This is not some wild-eyed screed about saving Mother Earth by harnessing the networking power of Twitter or Facebook. No, I’m talking here about another kind of sustainability: the care and feeding of your social media presence.
In most of the presentations I’ve given about developing and maintaining a social media presence (like, for example, this one), I discuss four elements that I* believe lead to success:
1. Have a plan
2. Beware the bandwagon
3. Understand your audience
4. Feed your creation
It’s this last one that I want to talk about today.
Now usually when I talk about the “creation,” I’m talking about a particular online presence: a Facebook page, Twitter account, or institutional or personal blog. But it’s more than that. It’s your online persona. And that persona is not created by you alone. It’s created by all the other loosely joined pieces you connect with online. That is to say, other people.
And the hungry beast of your creation wants to be fed.
You probably know at least someone who once blogged faithfully but then fell off the wagon. Or maybe it was the frantic uber-tweeter who has suddenly clammed up. Hey, the occasional dry spell happens to the best of us. Everybody needs a break once in a while. But if you’re an athlete in a slump, you don’t quit the game. You keep on playing until you get your groove back.
There’s a person I follow on Twitter whose bio includes the phrase “obsessive blogger.” The trouble is, this person doesn’t really blog obsessively anymore. It’s too bad, really. I miss that part of this person’s persona.
The issue boils down to sustainability. If you’re going to extend your brand — personal or otherwise — into the social media sphere, be sure you have a plan to keep it sustainable. That may mean limiting your online presence to something you know you can manage while you dabble in one or two other social media tools. (As for me, I dabble in Foursquare and Facebook, mostly ignore LinkedIn, definitely ignore MySpace, Digg and Delicious, while I pour my energies into Twitter and blogging. I’m probably not quite the blogging fanatic that Chris Brogan is, but I do love this communication form.)
So, think sustainability in your social media presence. And remember: Earth Day is just around the corner, so don’t forget about that other type of sustainability, either.
* I shouldn’t take all the credit, as I’ve
ripped off borrowed many of these ideas from other people.