ActiveRain - Joining the Conversation and then Watching

Education & Training with Tech Training for You!

ActiveRain is all about active CONVERSATIONS and that is a very cool thing. Because of the point system, people have incentive to make comments. (25 points ea., up to 10 comments for credit per day for comments you make on blog posts which aren't your own)

I blogged for a while outside of ActiveRain and quickly lost interest in creating new articles. I did get comments but they were all SPAM. These are the comments where people leave the same generic comment on a bazillion blogs hoping to get clicks for their URL. But as you know AR is different. There is a huge and thriving community where people will actually read your article and then post a comment that shows they are interested! So I've found that the point system is a great incentive but that it doesn't diminish the value in the comments that you get.

So now let's talk about joining the conversation.

First of all, don't just do "great post" and walk away. You don't even get credit for that as there is a 50 character minimum for points. So instead, say something specific about what you have read - something in particular that you learned. That only takes a couple of sentences but makes the conversation so much more interesting.

The other types of comments are in the forms of questions OR adding supplemental information OR adding a personal experience to back what the blogger is saying. When you leave these types of comments, then you often have a sense of I would like to "follow the conversation" as it builds. There are several ways to follow a conversation - let me show you how.

The first and probably most obvious way, is to click the option to "notify me of new comments" - when you do that, then the "subscribe" button will appear and you need to click it to activate where the system will watch and email you when new comments come in on that particular post. Notifications can be easily turned off later. On the left side nav menu of your "My Home" page (near the bottom, you will see "Notifications". That gives you a list of your active watches. Simply click the red icon next to the one(s) that you want to stop watching.

If you've been in AR for a while, that's probably not new to you. As you know, to subscribe to a post usually means that your inbox will be very busy that day! (especially if you've just commented on a featured post) Let me give you a couple more ideas that you can use to help you watch conversations without actually subscribing to them (and thus contain your inbox from overflowing).

One thing you might consider is using the "My Comments" menu item (on the left nav of your "My Home" page) This shows you only the comments you've MADE (whereas your home page shows comments made and received). If you check this list, you can go back to get updates on the pages you commented on to see what was said after you left.

The other suggestion that I have (for your consideration) is to create shortcuts to the pages that you want to come back to later to check up on progress. In your browser's address bar there is a little icon directly alongside the page address. You can drag this icon off of your browser and drop it as a shortcut. The first inclination is to put it on your desktop. Ok... but after a few of these and how messy will your desktop be? Why not be one notch more organized? I have created a "watch" folder on my desktop that I drop these shortcuts into. After a while, I clean out the old references and what's left is just the most recent ones.

Note that when you first drop off a shortcut like this, the name of the shortcut will be the title of the article. I take an extra few seconds and rename mine to the author's name so I better recall who I am watching.

Posted by

Hi there! Thanks for checking out my blog today. I'm a tech guy living in New York City but I love that I can reach so many via means of the web. In my blog posts and tutorial videos, you'll get many new takeaway points that you'll be able to apply. By following my blog (button below), you will be able to see my new posts in your "following" newsfeed. If you enjoyed this post also be sure and click "like". It helps me see that my content is hitting the mark!

My blog home page lists my most recent posts, so if you feel like reading more, that's the place to go next!

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Mesa, Arizona Real Estate Mesa Arizona Realtor
Homes Arizona Real Estate LLC - Mesa, AZ

Great post Craig! I've commented up the gazoo, and I agree. It helps tremendously. I now have many friends I've met on Active Rain. Outta the loop now, but maybe soon. ;-)


Oct 12, 2011 07:29 AM #62
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Hey Craig,  I hope AR pays you a ton of moolah for your incredible input !  Seriously,  you reallly do make this whole thing look easy !

Oct 12, 2011 07:40 AM #63
Dan Cardot
Bend Premier Real Estate - Bend, OR

Thank you for this post.  I was really looking for an easy way to see comment threads I was active in, but didn't want the email cluttering up my box.  I think I will implement the shortcuts folder like you have.


