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Facebook has, without a doubt, become the most popular social network in the world. While I’m cheering on Google + just like lots of you are, I don’t think I’ll ever quit checking on the Facebook status updates of my family and friends – at least, not unless they leave Facebook in droves. That’s not likely to happen anytime soon.
One thing that I’ve noticed when I talk to friends that initially start using Facebook is that “nobody comments on my wall.” Sometimes, I’ll even try to help them out by letting them show me their Facebook wall and trying to help them understand what they’re doing wrong, and why people may not feel encouraged to comment on their status updates.
Sometimes, it’s just a matter of reciprocating. People expect that friends and family will flock to their wall after every status update. The truth is that most people only check out your wall when you’ve commented in theirs – so if you never comment on anyone’s wall, how can you expect them to remember to comment on yours?
Beyond that though, I have noticed through the years that there really are certain types of Facebook status updates that do particularly well in gathering comments. These are the polar opposite of the sort of things Craig listed as annoying Facebook updates. I think these really boil down to human nature – people are inspired to respond to certain types of comments, and these status updates seem to encourage that.
9 Facebook Status Updates That Encourage Conversation
In this article, I’m going to review 9 updates that almost always spark conversation on my Facebook wall.
I don’t always want to encourage a conversation. Sometimes I’m just posting an update so that my family knows what’s up in my life. Other times, I really am seeking out input or a lively conversation. In those situations, I’ll usually turn to one of these.
Offer Juicy Inside News
I would say one of the most popular status updates where you’ll usually get instant reactions are those where you offer “breaking news” that people won’t find anywhere else. This may be something that you personally experienced that has hit the mainstream news, or just something really unique or surprising that happened to you that would shock people.
I’ve seen people post, “Great, just got in a car accident” – which is sort of a backwards thing to do in the case of an accident. You would think a person would want to first call a tow-truck or their family. Then again, I once had a near-miss where a car behind me collided into an oncoming truck during a snowstorm, and the first thing I did after pulling over to the side of the road (after calling 9-11 of course), was to post on Facebook about it. So who am I to throw stones?
Make Fun of Weird People
Another type of post that I’ve noticed almost always draws sarcastic comments or witty little replies is whenever I make fun of silly people. This could be a response to a news story or even a response to some weirdo that has emailed me to ask me whether I want to write a story about space aliens landing in their back yard.
I know that it’s not nice to make fun of people, but my Facebook profile is private – and it’s all in jest. Sometimes, when you observe something utterly stupid that someone has done or said in a news story, it’s nearly impossible not to point out that stupidity in a Facebook update. What I’ve noticed is that people find such posts nearly irresistible to respond to.
Ask for Advice
Another way to draw in the comments is to ask for advice. Even people who wouldn’t normally post much on Facebook in response to wall posts find it nearly impossible not to offer their own advice if someone is asking for it. I’ve asked for some pretty simple tips, like what sorts of food help to stop hunger longer or how people are able to get themselves out of bed early in the morning.
You may actually be surprised at some of the interesting insight that you’ll get from people too. You can look at Facebook as a resource of people that are just going through the same trials and tribulations of life as you. If you’re having difficulties, there’s a pretty good possibility that someone out there has gone through what you’re going through. So, ask for advice! Trust me, you’ll get it.
Ask People What They Think of Movies, Shows or Books
I’ve been in a situation where I’m sitting at a lunch table with a group of people and no one is talking. You ask the group what they thought about a certain movie, and suddenly everyone is bursting to share their opinion. The same happens on Facebook. If you ask your family and friends whether they’ve seen a certain TV show or movie and what they thought about it, you’re nearly guaranteed to get some responses.
Not to mention, you may get some pretty good tips on what to see at the movies this weekend!
Discuss a Cause People Feel Strongly About
People love a cause. I think most people like to feel like they are on the side of the “good guy” – on the side of justice and ethics. This is especially true when there’s a major news event that has people talking about morality – maybe a news article about child abuse, domestic violence or bullying. These are emotionally charged topics that are going to trigger some of the most amazing posts to your wall from people you know.
They can also lead to debate – so tread carefully and be diplomatic.
Make Fun of Your Shortcomings
Every one of my Facebook friends knows that I’m a game addict, I can be absent-minded when I’m extremely busy, and I am easily distracted from my work.
These are the things that I struggle with, and everyone has such struggles. When you make fun of your own struggles in a comical way – it gets people talking. Often they’ll share how they’ve failed in much the same way.
Not only does it make for really funny conversation, but it’s a nice way to get support from friends and family with the areas in your life where you find that you stumble often.
People Love Quotes
Quotes can go either way. Sometimes I see someone posting a really cheesy quote, and I just roll my eyes and move on. On the other hand, some people have a knack for finding some really cool, really unique and inspiring quotes.
I like to think I’m one of those people – but really, you know you’ve found a good quote if it’s one that you’ve never seen before and really moves you. Or, better yet, come up with a really inspiring quote on your own.
There’s nothing to say that you have to quote someone else – why not show everyone just how filled with wisdom you really are and put together your own quote?
Strange, Random Questions
I’ve seen people get carried away with trying to be cool and edgy by constantly posting really strange updates where very few people have any idea what they’re talking about. Guess what – if you have an inside joke with a few select friends, you’re only going to get a response from those few friends. Want to include everyone? Post a random question that implies there’s more of a story to come if they reply.
For example, we recently heard news that there were robbers in the neighborhood, so I immediately posted a single line asking where you can buy pepper spray.
After a few people responded almost immediately, I explained why I needed it. Don’t do this too often because after a while your friends will just find it annoying and will stop answering. However, dished out every now and again to spice up your wall with random weirdness is a good thing.
Religion & Politics
Are you a glutton for punishment? If you are, then I dare you to post anything on your wall about religion or politics. I made the mistake of doing it once and my Facebook wall immediately became the platform for a very fiery religious debate between an avid atheist and an avid religious person.
So, why am I suggesting it? Because, it is without a doubt one of the fool-proof ways to instigate posts on your Facebook wall. If you’re the type of person that loves debates, then go for it. If you would rather everyone play nice and stay happy, then you’ll want to stick to one of my other suggestions above.
No matter how many or how few friends you have on Facebook, you shouldn’t have any problem getting them to post something on your wall if you try a few of the tips I’ve suggested above – and don’t forget, if you want people posting on your wall, you really need to spend some time posting on theirs. That’s just what makes social networks work.
Do you have any other tips for how to inspire conversation and discussion on your FB wall? Share your own advice and insight in the comments section below.
Image credits: Collection of Facebook Icons via Shutterstock