Over the last few weeks, I’ve been exploring social media in entirely new ways. I’ve learned a few things along the way: 1) I have a long way to go to use hashtags effectively, 2) my video processing skills are laughable, 3) I feel ridiculous on TikTok. So, why am I spending so much time on platforms I would otherwise never use?
It’s all about going where the people I want to reach are hanging out.
My passion project, Identity Flash Mob, aims to make information about digital identity and related technology easy for everyone to understand. It’s not for my fellow techies. It’s for my mother, my siblings, my college friends, all those people who are using technology every day but who aren’t themselves in tech. Writing blog posts (which I do, because I enjoy writing and it helps me organize my research) is great and all, but my audience doesn’t read blog posts. They don’t go to Medium, they are barely on Twitter, they’re not even always on LinkedIn. So, where the heck do they go?
They go to TikTok. They go to Instagram. They go to platforms with color, movement, and a quick endorphin fix as the scrolling feeds their brains like a sugar rush. And there is nothing wrong with that. (OK, yes, actually I think there’s a lot wrong with that, but that’s not a problem I’m going to try to solve.) Regardless, if I want to get a message out to them about what the latest tech trends are all about, I need to go where they are. And that means embracing the fact that I’m hugely uncomfortable on those platforms and will do it anyway.
That said, embracing the uncomfortable doesn’t mean not trying to do better. I have social media homework every day where I’m scanning these platforms for what works and what doesn’t, and I’m doing a lot of web searching to find tips on how I can improve my video quality, my scripts, and my images. I can see the improvement–slow, incremental improvement–which helps keep me going. The trick is not to get too hung up on the search for mastering social media, because I have to prioritize time spent on my paying gigs as well as time to research the next IFM topic.
I’ll get there, to that place where I can proudly say “Look, I did a thing and it made a difference!” Of course, it’s Saturday morning and I’ve been online for three hours scheduling blog posts and their amplification moments, scrolling through Instagram to see who else I should be following, and researching the next thing (which will be something to do with artificial intelligence and machine learning). So I can definitely say that getting to that place takes up almost every spare moment I have. But the discomfort and the time will be worth it.