Leap into Blogging and Social Media
Social Media: What are they?
(from Amber Keyser)
- E-mail is direct, one-to-one communication.
- In contrast, Facebook is one to many. You post an update and your friends see it. But you've selected these friends and agreed to the relationship.
- Twitter is also one to many, but people can follow you without your consent so it's less personal but more immediate. And you can follow others that you don't know personally. There are live time conversations happening in Twitter between industry professionals that you can participate in. Go to Greg Pincus, guru of social media, for basic Twitter terms.
- MySpace has more in common with Facebook than Twitter but I don't use it and can't say more. (Note from W.O. & MBK: We don’t use it either.)
- A blog is like an auditorium where you're giving a talk. People have to make a choice to come in and have a seat for the show.
To blog or not to blog?
Explore and check it out: Will a blog be (a) useful or (b) suck your time and energy. Don’t start a blog because you think (or someone said) you should. Start it because you believe it will be useful to build your platform, because a post seems like a good writing prompt to defeat writer’s block, or because you want a forum to express your passion.
- A blogger is a public figure. Decide on a single persona you will be on your blog. People read blogs. And what you write is out there…forever.
- Choose an avatar. Use the same distinctive avatar for any footprint you make on the web.
- Decide on your goal and audience. Why are you blogging? Who do you want to read your posts? Do you want your blog to become a networking tool? What do you have to share? Goal and audience may evolve as you post over a span of time, but stick to your basic decisions. (You can always start a new blog with a different focus.)
- Set a blogging schedule. Greg Pincus uses the rule of three: “If I try writing a post three times in a day and each time fails, I put it aside for another day.”
- Read and comment on blogs of interest to you. Comment on others’ blogs but don’t be disappointed if few people comment on yours.
- Keep readers returning! At Writer Unboxed, Jane Friedman lists and explains five things that make her stop reading a website or blog:
- Sites with black backgrounds.
- Sites that play music upon entering; sites that take forever to load because of multimedia or Flash; links that automatically take me to a download with no explanation.
- Links that go to a general homepage rather than specific site content.
- Content without subheads, paragraph breaks, or breathing room.
- Poorly designed sites (i.e., too busy, fonts difficult to read with multiple styles and colors, least important information at top, etc.).
- Periodically evaluate. Is your blog helping you reach your long-term writing goals? Are you honoring your mission (i.e., goal)? If not, change what you are doing—sign off, start a new blog, set a new course. Just write! And write some more! And keep writing!