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Hurdle 12 - Social Media

There is no doubt that future historians will look back at the the past decade as the 'social revolution'. In the same way that the industrial revolution changed every aspect of our daily lives, so to has the social revolution. Social Media has been the catalyst for this, and we are just at the tip of the iceberg.

It may feel that we are currently living in a whole new world compared to 10 years ago, but this is nothing compared to what's to come. I wish i had the foresight to predict what that world is going to be like, but sadly i don't. What i do have is a bit of knowledge of how to use this social revolution to the advantage at your blog. For most bloggers, their success comes from effective mastery of websites like twitter and facebook.

I will start by admitting that, when it comes to social media, its difficult to convert the unconverted. Its difficult because social media tools are so new that the anecdotal success stories don't mean much, they can't easily be put into context by most people. I know this because i was reluctant to expand into other social media because i felt it was an artificial way of publicising my blog, and required a lot of work resulting in very little in return, and i wasn't sure i could easily juggle many different types of media. I am glad that i got over these hurdles because expanding into social media has made a huge difference not only to my blog's reach, but also to the quality of my posts, and helped tailor my posts to my audience. My advice at this stage is to read this post, and subsequent posts in the Social Media Hurdles series, and give it a chance. Some types of social media will work for you, some won' will be impressed with the effect the successful ones will have on your blog. 

Social Authority

The first step for a successful blogger is understanding their topic. The topic could be cars, law, places to get drunk in London, fashion. Once you have an understanding of your topic Social Media becomes an accessible and cheap way of helping you build your authority in that particular subject. It is this authority, built through social media, that will make your blog a success.

Authority in a subject is usually identified by the word 'influence'. Although you might think of this meaning 'how many people you can influence', i think this view is counter productive to the blogging community. The blogosphere is made up of a larger quantity of small communities, rather than mainstream commercial blogs. This is why a bloggers social authority cannot come from number of visits, twitter followers, or comments. Social authority in blogging is assessed based on the quality of what is being written, how that author relates to their readers, consistency, motivation and attitude. It is these factors that offer the actual influence, and therefore it is how authority should be assessed. Once you have assessed Social Authority, you can look at Reach, which is based on numbers.

Due to the very different media landscape, the term Citizen Journalists has developed. A citizen journalist is born the moment that person publishes on the internet, and their authority grows, or shrinks, from that point on.

Social Media Types

This is a massive topic, and i will be addressing it in a series of posts in collaboration with fellow blogger Will Tanner.  We will be looking specifically at how to use these to further your blogs cause, and also with more generalised information for a non blogging user. Below is an example of the sorts of things Will and I will be looking at. 

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This is where the Hurdles series hits a fork in the road. The Social Media Hurdles will go one way, while the Blogging Specific Hurdles will go the other. Enjoy!