Bark is Back

It’s been about a week since I launched this year’s week of no blogging / only commenting. This is hardly an exact, precise activity, and I am honored by the wide range of incoming links (the non spam variety, of course).

So according to coComment, I posted 57 comments this week, admittedly a lot were on flickr- but they count, right?

Of course no one has caught on that this is my twisted devious plot to escape coming up with something to blog for a week, right? Just run around and drop comments elsewhere. Maybe it could be a month…

So if I was a proper academic or researcher, I might have some grand conclusion to postulate here, something bullet-point worthy.


To be honest, it is less to discover any grand theory. I recognize how powerful it is when I get a legit comment, and this is my way of giving back, and more than a spate of “nice post!” spam.

It was a strange week on many fronts, and this year I may not have been overly diligent. I pretty much started with blogs in my RSS reader, and looked for posts by my frequent commenters. Then I might peek on some sidebars and explore blogrolls for interesting sounding sites.

The curious feedback, to me, was a colleague (who shall remain nameless. linkless) who expressed a fear of commenting on my blog for worry of not being “expert” enough! C’mom, anyone who reads my drivel knows how suspect it is right? And what is it about people in this field who are afraid to put their neck out and post a comment on a stranger’s web site? If out ed tech leaders have this fear, who is going to model fearless innovative action? What could be easier to do than typing in a box? If fear is that bad, make up a name!

So my premise is, if we tout the flatness of the world, then there is no “expert” hierarchy in the blogosohere. There are not exclusive levels one must try earn gain admittance to. No velvet ropes or burly guards.

At the same time, if I dust off my cobwebs, I am sure as a baby blogger I had those doubts whether my comment would be appreciated, or more likely ridiculed. But we all have some perspective, connection to add to these conversations. We don’t add anything by holding back ideas.

So looking back again at the comment stream, it was a lot in my 2.0 love of flickr. And much has to do with what has emerged by the 366 photos phenomena. This started, like many things cool in edtech, with D’Arcy Norman. Last year, he undertook his own project to take a photo every day and post it to flickr. It sounds easy when you say it like that, but as you read his words, it takes a lot– but for someone interested in photography or visual communication, it pushes you to think, look at the world differently.

Anyhow, in late December, D’Arcy tweeted a message about wondering if he would take this project on in 2008. So as a typical career move I have had good luck with, I copied D’Arcy- I tweeted back, “I will if you will” And others came in with me too- so now we have a group with 36 people doing this plus a 366photos tag.


That may be small scale on social networks scale, but the fact it has happened with no real structure, direction– it is a phenomena unfolding on its own course. And its within these places I commented the most. Mostly I am intrigued as this is so organic, and people involved are so actively engaged with not just their photos, but others in the game.

Certainly the outlets and forms of commenting have busted our far beyond just a text area form field on a blog site, but it only gets powerful with more participation. Don’t hold back, don’t over analyze, just be there.

And this marks the end of year 3 of February No Blog Comment Only. See you next year.

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. I can understand your friend’s trepidation though. If you look at your comment stream, you stayed within a comfort zone, too. You didn’t go outside of the people you talk about or with too much. Even though I am one of the top commenters on your list (as you listed a week ago), I didn’t see you on my blog, in Flickr, or responding in Twitter at all. Instead, you stayed within a specific community of people.

    Why do you think that is?

  2. How can you read this post and NOT leave a comment?

    As a school based occupational therapist, I focus on student participation in all aspects of school. Although there are many levels of participation, certainly active engagement is at the top of the list. We can all benefit from looking in the mirror and asking how actively are we participating in the various areas of our lives. Are we passive observers (nothing wrong with that at times) or are we actively contributing to our world around us?

    I think being a member of the 366project is a hoot. It has been great to view the world through a daily lens and to see it through the eyes of others.

    Adding our voices to the mix is so essential in keeping the stream of life going!

  3. Ouch, Dawn, that slap hurt, guilty as charged. You are correct I was not quite as giving as I might have been and stuck to what was in reach.

    I picked the wrong week…. there is a reason, details not what I feel like putting on a web page, but to be short, life was in upheaval this week, having to move, and being completely unfocused.

    So my weak comeback is to make the comment spreading more of a normal habit, then just a one week special.

    Or would you believe dog ate my comments?

  4. A couple of thoughts….. Last summer, I started to comment more on others’ blogs using CoComment, but when that tool seemed to be causing problems, I stopped using it and stopped commenting. I’m not sure why.

    However, I often would base my own blog posts off the posts of others – continuing the conversation in my space. Of course, that doesn’t really continue the conversation – it only works if I post a comment suggesting I blogged about it or if they read my blog as regularly as I read theirs. Is it appropriate to post a comment pointing to my own blog reaction to the entry in question, or should I not add my thoughts to my blog and post it as a comment instead?

    Having asked that question, following your “No Blogs Comments Only” I’m working to comment more on other blogs.

    The 366photos project is something I overlooked during my month long hiatus from blogs and news feeds. I may join in; sounds very entertaining. AND, at the very least, 366photos at Flickr provides for a fantastic demonstration of PicLens for Firefox ;-)

    Appreciate your blog, your work and your comments.

    SL: Topher Zwiers

  5. Chris,

    I experience the flakiness on CoComment too and shut it off in October. It can be annoying when it asserts itself on any web form textarea. Sue Waters recently had a nice post on managing blog comments and a different tool http://co.mments.com/

    I think your strategy of leaving a comment that may acknowledge the post and say, I decided to blog further about it here- I see all that time, and dont think it takes any flow out of the conversation- these conversations are not at all self contained.

    And to be honest, I am not any arbitrator of rules- we just all try to do what seems sensible and maybe some consensus emerges, or not.

    Carry on commenting, blogging, in the fashion that works for you.. that’s this dog’s way…

  6. I certainly understand the hesitation. I too am no expert, not even a blogger. I simply follow all you edtech (and other) bloggers and don’t often feel I have much to add to the conversation. But I’ll work on that. And if I can ever get my danged Yahoo account(s) straightened out, maybe I can actually sign on to Flickr to comment on some of the excellent 366 photos I view regularly.

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