In an ongoing series of how-to’s based on questions I’ve received in my Windows Live Groups, this post shows you a couple of interesting ways to get the scoop on comments that your friends have left on your Windows Live Spaces blog.
At first blush, the most obvious method is to navigate to your blog, and scan through all your posts to see who’s left comments. Unfortunately, this approach is kind of like looking for a proverbial needle in a proverbial haystack. Once your blog becomes remotely popular, you’ll spend the lion’s share of your day sifting through the comments to see if there’s anything new. Good luck finding new comments on old posts. However, if you do decide to go this route, here’s how to make it a little easier:
Navigate to your space, click Blog, and then click Summary.
In the summary view, the title of each entry is displayed with a total count of comments (and trackbacks) underneath. Click the Comments link to expand the list of comments. A list of comments is displayed, along with additional details about each.
This approach is great for managing both blog entries and comments, including spam. You can use the check boxes to select items and then delete them en masse. However, if you just want to see who’s been leaving feedback, there are a few better ways to do it.
With the advent of wave 3, Windows Live Spaces now offers a quick and easy way to see comment activity on your blog, but there are a couple of ways to get there, which is probably confusing to new spacers.
The first option navigate to your space by clicking More > Spaces on in the header of any Windows Live page. Instead of going directly to your space’s gadget-laden main page, you see a summary of your space-related network activity, including a link to view recent comments. Click the Recent comments link to view said comments.
Another option is to navigate to the Recent Comments page directly from your Windows Live Home page (http://home.live.com). Near the top of the page’s right-hand column, click Do more > View recent comments. That links directly to the Recent Comments page, but it doesn’t automatically filter the comments; your Profile notes and comments on SkyDrive content are also displayed. To see the good stuff, you’ll need to click View > Spaces comments.
What’s New feed
Speaking of the WL Home page, you can also leverage its powerful “What’s New” feed in a couple of interesting ways. If properly configured (and it should be unless you’ve monkeyed with it, bub), the feed shows blog comments in near real-time (such as “Jeffrey commented on Greg’s blog post Welcome Facebook Friends”). In addition to a comment notification, the feed actually displays the first couple of lines, and in many cases, the entire comment.
That’s great if you remember to check you WL Home page frequently, but you do have to wade through the list to find comments amidst everything else, and there’s no effective way to filter the list, unless you count RSS. Read on, brother.
Perhaps my favorite way to keep tabs on blog comments is to use the powerful RSS feed reader that’s built into IE8 (IE7 sports it too). To see the “What’s New” feed in the RSS reader, click the Feeds icon on the browser’s command bar, and click Windows Live – What’s new.
The RSS feed page has some nice features, including the ability to sort and filter feed items. To see comments on your blog, click the filter and enter “commented on Greg’s blog” (minus the quotes and substitute your own name, bub). Voila! You’re feed is filtered, and your blog comments are neatly presented within the reader.
Windows Live Alerts
If you’re one of the old guard who still relies on e-mail for everything, then Windows Live Alerts may be an option for you. This unique service automatically generates an messenger notification, email message, or (gasp) text message to your mobile phone when certain events occur. If you know how to subscribe, it can alert you to Windows Live Spaces events and specifically comments left on your blog.
You can navigate to the WL Alerts page and wade through all of the different subscription services there, but by far the easiest way to get started is to simply navigate to your space and click the Sign up for alerts link in the Visitor Tools module.
A introductory page is displayed that explains WL Alerts. Click Continue. Next, you’ll select which type of alert to receive. Since you are presumably the owner of your space, you probably only want to receive notifications when someone adds a comment. Choose the appropriate option, and click Submit.
If you need to change the subscription options, including how you’re notified, then you can click Change delivery preferences (or Edit Delivery on the My Alerts page of the service). I don’t exactly consider blog comments to be “breaking news” (sorry to my fans, all 3 of you), so I’d probably recommend disabling the text message notification.
I’m sure there are a multitude of other ways to keep tabs on your blog comments. Feel free to share your ideas, ironically, by leaving a comment on this blog post.