I was commenting on different peoples personal blogs.

    Promotion is very important for a blog. You want other people to read your work, obviously. I promote my work mostly on Twitter and change the headline to it to hopefully pull different people in. The tweet doesn’t even have to do anything with the article but I have found that if you use a celebrities name people will most likely click more on it. Questions didn’t work out very well for me.

    Being able to keep anonymity gives a lot of people more confidence. Every business wants to pull their customers in doing whatever they have to do. The comments on the Obama video show that people are much more spoken and up front with how they feel. I am sure most of those people wouldn’t have said anything if you were in person. That can be both good and bad but sometimes things may go too far just because they are hiding behind a computer.

  7. Promotion:
    I found the list of 10 ways to promote our blogs was very useful, come to think of it, the Humans of NY blog has its own Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts with their most recent blog posts promoted. I think that creating other social mediums for our group blog will engage more readers, especially in Morgantown.

    I think if people see someone they know featured in a blog post shared on Facebook, it’s instant click (and share) bait. This is an easy way to increase readership. For my personal blog, I mostly just use Twitter and Facebook to promote my posts.

    Comments:
    I think that responding to comments on the group blog (also through the Facebook/ Twitter/ Instagram) will be a big help as well. People love feeling like their input is important- so by replying to readers’ comments we can gain their loyalty.

    I thought that the idea of banning hateful comments was interesting. We’ve all seen offensive comments and things on the internet and social media. Cyber bullying, so to speak. I agree that hateful comments are ignorant and unnecessary, but I’m not sure how it would be possible to ban them. Some people are just downright mean and get a kick out of pissing people off… But what would the internet be without trolls?

  8. pmlilly says:

    I really enjoyed the first link that was in our readings it had very many helpful tips. The two that I thought were the most important were Comment to your readers, and to create a daily action plan. While thinking about it, it feels fairly obvious that you should respond tho your readers but sadly I never really thought about it until now. The other best tip in there is about having a daily schedule. That would be smart and keep your readers ignored on a daily bases.

    I also thought the article about using twitter to your benefit is a great tool to use as well. It had several good tips within the article. The best being adding a tweet button to your webpage, and to tweet your actual content and not just the name of it. I think the first tip is so important because it allows people to share your work very effortlessly which will make more people share it. The other one is to retweet your actual work. I think this is smart because it will make more people visit it because they don’t have to search for it, its already right there. The last thing I liked from this article was that it recommends you creating a twitter for your blog or website.

  9. Sierra says:

    I really enjoyed the article on promotion. It’s important to know how to get knowledge and raise awareness out to the market about a service product, or in this case our blogs. I like that the tips given in the article take into account that everyone promotes in different ways because everyone’s minds work differently. I really like the first part about setting a goal and then writing an action plan daily that incorporate tasks that will produce some kind of results. I think that this is key to making a blog a success. Doing something daily with your blog can eventually produce amazing results along with getting you onto a schedule.

    I also liked the tip about responding to the readers. It may or may not pertain to this class but if we have readers that want to comment on a story, I thinking that it’s important to acknowledge them. I have been studying in my social marketing class that having engagement with your followers can increase the traffic you receive and encourage repeat visitors. They will also be more inclined to tell their fronds which will also increase the traffic. This is one of our main goals without blogs so this tip is great to include on this list.

  10. EmilyGMartin says:

    I actually really enjoyed the Clickbait reading. I don’t know how many times I have logged onto to Facebook and seen links such as “This Women Picks Her Nose. What Happens Next Will Shock You.” How anyone can actually click on those without hating themselves is beyond me, but to me that is what defines clickbait. Buzzfeed is more of a website that shares news as well as articles and posts for entertainment, but I can see how quizzes like “Can You Identify The Disney Character By Just Their Feet” could be considered clickbait.
    I thought the twitter as a tool article was helpful because it kind of reiterated things we already learned in class about promoting and sharing our blog posts. Both this and the previously mentioned article really emphasize the importance of titles for your posts. Make sure you don’t just have something boring, try to make it appeal to your viewers.
    I watched the Obama clip and flipped through the comments and was surprised to find so few racist and terrible comments (unless I just happened to miss them).
    I think that by having anonymity, people feel more secure in voicing their opinions and thoughts because they are less likely to feel threatened by any backlash they may receive. They are able to hide behind their name (real or fake) with no real consequences.

