In gaining knowledge and skill in blogging over the past several weeks, the most profound lesson I have come away with is the importance of going beyond simply providing content but actually facilitating and maintaining CONVERSATION with my audience. Before I started blogging on a regular basis for social media class, I never really thought about taking blogging to the next step and embracing the fullness of it. I didn’t ever think of the concept of having a conversation and keeping it going..pretty simple really..but the idea never crossed my mind until now. I also pictured blogging to be an experience for myself, not really focusing on the interactive environment I could create for others.
However, that is what this blog motleystories was created for- to share stories and to connect people together.
I think this type of interaction is why a blog is so helpful to nonprofits. It is a platform to start conversations with the community and provide a way for the public to interact with each other and participate in the organization’s cause. While it may be easy to start the conversation, the real skill is connecting the conversations together and essentially creating partnerships. For me, this is the most exciting yet challenging aspect of blogging.
I also learned that blogging is not something that I can do in a matter of seconds. It requires preparation. It involves listening. To be honest, I was surprised about how much listening writing a blog actually does involve. For example, I wrote a blog about mental health. It was not so easy to blurt out information as I thought it would be about this topic of which I am very passionate. I had to begin by listening, so I used my netvibes dashboard to, well…LISTEN.
On netvibes, I enjoyed being able to experience all the different ways people talk about mental health through news, videos, and various social media conversations. It was interesting the road that netvibes led me on to find the information I eventually used to share in my blog. It was not linear (social media never is). I don’t even remember exactly how I found my information, and I definitely could not find it again..at least not the same way. However, it got me to interact and participate in conversations. I was reconnected to a favorite organization of mine that advocates for mental health, NAMI, and started following their Facebook page. Eventually, that led me to information about mental health I had not heard before. From there, I could start my conversation because I took time to see what others were saying. I have had similar experiences with a few other topics on netvibes, such as listening to the conversations about community gardening, the various dialogues regarding the LGBT community, and the discussions on the art of storytelling. Each experience took me on an unexpected journey with many loops, twists, and turns. Nevertheless, it was a journey that gave me a better understanding of how to have a conversation and the steps that are involved in keeping the conversation going.