With the advent of social media and the integration of sharing into practically every page on the web, it’s just so much easier for people to click a like button or a retweet button than it is to comment. Commenting requires multiple clicks, typing… sometimes, even thinking. Le gasp!
However, social media sharing is not nearly as rewarding as composing a well-thought-out comment that contributes to the discussion at hand.
Certainly we want people to share our content via social media. There’s no question about that. Unfortunately, the urge to answer a post’s call to action cools off very quickly. Why go through all the trouble of writing a comment (possibly to be trolled or misunderstood or get into an argument) when we can feel the satisfaction of responding and reciprocating for a well-written article by just sharing the link with a couple clicks at the most?
Am I imagining things?
A quick search doesn’t turn up much about blog comments specifically, just the usual “blogging is dead or dying” posts people write every year now just to get attention. Back in 2011 there were a couple blog posts on this matter: Jay Ehret’s The Future of Blog Comments: Comment Decline and Loralee Choate’s Has Facebook Lowered Blog Traffic and Comments? on BlogHer. The BlogHer article by Choate is interesting when you look at the comments and see people expressing the same concern.
Unfortunately, there’s just no way to really go about proving this is happening and why. You just can’t solidly prove causation. All you can do is speculate that since the advent of social media and the ease with which sharing buttons enable at least some action, that what’s happening is that people are simply taking the easiest path. Sharing something on social media is good for the sharer because it’s content curation for them (even if they don’t know the term or think of it that way).
And the one thing that affects this most of all is the one thing which just can’t ever be measured empirically: the efforts of the blogger to get comments (or, in most cases, the lack thereof). Most people have no clue how to wrap up and end a blog post with a strong call to action (hint: have your call-to-action in mind from the beginning).
Ironic and blatant call to action on a post about declining blog comments
Yes, you knew this was coming, didn’t you, you smart sexy thing, you? Of course you did. But really: what do you think about this? Do people comment on blog posts anymore? What has been the experience on your blog? No social media sharing until you comment!