Social Media, audience and old friends
I have been working on an idea for my school of putting together a set of Data Entry Rules and Style Guide so that we could begin to adhere to some standards for how we manage data with our various offices and systems. I am looking for the things that would be considered best practices in these areas and have been soliciting input from people in school and from Twitterverse.
I started with a few questions on Twitter trying to see what people might have to offer and then put together a blog post on the topic to try to expose my thinking on the subject. I tweeted about it, I blogged about it… but I wasn’t really getting much response and I wanted help.
I thought for a minute about how I could get more eyes on this problem and then looked at the Listserv folder I have in my Mail client and the different bloated folders I have for ISED, NYCIST and NJAIS that I haven’t looked at in quite some time. I decided to post something to each of those to see if I could get some more eyes on my issue.
Shortly after posting my message to these three listservs I saw the number of hits to the post jump. I have to saw I was amazed and felt somewhat bad that I have been ignoring this area for information sharing for so long. I had gotten so wrapped up in Twitter, Facebook and the like that I hadn’t come back to my old friends that had been there some many times before for me in the past.
This isn’t a case of social media failing me as much as it is that of audience. Using tools like Twitter even with hash-tags to focus the message’s audience still is casting a very broad net. The issue I was trying to solve was specific to a group of people and the listservs that I had subscribed to are the audience I was trying to reach.
By blogging about the issue I am using that to keep track of the comments that people have on the topic. This could have been done via the listservs as well, but by blogging about it I’m opening the discussion up to a larger audience and search engines.
What this little exercise taught me was that knowing what your problem is is only part of the solution, knowing your audience and where to find them is the other. Social media has a great reach and can cover a lot of ground for you but don’t forget about those other methods of communicating that have served you well in the past.