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Social Polarity to Build Blog Community

Interesting article at MindValley Labs on Positioning, “Social Polarity” and Vibrant Blog Communities, however it only went halfway. They tell you that to build a great community, you need to take a strong position against something, then market the blog to appropriate communities taking into account the positioning.

Theoretically great, but that is quite a mouthful. No hints on how to market the blog to these communities or draw in commenters.

Me, I have always taken a direct response-ish position relative to all of this: Comments are a function of blog traffic. You probably (don’t know, never been able to test) get more comments if you get more traffic. Perez Hilton gets more than Fred Wilson who gets more than me. Does Fred Wilson have a polarizing opinion? Not really.

In an effort to give more than opinion, we crunched a little, tiny, minute iota of data. I wanted to compare Scoble and Fred Wilson, unfortunately, avc.blogs.com doesn’t show up in comScore, Quantcast, or Google AdPlanner data, so I had to eyeball with Alexa.

So Scoble and Fred Wilson get basically the same amount of traffic according to Alexa:

Here is a bunch of other data I rapidly generated.

avc.blogs.com scobleizer.com techcrunch.com perezhilton.com
Uniques (Google AdPlanner) 61000 1600000 2400000
Page Views (AdPlanner) 162000 3500000 51000000
Total posts 11 14 32 51
Avg posts per day 1.375 1.75 16 51
Total Comments 410 298 1345 5211
Avg comments per post 37.3 21.3 42.0 102.2
Comments per unique 0.0049 0.0008 0.0022
Comments per page view 0.0018 0.0004 0.0001
Period July 4 – July 11 July 4 – July 11 July 10-11 11-Jul
Comments per post 27 4 2 22
23 10 8 163
25 8 51 39
11 11 20 72
51 0 10 125
66 18 62 24
83 58 39 34
37 2 100 110
11 8 52 141
61 21 52 88
15 57 28 37
35 22 83
31 17 103
35 23 98
25 415
34 274
33 52
15 73
33 26
39 192
54 34
88 89
8 256
90 81
23 21
18 42
220 123
15 52
36 145
18 121
105 56
5 116
108
51
173
158
86
54
44
145
47
62
293
87
45
46
78
174
97
103
53

Not the world’s greatest data set, but at least enough for us to have something to talk about. So Perez Hilton posts a ton every day, gets a ton of visitors and gets a boatload of comments. TechCrunch posts less, gets slightly less traffic than Perez and gets significantly fewer comments per post, Scoble and Fred Wilson post a lot less, get a lot less traffic, and Scoble gets a lot fewer comments per post. But Fred WIlson gets nearly as many comments as TechCrunch!

You might also note that the smaller sites tend to get more comments per post. Maybe this indicates a more vocal, hard core audience, though my hypothesis would have been that audiences follow some bell curve-ish distribution of active vs not active readers.

A more interesting way to further this analysis would have been to break down the comments and determine how many large an audience is actually generating them, modeling the vocalness of the minority at different points.

Regardless, we can probably safely say that, given Fred and Scoble’s traffic similarities, it is not strictly traffic correlated. Furthermore, one could conclude that opinion (polarization) matters less than one might think because Scoble tends to be thought of as more polarizing than Fred Wilson.

As I say all the time, turns out there is not an obvious way to build a blog community.

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