We need to consider the wider-impact our attitude to posting has on both the content we’re creating and its impact on our collective behaviour…
I was reminded of why it’s important to take the time to explain decision-making in full instead of skimming over details for the sake of convenience, by none other than Barack Obama in his latest book (that has been occupying my evenings of late and I highly recommend FYI).
(I was also encouraged by the fact that Barack Obama loves a long sentence and uses brackets to clarify his thoughts, in excess. Something that every English/History teacher I’ve ever known always called me out on…)
If it’s good enough for the President Miss..!
In his foreword he writes: ‘I found myself resisting a simpler narrative… I felt obliged to provide context for the decisions I and others had made and I didn’t want to relegate that information to footnotes and endnotes (I hate footnotes and endnotes.) I discovered that I couldn’t always explain my motivations just by referencing reams of economic data or recalling an exhaustive Oval Office briefing, for they’d been shaped by a conversation I’d had with a stranger on the campaign trail, a visit to a military hospital, or a childhood lesson I’d received years earlier from my mother…’
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m well aware that being the leader of the free world and the leader of a business aren’t quite the same (!) but I stand by the lesson there, nonetheless.
We live in a world where our attention spans are at an all-time low and instead of trying to do anything about that new (and surely damaging?) reality, we’re taught to ‘adapt’, distilling complex messages into clickbait titles to harness the attention and validation that we crave.
The online world is noisier, shallower and more conflicted than ever before full to the brim of regurgitated quotes, Canva slides filled with diluted (and often unsubstantiated) information, and brands that are starting to look and sound more and more alike, because they’re creating content for likes instead of creating content with soul.
Life is messy and complicated and full of juxtapositions and ideas worth listening to often need a whole lot more than 280 characters to explain in full.
“But the algorithm…”
“Our attention spans are too short…”
“Trust me, no one will bother to read that nowadays…”
Personally – and I really mean this – it’s better to be remembered as a brand that added genuine value for 100 people than a brand that regurgitated ‘noise’ for 100k because it was safe.
Yes, it takes longer. I mean, let’s face it, a Canva slide diluting these words down into captions like ‘don’t be a dick online’ would have saved me a whole lotta time…!
But time rewards you with perspective to figure out if you need to say something and the opportunity to comprehend what you *actually* want to say, if so.
Instead of creating content for the sake of engagement, create content that you feel inspired by, content that you can own and content that – importantly – adds value for your customer and helps to shape and move the conversation forward.
Part 4 to follow…