I have a confession to make. I use my personal Facebook status updates as a way to test messaging. I am not talking about the Facebook page for this blog either, I am referring to the one friends and family use to keep in touch with me.
The reason I use my personal space is because it tends to provide a much faster response and one that in theory has less professional risk for me. Call it cyberspace R&D.
It is a simple way to try and identify what sorts of topics resonate with a broad group of people as well as a place to practice engagement techniques that I can apply professionally.
And it definitely is a place for me to see who really knows and who doesn’t because I like peppering these Facebook posts with a mix of silly and reasonable behavior.
How To Convert A Facebook Status Update Into Content
It is pretty simple. Take one of your updates and write about it. It helps if it is a topic you feel passionately about but that is applicable to all writing. Passion comes through in your writing and it helps to keep the readers engaged and entertained.
What I tend to do is try to provide a blend of silly and serious and see what happens. The two posts below in blockquotes are a good example.
A while back I was on jury duty and a guy walked into the room and said there were two kinds of people those who are innocent and those who are guilty.
He started wandering around the room striking up conversation with various people and antagonizing those who didn’t agree with him. Several people told him they preferred not to answer but he kept pestering them anyway.
When he asked what I thought I told him that I can’t stand the Sound of Music, never put ketchup on a hotdog and if you give me a fastball waist high I will put it over the fence every time.
I told him real beaches have sand and saltwater and that the DH was an abomination. Furthermore I suggested the ’87-88 Lakers might have been the greatest basketball team and complained I couldn’t find a restaurant that knew how to make a sesame seed bun with no seeds and serve a water medium dry.
I also told him that Keanu Reeves and Kevin Costner gave me hope that one day I could be an actor who had multiple roles just playing myself.
And now my friends you know what I do when my insurance company places me on hold for 25 minutes. Got to keep the mind active, might as well start coming up with stories, I’d share more but it sounds like the hold music might actually be ending.
Guy standing in line behind me at the grocery store asks me if he can go ahead because he can tell he is busier than I am. I ask him how and he says it is because I am wearing shorts and a baseball hat.
I ask him how he knows I am not working and he says no one with a real job dresses like that. I nod my head and ask him if he is an attorney and he says no, he is a doctor.
So I look at him and ask him if he is working today and he says his practice is closed on Friday. I nod my head and tell him today is a good day to practice patience.
He starts to get a little ‘chippy’ with me and I tell him I am not impressed by doctors, especially those who don’t work a full week. We go back and forth for a moment and I say I see no point in continuing a conversation with a man who thinks a title is more important than being polite and kind.
Doc expresses his displeasure with my response and then suggests I am the problem because I was rude in my initial response. I suggest he reconsider opening a conversation by telling people he knows he is busier than they are.
He sputters for a moment and then I tell him I am retired and that I made millions when I sold my company during the Dot Com boom. He asks me the name and I say it was called Don’t Be a Putz. dot com.
His eyes narrow and he asks me why he hasn’t heard of it. When I ask him if he would feel better if I told him I played pro ball for five years and blew out my knee he says that is more believable and wants to know where I played.
Since we are both stuck behind a lady who has 298,732 cans of cat food and approximately 872 other items I roll with it and keep talking.
I say in college I was a linebacker at Coventry State, part of the Burning River brigade that terrorized teams in the early 90s. He tells me he never heard of me and I say very few people can name any of the guys who played for the Saints.
He asks me if the NFL is where I got the money for my dot com company and I nod and smile.
“Well since you are retired I am sure you won’t mind if I go ahead of you?”
I look at the water and trail mix in his hand and ask him if he is going golfing today and he says he has a 1:30 tee time.
I say that sounds great and tell him that if he can name one of my teammates from Coventry State I’ll be happy to let him go ahead of me. He says sure, everyone remembers those guys.
One of the things I like best about these two updates is how they have been repurposed and reused for this post. I consider that an example or working smarter and not harder.
Some people worry about reusing and repurposing content because they fear it will bore the readers. I obviously try to avoid that but I also make a point to try to identify what sort of crossover there is between readers and platforms.
It is not unusual to have people spend the bulk of their time in one place and not another. And even if there is crossover there is still a question about whether people are seeing your messages.
There are lots of conversations and studies about how many times you need to repeat your message before someone remembers it. There is no guarantee the same people will see that same message time and time again and even if they do, you can’t always identify which time will cause them to act.
And this my friends is part of why I use the resources I have to try to test things out to see what works best.
What do you think?