Changing Up The Way We Do Things…Maybe

Hola ROWers.  I’m breaking the posting schedule today to pose a few questions to you, the ROW80 community.  When I started this blog back in 2010 (holy crap, has it really been going that long?), I tried to set things up in as simple a fashion as I could in order to try to engender a community of like-minded writers who were into accountability and challenge, but without the one-size fits all goal of something like NaNoWriMo.  Over time, I’ve changed very little other than to give the site a couple of makeovers.

All this time, I’ve had my sponsors (and hopefully more of you) cheerleading each other in the comments sections of your individual posts–which has been successful more on some fronts than others.  Some of my past participants wanted a Facebook group, so we made one of those (even though I rabidly hated Facebook at the time).  And we’ve got a hashtag (#ROW80) over on Twitter.  And I admit…I hang out over there a lot more than I do poking around blogs.  I am, in fact, terrible at responding to comments in general on my own blog unless a direct question is asked.  But I’m VERY active in social media and cheerleading over there.  I’m sure if anybody here had a clue how the heck to use Google+ (I sure don’t), somebody could start a ROW80 circle or whatever over there.

That brings me to point 1.  I just read this post by Michael Hyatt about why he’s removing comments from his blog.  I think it’s well worth a read.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.

I like what Hyatt has to say, like the idea that removing comments forces the discussion into social media and makes it SOCIAL.  That’s directly in line with the idea of community.  But hey, it’s not just me here and I want y’all’s input.

Edited to add this from the comments below because I think it helps clarify what I’m talking about and the logic behind it.

No no. The linkies aren’t going away. The blog posts aren’t going away. That part works and I have no intention of changing it. As a sponsor (or otherwise general cheerleader), you’d still have that to go off of.

The ONLY thing that would change is that there wouldn’t be comments HERE. So instead of conversation about the inspiration topic of the week taking place in a thread here, they’d be out in social media on FB or Twitter or wherever–where other folks who are not already part of the ROW80 team will see them and (hopefully) ask about them and follow back to the blog and decide to jump in to join us.


One of the other things I was considering is having a semi-regular post during the round wherein fellow ROWers with new releases can submit their book to notify fellow ROWers that it’s out (we aren’t big enough for this to be a weekly thing, but maybe a couple times a round?).  Would y’all be interested in that?

So speak up, folks!  This is YOUR community.  Feel free to make your case in comments (and yes, I realize the irony of that, given I’m talking about yanking them) or over at Facebook or on Twitter.

23 thoughts on “Changing Up The Way We Do Things…Maybe

  1. I”m just going to be honest and say this. I hate it when blogs have comments turned off. I like interacting on blogs. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been frustrated because I read a blog post, wanted so badly to respond, and I couldn’t. I don’t use the ROW80 FB group much, but I just now realized it was probably because I had notifications turned off, so I forget about it. LOL. Another thing is, many of the ROW80ers do pretty long blog posts. That doesn’t often translate well into social media.

    That being said, whatever is decided, I’m on board.

    1. Well to be clear, this would only impact THIS blog (and maybe my personal one). I’m certainly not (nor would I have a right to) making some sweeping dictation to everyone participating. What they do on their own blog is absolutely up to them. Most people have comments on.

      1. What I was thinking was that you meant instead of the linky going to the blogs, it would start going to a FB post. I must have misunderstood that part. So how would we encourage you, for instance, if your comments were turned off? Would you link to FB instead? I’m trying to figure out the logistics.

        1. No no. The linkies aren’t going away. The blog posts aren’t going away. That part works and I have no intention of changing it. As a sponsor (or otherwise general cheerleader), you’d still have that to go off of for those duties.

          The ONLY thing that would change is that there wouldn’t be comments HERE. So instead of conversation about the inspiration topic of the week taking place in a thread here, they’d be out in social media on FB or Twitter or wherever–where other folks who are not already part of the ROW80 team will see them and (hopefully) ask about them and follow back to the blog and decide to jump in to join us.

