Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
December 18, 2010 1:16 PM

The One Thing About Social Media That Most People Don't Think About

How much do you enjoy walking in on the middle of a movie? Right. Figured as much. Well, welcome to Social Media.

Yesterday, someone recommended that I connect to a specific individual on Twitter. Their exact comment was, "this person is one of the smartest people I know... and they're brilliant on Twitter. I have been following them forever." High praise. I hopped over, checked out who else this individual was following, who was following them and then looked at their Twitter stream. I could not make heads or tails of it. A lot of @ replies that were one to three words long, the occasional tweet to a link without out much context, some random tweets about how their day at the agency was going and a handful of retweets.

That's when it hit me...

It feels like I'm in the middle of a conversation. It feels like I'm walking into the theater in the middle of a movie. Not only do I have to keep pace with the action as it unfolds, I need to figure out the characters and the back-story as well. I quickly hopped over to my own Twitter feed, this Blog and even the Podcast page. Same feeling. If someone told you to check out my content today, they're basically parachuting you into the middle of a jungle... and I hope you can figure your own way around/out of it.

It's an ongoing evolution.

As we evolve and create content, it changes. This is normal. I don't think anybody would want to come back to this Blog if the content was repetitive. But, we have to also imagine that many people are discovering our content for the first time, and it's incumbent on us to ensure that those people feel welcome. This doesn't mean that we have to change much, but it might be wise to leave some breadcrumbs for the newbies.

What could that look like?

  • First time here? You could ask that question and then link it over to a brief bio about your space, yourself and maybe even point those people to some valuable content you've created.
  • Interrupt your broadcast. Every once in a while, it might be wise to tweet/Blog something like: "if you've just connected to me in the past little while, you may find this interesting..." with a link to something that truly exemplifies what you're all about.
  • Featured posts. You'll notice that on the left-hand navigation of this Blog. It's just a handful of older Blog posts that seem to have resonated with this audience and also best reflect the type of content you will find here.
  • The "about" page. Make your "about" page and your "bio" page that much more prominent. You can even start off with a warm and welcoming line to everyone who is connecting to you for the first and what they can expect from following you. Maybe even record a short video so they can see and hear you.

All of this is going to affect adoption.

Not a day goes by that I don't receive an email with a question that stops me dead in my tracks, because it validates that the majority of people do not understand how Twitter works or the way a Blog is set-up. Most people are not used to content being published and flowing in near-real-time. Most people are used to an environment that treats everyone as if it is their first time visiting (like the majority of websites). Social Media is not like this. And, much like the social circles we have when we connect in person, they can be complex, challenging to navigate and difficult to understand at first.

Think about the content you publish. Now, think about how someone visiting you for the first time might feel. Is it working for you?

By Mitch Joel