Feb 162012

I confess that I’m a bit of a Blog ‘Ho — I’ll read just about any blogger that has something interesting to say that resonates with me. Click here, press add there, and I’ll follow their RSS feed pretty fast. If over time they start to fade, I can click and drop just as easily. Both for work purposes and my personal interest in writing, or an interest combining the two (writing about HR), I really enjoy the Harvard Business Review’s site various feeds. One of them is their feed on Technology (which often co-links itself to talking about innovation).

Today’s feed includes an article by Nilofer Merchant (Rules for the Social Era — note link may expire). An excerpt from her post appears below…she talks mainly in her article about lots of big companies are not adjusting to the new social era of supply-chain production that is more about being lean, rather than big and talking to your customers in a way that is integrated in product design, delivery, etc. rather than just market research. But, on the writing and publishing front, the best “shift” for me is the third one:

Sharing, not telling. When companies think of social media, they hope to get consumers to “like” them or “fan” them, as if that increased connection is meaningful. Again, that captures the marketing aspect but misses the strategic point.

Writers I encounter virtually on the web are desperate to understand social media marketing. They think, “Oh, I posted on a bunch of newsgroups, therefore I’m marketing.” Or they’re tweeting and re-tweeting anything and everything. Their Facebook status updates look like a teleprompter, with repeated posts every day.

Yet, while they know deep within their writing souls that authors must “show, don’t tell”, the idea that they should “share, don’t tell” is foreign to most of them. Most do the equivalent of SPAM “telling” rather than trying to build a base of fans that like their ideas and products. I’ve tried to explain this concept to some new “marketers” when they ask for feedback on their web design or facebook updates…usually based on fact they are NOT getting the response or fanbase they were hoping for when they started “TELLING” their online story.

Share, don’t tell. What a great way to remember.

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