Oct 12, 2011 07:46 AM #64
Craig Daniels
Tech Training for You! - Staten Island, NY
Technology Instructor/Project Consultant

October 12, 2011 - Hello World and new life to a post from the archives!
thanks AR for the email feature :)

Rockwell I - "my comments" link is a fav of mine to make this easier, plus it jumps/lands you right on the anchor for the comment you made which can save a LOT of scrolling when you come back

MeLisa - I'm glad to hear you have new ideas after reading this :)

John - I love to save time! thanks for coming by! always glad to see you

Mary - reblogging is a great compliment, agreed! glad you got some ideas here today :)

Donald - I would love to see you in my subscribers list, thanks!

Larry - I use the shortcuts trick all the time for short lived reminders to "go back and check" :)

Teri - nice to see you again - thanks for visiting 

Bill - agreed with your first statement (wishlist, LOL) - well they 'pay' me with features like this one and I love to see my subscribers list grow :)

Dan - AR v2.0 (v3.0?) will perhaps allow us threaded commenting and notifications when we get specific replies - meanwhile I'm happy to share the ways that I work with system as-is to do things the best and most time-effective ways - thanks for visiting! :)

Oct 12, 2011 07:50 AM #65
Kristin Hamilton CA Realtor
Sun Lakes Realty - Banning, CA
(909) 557-6966- Specialize 55+ Communties Banning

Hi Craig,

I just received this post in my spam...don't know how but I want to comment. I am a Rainmaker, I love AR. I take pictures, think about what I want to blog about, and have lots of fun. I used to think only about REAL ESTATE which is my priority but now I have fun taking pictures, looking at old things with a new outlook, and I realize how important it is to share our knowledge with each other. I have met some really nice agent, photographers, inspectors, stagers, lenders, and computer specialist from Zillow. Yes, I ask a question once and he called me on the phone. I have nothing but great things to say about AR. I love to increase my score as it is just a personal acknowledgment but still it satisfies my drive. Plus I love to look at what others post every day: photos, new technology, ideas, etc. And I do comment about 15 remarks per day. It is fun. So commenting was your subject so comment away AR members and learn something new or something you had forgotten and make a new friend or two.

Oct 12, 2011 08:42 AM #66
Bill & Cyndi Daves
Hiawassee, Young Harris, Blairsville, Hayesville, Murphy and Beyond! - Hiawassee, GA
TeamDAVES - Your REALTORS In the GA/NC Mountains!

Craig - I love using the MY COMMENTS feature to go back and engage in the conversation after I have commented.  I also bookmark things that I need to refer back to such as how-to's, contest rules, etc.  Glad to hear what program you're using for the great graphics. 

Oct 12, 2011 09:12 AM #67
Ellen Kippel
Weichert Realtors - Suffern, NY
Licensed NY and NJ realtor 914-588-2365

Thanks Craig.  I do comment on other blogs, when I read them and I try to make it substantive, rather than saying "Good post".  I haven't gotten into on-going conversations yet, but it sounds like fun and I think I'll try it.  Have a great day, Ellen

Oct 12, 2011 09:34 AM #68
Jim Hale
Eugene Oregon's Best Home Search Website

This is great info for the new AR member.  But even I learned a couple things.

Oct 12, 2011 09:54 AM #69
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

I don't know where this post came from... it's been sleeping somewhere... but, here it was, so I read it again.  The post says there is a fifty word minimum to get points for a comment.  That is not correct, Newbies. 

For comments, the minimum is ten words, and for writing a brand new post... the rule is fifty words minimum.  I am sure Craig was all excited when he wrote this, and simply mis-typed.  But... the overall point is very valid.  Comments... and that means meaningful comments that add to the ongoing comment thread... or discussion... is a great way to let folks learn about you.

                            October 12, 2011

Oct 12, 2011 11:03 AM #70
Marie Westerman
Blanchard and Calhoun Real Estate/ Wilson Parker Homes - Evans, GA
New Homes Sales Specialist Evans GA REALTOR

I have to thank you for all the different ways to watch. I have just been bookmarking them. Your information is always so easy and simple thanks!

