Talk With Me, Not At Me

Kyle Lacy had a short post today titled What Business Blogging Is Missing. The general idea is that many corporate blogs are more of a PR pitch trying to sell a product:

If you want to become a thought leader in you industry you need to talk more about What You Do not about your product.

For a long while, I have been struggling with this idea, but I did not realize it. Various blogs have comments open. However, if the author does not respond to comments, what are the comments really for? I always thought the comments were a way for your readers to have a conversation with you. If you do not respond to comments, then your blog is just a broadcast signal. If you only want to broadcast, you better be the best at what you do, like Seth Godin, Fred Wilson and a few others.

After thinking about the problem for a few minutes, I realized this is the same problem I have with Twitter. Granted, I tend to not use Twitter as much as I would like, but I still felt like there was a lot of broadcasting, and not much conversation. This is why I have enjoyed my time on FriendFeed so much. You may comment sometimes and not get any responses, but largely you at least get a “like” or one comment. In some cases, the conversation becomes large enough that it could qualify as an entire blog post.

Pro bloggers and entrepreneurs are always talking about making your content or site sticky. Conversations are sticky. Interaction is sticky.

Celebrities talking at me and never responding … not sticky. This even happens with some of the web celebrities, unless it is Robert Scoble and he is not human 🙂

In all seriousness, Twitter is headed to the mainstream, much more so than blogging has ever reached. Part of this is due to Facebook‘s massive reach as well. Facebook primed the mainstream for the real time status updates. The difference is Facebook is very sticky. You interact with your “friends” and have conversations.

As Twitter grows the problem will be whether people are having conversations, or whether people are just talking at you. What can the Twitter team do to avoid this?

8 thoughts on “Talk With Me, Not At Me

  1. Gavin,

    I should have been clearer, I was just saying that Seth, Fred and a handful of others are the “best bloggers” in their categories and are “allowed” to broadcast. Fred answers a ton of his comments, mine included.


  2. Like with blogs, it’s up to the individual — either a real individual or the individual(s) behind a corp Twitter account — to reply and spur conversations.

    There’s nothing that can be done to Twitter. It lies with the person behind the Twitter account and if he/she replies and retweets.

    (By the way, I found my way here via @scottradcliff on Twitter.)


  3. Mike,

    I guess my question really becomes, if you are writing a blog or on Twitter why not respond to comments? Why are you there in the first place?


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