Yogi Berra, Book Club, and Best Practices: Lessons Learned in Writing for Social Media

I’m trying so hard to be my best self that I’m not being my real self.

Sounds a little like a line from famous New York Yankees baseball player & coach Yogi Berra.  You know, the guy who said, “You can observe a lot just by watching” and “we made to many wrong mistakes”.

The third time I read that opening line my head twisted about 15 degrees to the right.  And when the words settled, I realized it’s still true and that it’s OK.  As a blogger who also writes digital, creative, and marketing content by trade, I work hard to follow best practices in all my work.  Now, as I study the best practices of social media, I am finding that the practice that’s rising above all others for me is authenticity.*

As I try to write my best content which I feel will be most useful and usable** for you, I feel I stray away from my authentic self and type out a more pressed and researched self.

But authenticity doesn’t necessarily mean ‘being your real self’.  Within social media I believe it means not pretending to be someone you’re not.  What I write comes from my best self because I want to give you the best I have to offer.  That’s still authentic.  Think of it as Scott+.

Another best practice that has risen to the top of my list is making sure you provide great content.***  If you replied, “Duh. Hope so…”,  that’s a perfectly acceptable response.  But, trouble is, a lot of the content I read under blog titles of ‘helpful tips’ and ‘best practices’ for social media writing are uneventful re-writings of a blog that initially posted in 2009. (You may think this blog qualifies as such garbage and that’s the beauty of social media; the power is in your hands.) ****

Meaningful content teaches, challenges, and connects.  One recent example comes from social media guru Mark Schaefer who posted this on Twitter just the other day:

Mark Schaefer ‏‪@markwschaefer   Why are so many businesses stuck at Social Media 101?          ‪http://www.businessesgrow.com/2014/02/28/man …  via @pgillin

I was having this exact discussion with communications professionals three days ago (relevance). So I clicked on the link and watched this video.

Ideas from this video that stood out to me include:

  • “how to become the signal instead of the noise”
  • “the End of Social Media or Post Social Media”
  • “consolidate and simplify” (because in today’s professional social media we’re wading lots of complexity in today’s content-rich arena)

BTW, bullet points are another practical blogging best practice *******

Whether you agree with what they say doesn’t matter.  It gets you thinking!

What may be the best practice of all from the above video is the action taken by the interviewer, Mark, when he begins by explaining that they were having this insightful conversation and stopped so Mark could get out his video camera, record it, and share it with the rest of us.  Although the video’s not white balanced and a tad long for video best practices (under two minutes), it’s an example of simplicity demonstrated in content-focused action*

As a social media content creator, a great resource for me is Social Media Today (@socialmedia2day) because it’s a non-stop pitching machine feeding fast-balls down the middle in a batting cage swirling with great content, links, and ideas.  Sure, there’s an an occasional wild pitch which sends me to blog I wish I hadn’t read.  But it consistently helps me learn to hit solid balls up the middle, staying with the baseball analogy, because it feeds best practices routinely.

And when I see people walk the walk like Mark Schaefer did by posting his video and sharing it via Twitter, it teaches me that there’s more I can learn before I’m worthy of the big leagues.

List of my most valuable resources to date in order referenced in content:

*Schaefer, Mark (2012) The Tao of Twitter. New York, NY: McGraw Hill

**Halvorson, Kristina & Rach, Melissa (2012) Content Strategy for the Web. New York, NY: New Riders

***Li, Charlene & Bernoff, Josh (2011) Groundswell: Winning in a world transformed by social technologies. Boston, MA: Forrester Research

****Brogan, Chris (2013)  Google+ for Business. Indianapolis, IN: Que Publishing

*****Gillin, Paul (February 28, 2014) Mark Schaefer Interviews Paul Gillin  Retrieved from You Tube at http://youtu.be/F01lB14ia1k

******Redish, Janice (2012) Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content That Works.  Waltham, MA: Elsevier

Schaefer, Mark (February 28, 2014) Why Are So Many Businesses Stuck at Social Media 101?  Schaefer Marketing Solutions: We Help Business {grow}.  Retreived from http://www.businessesgrow.com/2014/02/28/many-businesses-stuck-social-media-101/

2 thoughts on “Yogi Berra, Book Club, and Best Practices: Lessons Learned in Writing for Social Media

Add yours

  1. Hi Scott, great post as always. You give some great tips here. I too sometimes struggle to find the right balance of authenticity. You give the example of Mark Schaefer and his video post and to me that is an example of authenticity that comes with making blogging a part of your daily life — which, hopefully, comes with practice. What I mean is, right now I am just starting to really make an effort to blog, and to write interesting posts. Eventually, blogging and tweeting become so “old hat” that it just comes naturally, and so in the middle of the day when you are having a conversation in real time, your automatic reaction becomes “I should blog this!” and then you do. What could be more authentic than that? 🙂


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