Papercut's *ahem* "Social Media Strategy" – Part 3

For two posts now, I’ve been talking about my “social media strategy” which hasn’t been much more than a series of deliberate decisions I made linearly. I didn’t really have anything particularly organized like others advocate. However, I’ve gotten some surprising results, so I’m posting what I’ve done here.

On January 18th I talked about my first two decisions. And my third decision on January 21st. So without further ado…

Decision 4. Blog.

Believe me, it was the last thing I wanted. I’ve tried blogging before and I couldn’t sustain a thing. I’d blog for a few days and it would fizzle out, and I wouldn’t go back to it. Since 2003, I’ve tried Blogger, LiveJournal, had a private WordPress blog for a company that went nowhere… There was a difference between those times and this time though. The other times, I felt like no one was watching. This time I had a small following of people who might actually read my stuff.

Also, I needed a vehicle of some kind to showcase to my audience what my company actually sells. While I haven’t launched a proper website of products yet, I need to be able to demonstrate to people that I actually have the chops to do the things I say I can do. While I’m operating on a policy of no self-promotion, it seems to me if I periodically put “hey I have a new blog post” on Twitter, I might get people reading.

Tumblr is an easy place to blogHere’s where I made a strange decision, and I have yet to see the results. I looked at many different blogging platforms and came across Tumblr. I loved Tumblr because it was a simple site to use, support many different kinds of media, and was filled with designers. I love designers…I think their work is so cool. Designers aren’t my target audience though, and I almost left, except I noticed you couldn’t comment on Tumblr posts.

A couple things occurred to me.

1) If I really hated blogging, Tumblr was easy to set up and dismantle. There wasn’t a lot of work involved with it if I decided “no, this just isn’t for me”.

2) If my writing proved popular, nobody can comment. This might create a small pent-up demand of people who want to say things to me, but can’t.

3) In theory I could set up a parallel blog in something like WordPress, and not promote it. When all my stuff was ready to launch, I could switch over to the WordPress blog, with new articles, new “stuff”, and a robust comments section. If people had been itching to tell me stuff, a launch like that might open the floodgates a little bit.

As of this writing, it hasn’t happened yet. I’ll let you know how it goes. It’s entirely possible nobody’s really that interested and my whole launch will be greeted with a massive “ho hum”.

Results

I started blogging, and very nearly almost stopped. It was such a nuisance, having to sit down and think of something to write about. And it felt like I was doing it just for the sake of doing it.

But then someone retweeted one of my blog posts. It was like someone jolted me with electroshock. “OMG someone actually READ this?! And liked it enough to retweet??!!” That encouraged me. I started thinking in more detail of what I should write about. And it turned out, I actually have a lot of opinions.

Have you ever gone to your spouse’s office parties? If you have, you find yourself in a slightly awkward position that is quickly made better by talking about what you do. I took that approach to my blogging. When I wrote, I pretended I was in a room full of strangers at a party my partner dragged me to. What would I say to them? Well, it was slow going at first, but every day it seemed I had a new thought. I’d be in the shower or driving to get a coffee and bagel…the more I blogged, the more I wanted to blog.

And so my articles slowly started to take shape. And each time I posted one, more and more people would retweet it. It was crazy the response I was getting!

And as for my decision about blogging without comments? It turns out the pent-up demand I thought I might create…was mine. I started craving more feedback. And holding on to my parallel blog keeping it quiet until my big launch…was making me crazy!

Well, it turns out things were about to take an even stranger turn.

I’m a professor of project management at the college where I work. My students continually amaze me with their insights, passion and all-around awesomeness. I figure they deserve access to more answers than I can give them by myself. This site is for them.
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