Engaging Content and Community Building
With more proposed changes in the works, there is again a fuss over the kind of writing that will be rewarded on Persona Paper. I'm hearing certain people bemoan the fact that their personal posts won't earn as much as an informative one. Some people are even hinting the site will become boring, and there will no longer be a sense of community if we focus on the kind of writing that will draw in external traffic.
It's a fallacy to assume information and interest are mutually exclusive. The members of our own community attest to that. On a very informative post about swan upping in the UK , I saw the following comment: “ Very interesting . I love learning about these old traditions. You write interesting posts here. And like I have said before, I really enjoy reading them . History is part of who we are.” (emphasis mine)
That comment is just one example of a reader taking pleasure in an informative post. It also seems to demonstrate a desire to encourage, support and perhaps even nurture a relationship with the writer of the post.
And that sense of closeness to the writer of an informative post is hardly unique. I have written for sites where no personal posts at all were allowed, and yet the community thrived . In one case I ceased to write for the site three years ago, and yet I maintain strong bonds with many of the writers I met there, and in fact have carried those relationships forward with me to social networking sites and other writing platforms.
The fact that I'm even writing here is due to CoralLevang , who reached out to tell me about Persona Paper. Coral and I met on a site that allowed only informative posts. Five years later, we share a great deal of warmth and caring for one another.
I think about the quality of that relationship, born in a place with no personal posts. And then I think how hard pressed I can sometimes be to come up with a thoughtful comment after reading 400 characters of brain numbing personal minutiae on sites that encourage and even reward the writers of personal posts.
Really, there's not much to say in a comment after reading, "I worked all day then came home to be with my girlfriend. Now I'm going out on the deck for a beer, but my girlfriend is staying inside. I really don't know what else to say, so I'll just ramble on a bit about sitting on the deck with my beer – and maybe about my girlfriend too. Did I write enough? Maybe I'm close now. It's got to be soon, because I'm running out of things to say!!!! Maybe if I add a few more punctuation marks??? Oh yay, I'm done my 400 characters! Thanks for reading, dear writing friends and please remember to drop by again." Tough to connect with that, ya know?
Interest and quality of interaction are not the sole domain of posts that appeal only to a small number of site users. Placing the focus on the types of posts that will earn the site money is natural, and since it has no negative impact on anyone who writes personal posts it is good for us all. Why assume it's going to be a mess before even giving it a try?
Image Credit » http://pixabay.com/en/color-colorful-diamonds-children-204740/