          And in the event a participant (say me) decided to close down comments on MY blog, then I’m all over the place on social media with my profiles readily findable to pop over to FB or Twitter or whatever to say “hey great job” or whatever. Which you do already 🙂

  2. I completely agree with you Kait. It seems I get spam comments on a daily basis. And if Disqus (which I also use) is just adding to the clutter, why bother? I’m mostly on FaceBook anyway. So yeah, drop comments here and go where other people can join the conversation.

  3. I think it makes sense, Kait. I am so very guilty of reading a sponsor post on break at the day job, thinking, I should comment on that when I get home to my computer, and then completely forgetting. I can do FB or Twitter on the phone, which makes it far more likely I will respond immediately. And yes, I have WordPress on my phone, but it is not as seamless to me (I know, I’m a Luddite :/ ) as FB and Twitter.

  4. Well I’m new here, and I only recently started with Disqus (which was the basis of Michael Hyatt’s reasoning.) Truthfully, I’m getting a little social-media-ed out and will be ditching my smartphone for a couple of months, as it’s a big time waster, for me

    But that’s neither here nor there, with respect to this particular blog. I like interacting with other ROW80 blogs via the Linky, but I just followed you on Twitter and Facebook and it’s no problem to discuss there 🙂

    Thanks again for all you do!

  5. Huh? I get very few comments on my blogs and that has had me bummed out. I always thought that comments on your blog was a sign that it was successful, that people cared enough about what you write to say something about it. I don’t understand how commenting about someone’s blog on other social media works. I am on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and GoodReads. Facebook is the only one of those media that I understand. And I don’t have a smartphone and don’t want one.

    Anyway, that is just how I roll. Whatever works for the ROW80 blog is fine with me. As long as I can still put my Linky on the site and still get comments on my own blog, I am good.

    1. Well that’s kind of Hyatt’s point. In the current web climate, number of comments on blogs is absolutely NOT a good measure of a blog’s popularity. A lot of people don’t comment on blogs. They may mean to, but they’re at work, or have to go deal with a diaper explosion or are otherwise prevented from doing it right then and then they don’t remember to go back and do it because LIFE. Or they comment and mean to go back to see if there are replies but don’t remember or there are a million comments and they don’t want to sift through to find theirs (again, because LIFE). But people DO tend to easily respond to things addressed to them on social media (mostly because it’s easy to see what’s addressed to us by notifications or whatever), and the majority of people are ON social media at least part of the day when they may not be on anything else. I know that my time on blogs has gone way down over the last seven or eight years…and it’s inversely related to social media use. The discussion is still happening, but it’s happening in a different forum. One that, because it’s publicly visible, means more people can see and engage.

  6. That blog post made me sad, because blogs are BY FAR my favorite form of social media. I don’t use other social media a lot. I detest Twitter, and I never have really gotten into G+. I find myself using Facebook less and less as they show posts to fewer and fewer people in an effort to get us to pay to boost posts. I don’t think they’re doing that in groups yet, but I have no doubt they will, if they see a way to make it more profitable.

    I think a big reason Hyatt was seeing comments drop off was because he uses Disqus. I will not comment on any blog that uses Disqus, because I have accounts on WordPress and Blogger, and I don’t want to sign up for one more service for just the odd blog here and there. Also, he mentioned that Disqus was starting to insert ads–one more thing that will drive people away! So if you’re using Disqus and want more comments, try getting rid of it–Wordpress and Blogger both have pretty good tools to deal with spam.

    Granted, I don’t comment a lot on this blog, but I hope enough ROW80 peeps will continue to keep comments on their own blogs and visit each other there.

  7. Altho I haven’t necessarily left any comments on THIS blog, because I generally only come to read the posts and use the linky, I will say this: If I want to comment, and find comments are closed, I will not go elsewhere to say what I wanted to say. I’m usually on a specific course when I buzz through sites, and opening one more window or tab just to say “amen!” or whatever doesn’t work for me. So I likely won’t be any more active in the conversation elsewhere as I was here. BUT, the likelihood that I would ever eventually say ANYTHING has now been diminished, and that makes me sad.

