In one sense, a blog is just a Web site.
A Web site that, because of easy-to-use and free software like WordPress, anyone can publish. You could decide to use WordPress.com as your content-management system, to produce your own one-way Web site. All you would have to do is turn off the comments feature, either for the whole site or for individual posts. In this way, you would have an easy Web publishing system.
But what sets blogs apart from traditional Web sites (Can you believe that? I used the word “traditional” to describe something that first started in 1994!) is the ability to invite comments and create conversations.
That’s what makes blogs interesting.
Yet most people who read blogs never participate in the discussion by leaving a comment. Forrester research indicates that about 33 percent of Internet users are “Spectators” who read blogs, listen to podcasts or watch YouTube videos without leaving any comments, and 52 percent of users are “Inactives” who don’t even read blogs. (I think the inactives number is overstated because, as I said earlier, a blog is just a Web site. People are going to blogs without even knowing it.)
In keeping with our SMUG goal of getting people to stretch into new areas of social media, in Blogging 103 I hope to help some of those Inactives and Spectators move up the Forrester Ladder of Participation into the Critics category.
Just complete the assignment below, and you’ll climb a rung or two.
Click the “Comments” link at the bottom of this post. It looks something like this if no one has commented yet:
Or if some people have commented, it will have a number in front of the word “Comments” – like this:
Then you’ll see the full post reload, showing any comments from others, and at the bottom you will have a chance to add yours.
I’ll bet you can figure out how to fill in that comment form.
In a future post, I’ll show you how to participate most effectively, but for now, it’s important to just take that first step and make a comment.
You’ll note that I have set this blog to accept comments without being approved by me. In other words, I’m not “moderating” comments in advance. So you’ll get the immediate gratification of seeing your comment show up right away after you submit it, provided you’re a real human being. I use Akismet to weed out the automated comment spam that unsavory characters use to promote their herbal Viagra alternatives and the like. More on that in a future post, too.
But I also know that one reason why people don’t comment on blogs is because they don’t know exactly what to say. So I’ll set you up with a couple of questions to prime the pump, just to make it easier for you to dive in.
- Is this your first time commenting on a blog? If so, what has been the main barrier that keeps you from commenting?
- If you do comment sometimes, what are the factors that cause you to join the conversation?
- For extra credit, what social media topics are most interesting to you? What questions about social media would you like to see answered and discussed further?