Some bloggers write with flair, bringing life and insight to interesting topics, drawing the reader in to engage. It is a hard won talent to be able to write good articles. Any writer that does this consistently deserves kudos.

But engaging in the comments and discussion section requires different talents. Different motivations, even. Engaged dialogue is a different animal than engaging prose.

Some bloggers pay attention to their posts – they are like their little babies, let out into the world. As the baby takes on a life of its own, and interacts with the world, the parent will learn from the actions of her children and her childrens life. Other blog-parents are more like egg laying turtles. They drop their eggs, then head out to sea to do something else.

Here are some tips for having discussion on web boards and blogs.

Do:

  • Directly address the specific points you want to reply to. You may want to quote the sentences or paragraphs that you are replying to, to make it clear to the reader exactly which ideas you are addressing.

Don’t:

  • Vaguely agree or disagree
  • Hand wave away arguments with an unspecific dismissal, such as an insult to the persons character, or changing the subject to a new reason why your argument is valid. Each of a person’s ideas are like people in social gathering. If you want to address them, look them in the eye and talk to them and make a meaningful connection.

Do:

  • Be vulnerable. Let the ideas penetrate you. Let them in, to roll around inside you and make you squirm. Feel the ideas as they react inside you. The new ideas can then spark against things inside you – this spark is the reason for dialogue.

Don’t:

  • Be political. Diologue is not for forging alliances and learning who to spurn or avoid. Conversation isn’t about who is patting your back in support and who is in enemy territory and who is irrelevant. Engaging is learning; learning how to make your point effective, learning from the points of other people, learning how to personally change.

Do:

  • Be Strong. Make your case.

Don’t:

  • Get sucked in to emotions that will make you lose your ability to be civil and to think and articulate clearly.
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