Thursday, 8 May 2008

The Bête Report :: The Truth About Stats and Blogs

A few weeks ago, knee-deep in a distinctly Gandhiesque starvation-inspired delirium, I wrote a blog post which was basically one half of a telephone conversation between one man and his blog, played out like a troubled love affair in which the blogger bemoans - amongst other things - his lack of comments. Unconvinced that it wasn’t pretentious garbage, I asked a couple of fellow bloggers to cast an eye over it for me. One of them didn’t get back to me, which was a bit distressing. The other said that she liked it, but she wasn’t sure. She also suggested that there exists in blogging an unwritten rule which states that the terrible, universal affliction of Comment Addiction shall never - under any circumstances - ever be broached in a public forum. I found this fascinating and wondered if it were really true.

The only way I could find out more however, would be if I were to ask other bloggers. So I considered a blog post posing the question. But if I did that, I figured that of the however many bloggers who read it, maybe only 5 or 10 of them would actually respond. Maybe 20 if a couple of them got into a to-and-fro. And although that would be entertaining, it wouldn’t really tell me anything significant. If however, I had the opinions of say, a thousand bloggers, then I might have something I could claim to hang a fact on.

Then I realised that I had lots of other questions I wanted to ask bloggers, questions that had occurred to me since I started this blog in December. And thus, the GREAT BLOG QUESTIONNAIRE was born (free delusion of grandeur with every ten questions).

So, if you have a blog and you're reading this, there's a distinct possibility you've already received a link to the questionnaire. However, if this is the first you’ve heard and you're not opposed to wagging your chin and logging your brain and your blog for eternity, then pop along here, and indulge yourself.

That's right, here.

So, for now, that's me done. Now I just sit back with my fingers crossed and hope that the urge to be heard (which I guess is what really unites all bloggers) will be strong enough to bring in lots of responses.

I’m quite excited. I feel like Shere Hite.



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30 comments:

On a limb with Claudia said...

I'm keen to see a copy of your survey results - please email: opengrove@gmail.com

Used*to*be*me said...

Great questionnaire! I hope you blog/post the results. If not, please email me the results at whyrustalkingme at gmail dot com.

Have a great week!

PS - I've added you to my feed. I'm glad you found me!

DJ Kirkby said...

What were you doing sending emails at 2 am?! Get some sleep! Good questions btw. I want the results, you know my addy but I am sure you'll be posting them on your blog anyway...won't you?

But Why? said...

Crap - that took longer than I was expecting(!) Would enjoy the results.

Misssy M said...

Hi I just got your questionnaire and was half way through when it went all missing on me. Still want to complete it though, so I'll try again. Any chance you could email me it as a doc if you have it?

gillianamartin@hotmail.com

No worries if you don't I'll just keep trying the link.

Will stick it up on my blog too.

patroclus said...

I have dutifully filled in your questionnaire - even the rude bits - and I am very much looking forward to seeing the results.

Claire said...

You're going to become obsessed with checking completed surveys now aren't you?
C

Misssy M said...

It's Ok Bete. I managed it- my computer must've just been throwing a wobbly.

Clare Sudbery said...

That was fun. I'll link to it from my blog.

Bloody good idea though, and I wish I'd thought of it. Your blog's not 'alf bad, too. Jolly good show all round.

Roszs Bif said...

Quite enjoyed that - have linked from mine too, so hopefully you'll get some more replies.

suburbanhen said...

Interestingly your survey didn't really go into depth with your original question about comment addiction and how it makes bloggers feel. Perhaps something along the lines of 'Do you find validation in your existence through comments on you blog?' followed by 'Does the number of comments on your blog affect your mood?' and 'Do you think think validating your existence via the amount of comments on your blog is healthy?'.

Like I've said before, most bloggers will have been there, those early heady days of comment addiction. You might notice a lot of the 'big bloggers' have become wry and cynical about comments and it's for a reason. It's possible only a small percentage of comments made on any given blog post actually matter and veteran bloggers have learnt this. It's not the number of comments, it's the quality of the people behind them. You might find only a small percent of the comments are from people you could actually be bothered getting to know IRL and the rest are from people who in reality you wouldn't go near, not even as friends. And that's what matters, not having twenty five or thirty people say their piece. It's the realisation that only maybe three people in that thirty would actually give you the time of day IRL. The other twenty seven are likely to only be fair weather friends at best.
I guess what I am saying is that after a while, you come to realise that there is little depth to comments and commenters can frequently be the very same people who would either openly stare at your ugliness in public, or titter behind their hand at you, to take a rather personal example to make my point.

