Today I learned that Verizon has launched a group blog that will center on telecomm policy. Of course the jury is still out on how effective and cohesive a blog with eight authors will be, but is should be interesting
Here is the purpose of the blog, which includes a rather elegant little statement that sets the tone for comments on the blog.
“Verizon, through its blog, seeks to encourage intelligent discussion of public policy issues affecting the telecommunications industry and Verizon in particular. We will do this by posting our own points of view regularly, engaging in conversation with other posters who offer fact-based comments and reacting to the relevant ongoing blogosphere conversation. While no telecommunications subject is considered off-limits, we will focus on policy issues that have implications for the greatest number of companies and consumers.”
I have had many clients ask me about the risks of blogging. How do you keep competitors and arch enemies from taking over the conversation and dissolving the “conversation” into a shouting match?
And they ask this question with good reason.
For instance, Independent candidate Joe Lieberman had to turn off comments at his new Blog of Joe site when the comment area turned into an all-out, unruly war between Lieberman supporters and detractors.
So, to answer their questions, I offer 5 Tips for generating a successful conversations in comments.
- Moderate comments. This saves a lot of headaches with spam and unwanted profanity, but you must be timely in approving them (two-to three times a day or more)
- Have a written comment policy to manage expectations, but drop the legalese. I like Verizon’s policy, it is two sentences and lays out what you can expect from the bloggers and what they expect from you. Bravo to whoever wrote this concise statement. (Update: They do have a full policy, I missed it the first time)
- Be in it for the long haul, don’t launch a blog and expect to get immediate positive results. It takes time to build relationship with friends, it takes time to build a relationship with constituents
- Ban grossly abusive comments, but let most negative comments ride. If they are truly unfounded have some faith that you readers will look at them in context. If they have a point, learn from them and react/respond, it will improve your standing with the community if you have a thick skin
- Turn comments off if necessary, preferably temporarily. Sometimes, if under spam attack or severely abusive campaigns, you might have to turn comments off for awhile. Make a plan to turn them back on, using steps 1 to 4 above.
What are the tips you use for building community through comments and mitigating the risk from Internet trolls.