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    • Thank you for inviting me to this panel @apm! A bit about myself first - I am a Google+ refugee who was looking for an alternative site which encouraged the same type of in depth quality conversations. To be honest though, I would characterise myself as a lurker. I hardly posted on G+, but I enjoyed reading the conversations. I enjoy Reddit for the same reason. I stumbled upon Cake when one of the posts showed up in one of my google searches.

      I have had one of my posts featured and I loved the conversation that it sparked! You can read about it here:

      In my personal opinion, the hardest part of engagement is making that first comment or post. Often times, I have come across an article and have thought to myself - "I should share this with other people and see what they think", but I usually never get around to doing it. For me, this is partly because I am not sure if I can construct a well thought out post like this or this. But I have realized the only person holding myself back is me.

      My advise to you: Start small. Go ahead and make a comment on a post you like. Doesn't matter if it's silly. Doesn't matter if it's only one sentence. Doesn't matter if it's not fleshed out. Doesn't matter if you do not have images, fancy formatting, or multiple links to other sources.

      Just add one comment and I promise you, you will get caught up in the swirl of conversation. It won't be long before you make your first post. (And start adding fancy formatting and links and images). Go ahead, I will wait. :)

    • Thanks for the invite @apm. First off, just a short introduction. I've been actively participating in online discussions since I was in my early 20s. I joined sports forums and also had my own personal blog. Actually, I had two during my 20s. Then I started writing long-form content on Google+, and now I'm on Cake, where I've had quite a few conversations garner great discussions, and some conversations were featured on the platform. Professionally, I've written several scientific papers which were published in international journals, and I also do proofreading part-time. Needless to say, writing is something that's been a big part of my life and continues to be so.

      The timing of this workshop is actually very good for me, because just over a week ago I started a conversation entitled "Anybody can write". In it I shared some advice for people who want to start writing, or who may have already started writing but want to improve. The reason why I said the timing of this workshop is good for me is because in my conversation I never touched about engagement, which makes this is a great opportunity for me to add on to what I've already shared without repeating myself. So here are a few tips I could think of to help boost engagement on your conversations here on Cake.

      Attach a lead image to your post

      The first step to getting people to engage on your conversations is of course for them to actually read it. Getting people's attention on the internet is difficult. With so much content to sift through your content might slip through the cracks. A good title is important, but a good lead image will attract more eyeballs. If you're scrolling through Cake's feed and you see lines of text, chances are most people will just keep scrolling unless their eyes catch a keyword which interests them. Rather than hoping people will actually read your title, attach a good lead image. If I want to write about wireless earphones, I attach a photo of a bunch of wireless earphones and headphones. If I want to write about a messaging platform, I attach the platform's logo. You should always try to attach a lead image to your conversations. It'll be the first step to getting people to notice your content.

      Be original

      Don't be afraid of being different. If your content is the same as everyone else's, there's no incentive for people to be interested in yours. Share things which other people may not know about. Talk about stuff that you're good at. If you want to talk about something which other people are talking about that's fine too, but bring a new perspective. Don't just parrot what other people have already said. Bring your own spin on things. People will appreciate your point of view, and chances are they'll see things differently too, which can ignite a conversation on your posts.

      Ask questions

      When you end your initial post in your conversation, ask a question to your readers. Ask a few if you can. By ending with a question(s) instead of just a statement, you're likely to get some engagement as your readers will be given an opening to post their thoughts, rather than just a reaction. Questions are a great way to get the ball rolling.

      That's all for now. Hope everyone who reads the content in this panel learns something new and is encouraged to contribute more here on Cake!