I met a friend last night to talk about blogging. We started our meeting with what platform I recommend for folks new to blogging, what platform I recommend as you get more involved with blogging, why I recommend them, how to install it, and so on. But, as we continued with discussions about RSS, subscribers, analytics, integration with other social networks (specifically: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube), it was clear we weren't talking about just blogging anymore. Rather, we dipped into the area of social media, best practices and the importance of listening and engaging others.
It was a great discussion that got me all fired up. Ironically, I was fired up about some key things in which I'm failing.
For all our discussion last night about the importance of listening and engaging others, I realize that I need to do a more "complete" job myself of engaging others through social networks and social media. It's a shortcoming I've been aware of and is one I'm committed to improving.
I know, some of you reading this and who are connected with me through other social networks might find that a bit disingenuous given how much of a blabber-mouth I can be and a photo-fiend I've been known to be in Facebook, Twitter, and so on. But, I'm serious. And here's what I mean.
Engaging others through social media isn't just about producing content and producing media for other people to react to. (That's been my tendency to the exclusion of the next thing, which is to say...) It's also about each of us taking time to seek the content that has been initiated by others--and then responding to them.
I think I've done a pretty good job about responding to those of you who drop by and comment on my blog, video, Facebook post, tweet, and so on. But, as I reflect on the portion of time I've personally invested in commenting on the content initiated by some of you, my investments have been quite skewed. I need to do a better job finding your content and visiting you.
There are a couple of reasons I think I've been deficient here.
1. I need to make time for your posts.One main reason is that there's no mistaking the fact that social media is a lot of work. And, I often get so wrapped up with my own content production (and other projects) that it's so easy to get a blog post out the door, or a video produced and posted on YouTube, and subsequently click the mental checkbox next to "social media." (Some of you know what I mean, "Blog post is done. Great! Off to dinner!")
'Problem is, I realize that unless I'm also taking time to pro-actively seek a blog post you have contributed and leaving a response to it, or pro-actively visiting the YouTube video you have uploaded and responding to it with more commitment than simply clicking one of the 5 associated stars, then I'm not really completing the "engagement loop."
We each have to understand that, in the context of relationship building, it's not just our own content that's important. We also have to concede value in the contributions of others; we do this mainly by leaving comments next to the piece of content or media they have taken time to contribute.
2. I need to be stroked, too.The other key reason I think I've also been a bit skewed in my engagement efforts is, well, I'm a bit high maintenance. But I think some of you may agree here. When I leave a comment on your blog post (or video or tweet or whatever) and you don't say anything back to me with your own comment, then it sorta makes me feel like you didn't hear me. 'Same thing when I comment on something you've blogged about, only to be presented with "Your comment is awaiting moderation." Don't worry, I understand that some industries require comment moderation for some very real legal and regulatory reasons. But, I ask you, are you in that industry? Is there a legal reason? Please make it fulfilling for me to engage with you, as well.
Please don't take that last paragraph as an attempt to "turn the table" and make excuses for my own "engagement deficiencies." Rather, all of this is just to say I had a great conversation with a friend last night and it got me all fired up to...do better. And I think I can do that with some concerted efforts on my part, and with a little help from you.
I'll do better to stop by, visit and leave comments on your blog posts. I hope you'll comment back, invite me to your "home," and let me know about your posts.
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