Beyond Bloggers: Commenters Rise in Influence

OMMA Social – San Francisco – 2009

Commenters create 70% of the dialogue in the exploding universe of the blogosphere, and are playing an increasingly important role in the evolution of social media. Blogs are evolving beyond sources of information into dynamic locations for Internet discourse. Commenters create the conversational elements on blogs, helping shape both blogger content and readers’ understanding. Major news sites have accepted this trend, and enable a commenter to reach a global audience by posting their comments after reporters’ articles published online. Marketers see comments as the “low hanging fruit” of social media marketing, and are using social media “participation” software to monitor blogosphere comments and post their responses without actually visiting the sites themselves.

Commenters are Rising in Influence

Commenters give their communities of interest a united voice in social media. A commenter participates by commenting on blogs, sharing media with comments in feeds and setting up trackbacks. Commenters help create a fuller discourse outside of the bounds of a crafted post, highlighting information that is relevant, insightful and necessary. Positive, negative and neutral comments appended to content are now standard features of the consumer Internet. Hilarous commenter stereotypes have now emerged because commenting is so ingrained in the social web experience.

Commenting is Big Business

MediaPost’s OMMA Social 2009 focused on how large companies can understand and participate in the conversations that their consumers and customers are having in social media. Conference attendees learned about ways to influence the volume and tone of conversations about their brands in blogs. Social media is becoming an important aspect of search engine marketing. Blog posts and blog comments constitute a majority of Google results for many searches about companies and brands. Like a slowly turning battleship, the marketing industry is recognizing and responding to the rising influence of commenters.

Marketers Drinking from Fire Hose

Social media marketers are drinking from a fire hose, seeking actionable data within the millions of pieces of user generated content that find their way online every day. Commenter voices were clearly highlighted at OMMA Social as one of the most actionable elements in all social media conversations. Increasingly, companies are turning to specialized software and services from firms such as Visible Technologies and Converseon for help bringing commenters into their social media dialogue.

Commenters in the Crosshairs

Converseon has conversation mining down to a science, refined through years of experience monitoring online conversations about brands. Visible Technologies takes a very proactive stance towards commenters. Their software allows companies to track the commenters participating on influential blogs and then respond with comments of their own on blogs or within communities – using entirely automated tools that don’t require marketers to visit the social web site!

With Commenter Power Comes Commenter Responsibility

We were amazed by how closely commenters are being measured and analyzed by social media marketers. An admonition for commenters: Keep in mind that when you write a comment, you may well pop up on the computer screens of major companies’ marketers – complete with information about who you are, what you have said before and their options for how to “influence” you.

We at the SocialTimes would like to thank our commenters. You impact this blog and are appreciated by our community. We enjoy the online and private email conversations fostered by your comments.

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