Confession time. I hardly read other people’s blogs.
I know it’s hypocritical. Here I am trying to reach out to people when I do not let people reach out to me. There are many good writers out there, I’m sure. The reason I don’t read them is because I fear commitment. Seriously.
My first experience contributing to the internet began on mystmovie.com back when it was still in operation. My brother told me I needed to support their website by commenting instead of just “lurking” on the site. My first comment actually received praise from other people. They said it was very well written. That’s when I caught the bug. I wanted to create comments that interested people. Now and then I would even get responses in the comments feed from those who created the site. The site was eventually taken down due to some pretty sad circumstances. I took the time to write a Facebook message to one of the site’s operators telling him thanks for everything he did. He replied back a year later saying thanks for the wonderful message.
I initially created a Facebook account only because there was a beautiful woman I wanted to be friends with. I created a YouTube account only because I wanted to reply to a Rhett & Link video asking to come up with a name for a restaurant/hair salon (I think I came up with Hair Today, Scone Tomorrow). I created a Twitter account only because I wanted to get my questions answered live on AMC Movie Talk. What’s the connection between these? Connection.
Content is about people. There’s no point in writing, recording or designing for the internet if there isn’t an intended audience. Coming up with good content is all about having good people skills. Gaining a fan or subscriber is like starting a relationship. Give them good content frequently and they will love you forever.
Here are a few tips for those wishing to connect through social media:
1. Devour Content
All content on the internet is created by someone. The more you read, the closer you get to other people. Do you take time to read your friend’s posts on Facebook? Do you take mental note of what they “like” and share? The more interest you show for other people’s content, the better your understanding will be of what engages your audience.
2. Create Content
You owe it to the world to do something. Just existing is not enough. What’s the point of having clay to work with if you don’t mold it? The internet was made to be used. Why wouldn’t you want to make a contribution? Leave an impression online. Voice your opinions. Create things no one has ever seen before. Record dumb videos of yourself just for the fun of it.
Don’t tell yourself that there is nothing good enough for you to make. Your friends would never say that about you. They are just glad to hear your voice. The internet is the same. Connect with people by giving them something to connect with.
3. Guide Your Content
The people who go the farthest are the ones who made success their goal. No one simply ends up successful. It pays to be ambitious when planning for greatness. Have an idea in your mind of what you want your content to accomplish over time. Think about the impact you wish to make on your audience.
Don’t be afraid to break up your plan into phases. You don’t have to do everything all at once. It’s just like relationships. We have an idea in our minds of where we want them to go and at what speed. You can’t move forward in a relationship if you don’t think about where you want to be and when.
4. Be Respectful
It is a privilege to have a listening ear. I’ve had readers from Brazil, Sweden and Saudi Arabia. I don’t deserve their attention if I don’t respect them. Internet etiquette is lacking in the comments sections I read on YouTube. If people wanted to vent, then they should do so to people who actually care about their opinions. Making people feel bad over the internet should not be our goal.
Improvement is more likely when it stems from positivity. You can always make your content higher quality and more positive without sacrificing your opinions or standards. Any fool can simply not like stuff. Positive content will make a difference in the long run.
I’m still slowly integrating into the digital age. I grew up using a phone with a face you had to spin to call anyone. It was a big deal when we finally upgraded to pressing buttons. I’ll wait a little while before I upgrade to a smartphone.
I’m trying to be more social online. The internet is useless to you if you don’t desire to connect with real people. Information alone adds up to nothing. The same fears that keep me from opening up to the people around me are the same fears keeping me from taking advantage of the internet. My goal now is to provide online content that resonates with a wide audience. Putting a smile on a few readers’ faces is enough to make me content.