Abstinence: What Do People Want to Talk About?

Category: Weekly Columns


Last night’s #DadChat was on a pretty serious and heavy subject: God and Abstinence. It was hosted by Pastor Drew Sams aka @SurferDrew, who is a regular guest on my weekly radio show. We had good participation, but not as great as usual, though we still had over 1,000 tweets and just shy of 100 participants, including my friends Sonya aka @Sonya_LeanOnUs from England, and Michael aka @mqtodd, from Japan. My question is: was the topic of abstinance a turn-off? Do people want to avoid the serious discussions? Was having a religious leader scary to some?

#DadChat has become a great community and forum for dads AND moms. Some of the recent and incredible hosts were @TedRubin, @AngelaMaiers, @JessicaNorthey, @Josepf, @MilasPage, @ProsperityGal, and @jkcallas. Coming up on April 12, we are privileged to have @GuyKawasaki co-hosting, when we’ll be talking about What the Plus!, his new book and how Social Media affects our parenting. Guy is father to four, in case you didn’t know.

My question is sort of that eternal one we all ask ourselves. Why does on thing hit a nerve and go viral while another that we might think would get people’s attention, go flat? Obviously, whoever has that answer can write the playbook for their fortune. I’m sure everyone has some opinions and I’d love to hear yours in the comments section, below.

With YouTube videos, why does one baby goo-goo video get 10,000,000 views and another baby ga-ga video get only 100? With my own posts, I once got an incredible number of views on a column simply because its title – Money, Money, Money – got the right SEO juice! My recent Valentine’s Day column also got a big number of hits, clearly due to having “Valentine’s Day” in the title.

Naturally, when I’ve tried to go viral, it’s never worked. I don’t try anymore. I will let nature take its course, though that is clearly the wrong cliche to use.

The first serious topic I did at #DadChat was Religion and Our Kids and it got the biggest number of tweets, impressions, and participants of any up to that date. Yet, when we just did a religious topic, again, it didn’t touch the same nerve? What was the difference, if any? Did the NCAA tournament take most people away? Again, I may never know.

#DadChat, up to that point when I did that first serious topic, had a reputation as being a fun chat, unstructured, usually with only me as host. It was known to be lively and leavened with a lot of humor. It is still that, but I’ve added the occasional more serious topic because I think it matters, to steal a word from my Teach, Angela Maiers. My goal isn’t to garner the biggest numbers but to create a community of parents that support one another, discuss the hard issues, and maybe have a little fun along the way. And now, I have regular co-hosts because it just adds so much more, since each co-host brings their unique perspective. It also allows me to play host and class clown, the latter a role I relish.

What do YOU want to talk about? I would love suggestions for both topics and co-hosts for future #DadChats but mostly I just want to build our community. I invite you to join us any Thursday, from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m., PST.


  • http://milaspage.com/ Mila Araujo

     #Dadchat is always fun and at the same time hits some good serious points for parents, I think it makes for the perfect place to meet others (parents) and get to know more about them in that role. Because it’s on Twitter, unless youre on Twitter specifically as a “parent” I think its possible some people might stay away from Religious or Political topics, and maybe even sex topics because it potentially can effect your (personal) brand. So many people have created personal brands that don’t include very much depth in regard to their personal beliefs or these “private issues”.  I once heard – somewhere  “you don’t talk about religion, politics or money” at the dinner table (at a dinner party), I happen to like that concept – I guess because these are the issues that hit hard, and can potentially emote fired conversation – at a dinner party, you just don’t want things to become uncomfortable for anyone, as a host you want everyone to feel accepted and valued… unless of course all guests are close personal friends, people you know a lot about….You would hope that people in general have an open mind, can “handle” a good debate, but the reality is some people don’t and the risk, from a professional perspective in a Twitter Chat is possibly that you could alienate people, who otherwise would have no reason to be alienated if you start flooding your stream with comments potentially taken out of context. Maybe this is why the topic was not as well participated in…maybe…On the flip side, I think #Dadchat participants are fairly open and are a great crowd, the chat itself moves fast, is always in good nature and no one stomps off in a huff – ever – this is such a GREAT community! I missed this Thursday’s #Dadchat, but it was nothing to do with topic, rather I was just exhausted- probably involved in some blogging or conference planning, I try and maintain my life balance, I have no idea what I was doing! I promise I wasn’t out plotting to take over the “Dadmobile” 😉 

    But in all seriousness, overall, the true challenge (if the question truly was based on topic) ….God and Abstinence were true hard hitting topics, I would love to know if anyone “stayed away” because of it.I am not sure our #Dadchat crew would have, but if they did, would it have been because of the public nature of the debate (ex: clients, colleagues can see your tweets out of context?) Does anyone worry about this? Or was it just timing, spring time coming, time change, workload, family time. Could have been anything!
    Looking forward to many more exciting debates and conversation #Dadchat. I for one LOVE the diverse community and I think its a huge benefit for parents to have the time to think like parents online for that hour a week, and not get lost in the business world of twitter completely. Thanks for bringing that balance, and these tough topics the table.
    Ideas for the upcoming #Dadchat’s, well I think I just laid it out here, (and I think I should maybe blog on this one) The marriage between your online persona and your personal views: how far are you willing to go, what holds you back? Now I’m off to blog about this 😉  Bruce, you’re inspiring as always! Isn’t that what its all about?

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      TY Mila. You added such wisdom. I think you covered it all really. “OUR” community is truly great. Do you know we are still less than one year old and yet I feel we are so well established. Next week we’re doing a much lighter topic, “Family Fitness,” with two fitness experts co-hosting. Details coming. And, don’t forget to mark your calendar for April 12, when Guy Kawasaki will be hosting and we’ll be talking Social Media and Our Kids as well as his new book, “What the Plus!”

      • Will Haeflinger

        I’m relatively new to this forum, so you may have covered this, but how bout the topic of leading by example. I think too many parents tell their kids “Do as I say, not as I do”. The best way to teach is to practice it first.

        • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

          Modeling is by far THE BEST way to teach our kids…great topic Will. Will add to my list! TY…we’re doing Family Fitness this week; hope you can come!

  • http://brianvickery.com Brian Vickery

    Keep at it, Bruce – Thursdays are just tough for me to make that timeslot. I’m ever at vocal practice or some networking event. In fact, I have a conflict this next Thursday (both vocal practice and networking event).

    You are an asset to parents everywhere, buddy – stay the course. Yes, NCAAs may have taken some people away. I can’t imagine anyone choosing not to come because of the guest speaker selection because it is always an open group with a lot of tangential dialogue.

    Have a great weekend.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Thanks, BV…you did pick up on my frustration. I’m not giving up, don’t worry. We will have GIANT numbers April 12 with my very special co-host Guy Kawasaki!

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  • http://www.amberrisme.com Amberr Meadows

    I think some people don’t like the topic, because they’re not willing to do the right thing. Maybe they even thought it would be too religious? I hope my daughter waits until she’s married. That’s what we’re going to teach her at home when she gets a little older. 

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      I never want to shy away from the tough topics, but it’s about balance…