Sunday, March 29, 2015
Small, Medium, and Large: where should content creators share their content?
I maintain a presence across a bunch of social media sites, including FB, where I have both a personal profile and an author page, twitter, where I try (and usually fail) to be pithy and succinct, tumblr, where I go to find stuff about my fandom loves, and Google Plus, my 'home base' on the 'net as well as my water cooler conversation stop.
One of the communities I participate in on G+ is the Saturday Scenes initiative, where writers across genres and geographies, post scenes of their work each Saturday.
In an effort to give the scenes higher visibility, I also cross post them to my FB author page and I've also started to do so on Medium.
Medium has a lovely reading interface and is primarily a place for non-fiction, but I liked the idea of having a repository of my work in one easy to find site, so I gave Medium a try.
There is a risk involved in all of these 'silos' in which we post content. The down side is any of them could fold up shop and disappear, taking our content with them. Or they could be a victim of the next-big-thing syndrome, where participants and readers abandon it to true ghost town status.
Of course, I could simply post my scenes to my own small home on the net via my website - the only space I truly own and control - but the limitation of that is the lack of discoverability and serendipity.
There is a chance that someone on Medium or G+, for example, might stumble upon my scenes via a hashtag, a recommendation, or random browse, since they're already there. In order for someone to find my work via my website, they need to know I exist.
This is one of the reasons I love browsing in bookstores and libraries: In the search for something I think I'm looking for, I find something I didn't know I wanted. It's one of the limitations of digital content, IMO. And while Amazon isn't the only market to display this problem, it's the largest, so yes, Amazon, I'm looking at you.
They say the digital bookshelf is forever, that there's infinite room for infinite books to be placed on it. And that is very true. But how useful is that bookshelf if browsing it is virtually (pun intended) impossible?
For now, I post my #SaturdayScenes offerings in three places: G+, Medium, and FB. I am considering also hosting them on my own website, though that is a task for another day when I'm not staring at a writing deadline.
I'm also considering creating a storefront there where my books can be purchased directly from me. Again, I don't expect to be competing with the big gorilla in the room, but I am concerned about how much power we give over to the digital retailers in return for the chance to sell our work.
We don't own any of our download or purchasing data on Amazon, et al. And, when you think about it, that's likely the more valuable property for them then our individual books. The retailers use the purchase information as a way to sell more goods to more people via targeted advertisement. I don't begrudge them that. However, it's more than a little frustrating to see one's own intellectual property and livelihood being used as a tiny data point.
This is one of the reasons I have an email newsletter. If someone subscribes - and they must opt-in to do so - that person is a fan of my work and is asking me to let them know about future work.
Serendipity seems to be a casualty of our digital marketplace. This is a blow to new and unestablished writers. The #SaturdayScenes project is one attempt to bring back a little serendipity to creative work. If you are a creator, what other ways do you combat the silo effect? If you are a reader, what ways to you stumble upon new work to read?