The Trick of the “Social” in Social Media

There is one basic understanding that one needs to have before making a choice to join the new media space and particularly social media.

If people wanted to remain with the situation where their communication was just one way, there wouldn’t really be an influx on social media platforms. The data shows that consistently, year-on-year, there has been a tremendous growth in the number of people who join social media.

Because people want to be heard as well, and because of the instant nature of social media and new media, it has attracted interest.

When Radio and TV were introduced, the communication was mainly one way. The changing and ever adapting definition of communication, gives a clear meaning of the dynamism and the non-static nature of communicating with one another.

At all times, means to make communication easy, are being explored. Today, as a result of realizing the need for feedback which is key in ensuring the intended message was delivered, Radio stations and TV stations have began creating social media handles and broadcasting live on same. This has made it possible for them to pick views from their listeners and viewers.

On a personal level, when people do not have the assurances of receiving feedback from you, engagement from you on the comments they make on your posts, it’s just a matter of time that they would stop commenting on things you post.

You update your status, definitely, you do so for people to see and possibly express some comments. So why would there be no response when they do pass comments? You make posts to engender conversations, the reason for which there is always a comment option until you decide to close it. So why not come back to your own posts to engage those who chose to spend their time, data and energy to create conversation under your post?

New media has created a shift in the traditional media as we knew it. Today, Graphic, the almighty Daily Graphic, publishes on social media and it’s interesting how people engage including myself, on their platform. Was that possible in the past? I was able to get my opinions published in a number of their papers through the use of social media.

Gone were the days when you may have to mail your opinions, keep buying the papers to see if one day your mail arrives and your story gets published. I remember in 2004, I used to write some opinions to an entertainment newspaper (name I cannot remember). I got 2 or 3 of my articles published, and all, I got to know because I had to keep buying the papers until I chance upon my articles.

Today, I run a blog (askattuh.wordpress.com) where I have the full space to publish my opinions. In the past, I needed hard prints in a newspaper. Back then, whatever opinions anyone had, wouldn’t have been known to me.

Today, even though I have personal means of publishing my views, it comes with its demands. Key of such demands is to remain active on my platforms to ensure to appreciate efforts made to comment, share, or engage so that opinions of others can be taken and incorporated in my subsequent work.

So, it is important to understand that this new media space, and its dominant form, social media, is well understood, well handled, and well operated to ensure that yes, as many people as possible who make time to come to your posts to comments, have over 90% chance of your response or reaction to what they come to say.

It requires a different set of attitude! Otherwise, you have a WALL at HOME where you could write on a piece of paper and STICK it on your wall at home where no one sees, and cannot therefore comment.

There are options and I give a few here:
1. If you are the type who only enjoy posting pictures and don’t really have time to comment except to enjoy the likes, use Instagram.
2. If you are the type who wants to engage so much but unable to type so much text, use Twitter.
3. If you are the type who is okay with both text and graphics and who likes to write a bit longer and express yourself, use Facebook.
4. If you are the type who enjoy writing articles and opinions to stimulate discussions, use Blogs and Facebook because these two platforms allows for heavy texting and unlimited space for comments.

It is even allowed now to link accounts. For instance, you can link your Facebook to your Twitter account. Whatever you post on Facebook, automatically publishes the allowed text limit on Twitter while an automatic link is generated for anyone who wants to read the rest of the text. If you choose this strategy, the trick then is to ensure shorter texts because you may just get to realize that many people do not have that interest in that extra effort to click on a link, wait for a browser to open to redirect them to Facebook.

It is also possible now to connect your Instagram account to Facebook where every image you post, automatically appears on Facebook.

It is also possible now to connect your blog(s) to Facebook and Twitter which allows automatic generation of links immediately you are done publishing your article. It makes room for one to equally clink on the link to read the story. Blogs are known for what they are. Readers are aware contents on blogs are a bit long, and those who enjoy reading long texts and especially those who enjoy reading from you, would make time to go read your publications.

BUT, ensure that your followers do not get the idea that you don’t visit those platforms except that you chose to populate them while you are found consistent on the linked account.

For instance, you would be losing interest and followership when your fans on Twitter gets to know that you only connected your Facebook account to your Twitter account and that you do not spend time on Twitter but only end up bombarding them with a traffic from Facebook. In order to create that real feel, do engage in comments that comes on your Twitter linked account. Generate fresh contents that can be seen on Twitter which may not be found on Facebook. That makes your followers feel they are following a human being and not a “robot”.

Linked accounts are good because they help us use “one stone to kill more than one bird”. But when we make it obvious that we don’t value the second, third, fourth bird, no one would take us serious.

I believe with this little knowledge, one can find where best to spend time on social media, and how best one can achieve results.

By Stephen Kwabena Attuh (ASK)

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