In my post Web 2.0 Democratizing Social Interaction, I mention the following:
Social Networking gives one the ability to interact and build relationships, with many, varied types of people. People you might not normally get the opportunity to interact with. During our conversation Jeremiah echoed this sentiment of using the web to build relationships. I have been fortunate that a great community is being built around my blog, and the blogs I read. These are people that I would probably have never had the chance to meet in the ‘real world,’ but due to blogs and Web 2.0 I have had the chance to meet and interact with, and learn from some great people.
I think it’s an important point that you need to bring value to the conversation if you hope to get anything out of it. I have had many pleasant experiences with people because I brought value to them, first.
Bring it On
The above quote is worth thinking about. You can’t just jump into a conversation without understanding the context of the conversation or without adding value and expect a positive response. Interacting using Social Networking is not about ‘what can you do for me’ it is about how you can add to the conversation.
If you find someone that you want to interact with, you shouldn’t expect a response just because you posted a comment. Do you like it when you are having a conversation with someone, and a stranger walks up and starts interrupting, randomly talking to you? I think it is important to follow someone’s feed, and get an idea of who they are, at the very least understand the context of the post and ensuing conversation. When you post, ensure it is on topic, and adds value to the conversation.
Reading part of the post and then commenting doesn’t cut it. Posts can start on one side of the fence, and then wander back and forth coming to a different conclusion. The author might want to walk you through all arguments, showing you all sides before giving the conclusion. You don’t want to come across like Roseanne Roseannadanna, Gilda Radner’s character from Saturday Night Live, that would ramble on to a point that was not pertinent to the original topic. We have all read a post, and then while reading the comments. encountered a comment that keyed of one word, or a lonely paragraph. After reading the whole post, the comment just brings confusion. Sometimes the commenter is addressed, sometimes ignored. If you want to join a conversation, this is not the best way to do it.
In my post 10 Tips for Increasing Comments on Your Blog, I mention the following as my 2nd tip:
Try to write thoughtful comments. Actually read the post before you write a comment, and after reading the whole post. People reading your comments will start visiting your blog if it seems like you know what you are talking about. Don’t just read the first sentence and then write a comment. Also don’t read one sentence from the middle of the post and comment. Posts are like conversations and can meander. Where a post begins, isn’t necessarily where it ends. Read the whole post, and then comment.
To positively engage in a conversation, be sure that you understand the context and topic of the conversation. Read the whole post before you write your comment. Don’t be shy about writing comments. Get involved in the conversation. If you disagree, don’t be afraid to say so, and give your reason why. These are conversations, you don’t have to agree with everything everyone else says, but you don’t need to come across as a dick if you don’t agree. Not every comment needs to be epic – I agree and have experienced that also, with your example is fine. Two word comments are typically thought of as spam, so at least write a sentence or two.
After commenting on blogs for a while, you will probably notice that comments on your blog are increasing, with commenter’s that you recognize from the other blogs. That is how part of my community has been built from commenter’s from blogs I comment on.
Get involved in the conversation. Initially you will feel like you are at the kid’s table during holidays, and people may not pay attention to your comments. But stay involved and keep adding to the conversation, and soon you will find yourself at the adult’s table conversing with everyone else. Note: I am not trying to infer that all bloggers behave like adults, this analogy was used for reference purposes only.