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    • I’ve noticed that when someone begins a conversation with

      “I’m not really seeing any posts that interest me so I’m starting a conversation on X”

      it’s usually a Hail Mary pass, a last ditch effort to gain a new place to share a passion.

      And most of the time it fails.  And the user just ghosts in a month or so.

      It’s not unique to Cake.  I’ve seen it on Mastodon, I’ve seen it on subreddits, and I’ve seen it on other forums going back to BBSs.

      There are ways to increase the success of that last ditch effort, whether it’s on Cake or any other platform.  I don’t claim to have all the secrets. Or even the best secrets. But I wanted to share some basic tips that might be helpful.

      Why should people care that you’re leaving?

      I was going to title this section, “No one cares that you're leaving,” but that seems too harsh.  It’s important to share why you’re so passionate about this topic that no one else (apparently) is.  Do you have extensive knowledge, been an enthusiast for decades, do monthly clinics on your passion? This is incredibly important because you are going to be the one creating new conversations for quite awhile.   And the greater your connection to the topic the higher the potential for quality conversations.

      Make your content accessible to newbies

      I have no real interest in motorcycles, but @Chris writes engaging posts on riding that draws in both enthusiasts and nons.

      Who knows?  You may convert someone into an enthusiast with engaging content like that.

      It might even help to occasionally provide a tutorial or Q&A on some aspect of your passion, such as the How and Why of the Magic card game if gaming is your niche.

      It takes more than one “last ditch effort”

      I mentioned above that you should expect to be the only one writing new conversations on your passion.  It will always require effort to start, grow and maintain conversations on a niche passion. And it will be extremely frustrating when a great conversation starter doesn’t take off.  But the reality is that you only need four or five regulars, who are interested in your topic, to create a multitude of enjoyable conversations.

      So to summarize, share why you’re passionate, make your topic accessible to prospective enthusiasts, and don’t ghost after only one last ditch effort.

    • It's funny how some things take hold and some never do on various social networks. I had a chance to speak with Erik Martin, who was the longtime general manager of Reddit. He said that for years, Reddit didn't have much in the way of sports and he was the only employee of Reddit who cared about it, so he tried to roll that rock up the hill for a long time.

      Eventually, cricket and soccer caught on at Reddit and now those communities are amazingly good, or so I hear about cricket (I know the soccer sub is great because sometimes I tune in, like during the world cup).

    • With sports, one reason it may have taken time to catch on is because fans already had other places that scratched their itch to share online.

      As for topics catching on here (or anywhere, for that matter) I think it's best to have thick skin.

      If public interest were easily predicted, every movie would be a hit, every book a bestseller and newspaper assignment editors would be out of a job.

      It's a hit-or-miss thing. I do agree, though, that there's not much point in posting about something unless it interests you. Seems self-evident, I guess.

      Everyone communicates with more power when they care about the thing they're sharing. Enthusiasm is a great aid to writing.

    • Your conversation title caught my eye, that’s for sure. 😄

      It’s awkward speaking to an empty room, but it’s a feeling familiar to lots of people at the beginning stages of something great. It sometimes feels personal to be ignored, but passion for the topic is what keeps you pushing the rock up the hill until it catches on.

      I think you inspired me to put some more effort into starting homeschool conversations here. You’re right that it doesn’t take a huge crowd to have a good conversation... just the right people with a shared interest.

    • I think you inspired me to put some more effort into starting homeschool conversations here.

      Thank you for saying that: it’s always nice to know that something I wrote has done some good.

      Back when I was a member on Zoetrope’s forum, I used to do interviews with aspiring screenwriters, directors and producers. I was the last to interview a producer who was trying to produce a movie with Jamie Farr of Mash and Roddy Piper the WWE wrestler. She passed away suddenly and sharing the interview with her friends and fans is something I felt honored to do.

      My time over this past summer exploring the homeschooling hashtags on Twitter was pretty sad. A lot of tweets by education companies selling their wares and the rest seemed to be from parent bloggers who did sponsored posts with warnings that they were recommending educational products but they may not have had time to actually try them out(!).

      As a former public school educator and a product of the public school system, I’m definitely intrigued with homeschooling, especially in regards to maths education. If you would be interested in having me interview you, via the Cake panel as @Chris has done, DM me on Twitter and we can chat about it.

    • I think in some cases it's just going to require time and more people before users start finding other people with the same interests.