Generating Meaningful Online Discussions


Recently, I felt inspired to post a quote on a message board in hopes of generating an online discussion.  So I thought about asking a critical question (paraphrased from an Ikea commercial), “Why live life in khaki when you can live in color?”  Well, perhaps it is not so critical.  In fact, I started thinking the question might seem too simple.  But after mulling it over for a few days, I put my insecurities on the shelf and made it into a post.

The whole internal deliberating process actually started with choosing a meaningful purpose for generating an online discussion.  That purpose could be an obvious or subtle theme.  In my case the purpose was to inspire readers to think about living life passionately.  Perhaps purpose flows out of a daily quiet time or maybe even divinely inspired through prayer.  It could even be sparked by something in our daily lives.  In this case, my purpose was to transform something from pop culture into a meaningful discussion.

Once a purpose or theme is chosen, pose it in the form of a question.  This will invite the reader to participate.  In addition to the question, add something personal so that the reader is not simply reading words on a page, but making a connection.  For instance, I mentioned how I literally love color, and I also like to live life with passion.

And if in doubt, remember to engage your virtual online community in the same way you would engage your actual community of friends.  Think of the post literally as an online discussion, allowing the reader to indulge in a lengthy feedback, and then respond personally.  Then voila!  You have the makings of a meaningful online discussion.

Meet e4e author Leaha Shaikh

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