Starting the Conversation, How? |

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Starting the Conversation, How?


Posted by on September 24, 2008

Being able to start and participate in a conversation really is an art. Online conversations are very similar to offline conversations and if you want to be successful in the social media world, you need to be able to do both. I wish I could write out a “ten steps to conversation” post, but to be honest I don’t think it works that way; and to be honest I don’t think such a thing exists. Instead what I can do is talk about some of the things that have helped me start and participate in conversations and then ask you for your tips to share with others.

If you write (or want to write) a blog, use twitter, facebook, or other social media platforms then you cannot simply expect that the conversation is going to come to you. You have to be able to create and foster the conversation and you have to get to know your audience.

My blog is a mix of many topics ranging from technology, to social media, to SEO, to random thoughts on life; but overall I would say that I am pretty consistent with writing in the sphere of technology. While I may not be getting traffic levels of folks like techcrunch, gizmodo, etc. I do have a very active community of readers who participate in discussions either through blog comments, syndicated comments (such as social media today), through twitter, or through email.

Here are a few tips for creating and fostering conversations:

Have a unique voice or personality

Many of you tell me that you love my attitude (first of all thank you for that) and that to me is important. If you have a unique voice and a strong personality then conversations will spring up around that itself.

Don’t agree with everyone else

It’s easy to say that you agree with Jason Calacanis or Michael Arrington or (insert big name here); and sometimes you actually may, but don’t be scared to disagree and don’t be scared to voice your opinion. When you go against the grain conversations start because people get a fresh perspective on an issue/topic.

Ask questions

I try to ask a question at the end of all of my posts because I genuinely care about what you have to say. I want to hear your ideas and your opinions; by asking questions I invite you to share your thoughts with me. I ask questions in my blog posts, on twitter, on facebook, etc.

Respond to everything

Part of being a great conversationalist is responding to people that want to talk to you. I respond to every comment, twitter reply/direct message, email, facebook message, etc. that I get. The fact that someone is taking their time to contact you or comment on something you have written is powerful, don’t take it for granted. One happy reader can turn into two, which can turn into three, etc.

There are many other tips that I can write here but I really want to open this up to YOUR ideas and YOUR thoughts.  What are some tips you can give to other people to help foster and create conversations?

thanks for reading

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  • http://www.fiddlesticks.uk.net Julie Kirby (MrsFiddlesticks)

    I agree with having a unique voice or personality but I think you also have to write something unique and different. No rehashing of others thoughts or just jumping on a current bandwagon – just because someone writes about some thing doesn't mean you have to copy unless you really have something new to add.

    I think who your audience are can be surprising actually. Subjects can interest on many levels which is part of the fun. So me writing about our beekeeping adventures ( amongst other things ;-) ) interests bee-keeping folk, ecologists, self-sufficientists and naturalists. Trying to pin down an audience may block out others who would be genuinely interested but coming from a different direction. By being open minded you encourage your readers to be too!

    Good topic though as its about engagement and an important one from a social media perspective.

    Julie
    x

    • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

      hi julie, excellent point. if you keep reciting what the rest of the world is talking about you may just get drowned out. seems like what you are trying to address is understanding your audience, correct me if i'm wrong, great point!

      thanks for reading and commenting

      • http://www.fiddlesticks.uk.net Julie Kirby (MrsFiddlesticks)

        yes it is about understanding your audience; and of course because I write personal stuff that has a different connotation to business stuff especially if you want to sell something or yourself. Perhaps the audience there needs to be more specific and focused.

        I hope to inspire my audience to see that a 'normal' family can do things like grow their own, have chickens or recycle or whatever so they can too. That's how I want to engage and converse with them to make what we do so infectious that they turn off the computer and go and have a go themselves. In that case I don't want to restrict my audience to only those who already 'get it' and that is a challenge I think for business and personal blogs.

        Julie
        x

  • http://www.roundpeg.biz Roundpeg

    Great post. I am still tyring t find my voice, and am often challenged by the conflict between the business me and the personal me.

    • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

      ya it can be tough but you have to just be who you are. dont worry about censoring yourself. write what you feel and the people that read your content are going to be genuinely interested in what you have to say. nothing worse then starting off with one voice/personality only to change it down the road.

      thanks for reading and commenting!

      • http://www.roundpeg.biz Roundpeg

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        • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan
          • http://www.roundpeg.biz Roundpeg

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  • http://www.fiddlesticks.uk.net Julie Kirby (MrsFiddlesticks)

    yes it is about understanding your audience; and of course because I write personal stuff that has a different connotation to business stuff especially if you want to sell something or yourself. Perhaps the audience there needs to be more specific and focused.

    I hope to inspire my audience to see that a 'normal' family can do things like grow their own, have chickens or recycle or whatever so they can too. That's how I want to engage and converse with them to make what we do so infectious that they turn off the computer and go and have a go themselves. In that case I don't want to restrict my audience to only those who already 'get it' and that is a challenge I think for business and personal blogs.

    Julie
    x


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