Encouraging Conversation

When I first started blogging, I was fortunate to meet some wonderful folks that gave me excellent advice on how to do it “right.” Chris Cree taught me about the importance of community. Liz Strauss consistently encourages me to better conversationalist. Both of these traits have fit my personality, kept blogging fun and productive, and allowed me to interact with amazing people. To say my knowledge has grown would be a serious understatement.

Eric over at Leadership and Other Ramblings does a great job with this. He wrote a post about balance. It started a conversation. In the comments, another idea was raised and he continued to ask questions and engage.

Mitten Musing almost always drops me an email in response to any comment I leave over at her place.

Phil “Make it Great” Gerbyshak picked up the phone and gave me a call.

It is my belief that encouraging conversation is the key to productive blogging. It is more than asking questions or going controversial to elicit a response. It is about connecting on a level of genuine interest and interaction.

Two questions…

  1. Why do you feel it is (or is not) necessary to encourage conversation?
  2. If it is important, how do you make the field ripe for that conversation?

Comments

  1. 1. If you don’t encourage conversation, less learning happens. I would argue that idea sharing is the main goal of blogging (and of life, don’t you think?).

    2. Being timely and responsive is crucial. In blogging, if you affirm commenters as well as ask them further questions, conversation is sure to flow.

    You’re one of the more advanced conversationalists online, so I suspect you already know most of this ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. April, you had an amazing conversation going on there, the one which got started in your balance posting. I think the talent you continually display is that you are so sincerely interested in what others have to say, allowing the conversation to go wherever it meanders on its own, versus trying to bring people back to the original subject you had posted about. That may seem kinda obvious to those like you who are great conversationalists, but often we bloggers (and yes, I incriminate myself in this realization!) get too attached to what we originally wrote about, and become stuffy publishers.

    There is also a big difference between a true conversation and a long comment string… if you find one, you are not necessarily going to find the other.

    Mahalo April, for inviting us to learn with you.

  3. Lani – Your point about the learning process is priceless. I mean really, why even get engaged if you aren’t going take something new and useful away from it. And idea sharing is my main purpose – and I don’t really hang out on blogs (or in places) where it’s not – including some popular titles.

    And you would be surprised at what I don’t know ;P

  4. Rosa – I thought so too. Totally unexpected and it had me riveted and waiting to see where it was going to go. I can’t take credit for being smart enough to just let it develop – I actually thought the comments were better than the post ๐Ÿ™‚

    You couldn’t be more right about the differences between great conversation and high comment numbers. And I’ll take the former over the latter any day of the week.

  5. most conversations can be a learning but depending on the situation, well, it can be a learning as well…..

    • Linda – I hear you ๐Ÿ™‚ some conversation tends to be…pointless I guess. But you are right – if we are smart, we can learn something from that too.

  6. Nice to read your acknowldedgement of Chris, Liz and Phil – good sharers all.

  7. Des, I say it all the time – I know some incredible people! I am hoping you will be one of those I also have the opportunity to get to know ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. April – Thank you for the mention. I appreciate it.

    We are on the same page here. I love conversation! When I first started blogging, I just wanted people to comment. Now, I reallize that “comments” are just that…..and what I really crave is a deeper discussion!! Interaction, Conversation, Passion – To me, that’s what it’s all about!

    When people do comment, I try to elicit more conversation…..as opposed to just saying “Thanks for stopping by,” and leaving it at that!

    It’s been a true pleasure for me being able to carry on conversations with you through this wonderful tool!

    • Eric – I think you are a natural bloggy conversationalist. Whether you are on your own or others, there is always a sense of connection and not drive by typing. I am betting you are like that in person.

  9. Phil Gerbyshak says:

    Great conversation here April (no surprise)! Excellent questions.

    Here’s what I think:

    If you want to create a community on your blog, you must encourage conversation, otherwise it has a “classroom” feel to it, and folks feel like they are being lectured to. Not very fun if you ask me.

    How do you make your blog ripe for the talking? Ask questions, don’t pretend to know it all, be vulnerable, be silly from time to time, take part in a meme or 3 (but not all of them), ask for guest bloggers, post a real picture of you not one from Glamour Shots, write like you talk, and most of all…

    SMILE!

    • Phil – I think you are so right. Through all over your comment I hear the call for transparency. And it makes sense – if I don’t want to deal with fake, stiff people face to face, why would I want to do it online?

  10. I need to spur more conversation on my blog. I am not very good at it. You always have great conversation here. You’re a natural! I love your blog!

    • I am so glad you are enjoying it over here. I would bet you are better at it than you think. I am curious as to what makes you think your not very good?

Trackbacks

  1. brandeo says:

    the w list of women bloggers…

Leave a Reply