cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by giveawayboy

Taking the swirl metaphor of real life/online connections in a different direction, what follows might be patently obvious.

But first, here is some secret insight- If you find that 140 characters cramps your communication style (and please avoid the hokey pokey longer tweet approaches, all ugly/clunk), there is this thing you can use to write long replies- it is called COMMENTING ON BLOG POSTS.

That was a little (a lot) of facetiousness. It sounded funny in my head and looks stupid here in the text box.

I have accepted the majority of activity (and it was never more than a few blips), I used to see here in the blog are happening “out there”, usually in twitter, disconnected from the blog. And while it would be nice to have all thats tuff connected, I’ve yet to see a rock solid solution. We are just more dis-aggregated.

But the Blog and The Twitter need not be opponents, they can work together if you tend your virtuous circles.

The first thing is setting up your blog to push a tweet out when a new post happens- maybe this is spammy, but I find it generates most of the responses to a blog post. I use Twitter Tools for WordPress, the set up is a bit awkward since twitter changed their authentication method, its a lot of steps, but you can even customize the set up on twitter when you register the plugin as a twitter “app”, you can even make it display with your own name for the tool (and link back to your own site)

But commenting on the blog have have declined, I still get gems, like in my post about Audio Books, Nate Lowell responded with a link to podiobooks, a great resource I never heard of– in closing the circle, I ought to have shared that link back out on twitter (I cant remember if I followed my own advice).

The idea here is sort fo a gardening metaphor- let The Twitter feed The Blog and let The Blog feed The Twitter– dont be obnoxious link spamming about it, but being as our conversations about content are now distributed away from the content, we ought to be doing the tasks to keep the stuff in motion.

And it works the other way- other people’s tweets lead me to their blogs, I leave comments, find other stuff there worth tweeting back out.

Possibly a new way of looking at this ecosystem, maybe not the holy grail- but ti sure looks like it holds water– is Backtype — I guess I had registered their a while ago, but I can have it track activity on my blog, with a nice set of groovy graphs and data:

I see on the lifetime stats that there have been over 3000 tweets pointing here (well a lot fo them might be me doing the task described above…) and 2200 comments on my blog itself- actually that ratio is better than I thought. You can get a display on activity for a specific post— even showing me tweets from people I dont follow.

You can see a twitter profile of someone else, for example Steve Wheeler or heck, why not- myself:

There are ratings for “influence” – it shows the URLS I tweet the most, a breakdown of my activity:

  • Updates (48%)
  • @Replies (48%)
  • Retweets (4%)
  • Links (35%)

(Uh oh, I am not retweeting much). I am not sure yet how the listing of who I influence or who re my influencers are, but there’s no surprises there.

I gotta dive a bot deeper to see what else is here, but love what can be done with data for (ahem) the sites that actually make them public (leading to another future post about The One That Is Data Stingy).

Well that was a tangent and a half- how do you make good use of virtuous circles in online spaces?

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

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