How Social Media Today and its Online Communities Reinforce Blogging

05/15/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Disclosure: In late February, I was recruited by Robin Carey and Jerry Bowles, co-founders of Social Media Today and joined their team as a community manager. That said, this is not a sponsored post but an amended version of what previously appeared on my personal blog, linked at the bottom of this article.

The magic of Social Media Today (@socialmedia2day), as blogger and Techrigy community strategist Connie Bensen attests, is when you can visit a website that aggregates syndicated blog feeds about social media, and both read the content and participate in the community through commenting and rating.

Unlike nearly every site on the blogosphere, including here on the Huffington Post, displays a running counter of how many people viewed a blog post and enables readers to voluntarily opt to add a comment or rate the content.

Launched in November 2007, SMT is a moderated online business community for social media bloggers, marketers, PR and media professionals. With over 5,800 registered users and about 7,000 daily visitors, the metrics indicate that critical mass believes in the importance of building personal networks through profile creation; expertise promotion; and reading, commenting, and rating other people's blog posts.

Highlighted blog posts at SMT today include Matt Rhodes' opinion why companies are using Twitter for the wrong reasons, Michael Brito's crafted five steps to build a social media team, and Rohit Bharghava's interview of Dan Schawbel. Those three posts alone received a combined 10 comments and over 4,000 views.

Every day, co-founders Robin Carey and Jerry Bowles, with an assortment of behind-the-scenes staff cull through incoming blog feeds and approve selected posts to appear on the front page. The combination of views, comments, and ratings for each displayed post defines how long that post remains on the page.

My personal blog, AriWriter, is where I provide strategies and tips on social media and online marketing. It was a natural extension to syndicate my blog feed to SMT last year. Not only have I seen selected blog posts be approved, but I've enjoyed reading other people's blog posts, adding comments, seeing their responses; and then clicking to their sites.

Over time, I've gained relationships with a multitude of social media bloggers and PR professionals, including Brian Solis, Dan Schawbel, Laurel Papworth, Peter Kim, Shel Holtz, Scott Monty, Marc Meyer, Jacob Morgan, and Augie Ray. We've networked and collaborated not only on SMT and on each other's blogs, but extended our relationships into Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and/or telephone conversations. We are testaments to the power of community building.

Like Connie Bensen, the magic was obvious to me early on. If you're a blogger and never heard of SMT, maybe you'd like to make some magic, too?

But wait.

There are other communities, which may be more up your alley:

There is also a French-language community and a recently-launched Social Media School community. Many of the communities also offer podcasts series, white papers, and sporadic blogger surveys.

You can peruse though the latest feeds of all of these communities via Individurls, by clicking here.

If you would like to sign up your blog on any of the above sites, the directions are simple:

  1. Sign up. Your email address is where you will receive notifications of new comments, and your alias should ideally be your full name (first name and last name, with a space in the middle, e.g. John Smith). If you're signing up your corporate blog, organizational blog, or group blog with multiple authors, you are welcome to use the group name as the alias, e.g. XYZ Company.
  2. Confirm your email address with the verification email you will receive.
  3. Log into your account and click the "autopost" link, which, depending on the community, will appear on either the left or right sidebar. This is where you should input your blog's RSS feed URL, e.g. mine is Make sure your RSS feed is set to "full," as the communities don't publish summary feeds. Also make sure the URL you input is for RSS. If you don't have a RSS feed, you can create one at FeedBurner or FeedBlitz. If you're asked to choose categories, don't; that's the job of the moderator, as every blog post would be tagged differently.
  4. In the top left of the page, there is a link for managing your community. This is where you are asked to upload a photo. People are requested to have personal headshots, and companies can have group logos. If you're paranoid, or don't have a headshot or logo, you're welcome to upload something else that will appear next to your name for approved posts.

That's it. Sign up, auto post your RSS feed, upload a photo--and continue blogging away. You'll receive email notifications if anyone comments. But do you remember what Connie Bensen wrote, about joining a community and participating in its evolution? By reading, commenting, and rating in others' created works, you add value. And value is the reason why we write what we write, right?

Of course, you don't need to be a blogger to participate (comment or rate) any of the posts. Just like you don't need to be a blogger to join the conversation HERE and add a comment below.

As I mentioned above, I am assisting the SMT team as a community manager for the Sustainable Cities Collective and Governing People communities.

Among my roles, I am actively recruiting bloggers to join the communities, approving which incoming feed posts are of a par to share with the community at-large, and assorted front-end programming. I am also managing the respective Twitter feeds, as linked above.

You are welcome to email me at ari [at] socialmediatoday [dot] com with any questions.