Why You Need a Personal Content Strategy

Scoble’s post on scal­able liv­ing offers some inter­est­ing insight into how peo­ple use social plat­forms to com­mu­ni­cate with audi­ences. What I find most inter­est­ing are his views on the role of Face­book in how he shares con­tent. Here’s a key pas­sage from what he wrote:

So, what role does a blog have in this new world. It cer­tain­ly is NOT cen­tral­iz­ing my life. Face­book is — by far — the best place to do that. This morn­ing alone I lis­tened to sev­er­al songs in the car. Do you real­ly want me to post every time that hap­pens here? No way. But on Face­book that’s eas­i­ly dealt with. Even bet­ter Face­book usu­al­ly fil­ters that stuff out and Face­book gets bet­ter over time at fig­ur­ing out what you want to engage with and what you don’t. If you saw every­thing I did on my pro­file come through on your home feed you would unfol­low with­in an hour. Instead 330,000 new peo­ple in the past year alone have sub­scribed to me on Face­book. Why? It’s scal­able liv­ing and hav­ing great inbound makes life more interesting.

Now, Scoble is an edge case, to put it mild­ly. Few of us com­mu­ni­cate on social plat­forms with even a frac­tion of the peo­ple who fol­low him. But how many of us would even con­sid­er using Face­book to share con­tent that’s relat­ed to our work as social media pro­fes­sion­als? Would your friends be inter­est­ed in your views on Google+? I doubt it. I know mine wouldn’t.

Most of what Scoble dis­cuss­es is how we share and con­sume infor­ma­tion. He notes that Face­book’s algo­rithm helps you make choic­es about what you see and what you don’t. That’s not true of oth­er plat­forms and if you’re like me, you don’t mind infor­ma­tion over­load. But have you giv­en much thought to how you share content?

I wrote about how I share con­tent recent­ly, but I’ve chal­lenged myself to go fur­ther. Once upon a time, we used to talk about per­son­al brand­ing. Maybe that’s still a thing, but it’s not one we talk about much. Now I think it’s impor­tant to con­sid­er your audi­ences and how you syn­di­cate orig­i­nal con­tent and links across your net­works. Does it make sense to spam Twit­ter, Tum­blr and Google+ with the same links? Did it ever make sense to feed your tweets into LinkedIn?

Here’s how I present­ly use social net­works to share ideas and con­tent for pro­fes­sion­al and per­son­al purposes.

  • Twit­ter: Engage­ment, engage­ment, engage­ment. Prob­a­bly my nois­i­est social pres­ence, but like­ly the most reward­ing. Not only is it a great forum to fol­low news, it’s the place where peo­ple are hav­ing many con­ver­sa­tions simul­ta­ne­ous­ly. For me, it’s a place where I can talk about tech, base­ball, tele­vi­sion, music and Philadel­phia with folks I’ve met online or IRL in real­time. Makes it a bit like dia­logue in a Robert Alt­man film, but I find it very satisfying.
  • Face­book: Strict­ly per­son­al. I’m dab­bling with using it more for news and updates, but my engage­ment there is lim­it­ed. It’s a great place to share pic­tures of my son with friends, but it’s also very dif­fi­cult to sift through the peo­ple I recon­nect­ed with from high school who sim­ply don’t add much to the con­ver­sa­tion. I don’t mind if they like a cute pic of my kid, but I’d rather not read their insights on what’s hap­pen­ing in politics.
  • Google+: Long­form Twit­ter. I love Google+, but I can see why peo­ple strug­gle with it. I recent­ly asked if any­one uses Google+ as their pri­ma­ry social net­work, elic­it­ing a “yes” from no less than Loren Feld­man. I find their mobile apps beau­ti­ful and the Flip­board inte­gra­tion has me shar­ing more there, too. How­ev­er, the bar­ri­er to wide­spread adop­tion is that even though get­ting start­ed on Google+ may be eas­i­er than any net­work that pre­ced­ed it, there’s some fatigue among those who are com­fort­able with Face­book. Hope­ful­ly that’s an evolv­ing position.
  • Tum­blr: I’ve strug­gled with Tum­blr. When I first joined, my edi­to­r­i­al anten­nae saw it as a com­mu­ni­ty with a real dis­taste for, well, words. My view has evolved. I think that it’s one of the most engaged com­mu­ni­ties around con­tent. I’m sor­ry that I’ve dropped in and out there. Per­fect place to run Short­er Ram­say­ings and share my brief thoughts on devel­op­ments in the social web.
  • Pin­ter­est: The jury is out for me. Is it nu-Tum­blr? I find it beau­ti­ful to look at, but I don’t get a great deal of util­i­ty out of it per­son­al­ly. There’s always a part of me that won­ders what lurks in the links behind the images. That said, a great image is a per­fect hook to dri­ve peo­ple to the con­tent you’d like them to see. It’s sim­ple and search­able. Look­ing for­ward to an iPad app.
  • LinkedIn: The sleep­ing giant. Can’t think of a more under­val­ued com­mu­ni­ty. Spend some time there and you’ll see what I mean. Great place to share your pro­fes­sion­al accom­plish­ments and the sig­nal-to-noise ratio has improved dra­mat­i­cal­ly since the Twit­ter fire hose was shut off. Give LinkedIn anoth­er look and you’ll find that it’s a great place to learn about where you work or where you’d like to work.

So go out there and be gen­er­ous. You’re shar­ing your own insights for free. They’re valu­able. Be thought­ful about what you’re shar­ing with whom and make the most of it!

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