Do You Prefer Mine Short — or Long?

Girl (8-9) whispering to elephant's ear

Lauren Fernandez, in a comment to Stuart Foster about engaging blog lurkers, suggests people are either too busy or too lazy to take 5 minutes out of their day to add a comment to a blog post, even if it inspires them.

Do they comment? Sometimes. You have to leave it open ended, like you said. 250 words with holes that ask a lot of questions probably will drive more conversation that someone who is preaching for 700 words. I get bored after 300. If you want to hold my attention? It better be damn good.

Do her thoughts vibe with yours? Are you more apt to comment on short blog posts than long ones?

If you are willing to exercise your fingers in a comment below, I lend you my ears.

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  1. says

    I don’t think the length matters, the question is more about what information is covered and what there is to add. In some cases a 300 word article and a 1500 word article may both be so brilliant and thorough that there is really nothing left to add. Not wanting to leave a lame comment like “Great article, I agree.” I won’t comment.

    But if those articles ask a question, or leave some opening that entices me to leave my 2 cents then I will. Again it doesn’t matter on the length. My blog posts are verbose, but they get comments. I’ve commented on posts that were incredibly long as well as those that are short. Probably less of the latter with this post being the exception. Sometimes short posts cover things so generally that there is also not much to add. One hesitates to leave an in-depth comment on something that is seen as strictly a light overview of a topic. So I’m not sure that there is any particularly advantage to going short.

    People keep telling me that Internet users have short attention spans and can’t read more than 5 bullet points, but I refuse to accept this. In some cases I’ll keep marketing copy short, but I’ll still give people options to drill down for more in-depth info that may take longer to read. I think if we have a story to tell or knowledge to share, AND that content meets the needs of our visitors, they will read it. If it inspires a reaction, then they will comment. Quality not quantity sets the mood for audience interaction. Thus I think our posts should be just as long or short as they need to be to make whatever point they are meant to make. (And now that my comment is longer than the post, I’ll stop babbling! ;-)
    .-= New from Heidi Cool: Blogging as the backbone of a social media strategy =-.

  2. says

    Interesting thought. I’d guess definitely. The reason? People are more likely to comment on an incomplete thought and something that they are able to process in a rapid manner.

    Short posts allow for this type of interaction…

    Interesting insight, not what I took from Lauren’s comment at all…
    .-= New from Stuart Foster: Moving Beyond the Novelty: Geolocation =-.

  3. says

    I gave up trying to decipher what makes a “good comment-friendly post” a while back, Ari. :)

    Sometimes I think length can have something to do with it, but I think a lot can be down to the reader as well. If they have something to add, they will; if not, they won’t. Sometimes blog posts may seem open-ended and begging for discussion, and none happens; other times, closed posts can garner the most conversation.

    My take? Who knows? ;-)
    .-= New from Danny Brown: Ten for 10 in 2010 – John Haydon =-.

  4. says

    I generally prefer longer posts. I’m a reader though so I enjoy reading and tend to go through posts quick. The more information I can gather without following links the happier I tend to be.

    I’d tend to agree with the others that post length isn’t necessarily the main factor in whether or not I comment.

    You asked a question – that made me feel as though my input was something that you were interested in.

    You asked what I’d consider a general easy to answer question – That keeps me from being worried that I’ll sound stupid if it’s something that could be easily misunderstood.

    You asked about comments – Anyone can comment about comments whether you are a blog reader or writer so that opens up WHO might be interested in commenting.

    Jane Doe
    aka Dwippy
    .-= New from Jane Doe@DoFollow Blog List: No Title for this One =-.

    • Ari Herzog says

      You prefer reading long posts but read them quick. So… wouldn’t you prefer reading a shorter one?

  5. says

    I think it’s ridiculous to worry about who’s commenting on your posts, or why or why not, as long as you know that people are still reading them. The idea is to get information out; it’s not an exercise in validation. I wrote a post about my recent ill-advised walk on the Refuge beach, and I don’t believe even one person commented on the post. But lots of people commented to me, personally, when I next saw them. One person told me the hairs on her arms stood up while she read it – but she left no comment on the post. I find that people usually comment when they disagree with what I’m saying, no matter how many words I took to say it.
    .-= New from Gillian Swart: O’Brien to head up Council again? =-.

  6. says

    I would have to agree with Danny on this one. I have tried long posts, short posts, open posts, angry posts, rant posts, question posts, etc. And I still haven’t found which one gets the most comments or why. I just try to write posts that add value or get my readers to think and hope that they will add their opinion or ask questions.

    If you do find the right formula, I’m willing to pay. :D
    .-= New from Kyle Judkins: Weekly Social Links: December 27, 2009 =-.

  7. says

    One of my favorite blogs is Jim’s marketing blog. He wrote a recent post relating to blog content and what motivates people to comment. He asked for opinions as well. I really liked reading it and felt compelled to offer my own feedback, and because Jim asked for it.

    Here is the post if you haven’t read it yet. I also suggest subscribing to his blog.
    .-= New from Anna Barcelos: Tweetsgiving: What I’m Thankful For =-.

  8. Ari Herzog says

    @Jane: If you prefer reading longer posts and reading them quick, then wouldn’t you opt for a shorter one? Oh, and you can write Dwippy, if you prefer. It’s more “real” than “Jane Doe” which sounds morbid at best.

    @Gillian: I don’t worry if someone comments; I’m more curious if the aggregate prefer articles that have few words or the most number of words.

    @Anna: That’s key, to ask. If you don’t ask, you risk not knowing the answer. ;)

    @John: I never read the book. How was it?

  9. says

    If the post is good enough I may read it through and still have enough energy to leave a comment. Although it all depends on the post, I prefer the shorter ones.

  10. says

    I think it depends on what the blogger is talking about as to whether long or short works. For instance, if a blogger has done some research on a topic, it’s hard to keep those short. Statistics posts can be long also, and of course rants could also be pretty long.

    Each reader will determine what works for them, I figure. I just write and let them figure it out. lol