Archive for March, 2014

March 29, 2014

My take on the Copyblogger comments issue

by Priya Chandra

You_talking_to_meCopyblogger’s recent announcement that they were shutting off comments on their blog has certainly sparked some interesting conversations in my neck of the blogging world.

I’ve been mulling over my own thoughts about this for a few days as I’m torn.

I agree with A.J Kohn that for readers of a blog “Commenting is your chance to get the undivided attention of that creator, if only for a few seconds as they determine whether the comment is interesting.”

But I don’t necessarily agree that in today’s online world those comments need to be on a blog post. Those conversations can happen anywhere (and often do) whether comments are enabled or not.

I also don’t agree that a blog has to have comments to be successful.

Many of the people writing about the Copyblogger decision are in an area that celebrates content creation in an online world. And their audience tends to be the same; creative people who enjoy creating content (usually by writing) and want to learn how to get better at it (usually so they can provide a service to people who don’t enjoy creating content).

And in that situation blog comments can extend the conversation and create interesting discussions for both the original creator and the people commentating/lurking.

Many blogs though cater to an audience that just wants to learn stuff – they want to know how to fix their T.V antenna; write a LinkedIn status update or worm their cat.

Or how about the audience that’s looking for advice on swimming pool construction; questions to ask a plumber before getting a bathroom renovation or the latest photos of a celebrity?

No matter how many calls to action you put in your post they’re unlikely to be interested in leaving a comment – they’ve gotten the information they’ve needed, they’re not going to hang around.

But that doesn’t mean the content is useless. I’ve gotten lots of extremely valuable information from blog posts that didn’t have a single comment on them.

It would be a shame if people writing these types of articles were made to feel failures because they don’t have the ‘social proof’ of comments.

So to sum up – I agree that comments can be useful (whether on a blog or elsewhere) but if a blog (even a really big one) turns off comments I don’t think it’s the end of blogging as we know it.

Image By Ped Xing from Austin, Texas, US (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons 

March 9, 2014

Open Spaces

by Priya Chandra

Wine in our new backyardStep 5 of the “10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer” is particularly pertinent to me today.

I know that I need to write every day, but today I definitely don’t feel like writing. My head is woollen from possible hayfever and my cat is desperate for me to feed her. She is apparently starving to death – someone please call the RSPCA on her behalf!

However, since I do need to write, here goes.

We’re currently renovating our house and garden. That means a LOT of waste is being generated on an almost daily basis as walls are ripped down, garages are cleaned out and weeds are uprooted.

For months we’ve had two massive piles of green (garden) and other waste sitting in our backyard. They were clean and fairly tidy but they were huge. Every time I looked out the back windows they were the first thing I saw. Even with our large backyard I felt hemmed in and very aware of the amount of work required to remove them.

Today, my younger brother came around with his trailer. He and my husband spent four hours in 30 degrees heat shovelling the majority of those two piles into the trailer, driving to the tip, ditching the rubbish and returning for a second trip.

An amazing effort by two amazing men. (I stayed inside with my gorgeous sister-in-law and equally gorgeous niece if you’re wondering.)

What’s even more amazing is what a difference the removal has made to my attitude towards the garden. Although there’s still a lot of rubble to be removed, all of a sudden I can not only see but also feel the potential of this space. We’ve naturally talked and talked about what we were going to do with the garden / backyard but before today it was all just talk to me.

Now, I can actually imagine us using that space, making it our own green sanctuary ready for wine and cheese nights.