Asking Questions on the Internet

Hello, Internet.

I am here today to discuss the Internet. And how sometimes, it can be a lonely, empty place.

One of the ways to tell how you are doing with a blog is getting comments. After all, it’s one thing to write stuff. Another to be followed, or liked. And yet another to have someone add and combine their thoughts to yours, to join in the discussion.

One of the main ways that we might incite this sort of a response is by writing a question. After all, the question begs an answer, right?

My First Attempt

When I first created my Tumblr, I was thinking about things to write, and I was in a certain season. The presidential election was in swing, and I really thought, to choose a president, I would really like to know what the future they would build will really look like. At least, in their eyes. If the Democrats could have their way for 20 years, what would the country and the world look like? If the Republicans could have their way for 20 years, same question? We keep flipping back and forth, and compromise, and things not passing, so-on and so-forth. But what future would they build?

Try as I might, I could not think of the answer, for either party. Though I had been thinking of writing this short of short-term Sci-Fi, I could not think of what it would look like – at least, without it turning dystopian. So I asked the Internet a few times about it.

Presidential Sci-Fi Tweet

I got no answers. Anywhere. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, WordPress. Sure, I don’t have a lot of readership, I suppose. But blatantly asking questions, with no response? Not even a, “what are you talking about?”

Oh Internet, you are a lonely, interconnected place.

Trying it a lot more: Comparative Geeks

So, on our new blog, Comparative Geeks, we tend to ask a question with every post. Also on our Facebook page. We get very few responses, even though we are getting reads. At least, we seem to be getting reads. We’re getting likes, and follows, and these things.

However, we sometimes get more likes than views in a day, according to the stats we’re getting on WordPress. What does this mean? Are people able to “like” the post without reading it from their RSS reader, perhaps? (This is a real question. Do you know the answer?)

I would like to give my strongest example, however. I posted one post specifically to ask a question of my readers. I used a video, as well, for my plea; maybe a mistake, I suppose, but I did it. I have shared this on Google+, the blog Facebook, my personal Facebook, and on this blog as well.

I have ten views. I have no answers. No one has said a word on Facebook, no one who actually knows me. No answers totally anonymously on YouTube. Not even to mock me. I kind of almost wish I had a troll reply – just to maybe feel like I’m being silly. Instead, it makes blogging and putting yourself out there feel a bit like sitting in a room alone talking.

Then again, I got views at all, so I’m not alone – so what does getting no replies mean? Are my questions too obscure? Does no one care about what I am talking about – certainly possible. But then, why has no one really said so?

Why is it so hard to get a response when you ask questions on the Internet?

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About CompGeekDavid
Co-founder, editor, podcaster, web comicer, forum moderator, and writer for Comparative Geeks. Father, husband, geek, nerd, gamer, librarian, Christian, Libertarian, Science Fiction philosopher, and probably a number of other descriptors.

6 Responses to Asking Questions on the Internet

  1. cgparkin says:

    Just letting you know that I’ve read this, and am now responding! I can’t really answer the questions, but that does not invalidate the process. I’ve often wondered (when considering the reading stats), how much of a post a person might read. The stats can’t show this (eg, five viewers got past this point). I’ve wondered whether a “cute” post where commenters could pit in a phrase indicating the opt out point could be interesting… All the best with your musings…

    Like

    • Thanks! I agree, that the stats are both great and confusing. It’s nice to feel read, or especially to come up as something to read in someone’s Google search… But without a thoughtful comment (like your own here!) how can you tell that someone is actually taking anything away from what you’ve written?

      Like

  2. From my admittedly brief experience at blogging, it takes a while to build up a readership and more importantly to establish your ‘persona’. Some people I think just shy away from the direct interaction, so sometimes you just have to be satisfied with the simple ‘Like’, but I think the more people kind of see what you’re about and get to know you the more they might be apt to comment on something. I don’t know that it’s something you can try to initiate by asking direct questions, you just have to kind of let it develop naturally.

    Like

    • I am definitely finding that to be true!

      I suppose I should also point out you are the individual who has commented most on our blog, so thank you! You are engaging thoughtfully with what we’re writing, and that adds joy to what’s written.

      Glad to hear your own blogging is going well, and I agree, building following takes some time, and I am willing to put that in. But it’s an interesting effect to flat-out ask a question (like I do in my video) and get no response!

      Like

  3. Pingback: How Do You Choose Which Projects to Pursue? | DBCII

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