Twitter Contest: Be my 1000th Friend

I’m at a special milestone in my Twitter career. Most people don’t end up with 1000 friends but the Twitter community is vibrant and I’m fully engaged so at this point, I have 999 friends.

I thought it would be cool, in the spirit of Twitter and community, to hold a contest for the 1000th friend milestone. In true Twitter fashion, this is how it will work. Below is an article about community. What I want you to do is to post a summary of the article in your own words on Twitter and leave a link to the Tweet in the comments. For the sake of community, also post the contents of the tweet in comments so people don’t have to go clicking everywhere to see what’s been said. The winner will be chosen exclusively by me (I can be subjective, right?)

There’s a twist however. In order to get participation from everyone, including the 999 people that are already my friends, the winner will choose my 1000th friend for me. You can choose yourself if you want, but if the winner is already my friend they could choose somebody that they find interesting and they want me to follow too. Could be fun, right? Right, so let’s get to it.

Engaging Community

We’re in the political season again and people are avidly watching the races for the Republican and Democratic nominations. It hearkens back to the bad old days when I first started blogging in 2004. The presidential election gave bloggers lots of fodder to talk about and, back then, everyone seemed to be a political blogger of some sort. Fortunately, the blogging world has diversified and is now rich in technology, sports, celebrity gawking, etc. It’s a much more accurate view of real life where people are very different.

One of the main problems that has plagued bloggers for as long as blogging has been around is the sense that blogging is an individual sport. Rarely do you see communities – true communities – spring up around single blog properties. There are a few notable blog centered communities – SEOMoz in the SEO world; Digital Photography School in the, well, digital photography world; all of the Gawker properties, I think. Mostly however, blogging is an individual sport and blog participation is a spectator sport.

Why do you think that is?

When we talk about social media, inevitably blogging gets lumped in with Facebook and Twitter as though blogs are somehow social. Generally, they are not.

When I first heard the term social networking I always word associated with social engineering, a scary term that denotes manipulation of lemmings by a single person or entity. When I thought of social media, which is used interchangeably with the word social networking, I thought of communist state government.

Where the word came from is irrelevant. It is the word. What it means is a grassroots community revolving around a topic or niche. In most cases the “friending” is a function of the network that allows people to connect and interconnect with each other, thus creating grassroots networking.

I come back to blogging, where in most cases, this is not occurring. Blogging is still mostly a one way communication tool where the blogger, or bloggers write. There is interaction via comments, but this is non-commital action that people can take that is contrary to the “friending” process of social networks. Anyone who blogs knows the feeling of being a “one night stand” where a commenter comes by, does a drive by comment, and leaves. Wham! Bam! Thank you, ma’am!

This is not community. Community requires a level of commitment, if only as menial as a friend request to “ensure” the tie that binds.

I’d love to see more communities emerge around blogs. Heck, I may start a forum here which would be a first step but it wouldn’t be enough. There would have to be the follow through from readers where community could begin to coalesce.

What are your thoughts on community?

Published by

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.

10 thoughts on “Twitter Contest: Be my 1000th Friend”

  1. Blogs haven’t evolved much in last few years along with socnet tools. Further, the proliferation of tools like google reader, is killing the interaction model of blogs. When users had to visit the site to look at content, there was a better chance of participation.

    I read around 300 blogs, and most often, I simply skim (signal vs noise). Even with very good article’s, it is more natural/convinient for me to share is via GReader or tweet it, rather than visit the website and comment. I think, if we have a service, like disqus, that can track twitter and pownce, and include it as part of comments, we can expect much greater participation.

    loooks like an interesting project. if you would like to so something, do throw some requirements/thoughts my way. Maybe we can cook something up? :)

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