Just like that, 2020 is underway. Writers and content strategists like me have cycled through our year-end round-ups and predictions for the new year. My crystal ball is pretty hazy these days, but my hindsight vision scores a perfect 20/20 (haha).
The new year marks my 12th year using social media personally and professionally. Yes, times have changed. Platforms have faded (I miss you, Posterous, Periscope and del.icio.us!). Old platforms have evolved into places for image and video-sharing.
When I think back on the text-heavy, mini-blog posts of 2009 and reflect on the state of social today (hello TikTok), I realize that I've learned a few lessons about how best to use these platforms that seem here to stay (in one form or another). Here are five lessons I've learned:
- No one reads long posts: As a writer, it's hard to swallow that people don't carefully read every one of my sentences. Concision and clarity are key. Think of that old Strunk & White maxim: Omit needless words.
- Being funny online is harder than it looks: Comedy writers often work in pairs and this is because what sounds funny in your head doesn't always get a laugh from your audience. Every time I try to write something funny for Twitter, I run it by someone else to see if it gets a laugh first. If they wince, I skip it.
- Follows for following and likes for likes are still a big part of some Twitter and FB user groups (I'm looking at you, #writingcommunity) but in general, these "follow trains" and other techniques are being scrutinized by Twitter. They also don't yield truly meaningful connections, at least for me.
- Face it, video is the future online: I've resisted fully diving into video because I think scanning text is faster than watching someone talk, but I'm definitely in the minority. More and more people tune to videos for all sorts of content and why not? Video loads fast and people are getting better and better at producing good-looking content.
- Paid posts are the name of the game on Facebook and Twitter: Algorithm changes mean that paying to get your posts seen by your followers is the norm these days. Budget accordingly. Don't try to get by on organic reach alone. You'll find yourself chasing memes instead of crafting the messages you really want to get out.
How about you? What have you quit doing on social media?
My takeaway from this is that social media is getting more expensive, Instead of producing 700 words and expecting interested people to find and read my text, I now have to:
1. Write a script
2. Turn the script into a video
3. Pay social media companies to share my video with potentially interested people
At what point will “social” media have reinvented the models of the legacy media industry?