Saturday, December 01, 2012

Comments


I’ve been noting how over the years the number of comments I get here has been steadily waning. I could, if I was sufficiently paranoid, put this down to a steady decline in my fan base, readership, popularity or whatever. However I know by my stats here that the number of people visiting this blog has been steadily increasing so, unless they’re stopping by to see how the road accident is progressing, something else must be going on.

Are people commenting less because of the time I spend away from the internet in the summer; because they won’t be getting a quick reply from me? That’s one possibility but there are others. The social media on the internet is always changing. Message boards went through their high season and waned. The likes of MySpace had their time in the sun then sloped off into the shadows. Is it that blogs are now, in internet terms, a bit antediluvian? Are all those who commented on message boards and blogs now using Twitter? Yeah, I reckon it could be a bit of that too.

Then there’s how people access the internet now. Mobile devices have been on the rise and no matter how wonderful they might be or how many thousands of apps they might have they do not have the utility of a pc, at a desk, with a chair. It’s my contention that the lack of response here does not equate to a lack of readers, but the lack of the simple ease of a keyboard.
What do you think?  

31 comments:

vaudeviewgalor raandisisraisins said...

your comments wane when you head off the island to the other island.

-observant vaudeview r.

Neal Asher said...

I know, Vaude.

Another thing pointed out to me by Shaun Pilkington on Facebook, and something I thought of too when I tweeted this blog - I'm getting my comments on other social media.

Neal Asher said...

Case in point: https://www.facebook.com/neal.asher/posts/10151352828898223?comment_id=26591444&notif_t=feed_comment_reply

Johan Appelgren said...

I do most of my reading and commenting on my phone and it is a lot easier to have a conversation on sites with apps like Twitter and Google+ because of the built in notifications and such. Typing isn't a problem since the keyboard I use is very helpful with fixing my mistake and suggesting words.

Rarely use Facebook anymore though because of its awful app.

Russell said...

I guess maybe that with the rise of mobile touch screen devices it's easier to view content but takes much more effort to write a comment, which people were more likely to do when at a laptop/PC.

Do you have just the stats of the number of visitors or do you have the user agent logged too. Would be interesting to see if the number of non-mobile devices correlates to the number of comments. Maybe look at the ratio of mobile/non mobile commenters etc...

Lord Weh said...

I always read anything you put here, I'm just normally too lazy to comment... But then that was always true before, too! On an unrelated side-note, any plans to do another youtube video in the future?

Lauris M said...

More like:
What could my post contain in value for anyone particular.
I just read your post, commends and move on :D

Big fan of yours!
All your books is read.

beak said...

no comment.



/thank you. here all week. try the fish.

Steve Sawyer said...

I read the blog via rss, so commenting means opening another browser window and most of the time I'm too lazy!

Kristin said...

Time is a factor - I usually read any posts while my work computer is booting up all it's other programs.

Post content - doesn't always warrant a feedback comment.

And mobile device - like others have noted, if I'm on my tablet, the system doesn't seem to like the comment boxes and boots me out.

I'm not on FB or Twitter or other social network sites so I can't remark on how those are a factor.

Still, I enjoy what I read here. A different viewpoint on world affairs that I appreciate.

robann said...

I was also getting a little paranoid about the lack of comments I get on a technology blog I write - I used to get many but now any comments are a rarity.

It is, as you have already said, mainly due to people using other media for commenting. In particular twitter in my case. The article gets written, posted on twitter and then re-tweeted or slagged off.

It is also that many people prefer to have conversations on active, aggregation sites that link to your blog. In my case it might be dzone where people can have their flame war.

In both cases it means the commenter is more likely to enter into a real time discussion and have a lot more people read their own comments (and re-tweeted - the ultimate ego boost for millennials).

It is quite amazing how quickly people's chosen communication method changes. Remember usenet, yahoo, AOL forums, email distribution lists, instant messanger, IRC, blackberry messenger etc? Many kids now don't even use phone text messages and can't use a T9 phonepad.

Why do you ask? You thinking about getting some PR company to pretend to be you and encourage comments? :-)

Sean said...

[..]lack of the simple ease of a keyboard. and...lack of a simple way to comment.

For me, it's royal pain to comment on a mobile device or tablet. I use GMail, so comment under my Google account. But I also have 2 step authentication set up, so if I'm on a mobile device, (which I usually am) I have to sign in, get a token, enable the device, etc.. It's a pain. And my own fault of course, but it then comes down to the simple fact that I *really* have to have something I want to say. :)

Neal Asher said...

