Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Essentials For Social Media And Writers: Something To Say.

I haven't written seriously in a few years and have started to really get rolling again because I went to Mexico and had some strange kind of writing reality check. My excuse for not writing both publicly and to myself had been "I haven't done anything interesting in a while.... I don't have anything good to say".
In my defense, I spent a great deal of time in my early 20's wandering around the country by green truck doing "interesting" things every day. It was not, I should mention, very lucrative. I'd say in comparison I haven't been doing quite as may "interesting" things as of late at least not in the crazy adventure "you'll-never-guess-who-I-saw-in-the-gas-station-bathroom" kind of way.

Interesting things are also the big currency in social media. With social media everyone is a creator. Everyone is a writer, photographer, and short quip-sayer in order to get people to listen to you and do something like buy your product, follow your Twitter feed, or read your blog.
This adds up to a lot of scrambling in a lot of marketing departments for clever, witty, and relevant content.

Lots of companies I meet with say they are boring and sometimes they are. Plus, lots of people who quit their blogs say that they ran out of things to say. This is basically writer's block. So how do companies and writers start coming up with interesting content?

It's okay to write about struggle even if you're a huge company. I have a quote that I like by Samuel Beckett that says "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail Again. Fail better." Have I slept in my car in Arizona lately? No. But I have struggled like hell this year with clients, starting my own company, balancing work and relationship, and trying to write again. Struggle is interesting. Companies that can let their audience in on even a little of their struggles will seem more real than the ones constantly tweeting about their latest sale or promotion.

You don't have to get caught up in the posting twice a day, Tweeting once every minute, Facebook update mania that a lot of companies and people think they need to stay relevant. A well placed Tweet or post will serve you better than pure quantity.

Think about what makes you different or why you see things differently. For me, I like to pick on companies with terrible ad campaigns since I am dorky enough to follow ad campaigns (I also say nice things about good ones). I also have a family that lives on a farm even though I didn't grow up on a farm and sometimes I have to go out there and help them in winter. This involves camouflage snowsuits, chasing donkey's around, and feeling like a hillbilly. For an insurance company maybe you see everything in terms of liability. If you look at things on your walk to work just in terms of liability there could be a lot of pretty interesting tweets or posts in there.

Just because nothing "happened" doesn't mean something interesting isn't going on.


Blogger Andrea V. Lewis said...

Great Post Caitlin! As a newbie to both blogging and social media, a post like this provides great insight when looking at the big picture . I especially agree with your point that honesty humanizes companies. Allowing consumers to see them as someone "just like them" instead of an untouchable entity.

Keep the great posts coming. =)

- Andrea V. Lewis http://www.andreavlewis.com/

December 2, 2009 at 11:33 PM  
Blogger Grace Boyle said...

Caitlin, you really put things in perspective. There's always something to say...no matter what. I think it's a poor excuse and yes, writer's block is real but it doesn't mean you find resources or help to get around it. Or even like you said, write about that...the struggle.

This is really well written. I loved it!

December 3, 2009 at 11:15 AM  
Blogger Caitlin said...

Andrea and Grace - Thanks for your encouragement, it means a lot to me!!

December 3, 2009 at 12:42 PM  

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