Web usability guru Jakob Neilsen has composed this formula which explains why most people don’t comment on blog posts. He calls it the 90-9-1 Rule.
- 90% of users are lurkers (i.e., read or observe, but don’t contribute).
- 9% of users contribute from time to time, but other priorities dominate their time.
- 1% of users participate a lot and account for most contributions: it can seem as if they don’t have lives because they often post just minutes after whatever event they’re commenting on occurs.
It reminds me of radio back in the days when DJs allowed song requests. Only a small percentage of listeners would actually call in with a request. The rest just…listened.
Despite the Web 2.0 buzz about a participatory web where people interact, largely we tend to be a culture of consumers of information only. Perhaps the reason is we don’t take the time to respond is that we don’t have the time. Or, maybe we just don’t really have an opinion. Or, possibly, it’s that we consume so much information it’s difficult for any one piece of it to arrest our attention to the degree it commands a response. Whatever the reason, don’t be put off when people fail to respond to a sure-fire post by leaving a comment.
Here are some ways you can prime the comment pump…
- Ask for comments and feedback
- Write a post that asks a question without positing an answer of your own
- Interact with those who leave comments by responding with one of your own
- Email the commenter thanking them for taking time to respond
- Practice what you preach and leave comments (and send trackbacks) on other blogs
Via Andy Wibbels