Ah, so essentially I got that right. But I do think that it's a bit silly that the mobile tech makes it difficult to comment. This kind of thing is one of those I have considered regarding getting myself a fancy phone, tablet or whatever: it may do hundreds of wonderful things, but it's a pain when it doesn't do the one thing that you want.

On your last point, Sean: you would probably comment more if it wasn't such a hassle.

Jezcentral said...

Tablets are for consuming media. They are a pain to create it, though. As an aside, no matter how carefully I type (although I use Swype on my Android phone) I always spend ages correcting the text as I go, and this really saps my enthusiasm for deeper discussions. As I follow you via my phone, this sometimes puts me off commenting.

Jezcentral said...

Although, maybe we just need a bit of chivvying along to get us going?

daniel ware said...

i catch up with your news through G+ and twitter mainly now as actually it's more of a chore to break out the laptop and comment on your blog than just hop on my phone and interact with you the other ways :)

Neal Asher said...

Now that's an idea, Jez (!)

Andrew said...

I read all of your blogs on the go using my tablet. Normally it is on the train in the morning but sometimes in the evening at home too.

I read a few blogs but rarely comment because I do not feel the need to or too stressed/busy.

It is also partly to do with the use of a tablet and logging in.

I have wrote this using a stylus because my tablet now does handwriting recognition and it is much easier and quicker to use. So you may be getting a few more comments from me.

Keep up with the posts - they are great!

joshua said...

As it's been stated, mobile posting is a hassle- so I just read all your posts, and lurk silently in the background.

Phil M said...

As I don't do FB or Twitter and don't even own a smart phone or tablet you're stuck with me on here!
As for posting comments it very much depends on the article whether I wish to say anything or not.
I like it that your comment about comments has 20 comments though.

Neal Asher said...

Some time soon I'm going to get myself a tablet of some kind. On reading these comments I'm going to ensure it's one that comes with a detachable keyboard (but then I guess all of them can take a keyboard one way or another).

Johan Appelgren said...

If you use a somewhat recent version of Android and you're logged in to your Google account on the phone the browser will ask you if you want to login using that account and all you have to do is press Login (or whatever the label on the button is). Works like that on the Nexus devices at least when using the built-in browser or Chrome. No hassle at all imo. :)

Jamie Sidey said...

Mr Asher: I've been a lurker here for ages... I check every week to see how your next book is coming along, and to read about whichever new bit of science is currently catching your eye. I can't speak for others, but my lack of comments comes mostly from not wanting to comment just to comment.

On a side note: I can't bloody wait until your latest books reach the US. It's been driving me nuts waiting for a publisher to bring them over (and I'm too cheap to pay the premium to order from Amazon UK)

Keep up the phenomenal work... your books are like crack.

Sathynos said...

Well, with me the case is that I read your blog via RSS, so not actually visiting your page often. I take some extra clicks to comment and I admit of being lazy.

Sathynos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Neal Asher said...

Jamie, maybe you missed me referring to it before: check out http://bookdepository.co.uk - free international shipping.

Greg Floyd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Greg Floyd said...

I think it has more to do with the subject matter of your blogs. If the first thing I see is a long entry on your patio or remodeling your home in the Mediterranean or some Greek harassing some sheep, I've already lost interest and off to another site. Subject matter such as Doom-Mongers, Penny Royal and small reactors grabs my attention span by the short hairs. Some fans will love anything you put up on the blog but myself, recurring vacation/2nd home improvements I could care less about. It is common knowledge that us Yanks have a short attention span. Which is the main theory a good many British authors books are not published in the U.S., if the book is over 400 pages, publishers do not seem to think the book will sale. Peter F. Hamilton seems to an exception to getting away with selling gigantic books in the U.S. Myself, I just buy books from The Book Depository in London. God bless Royal Air Mail, which somehow can deliver a book faster than the U.S. Post Service can deliver a book across town. But that is just my humble opinion and like a-holes, we all have one.
Keep up the good work Neal, love your books, just not all of your blog articles.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Gabriel said...

Similar to some of the other commenters I get your blog via rss which I will usually read on my nexus 7 or phone.
The idea that reading these things on mobile will reduce the comments due to the difficulty (in comparison to keyboard) of commenting got me thinking.

I find that I tend to be reading on my mobile devices in environments that make responding more difficult than it would be if I was sat at my desk at work. I would suspect that it is this at least as much as any perceived difficulty in entering a comment that could be contributing to a reduction in comments.

Tony B said...

All of the above. I rarely use a computer these days but read blogs via gReader. But commenting on my mobile was just too fiddly, so I've just bought a nexus 7 which is much handier.