The extraordinary is now expected. Kevin Kelly makes this timely observation, reflecting how digital media (especially YouTube) now delivers an endless stream of amazing things to us on a nearly minute by minute basis.
If you are someone trying to engage others online, your competition is now EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE. Your audience may appreciate your poem, your story, or your reflections on a topic; but they are also inundated with amazing images, videos, and stories being aggregated by blogs, colleagues and their friends on social media.
How do you compete? How do you compete with videos of people getting struck by lightning? With amazing highlight reels of human achievements? With amazing cake designs? With interview outtakes with your favorite celebrity? I dare not link to these things, out of fear you would click away.
This is how: voice.
Too often, we try to be “professional.” We try to prove we are the authority on something. But really, do you know what makes you unique? Special? It’s not just what you know; it’s who you are.
In a world of commodity information, your voice is unique.
This enables you to connect with others on a level of feeling, not just the rational. That you can reach people in ways that are unexpected, just by being you. I was recently interviewed for a Publishers Weekly article, and one of the quotes fits here:
“An author would be better off finding three people and having an extensive e-mail correspondence or even an in-person lunch with them, rather than adding 200 new fans on Goodreads or Facebook.”
I have worked with authors who have seen great “results” with Facebook ads, adding hundreds or thousands of “Likes” to their Page in a very short amount of time. But the problem is engagement: clicking a “Like” button did not mean people were making any kind of commitment to engage with you.
While I love Facebook and YouTube and Twitter and so many other social networks, I am constantly reminded that a relationship is not a button.
What I love about the opportunities we have today to reach others is that what worked 100 years ago still matters. A relationship. A conversation. Yes, social media can be a powerful part of it, but it does not REPLACE what is at the core: a human connection. If you feel the pressure to shout louder to get people’s attention, try the reverse in stead: whisper to a few select people.
If this type of thing is something that interests you, I am offering a free resource that talks more about how to develop an audience in a meaningful way, and it’s geared specifically to writers: My 72 page PDF ebook: Author Platform Starter Kit.