Who doesn’t love choices? Media companies struggling to change would love for you to select their content and delivery choices.
With social media, I get my own set of choices. I can choose to help set my own community standards, choose my friends and peers, and tell my own unique story.
Again, who doesn’t love choices?
As a publishing veteran (The Detroit News, Star Tribune – Minneapolis, and The Toledo Blade), I selected content for others based on news value. We imagined the readers were lucky and thankful for our collective results. Content was selected, messaged, and edited. A design funnel and page hierarchy aided digestion. Readers then purchased product.
Social Media has forced media companies to cede filtering responsibility to individuals, while collectively harumping at most of your choices. But new routines have developed quickly. Facebook hurdles from 150 million to 400 million users in a few years, while media reach trends softly in the other direction.
Media brands are annoyed that their system of collecting, filtering and publishing has been outsourced to the crowd. But that crowd loves three opportunities in the new social media landscape:
- Set community standards: You want community standards? Earn them. Create your own. Calibrating the community on Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms is done when the community set its own standards of tone, speed and authenticity. When momentum or tone is manufactured or too course, the community figures it out. Companies and media are learning self-discipline. Some will develop agility and prosper, while others will only use social media as a billboard and remain friendless.
- Find the right people: People can search for exactly what they want in the ever widening space of social media. The scale and accuracy of job postings, events, and potential relationships are not locked into a brand or circulation area. Before social media, people would connect mostly by accident and proximity, and media companies sometimes held the exclusive opportunity to meet and speak with amazing people. The building blocks of entrepreneurship, social and political movements, and professional collaboration are now at our fingertips. Make your own selections on careers, friends, purchases and pursuits.
- Tell your story: Your voice can travel virtually unfiltered, every day and everywhere. Personal publishing is one way of producing and sharing your story with a wider audience. Build your brand with your ideas and let others assess its style, depth and honesty. Don’t waste effort and resources blindly aiming at groups, but instead target your unique interest.
Gone are the handful of publishing sources and powerful voices in your town. They’re now sharing space with millions of other individuals and groups telling stories.
Social Media is a fantastic resource that is both feared and underestimated. It’s open, transparent and difficult to control. Start getting used to ceding control.