August 26, 2010

When is a Blog? (h/t SisterToulja and Matthew Freeman)

I stole the fuck outta this title.

In any case, I follow Sister Toldja (The Beautiful Struggler) on Twitter, but I should've been reading the blog all along. She brings up a really interesting phenomenon when it comes to integrating social media:
Say I tweet the name of an article or post along with a link to it (I.E. “New Post: OMG! The Black Male Marriage Crisis:  I do this, of course, in hopes that people will read said post. Seems clear enough. There’s a link. It says “New Post”. Sounds like an invitation to click said link and read, right? Well, folks will sometimes bypass that step and attempt to engage a discussion about what they are assuming the piece is about (“@ There is no Black male marriage crisis. Where did you get that from?”)

Even if they have figured out my thesis in 140-characters, why would I spend an hour writing something, only to then spend a bunch of time on Twitter debating it with people who haven’t read it? [. . .]

Another little kink in an otherwise great online existence: folks who DO take the time to read what I write (also known as the best people on the planet) will then take to Twitter and send me questions or comments regarding something I’ve taken on. And I don’t mean “@: I really enjoyed today’s post! Gave me something to thing about”.  I mean probing questions about the post or 4-tweet-long responses.  This is bothersome for a number of reasons (Sister Toldja, "The Twitter/Blogging Comment Problem")

I can understand where Sister Toldja's coming from. I've had this blog for - what? - 2 years now, and I don't think I'm popular enough to even be a micro blog. I just started using Twitter this year, and I'm still kicking myself for not doing it earlier (especially with my 70ish followers). I'm finally starting to "get" how to integrate my blog and Twitter in a way that benefits both.

While this would seem to only be a concern for the blogging Big Leagues, it does bring to mind something I might have to contend with on Ars Marginal. I'm not particularly worried about it, but it's worth sparing a thought or two. At the very least, it would be advantageous to outline the type of discourse you want to have on your social media.

For me, personally, the emphasis is on the social. I don't blog or Twitter for the fuck of it. Social media allow me to be social in a way that is comfortable for me. I am extremely introverted (not the same as shy). Being around people - especially if that means spending a lot of time around new people - is always stressful for me. I can hide this very well for a limited time, but it eventually catches up with me. Wanna see me get really uncomfortable really fast? Surround me with people I don't know, expect me to socialize, then abandon me. It takes more than a name and a pitch to warm me up socially. That "mean" or "angry" look on my face is more than likely extreme discomfort.

Social media allow me to control the pace and intensity of social interaction. They don't supplant my need for face-to-face conversation and meatspace relationships. They're simply a way for me to be social in a way that's not as taxing for me.

Which brings me to this blog and EclectiCopy. What would I like to see more of? How can I encourage that?

Honestly, I would like to see more proof that people are listening. I get comments every so often from my hardcore followers, but if they were the only people I wanted to hear from, I would e-mail them and be done with it. I post here because I want to connect with other people through mutual engagement. As you may (or may not) know, I despise debate when it comes to things that really matter insofar as it's about interpersonal relationships (as opposed to changes in policy - which is definitely worth a thorough hashing-out). But I'm always open to engagement. Fuck, the whole of Tulpa, or Anne&Me is engagement.

How do you prove you're listening? Obviously, leaving thoughtful comments is always welcome, as is writing thoughtful blog posts in response to something I said. Don't forget Twitter! As someone who lurks a lot, that's something I do pretty regularly when I don't have anything to add but still want people to know about it. If you come across a conversation where something I wrote seems relevant, post a link.

But if you want to interview me after I've been shanked by an Anne Hathaway fan, I am available via e-mail and Google chat.

(When you link to one of my blog posts, use the Create A Link function because Blogger doesn't like to leave me trackbacks for some reason)

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