From social media to your own website and even a book
I am truly amazed by the amount of writing I see on social media in general especially on Facebook. It is a great deal of content. There is a lot of experience, tonnes of lessons, observations, so much to read out there that is sitting on social media. Years ago long posts on Facebook were the exception rather than the norm. It is great to see so many people who have come into their own and embraced the platforms and technology and want to share their stories.
A few questions for you
If you can write so much on Facebook whether in a status update or in a comment and you can you do it often, have you ever given any thought to taking that writing to your very own website instead? A few questions to keep in mind in this discussion is, where are you going with your posts, comments, your content on social media? Where you are going and what you want to achieve will determine a lot.
Some people are so focussed and so consistent in their posting that every week I look forward to their lessons. I can’t wait for the next lesson, chapter or post on social media. Their series with worth waiting for. Perhaps they should really put this on their own website somewhere else on the net or in a book. From hereon I will flip flop between talk about a book and website. It doesn’t really matter which one you focus on because for purposes of my article here, they have one thing in common, the writing.
When are you writing your book?
I have suggested this to many people who post a lot on Facebook ( especially lengthy posts) that they should seriously consider writing a book. Yes, why not write something that you can actually sell while you are at it. You already have the experience, know-how and insight. You might as well. The response I usually get when I suggest that someone writes a book is complete surprise. Some people simply do not believe that they have something good enough for a book but their posts on social media are good enough to leave me in suspense or deeply inspired. I think they are good enough.
The big challenge with writing is getting to actually start writing
I believe the biggest challenge when it comes to writing book is the writing itself. For instance when I started writing this article I was hoping to have at least one thousand words but I know that by the time I am done there will be at least two thousand words. It used to be a struggle to just get three hundred words but when you have a story to tell, when you have something to say and you let it flow, the words come. I no longer put myself under pressure to write everything in one sitting but I try and do as much as I can when I get down to write. Distractions should be kept to an absolute minimum when you get down to writing.
I have published two books and to get them out I had to very focussed over a number of months otherwise I would never have finished the work. If you can start writing you are already halfway there. Of course there are things about publishing a book that take a lot of time and effort but it is things likely coming to play when they returned material itself is actually now in place.
I have made the suggestion for friends to consider writing books because I observed that these people have a lot of material to share and that if their content was properly packaged it could do even better in a book, it could be of immense benefit to other people. They already doing the hard work of writing. Of course this advice does not apply to everyone. Some people have absolutely no interest in selling anything.
Those inspiring stories have to be put on a website somewhere, in a book
There are so many people around us with incredible, inspiring stories to tell. These stories will go viral on social media for a bit, they will do the rounds and then sooner or later people move on. Put those stories somewhere a bit more permanent than your social media profile or account. Put them on a website. What about the future generations? I think some of them should read these great stories somewhere they find accessible. It is difficult enough finding out own posts and comments in our own profiles. We can forget about someone finding them on their own years down the line.
But why a website
Ok here I am not going to give the reasons that you can already find by doing a quick google lookup. Let me share what immediately comes to my mind when I think about have your own website. The thing is if you own the website, you have much more control over what to do with your work when it’s on your own property than when it is on someone else’s property. We don’t pay to use Facebook but we have no control over how the platform will evolve tomorrow. Facebook and social media platforms have got so many advantages in terms of sharing and collaborating with other minds with us or not. I’m sure though that it might be compelling for your website to be the source of your content or for your own website to play a big part in sharing information.
The big questions on the future of social media
I’d like to believe that social media platforms continue to grow but we have no idea where things will be say 10 years are now. For all we know social media could become a part and parcel of our lives for the rest of our existence. What about the possibility that 10 to 20 years from now social media platforms are not part of some digital junkyard and completely divorced from our lives. What happens to all the content that we put on the website in the platforms?For instance we could be doing most of our posts in Facebook notes and one day Facebook might decide to do away with that feature and you might miss that update. What happens to your content in this case? It’s gone though there might be ways of recovering it. Social media platforms are always analysing how users are utilising their services and products. If they feel that something is not being used at all, or only being used by a very small minority of users, they will probably dump the feature.
Very fashionable and sexy now but tomorrow?
Platforms which are very sexy at the moment might be out of fashion in the not too distant future as difficult as it may be to imagine. Did you ever think we would get over radio cassettes, compact discs. This is just the nature of the beast, technology! Time brings change and changes over time. It helps if we prepare for the change or if we preempt it.
