Trends in the way people use social media are constantly changing. What was once a good practice six months ago might not even be worth the effort or relevant today. In fact, over my years of blogging and using networks like twitter, facebook and more recently instagram, I’ve seen things change rapidly.
Don’t you feel like there is so much going in social media these days that is hard to keep up? New technologies, new social networks, new ways people communicate and share content. It fast, it’s changing and it’s still right where it needs to be.
One of the things I love is watching people catch on to how other people communicate and share content. Hashtags were once a part of twitter that not many understood. Now hashtags are their own language and bring certain connotation to the conversation.
Example: Where once you might hear a friend say “You’re the bomb dot com” or “You’re the bomb”, you might just as easily hear them say “Hashtag You’re The Bomb!” #yourethebomb
Why do things change online? Because networks like twitter, facebook and instagram function as a living entity where the heart beat and movement is completely user generated. As the online community grows, communicates, reacts, responds and intervenes… practices and methods of what’s acceptable change. It’s amazing to watch over time, but even more amazing to see how we as an online society make small changes because of the subtle changes everyone seem to make as new ideas and practices emerge.
However, even through the change, there are still three fundamental characteristics that still and always will remain the same at their core.
- Content is still king. Rule #1 Quality, compelling and engaging content attracts readers. Rule #2 posting content keeps readers coming back to your blog. Rule #3 when in doubt about whether to post content or not, refer back to Rule #1 and Rule #2.
- Authenticity still matters. There are a lot of great bloggers and social networkers out there, but the ones who write from their heart… and their gut are the best ones to read. There’s nothing holding them back in the way they communicate what they have to say. And yes. This means, bloggers don’t have to be great writers and they don’t have to always be polished. It’s the readers nature to expect grammatical errors, typos and poor sentence structure. Thank God, because I wouldn’t have one reader or follower if that were the case.
- Transparency is the window to all things that really connect with the reader. It’s about sharing those bits of info you might otherwise guard. It’s about sharing those hints and little sides of life that people really don’t know about you or about what you do… or more importantly, how you do it. Example: want to know how Michael Hyatt became such a great blogger? Read his book Platform or clue into his blog. He lays it all out there… all of it.
One thing I would caution in being transparent. Sharing info that you would otherwise guard doesn’t mean airing out your dirty laundry or telling the world about all of your problems or even you bringing others down in public. Having said that, there will always be people who do that and get lots of readers because of it. I’ve watched a blogger go from encouraging to critical over the past year and watched their readership, twitter following and business decline with every negative post. No one likes a sour puss… even online.
On the other hand, there are some people who are so transparent in a good way that they give us permission to grieve with them through personal loss like in the case of my friend Angie Smith. She turned the loss of her daughter at birth into a journey many women have experienced and created a forum for growth to encourage people to keep moving in life. Hats off to those who can be that vulnerable online.
So no matter what is the newest, next big thing is in the social media world, these three characteristics will always be at the foundation of blogging and your favorite social media network.