  11. This is the part of the internet that I would like to take a course in. The coding and manipulation of social media, search engines, and websites that allows a message to permeate the internet. Whispers in the Loggia (http://whispersintheloggia.blogspot.com/) is a very popular and well written Catholic-centric blog. The founder (Rocco Palmo) explains his background and impact on Religious (Catholic) blogosphere. My question is how did Mr. Palmo get his name out to those who would want to read his material? Nearly every seminarian, priest (who was online), and active layperson knew this blog and Mr. Palmo’s work. He was known to have personal connections with cardinals/bishops which gave him early, inside knowledge as well as exclusive interviews. This help build his “brand” and help increase his credibility within the U.S. Catholic Church. I do not know if Mr. Palmo used the marketing (click baiting) that is discussed in the reading, but he grew his blog from nothing into something rather quickly (10 years). I am getting a low amount of readers on my personal blog, but I do not have a huge personal social network. I am trying to use Facebook and Twitter as ways to publicize my blog posts, but my Friends and Followers are sparse. Regarding the ethics of marketing (click baiting), I think a writer has to know how far they are willing to go, plus the public will help to enable “the cream to rise to the top” in terms of quality becoming the most popular. I do believe that the marketplace will reward quality more often than not.

  12. Promotion: While going through this week’s readings, I realized I have pretty good natural instincts on promoting my blog. Tweetdeck is great because instead of the auto-tweet through WordPress, I can schedule my tweets with personalized hashtags and messages. I also read a book about creating a personal brand and shaping professional presence online and through social media, so I’ve been working on that for about a year now with other projects. I liked the article “11 ways to Use Twitter to Promote Your Blog” because it helped me see what I could improve on. I should definitely work on talking to followers more. I did not know too much about SEO past its definition. “The Idiot-proof Basics of Writing SEO Pages” was helpful in showing me how to apply SEO to blogging.

    Comments: These readings were all very interesting to me. I’ve always just accepted the fact that the internet can be a really nasty place, especially in the comments sections of websites. I never thought it actually affected public opinion, especially on science. When I first started reading Popular Science’s reason for closing down commenting, I was prepared to disagree because I think public opinion and discussion is super important in creating a bridge between science and the public to allow for change – but that was exactly why they had to close it down. For a study to show a significant difference between opinions based on the comment section’s atmosphere is enough to put my doubts to rest about their decision. However, I still think this can harm that science-to-public connection in other ways. It would be nice if people could just grow up and have intelligent discussions so that privilege didn’t have to be taken away. It’s good that we can still keep the conversation going through other social media, though.

  13. Promotion:
    I find that promoting my blog via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are most successful. Not only do I stimulate traffic on my actual blog, but I often get comments on the post offering additional commentary for readers on social media. I found the source related to SEO factors offered good insight on choosing keywords in site titles and also the value in generating credible, quality content. The source referencing Twitter was also useful too. Creating tweets that engage readers through media or enticing diction boosts your chances of getting a view. I personally find using a gif and blog link often gets a lot of attention with followers.

    Comments:
    It’s not news that the comment section can often do more damage than good. Many sites in addition to Popular Science have shut down their comment sections due to nasty commenters, such as The Verge, CNN and USA Today. I do think it is interesting though that many of these sites are starting to offer new ways for readers to connect, such as designated chat forums and engagement through social media. I find that i generate more comments through third party sites like social media as opposed to my actual blog.

  14. mtshadle says:

    One thing that really stuck out to me about in the readings was the rule of 100, making 100 personal contacts per day seems really intense and time consuming. It does make sense that interacting in a social business such as the internet would increase the amount of business you produced— if you are stagnant, how will people know you are there? I would really like to practice being more active on the internet, perhaps in smaller volumes at first because 100 a day right off the bat may be overwhelming.

    I also had no idea what Nymwars were before reading about them. I can somewhat agree with Google that a community of “actual” people seems like a cool concept– the keyword being seems. After reading about the arguments made against the strict use of real names only I agree more so with the need for separate internet identity, especially when it comes to risk of endangerment for violence or harassment. If your full name was displayed at all times it also puts younger less cautious internet users at risk, making them more traceable and accessible to ill intentioned users.

    The video of Obama stopping a baby from crying is a perfect example of just how intense people on the internet can be behind their screens. Comments were generally unrelated to the content of the video at all and rather focused an strong stance for or against Obama resulting in an argument with a user of differing opinion. While entertaining, those types of comments can result in severe online bullying or harassment because of how strongly people feel about controversial subjects, and if taken too far the use of real names in a situation like that could be very dangerous.

