“If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you do read it, you’re misinformed.” – Denzel Washington
I recently came across this video on YouTube about what social media usage is doing to us:
But it was Denzel’s quote at the start that really grabbed my attention. I’ve been saying for a while now that social media in general in headed toward a breaking point. Overall trust in major platforms like Facebook and Twitter continues to fall, as users of these platforms aren’t sure how their content is being shared and if they have equal access to everyone else’s content. I believe users were already becoming a bit tired with the platforms, but recent concerns over a lack of transparency and explanation of how our thoughts are shared and curated with others has reached a tipping point for these platforms. It’s a big part of the reason why I’ve been advising you for a while now to double-down on your blogging efforts. Too many companies use social media as its primary communications channels, and a blog is often an afterthought. If anything, that order should be reversed. If Twitter and Facebook go away tomorrow, I will still have this blog, and that makes it the most powerful communications channel I have.
But this whole debate about where social media is headed brings up the larger issue of trust in relation to the content you create, that I create, that we all create. If you, as a content creator, aren’t trusted to create content that will be useful and relevant to your audience, then your content will be invisible. Remember yesterday I talked about how the best marketing is invisible but the worst marketing BECOMES invisible? It’s the same thing with your content. If we don’t see the value in your content, we’ll ignore it. And unfortunately, as we see in the video above, our attention spans are being ‘trained’ by social media to shrink every day. For a content creator, this means it’s even easier to pass over your content, plus it means that many of us won’t have the patience to stop for 2-3 minutes to read your post, then leave a thoughtful comment on it. Unfortunately, this is simply the way of the social media world in 2018.
I’m not sure what the answer is. I started blogging before sites like YouTube and Twitter were launched, and before Facebook became mainstream. So I started creating content in a world before 2.3 second attention spans. In a time when having thoughtful discussions in the comment section of every blog post was the norm, not the exception. I suspect it was simply easier to build trust with your audience when you could interact with them every day in an actual discussion.
And perhaps that fact hints at why there is so much distrust on social media today. It seems as if the number of deeper discussions and interactions on social media has decreased, distrust and trolling on social media has increased. We don’t talk to each other anymore, we yell at each other.
Perhaps this is part of the reason why podcasting is taking off in popularity, and has been for years. Hearing a human voice matters, and it’s a form of content you can create that, at least from one side, can replicate having an actual conversation with someone.
I do know this; Likes, ReTweets and Shares are the currency of social media, and those are not the best ways to establish trust. I will admit, I have often been guilty of RTing a link that was shared by someone I trust, without actually reading that link to verify the value of the content. I trust my friend, so if they feel the content is worthy of being shared, I do too. Maybe my friend did the same thing, maybe we all messed up together! But the trust I have for my friend was created by our personal interactions.
As you move forward with your content creation efforts heading into 2019, think about what elements make your content more trustworthy, and what could cause people to trust it less. Think of the value of your headlines, is the value promised in the headline reflected in the post itself? If not, you may be using ‘clickbait’, a quick way to lose trust.
But are you creating content that helps facilitate interactions directly with your audience. Or content that makes it easier for them to understand your voice and your point of view?
If you can do that, I believe you make it easier for us to put down our devices for a few seconds, and to actually listen to what you have to say. And that’s incredibly powerful.
QUESTION: If Facebook and Twitter disappeared tomorrow, how would YOU connect with your customers online? Would you have a way to do so, or did you just assume that “Facebook is my website”. When did Noah build the Ark? Before the rains came.