The process of social content creation

Work In Progress - Go SlowThose of us who use Twitter on a regular basis often find ourselves fascinated by the speed of our streams. New content gets shared, retweeted, discussed on an hourly basis; it’s impossible to read and digest it all, so we filter it, judging an entire blog post by its headline or the hashtags used to promote the tweet.

Twitter streams so quickly that it’s easy to think you have to go faster, too. A blog post leads to a Twitter conversation that leads to more blog posts and more conversation… who wants to miss the opportunity to contribute (and be recognized for contributing)?

In watching the activity, it can be difficult to remember two key points:

  1. Everyone goes at their own speed.
  2. In failing to go at our own speed, we miss things… sometimes important things that might make the difference in how we differentiate our thinking from others’.

As social media and communications expert Amber Naslund wrote not long ago:

Reflection itself has a few benefits, from cool-off time to the ability to let thing sit and process for a while, like steeping tea leaves. Sometimes I notice something I didn’t before. I notice that didn’t say something or make myself clear enough, something that might have made the conversation easier, and I know to be more articulate and specific next time.

How I create social content

An example: to get to the post I wrote about contributing to the DFIR community, things sat in the back of my mind for a few days. I had seen Twitter conversations among Harlan, Ken, Erika and others; I’d read their blog posts. I knew there was something I could add… I just wasn’t sure what. I didn’t want to rehash what everyone else was saying, and I didn’t want to let the opportunity pass.

At the same time, two totally unrelated articles sat in my browser tabs. As with the DFIR conversation, I’d read them, knew I wanted to do “something” with them (bookmark them? Use them in a blog? Did I have a client who needed their wisdom?) but wasn’t sure what… until I began to see how they related to the DFIR discussion. What if, I asked myself, the writing itself might be the problem? And so my take on the “contribution” topic became about my own specialty: content.

Like Amber, I need time to process things. I’ve found this outside of Twitter too, in the last few months especially, whether in an email thread or in-person meetings or at trade shows.

  • It might take me two or more days to respond to email, not because I’m consciously stewing about something, but because I’ve read the thoughts and want to be sure I’m getting the issues and requirements right.
  • In person or on the phone, it’s not unusual for me to come back to meeting-mates a day or two later with more information, clarifying things I said and usually in relation to what I heard. (I sometimes struggle to articulate myself verbally.)
  • At DC3, on the last day of the trade show I came to the expo hall floor early and spent half an hour with the notes I had taken, connecting the dots between people and the thoughts they’d shared.

Among the connections I make is where good content lies. That’s why I don’t blog more than weekly on any blog I maintain.

Learning from the researchers

It’s hard to remember, amid the constant stream of content, that everyone has their own pace. This is true of fiction writers as well: some writers are just naturally more prolific than others (and may even suffer from hypergraphia). But it is also true that the more you write, well, the more you write. You learn to see the ideas in the everyday, to splice them together with other ideas.

And then there are the DFIR researchers.

It’s sometimes difficult for me, as a PR pro and content marketer, to see clients’ best minds working so slowly. Months can pass between good articles that support, say, a client’s training course, or that review a client’s forensic product.

Of course, all that means is that the writer is taking time with the research. Day jobs take precedence, and good research deserves thoroughness. It’s the only way to provide content that will be meaningful to the reader.

Back to Amber’s point: there is power in slow thinking, and perhaps what we owe most to our readers and followers is not the ability to keep up… but the ability to filter, connect, distill, and purify according to our own unique experiences and perspectives.

Are there times when you could have thought slower, or where you chose to think slower? Tell us about it below!

Creative Commons License photo credit: KarolGajda

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