Don’t you hate it when you send out a tweet, especially a question, and all you hear are crickets?
You’re out there sending out original thoughts, trying to get people talking, and what seems to be working is quoting other people who have been dead for a century (or more…I’ve seen some Aristotle and Plato quotes on occasion). Perhaps the only thing that can be more frustrating is pouring your heart and soul into a blog post just to see tumbleweeds flying across your comments section.
What is going on here? What can you do to get people to talk to you?
The 21st Century Tower of Babel
Do you remember the story of the Tower of Babel?
Man was trying to build a tower that reached to Heaven (You’ll notice no women were listed as being supporters of this idea). In retribution, God made all of the people speak different languages so they couldn’t get the job done.
Well, Twitter is kind of like the Tower of Babel, 21st century style. Everybody is trying to make their own tower, whatever that may be. Maybe you’re trying to sell your consulting services. Maybe someone else is trying to sell a product. That person over there may just want to get rich and famous.
Everybody speaks in the language tied to the tower they’re building, and everybody talks at the same time. So, if you suddenly peep out of your particular tower-building project and yell out a question to the masses, it’s not all that surprising that you don’t get a whole lot of responses at first. Everybody is use to just working in their own little corner.
When you wish upon a star
So, you try to engage once or twice. Maybe you’re pumping out your own message too. But nobody is responding, right? So you think, “OK, if I can get somebody like Brian Clark or Chris Brogan to respond to me then everyone will want to talk to me and comment on my posts.”
Well, this is not really going to work either.
You see, the big stars in the Social Media sky have at least 100,000 people following them. Probably, a high percentage of those folks are following for the same reason you started.
There’s that little chance that your reply could garner a response, and then you’d have it made, right? I remember once I jumped into a conversation that some “stars” were having on Twitter. None of them responded. Then, to make matters worse, the conversation ended. It was as if I had said something offensive and cleared the room.
So, is it time to fall on your Social Media Samurai sword?
No, not at all. Instead, I want you to think about a song that they used to sing on Sesame Street. “Who are the people in your neighborhood? They’re the people that you meet as you’re walking down the street! They’re the people you meet each day.”
What on earth does that have to do with increasing interaction on your blog or in Twitter?
Well, you have to remember that you are not the only one trying to increase your interaction in the world of Social Media. There are a lot of people who are right around the same place you are. So, they are the people in your neighborhood. Now, think about your real neighborhood. When you see a neighbor, do you shout out, “Hey, did you see that really interesting article on Mashable? Here, let me show it to you!” Probably not. You’re more likely to say, “Man, that game last night, what a bummer.” Something more human, right? A little more personal.
The same logic works online.
People don’t want to interact with someone who is just pumping out promotional information. Heck, they might think you’re a bot instead of a human. People want to interact with people. Some of my greatest online relationships started because I responded to tweets about ironing, the Cleveland Indians, and Monty Python. Not very businessy, right? Not very motivational. But these conversations showed people that I was a human. That made them feel more comfortable in talking to me.
We have one thing in common – we’re all different
Instead of trying to bring everyone to your blog or to your Twitter account, go out and respond to tweets or blogs that interest you. And don’t feel like you can only respond to businessy stuff. If someone is tweeting during a college football game and you like one of the teams, join the conversation. If someone tweets that they just got back from the new Harry Potter flick, join the conversation. Meet people where they are comfortable. Before you even realize what is happening, your crickets will be replaced by people, which can be a bit more rewarding (no offense to crickets).
From there, you can start forging your community. And from there, you can do just about anything.
Where are you?
So where are you in the search for interaction? What have you tried? Let us know how we can help you meet your neighbors.