The Recipe for Social Media

“Choose a word to describe Social Media.”

“Okay. I’m going to have to go with ‘Unavoidable‘.”

Yes, unavoidable.

For some time now, we have been taught about technological eras as splitting up into four distinct stages.

Primary – Extractive
Secondary – Manufacturing
Tertiary – Services
Quaternary – Informational

While I no longer study such things, I can’t help but be an observer to their effects. We often refer to the quaternary as the “age of information.”  So, where does Social Media come in? I’ve been told it is both an extension of the quaternary, age of information and the next step after it.

The Age of Sharing.

I honestly don’t know how many different social media platforms are out there. I imagine the number is quite high. I tend to stick to the major platforms myself: google, facebook, twitter, instagram and zite. Regardless of my own usage, the fact remains. Social Media has become unavoidable. There are hundreds of different platforms in ‘cyberspace’, all competing for your attention and to become the next big thing.

So... many... distractions...

So… many… distractions…

If I’ve learned anything on my own while using any of these platforms, it’s the following three items that are important for success.

A) The user interface needs to be good. Easy to use, free from bugs and confusing features/language.
B)  The platform needs to fill a niche.

C)  Using equal parts text and graphics.

The latter extends beyond the platform. It extends into how the platform is used and how well used it is. While Facebook is pretty good for displaying graphics and such, I have a problem with how it shows thumbnails for some items and not for others.

SPIRIT OF THE IMMATERIAL WORLD

Successful blogs often use a healthy amount of graphics to break up the text. Blogs that do this well are Cracked.com and Hyperbole and a Half.

I appreciate that, but I have no illusions that this reality will lead to higher success for myself as a blogger. I still believe in the concept of “Content is King” and will continue to write my personal thoughts based on that idea. <cliche warning> But, I digress…</cliche warning>

Graphics undeniably help the user experience. Why else would we use them? Because linear limitations are removed from graphics, we can throw a bunch of information into a small space and yield an effective communication device. Despite the use of bad tracking/leading in their posts, Brotips.com is quite effective in their use of graphics to display their texts posts.

Words are key

This picture does not contain a thousand words.

Just keywords alone can help a blog. My experience with Tumblr has been exactly that… the easiest way to find a laugh is by keywords. [Otherwise, I find Tumblr to be rather useless.]

But, text is still very important. They say a picture says a thousand words, right? What happens when we combine the two? We get the meme.

See above

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be enough users on the internet who understand the need for balance. It’s one thing to be graphically driven, but it’s an entirely different thing when you fail at getting the attention you want, because you spam the exact audience you’re looking to get. This sort of behaviour ends up showing a complete lack of understanding what works and a disdain for good social media planning.

Speaking of disdain… I have clearly shown a disdain for coherent thought today. Good one Jos… good one.


Maybe my next entry will be about social media planning. Hmmm….

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