We all recognize the symptoms: itchy fingers, pursed lips, maybe a raised eyebrow or uncontrolled eye roll. Yep, you’ve been struck by an acute case of “blog-itis”—the urge to comment on a corporate blog. But before you confine your digital two cents to eternity (particularly if commenting on your own company’s blog), apply these treatments to your draft comment before you post:
- Keep it constructive. No one likes a whiner, or an obvious yes-man. Select the most interesting aspect of the blog’s content and offer your perspective. You can agree, agree to disagree or gently add some (missed) nuance by raising a related issue or providing relevant data. But whatever you do, ditch the snark and vent into a (non-digital) notebook to get it out of your system rather than flame someone on an open forum.
- Engage, don’t pontificate. No “voice of god,” please. The best comments reflect on the original content or other comments, ask questions, or offer an analogy or comparison from personal experience for other readers to chew on. This, rather than a mini-lecture, will keep the conversation going with other commenters and reveal you to be the reasonable, well-informed person we all know you are.
- Be real. This goes for your name: refrain from using cutesy avatars or obvious aliases. Even more important, ensure the accuracy of your comment. Fact-check any assertions and qualify opinions. It also can be helpful to add a link to other content—just be sure to introduce or paraphrase the linked content correctly.
- Practice safe posting. This is one area where asking for forgiveness after the fact rather than permission before you post might not work. Through the wonder of the Web, folks can figure out who you are and what you do, and will ascribe your opinions to your employer, fairly or unfairly. Rather than surprise your in-house counsel and boss (rarely a good idea), let them in on your digital ambitions and ask for their feedback before pressing the “submit” button.
It’s easy to overuse our First Amendment rights with all the digital channels we have at our disposal. A little caution is in order to make your comments count. That, along with some strategic buy-in, can make you the kind of commenter folks love to hear from.