Four Levels of Engagement in the Blogosphere

I used this device in a presentation last week to frame how you can have different levels of participation in the online world these days. The four levels are:

  • 0: Unengaged
  • 1: Listening
  • 2: Commenting and Connecting
  • 3: Fully Engaged

Let’s tackle them one by one.

0: Unengaged

This one might also be called “Blogowhat?” You aren’t listening to what people are saying online and have no idea what people are saying about your company, ideas, products, employees, you name it. You are not plugged into the online conversation.

1: Listening

At this level, you are regularly reading key blogs in your field or industry. You have subscribed to relevant keyword alerts on Google and Technorati. You search Wikipedia for articles that are relevant to your issues and analyze how well they do or do not represent them. You share what you hear and learn throughout your company so that others are more aware of what is going on. This is still largely passive but at least you are following along.

2: Commenting and Connecting

This level includes all of 1 plus actively commenting on relevant blog posts, adding comments to a Wikipedia discussion page, contacting bloggers directly to share your side of the story, etc. It also includes making connections with groups and individuals using social networking tools, such as LinkedIn, Facebook or MySpace. You are going beyond listening by reaching out to those who are leading the online conversation.

3: Fully Engaged

Finally, you are publishing your own blog, podcast, vidcast, etc., putting out your own story. You link to others talking about issues you care about, giving your perspective. You have a full presence in the online conversation.

Moving from 0 to 1 is a huge leap and requires learning a lot of skills and knowledge about the online world. Moving from 1 to 2 is much easier to do, although developing an effective tone for interaction may take some experimentation. Finally, moving to 3 is a bit of a leap but should be pretty smooth if you have been commenting actively for a while first.

What do you think?

Update: Added Connecting to level two. Thanks to Kathryn Lagden for the suggestion in the comments!

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11 thoughts on “Four Levels of Engagement in the Blogosphere

  1. I would consider those are part of the listening process. Or tools by which you can easily monitor lots of sources. Good point though, that they are key elements to it.

  2. Seems like a logical progression to me. I might suggest ‘Commenting and Connecting’ as the 3rd category. To include people who use flickr, social bookmarking, linked in, etc. as tools to connect with others.

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