How To Rebuild A Community
The big discussion lately on Twitter is community. Many of the bloggers who have been about since the early days of blogging in the form as we currently know it (around 2008) have been mentioning lately how disillusioned they’ve become. (Two posts that inspired this post were this one by From Gem With Love and this one on Jazzpad)
Gone are the days it seems that a group of bloggers will come together from all over the country to meet up – not for a brand event, not a hyper organised event with a huge goody bag, but because they want to meet each other and want to just gossip, over a cup of tea and a cake, over what matters to them. (Need an example? Here’s an event that I went to in 2009 – having never met anyone from a blog before in “real life” and never been to a blogging event – where I met some of the bloggers that I still love to read today)
Blogging has developed and changed significantly since those days – and so it should! Industries and communities need to develop as time goes on and more people join in. However, as part of that development, outside influences have realised there is a potential to use this community, and that has lead to conflicts of interest.
It’s awesome to receive items to review – but because of the way the community has shifted, people feel like they need to defend when they genuinely love something that they bought themselves. Think of all the posts that you’ve seen that say “I wasn’t sent this! I just love it!”. We tend to assume that a positive review has been paid for in product or money which is a bit sad really! We should be clearly disclosing when items are sent for review, in a way that the average reader can easily understand.
One of the things that a lot of long term bloggers say about their blogs is that interaction is down. Blogs which used to get 20+ comments on each posts will barely scrape by 5 – 10 comments now. Perhaps a large cause of this is social media. The majority of bloggers interviewed in our regular series will say that social media is the best thing for their blog for allowing you to chat with other bloggers, but before Twitter, etc, became so widespread, we would chat in the comments sections of other peoples blogs. Social media makes your favourite bloggers more accessible, which is obviously a good thing, but it can be a little disheartening, especially if you were used to getting lots of comments previously.
So how can we fix it? How can we bring back that community feeling?
Our comment challenges last year were really popular, so we’re going to do it again next month. Each day, leave 5 comments on different blogs – it sounds easier than it is, but it will really benefit you, and it will make someone else happy that you commented.
Getting Back To Basics
Instead of feeling like you need to accept every PR offer that comes your way, then feeling obliged to post it all (which a lot of readers have said that turns them off a blog sometimes) – think about why people came to your blog in the first place, and see how you can bring back a little of that awesomeness. Check out SJ’s post about how it’s OK to say no if you need a little more help in this area!
Sharing The Love
Devote a blog post every month to highlight the top 10 posts/top 5 blogs/etc that you really loved reading this month. It’s a fairly simple post for you to do (just go through your Bloglovin hearted list and choose from there!) but it’s a lovely surprise for a blogger to be mentioned, and your readers will always like to know about new blogs to follow. (If you don’t want to do this on your own site, the Saturday Summary is always available for others to do!
What do you think? Is the community feeling lost? How can we get it back?