Learning from Great Comments

31-Day Comment Challenge

I know that I said I’d do Task 17 of the Comment Challenge, the Five in Five. I’ve tried twice to do this task this week. Unfortunately, both times I’ve failed to prove I was human to the Captchas and lost my first comment. No way I can do 5 comments in 5 minutes if I have to rewrite an entire comment. I really wanted to try to push myself, but I’m giving up on this task now. Maybe after the challenge is officially over I’ll make another attempt.

Day 19: Respond to a Commenter on Your Own Blog

Those of you who have commented here before know that I’m pretty good about replying, usually within 48 hours. Check that one off the list.

Day 20: Three Links Out

Here’s the directions for this task:

This task is based an idea by Dave Ferguson that he calls “Three Links Out” or “Three Clicks Out.” It’s a way to find and explore blogs that aren’t as familiar to you.

  1. Go to one of the blogs you regularly read and follow a link to another blog. This link could be in the blogroll or in a post.
  2. From that blog, follow a second link to a new blog.
  3. From that location, follow a third link to somewhere new.

From Michele Martin’s blog, I went to Rob O.’s blog because I thought his definition of “constructive comments” was good. From there, I found an interesting post on multitasking on Doug Johnson’s Blue Skunk blog.

Day 21: Make a Recommendation

I doubled up on the last task: when I commented on Doug Johnson’s blog, I included a link to the Eide Neurolearning blog and some research on dual-tasking. The relevant quote from this post is “…at least in some cases, less brain work is used for solving two tasks at once, then the two tasks separately (underadditivity).” If you’re interested in seeing actual research on multitasking, do check out their blog, including the related posts at the bottom of the one I quoted.

Day 22: Highlight a Favorite Comment

Britt Watwood asked a question which prompted my post on Community Size & Connection Strength. That post, in turn, generated some great comments. Here’s some snippets:

Britt described Clay Shirky’s model of groups:

It is the smaller networks within the larger ones that maintain coherence and connection amidst the larger group (what he calls the “small world theory”). These “small world” clusters work as amplifiers and filters within the larger network, just as your strong connections work across multiple larger networks.

Suz talked about how different technology facilitates different group sizes:

I think it also depends what you mean by ‘manage’, and what ‘venue’ the community uses. I cannot imagine, for example, how people manage large twitter networks. The fragmented nature of the information makes it hard to follow, and I find it easier if I know a little about the person, to give context.

Bonnie viewed group dynamics from the lens of the comment challenge (plus she paid me a wonderful compliment):

I had my original small circle and most recently I went beyond my comfort zone with the Slices Challenge and now here and it’s comforting to open a strange blog and find a friendly face.

Looking from the perspective of teaching, Ken Allen wrote about managing students and lurkers in an online environment. He made this interesting observation:

Of course, with a larger, manageable group, the tendency is for the teacher to apply strategies to encourage participation by those who tended to take a back seat. The paradox with this technique is that the activity of the group starts tending towards the unmanageable zone and eventually has to be divided into smaller groups.

Day 23: What Makes a Great Comment?

Like most bloggers, I appreciate every non-spam comment I get. Any interaction is good. That said, I especially like comments that move the conversation forward by doing any of the following:

  • Asking good questions (like Britt’s above)
  • Sharing resources (like Ken’s above)
  • Sharing personal experiences & how something applies in their life (like Bonnie’s above)
  • Revealing a different perspective, approach, or way of looking at something (like Suz’s above)
  • Disagreeing & making me think

These types of comments are especially helpful in my personal learning, and I really do appreciate these gifts from the blogosphere. Thanks to everyone who comments and shares their personal wisdom!

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8 thoughts on “Learning from Great Comments

  1. Hey, thanks for the link! And I’m really glad you discovered Doug Johnson’s Blue Skunk blog by way of mine. There’s a wealth of interesting stuff to be found over at Doug’s.

  2. I know I’ve been to Doug’s blog before, but it’s been months. I don’t subscribe to his, so he sort of fell off my radar. I was glad to be reminded of it today though.

  3. Thanks for the plug – though I wish I asked good questions more often. If you ask enough, some are bound to be good! Two other things – I could not do the 5 by 5 either…I take too much time thinking through comments. And my take on great comments captures a lot of what you said – great commenters care and make me care.

  4. “Great commenters care and make me care.” Very succinct; I like it!

    Both blogging and commenting have to be habits; they have to be part of your regular practice. Neither blog posts nor comments are going to be great every time. When you do them regularly though, your odds of a good question or a conversation-generating post go up.

  5. I really like the three links out activity, for some reason. It seemed to make some connections that I wasn’t making before, and it was like tracking an animal path through the woods — only to discover some lost treasures (never really lost, right?)

    That is one activity I want to try again.

    Kevin

  6. Dave Ferguson said he does the three links out regularly. I can definitely see that if you did that once a week or so that you could really stretch yourself. I’m going to try to repeat that activity myself.

  7. The problem with the three links is that you come across something good, but then lose it unless you remember to bookmark it somewhere (I am so glad I found del.icio.us this year!). You also need to have time to do the three link thing and then you have gone out on a tangent. I then find I am lost from my original purpose in reading the blog. While it does stretch the thinking, it can also cause you to lose focus when it is most needed (i.e. when I should be correcting papers or writing my dissertation, I find I have gone in a whole new direction).

  8. Social bookmarking is a must if you want to find things again. And there’s always a need for balance between structuring the time for things you have to get done on a schedule and for the things that benefit your own learning. I think you need to make time for yourself too.

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