04/11/2014

Reviews VS Discussions – Who Wins? {The Birdie Musings}


I'm back after a week-long disappearing act! Though, I didn't technically disappear, because I was on twitter. So quit being so needy, you guys. GOD. (I love you all. Have a cookie.)

Now, down to business: I've noticed a bit of a pattern lately, with reviews VS discussions, and not just here on Little Birdie. 

The pattern being that discussions tend to get a lot more attention and that the comments on them tend to be more conversational, than the ones on reviews. (Put away your pitchforks – that's not me dissing any comments! Just making an observation.)

I don't tend to think of Little Birdie as primarily a review blog. I think of it as a book blog in general, so I don't mind if people prefer my discussion posts to reviews or vice versa, because I enjoy doing both and am happy people like both!

But it does lead to an interesting thought . . . what is it about discussion posts that make them more appealing? Do more comments or views on discussions mean people dislike your reviews?

Discussion posts open up a much bigger forum for debate and opinion-sharing. Personally, I feel like there can be a lot more to respond to with discussion posts. I normally have an opinion on what is being talked about and like to share my point of view. With reviews, it can be harder to come up with something to say. People may not feel like they can add anything by commenting and would rather not put something generic. 

The there's the fact that some people don't like reading reviews of books they've never heard of, but a discussion post doesn't have that limit. It's always nice to see people's opinions on a topic, no matter what that topic is.

So, do you think more attention on certain posts is about quality, or how much room there is for others to express their opinion? Have you noticed you get more responses on certain posts? Which of your posts get the most attention?



 



Allie is a Pimm's-obsessed reader, who dreams of road tripping over America, learning to surf & becoming fluent in all the languages of her heritage (which, sadly, does not include Elvish). If she's not reading or blogging, you can find her catching up on Teen Wolf, or reigning supreme with Scrabble/Mario Kart. Stalk her on twitter, instagram or goodreads.


40 comments:

  1. Jeeeez, Allie. You disappeared for a week and I didn't get my fix ;) <33333

    I definitely agree with you--discussions are a lot more popular! I think it's because opinion pieces can generate a multitude of responses, making it easier for people to just pour and bare their souls out to you in the comment section :P It's a lot harder when it comes to reviews. I read them and I'm enlightened and all but sometimes it's hard to comment anything other than "I agree wholeheartedly" and well...what more is there? It's harder to be stimulating and engaging when it comes to reviews. But with discussions, the world's kind of your oyster. You could take it anywhere and everywhere with a discussion post and a liberated commenter often leads to interesting thoughts. Or rambl-y ones like this one that I just gave you so maybe I should stop, har!

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    1. Buuut I twitter stalked you quite a bit – so that counts for something, right? IT MUST.

      Yeah, reviews don't really offer much variety comment-wise. Like, you can either say 'good review' or 'I don't agree' and then try and expand best you can, but in a sea of similar comments, it's hard not to sound repetitive.

      Liberated commenter LOL. Put your picket sign down, Jess ;)

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  2. What? You abandon us and we only get ONE cookie? *throws tantrum* I DEMAND A WHOLE CAKE, ALLIE. I WON'T STOP SCREAMING UNTIL YOU PAY ATTENTION TO ME.

    Also: Yessss. My reviews suffer greatly. If I interview an author it suffers even more. Whyyyy?! Okay, I know why. Like you said, anyone can participate in a discussion. Not everyone has read the book we just reviewed or what not. I try to put discussion topics at the end of my posts, but you have to click on the review to see the discussion anyway. *sigh*

    Okay. I'm still waiting for my whole entire mammoth cake. *taps foot*

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    1. In my defence, I was PLANNING to give you a bunch of cookies each. But then they all mysteriously disappeared. I didn't eat them. They just vanished. Really. Honest. I WOULDN'T LIE.

      Yeaaaah, I try to open up a discussion at the end of my reviews BUT if nobody is clicking on them in the first place then FAIL. It doesn't work :( Nobody wants to talk to me, Cait!!!

