I’ve been blogging on WordPress for almost a year now. And I think it’s great. The software is easy to use, the themes are nice, and I’ve got options to upgrade. I appreciate the combination of simple and flexible. But I think there’s one thing lacking: community.
I’m not saying there’s no community here at WordPress.com. If you visit the support forums, you’ll see some bloggers who hang out there quite a bit. And I’ve had a chance to interact with a few others myself.
What I am saying is there’s no major effort to connect bloggers to each other. And that’s ok because the developers are focusing their efforts on making the best product possible. So, it’s in the hands of the users to develop the community. I’ve got a couple thoughts.
Use the Dashboard
There are a couple features built into the Dashboard that give you some connectedness. Under What’s Hot you’ll see some of the most popular blogs and posts on WordPress. You can see latest posts as well. Check out some of these sites; this is the closest you’ll ever be to most of them. Don’t wait for something to become popular to check it out. Help make it popular.
Also on the Dashboard is the Tag Surfer. This feature often goes unknown, but it has great power. Just go to the Tag Surfer tab and enter some categories you’re interested in. Then, each day you’ll find new sites that (supposedly) talk about the topics that interest you. You’ll be able to read those posts right from this page. Then, you can go comment on them.
Also on the Dashboard is the My Comments tab. This one is exactly what it sounds like: comments you’ve left on other WordPress blogs. The neat thing about this feature is that subsequent comments also show up here. It’s great for keeping track of feedback and for keeping the conversation going.
One more great idea
Internet Duct Tape is the hub for a developer with some great ideas. Recently, he published a Greasemonkey script that helps to facilitate community here at WordPress. It allows you to open 5 random WordPress.com blogs at once. And it alerts you to blogs that have a Recent Comments Widget installed. You know, for some link-love.
Remember, use your blog responsibly. Don’t just rant; join in the conversation. Every one of us wants some kind of feedback. Start by offering some and maybe you’ll get some, too. And don’t forget this: It’s in the upper right-hand corner of your screen (if you’re a WordPress member.)