Social Media: The Quest for more

March 2, 2013

On the evening of Feb 21st, three members of WordWatchers, Me, Julian Dobbins and John Potter got together to discuss what we might say to Reading Writers when we meet up in June about the use of Social Media.

It was a lively debate and our thoughts as fluid as the beer consumed. John P’s fingers were a blur as he did his best to capture our thoughts as a mind map on his iPad.

One of the things that I happened on the night, based on one thread of the conversation, is that I created and tweeted this picture:

Twitter: What not to do - 1

Twitter: What not to do – 1

That, we decided, was one of the joys of Social Media, especially Twitter, that, with the right tools (in this case, a wifi connection, a smart phone and the application PicSay) you could immediately capture a moment and share it with your followers.

This is a double edged sword of course, it’s so easy to “connect” with your followers, it’s easy to fall into the trap of abusing those followers, or, at the very least, taking them for granted. To not actually connect, to simply use Twitter to transmit your content to your followers. It might be easy, but as a follower it doesn’t take long to work out that there isn’t a real person at the end of the Tweetfeed just a proficient user of the Hootsuite Scheduler (or equivalent). Hence the subject of the picture, which, by late that evening had been tweaked to this:

Twitter: What not to do - 2

Twitter: What not to do – 2

We left the meeting with a plan, of sorts, that in an effort to have something more substantive to talk about with Reading Writers we were going to try and increase the number of “Likers” on our Facebook page, which, at the time stood at a lowly 54.

Succeed or fail, we’d definitely have something to talk about!

After the meeting I decided to look at some of the other pages I followed, pages with large number of “likers” and a high throughput of content. Most of that content, I noticed, was in the form of images, or pictures with associated text…

I was also stuck on my short story that I will be entering into the WW in-house short story competition at Easter (a selection of these stories plus some from our back catalogue will be forming the backbone of our 2nd Anthology, due out in he summer). I don’t like to be idle and feel it’s important to keep the creative juices flowing even if they’re not flowing into a story and so for the last week I’ve channelled his energies into our Facebook page and into my observational cartoons about Social Media.

My breakthrough moment was a picture I’d called the “Roller Coaster of Facebook Insights”. The picture itself is good and I’m very proud of it, but it clearly struck a chord and was shared by Samaire Provost, somebody who has become a good friend, first on Twitter and then later Facebook. Samaire is one of those potentially faceless followers that, by making an effort with, I have genuinely connected with. For this reason, she willing shared the picture on a page she was responsible for, a page with 28,000 followers.

The Roller Coaster of Facebook Insights

The Roller Coaster of Facebook Insights

The response was immediate. The post became our most read ever, by an order of magnitude, at the time of writing and one week on it has a “reach” on Facebook of over 3,600, a number we had only dreamed of.

Whatever happens now, we are eternally grateful to Samaire for sharing our content with the wider community and it reinforces what we believe to our main driver for using Social Media, to form friendships, relationships and bonds that are mutually beneficial to both parties in the long term.

Using Social Media properly is hard work but if you’re using it for the right reasons, it’s definitely worth it.

I’d like to end this blog on this note – that I’m not the only one who believes that social media is about connecting to people. So I shall leave the final word to Amanda Palmer…

Amanda Palmer TED Talk.

Thank-you for your time.


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  1. John Potter says:

    Great and very informative blog JH.

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