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  3. Yes! I've been noticing more and more lately that my discussion posts almost always get more page views and comments than my reviews, and I completely agree with your reasoning as to why this happens. I've found that responses to my posts definitely depend more on room for discussion than on quality. Even within book reviews, my reviews of popular books that more people have read or want to read tend to get more attention. And I agree with Jess - because I follow bloggers who share my taste in books, I often feel like I have more to add to the conversation after reading a discussion post, whereas my book review comments often go something like "I completely agree!" or "That sounds great - you just convinced me to read it."

    This trend doesn't truly bother me either, though - it just motivates me to try to make ALL my posts engaging enough to attract attention.

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    1. Yeah, it's not just comments but views too! I think slowly book blogging is becoming less about reviewing and more of a personal thing . . . people want to hear blogger's opinions on stuff going on in the community and also, with discussions, more of the blogger's personality comes through. They're a lot more approachable / less professional

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  4. I completely agree with this whole post, discussion are just more fun because you feel more like you can get your view out there and actually have a conversation versus just commenting into cyberspace.

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    1. That's exactly it - discussions aren't just comments they're conversations! Which is just a lot more open and easy. It's easier to talk to someone than think 'right, I should comment . . . what can I say?' which is usually how it goes for reviews

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  5. I think what draws more attention to discussions is that it's not just bookish people that read them, I think you get a lot of other bloggers who focus on things like fashion and such that just read a little, and you get the readers, and the bloggers and there's just more audience I think, where-as reviews are predominantly for readers, which is less people, but you bring up a good point Allie, so well done :D

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    1. I think that's for sure a factor. I guarantee a bunch of my readers aren't book bloggers themselves and so tend to care more about the discussions than book reviews. Discussions are for everyone, whereas reviews tend to be more for us bookish nerds :P

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  6. I enjoy reading reviews, but I don't usually have much to comment on. The best reviews go into the details -- that is when I can scrounge up a good comment. But, I know a lot of people avoid revealing any spoiler-ish items and those posts end up being fly-bys for me. :/ I feel like the best reviews are the ones that are able to subtly throw in a discussion. So even if your readers haven't read that particular book, there's bound to be some theme you can pull out and make a big statement or question on. Best of both worlds! I'm not always great at that, but I try to be better!

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    1. I'm definitely one of the people who avoids a lot of spoilers, just because I want to tell people about the book without spoiling the experience of them reading it for the first time. I also think you can have really in-depth reviews without blurting all the plot twists, it's just carefully side-stepping around them lol

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  7. MY LOVELY ALLIE-BEAR IS BACK FULL FORCE A D CREATING CONTROVERSAY LIKE ALWAYS <3333 (I'm joking *wink*)

    But seriously... I've noticed this one my blog too. I think it's just because discussion posts end up generating more responses. I love reading and commenting on reviews. They help me pick me reading material but when I see a discussion post that gets my blood pumping YOU BET i'm leaving a long long long paragraph sharing my opinions :) Lovely discussion post Allie :)

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    1. YOU KNOW ME. CAKE AND CONTROVERSY - THEY'RE MY MIDDLE NAMES ;)

      Yeah discussions are more likely to make me have that NOW WAIT A MINUTE moment where I need to comment because I either totally disagree or really really agree and must tell EVERYONE

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  8. Totally agree! I think the reason has several parts: First, people love sharing an opinion, and in a discussion post, the whole purpose is having people chime in. I love sharing my opinion. See, I am doing it right now ;) Plus, discussions posts are applicable across the board. We may not all have read whatever book is being reviewed, but a lot of people will relate to a good discussion topic.

