Social media on one hand. Words on the other.

by PR Coach

Words matter than the choice of social mediaIt’s all around us. We’re bombarded by content advice porn from the “experts.” It’s irresistible but like most instant gratification, it’s short-lived.

Content is king. Make your copy bite-size and scannable. Run it through your Buzzfeed detector.

Oh, and add visuals. They increase readership and response noticeably. After all, aren’t Pinterest and Instagram the next big thing?

While you’re at it, let’s produce some video. Got six seconds? Here’s a Vine. Need 15 seconds for your video? Instagram has you covered. Producing an epic? YouTube it!

Let’s delve a little further into the Wonderland of social media where even traditional media no longer fear to tread.

News tweets, link bait headlines, quantity over quality. Clickable newsbytes over insight. Get it first and correct it later. Maybe.

glance journalismIt’s what Dan Shanoff calls “glance journalism” in his recent post “Today’s Faves: Apple Watch, “glance journalism” and the new “neutron of news”:

“A “glance” is not merely a “swipe” — how logy! The [Apple] watch’s Glance function involves a psychological and physical flick. Not up and down a fundamentally cohesive stream, as with Twitter. But across entirely distinct news inputs.

That is the user experience that the news industry has a pending opportunity to address — the message delivered must be that clear and concise: I’ll describe it as a “neutron of news,” which — if done right — is enough for that moment.”

Unfortunately, mostly thanks to TV and social media, we’ve arrived on the planet tl;dr!  Too long. Didn’t read.

Yes, on one hand we definitely have social media.

On the other hand, we have words

Fortunately, on the other hand, we have words. That’s what’s most encouraging to me.

If we ever needed words in the past, we desperately need wonderful words now. More than ever! Great skyscrapers full of words. Words of wisdom. Ideas, inspiration and insight expressed in ways that only good writers can.

That’s why storytelling is regaining popularity. It’s the reason people still go to conferences because they can hear words and engage in conversations with others in person.

We’re hungry for so much more than glance journalism or neutrons of news.

It’s the words. And they still matter.

Words matter, tools don'tWhere’s the evidence you ask? Look at the enduring popularity of quality writing in The New Yorker magazine, The New York Times and The Atlantic.

And there are new social media upstarts that remind us that people still have an appetite for long form writing, storytelling and ideas that matter.

Medium and its readers crave long form writing, signing up and following writers with ideas and something important to say in more than three bullets or six factoids you need to know about something or the other.

Why there’s even research that suggests millennials are reading more than the previous generation.

Here’s another important reason why words matter. It’s only through the best words can you break through the overwhelming volume of low quality content and noise overtaking the Internet.

Once we hit the content wall, guess what’s going to be back in style? Bits, bytes, factoids, tweets, likes, shares and pins are not evergreen content. Quality words endure.

As Seth Godin puts it so provocatively:

“When the masses only connect to the net without a keyboard, who will be left to change the world?”

Without words of substance, we’re just consumers. Clicking, swiping, pointing and resharing.

This brings me back to my starting point. Yes on one hand we have social media with its reach, speed and megaphone. We’re also blessed to have words on the other hand.

The best thing is, when you put both these hands together, you get applause!

What do you think? Have we reached content saturation or can great content still break through the noise and the clutter of social media?

Author: Jeff Domansky

Visuals: GraphicStock

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