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.


  • 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.


Remember to respond to these readings in a comment to this post by  11:59 p.m. on Sunday, March 19. More importantly, come prepared to discuss these examples and, ideally, some of your own.

14 Responses to Read & Respond week 10 – Comment Culture

  1. mglamastro says:


    I found the strategies for outward promotion really helpful and applicable– especially the first one from Blog Marketing Academy. They offered a lot of great, practical advice, and I real think their 80 percent/20 percent strategy is something bloggers should do more of, i.e., spend 20 percent of time/energy creating content and 80 percent of time/energy outwardly promoting content, which will in turn lead to an inward flow, as the text states.

    I also think BMA’s “smart commenting” strategy is extremely relevant, in that bloggers/brands should only comment on each other’s posts genuinely and/or if they have something “legit” to say. I cannot tell you how many comments I receive on Instagram a week that say something like “nice!” or “great post!” or are simply a smiling emoji… to me this is frustrating because it is so not genuine/bordering on spam. BMA also recommends being an authority and helping people in forums/comment sections, which I believe will heighten a blog’s credibility and overall likability.

    Search engine optimization was really tough for me to understand, and I know the posts you shared with us are simplified… I wish there were a way to simplify SEO further. Jeff Goins’ post was the easiest for me to understand because it was based on keyword(s). Simply choose keyword(s), include it/them in the URL and mention it/them early in the post– seems easy enough. He also touched on the concept of anchor posting, which I did not realize many bloggers struggled with. Including a URL in a blog post (or in a webpage in general) looks really messy and unprofessional, so it is best to anchor your links into your actual words/phrases.

    Lastly, linking to other pages on your site is great for generating more traffic and building your readership. If you mention something in a blog post that you explained more in-depth in a previous post, be sure to link to it.

    I found it really interesting that Google attempted to implement a “real names” policy for YouTube in 2013, then backed down the following year. Two possible reasons I came up with are: 1) to protect users’ privacy, and 2) to encourage commenting. After all, users would be more likely to comment something, especially something mean or hateful, if they are promised anonymity. Also– correct me if I am wrong, but don’t you need a Google/gmail account to show your name or user name on a comment. If a user does not want to create a Google account, he cannot comment under the “real names” policy because he would just come up as anonymous. This could also be a contributing factor, because this would stop commenting completely from non-Google account holders. I hope this makes sense.

    It is also super interesting that many sites are toughing up on commenting– and that a site as big/popular as NPR would disable commenting completely. I noticed recently that Instagram now gives users the option to “turn off” comments on individual posts. Whether a person is receiving a lot of hate or spam (or both!) this feature can definitely be really useful.



  2. Cara Devenney says:

    How do you promote your blog: Usually I will post my blog on Facebook along with a sentence to attract my readers. I also will send texts out to people who I know will read my blog including the link to the post.

    Learn about SEO: When I was reading the first link, I had no idea what I was reading. I was quite confused and it was a little tough for me to follow along. When I clicked on Jeff Goins’s link, I gave a head slap because I immediately understood what SEO is. The step-by-step explanation Goins used to break it down for us “dummies” was very useful. He stresses the importance of using the right keywords, having a creative title, and using links appropriately as sources to back up your information. All of this is important if you want to build an audience- which you should want to do, as Goins says.

    Are you using Twitter as a tool: Honestly, no. I only have a Facebook when it comes to social media for specific and personal reasons. I did make a Twitter for the class and I do post on it if the assignment asks to, but usually I promote my blog on Facebook.

    I have seen a lot of YouTubers who disable comments because they do not want to deal with all the “internet trolls” and negativity. I also came across a few blogs that did that too. I think it is important to build an audience, but I feel like people are always going to be negative and give their opinions no matter what. I guess it is just up to you, the writer, to decide to ignore it or take action. I do think bigger industries such as NPR and Popular Science have the right to shut down their comment section because they do not want people to argue with them by denying their research and hard work. Do I think everything I read on the Internet is true? No. But many people do.

