As a social studies educator, I have studied different types of diffusion and barriers to diffusion for years. I have never felt like I was truly a part of this study until I started blogging and realized that while networking is fabulous, it can sometimes create unintentional echo chambers in social media and across the internet. I have found that diffusion blogging is where posts are seen by many whereas echo chamber blogging is where posts mimic other posts and/or don’t get seen by a large audience. Read more on how to utilize networks effectively and diffuse content further.
So what do I mean by echo chamber?
Well first let’s define this vague term. It literally means “an enclosed space for producing reverberation of sound.” So let me break it down for you and apply it social media and blogging.
First, an echo chamber is going to be an enclosed space. This means that any information that is published is staying confined and not diffusing outward.
Second, it’s a reverberation of sound. This means that either it’s the same content repeated or it’s just you talking without anyone else hearing you. Neither are what you want if you are investing time into blogging and networking.
How do you break free from the Echo Chamber?
Find and focus on which social media networks suit YOU. You are only going to be speaking to yourself if you don’t have a passion for a certain platform. This also means that those who resonate with you the most are probably also not going to be where you don’t enjoy being. So don’t force twitter if it’s just not for you. Rock the platform you love. You don’t even have to have huge numbers, but strive for a quality readership.
Don’t confine yourself to one community/network or even a couple. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge proponent of networking as it has substantial impact on ROI and I will even discuss how networks are a vital part of diffusing your posts. But, if you’re not branching out, then your content has less chance of branching out as well. This doesn’t mean that being a part of a niche is a bad thing, it just means finding a few networks that suit your site, even if within the same niche. I personally am a part of several networks. Most of them are either Green Living or Kid Blogging. This is because when I am focusing on one area, it fails my creative juices in another area. Diversity is what fuels ingenuity because we don’t continue to focus on the same echos throughout a network.
Stew on Ideas. It’s important to let ideas sit in your mind for a day or two so that it’s not forced, but it’s thoughtful and creative. While we live in a world where it’s hard to come up with new ideas; it’s important that we focus on not just being an echo, but having our content and expertise recognized. It means that both the article and the marketing strategy are more thoughtfully engineered and tailored to your audience so that they are worth sharing and spreading. For instance, I was a part of Project:Recycle and Create. We had a monthly project with a piece of “trash” and want to show our readers that it can be used in new ways. It’s easy to come up with some of the obvious ideas with cardboard tubes that have been done over and over. I wanted to think outside of the box so I “stewed” on the idea of cutting strips of cardboard tube. This led to a maze game and even great ideas in my mind over time for how to uniquely photograph the project for optimum Social Media marketing.
How to Practice Diffusion Blogging
There are several kinds of diffusion, but all are good because an idea is spreading and not just sitting on your site going unread. So I will break down the different kinds of diffusion and how to achieve them.
Contagious Diffusion – This one is the most popular and most coveted. When someone says that a post “went viral” then they are contagiously diffusing their content and it is directly reaching a lot of people and those people are sharing it with other. One may hear about this before they actually read it. It is spreading to all kinds of readers in all kinds of places across all platforms.For this kind of diffusion, you need content that is brand new, unique, interesting, and helpful. YOU need to spread it across all platforms first. If it catches on, then it will become contagious and you will definitely know it. And really, when I say this I am saying that it’s hard to achieve contagious diffusion because you don’t know when it’s going to hit the right readers at the right time. So basically, all you can do is do your best, hoping for the best.
Hierarchical Diffusion – When we network, this is typically the kind of diffusion that most blogger see, if any. This is where an idea is spread between people of like minds that find a concept or post valuable. Then as those like-minded bloggers continue to share with one another, there is a trickle down to other people. Because it’s a trickle down, it does take time. It’s not instant like contagious diffusion.One of the ways to achieve hierarchical diffusion is to not only find yourself two or three strong networks, but also to be a part of Pinterest. Getting involved in group boards is the perfect way to have a post trickle down the the common reader. I will say this is the type of diffusion that I see happening on my blog the most. Sometimes a post will be up on Pinterest for a month or two and then one blogger might find it and start circulating it and the next thing I know my website stats have spiked and I am receiving a lot of traffic!
Stimulus Diffusion – This kind of diffusion is where a concept is loved and adopted. One way to get your content out there by stimulus diffusion is to again be a part of networks, but in this case, be ready to offer up your links for round-up posts and give permission to link back in similar articles. This also means YOU should offer to do a round-up post or link to similar content regularly. This is a great way to practice diffusion blogging while promoting yourself and others! This helps with SEO on both ends because they create a web and network of both inbound and outbound links. For instance, when I am working on my weekly tot school theme, I may ask for other posts from members in my networks that deal with that specific topic. One time I even posted a cookie recipe of my own and included a great recipe that from a fellow blogger that was for something completely different, but was a similar concept.
Barriers to Diffusion – This is obviously something that causes a post to stay stagnant and un-read. The biggest barrier to diffusion is buying into the concept that great content is all you need. Working with others even if only 5-10 other similar bloggers is going to improve your ROI drastically. Commenting on each others’ content, linking to it for each other, and networking for one another helps diffuse ideas.Old information is another barrier to diffusion. If every post is a re-do from someone else’s post, then it’s typically not going to go anywhere. The site in general is going to stay stagnant and it’s harder to diffuse any new content. While sometimes re-making an old idea is a great idea (see stimulus diffusion), this is not the way to see substantial growth of time.Poor etiquette is also a barrier to diffusion. Everything we do as bloggers online is a track record for ourselves and even for others. Failure to abide by group Pinterest rules, link parties, and other opportunities can put a black mark on your name. Playing fair inside of the blogging world is imperative. I have even talked to a fellow blogger and designer who said that they keep a black book of people who fail to thank them, link to them, or ultimately follow proper etiquette.