I have remained baffled on a phenomenon I noticed on social media technologies I am presently on – LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter and I do blog as well. I have watched as I read several ‘Posts’ on these sharing avenues lately and wondered what the rationale is for readers, that is behind what they comment on and Like. So the questions are what makes readers add a comment or like a post? Was it based on the content of the post? Or was it influenced by who the author of the post is? Is it in any way influenced by personal relationships with the author of the post? Or is it a combination of these factors? I have asked myself these questions over and over as I watched the way people engaged in these.

 Now, when I say ‘Post’, I refer to an update, a tweet or an article and when I say ‘author’, I refer to the one making the post. So tell me, what makes you comment on or like an article, an update, a status or a tweet?

When I originally posted this article on LinkedIn, a few comments have come in (snapshots below, I encourage you to read them). Nick Leffler was one of those who dropped a comment and had also written a similar post on Why you should comment more, I found it very interesting as well. Another professional, Brian Washburn after making his comment, asked me the same question: “What compels you to comment?”


 What makes me ‘Read’ a Post?

First, what makes me ‘read’ a post? Obviously I can only get to comment on a post I read and surely can never get to read all updates everywhere. I find that this sorting can be dicey. In a bid to maximize the little time I have to read through posts among my other daily activities, the following have been my considerations (in no particular order):

1. A compelling topic – Of course if the topic is something I’m interested in or if it sounds like its interesting, I take a chance of reading it. I have however become disappointed when after reading a post with a topic I thought I would like, I found it not as compelling as I thought it would be.

2. The person posting – I found that if I ‘recognized’ the author, especially if he/she has written something previously I enjoyed, I was drawn to read this other one as well. With these, I have usually many times liked over again the great content of these professionals which increases the chances of my reading their next post!

3. Present post count – This also has drawn me if I didn’t get attracted by the topic nor by the author. Sometimes I’m wondering what was in this article that made it have such number of views or likes or comments and I think there’s some psychology there. Some ‘holy’ curiosity rises to also ‘not miss out of the supposed great discussion’. Did it work? Well, this could be deceptive because that several people liked it does not necessarily mean I will; yeah I’ve liked some of them and simply wondered what other people liked about these others!

So, ‘what compels you to comment?

First, I think the main challenge for me is deciding if I have enough time and space to read and if it is what I want to read as at now. When I have read (for whatever reasons), the major compelling force for making a comment for me is the Content of the Post. If I find it interesting, real, and something I don’t mind to lend my voice into, I do make efforts to drop a comment. Like a few people said, some posts are discussion starters and adding a comment pushes the discussion on and provokes great thoughts and further discussion, so that encourages me as well.

A sincere complementary reason would be to connect with great professionals in the field. Is this right? Why am in these public social networks in the first place? Isn’t it to take my learning to a higher level, engaging these tools by reading the thoughts and works of others in the field and also by connecting and networking? Yes it is! So when I read a post, and I like what I read, I like to connect with such professionals to keep in touch with them and what they keep sharing.

So its your turn to share; what makes you stop to read a post as you scroll through your feeds or thread? In addition what makes you comment or Like the post? Are there other considerations you have as to what you read and why you comment? Is the length of the article a factor at all? Would you rather prefer to click links that lead to external sources (like blogs, websites) or you prefer to read the entire content directly wherever you meet it?

Tell me, what are your thoughts on these?

First, take a look at snapshots of comments on LinkedIn. Click here to view in context.


So join the discussion below and let me know what do you think… Or take the discussion forward!

Join the conversation


  1. I agree with all your points:) For me, it’s also about whether the person blogging is grappling with similar issues and their post includes questions – the feel of being open to conversation. I think ‘Likes’ on Facebook and retweets on Twitter are a bit lazy by comparison, whereas a comment on a blog post shows the person has taken the time out and written a more personal response. I agree with the length of the post – if it’s too long I might not read it and then be less likely to comment. Unless it is about a topic I feel truly passionate about.

    I find blog posts tricky because good ones are often both conversational and informative, not just showing ‘I know this’ – it’s about stimulating conversation. I think I need to use this strategy a bit more myself and reflect on my audience and the kinds of conversations I would like to be having more of in the blogosphere. I am also interested in connecting with more ed tech scholars in Africa, not just the big influencers on Twitter. There are so many local folks doing interesting and innovative things that are more suited to local contexts.

    1. Thanks Nicola for stopping by and dropping a comment!
      I’m myself learning that the ‘blogosphere’ like you put it, should be driven for conversation purposes. And I must say I got quite some responses on this particular article, it may be due to the fact that I wrote it leaving that genuine door of conversation – I really wanted to know what drove others this way.

      I also agree with your point on ‘local’ or let me use home-based Educators and e-learning professionals who are doing great & amazing things in our local context. Been seeking opportunity for meetups and COPs to engage ourselves and discuss in our own language. I for one connect with EdTech guys outside here & everywhere to have a wide view of how things are done there and see what can be learnt. One thing I have noticed for such is the field is emerging, no one really knows what exactly to do yet; we’re all stepping out trying and learning from ourselves, shaping the industry and her varied terminologies, setting standards and expectations… afterall, this is about continuous learning isn’t it?

  2. Nick and I have had a conversation or two around this. The idea of commenting on blogs is not unlike being the first to speak up in a classroom. You have those who aren’t afraid to jump into the water, and others who won’t jump until others do first, to see if it’s safe. I think it’s about three things – the tone, the topic, the writer.

    Length of post usually doesn’t bother me (as a long form blogger, I like to read fully formulated thoughts). So if the tone throughout encourages thought and comment, usually I will do. If the tone is adversarial, unless I want to get into the scrum – I usually move on. If the topic moves me, makes me think, helped me learn something, made me laugh or evoke some other sort of emotion – I try to say so in the comments.

    To me, not responding to a blog you felt a connection with is like listening to a presentation and not applauding at the end. Just getting up and leaving the room. So, if a blogger has evoked a mental applause, I like to tell them. *applause* Daniel!

    1. First, seeing Shannon commenting on my blog is a great encouragement for me and I’m glad I could at least connect with you, enough for you to drop a comment. Thanks.

      Maybe I should drop a word on that… I think more ‘established’ bloggers and writers should do this more in the spirit of mentoring. In my opinion, even if the comment is a critical feedback it will surely help the blogger do better next time, afterall it’s all about learning. I remember one of the first comments I received when I first began to blog (and I have 2 blogs) was about being careful of using copyright images on my blog. Believe me I didn’t know anything about that before then, and I appreciated that comment so much! So if it’s about the blog layout, the tone, writing style, or any other thing you notice, dropping a comment or two will go down in record!

      Shannon, when you say “I like to read fully formulated thoughts”, do you think this is you alone? Recently I discovered there are so many unpublished thoughts in my ‘evernote’ that never gets published because I feel they are not ‘fully formulated’ and everyone’s posts always feels like they’ve been writing it for months – so organised and full. On the other hand, I also don’t like to read one line or one paragraph blog posts, I’m however, thinking where the balance of empty/fully formed blogging lie.

      So folks, what is your take on this? Have you ever published a post that felt ‘not full’? Did you feel vulnerable about it?

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