Use Twitter For Post Comments? The Pros And Cons

by Randy Murray on October 11, 2011

Comments on blogs are difficult things. They can become a problem when people abuse the opportunity for discussion or use it to attack and belittle others. But they can be a valuable addition, a conversation.

Many writers simply permit no comments. That may be right for them, but I enjoy them, although I reserve the right to change my mind about that. So it’s with interest that I note that writer James Shelley is conducting an experiment of using Twitter has a comment vehicle for his posts.

James’s approach has is interesting and has some strong positives. Using Twitter and a designated hashtag takes comments into the broader exposure that Twitter offers and might attract a broader readership. It removes, for the most part, the problems of anonymity and trolling. On the other hand, it severely limits the length of the comment. For me, if I’m going to take the time to comment on a post, I typically want the space to explore an idea or to respond to someone else. 140 characters, less when you include a hashtag, isn’t enough to do that properly. On Twitter I would have never received a lovely comment like this one.

Then there’s the problem of Twitter’s lack of memory. I find that my posts are read across months and years. You simply can’t track down someone’s Twitter comments about a post I wrote eighteen months ago - or can’t do it easily. Comments become a part of the “public record” of an article and, over time, I think it’s useful to know what people had to say about a post. I think it would be useful to collect and append the “twitter stream” to articles — sometimes.

Commenting takes time and effort. Too few people take the time to do it. I invite you to comment here or do so on Twitter.

Use the hashtag #1STT (think “First Today”). And I’m cptnrandy.

I look forward to the conversation.

The Use Twitter For Post Comments? The Pros And Cons by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Iain Broome October 11, 2011 at 8:33 am

I considered doing this when I recently updated the look of Write for Your Life, but decided against it in the end. You’re right, commenting takes time and it actually gives readers direct access to the author.

I think that would get lost using only a hashtag. It almost feels like the author diverting responsibility for the conversation they started.


Chris Martucci October 11, 2011 at 12:49 pm

I’m considering it as well. My rationale is that it’s “better than no comments at all,” which is, in fact, my alternative.

Most readers already know that they can use Twitter to discuss blog posts. People do it already — so why not suggest that they use a hashtag?


Dan Wilkinson October 11, 2011 at 9:26 am

“give me a blog specific form any day” was what I would have added to my tweet had there been sufficient room. They key is the right level of access to the author of the site, combined with a sensible level of administration required by said author in order to weed out any spammers or trolls etc.

Were I ever to write something that someone else actually found worthy of entering into a dialogue about, I would want that message to be directed straight to me (“Hey, I thought I’d reply to say…”), and not thrown out to the world who likely have no knowledge of the originating source (“Hey, look what I wrote on this guys blog”).

Perhaps it’s a moot point, but I would want people to find and converse with me on the basis of something they found, not as a side effect from some else’s abstracted thoughts. “Look at this guys blog” is great, “Look at my comments on this guys blog” less so.


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