  15. Kaitlyn Powers says:

    I think that the articles about promotion were very informative. While my biggest way of promotion is through Twitter, they taught me ways to keep my blog streamlined so that people keep coming back to read. I have found promotion through social media to be successful, especially with the use of clever headlines and tags to go with the tweets and posts. I especially found “11 ways to use Twitter to promote your blog or podcast” to be helpful. While I’ve definitely refined my tweets to be much more professional than what they once were, I’ve been considering making a separate account for my blog so that I don’t annoy the followers I have on my personal account with posts they don’t necessarily want to see. I would be losing all of those potential views and starting scratch with a follower count, which would take a while to build up.

    I honestly don’t understand to the full extent why people tend to go more crazy in the comments section when they have a veil of anonymity, as seen in the comments below the Obama video. I get that their actions won’t be linked back to them, but to be honest I see just as vile comments from people on Facebook. I think that while using real names when using and commenting on websites isn’t necessarily the only way you should be able to interact, I can see where it would be useful, especially on more science-based websites. That way, people would feel more obligated to make educated statements. Maybe that would have worked better for Popular Science rather than shutting down the comments sections entirely.

  16. davidstatman says:

    Promotion: Personally I’ve found that promoting my blog has been most effective – the follower base I’d built up before I started the blog is already interested in the kind of thing I write about, so it’s a natural fit. Learning from the readings about how to best optimize your Twitter outreach was very helpful, however, as was reading about SEO, which was a term that I had heard before but didn’t necessarily understand anything about.

    Comments: From the readings and from personal experience, it’s easy to see that comment sections are extremely problematic (for lack of a better word, and I wish there was a better word because I hate the word problematic). Comment sections are often awful trollfests because of the anonymity that emboldens people to say whatever the hell they want – but when someone tries to enforce people having to use their real names, that can also be a minefield. Very little good has ever come from a comment section, and I’m starting to think that some outlets have the right idea when they dump them entirely.

  17. jadenarth says:

    I thought this week’s readings were really interesting/helpful. Something that stuck out to me was the Rule of 100. Making 100 interactions a day seems really ambition, especially when your blog doesn’t get a lot of traffic. I suppose partaking in the Rule of 100 is the perfect way to fix that problem though. I may try out the Rule of 100, but maybe I’ll start with the Rule of 20 or 30!

    I also liked the article about clickbait because I absolutely despise clickbait and try to avoid it at all costs. I always thought Buzzfeed posted clickbait, but I guess I didn’t really know the ‘exact’ definition of clickbait, which is not giving away a lot of information in the headline.

    The article about Twitter had a lot of great tips, though sticking to a specific Twitter ‘brand’ has proven to be tough for me, as I assume it is for a lot of people. However, it is the perfect tool to reach a large audience because many people get their news/information from Twitter. So Tweeting out your blog posts and including hashtags, tagging likeminded people, and promoting your content is the perfect way to get your voice heard.

    When we had to comment on blogs for a previous assignment, it was kind of difficult because as the internet comment article said, a lot of sites are disabling their comment sections. If you ever want to get in a good chuckle, reading internet comments is the place to go. It’s crazy the things people will say when they are able to hide behind a computer screen.

    Overall, I think it can be hard for someone to get their voice out there because the internet is so large and vast. These articles provide a lot of useful tips and tricks to get yourself out there.

  18. audriek says:

    Each of these avenues show different ways of telling a story that tend to be more visual than textual and they are all very different in many ways.
    I found the first link useful because for some people, some of these tips may be self-explanatory, however to others, perhaps those less experienced, they are quick and easy tips that anyone could apply to their picture taking by simply reading through this list.
    Where the Cake Wreck link was a bit sarcastic, I found the bostonglobe link to be incredible. Cliche but true; these photos truly could tell a thousand words. With the title and short descriptions below, it was just enough to get the gist of them but from there it was up to you and your eyes to really pay attention to the detail and let your mind decide what exactly the photographer was trying to capture. And as for Tumblr, who couldn’t remember that time when everyone used it or viewed it.
    As far as graphics go, these are largely used. One reason? They’re typically easy to understand. At least that’s that point! At first glance, I think the creators goal is for its audience to be able to read the minimal words within the graphic and understand the data in just the first minute.
    Lastly, GIFs. The link that showed us how to attribute them is helpful and in my opinion, not always understood. I think it is so easy to “rip” something off the internet without giving it credit (unintentionally) so walking us through how to use was ethically was a helpful thing to remember.

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