Blog Comments Are Unnecessary For Influence

Four days ago I published a post for O'Reilly Radar called, What Does Government 2.0 Look Like? Well, it's not so much a blog post as an abbreviated white paper. I thought it was a really good post, and then I published it and received zero comments. Not one. And my posts on similar topics on the same well-trafficked site often get numerous comments, and sometimes even many.
So, I thought that perhaps this post didn't really indluence anybody.
But I was wrong. I was also co-hosting the giant Government 2.0 Expo in Washington DC this week, and because I was on stage most of the attendees knew who I was, walking around the halls. Quite a number of people stopped me to say that they saw my post and it really changed how they think, or some variation on that.  And meanwhile well over 100 people have shared the article on Twitter alone.
The article generated word of mouth, and was influencing people.  Perhaps too much – they didn't quite know what to say about it because it was somewhat outside the box.
Comments on blogs are one way to measure influence, or more generally readership. But they're certainly not the only way. You can generate a lot of comments by being a complete idiot and asking for feedback – lots of people will help you with that.  On the flip side you can write something brilliant but outside the mainstream and influence a lot of people who don't have immediate feedback because they need to gestate for a while.
So if you have a blog that rarely gets comments, don't forget that there are other metrics of audience, word of mouth, and influence.

Posted via email from Mark’s Cheeky Posterous

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This post was written by:

Mark Drapeau - who has written 225 posts on Dr. Mark D. Drapeau.

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2 Comments For This Post

  1. Ari Herzog Says:

    Indeed, I focus more on who is reading or listening or sharing than who is commenting. The kicker there is I usually don’t know WHO is doing it, just the aggregate.

  2. Joe McCarthy Says:

    I encountered another example of unacknowledged outside the mainstream thinking and doing – in the offline world – about 4 years ago. While attending a Cubs division football game at Strawberry Hill Park on Bainbridge Island, I was delighted to discover the unusually healthy and tasty items offered at the concession stand, including “Island Pork” (with jalapenos, sauteed onions and cilantro) and a Chicken Salad with goat cheese, candied pecans cranberries and pears. After eating, I went back to the concession stand to compliment them on their offerings, and they were so excited to get any kind of feedback on their experiment – apparently I was the first person to comment – they tracked down their manager, who then tracked down the VP of Community and Involvement for Bainbridge Football.

    I shared more details in a blog post about Building a Community around Football and Food on Bainbridge Island, but I wanted to share a bit of this experience here as an example of how the reticence of people expressing feedback on innovative thinking and doing is not restricted to the online world.

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