What a rejected article taught me about social media rule number one

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The good people of Memeburn asked me to write another piece for them, so I did. I wanted to write a hard-hitting piece about the industry in which I slave away, I wanted to create something that was shareable and had mass talk-ability and all of the wonderful words we create here in social media.

I slaved for 35 minutes, and handed it in. In the nicest way possible, they told me to take my offering and place it in a shredder, then take that shredder and throw it off the back of a truck. They had never been more right.

I wanted to create something so profound, that not only would it drive you to click the share button, it would make you want to comment and engage. I wanted to create something with the goal in mind that I have for everything I create on a daily basis — to create conversation.

I am a community manager.

I create content for brands that aim to do all of the above daily, a set of skills very rare in an industry that is small, a set of skills sought after by every single brand that has a clue about the necessity of having a voice in the social space.

If you know, which you probably do, the only numbers that count in the social space are the numbers of the good people who are engaged. I may listen, but if I don’t talk, I do not really care.

When I created that article for Memeburn it was my second, and I pressured myself to perform and deliver another. I punched it up with awesome jokes that were hardly funny, and I had seen more meat on a butcher’s pencil than I had in the insights I thought I had provided.

I was trying my level best to be an intellectual and hilarious. Two very unique skills that are very rare to have, let alone have them at the same time (if you do have these skills and are not currently being John Vlismas, you should be in social media).

I was trying to get a point across in the worst possible way. I wanted people across the social media landscape to help each other rather than slate each other. I was being a toolbox on soapbox — it was contrived and ugly. It wasn’t me.

Being real is so important and content-hungry general intellectuals want relevance.

When I wrote the article for Memeburn, I was 1996 Dale, asking every girl at the disco to dance and getting rejected, and 1996 Dale was trying too hard. I forgot everything that made social media what it is and what I preach on all my social media channels all the time. The easiest message to write will always be your best.

As people in social media, we have the unique ability to create the conversation, long before it started.

I forgot social media’s number one rule of engagement:

Keep it real.

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  • GrammarNazi#1

    Totally agree: Keep it real….but don’t forget to sub before you publish!!!
    “…a set of skills sort after by every single….” you mean SOUGHT after.
    “…article for Memeburn, was 1996 Dale, asking every …” should read I was 1996 Dale.

    Just saying…..

  • Hamster

    Nice work Dale, kkep it real!

  • http://twitter.com/tueksta Andreas Beer

    the rhythm of the syntactic structure of this article very much reminds me of the hackers manifesto… just saying

  • http://twitter.com/tueksta Andreas Beer

    http://www.mithral.com/~beberg/manifesto.html for those who don’t know it, good piece of writing from the early days of the www.

  • http://twitter.com/Nicki_Dadic Nicki Dadic

    Busy prepping for my talk (HOLY CRAP, I’m doing a “talk”!) next week and one of my slides is “BE REAL!”

    Nice one Daley-face!

  • George

    “told me to take my offering and place it in a shredder, then take that shredder and throw it off the back of a truck.”.

    If that is the literal truth, then it was kind of rude of them, no?

  • http://www.engag.io/Abdallah Abdallah Al-Hakim

    I guess the old rule of just be yourself is a true one! I did like your on quote “it would make you want to comment and engage. I wanted to create something with the goal in mind that I have for everything I create on a daily basis — to create conversation.” I think creating conversation is the holy grail for an blogger and even more important that shares or likes!

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