    Sometimes people like the anonymity on the internet because they don’t want people to know who they are. So many people get hacked into and get their information stolen, so I feel like this is the main reason why people like being anonymous- to protect themselves and for privacy. But, I also understand that people want to use their real name and information because they either need to when it comes to business, or just want to, to be able to promote their work and get their name out there. I am not picking sides on this one, because I do agree with both protecting your identity but also getting yourself out there. I thought the article was interesting because I did not even know Google tried doing that in the first place!

  3. There was a lot of content informational for this week’s read and respond. After going through it I found the Outflow=inflow tactic to be very useful. I knew promotion was a big part of getting traffic but I thought it was mainly generated by making good posts and then letting people happen upon your blog. Now I know to promote a bit more to generate a higher level of readers.

    In conjunction with promoting I found the post about making pillar blogs to be helpful too. On my personal blog I would always have trouble thinking of a way to make a unique and interesting blog topic that would attract a new reader. This post helped to explain how to do just that. By culminating a mix of my Co tent with some outside supplementary material definitely seems like the better way to do things.

    In regards to commenting I probably didn’t scroll down far enough on the Obama video but I didn’t see any negative comments. However I am a regular user if YouTube and have sen some pretty disrespectful things in the comment section. I think the main reason why people take to the comments to say such hateful things is because they know that they can stir up a reaction of someone and basically derail what the content or video was supposed to be about. Nowadays it’s all about getting attention and generating reactions out of people and the easy way to achieve this is to act a fool in a websites comment section.

    Lastly, in regards to anonyminity, you can’t beat the feeling of knowing that you can freely speak your mind without being worried about people associating your ideals/thoughts with a face or real identity. That reason is why online blogging and commenting is so popular. If you try to take that away then you could lose alot of customers/consumers which is why I think google backed off of having a real names policy. The backlash and lose of users would have drastically hurt their business.

  4. Rebecca Toro says:

    SEO: How people find you. Higher rankings make it so your website is going to be the top of the list. Everything you post, promote, links, titles, etc. can help you be found easier. I am interning for a realtor company for social media. We check each week of the analytics and where we are in our SEO. The more we promote social media wise, links to the brand and their website.

    11 ways to use Twitter: This is a helpful post explaining how social media and tie into your professional self. Although this advocates for separating your personal Twitter from your professional Twitter, I think a good start with your professional career is to reach out to your personal followers. They might have connections with your career path. I personally use my Twitter for my blog and personal. People I went to high school with started messaging me about my writings, I wouldn’t get that on a separate Twitter. Analytics is also important, it lets you see what your most popular tweet is, at what time, what days. This can help you post your best information then.

    Obama baby clip: Surprisingly a lot of the comments were positive on the Obama family. There were some comments about Trump kicking a baby out of a rally and Putin kicking a baby? But the language link was true. People comment based on other comments. They want to fit in with the norm. Most of the comments were positive because people were already posting nice things. If people post negative things, people will also comment more negative things. And then if people voice their true opinion a comment war starts.

    Comments: Hateful comments are leading to filtering. NPR and others are banning comments. They felt as if they can achieve audience input though other means. Their solution is other social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook v. comments. People can speak freely on those websites v. their homepage. Hateful comments do have an influence on a reader, people will get turned off by what the article is actual about and become concerned with what people are saying about it. I guess they want to cancel out the negative energy.

  5. Cayla Nolder says:

    When promoting my blog I’ve always just used Twitter, tweeting about my post once it’s finished and that’s that. I found the five pillar posts to be an interesting idea along with the reoccurring promotion. I’ve only ever promoted each blog post once and I am guilty of blog tweaking. I think that the article was helpful in clarifying outflow = inflow and the best ways of achieving inflow traffic.

    Piggybacking off of promotion, SEO tactics are useful for getting you content noticed by other people. The best ways to optimize you content are choosing a keyword, making a good title, having keywords go in the URL, etc. Although the process is confusing, I felt that the explanations provided by Jeff Goins were the easiest to understand as well as the video that used the metaphor of a search engine being a librarian and explaining how they retrieve information for users.

