Bloggers need to get out more. That's my theory, anyway.
This whole movement of "social media" has truly taken hold, but as I look around (at the airport, in public settings, and even at myself) I see an overdependence on the keyboard. The completely mobile nature of our electronic devices, coupled with technology and software that is more user-friendly than ever, is colluding to make us - ironically - more isolated from human contact than ever.
While it's very easy to sit behind a desk and blog away every day as a connector or an influencer, I was reminded over the weekend of the importance of being social - that is, taking social media to its natural end: getting out there and meeting people. I track my blog statistics with Google Analytics, Sitemeter, Feedburner and FeedBlitz. I know my blogs are being read. But for any marketer, the real question is "what does my audience think of my brand?" If your blog isn't generating comments, it's very difficult to gauge that level.
Over the weekend, I was at a conference that a number of my readers attended. I was approached by dozens of them, who told me how much my blog meant to them, it was the first thing they read in the morning, I'm providing a valuable service, etc., etc. While it was flattering (and what artist doesn't love flattery?), I walked away greatly affected by the experience. I suddenly understood that in addition to simply knowing how many people read my blog, I now knew what they thought of my blog. Talk about great feedback - not to mention inspiration that keeps me motivated to continue the hard work of maintaining my blogs.
My advice to any blogger or podcaster in the B2B (or B2C) market: get out there! Go to conferences that are germane to your topic and where you think your audience might be. If they're local, invite your regular commenters to lunch and pick their brains. Yes, you should answer comments and emails sent through your blog. But above all, make the human connection that this revolutionary technology affords us.
Sitting with your laptop won't sustain long term relationships. You have to sit with people too.