In my opinion it's a very shallow indication of popularity, comments, and not one worth getting giddy about. It's possible that an extrovert would have a different opinion of comments, or perhaps someone who is quite shallow themselves, but you come across as neither which is why I get to thinking that one day you will come to view comments just like a lot of other folk do. Nice, but a bit like cake. They can go stale.

It's the actual email from an agent or a publisher you have to keep an eye out for...

having my cake said...

Agree with suburbanhen re you not going for the jugular with the comments questions.

And again I agree with subhen about the obsession with validation through comments.

Also, on reflection, I would have added in a question on how you feel about word verification.

dirtylittlegirl said...

And I've added to your questionnaire. Thanks, it was fun!

DLG

Tyler Massey said...

Answered

Clare Sudbery said...

Re comments, some blogs are definitely more commentable than others. This has nothing to do with the quality of the post, just that some types of post invite comment / make people feel more comfortable commenting than others. The very personal ones often don't get much comment cos people feel intrusive. Also some types of post can have the effect of intimidating people - they're worried they'll say the wrong thing or not be erudite enough, and show themselves up. And then there are other kinds that people appreciate, but just can't think of anything they want to say about it. I don't get many comments. Obviously this is partly cos no. of commenters is related to no. of visitors, but for some reason mine just isn;t a commenty type of blog. I gave up worrying about it a long time ago. And anyway, some types of comment are infinitely more satisfying - the ones where people seem to really connect or have something interesting or witty worth adding. I get enough of those to keep me happy.

Peach said...

yeah you could have got us to say ANYTHING and you just stuck to the basics mr!

;P

x

refried said...

I'd like to see the results.

doctorddale@aol.com

Lindy said...

Ho hum, re my comments on your weekend with Sally and, bearing in mind that my son is a journalist, I can't help feeling that you are teasing me gently about a bit of careless word repetition, but never mind! It was and IS.....lovely!! (and a few other adjectives too!)

marianne said...

You make me very curious.

There was no question about that on your survey. True, nevertheless.

pleite said...

Bugger. I tried but I kept getting an error message after the first screen-load of questions. Will try again later.

oatmeal girl said...

i do hunger for comments. partly because i want to know that people are reading, especially now that i've been prevented from at looking at my stats by having the password changed. it was for my own good - i kept checking them constantly.

a friend (met thru comments on someone else's blog) says she doesn't normally comment because it seems like those who do on any one blog are a little closed circle of friends. but that is perhaps self-selecting in a way. and it's not as if other people aren't welcome to comment.

one big reason i want more comments is because i hoped to be able to stimulate discussion, which i haven't yet managed to do. i'm not sure what kind of posts i need to write to turn my comments page into a little salon. any suggestions?

Geoff said...

Sorry I didn't get back. Have now done it.

Must start another blog now!

littleblackspider said...

Good grief, that was a long survey! Excellent procrastination fodder... It was quite fun, although I now feel like a complete and utter fruitcake, having read through my answers...

Pearl

immedia reaction said...

Thought of some more questions to ask that I didn't include in q83:

Do you include testimonials from readers on your blog? Why?
Is this something you only do if you have a lot of traffic?
How do you decide which ones to include?
Do you actively go out looking for bloggers talking about you on their blogs?

Cat said...

Hey, I'd love to see the results. cat@catwithapen.com

Thanks!

goodbyetoallfat said...

I have *tried* to answer your survey but when I got to the end of all the questions and had to "post" my answers, my computer decided to have a divvy moment and sort of "hung" in mid air for more than 10 minutes, not seemingly able to actually complete the posting process.

My answers would have skewed your results by a tiny fraction anyway as I have only JUST started my blog -- at 1.00 am this morning to be precise! (You think I stayed up all night figuring out how to run a blog? Yeah, of course, I did. I'm a blog addict now as well.)

It will obviously take some time before people can see exactly where my blog is headed, or why I've started blogging about my childhood on what is intended to be principally a weight loss / life change blog, but for me I felt that exmaining the past was a good place to start.

nursemyra said...

I just tried to do your questionnaire but I got an error message after the frist page..... :-)

sungirltan said...

hey i just took your survey!

Mr. Fermata said...

Don't people really comment as a way of publicising their own blog, increasing their stats and by association, increasing the cumulative number of comments?

Comment by all means, but comment without linking back to your blog.

Only then is the comment 'pure'

Anonymous said...

A bit late, but I had fun,thank you!