Monday, March 28, 2011

Social Media Policy: Who will write it? and why?

Gartner's Customer 360 Symposium starts today (in sunny LA, without me - sigh). While the session addressing Seven Critical Questions to Ask Before Developing a Social Media Policy is likely to be a tad dull, I think it'll be one of the most important.

If your company dabbles in social media (Twitter, Facebook) and has no policy, better write one, quick. Then address the other 6 questions.

(Want help writing the policy? I can do that. Need a little help making your posts relevant, and keeping them fresh? I can do that too. More info:
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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Writer as Tour Guide

Would you get on a bus if you didn't know its destination? Or if you knew the driver was likely to deviate from the posted route?

Most people will answer "NO!" and maybe...

And my point is? Writing should take you somewhere. Whether you consider yourself a professional writer or you're just an exuberant Facebook "sharer," your words should direct readers to a point.

(If you're a writer/illustrator, you know the same goes for the visual stuff, too. Darren Rowse's article at explains it well.)

Writing should take you somewhere.
Good bus drivers and good writers have a little tour guide inside. They shouldn't describe exactly what I'll see - that spoils everything! - but I need to be confident that they know where we're going. Or I'm not going along.

Whether you're writing creative fiction, performance reviews, recipes, or a letter to the editor, you probably have a point in mind. Once you start writing, hey, it happens - you can get lost. Words can be misleading, send you off in the wrong direction. When that happens, call it a draft. Read it before you send it, and ask yourself: did I take the reader to the intended destination? If the answer is oops, not quite - revise it, get back on track, and get your reader to the right place.

Losing your way? Here's a quick fix: Start with "I am writing to you to ______________" and state your purpose.

I am writing to you to quit my job.
I am writing to you to tell you the party is here next Saturday. 
I am writing to you to ask for money. 
I am writing to sell you a box of widgets. 
I am writing to you because your Facebook status updates bore me. 

Of course no polished piece of writing starts with a clunker like that. Remember, this is a draft. Once you've stated your point (to yourself) your destination is clear. Then, you're ready to roll.

No matter what you're writing, be part tour guide. Keep your intended destination in mind. Mentioning points of interest along the way is nice; just check the map occasionally to make sure you're still on track.

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