    As for clickbait…that shit gets me every time because I just have to know what happens! It’s the worst…be yet the best…I have very conflicting emotions over clickbait.

    Then lastly, regarding the topic of commenters, I think writers thrive better when there is constructive criticism. However, more often than not you can get spam and trolls on your blog posts and nothing about that is helpful. Even when you scroll to the bottom of Luke Plunkett’s “The End Of Hateful Internet Comments Might Be Sooner Than You Think,” you’ll find people trolling the post, making rude remarks, and other unuseful BS. I can understand why popular science made it so people couldn’t comment. Commenting, pointlessly, can be distracting to other readers who then get caught up in the drama instead of the post.

    TBH the Google thing is confusing and I don’t quite understand it, so hopefully we go over it in class.

  6. In chapter 9 of Briggs, several of the same topics touched on in the links are mentioned such as search engine optimization and wording for people and computers. When creating a post, it is important to think about how someone might come across your writing. Keywords help a lot, but they need to be placed strategically. Most of the time this means closer to the beginning of a title, having the keywords in a url and mentioning the keywords toward the beginning of the page.

    Social sharing is also important when trying to reach an audience and create ouflow. Some key concepts that will help with this are creating pillar posts that will be your pride and joy. These posts will be shared the most to promote your blog. We have practiced this in class a little. It is also important to acknowledge commenters and engage with discussion, as well as engaging on other blogs’ discussions.

    In class, we mostly focus on using twitter to share and track success, but apart from that it is important to create an identity and decide if you need a separate twitter account from your personal one since being professional is important. Another key step is to tweet content and not just titles.

    The link following the Obama video seemed like it was a formula for getting people’s attention. You start with a person, add anomaly and a crowd and then get reactions, but the link refers to the outcome as the creator simply being a “fuckwad”. This formula is used to grab attention and most videos, if you think about, are based around a similar formula which makes them successful.

    As far as Google’s anonymity, I think that people enjoy not being known when online, especially if they decide to comment somewhere and that comment happens to be not so nice. The internet allows for the anonymity and allows for expression. Although a lot of sites are removing commenting options because of too much expression. I do like NPR’s reasoning behind removing it’s commenting. They said that commenting and input will now just be done through social media, which I am assuming in reality that is where the majority of it is already occurring, so it’s not that much of a difference.

  7. miaswanegan says:

    The Blog Marketing Academy based promotion off the simple formula of “outflow=inflow” when really it sounds easy but it may not be. When it comes to promoting my blog, I tend to just use Twitter to get the word out, but not as often as I should. When I really think about it, Facebook might be of good use too because not only would I be able to target my younger audience but those who are older (like family members) could have access to it as well. If I promoted their too, my audience might grow from them spreading the word as well.

    The Idiot Proof Basics of Writing SEO Pages was super helpful because it did just what it said it would do, which was break it all down and make it easy to understand. The six steps that we were told to follow were easy indeed as well as something that we have already been told. A good thing to follow is that if we keep coming across the same similar rules over and over again, then they must be important as well as reliable. Something I do have troubles on from time to time is finding a good title, because in reality, it can make or break your post.

    I also found that the 11 Ways to Use Twitter to Promote Your Blog or Podcast article useful. Right now I will say that my twitter is more of a personal one with me just retweeting others and not even including much of my own voice. To improve that I do think that I can refine my branding, definitely schedule tweets to go out at a set time, everyday that week. It would be neat to do and keep it consistent to where my followers always know it is coming. I also find it important to keep my page public and not private so that others can retweet and share my work.

    When it comes to comments, it is quite unfortunate how hateful some people can be. Sure, the comments section is there for you to voice your opinion, yet that doesn’t mean that you can literally say whatever you want. Most people may think that the worst that could happen in their comment being flagged or taken down forcefully but that stuff can actually hurt you in the long run. Think big picture. A future employer could very well come across your comments since they aren’t technically private, and cost you a job. When commenting we need to always remember the big picture.

