Ok Ok I Admit It
So I'll 'fess up--it's been over 2 months since my last blog post. Is this a good or bad thing in world of social networking? I think that we have been trained to think that the only legit blog posting is daily or at least frequent blog posting. Is this true? Are we only legit if we have frequency? What if we frequently post but our blog has low value--is this better?
I don't want to believe that you have to post daily because frankly, like you, with my life--it realistically isn't going to happen at this point. I see that my life is opening up more to where I can conceivably see fitting this in--and keep in mind--this is one real part of my job and I still struggle! When things are mission critical, it gets done but for me, to date, blogging has not been mission critical. Now that it is, it gets done. Funny how that works. Organizations that really want to have bloggers consistently blog need to find someone where blogging is either in reality, or perceived to be, mission critical. If you don't feel that you need this consistently, then lighten up and thank bloggers for the amount they give--despite the amount.
Any Way Not Every Day
I bring this point up because so many organizations struggle with what I consider the "periodic blogger" or the blogger that starts off strong and then collapses never to return because s/he is hanging head in shame for not keeping a consistent blog. I try and tell organizations to open up to these people and encourage them--say "you can do it! we don't care! one blog a year or one blog a day still contributes to the greater cause!". Unfortunately, I don't see a lot of organizations picking up on this trend because they are caught in this black/white way of thinking of what constitutes "real" bloggers and their members/staff are intimidated by the idea of having to blog regularly on top of all of their duties. Also, let's face facts--forced blogging is equivalent to an overly polite conversation--not a lot of anything worthwhile gets said and it's boring. Instead, take the attitude that you'll get the information any way you can and thanks for blogging!
No Shame in Going on a Blog Hiatus
Let's not make blogging the new equivalent to joining a committee. It doesn't have to be a laborious undertaking full of commitment and perseverance. In fact, making it easy for those that started out strong and then stopped is not a bad thing either. Why not post on your community homepage something that says "Quality Not Quantity" and then allows bloggers to come back without shame?
Since we are talking about voluntary members at non-profits who are engaging in your community, it is even more important that we have soft eyes and open hearts when we deal with them and that our approach is always coaching and not judgmental. One thing I fear with rewarding engagement just based on pure numbers is that it again becomes a game of the person who is consistent gets the reward despite the quality or impact of their contribution. Since I am not someone who prides herself on consistency, this one particularly bothers me. I don't want to think that my contributions have lower value because I haven't posted in two months. Sure, ideally I'd have daily posts of high value but how do I get there? Help me out people--give me praise and encouragement and tell me I can do it. Far more likely that I will start to adopt this as a habit and return to blog than if I go unnoticed and then come back and either get more nothing or criticism.
Try Try Again
The most important thing in getting people to blog (or to make any growth at all) is to make it safe for them to fail. Assess your organization's approach to growth and the message you are putting out to your members and volunteer leadership. Is this ok? Are you making it safe to try and fail but come back to try some more? If not, look for ways to make it safer and more open to trying and being a periodic blogger or poster or participant. Remember that often the biggest value comes from those reluctant or shy bloggers who have a lot of false starts. Look for the intention and work to grow the behavior through consistent support and gratitude.