Digital Networks, Social Networks
This is all from experience and observation, but I find it useful when I sit down and try to figure out how social media works.
Digital networks are architecture. That means we can only do, over a digital network, what the software and hardware enable us to do.
Social networks are more organic. The flow of information across social networks is influenced by individual choice and taste. For instance, how quickly gossip spreads in a neighborhood depends on how much the people who live there like to gossip; but it also depends on how juicy the gossip is. We could list of a dozen other variables if we wanted to.
When I talk about “social media,” I am talking about socializing over a digital network. Social media sometimes resembles an ecology, sometimes an economy, sometimes a group of countries.
Social media is powerful, and confusing, because you have to account for both the digital network and the social network when you try and figure out how use it strategically. It’s no secret we are trying to build an audience here. I am trying to figure out how to maximize our social media presence so people who actually know us will see what we write and share it.
Our First Attempt at Strategic Blogging
The debuts of The Writing Catalog and Sourcerer were our first attempt to blog strategically. We really want to learn how to do this, and we are new at it. We tried to tailor the pieces I posted that day to appeal to as many of our friends as possible. We published them over the course of 10 hours to coincide with Facebook traffic peaks.
The first post was to build anticipation. The second was to introduce The Writing Catalog to our writer friends. The third was a surprise that we hoped would be entertaining enough to make the occasion memorable, and it explained our long-term goal. The fourth was a sincere thank you to people who have given us real support for months while we figured this out, and to all our Facebook friends who came and looked at what we were doing.
It was all written as a concise, personal narrative about a brother and a sister with a dream.
The response exceeded our expectations. We believe we are on the right track. Diana and I agree that we generated enough interest, measured in page views and visitors, to prove the concept.
My task is to figure out where we go from here.
First, I am looking at the use of social media to grow blogs. I am also working on a few organizational questions that have to get sorted out to keep two of these blogs posting every day. Third, I am trying to understand the rhetorical strategy and the composition process I used to do the writing. I made most of the composition decisions intuitively. It seems as though the writing worked, so I am keen to understand why it did.
If I could go about this any way I wanted, I would write about blogging once a week here, write about organization at Sourcerer, and write about the composition at the Writing Catalog.
Since we have to be realistic, and keep our priorities in order, I am doing a Tuesday-Thursday series here that covers both the blogging and the organization, and a weekly series about the composition process at The Writing Catalog.
Thursday: Why we started four blogs instead of one.