Monday, December 15, 2008

Top Ten Commenters 2008 and a Wordle Meme

Tēnā koutou katoa – Greetings to you allMy Top Ten commenters

When I took part in the Comment Challenge this year, I not only became a blogger, but I also learnt a huge pile of techniques and different ways to go about writing a blog post. One technique I learnt was to cover more than one topic in a post – a very fine tack when attempting to follow a busy schedule of blog assignments.

I’m using that technique in this post for I am honouring requests from two respected bloggers, Andrea Hernandez of EdTech Workshop and Paul C of quoteflections.

Paul’s request for my 2008 Top Ten List brought me, once again, to consider my wonderful commentsphere. My Top Ten list is of the top ten superb commenters whose contributions have helped to make my blog come alive. Over 40 commenters made contributions to the posts on this blog since it began in May this year.

My Top Ten Commenters for 2008 are:

Virginia Yonkers
Ken Stewart
Sue Waters & Sue Waters (-: joint equal :-)
Britt Watwood
Paul C
Michele Martin
Bonnie Kaplan
Laurie Bartels (joint tenth equal)
Christy Tucker (joint tenth equal)
Shaun Wood (joint tenth equal)
According to the terms of Scott McLeod's fantastic commenter award, this entitles the commenters in my top ten list to display the award medal on their blog.

Very close to those were Tom Haskins, Andrea Hernandez,
Tony Karrer, Rose DesRochers, Sarah Stewart and Nancy White, who all made equivalent contributions.

There were many more amazing commenters who did not make this list. I pay a special tribute to those for the significant contribution they made to the discussions in Middle-earth this year.

Wordle blimp
Andrea Hernandez tagged me at the beginning of this month and I didn’t pick this up until very recently. Her request was to create a Wordle from my blog’s RSS feed, to comment on it, to tag others and to link back to Andrea’s post, The Wordle Meme.

I must say that I got a rather weird Wordle, for no matter how many times I tried, I always got a Wordle blimp and the word trust appearing as a separate display as shown above. I was surprised that trust was featured so prominently, though Andrea did say that Wordle draws from the most recent posts. Two of my latest posts were about trust.

The rest of the blimp reflects what I’d expect, with the foremost words being learner, time, people, resource and resources.

The contributors tagged in this post are invited to participate in the meme of their choice. Details can be found at Life is One Big Top Ten and The Wordle Meme.

Ka kite anō – Catch ya later


Anonymous said...

Thanks Ken,
I loved the Comment Challenge. We connected!!!!

V Yonkers said...

Thanks Ken. Likewise, I would have to put you on my top 10 for commenters. Just one question: When you look at the top ten list, do you see anything that the commenters have in common? For example, do they write brief comments? Long comments? inspire you to write follow up posts? put you in contact with other blogs? Looking at your list, what do YOU look for in comments?

Mr Wood said...

Thanks Ken, I like the concept of this as a self-reflection on our own sharing and involvement online.
Also, thanks for the reminder to do a Wordle reflection on my blog again, it is good to have a community that challenge each other.

Andrea said...

Hi Ken,
It is fun seeing the wordle. I am now wanting to wordle everything I write! Thanks for doing the meme.

Paul C said...

Hi Ken,
Thanks so much for taking part in Life is Just One Big Top Ten, 2008 meme. I appreciate the links to bloggers who have been a real support to you over the last few months. You have definitely returned the favour to their sites as well I am sure, as you have done for mine.

Britt Watwood said...

Humbled to be in such notable company!

Truth be known, you Ken always inspire me with your comments on my blog, so what goes around comes around!

Anonymous said...

People can write brief comments? Usually it takes me 50 or 100 words just to warm up.

Ken Stewart said...

Ken, thank you very much for the inclusion. I thoroughly have enjoyed reading your comments - even though you may be a world apart. Thanks for all of your equal and much appreciated contributions as well. I love the fact that you helped me achieve my goals of simply furthering the conversation!

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora tātou

Bonnie - this is wonderful! You are right, we did connect in the Challenge, thanks due to Sue, Michele, Kim and Silvia for their initiative and hard work setting it up for us. And I must say, it’s wonderful to remain connected :-).

Virginia - thanks for the complement, but you are top of my list!

Y’know, it’s really funny when I watch a languages expert at work. Fascinating, but funny. You say, “Just one question...”. Oh yes? How many questions? Um, three? No. Six :-) ! Let me answer them all ;-).

One of the main thing that’s common to the top ten is that they are all regular commenters on my site. As obvious as this may seem, their frequency (including yours) is what I think provides the magic – and it’s consistent, what’s more.

Their diversity is the next. They don’t all write the same length of comment. For instance, Bonnie Kaplan gives me short concise bursts of support – very important for a blogger’s self-esteem is support of this sort. It quietly says, “I like what you’re doing here.”

The long comments, like yours, provide fleshy opinion – some would say ‘content’. Y’know, the 1 out of the 90:9:1 business. I’d put myself in that category. They write the sort of comments that could well be put on a blog as a post. That’s not a criticism- it’s a sure darn compliment.

Some comments do inspire (if that’s the right word) me to write a follow-up post. But, me being me, I’m more likely to write a post-type comment, and I frequently do.

Some do put me in contact with other blogs. But funny enough, often the most interesting contact with another blog is a newcomer who blogs and leaves a comment.

