A couple of weeks ago, this article by Dave Winer, popped into my feed. Dave’s article was about what ‘nice internet users’ do. He listed twelve things. Four of them fitted into a topic I have been thinking about for a while now. Engagement. And how that fed collaboration.
To save you the click through, the four points that caught my eye were …
They comment on other people’s posts.
They like other people’s posts.
They share them.
They read posts before responding to them.
The irony of course is that I couldn’t make a comment on Dave’s post, because he has comments ‘switched off’. Still, I did ‘like it’ and ‘share it’ and ‘linked back to it’ from another post. (Good internet user that I am) – oh and I don’t blame him – I also have comments switched off on my main blog.
Meanwhile over the summer we learnt that we are not alone. NPR is shutting down its comments. The fact is that despite nearly 33 million users and 491,000 comments just in July, they found that the comments came from just 19,400 users. In case you are wondering – that is around 0.06 percent of all visitors to NPR.org. Not only that, but the top 4,300 users posted 67 percent of the comments in the past two months.
To quote Dennis Pitocco – Publisher & Executive Editor of BIZCATALYST 360°, who is also wrestling with engagement metrics …
“While NPR may not be a pure “apples to apples” comparison, the fact remains that if they can’t make engagement work with 33 million users, who are we kidding? Our experience across Linkedin and other social media networks tends to parallel the NPR conclusion, that is; a relatively small nucleus of people are doing all the commenting/engagement.
It doesn’t mean the content isn’t valued or being read – simply that folks aren’t taking the time to engage.
Our independent research suggests that much of the challenge is one of social media content “overload” coupled with a decline in the quality of content. Best illustration of this would be the avalanche of content pouring into the Linkedin Pulse Channel when they opened the floodgates for anyone and everyone to publish (a sad departure from their original 100 Influencers strategy). Quality of Content across Linkedin dropped dramatically and along with it, quality and quantity of engagement.”
Every one of those writers publish here and many other places. Why? Publicity? Getting it off our chests? Offering advice? Sharing our knowledge? Influencing thought? There are going to be all kinds of reasons that drive each of us to spend the time we do, writing the things we do. But whatever the reason, I would vouch that receiving some kind of feedback is important to any writer.
In the past we might have looked at sales as a good measure. Or in the event of those ‘intellectually stimulating achievements that failed to attract commercial attention’, maybe we checked out reviews in the newspapers and maybe even how many times our publication was checked out of the library.
Fast forward to today where we live with the inter-web where likes, thumbs ups, tweets and retweets, rotten tomatoes, gold stars – you name it – are all reasonable measures of ‘how well’ the piece did.
And then there are comments. And replies to comments. Which starts to move into that world of ‘engagement’ and with great comments … collaboration. That’s the nub, because it is only when you read something and give feedback that we start to learn. Personally I would take a single comment over 100 likes.
When it comes to news, trends and insights that affect your industry – balanced against your busy schedules – it comes down to quality, not quantity. That’s why we’re content curators, not copy-and-pasters. Our experienced Editors deliver relevant content with above-average engagement rates across a dozen+ industries. All of this, complimented by the unique perspectives of our team of Columnists and Featured Contributors. The end result is a one-stop forum where you can enjoy optimal speed of knowledge founded upon RICH, UNIQUE, RELEVANT, INFORMATIVE and REMARKABLE thought leadership!
I have been thinking about writing this article for weeks. And part of it was to ask myself why I write the stuff I write. Not just on BIZCATALYST 360°, but on my blog, on a second blog, for other publications, in files sitting on my computer … I write a lot. Some of it is even published. Some of that which is published is read and even on occasions, I get a comment.