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Message First, Media Second | Mary Biever | One Writing Mother

Message First, Media Second

Media format will come and go, but the content and quality of your message will either linger or fall flat.

Last week, as our 4-H Tech Club did a Retro Media night, we looked at 8 track tapes, cassette tapes, records, slide projectors, and the really big really floppy disks. All those media formats are defunct.

But the message – or song – of quality artists remain. As a child, I remember hearing Johnny Cash singing “Daddy Sang Bass” on the 8-track tape player in our big Brady station wagon. The 8-tracks are gone, but I can still hear the song in multiple media of our day or watch it on Youtube. The movie we once watched on VHS has now migrated to Blue-Ray or can be watched on Netflix.

This applies indirectly to social media. Though I doubt our messages will linger, the methods used remain the same. And if we build them right, the relationships we cultivate will continue.

Sixteen years ago, as I answered and asked questions in email lists, I developed ways to interact, listen, and respond to people around the world that I still use today. Being polite (most of the time), staying uplifting, and finding ways to make people laugh don’t change, whether you’re using a yahoo email group, Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, or whatever replaces those platforms.

Social media is like a relationship enhancer when it’s used well. Sometimes, I meet people in real life and then add or follow them on social media. These give us additional venues in which to learn about each other and cultivate our relationship. On the flip side, I may meet people around the world through social media channels and develop relationships that transcend the tweet or Facebook status, into real life relationships and sometimes business deals.

Like all relationship building and networking done well, social media can translate long term into new business contacts and business. I’ve met a business owner in China via Twitter, established a relationship with him, Skyped at Starbucks in the wee hours of the morning, and then brokered a deal between him and another local company.

We generally get out of social media responses that mirror what we put into it.

  • Bland and boring begets bland and boring.
  • Greedy pander always offering free stuff results in an audience of people out for themselves, who will fight for the free stuff.
  • Community promotion results in stronger communities.
  • Real inspiration and encouragement can bring out the best, most noble parts of other people.

With movies and music, the ones that outlast their media format are ones that reached out and grabbed people, touching them in memorable ways.  They could be funny, dramatic, or downright scary. But they captured our imaginations and touched our hearts.

With social media, the relationships that will last beyond the format are the ones that cultivate relationships, that show a personal touch with which people can relate.


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