Social media is a fickle beast that can toy with your heart. The past couple of days was an emotional roller coaster. I ended up getting 6 stories on Digg, 1 on Slashdot, and 1 on BoingBoing. Not a bad feat considering I’ve never been successful at it just one week ago. Not that I tried either.
It was a learning experience and empowering to see the difference a few words could do to read a wider audience.
1. Content is King
Nothing spreads faster than good content. However, there is content that travels faster than others on the web. With social media the trend is even more clearly defined.
Content that raises awareness for a relatively unknown cause or point out an injustice or flaw in the system seem to raise the feel good factor of users. It opens a person’s eyes and empowers them to think that they can make a difference by raising awareness in others. Of course, if the content simply fits into the demographics’ value system it can be self-serving propaganda but that’s another story.
This is really the opposite end. Stuff with shock value or hilarity tends to find a good audience. Even something like an unusual picture or error message. What people find interesting does depend on the general mood though.
Well-written and Concise Content
I also see a lot of well-written, concise commentary lacking any real value pop up on a regular basis. My theory is that these half-finished thought type posts written by popular bloggers give readers some kind of ego boost or illusion of thinking. The best ones are provocative enough but not enough to offend.
2. Facilitators Play an Important Role
The people who call attention to the content play a greater role than I imagined. Especially with Digg, “who” submits your site is almost as important the content itself. The top posters are really a priceless asset to the community when you consider the hard work involved.
3. Relax and Let Go
The more you try to force something the more chances it will backfire on you. There is much more that can go wrong than right as your submissions make their journey. Whether the medium has a several chosen editors or is a massive popularity contest, once it leaves your hands it’s no longer within your control.
It’s also another reason why submitting your own content can go wrong. When you have a greater emotional stake in your submission you lack the objectivity and sharpness to make the right call.
Leaving it to nature maybe frustrating but there’s really nothing you can do if you want to go with social media. For those that want guaranteed results, there’s always paid advertising.