  8. zamuhammad says:

    When trying to promote my blog, I’d probably try to gain a larger amount of followers that share interest in the things I blog about. Also I can use key words so that when someone searches things similar to my topics my posts will appear. I feel like the “outflow=inflow” is extremely helpful, I tend to always focus on the little things that don’t even matter. Ive literally just wrote post and then wrote the next, not really focusing on anything else or trying to make it any better.

    SEO’s are helpful in looking for information, not being so specific and just being able to get the information you need. Also, informing writers about having creative topics and key words to catch readers.

    In the Obama video most of the comment that I have read were positive (which I did not think would happen). But I feel like it was because there were a lot of positive comments therefore others watching this video felt comfortable discussing their “political” opinions or personal opinions about the former president.

    When it comes to the Google anonymity, I believe that people like to be anonymous so that they can state their honest opinions without anyone knowing. Maybe they say things to fir in but think differently and want to express their feelings.

  9. stevendevine says:

    Starting with the article on the smartest things to do to promote your blog, the concept I took away from that article was “outflow=inflow.” More importantly the article states that publishing new posts is not enough for more traffic. I think that is very important. Without an effort to promote your blog, posting often isnt going to do much.

    I am going to have to agree with Cara by saying I had no clue what I was reading in the first SEO article. It was making my brain hurt. However, the article by Jeff Goins really breaks it down. The biggest concept I took away from that article was to chose a keyword an include it in the title as well as early in the page.

    For the click-bait articles, I guess I was also unaware what click-bait actually is. I always assume that everything is click-bait these days especially on Facebook, and for parents on Facebook. They click and share everything. The biggest thing I took away from the Atlantic article was the concept of does this article need to exist, or did I make something up. I feel today a lot of articles and clickable posts are just that, something that was just made up to make a readable story.

    I found the comment articles to be the most interesting. Internet trolls are a thing of beauty and its pretty comical at times but at other times could be harmful and extremely negative. Many people hide behind the anonymity of a computer screen and will say whatever they want. However sometimes people will say anything they feel while not being anonymous. For the Obama video you can see in the comments what people think and then people bash trump and further support Obama. This reminds me of adults on Facebook who will literally say anything, and it makes you think “did this person really just say that?” I think that people should be able to remain anonymous on comments, but there is a line between being a troll and hate speech. There is a place for one, but there definitely is not a place for the other.

  10. I found Blog Marketing Academy’s article very helpful. The top 10 tips to follow actually make a lot of sense and bring clarity to ideas we have heard before in or out of class. I particularly found number 7 to be very helpful. We had to comment for class on other people’s blogs in our niche. I really did not know what to comment because I didn’t want to seem like spam or write something weird with my name attached to it. (I’m not much of a commenter.) What they thought was critical to commenting were that you shouldn’t write a stupid comment just to comment, we shouldn’t lead by our brand but by using our name, and not to throw a link to your site bluntly. I found these tips to be helpful when promoting a blog.

    Search Engine Land made a great video explaining SEO, what it is and how it works. It is said that the search algorithm takes into account words, titles, links, words in links, and reputations. After learning that words in links matter, I think I should be paying better attention to how I link sites in my blog posts. That is a good thing to know when looking to gain blog recognition.

    Upworthy Generator…wow I am embarrassed. I click the play button so many times before realizing it wasn’t a real article. Slightly embarrassed but I guess that goes to show that those sample article titles made me want to watch. I think that is important to note. If you wouldn’t click on it then you should probably change the title. Clickbait is very real and thriving right now. I think about it a lot in the Youtube world. I am not a Youtuber myself but I do watch a lot of Youtubers and their vlogs. If the do not have a good title to their video and/or a good thumbnail, I will not click on it and watch it. At the end of the day, they get paid for their views so it is crucial for them to take advantage of clickbait techniques. In a sense, clickbait isn’t only about the title and wording, it is also about the initial image that is seen before clicking. If there isn’t a good picture along with it, I probably will not open the article/video.