    Honestly I don’t really like it when blogs go silent on the comments end of things. Generally my first impression is, “Well aren’t YOU uppity and full of yourself! Too good to hear from anyone else on the topic, eh?” … even if that’s an unfair assumption, I’m just trying to let you know what I think because maybe other people think similarly.

    Another point: While I seldom comment on this or most blogs, I do love reading the comments. I don’t like being forced to go elsewhere, and it’s very unlikely I’ll comply, which YES, I know will be my loss. Most of the time the comments provide just as much info, inspiration, or food for thought as the post itself.

    I’m probably coming off more poopy-sounding than I intend, and for that I apologize. I’m not good at writing off-the-cuff, which is why I seldom comment, lol!!! Please know I leave my thoughts here only as something for you to consider, and not as an attack on whatever decision you come to. I will still utilize the ROW80 site, regardless of which way you go.

  8. Tho I did answer yes to the first poll and no to the second, I would still miss the comments here and be less likely to join the discussions. The social media sites are hard for me to navigate with my vision issues. They are cluttered and insist on tiny fonts and tend to change their layouts frequently which confuses me and stresses me. umm frequently to me means once a year.

    when i leave comments it is an impulse which is likely to dissipate if i have to go elsewhere to find the discussion.

    Also when I’m moved to comment I tend to write long because something truly inspired me. long comments are not encouraged on social media. it takes me longer to write short. clarity and substance are hard to arrive at in less than 200 words let alone 140 characters. i have never been able to follow a discussion on twitter. its a bit easier with fb but still stressful.

    i hate discus too and am unlikely to comment on blogs that use it

    i believe Hyatt has shut a lot of his followers out of the discussion by closing comments. just because comments had dropped from several hundred per post to several dozen or whatever doesn’t mean there was no value to the discussion there.

    i think social media makes a good compliment to blog comments but a poor substitute

  9. I use Facebook as little a possible. Once I log in, I’m likely to stay there for hours. That doesn’t help my writing. I have a Twitter account, but I usually ignore it. Facebook is a good place to get info about ROW80, but I don’t see that commenting there is better than commenting on
    individual posts.

    When I comment on a blog, I’m thinking about the post that’s in front of me. I won’t go to another venue to comment.

    It’s possible that fewer people comment because they’re reading more blogs and don’t have time to comment on every one. Sometimes readers just don’t have anything to say, even though they enjoyed the post. I spend probably longer than most revising comments so as not to be misunderstood (aka stick foot in mouth), and that takes time. I use the Like button to let readers know I’ve been there as well as that I liked the post. I do like most of the posts I read, so I’m being honest. I like reading comments, even though I might not have anything to add. I value the comments left on my blog, but I understand that every reader won’t or can’t leave one.

    WordPress catches most of my spam. I enjoy reading it once in a while and expect to get a post out of it.

    Concerning conversations–I don’t think people really converse much on Facebook. And I think conversations take more than 140 characters per comment per person. I don’t know what Disqus is. I don’t have a smart phone.

    Just my opinion. I’d be sorry to lose the comments.

    Full disclosure: I’ve participated in several ROW80s, but I’m not in the current one until tomorrow. If that makes any difference.

    1. To be clear, what I’m proposing does not impact ANY PARTICIPANTS’ BLOGS. Only the posts here (where there usually isn’t a lot of discussion in comments to begin with, except on the Monday inspiration posts and stuff like what we’re doing now). Nobody is saying anybody needs to turn off comments on their own blogs.

      I think there is come confusion that I’m suggesting that people just substitute social media for comments. They are not the same thing. I’m not proposing, for example, that you or Joy (who both made great points!) take a multi-paragraph response and try to just post it on FB or elsewhere. Twitter (and FB) should be a CONVERSATION. A dialogue. A back and forth. So yes, shorter bursts of what you’re saying, with (hopefully) give and take from other people.

      I probably have a very different view of all this because it’s my inbox that gets filled up with a zillion notifications and calls for me to do something because I’m the admin.

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