Friday, March 19, 2010

Writing and Social Media

It's a romantic image, but things are a bit different now. In the internet age, there's no delay between when something is written and when it's available for the world to see, and there's no knowing who those readers will be. But with so much content available, how do you drive a reader to your site? There are a few common tools out there to make your blog more accessible, and we'll talk about a few today.

Facebook and Twitter
I am probably the last person on the planet to use these applications. When I see people, I see them face to face, and I just yell when I want to talk to my friends long-distance. But writing is a different story: you can't just collar someone in the hallway and make them read your post about the genome. Luckily, there's a trick for any internet slowpokes out there:

you can link your Facebook and Twitter apps so they reference each other when you update on one end. Now that the two applications are friends, their mutual conversations can be used to keep your readers informed.

RSS feeds

If you have intermittent contact, or if you're one of many blogs that interest your readers, they may not visit your page each day. Allowing them to subscribe to your blog allows them to be notified when you've written something. Some blogging platforms (like this one) have premade widgets that plug in directly to your site and automate the subscription process. Your readers see your post title and a handful of lines on their homepage, or on a standalone "reader" site, along with all their other subscriptions. If they're using Google, they can "Like" or "Share" your posts with their email contacts, which broadens your readership.

Digg, Del.ici.ous, and the other nifty places
There are tons of ways that people organize their favorite posts and places. The easiest way to let your readers include your blog is to use the predefined social media bars. These can be placed at the end of your blog itself, or at the end of each post. The common ones come from Get Social and Share This. This blog uses Sociofluid, because they're good friends with Blogger, so they premake the widget and make it easy to load to your site.

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