Should blogging be made as easy as tweeting 2.0?
If you want some history into this, you should start by reading my previous blog post on the topic Do We Really Want Blogging to Be As Easy and Simple As Tweeting?
Today, I wanted to touch on an equally important topic (while staying on the main topic of blogging and microblogging), the topic of user engagement.
User engagement, well we have managed something special in that department with our own microblogs. Like Ron, I have been on many blogging platforms and done a lot of blogging, but microblogging right now takes the cake for user engagement.
Case in point, my previous blog post received 2 full-blown blog posts as replies. Mind you blog posts (here and here), and not just a couple of lines of comments. Who doesn’t want this kind of engagement? Most of us hosting self-hosted blogs from 10 to 15 years ago are also familiar with comment spam, something the microblogging community has managed to avoid so far.
On Micro.Blog I interact with at least a couple of fine folks every day, sometimes as many as 5. I learn new things, discover new people and blogs and microblogs to follow, or simply share my perspective. The best thing about this user engagement is that I don’t do it because I expect something in return, like a link back to my blog, or visitors and traffic to my blog. I do it because I want to do it and not with any ulterior motives.
In fact, most folks on Micro.Blog fit into this category, cheerful and helpful individuals who are sharing their personal thoughts and also engaging and interacting with fellow microbloggers with actual words. No likes, shares, or comment spam. And very certainly no harassment or fighting either.
However, let us also acknowledge the elephant in the room, getting engagement from genuine users/followers on social media has also been a hard ask for most of us. Like Chris Aldrich social engineering his mom on Facebook, I too have resorted to social engineering my sister on Facebook for engagement.
My sister is the extrovert to my introvert, so if I have ever wanted any engagement on Facebook, even simple likes to my photographs, I have resorted to tagging my sister on Facebook and even preferably having her in the photographs. That ensured I would get a minimum of 30 to 50 likes on sharing 5 photographs from an outing/party, though of course, the likes were mostly from her friends and not mine. Guess we will take Facebook likes no matter how they come.
This only highlights the fact that genuine user interaction is dead for the most part. Most folks will click like on autopilot because they are socially or genetically programmed to do so, or it is spam for the purposes of click bait or backlinks, and something I don’t want to see magnified on self-hosted blogs and microblogs.
This I think should be a genuine concern for most folks. How do we stay high on genuine user engagement, but keep out the trolls, the spammers, and the haters?
We all want more of the indie bloggers who will take the IndieWeb further along. We don’t want the mommy blogger or the serial entrepreneur who is going to teach us how to make money from our microblogs. But knowing history and Internet history, we have seen everything from blogging to YouTube and Instagram go the way of the Instagram model, something I wish for microblogging to stay away from.
But the silver lining should be that even if that does happen, at least we will have moved away from the commercial silos and towards the IndieWeb movement.
Did someone say IndieWeb surveillance and profiling? That I gotta see.