I’m commenting a fair amount more on the blogs I read, and one of my growing peeves at this point is when there’s no email comment notifier on a blog. WordPress makes this easy. Drupal makes this easy. Livejournal’s been doing this forever. Of course.
Really and truly, I’m not going to check anyone’s post twice a day for the next week to see if there are other interesting comments or replies to mine. Judging by the way commenting conversation has changed on this blog since putting a comment notifier in place, I’d say few other people inclined to read more than a few blogs are, either.
I browse the interwubs on three different computers (in different browsers) every day–I have no consistent browser history with which to easily revisit sites and I have very few synchronized bookmarks.
I even recently got an email from a blog owner about a week after I commented there. She was replying to the email notification WordPress sends an admin, and she wrote something to the tune of, “Hey, thanks for commenting! You should come back and see the other comments folks made.” I’d love to… luckily the URL was in the notification she was replying to.
I’d have worked harder to participate in the conversation actively if I were confident that:
- I’d know quickly about any responses, and
- most importantly, that other people would know to respond in a timely manner.
Comments RSS Doesn’t Cut It
I have between 600 and 800 unread blog entries (and comments) in my RSS feed, and every day I lose a bunch of 30-day-old posts that I didn’t have a chance to read (thanks, Google). If I happen to see a good comment thread that it’s timely to reply to, I’ll do my best to jump in, but that’s not a solid bet to make.
Okay, so 600-800 unread items is excessive, and probably not normal, even for a busy professional.
Even if I only had 300 items, or 100 items that I only checked on once a week, this would be a problem. Comment RSS feeds are good for “Oh, hey, the blog post didn’t grab my eye, but this discussion sure is kewl!” They aren’t good for “Oh, snap, he called my momma a school bus!”
Email notifications are for when you need to punch someone in the face.
How Should I Fix It?
On blogs I comment on relatively frequently (or whose owners I’m comfortable with), I’ll mention it in a comment as a postscript, but for random blog…?
Do I just suck it up and keep a list of “watchables” in some private online bookmark service, or should I evangelize further?