But why the trouble, keep it stupid simple
Of course many people may not have any interest whatsoever in starting up a website. They might just enjoy the interaction and other benefits of posting content on social media as it is and do not want to think about any other platform on the Internet that they could use for that purpose. However they might also be people who might want to extend the online activity from posting on social media to having their own platform, their own website.
Spending a lot of time online
If you are spending a good deal of Time online and don’t already have your own website, idea of having a personal website or blog might appeal to you. The reason why I talk about the amount of time that your spending online is that if you are spending a lot of time online, writing on a blog or website will not involve that much more time on your part. You are still walking the streets, in just in a different neighbourhood that is all. The material or content that you write on the website would be related to what you are already putting on social media.
Start simple and take it from there
A website need not be something sophisticated. If you like to share thoughts and ideas, you can start with a very basic WordPress blog. Start with something simple and take it from there. Think carefully about where you want your content to originate or start because it has implications. If you are posting videos on Facebook, why not host the video somewhere else and then post links to Facebook. You want to own the content wherever possible. You’ve taken time to create it and applied your mind to come up with something good.
My own journey
In my own journey I used to post extensively on Facebook but realised that the audience on Facebook was too limited given my long-term goal which was to reach out to a much wider audience. I was losing of track of things I had written. My posts was also all over the place. I had some posts on profile page and some on the pages.
One thousand pages, no way!
So one day I downloaded everything I had ever posted on Facebook and get ready for it, it came to an unbelievable one thousand pages. Had I really posted one thousand pages worth of material? That’s my life there that I will never get back but that was the reality of it. Maybe in another lifetime I can find the time to go through all those posts again which went back several years. I had put that much out there on Facebook. I was convinced that things could not continue that way. After downloading everything I had posted, I converted the profile to a page and lost the history of everything that had been posted. I started afresh on Facebook with a new profile.
Moved to my website from social media but with no comments section
Later on I changed my approach. Instead of starting my post on Facebook, I now prefer to start story on my website. Here’s the kicker though. I removed the comments section on my website so people cannot give me any kind of feedback. I was just struggling to control the SPAM, overwhelmed actually. There was way too much spam. So the discussion is no longer taking place like before but I think I don’t mind it so much that way.
Using the content from my websites, now I post links to my social media profiles. The first few months were not easy as it meant breaking habits built over time. Instinctively when I wanted to write something I would find myself on Facebook because I had wired myself that way, that if I want to write something I need to be on a social media platform. But the new habit kicked in after a while. The starting point is now my website. Now it comes to me naturally that the first place I work on is my property, my website. After all this is my brand! This is my story and I believe that my website will tell that story much better done any other platform.
Of course it goes without saying that that different platforms require a different content. You can’t take the same thing and push it to every platform unedited. You have got to make some changes to cater for that particular platform. For example if you are not going to write a long story on Twitter because the platform won’t allow you. You will try and keep it short and to The Point. On your own website it is entirely up to you to decide how far you want to go with your content, with your writing, with your videos come out with whatever you’re putting into it.
What lies ahead
No one knows what lies ahead but I think it would be a safe bet if you decided to invest in your own website and to start putting a bit of time and work into it.
What about if you already have your own website? Then the question for you is to what extent would you like to connect your website with your online presence in general? If you want a deeper connection between the two then you might have to rework where you started the sharing of the content or information.
Capture your thoughts concisely
I spent so much time writing a website but I think I wanted talk a bit more about a book. Why not capture your thoughts concisely and comprehensively in one place. Some people have been able to generate a great deal of debate and discussion on social media from their posts. All that could be very rich material for a book.
Depth and breadth of a book
If there is a particular interest that you have, the idea of writing a book can spur or inspire you to do more research and fact finding in your area. You go deep, you get more insight, you become more knowledgeable. And then when you write your book you have more authority on the subject matter. On social media I see a good number of people exploring various themes and angles which can also be great perspectives in a book.
An e book can lead to big possibilities
A book need not be static and unchanging. You can have an ebook where there are links to your website. You can even have videos in your book if they can be viewed online. The nature of content in books has evolved a great deal. Many people believe they don’t have it takes to write a book but social media has shown me that the discipline is already there. A book will just stretch it in a different form that’s all.
Take stock of what you have done so far
Some people have been on social media for years and if put together everything they have written it’s a huge amount indeed. There are tools that can help you to collate all your posts and the accompanying comments into one massive volume. You might be sitting on content for a number of books.
Where are you going with it?
Last but not least in importance with everything that you have shared on social media especially the original thoughts and content, where are you going with it? Remember that when we started I asked you to keep this question in mind. What is the underlying story? Think about it, apply your mind, who knows it just might to a very insightful book or website or both.