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Adding Your Two Cents - Stay On Top Of Your Comments

2 cents
Commenting is the lifeblood of a blog.  The author feels a sense of recognition and acceptance when their audience makes the effort to participate by leaving their two cents.  The potential exchange that can take place in the comments serves many benefits:

1. Increases content depth for the article: Search Engines will eat this up too.
2. Helps audience recognize the humanness behind the blog.
3. Develops sense of community through participation and encouragement.
4. Hones article's message to a collaborative "truth".

Here are the Tomato, we love to see people leave comments on our articles. It let's us know that people are not only reading, but finding value in our content.  We also love following up on comments that have been left by other members of this community, letting them know we are here to engage.  However, there is a challenge.  How can our audience stay informed of updates to the comments that they are interested in following?  We can't ask them to periodically check-in.   Continuing the conversation in the comments is key to maintain audience participation, allowing for greater exchange and benefit. TypePad (our blog's platform) currently offers no way to have participators request to be notified of future comments, nor do many of the other blogging platforms our community utilizes.  So, until it becomes a standard feature in all of our blogging platforms, consider these three options for a quick fix and/or to improve your own experience with the blogs in which you enjoy participating.

Our personal favorite is co.mments.com.  Once signing up for an account, you can add a bookmarklet to your browser so that when you are reading an article in which you would like to track the comments, all you have to do is bookmark it and magically it will end up in your co.mments account.  Using co.mments you can also receive new comment alerts by e-mail from all of the articles you are tracking.  Or my favorite, have a RSS feed set up with all of your commented articles.  Another cool feature is the ability you have to share the comments you are tracking with the community through a public site.  Click here to see my personal tracker.

Another slick option is the site, commentful.   Commentful is a service that watches comments/follow-ups on blog posts and notifies you instantly whenever a new comment is left on an article that you have some interest in.   It comes as a Firefox extension and will notify you of updates by "blinking" in the toolbar.  So while Southwest airlines may have the "ding," commenting bloggers now have the "bling."


A third option if you are a WordPress user, is to install a plugin that will add a check box at the bottom of the comments section allowing anyone to be updated of new comments through email.  Filosofo Enroll Comments will allow users to enroll to receive an email when someone comments on a selected post and also allow you to manage their subscriptions using your admin control panel.

**Update:
There is another online commenting service, not unlike the others, called: coComment.  It is also free like the others mentioned in the article above.

**Update:
Merv has pointed out (in the comments) that If any of you are using Moveable Type as your blogging platform there is a 3rd party comment notifying plug-in called MT Notifier.  It can be purchased (sorry, not free) at their website.  Please note that this plug-in is not supported by SixApart and does not work for the TypePad platform.  

Related Must Reads:

Thanks to Jason Benesch  for his research, reviews, and insight for this article.

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Comments

Great stuff Jim. As a new blogger, I appreciate that you and Jason make such a consistent effort to stay in front of the wave, bringing to our attention lots of usable new stuff. I still feel overwhelmed at times, but your "classes" make it fun and exciting! Keep it up!

Jim, there is at least one more worth mentioning. I use the MovableType platform (same company that provides TypePad) and just installed MT-Notifier, a "plug-in" from a third party developer. Readers can sign up for notifications on new Blog articles, new articles in a particular category or comments on a specific article. Notifier has an opt in feature and the ability for a reader to disable notifications as well. MovableType has an enormous library of cool plugins. I just have to be careful not to get into widget overload!

Merv-
I assume (after some researching) that MT-Notifier only works with Moveable Type, and not TypePad? So close... yet no cigar.

Notifier is MovableType only mentioned for the benefit of MT Bloggers. I had to do a bit of searching to find it. I also use Feedblitz. But, too many different options cause reader confusion. What I really want is a "notifier" that gives the reader an option on "when" the email notice should be sent...immediately, twice daily, daily, weekly, etc. I think Feedblitz has it but it is a "premium" service (as in not free). Free is good when I can find it.

You provide a great service to the Blog world. So much information available and so little time to find it.

Hi Jim, Tracking comments and responses on other blogs has always been a challenge for me. Thanks for the suggestions.

That's one of the (many) reasons I love Active Rain... so easy to go back and check up on comments and follow-ups.

Hope peace and prosperity and good health follows you into the New Year!

Having used Commentful for many months now I can say it works pretty well to monitor the conversations. The bookmarklet is a must. I also use co-comment because it keep a running record of all your comments

Great post Jim A lot of people write some great posts but never don't respond with there comment. I though that was the point in having a blog, to get feed back. These are some great resources

As I am trying to jump on board (and stay afloat) in the growing blog world, I was wondering if there was a way to track my comments on sites that don't have the option of notifying you if someone responds to your comment. I love to asks questions within my comments and gain feedback, so this article was extremely helpful. Thanks so much. I am signing up for Co.mments right now!
Thanks again,
Nancy

I have been using CoComment for the past few months and love it. It installs right in your toolbar and tracks all of my conversations. One of the best things about the blogosphere is being involved in conversations with people you might not have ordinarily met on topics of interest to you. What I like with this tool is that I never have to miss those conversations.

Rebecca D. Levinson-Connect2Agent

Thanks for those tools, that will make it much easier to track your favorite blogs and the comments made. Why can't there be 30 hours in a day instead of 24? So much to do in so little time.

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