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.

The Happiest Moment in the RSS and Reader Marriage is in the Engagement

audience-engagement.png

Over the weekend there was a huge buzz over new RSS subscriber numbers that Feedburner was reporting due to a change in how Google Reader was reporting their stats. The bounce was reported as high as 250% by bloggers like Jeremy Shoemaker to more average bounces of around 30% by bloggers like Stowe Boyd. My own bounce was 32%. The change has prompted many to begin to re-evaluate assumptions previously held for a long, long time. One of those was my own boss, Jeremy Wright, who mused, “Google is now, or is soon set to be, the world’s #1 feed reading software / destination / feature.”

Without losing the forest through the trees, FeedBurner has just let loose with some blistering analysis of the trend. And they are spot on. While the assumption is made that bigger is better, Feedburner examines the data and arrives at the conclusion that the motion of the ocean is actually significantly different.

Not all subscribers are alike. Yahoo reports active subscribers over a rolling 30-day period. Most other web-based readers report the total number of individuals who’ve subscribed, regardless of whether they have actually logged in recently.
Default feeds are popular. (Yes, this is an early frontrunner in 2007 “Painfully Obvious Bullet” balloting.) Said differently: many aggregators offer a set of default feeds for every new account, or provide “bundles” of feeds by category. These feeds will get disproportionately high subscriber numbers at specific aggregators.

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