Controlling the Conversation

Social media is all about conversation. Some people get that, some people don’t. Regardless, conversation is where it’s at if you want to have a transparent relationship with your readers, customers and community. Some people, by nature of the fact that they know how to control the conversation, are much more adept to have the magnetism necessary to succeed in the conversation.

Now when I say controlling the conversation, let me be clear. I don’t mean telling people what to talk about and being an arrogant twit in having that conversation. I mean, be transparent and honest. People love that because it makes you approachable. On Twitter, for instance, there are people who cause me to notice them even when they say something completely insignificant. Chris Brogan is one of those. Jason Calacanis is another.

These are folks who are outside of Twitter as well, and that is good. Meeting them at conferences, reading their blogs, following their trends makes for a global reputation that attracts people to them. When they speak, people listen. A great example of this was last week when the Yankees were on the brink of elimination by the Cleveland Indians.

There are an abnormal number of Red Sox fans on Twitter, myself included. While the Sox fans caused lots of commotion and beat our chests alot, Jason taunted us one time with, “Let’s go yankees! Clap clap… Clapclapclap! Bring the Sox :-)”.

There is nothing particularly significant about this Tweet. Another Yankee fan talking shit (they all do that!). What was significant about this Tweet was the engagement J-Cal commanded. I know I sat up and gave him a quick one-liner. Others playfully threatened to boycott Mahalo. Whatever the reaction, Calacanis commanded the conversation with one line. He caused reader engagement.

Do you cause readers to engage?

On Facebook, do you ask your friends questions that taunts them to engage? Do they engage? On Flickr, do you post photos that create conversation? Do you meet people at conferences, or simply attend as many sessions as you can? It’s one thing to listen. It’s another to engage.

Aaron Brazell

Aaron Brazell is a Baltimore, MD-based WordPress developer, a co-founder at WP Engine, WordPress core contributor and author. He wrote the book WordPress Bible and has been publishing on the web since 2000. You can follow him on Twitter, on his personal blog and view his photography at The Aperture Filter.

3 thoughts on “Controlling the Conversation

  1. Wow, now THAT’S an interesting juxtaposition, Jason and me. I have great respect for Jason. He’s speaking at my Video on the Net conference in less than 2 weeks mostly because I love his speaking style and his energy.

    I think Jason and I have some similarities: he listens to his audience, he feels it when people are a little harsh, and he pays attention to the people in his community.

    But I never would’ve thought of us similarly. Jason’s got a Brooklyn spirit, and has really taken some big swings for the bleachers. I’m a base-hitter from Maine-now-Massachusetts.

    So thanks, Aaron. Looking forward to hanging out in Vegas.

  2. Aaron,
    Great post. It’s funny how we think about writing blog posts that can inspire conversation but we forget that sites like Facebook, Flickr should be as thoughtful and engaging. We get used to creating profiles for ourselves on all of these sites. We write our little autobiographies, post a few applications and photos and think that’s enough. Your post does an excellent job of reminding us that we now have these incredible platforms for connection and challenging us to consider whether we’re really using them to their full potential.

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