Friday Buzz: The Secret Value of Online Comments

Don't discount your commenters. They may be tipping you off to important things you should be hearing. Also: Not everyone's day is created equal.

You hate comments on your blog. Hate. Them. You may think they’re vile, or annoying, or that they never seem to add anything of value.

But Kyle Stokes, a reporter for Seattle-area news and jazz outlet KPLU and an MJ Bear fellow at the Online News Association (ONA), says you should be willing to give them a chance. You might learn something from your readers that you didn’t know, he writes in an ONA blog post.

Stokes cites an experience he had while writing for the education blog Stateimpact Indiana in 2012: Commenters tipped him off early to the rising support for a challenger running to become the state’s superintendent of public instruction.

“It was hard to believe the challenger, Glenda Ritz, would pose any electoral threat. Our commenters overwhelmingly left pro-Ritz remarks. They weren’t a representative sample of the electorate by any stretch,” he writes. “But the comments foretold what would become the electoral earthquake of Indiana’s 2012 elections: Ritz won, propelled by activism from some of the same people who were active in our comments section.”

Stokes’ point is that, quite often, these voices tend to reflect changing trends. Another bonus: If you’re willing to put in a little curation work, comments can even become content for your organization.

(By the way, if you know any journalists under the age of 30 doing cool stuff online, be sure to tell them about ONA’s MJ Bear Fellowship. But act fast! Applications are due today.)

Your Clock Isn’t Their Clock

“Everyone is given the same 24 hours in a day,” the saying goes, but that doesn’t mean everyone is equally free to spend them as they wish.

That’s the thrust behind Jeffrey Cufaude’s latest blog post, which makes a pitch for leaders to gain a better understanding of the requirements around others’ day-to-day lives.

“We may each start with the same 24 hours in a day,” Cufaude writes, “but what is important to acknowledge, understand, and appreciate is how many of those hours are genuinely available for our discretionary use. And that’s where the clock starts to tell time differently.”

How much time do your colleagues really have, anyway? (ht @jcufaude)

Other good reads

Where should you display your social feed at your conference? Event Manager Blog has a few ideas.

Association Executive Management’s David M. Patt makes a pitch for going with your gut in the age of data-driven decisions.

If you’re good at reading between the lines, you might be able to figure out when an employee is looking to jump ship, Vertical Response CEO Janine Popick writes on


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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