Monologues to Dialogues

How many people sell first and then try and get to know the customer later? Not many. In the halls of social media, the same holds true. If we look at Twitter and Blogging as 2 very prime and very visible examples-the best way to market yourself or a product is to get to know the people that you might want to sell or market to FIRST.

But there’s one catch, actually two…

First, If you are blogging- sure you could write a great post with a great hook, but unless you are doing some serious social posting of that post-no one is going to read it unless..You make and take the time to visit other blogs and get to know the writer and comment on that writer’s post, and develop a dialogue and a relationship with that blogger. As a blogger- You need to change your monologue to a dialogue.

Second, If you are on Twitter, the following occurs whether you realize it or not. This is how your relationships start. They start with you and your effort.

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But it ultimately  will end up like this.

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You, in the middle of a whole lot of conversations. What you need to decide is how are you going to “manage” that noise. Why? If we have a one on one conversation, you have my undivided attention. Add another person, and now my attention has been divided, add another, divide again, and so on and so forth. Until ultimately you are essentially having conversations with 10%-20% of the people you either follow or that follow you.

Think about that. If I follow 100 and 100 follow me- At any point in time I may have conversations with only 10-15% of those people. Conversations consisting of more than one tweet between us. If that’s the number I have to work with- shouldn’t I try to make the best of those interactions? Shouldn’t you? Quit tweeting about nothing.

Monologues to Dialogues.

The beauty and sadness of social media

This week for me brought to light what makes social media so great. But conversely, it also showed me or allowed me to share in the pain and sadness of the passing away of someone who made a difference in the lives of many.

Andrew Bourland, the co-founder of ClickZ passed away this week  after battling cardiomyopathy, a form of heart disease.

Bourland was also the former publisher and CEO of ClickZ.  In 1997, He and Ann Handley, founded ClickZ  to cover the Internet advertising and marketing sector.

Andrew Bourland also had Bourland.com, his blog where he covered everything from blogging and email marketing to video marketing and viral advertising.   But back in November, he did something amazing; similar to Randy Pausch he used his blog to announce that his heart condition was worsening, stemming from having radiation treatments to treat testicular cancer many years before, and that he wasn’t sure how much longer he might have.

He subsequently had posts from him, his brother and his wife, who all chronicled his remaining time with family and friends and loved ones.

It was painful, it was joyful, it made me cry, it made me smile;  but most of all, it dawned on me that this very private time was there to be shared by anyone and everyone. Social media, specifically this blog, had allowed us to share in the life and times of Andrew Bourland.  Andrew Bourland and his family had allowed it. They let us in. For me, these are truly amazing times. Thank you for that Andrew.

Will the economy change the way you blog? or the blogs you read?

I’m currently watching engaged in a lively saturday morning discussion with Jeremiah Owyang, and Ted Murphy Founder/CEO of IZEA on whether bloggers are going to become more of an advertising vehicle for brands. Though this not neccesarily a new topic, it may be becoming prominent again based on a lot of external economic factors. It started with this:

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Jeremiah goes on to say “Bottom Line: Expect more brands to ‘buy’ bloggers and tweeters as the economy dips, this truly is cost effective marketing”

But is it? Will you, as a blogger become more open to being paid by a brand or company to shill their product to your loyal readers who come to your site because of your candor and POV? Won’t that change the scope and the depth of your posts? Is the economy such that we now will come expect that a Chris Brogan is now going to start pitching product? The easy answer is, “just avoid any paid posts”. But what if you don’t know? Chris might be the exception in giving full disclosure of the paid post.

My tweeted thought:

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You as the loyal reader will now be the audience to a pitch from your author, full disclosure is not a prerequisite either, although Ted Murphy does mention:

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So how do you feel about that? Is it going to change now how you read or what you read from your favorite blogs?

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Will full disclosure matter? Will you read a blog post knowing it is essentially a paid pitch for a product? Isn’t that the same as a celebrity spokesperson? What if they pitch but don’t tell, because they know they will lose readers if the readers knew that it was a paid post?

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What’s not evident is the post Jeremiah is referring to on Chris Brogan’s site is on Dad-o-matic and not Chrisbrogan.com 2 distinct and very different blog sites. So the questions remain:

Transparent?

Authentic?

Sustainable?

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So there’s more to this Twitstream but the question is more geared towards the reader, since bloggers have been getting paid for quite some time now for paid posts. It all comes down to the “big bloggers” and theirloyal  readers. Will your loyalty wane if you know going forward, that the post you are reading, is a paid, sponsored post? Do you care?

You can’t “do” blogs half fast!

I was reading Paul Chaney’s blog post on Social Media Today this morning in which he thinks that there is a serious reduction on the number of comments flowing into blogs and he’s right. the quality is going down as well as the quantity. Part of the reason is that we now have more ways to access the writers of blog posts. Namely through Twitter, Plurk, Pownce et al.  I basically told Paul “thats great that we can do that, but now our conversations are somewhat muted and shorter”.

Does that mean that blogging is dead or dying? That we need a lesson in blogger ethics? No.

But as I thought about this more and looked at some of my posts and my comments on other blogs. I make a concerted effort to engage others. I’m not sure what the requisite amount of replies or back and forths are required between writer and reader, but I personally think that there is an expected return on the comment expected. Maybe. A requisite expectation if you will. But what I’m starting to see is smuggness and a “I started it, contributed some, and thats sufficient, attitude” starting to permeate some really good blogs. I’m also seeing really nice blogs, with some decent content, and some history, tailing off with posts, and an otherwise obvious downtick in effort.

What this tells me is that, perhaps that blog strategy or the author, have gone in another direction. What this tells me is that you can’t finish what you started. It tells me you are not practicing what you preach. It tells me that if you are a PR or a marketing person, no way in hell am i going to work with you. You started the race and you can’t finish it. You built the frame but you can’t put up the walls, the roof and anything else. You’ve done a half fast job and it shows.

Or maybe just maybe, Twitter is now cutting into our desire to comment?

Or… You’ve written a good blog post but you can’t comment or respond to the people who have made the effort and done the same to your post. I know you can comment via email, or Twitter, and maybe you have, but if we’re to extend the conversations beyond a micro-blogging platform and bring them back to blogs, we need to see that you have a vested interest in your blog post and you’re not posting just for attention or link juice, or extending the conversation privately.

The bottom line is you started it, now finish it with transparency and efficacy. We’re still watching we’re still reading.