When I first started blogging, it seemed like I could not buy a comment or a tweet. In fact, I knew something really crazy was going on when I got a comment and about three shares one day (it turned out Chris Brogan had tweeted out my post, which was 100% surprising!). I started joining the Twitter chat #blogchat every Sunday to see if I could untangle why I wasn’t getting anyone to take action on my posts. Everyone who did read my blog said it was really good and they liked it a lot. So what was I missing?
I’d love to say that as time evolved and things got better it became clear what I had been missing. When I first started I was on Blogspot. Things got better when I moved to WordPress.com and then I really saw a traffic jump when I moved to a self-hosted blog. My very first few posts were all over the place, not focused, and to be honest, not very good. It was all a journey, all a big learning curve. But the carrot – getting people to read your post and then inspiring them to say something about that – that really got me excited. I couldn’t believe I could have a conversation with literally anybody about anything I wanted to write about (well, within reason).
I thought I had everything figured out, and I was pretty happy with the Blogosphere. But now something strange is going on, and it’s really bothering me.
But you didn’t read it…
Because of sites like Triberr, which makes it easy to tweet out posts from the Triberr interface, it is no longer necessary, in the minds of a lot of people, to read posts before they allow Triberr to tweet them out. In fact, you don’t even need to click to a person’s blog site. You can go down your list of tribe mates, click “approve” 27 times, and your content sharing is set up for the foreseeable future. It’s easy, it’s efficient, and from a sharing perspective, it’s awesome. But, well, I’m a purist. I don’t write posts just so they can be broadcast out into the ether. I write posts because I want to share ideas. I write so I can start conversations. If nobody is actually reading posts, my favorite part of blogging has gone by the wayside.
I had a chance to talk to Dino Dogan and Geoff Livingston about this a bit in the Twitter stream. Dino, one of the co-founders of Triberr (and a mighty nice guy) said that if people aren’t reading your posts before they send them out, it means they trust your content enough that they aren’t worried about sharing it. While I think that’s a great vote of confidence, it also troubles me. From the very start, I’ve only shared stuff I’ve read because I want to be accountable for ALL of the views I present online. I could completely adore you and yet completely agree with something you write on one of your blog posts. What if you have written something that is the polar opposite of the post I just published? To me, that means my credibility could be called into question. At the very least, it signals that I either didn’t mean what I said in my post or that I didn’t read your post.
Sharing without merit
I know what you’re going to say. Even if the person who tweets out your post didn’t read it, they’re exposing your content to people you might not be connected with, and maybe those folks will read it. I get that, and that is a great value. But to me, shares without true merit just aren’t as worth much to me. If you share my post, I want to know that you at least skimmed it to make sure you really think it’s worthy to share. I’d rather have less traffic and more comments than the other way around. Anyone can click “approve.” Reading and THEN sharing requires some thought and discernment.
So what do you think? Do you care that people seem to be sharing posts without reading them? Am I just once again too far behind the times? I’d love to hear your thoughts!