Philosophy, Psychology, Nerdisms, Writing from the Trenches

Posts tagged “content

Social Media for the Common Man – So, you’ve joined a social network

I was going to title this post “Don’t Be and Asshat”, but decided to be a little more upbeat with it. If you’re looking for something on not being an asshat on your social media platforms, especially if you’re a writer, I send you here. Chuck Wendig’s a little in your face, but he makes valid points and he makes them well.

So, you’ve joined a social network.http://www.yourcomputer.com/portals/0/images/QuestionKey.jpg

What do you put on there?

Well, here’s the good thing and the bad thing:

It’s really up to you.

Here are some things to get your posting started:

1. Find people who share your interests.

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again. Social media is all about being social. You’re making connections and building relationships. You aren’t standing on a soapbox with a loudspeaker; you’re in the party working the crowd. First, you’re going to need to find some people who share your interests. And, don’t give me that crap about not knowing what your interests are. What are you looking for from people on Twitter? Book recommendations? Movie reviews? Humorous anecdotes about deep sea fishing?

There is someone out there broadcasting just that kind of information. Start following them, add them to your feed, read their blog.

2. Decide who you want to be.

This is a strange, philosophical order, but you need to pick your online persona. Not even I can be everything all the time. The most important thing is for you to be you. Being yourself in 140 characters in a daunting thought, but it’s not as hard as it sounds. It’s okay to hesitate over a post. It’s okay to hit the delete button. It’s okay to leave something in the draft box. You can take some time to decide which parts of your personality shine through on the web. Sarcasm…not always understood. Irony…not always apparent. Remember that on Twitter and your blog, most of what you post will be viewable by the public. If you’re comfortable hanging your crusty underwear out there, go for it.

Personally, I wouldn’t want too much of my life on the web, but I did post pictures of my room on my blog. I’m comfortable sharing that.

Streaming video of me sleeping? Not really me.

3. Find the line between engaging and stalking and DON’T CROSS IT.

There are celebrities on Twitter. But, guys, they’re on Twitter. They came to the party. They can’t have the expectation that people aren’t going to try to talk to them. And, if you’re interested in them or their work, I would encourage you to follow them. On the flip side, be aware that everyone wants to talk to them. Did you tweet an alarmingly clever reply to something Lady GaGa said? Don’t be offended if she doesn’t answer. People are responding all the time. On the other hand, you don’t want to be that creepy nutbag who replies, @LadyGaga LOL!!! after everything she posts. While that won’t necessarily get you negative attention, it certainly won’t stick out when you say something charming and witty and worthy of response.

Choose your responses and choose them wisely. You don’t know how someone will react to your (sorta)unsolicited attention. Don’t say, “@joshgroban I want to wear your face.”Something like, “@joshgroban I enjoy your music” is a little less creepy. For smaller-time celebrities, just be aware that the first time might surprise them. When someone you don’t know starts talking to you by referencing something you just said, it’s surprising, but we humans are getting more used to it.

4. When in doubt, Golden Rule it

Imagine you had the worst week in the world and you tweet, “Just had a really bad week.” What kind of response are you looking for?

You don’t have to be looking for a response. You can simply be mentioning your bad day because it helps you relax. But, suppose someone sees it and responds with “@your_name LOL!! I haz a bad week, 2!!1!!!” That probably doesn’t make you feel any better. That person is being an asshat. DON’T BE AN ASSHAT!

It’s not that hard. Put yourself in someone else’s position. That’s actually a primary evolutionary trait we’ve acquired to deal with the need to socialize. How would you want someone to respond? You can add a personal touch and begin to work up a rapport, but just be aware of your own feelings to help guide you in your responses. You won’t always be correct; different people have different thresholds. It’s about relationships. Those don’t always start off with a bang.

Social media can be really fun. Don’t let anything deter you from trying it out. If you aren’t having a good time, stop doing it. I won’t judge you for it.

Remember, finding your voice takes time. Connecting with people takes time. Social media isn’t magic.

I will bring you some more content creation tips in…three days? I promise three days.


Aside

Hardly Working

I may have…accidentally…on purpose…inadvertently…quit my job.

That was the teaser.

Now for something completely different.

My final semester of college, I flipped my academic advisor (and group of friends) the bird and moved to New York City. NO REGRETS! Jiminy Cricket, I love that city. I participated in an internship program. The Great Lakes Colleges Association purchased an old hostel on 29th Street and 8th Ave. (I could practically spit on Madison Square Garden). Out of all the artistes participating in the program, the coffee-fetchers, the case carriers, the note-takers, I had something amazing.

An internship at Sony Pictures Television.

I was in a three-person department which consisted of the Development VP and Producer for Mini-Series and Made for TV Movies, her assistant, and lil ol’ me.

