Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
December 8, 201110:20 PM

The Best Response

It's getting harder and harder to respond back to everyone.

I often send out tweets, Blog comments or Facebook messages thanking people for leaving comments on this Blog, retweeting my tweets or linking to me (and my content) in one way, shape or form. I'm also very candid that I suck at the repartee and the back and forth online. I read each and every piece of content and I see all of the Blog comments, but I grapple with how to respond and feel silly simply saying, "thanks" to each and every comment. I've also Blogged about this topic quite frequently.

Comments, content and conversation is everywhere. 

While recognizing, acknowledging and accepting that this Blog would probably be that much more popular if I did engage, respond and connect to each and every comment, I'm now grappling with a world of comments that are everywhere and anywhere. This is a real-life scenario that made me realize how fragmented content has become and how challenging it will be for brands to truly stand up and be as active as possible. We used to live in a world where consumers said something, somewhere online and a brand could engage and connect and have it live there for others to see. No more. In the past few months, I've noticed a trend that will make it increasingly difficult for a brand to be successful in reacting and responding to a consumer. Through the power of notifications, I've seen multiple instances where one individual saw a Blog post of mine and then...

  • Posted a comment on my Blog.
  • Tweeted about the Blog post.
  • Posted about it to their LinkedIn profile.
  • Posted about it to their Facebook page.
  • Posted about it to Google+.

That's five different and diverse spaces from one person for one piece of content.

Flattering? Yes! Thankful? Of course! Blown away by their interest in my content? You know it! But how does one respond? Do you thank them everywhere? It seems a little "stalky", no? Especially if you're a brand. Respond in only one place? In that case, do I do it on my own Blog versus their own spaces? It seems a little narcissistic to only respond in my spaces (instead of theirs). Now, the biggest challenge/problem: what if the majority of this person's interactions happen on Google+ and I don't respond or comment there? Isn't that a cardinal Social Media sin to not have any acknowledgement?

If every person creates five times the amount of content, how (and where) does a brand respond?

It's going to get worse and more complex. More and more places to publish in text, images, audio and video. We can do it in real-time. We can do it from our mobile devices and publish it across multiple platforms. When it first came to content we talked about "filter failure"... we're heading into a world of "response failure." It will be challenging for brands to not only have positive outcomes with these types of scenarios, but then to benefit from all of the virtual foot traffic that comes from the other people traipsing in and around these comments and posts (so if the brand doesn't respond in all spaces, there could be both a negative perception by people like you and I along with not getting any sort of search benefit).

It turns out that there may not be any kind of best response if this type of multi-platform commenting becomes the norm.

By Mitch Joel