Exchange rate for blog comments, interaction

Louis Gray · November 24, 2008 · Short URL:

This is a first attempt at creating a rate for interacting with blogs

 (Editor's note: Allen Stern and Center Networks are not affiliated with this post or the exchange rate tables, yet. The CN logo has been helpfully borrowed)

In May, Mathew Ingram, Fred Wilsonand others said that for non-professional bloggers, comments were howthey got paid. The interaction and discussion that takes place onblogs, between the author and the consumer, is what most write for -the conversation.

But recent tools that let people comment elsewhere,or interact on the original content in other ways has some sayingusers' actions simply aren't enough. As much of the conversation movesoff the original blog, or people are sharing items in Google Reader or hitting "like" in FriendFeed,they are showing interest, but not engaging, causing some to wish for asimpler time when those services didn't allow users to show passiveapproval.

One of the more outspoken voices on this topic has been Allen Stern of CenterNetworks, who wrote on this blog earlier this month:

"earlyadopters are screwing early adopter blogs - period. Clicking share ongoogle reader is not like leaving a comment on the source. Clickinglike on ff or retweeting on twitter is not the same as leaving acomment on the source. I will have more on this soon as I think thatlazyness has slowly ruined what was something beautiful."

Andwhile he and I don't always line up with our beliefs on the same spotin the blog evolution chart, there is no question that some activitiesdo more to encourage the original author and their content than doothers.

In that spirit, here is the first attempt at an exchangerate for interacting with blogs. As Allen has been a chief proponent ofgiving original authors their due, I believe the unit of metric is bestlabeled as a "CN", in honor of CenterNetworks. It's also no coincidenceyou could call these "C Notes" or "Comment Notes".

To start, I argue that a comment on the original author's blog post should be counted as "1 CN", to establish a baseline.

Actions that are worth more than 1 CN, depending on one's network size and influence, include:
  • Making a comment on the original blog, then blogging about that discussion on your own blog. (10 CN)
  • Writing a new blog post on the same topic and linking back to the original author as the source. (5 CN)
  • Submitting the blog post to StumbleUpon with a strong description and good tagging. (3 CN)
  • Submitting the blog post to Digg, Reddit, or Hacker News. (2 CN)

Actions that are worth between 1/2 CN and 1 CN, depending on one's network size and influence, include:
  • Retweeting the item on Twitter. (.8 CN)
  • Digging an already submitted story. (.6 CN)
  • Adding a vote on Reddit, Hacker News, or Mixx. (.5 CN)
Actions that are worth less than 1/2 CN, depending on one's network size or influence, include:
  • Posting the item natively to FriendFeed. (.4 CN)
  • Posting the item to Socialmedian or Strands. (.3 CN)
  • Posting the item to Facebook. (.25 CN)
  • Adding the item to your Tumblr blog. (.25 CN)
  • Sharing the item in Google Reader. (.25 CN)
  • Adding the item to your Delicious. (.2 CN)
  • Adding a comment on the original item on FriendFeed. (.2 CN)
  • Liking the item on FriendFeed. (.1 CN)
  • Adding a comment to a reshare of the item on FriendFeed. (.1 CN)
  • Liking a reshare of the item on FriendFeed. (.05 CN)
  • Adding a comment on the item in Shyftr. (.05 CN)
  • Adding a comment on the item in Facebook. (.05 CN)

Theseexchange rates show current market valuations, and are subject tochange, based on the increase and decrease in popularity of associatednetworks and the sway of conventional opinion. Rates quoted are validas of November 23rd, 2008, and were determined by a non-scientificmeasure of effort, influence and reach of the aforementioned externalsites and activities.

As your activity gets further and furtheraway from the original blog post, and the blog post becomes less of thestory, but the third-party service gets to be more of the story or thedestination, it delivers less perceived value to the original author,be it psychological, social, or in some cases, actually financial.While some of us early adopters are all too happy to expand a blogpost's reach through our various social networks, and enjoy the newcommunities that are built there, it's not surprising that those whoare seeing less activity on the original source of their stories arefeeling something's amiss. I know that as I've gotten busier, I'vetaken less time to comment on the many blog posts out there, even asI'm making comments on the various social media sites, and sharing likeI always have through Google Reader.

So if you want to show yourappreciation to the author of a blog you've found particularlyinsightful of late, or who has opened your eyes to a new topic, don'tjust take the easy way out and hit "share" as the item flows throughyour RSS reader, or hit "like" on your social site, but take the extratime to rise up the CN chart and put some food on that blogger's tableby making a comment and engaging. Allen and many others will be happyyou did. 

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