David Wilcox has an excellent post about generating conversation on blogs or for that matter other social media tools. In fact, I discovered his post via Facebook where I left a comment on his note and followed the links to his blog post.
It caught my eye for two reasons: I'm a visual person - so any visual communication of an idea I'm drawn to. The other reason is that I'm prepping for a couple of conference sessions on Social Media Metrics and one of the areas to consider is "conversation index" - more on that later.
David's post has lots think about. His questions are:
- How can blog conversations foster a cloud and not just a hub and spokes effect?
- How might these conversations filter across into face-to-face, Facebook, and MSM (main stream media)?
David points over to colleague Michele Martin's post "How to Facilitate Conversation Between Comments on Our Blogs?" Michele analyzes her own commenting behavior and why sometimes she responds to the blogger, not necessarily the other commenters. She is thinking deeply about how to encourage a blogging community. She ends her post with: So, how do you encourage interactions with commenters on your blog? How do you interact with other commenters when you comment on someone else's blog?
I'm very interested in this and Michele and the commenters to this post offered some excellent advice:
1. Make it clear in your commenting policy that you encourage commenters to interact with one another.
2. Have some commenters modeling the behavior--responding directly to other commenters as a way to encourage that kind of interaction.
3. Using threaded commenting so that you could reply more easily to individual commenters, similar to replies in a forum.
4. Posting on problems to solve that will invite readers to interact with one another in developing the solution (obviously this doesn't work for every post).
5. Trying to create a culture that encourages commenter to commenter interactions through your own responses in the comments section--maybe by drawing the attention of one commenter to the thoughts of another.
6. Using features that allow people to sign up to receive comments via email from other commenters (Via Laura's Notebook)
7. Threading/Cross-linking comments (via Atul)
8. Co-Comment can be a good tool to track commenting for participation/cross conversation (Christy Tucker)
9. Ask leading questions that encourage dialogue between two commentors, but will people come back? (Christy Tucker)
10. Look at blogs that have a lot of cross commenting conversation (Making Light at http://www.nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/ and The Whatever at http://www.scalzi.com/whatever/.) Is the reason age of blog or volume of readers? (Lisa Juniker)
The Intensity of Sharing
The comment about whether or not people will come back to for cross-commenting made me think of this chart that illustrates the intensity and intent of sharing - comments are sharing - an opinion or a voice. Something to think about when we look at whether we've generated commenting.
This conversation is reminding of one that I had on this blog or rather across several blogs about "cross-blog conversation." One of the key learnings was:
- The community must have some sort of nurturing structure for bloggers who are new to blogging or the conversation has no where to go and the community no where to grow.
Relating this back to the cross conversation within blog post thread, there is the technique of weaving. I've attempted to do it here - summarize what was said in the comments and put into a new a post.
This conversation was about generating community around your blog in the comments and encouraging cross commenter conversation, but I'm also interested in the idea of conversations across blogs or for that matter across social networking sites?