By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Mining comments for social-media gold

Social media isn’t just about Twitter and Facebook. Sometimes it’s about finding new ways to listen to your audience. Even reader comments, which seem so 1998, can be a good starting point.

Today’s example: For some time now, a commenter to the New Haven Independent who goes by the handle of “Norton Street” has been posting smart missives on issues related to architecture and urban design.

On Tuesday, NHI editor Paul Bass revealed Norton Street’s identity — he is an architecture student named Jonathan Hopkins — and accompanied him on a walking tour of New Haven’s architectural highlights and lowlights.

The story has already attracted 17 comments, including yet another long post from Hopkins.

Here is the NHI’s comments policy, which I think is a model of how to do this right.

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  1. Newshound

    Read the rules. Looks good to me.

    “No comments making fun of people’s physical appearance.” That’s a relief.

  2. Those are excellent commenting rules. They’re similar(and outlined in a more entertaining manner) to the guidelines we just put in on comments at our websites.

    There are always people who want to push the policy, though, and I’m a little perplexed by one commenter who seems to have spent the entire day commenting on — I’m hoping he’s unemployed because he was commenting at least once every half hour.

  3. EB3

    Would his posts be less ineresting if he stayed anonymous?

    Just asking.

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