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August 30, 2007

Is there a statute of limitations on commenting?

Once again, I find myself tending to my social media responsibilities for VAR late at night in the comforts of the master bedroom at the *opulent* Martin Estate.

So, I've been digging through Google blog search results for a few of VAR's domains and have left a number of comments on some recent posts. On gut instinct, I stopped leaving comments on any posts made more than 30 days ago.


Blogs are conversations, right? So if a blogger said something about VAR over a month ago, I think it would be weird to comment on it now. It would be like jumping back into a conversation that has moved on to another subject or has ended. Do you agree?

Here is my dilemma: The conversation has been going on for far longer than I've been employed by VAR. I want to be involved. But I also want to make sure bloggers know that I "get it." If someone comments on something I posted over a month ago, my first thought is, "Where were you X months/years ago?" My sensitivity is raised if the person commenting is doing so on behalf of a company or organization. And now I'm THAT GUY!

So, especially for you bloggers and members: If you blog about a company or association, do you think there is a period during which a representative of the company or association should respond to demonstrate that they've actually been paying attention? Are you turned off by organizational reps who respond to posts about the organization months after the original post? Is there any grace extended if the person is new on staff?

All I have to go on is my gut feeling. Need some help here!



David Gammel said...

If you have something of value to add to the post, I'd go ahead and do it. If you just want the blogger to know you read it, send them an e-mail introducing yourself.

I'd say that applies to both old posts as well as shiny new ones.

Ben Martin, CAE said...

dgamm, where were you 15 minutes ago? ;-D

Dave S. said...

I wanted to add something of significance but dgamm beat me to the punch with his ideas.

Lets see if I can go with a variation on a theme. I agree with your premise that blogs are conversations. If we assume that most conversations are situational and/or contextual and your comment adds-to the dialogue with new information or a clarifying question then I would say post away. However, if you are simply writing to say "hey, I'm the new sheriff in town and just wanted you to know I'm on duty" then I don't see the point. Create a new post introducing yourself and begin anew from there. Comments, old or new, are great materials for new posts. I think I heard that somewhere recently! :-)

I guess the bottom line is simple: a conversation that takes place when you aren't present is part of the historical record and if you weren't there, even if it is archived for the world, you may be missing out on important contextual clues that led to why the discussion occurred in the first place.

In a nutshell, I agree with dgamm, with my suggestions added in to expand on the idea.

JNott said...

As Virgil said recently, "I think we all violently agree on this." I think the internet--and particularly google--changes traditional time boundaries for conversations. We should have the freedom to NOT have been there 30 days ago, and still join in. That's the beauty! The only reason I sometimes have a bad feeling about those old comments, is that I often get mildly spammish comments that are that old ("Hey I have a tool/website related to this topic..."). Those I don't like.

Jim Duncan said...

A couple of thoughts -

1) You weren't at VAR a month ago, so why not add the comment?
2) The post is going to be there in perpetuity, so why not add a comment to the conversation?
3) It's part of the Long Tail. If someone is searching for VAR (and I'm assuming that a post says a not-flattering thing about VAR) and that post comes up, wouldn't it be valuable to VAR and it's reputation to have some kind of positive response on the historical record?
4) You are finding these old posts, so certainly someone else will as well.

Sidenote: what are you using to track your comments? I use - it's simple and clean and it works.

Jim Duncan said...

As a follow-up, I close comments on my blog after (I think) 45 days, as comment spammers seem to target older posts.

David Gammel said...

> dgamm, where were you 15 minutes
> ago? ;-D

You have to hire me as a consultant for just-in-time access. :)

Daniel said...

Something of value is always welcomed, no matter when it is received. I have received comments on older posts, it doesn't bother me at all. In fact, you may even be able to shed some light on the situation that will make the conversation worthwhile once again. Think of it like this-- when a news story breaks, do we stop reporting on it after a certain period of time, even if new developments come to light? Of course not. If we did, they wouldn't teach history in school.

So as long as you have something of value to add, speak up!

Matt Baehr said...

I agree with all of the above, but realize adding to an older conversation doesn't guarantee that the conversation will continue or that anyone will see your new addition. At the same time, your comment might be the spark that ignites the flame again.

Lindy Dreyer said...

Great question, great comments. I'd extend the question...when you find an older post on a blog you're just discovering, is it too late to link to it on your blog? I think the "never too late if if you have something of value to add" applies here as well. Thoughts?

Ben Martin, CAE said...

Very interesting discussion. Thanks for the pointers. @ Jim: I also use - one of my faves! @ Lindy: In the case you present, I have the same issue it as I do with comments. But maybe I'm getting over it.