Communication is important in just about every aspect of our lives. We need to actively communicate with our families, friends and significant others if we want our relationships to work. When meeting new people we engage in conversation to get to know these people and maybe over time, become friends – but that magic won’t work if we don’t put in some effort. To develop meaningful relationships, our interactions, our communciations need to be two-way, they need to be conversations. This is just as important within our blogging community.
I’ve been thinking about our WP community, how important it is; what purpose it serves and extending from that, do we, the more experienced bloggers, have a role in helping and guiding new bloggers so that they stay within the blogging world and become contributing members of the community who, in turn, will then help future bloggers. Do you think about the less experienced bloggers? I suspect for many of us, we think about our own needs. What is required for our own blogs and being in touch with our friends and contacts within the Community.
There have also been a few other things over the past month or so that have had me reflecting on why I blog and of the importance of the blogging community. One of the things I feel quite strongly about is supporting new bloggers who are just starting out and finding their feet. I want to be able to help them. I’m not going to do that by producing lots of posts about blogging dos and don’ts as there are already some excellent bloggers covering that, and I can share their links. That said, I am planning a couple of “how to” posts on my blog, and will look to see how I might be able to develop more.
When I think back to the beginning of my blogging journey, I was wary of the community, and I suspect this is also the case for some new bloggers. Anyone who is more experienced and actively engages with the community will, I hope, share my enthusiasm for our active community. Its an important part of the blogging experience. My feeling is that new bloggers may have various reactions to the community and when I think back to how I felt when I first set up Curiosities, Castles and Coffee Shops I wasn’t sure what to do or say, so I read and liked posts but didn’t say anything (I know, its hard to imagine a quiet “Brenda”). I was looking at blogs to see what others did and learning from my observations. I wouldn’t copy them, but I could see what worked and what I liked or didn’t like.
For me, I realised that silence wasn’t going to get me very far. In my mind I knew that I had to engage more and talk to people. However, where do you start when you look at a post with lots of comments which can feel daunting and overwhelming. It can look like the bloggers and people communicating through the comments already know each other or are friends and you don’t want to interrupt and it can feel invasive, so you may be put off saying anything. The risk is if the new bloggers don’t engage and join in, they could give up. I accept some will decide blogging isn’t for them, but we don’t want to lose them unnecessarily. Is it even our role to consider the new bloggers?
This is potentially conflicting for new bloggers – how to get in there and make an entrance into the blogging community when you are wary of active, engaging comments sections – but at the same time, that’s what you want your own blog posts to look like. I guess they just need to make a start. We can’t change how we’re talking to each other.
I know not every new blogger or blogger new to WP will feel that way, but it made me wonder what can be done to help them feel part of the community. While I say this, I want to recognise (and its my own opinion) that the WP Community is amazing. Its full of great, friendly and welcoming people who, once I took that initial step and made my first comment on someone’s blog. welcomed me in – now you can’t shut me up! (Sorry about that)
As I said above, I want to think about how we can help our newer bloggers – of course, we can and do talk when they engage with us, but is there anything we can do more proactively? I appreciate that we’re all busy and I’m just looking at what I do/could do, I’m not suggesting that others follow suit. But maybe giving some consideration about the experience new bloggers have and how we can help keep them in the community will help them.
Generally when bloggers spam us we just delete their comments. I agree spam is irritating, and like everyone else I do delete these, but I did wonder if these newbies know its not apporpriate to do this? We might say they should, but did anyone tell them? I may change my mind, but I’ve started checking out who’s posting these messages on my site, and I’m leaving them a message on their blog asking them not to do this and explaining why. It maybe also helps them start communicating with the community and hopefully that may keep them blogging longer.
I’ve started reviewing responses to the WP Prompts, not just the ones I respond to, looking for new bloggers to encourage. Additionally, I also try to check out who’s liking my posts and going to their sites if its a name I don’t recognise, but both of these are time permitting.
Beyond that, I think we in the community all continue to be awesome bloggers, engaging with each other which creates our community. Having a vibrant, active and engaging community is the best way to help and support each and every one of us, not just our newie members and will ensure a dynamic home at WP in the future.