Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Do comments matter to readers?

Comments are a great way to engage readers and crowdsource content--but what if the comments are too long or too negative? Will they scare others away, turn off your fans or attract more readers?

Maybe none of the above. This recent AdAge survey found that 63% of readers don't care if your site offers the opportunity to comment. But its report notes that that might not be the data point on which to focus, since the age of the respondent was significant here:

Maybe we need to dig a little deeper. If you look at the future news consumers -- mMillennials and Gen-Xers -- you start to see a very different picture. Younger millennials (18- to 24-year olds) are three times as likely as those 55 and older to say that engagement tools will make them more likely to visit a site. Almost 80% of the 55-plus crowd said they rarely or never comment on stories compared to only 24% of the 18- to 24-year-olds and 27% of the 25- to 34-year-olds.

If too-long comments have you thinking your readers should just get their own blogs, take a cue from the New York Times, which recently cut its 5,000-character limit for comments down to 2,000 characters.

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