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A platform is showing the world that I am, first and foremost, a normal human being except online, and one of the things that normal human beings do is interact with other normal human beings. Therefore, building a platform involves not just creating my own content but interacting with other people’s content. I am not a social person in real life. Thus, I am not a good online social person either. Luckily, there are a few workarounds.

Rule Number One: To build a platform, just reading other blogs doesn’t count. You have to interact somehow. Usually, this means commenting.

Step Number One: Make yourself do the thing. I have to schedule myself reading and commenting on other blogs. Someone else might not have to go to those lengths, but it’s something you have to do at least a little bit each week to increase the chances that one of those other bloggers will reciprocate. (Hint: it’s hard to reciprocate if nothing happens in the first place.)

Step Number Two: Even a “nice post!” comment will work. Think of what you would like on your own posts. The long comments and personalized details are nice, but sometimes it’s just good to have evidence that someone other than your mother is reading your words. (And when I say “you”, we all know I mean “me, but this could apply to someone else and I’m in denial a little bit.”)

Step Number Three: Yes, this is almost as bad as calling up a random person for no reason. Don’t ask me why. It just feels weird. Work through it anyway! Bare minimum, hit the “like” button when you enjoyed a post. Let people know their words did not go unheard.

Step Number Four: Reward self for going through traumatic activity. Read three more posts without needing to comment. (Unless of course you’re on a role and it’s good stuff and you really want to comment, in which case go for it.)

Step Number Five: Practice! Writing a decent comment is a skill, as much as anything else is.

Step Number Six: Build a collection of blogs you like. It is ten times easier to comment on a blog when it’s someone you’re familiar with, where you’ve commented before and they might actually know who you are. Take the time to search and find blogs you will find interesting in the long run, and not just follow whoever comes along. (Or if you do, at least organize it so you know which ones you’ll really want to read.) Keep in mind that not every post is always going to speak to you. It’s okay to follow someone for a particular kind of post. The other stuff might show you to something new and interesting.

Rule Number Two: Don’t go too far the other way. After a certain point, if you’re following or commenting on too many things, everyone will know you’re not really engaging. Being genuine is important, and also hard work, so don’t overextend.

Read other people’s blogs! It’s good for you. Expands the horizons, all that stuff. It also shows the internet and thus blog readers that you are willing and capable to engage and be worthy of the trust readers bestow on those blogs they like.

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