Social media engagement has erupted over the past year or so. It is becoming more acceptable to converse online and many communities are finding platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus an easy place to hold a conversation with a wide audience. Finding a balance between communication and broadcasting is key to becoming a great communicator for bloggers, for businesses and on a personal level too.
Blogging has become much more of a social concept and blogs no longer sit in their own corner of the internet, waiting to be discovered however there is much discussion about how to engage your audience and increase your 'reach'.
Over the past three years, blogging has become much more of a socially accepted concept simply because online activity is more easily accessible. In 2010 I wrote an article for Flying Start Magazine (page 36) aimed at new Parent Bloggers, although the advice is the same for everyone. One observation I made was that blogs used to sit in their little corner of the internet, waiting to be discovered, or they were read when you happened to mention to a friend that you wrote a blog. Very often, blogs were considered a dirty little secret, accepting visitors but receiving no comments. Blogs were found through Google searches way before non-commercial bloggers started worrying about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), some joined dedicated forums and exchanged blog links, recommendations were found on blogging platforms and, by chance, links were found through other social media channels.
Now that more people are using the internet to socialise, blogging has become more acceptable as a way to communicate with the world. Some blogging communities thrive on personal connections and, for a while, comment boxes were bursting with interaction. Being given the option to share your support or offer your opinion was a new method of communication and a chance to share a link to your own blog too.
Then social media exploded. Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus were the place to be interactive; quick and easy ways to give feedback, share links and leave a response. No complicated logging-in process to leave a comment was required and you could become an even more integrated member of many communities.
But is social media a shortcut to interaction? Do we need comments on a blog post? Take news websites as an example. The BBC News website does not have a comment section on its main features yet some newspaper websites have comment sections open under each article. Both seem to thrive using these methods.
Are you happy with feedback via Twitter after you've shared a link? Do you like conversations forming under a status update on Facebook or Google Plus? Do comments left in this way prevent effective discussion on the actual blog post where the subject is relevant? What about respected bloggers, such as Melinda Fargo, who have turned off comments.
Are there really less comments out there or just more bloggers so we expect there to be more comments and interaction?
Have you enjoyed this post? Have a look at this one from Annie at Mammasaurus which considers the same questions.