And this was no coffee-fetching internship. I was picking writers for projects. I was determining which rights to acquire. Script coverage, contacting agents, sitting in on budget meetings, editing scripts…my God, I’m almost shedding tears thinking about it.

Once the writers’ strike was over, the VP was on set while her assistant and I held down the fort at the New York office. I was watching dailies, seeing costuming. I only went out for coffee once, and the assistant apologized at least four times for asking me to do it.

I was in love. There’s something about that city. It doesn’t work for everyone, but when it gets inside you, you feel it. It whispers in your ear. It tugs on your heart. It lifts you up high and reminds you of every low. It makes you forget everything outside of itself.

In retrospect, I did some stupid stuff in that city.

I walked around by myself at two-o-clock in the morning just to feel the pace still burning through the streets when the world should be sleeping. Okay, I didn’t go to Central Park at night. I have seen almost every episode of Law and Order: SVU. I’m stupid, but not suicidal.

And, when walking through NYC at two-o-clock in the morning, I knew what I want to do with my life.

I want to produce content. Not just books, not just TV shows, not just movies. I want to tell stories, no matter what form that takes. I want to take these fantastic images in my head and hand them to someone else and say, “Look. Without me, this would not exist. What do you think?”

I know. All mad gab existential.

But, more than that, I want to be someone people can associate with quality storytelling. I want my name to be attached to a TV show, and a group of people take over a bar on premiere night so they can make up a series drinking game. I want to share other people’s stories that I find brilliant.

I want to determine what gets added to the cultural genetic structure.

Sounds crazy, no?

It’s not about the money. It’s not even about the reputation. It’s about the story. It’s about the culture. It’s about striving for a higher standard, raising the expectation, and achieving something amazing.

This past weekend, I took a step back and looked at Day Job. I adopted a British accent, stuck my finger in its face, and screamed, “You’re not helping me achieve my bloody goals!”

I told my boss I think I needed to explore my options. Because I have to keep moving forward. Stagnancy is going to kill me.

Wish me luck, pray for me, keep me in your thoughts, whatever.

Because I might be broke forever, but, at the end of everything, at least I can say I tried my hardest.

And, that counts for something.


Aside

Items of Interest: Ep. 14

Mind the gap.

No, not the warning in the Underground.

I’m talking about the generation gap. That’s right. Here it comes:

Items of Interest: Ep. 14

Generation C, the DIY Generation

Generation C is not your typical generation. It’s not defined by dates, birth year, decades. The “C” stands for Content. 

This phenomenon captures the avalanche of consumer generated ‘content’ that is building on the Web, adding tera-peta bytes of new text, images, audio and video on an ongoing basis. They’re using technical tools to create and publicize their own content. It’s easy. Blogging, social media, self-publishing, YouTube videos, Flickr. There are hundreds of ways for you to spread your content far and wide. You also have the opportunity to focus your content laser on the people who are interested in what you have to give.

The ultimate shouting into the void.

And, it’s not limited to content. The upcoming generation has taken a Do-It-Yourself approach to business. The entrepreneurial spirit has captured the young generation. Look at Google. The founders didn’t even meet each other until 1995 and now it’s one of the most influential companies in the world. Apple has changed from living in Microsoft’s shadow to a leader in technology.

What is bolstering this Do-It-Yourself spirit?

Technology. Need to make a bank deposit? Use a machine. Need to hang a shelf? Go to the hardware store and buy the materials. Need to rewire your house? I’m sure there’s a YouTube video on that somewhere…

But, wait! There’s more!

Most professional content industries (production studios, publishers, news corporations, recording studios) have gatekeepers. And, they have gatekeepers for a reason. There is value in the gatekeeper.

Let’s be honest. I can take a picture of a pier. Doesn’t mean it belongs on a poster or postcard. It’s just something I put up on my blog when I *cough* don’t have anything to write that day.

Just because I can record a song in GarageBand doesn’t mean I can cut an album (nor should I). You can list every successful content creator out there, but for every one success story, there are hundreds of failures. Why?

I’ll tell you.

In Creativity, Mihaly Csikszentmihaliyi tells us why being “creative” isn’t enough. You must know your domain and know the rules of it. What’s a domain?

Like Psychology or Literature. The category of “thing” you want to contribute to. 

Then, you need to be in a field, a place where people can judge if your innovation is novel and relevant enough to be added to the cultural knowledge base. While the Internet is used by millions of people, how many visitors do you get on your blog?

Think about it. There were nearly 290,000 books traditionally published in the US in 2009.

Which ones did you read? (What Oprah told you?)

I’m proud to be part of Generation C. I love hanging out on social media. I like blogging about things I find interesting.

But if I want to be added to the cultural knowledge base, there are a few gates I need to crash.

Read more about Generation C here.


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