What do I look for in a comment? Diversity, I’d say. Some comments really make me think, because they’re different. For as much as this sometimes seems awkward, and is cerebrally stretching, I like that sort of thing – masochistic some might say. The most appreciated type of comment in that category comes from commenters like Tony Karrer or Sue Waters. They say, “Hey Ken, but you’ve forgotten about . . . “ And they’re usually right! :-(

Shaun - How are you mate? How’s the trip? You back in Godzone yet? Congratulations on the degree, by the way! That is a great achievement. I know just how difficult it is to get hold of a degree while teaching at the same time. I felt in need of a holiday when I did mine that way :-).

Andrea! – I remember your comment about the Wordle earlier this year. Anyone who likes words will appreciate the Wordle, wouldn’t you agree Paul? I think it’s very clever the way it gives a different display every time you run it on the same theme.

The Wordle distribution is always constant, but the colour, font and the way it’s displayed is always varied. It is certainly a popular Web2.0 app with edubloggers.

Paul - Links to bloggers? You are right. These bloggers have been miraculous. And you know what? You are among them! It is a humbling thing for one as arrogant as me, to realise how important others are to the whole scheme of things. But blogging does that for me.

If there is one message that blogging gives me, it’s the closeness, comfort and support of others. It can be quite emotional to think about this.

When I read of young teenagers on the Net, who end themselves through lack of friendship and support, I feel a real heel that I wasn’t there to support them. I think that’s what community has the potential to do.

Community can be cruel, but it can also be supportive – a collective intelligence that is often underrated, but unpredictable. That’s because we don’t have hundreds of brains in our heads to figure out what the community will do. Fascinating stuff, don’t you think?

Britt - you and I both mate! ‘Humbled’ is the word. Hey, it’s great to have you visit Middle-earth. You may not have met some of these people here - they are a great bunch :-) . I’ll leave you to make your own introductions.

Now Dave! - You’re up to your tricks again. How can you leave a comment like that and say “it takes 50 to 100 words . . .”? :-) There are some of us who can’t say something in 100 words if we can say it in 101.

Kia ora Ken - Goals to further conversation? You could come up with a post on that. “Ten ways to further conversation in the blogosphere”. I know, I know. That’s not your style. It isn’t mine either. But isn’t diversity wonderful? When I think of all the things I’d never do in a blog, I usually find other people doing them :-) And they’re good at it.

Y’know, there’s a lot said on the blogosphere about how to write a fantastic blog post. It’s becoming an art in itself. But there’s not so much about writing a good comment. Maybe we should start a craze. The comment as an art form. D’y’think it’ll catch on?

Ka kite anō

Anonymous said...

Thanks for including me in the list, Ken--you would certainly be one of MY Top 10 commenters, too. Always thoughtful, well-reasoned discussions that I really enjoy.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ken -- thanks for adding both of us to your list (nothing worse than sibling rivalry). Apologies I did see your post the other day but life has been very flat out these past few weeks.

Glad that Tony and my comments make you think more. Probably comes from my scientific background that is always searching for information.

It was a good question by Virginia.

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Tēnā kōrua Michele and Sue!

It gives me a real buzz that you two especially visit my blog. It's a bit like when the teacher visits a pupil's home - it keeps him on his best behaviour and prompts him to mind his P's and Q's. I like that - others wouldn't :-).

You will also notice that many frequent visitors to this blog are those who also participated in the Comment Challenge. There's a handful who left comments on this post for instance. The success of your Challenge speaks for itself, and I am proud to be one of your students.

Great to have you both drop by.


Laurie said...

Hi Ken,
There is something rather heart warming in having a friend half way around the world, especially as we have not met in person. I think that's what is so amazing, though, because it *feels* like we have met.

I appreciate your comments and insight on my blog, and rather look forward to checking in with Middle-earth once a week to catch up with the ideas you've been percolating. This whole blogging world is fascinating for the idea sharing, but what I like even more is the building of bridges around the world.

I *finally* sent off a thank you package, and perhaps it will arrive in time for the holidays!
Cheers, Laurie

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Laurie!
It is always great to get visits from people. I have visits from people in New Zealand, Australia, the States, and many other countries and it's wonderful to have these people come together on the one page as it were.

We share and by that means we also build bridges spanning thousands of kilometres. It is heartening, and amazing as you say, to meet this way.


Ken Stewart said...

Ken, there is much debate going on in social media circles about commenting specifically - how comments are occurring in many places other than the blog itself. The purpose of a blog, in my opinion, is to relay information and further the conversation. Comments are part of that conversation. However, I guess the conversations become like waves in the ocean rather than ripples in the pond. By this I mean they become full of their own life, and are not subject to the serial motions of stone being thrown.

I might just have to take you up on the top 10 post ;-)

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Ken

I know what you mean and though I sometimes write a post about a comment I wrote on anothers blog (as you well know) I try to keep the communication open at both venues on the discussion. It is quite strange too, for I often find that the conversations stimulated (the 1st on the original post and the 2nd on the commented post) can be quite different - and this is interesting for me.

I like your pool analogy about propagating ideas and the eddies created as a result. Some conversations can fizzle out and others can be quite difficult to control, almost tsunami force - been there, done that :-)

Catchya later