Top 10: Why Writers Need Social Media

Kimberly N. Alleyne
http://www.kimberlynalleyne.com

Facebook with HashtagTwiiterLinkedIn-InBug-2CRev

 

I recall a conversation with a former colleague who adamantly proclaimed that Twitter was a rapidly evaporating fad soon to be six-feet under. That convo was in 2010. I was like, “Really? You think Twitter is dying? Wait, what now?”

Clearly Twitter is still standing, and it’s in good company with a host of other social media. Though not a few platforms have emerged since the digital era dawned only to die a slow, or quick, death, many more are thriving, with great vital signs. Here are my top 10 reasons writers should make use of some of them:

1.  Trigger Creativity–Being an active socializer in the digital space can spark creativity in fresh ways. I really enjoy Pinterest and Instagram. I’ve often been inspired to step out of my comfort zone, if not in my writing then in some personal way, which is never a bad thing. See #7.

2. Build your network– I landed one of my best freelance assignments to date via someone I asked to join my LinkedIn network. A caution to be intentional about the connections you pursue. Don’t connect at abandon— make sure there is potential for value-add to both parties, and not a one-sided connection. There are other options to LinkedIn. I am on a journalism list serve for example.

3. Find story ideas–Whatever your personal or professional interests are, they likely have real estate on the Internet. Even a cursory review of your preferred platform can bubble up story ideas, new angles for something you’re already writing about, or new angles on a current topic. For one example, how might you write about #Ferguson or #James Foley in ways that have not already been presented?

4. Build your brand–Social affords a great platform on which to showcase your expertise. Don’t be shy; despite the crowded online environment, each voice has a unique perspective. You never know who might benefit from your experience, so get out there! Check out Sccop It and Rebel Mouse; these are both great thought-leadership tools.

RebelMouse logo

5. K.I.S.S.–Keep It Short Scribe. When you’re writing for an audience with a short attention span, it forces you to embrace brevity. Unless you’re a long-form zealot (like me), writing short–read concise and succinct–is always good form.

6. Diversity of opinion–Social allows individuals to trumpet their beliefs and ideologies, but whether you agree or disagree is less important than exposing yourself to new ideas and perspectives, which ultimately raises the level of your writing. Go on, expand your vocabulary of ideas.

7. Confidence booster–Exposing yourself to an audience strangers is good for building your writing confidence. More likely than not, there will be feedback. Pick out the bones and keep the meat. Own your writing DNA. The more you do, the more your confidence will grow.

8. Stay in touch– The marriage of new and traditional media and communications has been consummated. And this ain’t a Hollywood marriage, folks.  There’s no need to be on every available platform, but you do need to get in the game. Pick what you want to use and how you want to use it. Whatever your choice, be consistent. I use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for professional branding and networking. I use Tumblr for personal interests such as running and baking.

Tumblr

9. Need for Speed–Using social forces me to write more quickly. One can post a comment, pic or tweet in a matter of seconds, or not more than a minute. When you’re engaged in the social space, you gotta write fast to keep up, and stay relevant and in the conversation.

10. Diversify, diversify–When I post a press release on Twitter, I am confined to 140 characters. When I post the same press release on LinkedIn, the word/character count is less restrictive, but standards for language style are far different. There are two reasons for this: platform audience and platform personality. What’s acceptable on one platform is not necessarily embraced on another. Social media make you mindful to cater your writing to different audiences and platform personalities.

 

What social media do you use? What tips would you add to this list?

 

Write on.

 

Words Not Flowing? Try These Tips to End Writer’s Block

Kimberly N. Alleyne
http://www.kimberlynalleyne.com

 

Flickr Creative Commons

Flickr Creative Commons

Fellow scribes,

Ever find yourself spilling over with ideas and words for an article or communication, but they just won’t. flow. out? Yeah, writer’s block can put a serious dent in a scribe’s flow. I read a PR Daily article that listed great tips for breaking down that proverbial wall.

Not too quiet and not too loud

At the top of the list is to write in an environment where the noise level is balanced, not excessively noisy and not deafeningly quiet. According to new research findings, the audio has to be just right. A study found that a workspace such as a coffee shop or fast food restaurant where there is constant activity, is optimum for creativity to stream without obstruction.

The study, “Is Noise Always Bad? Exploring the Effects of Ambient Noise on Creative Cognition,” is published in the Journal of Consumer Research, and examined five experiments to determine in what ways ambient sounds impact creative cognition.

Get moving

This is a great tip. Any physical movement can jumpstart the creative side of your brain: walking, dancing, running, spinning, yoga or even  crunches. Try it. I did a few reps of leg lifts, lunges and squats while writing this post. Not only is the activity good for your heart, but it also ushers in clarity and sharp thinking.

You don’t need to pound away for a full workout to capture the spark you need, either. In fact new research suggests that ten minutes will do the trick.

Here are more my ideas for crushing writer’s block:

  • Change your location—sometimes different scenery offers new perspective for writing.
  • Read—great writing requires avid reading. Pick up a classic.
  • Challenge yourself—do a crossword puzzle, Sudoku puzzle or anything that engages the other side of your brain.
  • Get chatty—call a loved one you’ve been meaning to catch up with.

You never know where the perfect intro or turn of phrase is waiting to be discovered. If none of these approaches get your writing juices flowing, then throw convention and perfection aside and just write! Go for it—write what comes to mind without concern for grammar, flow or structure. Don’t let the block get the best of you. Keep at it, and eventually you’ll find the groove.

Write on.