    Also, a lot of times, if I am reading a review, I either TOTALLY agree, and therefore have little to contribute, or haven't read the book (and maybe don't want to, I never know what to say if it is a book I do not want to read, like "Glad you liked this, I think it sounds dreadful" would probably not earn many friends), or completely disagree and feel weird saying so! Though I try to comment on reviews as much as possible, sometimes there just isn't a ton to say, but in a discussion, there pretty much is always something I can talk about :)

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    1. Yeah, I think the key is reviews are dependent on people either having read the book and being curious as to what others think, or wanting to read the book and being curious. If you're neither of those, you're not going to bother clicking on them, but reviews are much broader and all-incompassing

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  9. I personally love discussion posts more than reviews.I love reading blog posts, and my favourite type are the ones that reaches out to the reader and ask their opinions.
    There's no problems with reviews, it's just that it's difficult to write a comment for a review than a discussion post.If haven't read the book, and don't feel anything about the review, what's there to comment about? I don't see a point in leaving a 'nice review' comment.


    Both the blogger and I know that I just wrote it for the sake of leaving a comment.


    Mishma @ As the page turns

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    1. Yeah, 'nice review' comments are a little worse than no comment at all, because a lot of the time it seems as those the person hasn't even read the review. Comments for the sake of comments are silly and impersonal!

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  10. Yes, discussion reviews definitely get waaaaay more notice than the reviews. I remember writing a post when I was really deprived of sleep at 12:30 in the morning and that got so many comments it was kinda weird and crazy lel. I guess, it's just because anyone can participate in discussions--and a few people don't like reading reviews until they've read the book themselves.

    Great post, Allie! <33

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    1. I think the most brilliant discussions come at the midnight hours, when we're all sleep-deprived and rambling. Everyone loves a bit of crazy!

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  11. Good point. For me personally it's also harder to contribute meaningfully to book review posts unless I've actually read the book in question (which is rare in my case, as unfortunately I don't get to read as much as I'd like!)

    It's also the same for me. My news-related posts get the most views and comments, followed by discussion posts.

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    1. Ohhh, news-related posts sound interesting and very official. I'd feel all cultured and grown-up reading them lol

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  12. Hm, interesting idea. I think itms just because you can get more involved with discussions as you have a solid topic to, well, discuss. Whereas with reviews if you haven't read the book you can't really get involved.

    Great post!

    Amy;
    My blog, The Blog Hermit
    Twitter | Instagram | Bloglovin'

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    1. Yeah, discussions are more inclusive, I guess. Reviews can make you feel a little out of the loop if you haven't read the book, whereas everyone can have an opinion on a discussion

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  13. I agree with Cait. We totally deserve more than just ONE cookie, Allie. :/

    Anyway, your post is spot on. I guess discussion posts are more viewed and commented on on most blogs. Personally, I only read reviews for books that I want to read/have read and want to discuss/have never heard of but has a pretty cover. While that is a ton of books, and I love hearing people's thoughts on books, but there are still times when I won't open a new post on my feed because it's a review of a book that doesn't appeal to me.

    For discussions, I go off and comment on allllll of them! I love being able to share my thoughts and to hear other thoughts, too. There are tons of interesting topics that bloggers cook up, and they seriously fry my brain sometimes, but in a totally good way.

    I love both book blogs and review blogs equally, but for blogs that are more review-centered, I won't be reading ALL of their posts. :(

    Awesome discussion, Allie!

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    1. Like I told Cait, man, they just VANISHED. I don't even know what happened. One minute I was staring at them and the next the plate was empty and there was chocolate on my lips. It was like magic. There's no other explanation.

      I'm the same, I'll avoid a review of a book I've never heard of a lot of the time, or a book I know isn't my cup of tea. I just don't see the point in reading it (I'm clearly mean).

      That's why I think so many blogs are now doing less reviews and more discussions and memes and personal blogs. They're far more fun and inclusive!

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  14. To be honest, I've come immune to most discussion posts and will only read them on certain blogs (LBB being one of those). Not because I don't want to share my opinion, because if it's something I want to say, I don't tend to hold back. But so many blogs are rehashing old discussions and random topics that they don't even seem all that passionate about, and it comes across as it's more to make blogger round up posts on a weekend and to expand their comment audience. I love a passionate opinion piece, but I'm pretty sure most of us don't have a bone to pick each week.

    Maybe I'm just being pedantic, but after a while they tend to become less about opinion sharing and more about luring in comments sadly.

