Blog Comments vs Tweeting

by @jehiah on 2010-11-04 13:30
Filed under: All, Twitter, Web, bitly

Several months ago after loosing a server and realizing I didn't want to setup this site the same way, I started writing things from the ground up. At the time i thought i was making a choice between blog comments or no blog comments, but in hindsight it was a different choice I was making.

This site now runs a simple application on top of tornado, which is a file backed blog that uses text files with posts in markdown format.

I needed a new way to deal with comments, and didn't want to continue using wordpress comments and had slowly grown frustrated over comment spammers, tangent discussions, flamewars, etc. I wanted this to be my voice not an argument against someone else. I also didn't like the clutter of having comments to begin with. As a reader, raw comments can be frustrating and i don't feel that voting comments works on a smaller site. I considered porting old comments to a file based system and implementing Disqus, but neither of those quite met what i was looking for. Essentially I resigned myself to dropping comments completely from this site.

On a whim though, I added a twitter @anywhere share field at the bottom of the page, and pre-populated it with the post title, a bit.ly link and my twitter handle @jehiah. This turns out to be exactly what I was looking for, and i'm much happier with it.

This has turned out to be hugely different from comments. Instead of being a way to critique a post, or an invitation for you to use my site as your soapbox, inviting people to tweet about my article is an invitation to promote my content. It's full of positive connotations vs comment flamewars.

Encouraging tweets also puts any discussion/feedback in a 2-way channel (twitter) where I can easily say 'thanks' or offer a response to any comment. Compared with anonymous comments and spam this is a way better use of my time.

In replacing comments with twitter I've not had to worry about eliminating a source of feedback, and since i don't display tweets on my website i'm also not worried about changing the reading experience for the first few people who read my articles vs the ones who would find it later.

To date this has resulted in ? tweets sent about my site, of which ? have had customized content. That already dwarfs the utility of wordpress comments.

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