At first glance, social media and writing seem like a perfect match. Writing is a way to communicate. Social media is a forum for communicating. Writing is an expression of the author’s thoughts, insights, feelings, perspectives – the story they want to tell. Social media is a forum for sharing that story through web-based platforms, applications and technologies.
Through social media, everyone has the opportunity to share their story whether it’s in short 140 character snippets via Twitter, the tenor of their voice in podcasts, their choice of imagery, sound and dialogue in videos, what they “like” on Facebook, who they connect with on LinkedIn or what they blog about. There are many different ways to tell a story. Social media provides the avenue to reach out via the internet and connect, share, collaborate and socially interact in the telling of the story.
But wait a minute. Is it really that simple? Using social media to reach others sounds good in theory. But do you really know how to use…really use…social media?
When you blog, tweet or post a message on Facebook, is your message truly being received? If you only wanted to write for yourself and no one else, than you wouldn’t be using social media. Social media is about connecting with others – social interaction through the web. Key word: interaction. Interaction means two-way. Message sent and message received. As a writer, if you have words that you think are worth sharing, don’t you want to know that they’ve reached someone?
Ahh…there it is. That’s what makes social media and writing a bit more complicated. If your goal is to write for the pure joy of writing and you don’t really care if anyone reads it, then using social media is pretty straight forward. Set up a free wordpress.com account and start writing your blog. Or set up a Twitter account and start tweeting away. But if you want to write for a living, write to have more than just family and friends read your blog, then social media becomes a bit more complicated. Social media becomes about marketing yourself. If you want to be heard, you need to be strategic about how you send the message. It’s about having a goal and making a plan to determine which social media platforms, applications and technologies will best serve you in reaching that goal.
So what is my goal, as a wannabe writer? What is my plan? Which social media platforms will best serve me?
First off, my goal:
To write what I am passionate about, what I believe in, from an authentic, real place within myself. My words will have depth, have value and contribute something to the well-being of others.
In time, I will be paid enough to feel good about what I am contributing to meet our financial goals but this will not be about financial payment. This will be about the bigger “payment” that I will receive on a spiritual and emotional level: my words will reach someone who needs it.
So how do I plan to do this? With a little bit of help and guidance from the Stikz kids, in this episode of Kids Answering Adult Questions.