Throughout January, The Social Path is running daily tips on how to improve your social life — online, at least. Click here to learn more.
One of the first topics I ever tackled on The Social Path was one I grapple with even more today: Are blogs still good places for conversation?
Usually, when I read a blog post, I end up not commenting for one of three reasons:
- It's a massively popular blog where my comment will just be lost in the noise.
- I have little to say beyond "nice post," and I don't want to look like I'm just planting backlinks to my own blog.
- I know the author well, so I'm probably more likely to talk to them about the post via Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, instant messenger or just over lunch.
On the one hand, this might be where Internet conversation is headed, so fighting the tide could well be wasted effort.
On the other hand, something important is being lost here: permanence.
If I read a good blog post, then decide to chat about it elsewhere, that conversation is essentially lost to history. Twitter, Facebook and Friendfeed are all based in real-time communication, so your discussion -- no matter how insightful or enlightening -- is fleeting at best.
Blog authors know this better than anyone, which is why they're so appreciative of posts left on their posts. Sharing a post on your social network can help build buzz, but comments are the currency of a post's long-term value.
I should note too that, yes, consistent commenting on blogs can be a considerable traffic generator for your site, assuming of course your signature includes a link back to your blog or other account. But I prefer to see this as an added bonus for leaving a meaningful comment, not a motivation to leave the comment in the first place.
So take a few minutes today to roll up your sleeves and leave strong comments on three or four of your favorite blogs. The authors will be glad you did, but more importantly, it'll help you get in the habit of leaving your comfort zone and contributing to a conversation that will last for years after the retweets have gone silent.
For those curious, here are the three I commented on today:
- The Toad Stool: "Multimedia Madness." A quick but thought-provoking piece by Alan Wolk on why we've never been able to weave text and video together seamlessly.
- LouisGray.com: "XING Closing The Door On Socialmedian by January 31st." Silicon Valley analyst Louis Gray updates us on the fate of Socialmedian, a socially powered tech news aggregator whose role (in my opinion) was supplanted by real-time forums like Twitter and Facebook.
- MackCollier.com: "I’m leaving, and I’m taking your social media strategy with me!" Corporate consultant Mack Collier asks what would happen if your company's one-person social media team up and left.
Estimated time needed: 10-30 minutes.
Benefits: Better social involvement and enduring conversation.