Oct 12, 2011 11:46 AM #71
Craig Daniels
Tech Training for You! - Staten Island, NY
Technology Instructor/Project Consultant

Kristin - I'm glad you "un-spammed" it! LOL - you have a very nice blog and I enjoyed your many photos that you use there - thanks for visiting my post :)

Cyndi - one person mentioned that they way that they "bookmark" things is to make comments on the posts and then they can go back to the post via their "my comments" page - that was an interesting idea. If you comment beaucoup though that wouldn't work :)

Ellen - different bloggers make a concentrated effort to reply to every single person who commented, if you don't go back for their response, they are speaking to the air :)

Jim - so glad to hear that, love it when I get to teach!

Karen Anne - thanks for helping newbies! but go back and look again LOL fifty characters for comments not words (I used to think it was 10 words also, which is approximately right but not precisely) - I just now added a hyperlink in the post above where I show more specifically about the length of comments - however I agree with you completely that comments are how people learn about you - so glad you visited :)

Marie - so glad you have new ideas after reading this :)

Oct 12, 2011 12:32 PM #72

Cragi, I never realized when those silly little icons came out, that they had a use besides just looking cute. Thanks for taking the time to document them and now I want to play with them ... time permitting.

Oct 12, 2011 12:55 PM #73
Tina Gleisner
Home Tips for Women - Portsmouth, NH
Home Tips for Women

Oh, that is too wierd as I left a comment above but realized afterwards that I wasn't logged in - not good. Way too much happening to keep track of everything as it changes but most (except recent Facebook changes) are good

Oct 12, 2011 12:58 PM #74
Deborah Bracco
Robert Defalco Realty - Staten Island, NY
NYS Licensed Realtor, Staten Island New York Home

Wow, thanks Craig for sharing all that good information!! I was taking commenting for granted all this time thinking it wasn't that important. I'll  change my ways now and get with the program.   It isn't often people want to share their knowledge, I appreciate it!

Oct 13, 2011 07:07 AM #75

Great information here...Some of which I did not know, so thanks for sharing it.

Oct 13, 2011 12:07 PM #76
Craig Daniels
Tech Training for You! - Staten Island, NY
Technology Instructor/Project Consultant

Tina - there is so much to keep up with, agreed! I hope to highlight a thing or too not to miss, glad you enjoyed the points, thanks for visiting

Deborah - hello fellow SI'er very nice to see you visit - networking on AR via our comments is a big part of getting the most out this community - hope to see you again :)

Anon - I'm glad you picked up some new ideas, thanks

Oct 13, 2011 01:07 PM #77
Bill Dean
Haggerty Team St. Louis, Mo. - Fenton, MO
William Dean - Broker, Salesperson


Thanks for the helpful hints much of this I knew but the drag and drop and esp. putting all into a single folder is super helpful!  Now my bookmarks will not be so full that I dread going in there!

Oct 13, 2011 06:01 PM #78
Alice on the AL / MS gulf coast
Thanks for the tips, Craig.
Oct 14, 2011 07:55 AM #79
Clint Mckie
Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections - Carlsbad, NM
Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586

Hi Craig,

When i post a post. I always respond to a comment. I see some are the generic "Good post, Great job Etc.."

But when I comment on another post, I actually read the post and I generally have a question about the post. When it comes to Real Estate properties IE: a listing, I read it pretty carefully. As if I was looking to buy. Then i comment like a buyer. This is the only way a agent can post a better listing and hopefully sell the home. There is a lot of information in your post, I hope members take the time to read and implement the info.

A very well written post.

All the best, Clint McKie

Oct 15, 2011 09:14 PM #80
Dawn A Fabiszak
Private Label Realty ( Denver metro area, Colorado - Aurora, CO
The Dawn of a New Real Estate Experience!

Craig ~ this is some FABulous info that I can use.  I'm not very tech savvy so this is great!!!!

Oct 16, 2011 11:39 AM #81
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