My favorite content creation and social networking tools are the ones that save me time and kill several birds with one stone. I am more likely to post or curate content in an environment that will "automagically" syndicate that comment or posting out to several other sites. I suspect many of you feel the same way. Your insightful customers probably do too—the ones you want to encourage to contribute their thoughts, ratings, and discussions to your Web site, blog, or online community.
As I've mentioned before, I like Businessweek's Business Exchange because I can post abstracts and links of interesting articles or videos that catch my fancy on topics I care about. When I do, Business Exchange automatically posts these contributions to my Twitter and Facebook accounts.
I like the fact that anything I "tweet" automatically turns up on my Facebook page, on my blog, on my web site, and in FriendFeed.
In fact, it's so easy to set up these automatic updates among social networking sites, I resent it when the platform or site doesn't provide that functionality and I have to do it myself.
Who Wants to Be Heard/Seen? I've noticed an interesting demographic shift in blogging and social media. The first time I logged onto MySpace, I felt like an antique. Here were all these kids showing off for their friends. I couldn’t understand why they would want to bare their souls and their lives with such silly stuff. Now, I notice that the majority of people using Twitter and Facebook are over 30. The younger set couldn't be bothered. They IM and SMS each other. They don't want to broadcast the details of their thoughts and their lives. But I now have both clients and relatives who will only respond to me via Facebook, not regular email. They apparently enjoy watching my tweeted thoughts and activities via Facebook, because they often comment. Baby boomers want to share their insights with the rest of the world. The "me generation" (their kids?) seems to want to hang out with friends and family online. But current teens apparently think that this is bizarre behavior.
Why Do We Need to Strut Our Stuff? Perhaps, as we get older, we want to reflect a bit and/or pontificate about what we're observing and learning and we think that others might be interested in our thoughts. Many boomers apparently also feel the need to self-promote and to promote our passions through our blogs and other postings.
Why Do We Want to Curate Others' Stuff? Blogging is a form of curation. You cull out the things you find of value, and you exhibit them for others to appreciate. You provide a new context by collecting a set of articles, pictures, videos, etc. on a topic you care about. I use the Business Exchange site to share great articles that I think are likely to be overlooked by most people on topics that I care a lot about.
Multi-Posting Saves My Valuable Time and Amplifies My Efforts
If I can post my thoughts or curate someone else's great contribution ONCE and have that posting leveraged by showing up on a variety of Web sites and social networking environments, I am MUCH more likely to invest my time. I feel virtuous and rewarded by the leverage I get. I'm assuming that many others feel the same way. If so, it stands to reason that if you want your smartest and most insightful customers to contribute their content to your site, you should ensure that each post or comment can be automagically syndicated out to their platforms of choice.