    The comment section of a blog/newspaper/magazine/Youtube channel can be very scary. People think that because their full name isn’t the first thing seen that they can say whatever they want. People forget that there is someone behind the computer. I find it to be very unflattering but at the same time, pretty entertaining. On articles I know are going to be controversial, I will scroll right to the comment section and start reading the ridiculous arguments and insults. It is disheartening that people actually choose to talk to each other that way when behind a screen. I think Popular Science shutting off their comments is a good idea for the sake of keeping their site clean of nonsense. The downfall is that they lose the interaction with their audience and potentially risk losing some of their community. It is definitely a tough decision to make but I can see why they felt they had to take it to that measure. The Obama video shows an example of that. Regardless of political views, it is a 30 second video of our past President holding a baby. That’s all. So the fact that so many people flipped out over something so small is beyond me. And with that, I think Google making Youtube show full names is a good idea. I kind of wish they went through with that because then people would potentially feel more embarrassed by what they are saying. At the end of the day, I don’t know if they hate commenters are just very mean people in their daily lives or if they just have too much time on their hands. Disagreeing with something is one thing, but the majority of the comments are just cussing and name calling. Very crazy if you ask me!

  11. lindseybaatz says:

    To promote my blog, I usually share my posts to Facebook and Twitter. Blog Market Academy emphasized the importance of two way communication. You can’t just comment on a bunch of blogs and not add to the conversation. I see this a lot on YouTube videos, people will promote their channel without commenting about the actual video. Comments like this usually are not popular. So the same seems to be true about blogging.

    I was pretty shocked about the 80/20 rule. I would have assumed that focusing on creating solid content should be the priority. I also did not realize how much SEO used. I assumed it was just keyword within the title and body of a website. SEO is such a large concept, I bet we could have an entire course dedicated to it.

    The idea of “click bait” has become more popular in the past few years. There is a negative connotation regarding click bait headlines. Modern journalism and traditional journalism seem to have conflicting stances for and against these type of headlines. As we learned in class, there is a strategy in creating attention grabbing, yet dignified headlines.

    After watching the clip of Obama I expected the comments to be very negative. It makes you realize that positive videos tend to yield positive comments. Since supports of Obama are more likely to watch videos that favor him. Just like a negative video about Obama would yield more negative comments. It’s important for our blogs to have an element of positivity, so anyone that reads it can find something to connect with. I think when google teamed up with Youtube, they were following the trend of people being their own brand. Your name is your brand. However, many Youtubers did not bring their personal lives into their brand. Also, it is easy to share your honest opinion with an anonymous name.

    Since I have been sharing my blog posts on twitter, I have gained many random media professional followers. I am not sure how they are all finding me, but this is helping me (try to) move my Twitter in a professional direction. A few of these new followers have sent me messages that if I subscribe to their Youtube channel, or check out their blog, they will retweet one of my tweets. I found that interesting to see people promote their work.

  12. Ashley Conley says:

    Promotion: I like using Twitter to promote my blog. I’ve always used Twitter to promote my work with my internships and other journalism gigs that I’ve had, even with photography. It’s just a great source to use, especially when you have a lot of followers and even friends who follow you that will certainly share your work. The Blog Marketing Academy article was pretty accurate in my opinion. I liked the “outflow = inflow” equation. When you tweet your work, you can definitely see a the amount of input increase based on the amount of places you display your work and how frequently you display it.

    SEO: When it comes to SEO, I have quite a bit of experience after working with two other WordPress blogs for pretty prominent WVU sports coverage sites before taking this class. It’s absolutely necessary to understand what makes titles attractive for readers. You have to cater to your audience or else they probably couldn’t care less what you have to say. Jeff Goins “idiot-proof” tips on choosing a keyword stuck out the most to me. It’s odd to think that even just one single word could be the thing that draws people into your work, but it’s true!

    Clickbait: I’ve always been a clickbait hater. I hate clicking on an article and realizing there’s no real content there… but instead just a bunch of obvious junk that I already knew about. And then, I’ve wasted my time. Instead of clickbait, I prefer giving readers a real reason to click on my work. I start out by selecting an attractive picture to add onto my links on Twitter or Facebook. Images, GIFs and video clips attract attention. Use it to your advantage! A good title also works, but it’s important to make sure that your title embodies what your work actually contains.

