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Most of the posts about social media have been from the writer's point of view, articulating tips and tactics for promotion, "thought leadership," "enabling conversations," "engaging customers," etc.

I think it's time we take a hard look at social media from the other side of the relationship -- from the reader's perspective. Forthwith, a biased, opinionated and occasionally testy look at social media that sympathizes with the reader:
Less is more: Do you really need to make ten or 20 tweets a day? Seriously? Maybe your constant posting serves your interests, but here's what happens on the readers' side: their applications become cluttered with posts from two or three mega-tweeters who drown out everyone else; now they have to scroll through pages of messages just to catch up on activity in the last four hours.
Have a point: You're in the airport lounge having a cocktail. Good for you! For me, a total bore. Guess what? You may be the center of your universe, but you're not the center of mine. Speak when you have something to say that has actual meaning for your readers.
Tell us what to expect: It's entirely legitimate to use your post to share interesting articles, blogs, videos and other content you find. These messages can be genuinely useful -- if they give us some idea what you're pointing to. Don't just say, "interesting article here." An interesting article about what? Even within the limits of 140 characters you can indicate the subject or chief point of the content embedded in the URL.
"I'm a thought leader! I'm a thought leader!": So you tell me. Often. Here's an idea: instead of name-dropping every conference you attend or event you witness, how about sharing some actual....thoughts. Then we, the readers, will decide whether you're a leader worth following.
"Me too!": Sometimes a retweet helps direct a good idea to people who haven't seen it before. But think twice, post once. Are you really contributing to a discussion, or are you just adding another voice to an already overbearing choir?
In sum: Hey, I'll be the first to admit that I've been guilty of violating the above points at one time or another. (So don't bother to respond by throwing an old post of mine in my face; I already know I'm a sinner.) But as a marketer, I do understand this: you can't rise above the clutter by creating more clutter. Let's remember that all social media relationships are unequal -- the needs of readers come before the desires of writers. Otherwise, we'll face a backlash of resentment that manifests itself in indifference or even hostility. And your pet social media tool will go the way of the CB radio.

Continue reading "Social Media: A Reader's Manifesto" ... Read the full article

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image of Jonathan Kranz

Jonathan Kranz is the author of Writing Copy for Dummies and a copywriting veteran now in his 21st year of independent practice. A popular and provocative speaker, Jonathan offers in-house marketing writing training sessions to help organizations create more content, more effectively.

LinkedIn: Jonathan Kranz

Twitter: @jonkranz

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