Monday, November 15, 2010

Being Effective In The "Micro-Age"

First, I will explain what I mean by "Micro Age"? I am talking about the proliferation of bite-size nuggets of information that lead to massive amounts of information. I believe that in the future this trend will be accelerated with the increased usage of personal RSS readers, news feeds, streams and other platforms where concise pieces of information are present.

The prime example of this trend is twitter. Twitter started as simply micro-blogging but has evolved to micro-information sharing. Little useful information can gleaned from 140 characters, so many tweets contain links encoded using link shorteners. The same trend is also in facebook, the top social network platform in the world.
Getting viewers to engage in your bite-size information and at the very least look at what you are saying is vital. Without views and interactions, the message is meaningless. The engagement part is especially important. Having 50,000 followers on twitter and 11 followers that actually care about what you say and interact with what you amounts to you having 11 meaningful followers.
Many people have commented on this and given advice. But I will list briefly what I have learned from my own experience using micro content to lead to expanded content. There are several things that must be in place at minimum to set the base for usage and interactivity. This list is primarily applicable to twitter, but it can be applied to other platforms as well.
  • Clarity: if people do not know what you are saying they will skim over it in a millisecond. Don't be vague and expect people to pick up on nuances, unless you already have a dedicated following who do that.
  • Interaction: comment on other people's post. If you never talk about other people, why would they comment on you?
  • History: you must build trust with users through time and experience. Any twitter user will attest to spam messages by new members with simply a link. Build your name and then link.
  • Quality: if you have nothing worthwhile after people click your link, they are not going to do it again.
  • Humanity: no one likes a machine talking to them. Do not use feeds from other sources of information on twitter or facebook. Of course, there are exceptions but as a rule, be human.
Now, to look briefly at the consequence of the trend of micro information leading to massive information. I think it will be different on different people. Some will skim the short information, not delving in. While others sink into massive amounts of information available. This could lead to a fracturing of society, based upon which information if any people delve in to. You can already see this happening thanks to the great variety of information sources available.

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