    Twitter as a tool: I use Twitter as a tool sometimes, but I also realize that people don’t like to just see pure news-type stuff on their Twitter feed. (Boring!) People like to see some opinions, some news, some photos, some memes, some of this and some of that. I personally don’t enjoy following Twitter accounts that literally just tweet out links to articles. Sometimes, a good funny tweet or an emotionally charged tweet will get people engaged and will make them want to follow you and your work. Don’t be boring and certainly don’t be basic!

    My favorite part of Chapter 9 in this week’s class reading was by far Briggs’ advice on page 300: “Don’t be afraid to inject a little attitude.” This goes hand-in-hand with what I said in the paragraph above. Don’t be boring. You have a voice, so put it out there. People like a little flavor on their timeline. If you give them a reason to laugh, or smile, or get fired up, they’ll probably want to follow you and they’ll probably want to check out your work. Uniqueness is key when trying to build an audience.

  13. dshedrick says:

    Truthfully, I really haven’t been promoting my blog very much. I really use my social media to veg out; I retweet funny things and scroll through things my boss would judge me for. For me, my personal media is really social, while my blog is more professional (ish!) and more commentary/opinion based. These are opinions that I don’t necessarily want to inject into my personal relationships, since a lot of the issues I write about are rather controversial. To avoid all that discussion with people close to me, I’ve just been avoiding promoting it. As the reading suggested, it might be time for me to make a separate, more professional (rather than recreational) Twitter account to self-promote. But, realistically, I want to be a lawyer, so I probably won’t.
    However, as far as SEO goes, I don’t think I’ve been doing too poorly with that. I strive for my headlines to be as indicative of my content as possible (the idea that Buzzfeed doesn’t think they publish Clickbait articles is actually the most hysterical thing I have heard all day), and people looking for articles like mine should be able to find them pretty easily. I’m usually pretty heavy-handed with linking to outside sources, as well.
    As the reading suggested, and I somewhat alluded to earlier, the Internet makes people serious jerks. The equation about anonymity + an audience = rude, unorthodox comments is sadly incredibly accurate. It’s not as much that I’m afraid people will disagree with me and my views on my blog that is leading to me not self-promoting. Rather, it’s the fact that my name and photo is on that page and people who comment on it don’t necessarily have that transparency. They can say and do whatever they want with my information and say whatever they want about my work and I will have to deal with the consequences.
    For these reasons, I appreciate that sites are trying to crack down on hateful commenters. Even if it’s not entirely effective at times, making the internet a more welcoming place can in no way be construed as a bad thing, in my opinion.

  14. The strategies lined out by Blog Marketing Academy are great because they’re straightforward and easy to follow. I particularly liked the bit about two-way communication. It’s important for bloggers to be part of their community, not just reporting to them. You have to think about how to get people to engage with your content, and how to acknowledge that engagement.

    “Idiot-proff basics of writing SEO pages” was a fun read that was also easy to follow. Keywords are extremely important. You want to have these established early, or people won’t be able to find your posts. Backlinking also helps, because it doesn’t just link back to your content, but it also shows that you are part of a community of experts on a particular subject.

    I feel like clickbait is it’s own realm. I always laugh when people share posts on Facebook or Twitter without reading them, but believe the headline. Especially with The Onion, which people should know by now is satire.

    I can see why people are shutting down their comments sections. I know many youtubers turn off comment on their videos because they feel like the spam prevents them from communicating with their audience. I’m sure it’s the same for news organizations, where audience engagement is arguably more important. Honestly, I rarely look at comment sections, unless the video or article has a bit that I know people are going to comment on—usually controversial or funny things.

    I don’t promote my posts on social as much as I should, but I think I have a decent balance of personal and professional. I have noticed that more professionals in the field follow me after I’ve talked about communications. I have a fair share of marketers following me on Twitter. I almost always follow them back, and it fills my timeline with interesting articles.

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