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    1. Yeah, I hate when I see the same discussions over and over again, because it's just a recycled version of an old debate that brings nothing new to the table. I hope I've managed to avoid falling into that trap and come up with some fresh topics!

      Hmmm . . . I've never thought of them as being a way just to get comments. IDK, maybe I'm too optimistic to think that lol, but I just see discussions as a way of opening up a dialogue and getting to know your readers, as well as letting them get to know you :)

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  15. I don't usually do many reviews on my blog (I can never think of any discussion topics that are new or interesting...) but for the few I have done, I've noticed the same pattern as you. I think it has to do with what you've said - that people find it easier to respond to discussions vs. reviews. I think it's because some people don't know what to comment on reviews for books they haven't read or don't care for, but discussions can apply to anyone, you know? Thanks for sharing Allie, and fabulous post! <3

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    1. Yeah, reviews are hard to comment on, especially if there's not one section you really agree with. A lot of the time I'll read a review and see a bit I really enjoy and go crazy in the comments over it. But sometimes a review lacks that punchy paragraph . . . and I'm at a loss for words lol

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  16. People are definitely drawn to discussions than a review because of the conversational aspect. I do notice that posts that aren’t about a specific book tends to have more comments. It’s easier for me to talk about a topic like what ARCs people prefer or people’s comment habits. With reviews, most of the time, I haven’t read the book. I can’t really join in on the discussion because I don’t want to get spoiled or I don’t want to be one of those people who comment with a “Oh, this sounds really interesting. I can’t wait for it.” I want my comment to mean something.

    For some reason, my blog is having a comment dry spell, but in the past, discussions had the most comment amount.

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    1. I think being spoiled is definitely a factor for people not reading reviews. I make it a point to never post spoilers in my reviews, but obviously people don't know that unless they read the review LOL. Or unless they read my sidebar, but if people are viewing in a feed like Bloglovin', that's not an option!

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  17. I think you nailed it on the head here (And I'm so glad you came back Allie!). Discussion posts have wider appeal because more people can relate to them, regardless of their tastes in books or whether they've read it yet. However with reviews, sometimes people won't read a review of a book they are planning to read, or one that haven't read yet. So I think there's less appeal definitely. However, like you I do enjoy doing both so will continue having both on the blog :)

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    1. Yeah, I like doing them both and can't see myself ever stopping either of them, but it's really interesting to see how drastically the reactions to each of them differ! It's pretty insane, especially since reviews tend to take a lot more time / concentration to write up

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  18. I really want to delve into more discussion posts. I feel like I have the monotonous routine of promo, review, meme, review, promo, review, review, meme, cover reveal, discussion post. I want to sprinkle in more thought-provoking and interesting posts! Lovely post idea :) Ooh you're reading Retribution?? How is it?? I need to start that soon...

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    1. Yeah, I try to do a discussion, or at least some sort of post that's not a review once a week. Sometimes that might be a meme, sometimes it might be a post on my writing, and sometimes it might be a discussion. Just as long as it's something different, so I'm not too monotonous about my posting!

      Retribution was . . . :( disappointing IMO.

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  19. Reviews in general tend to get fewer comments, because people who haven't read the book or aren't interested in the book won't likely read the review. Discussion posts are open to all since we all have opinions we love to share.

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    1. That's exactly it, and I'm the same a lot of the time. If I haven't read the book, or if it's not on my TBR, I don't necessarily want to read a review of it (unless I've heard great things)

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  20. I definitely agree, my discussions posts get way more comments than my reviews. I think it's because people have a lot more to say when it comes to discussions. Reviews are harder because some people don't like to read reviews for books they haven't read yet, just in case anything is spoiled for them. Then you don't really read reviews for books that don't interest you. But discussions are easier because you can read the post and then give your own opinion on the topic.

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    1. I think as well there are so many different opinions to give with a discussion. Whereas reviews, you can either agree or disagree. It's not as varied and the boundaries of what you can and can't say are a lot tighter

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