When Readers Respond, but Not As Much As You’d Like

When I come home from work every day, I head straight for my mailbox. I jiggle the key, open the box, and hope for a letter from a friend, a magazine or a mini package that’s small enough to fit inside my tiny letter holder.

When I had a day off from school or work back home in Massachusetts, I used to jump at the sound of the mail truck when it would turn the corner onto my street at 3:30 p.m. each day. The mailman, Ray G., and I were friends. He knew me because I’d already be at the mailbox just as he was about to stuff it like a stocking full of goodies.

Now, I look for blogalicious goodies. Whenever I write a blog post, I think about what readers might want to learn, and what might entice them to post feedback. Of course, comments aren’t always positive, but as long as they are not offensive, even “negative” comments can help generate a lively discussion.If I get a comment a week, I consider myself lucky. And so this begs the question: Why don’t people comment more often?

Steve Outing, a self-proclaimed online media pioneer, has put together a document, “Talk, Why Don’t You,” highlighting answers and possible remedies for this problem. Outing says there is a “90-9-1” rule, meaning that of the total number of blog readers, 90 percent will read or view the blog, 9 percent will occasionally comment on the blog, and 1 percent will comment regularly. This sounds about right. Outing makes some other interesting points, which you can read here. (Scroll down to the Oct. 8 entry.) There is also a Facebook discussion about this topic.

Here’s to hoping for more comments and stuffed mailboxes.

What compels you to reply to a post on this blog (or any blog)? Do you have suggestions for getting more people to comment?

Published by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

Mallary is a mom of two young kiddos -- Madelyn and Tucker. Mallary absolutely loves being a mom and often writes about the need to find harmony when juggling motherhood and work. Mallary is the Assistant Director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin, where she manages the Center's various programs related to distance learning, freedom of expression, and digital journalism. Previously, she was Executive Director of Images & Voices of Hope and Managing Editor of The Poynter Institute’s media news site, Poynter.org. Mallary grew up outside of Boston and graduated from Providence College in Rhode Island. In 2015, she received a certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University. She now lives in beautiful Austin, Texas, with her kids, husband Troy and cat Clara. She's working on a memoir, slowly but surely. You can reach her at mjtenore@gmail.com.

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