People innately desire to belong. It makes us feel safe, secure and wanted. The sense of belonging gives us the courage to speak up and share our thoughts and feelings.
In safe surroundings we know we won’t be judged. We find our voice, and often find others who think like us. It’s in those safe places, friendships often blossom.
As I travel through blogosphere I’m amazed at how some blogs have phenomenal content, but their comment section is dead. Then I land on other blogs where the content is good, doesn’t necessarily have that “WOW” factor, yet the comment section has exploded with responses, and I feel welcome.
Wondering why that might happen is revealed in an article titled Psychological Sense of Community. The authors (McMillan & Chavis) cite there are four elements to the sense of community.
3) Integration and fulfillment of needs
4) Shared emotional connection
Under membership, five items are listed. They are:
b. Emotional safety
c. A sense of belonging and identification
d. Personal investment
e. A common symbol system
When I look at each of these items, I begin to understand why great content may be just that; and why other blogs soar and quickly become the “go to” place(s) in blogosphere.
If our visitors feel comfortable when they land on our blogs they will often log in and leave a comment. Based on what they witness in our writings and our comment section, they feel safe and believe their voice will be heard. We, as blog authors, now have the opportunity to welcome them with open arms, reply to their comment and/or express our gratitude. When the commenter returns and reads our response, that sense of belonging may inspire them to join our online community.
As blog authors we have the power to create that safe haven. We can make our blogs a place where our visitors feel comfortable voicing their opinions. A place where they will find interaction. A place where they won’t be judged. A place to which they’ll want to return.
Often it’s not the blog post that draws in our readers, but the essence of feeling they have come “home”.
Do you have favorite blogs where you feel “at home”?
What was it about the blog that inspires you to go back?
Have you ever visited a blog where you felt unwelcome? Did you return?
If you felt unwelcome, what elements of the blog turned you off?
Knowing psychology plays a huge role in the community we find on blogs, I’m curious to hear your answers.
Special thanks to Jodith @ Administrative Arts and Rich @ FeverBee for the inspiration for this post.