Adapt Your Social Media Channels To Fit Your Capacity

It’s a common dilemma in social media – so much to create, so little time.

I’ve written before about how compulsive social media can be; how, even when you’re rushed off your feet, it can feel like you should be doing more to feed the beast that is your blog, or Twitter, or Facebook, or whatever other sites you maintain. It can be tempting, at times when you find yourself too busy to write, record or otherwise create content as you usually would, to just phone it in – to post content that’s not up to your usual standard.

Don’t.

As with any form of communications, corporate or otherwise, it’s all about your audience – the recipient of (or participant in) what you’re saying. As you build your audience, you also create expectations. Expectations of frequency, yes, but also expectations around other things, for example:

  • Approach – the way you go about crafting your posts an analyzing your topics
  • Quality – your level of thoughtfulness and attention to detail
  • Theme – your topic scope

While shifting from your publishing schedule can be disruptive, it can be more disruptive to stray from the type of content you publish. If you’re running into this problem, it may be worth assessing your owned content channels to see if you can adapt them to incorporate an approach that better fits your context.

A personal example

In recent months  I’ve been finding it hard to create new content at the same rate I could in the past. I just haven’t been able to find enough hours in the day to craft the kind of thought-out, in-depth posts that I like to write.

So, I’ve shaken things up a little (just a little). This blog and Twitter have been my primary places for creating content for the last few years, and will continue to be. The way I use those places isn’t changing. However, I’m adding a third place to the list (and no, by “third place,” I don’t mean Starbucks):

  1. My blog will continue to be the place I post long-form content focused on the intersection of communications, PR and social media.
  2. Twitter will continue to be the place I have conversations with people in my network, share links and occasionally goof around.
  3. I’m adding a Tumblr blog for the interesting things I find which either don’t warrant an entire post here, or have been well-captured by someone else. It will sit between the blog and Twitter in terms of brevity and subject matter – shorter and more diverse than my blog posts; longer but more focused than Twitter.

Why Tumblr and not just shorter posts here?

  1. Audience: The people who come to this site come for the kind posts I’ve been writing for the last few years. I don’t want to alienate people by mixing the content styles.
  2. Community: There’s a vibrant community of Tumblr users. I haven’t explored it much in the past, and am looking forward to exploring it.
  3. Functionality: Tumblr makes it easy to capture quick thoughts regardless of their medium. Text, photos, video – they all just take a couple of seconds.

For me, this just makes sense. I frequently find myself with 20 tabs open in my browser, full of interesting content that I really should write about, but which I usually end up losing because I don’t find time to do so. Now, rather than losing that opportunity, I’ll throw that content (or links to it) into a Tumblr post. Whether it’s a new tool that’ll make you more productive, a neatpresentation that can get you thinking or an eye-catching ad, it’ll all be there. Sometimes that will evolve into a longer post later. Other times it’ll remain within that site. Either way, it’ll help me to share more content with you.

Make sense?

You can find the new site at tumblr.davefleet.com, or via the “Tumblr” link at the top of this site. Again, my main blog will remain my primary place to post; I’m just layering more content in.

  • I’m in love with Tumblr. When I used to have a full-fledged blog, I eventually found that I had less and less time to write, edit, and post the type of content that I wanted. My solution was a bit more drastic – I got rid of Wordpress and moved entirely over to Tumblr. I can’t say that I’ve had regrets.

    The amazing thing about Tumblr is how easy it is to capture and share content. The bookmarklet is key. It helps me share things that I otherwise would never have considered writing about (or, like you, didn’t have the time to write about). Marco Arment’s other project, Instapaper, is also genius for this very reason. I end up reading *more* content because I have an easy and barrier-free way to put it aside and read it when I have some free time.

    • I loooove Instapaper. That’s a great app.

  • Tumblr is amazing! I’ve been using it since 2007 and it’s drop-dead simple. (Just followed you there, btw.) I don’t have the time or brainwidth (cerebral bandwidth) to craft long blog posts anymore; that’s spent on client work. And what original thought can I really add to some of the most gifted and knowledgeable bloggers in the field?

    I’m mostly using Tumblr to curate rather than create content, hoping clients and friends will find it useful that I pick the 3-5 items I think are most helpful when it comes to learning and adopting social media for business and post them daily on Tumblr, sometimes with a comment from me.

    I also enjoy using my Tumblr dashboard in the same way I use Twitter — scanning it to see what the people I follow are posting to Tumblr. But it’s a much more select following there, intentionally.

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  • Finding capacity is key. Social media can be overwhelming. There are so many options out there. I say go it slow and things will evolve. And that’s what I’ve learned. In the beginning, I signed up for most of them (and now I couldn’t tell you my usernames let alone passwords), but have only stuck to Twitter for professional/personal, Facebook for personal, and LinkedIn for professional. My blog was an outgrowth of Twitter because I needed a space where I could express myself in more than 140 characters. In order for social media to work, it has to be a fit.

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  • Makes total sense Dave. I did the same with starting a Posterous photo blog a couple months ago and it’s been getting great traffic. It’s self-motivating as well to have that inbetween channel where you can get slightly more in-depth than Twitter but not feel the burden of an official “blog post.” Flexibility in capturing all those ideas we have pinging around all day.

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  • Wellons Communications

    This is very true. It is important to understand the different types of stories/messages that social media gravitate toward.

    http://wellonscommunications.com/pr-blog/2010/05/25/modern-day-public-relations-social-vs-traditional-media/

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