How to Draw Thousands of Comments on a Blog

Bloggers who measure their success by the number of comments they draw are setting themselves up for disappointment. Two reasons:

1.  As in everything else, quality matters more than quantity. I’d rather have one thoughtful comment than 50 drive-by whacks from people who misspell everything but “the.”

2. Many blogs draw huge responses by playing to the lowest common denominator.  Certain cultural icons, or disasters, are sure-fire comment magnets–Britney, Paris, the late Anna Nicole Smith, etc. Blogging about them usually brings a shower of responses, but, alas, blogging about them means thinking about them and granting them a few bytes on the mental hard drive.

If I titled this post “Why Britney Shouldn’t Lose Her Kids,” or “Letterman Should Apologize to Paris,” I’d probably receive a good number of hits, but then we’d be talking about. . . well, them.

Case in point: Yesterday morning, AOL “News” posted a too-lengthy bit about Paris’ near-tears experience at the hands of the acerbic Letterman, who just wouldn’t stop going on about her jailhouse stint last summer. Before the story had been up two hours, more than 1,000 moths  drawn to the flame of celebrity had chimed in with love or loathing for the heiress.

I couldn’t bear to read more than a handful of the comments, but it was heartening to see a few who share my general reaction to the Celeb-Crazed Culture: How did it come to pass that we can’t get through a single day without having our minds invaded by these people? It’s a question I explored in this recent NPR/KERA radio piece. Share my misery if you like.

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