Even amorphous freaks of nature belong to a community

** I apologize in advance for the number of times I use the term “content” throughout this entry. I typically roll around on the floor like an amorphous freak of nature when words are repeated this often in close proximity to one another. Please keep in mind that content was a huge portion of this week’s discussion. All of it, really; all of this week was about content. But the true reason I keep using the term is because I wanted to be sure I didn’t leave anyone out when I was linking to everyone’s posts about content from Tuesday. (I may have gotten a little hyperactive with hyperlinks.) **

“To set yourself apart, take blogging seriously.” – Jenn Cloud

As our guest speaker noted, the way to stand out from the crowd is through creating content. Her advice resonates what Jill has been pushing all week: content, content, content.

In the scheme of things

Web 2.0 allows everyone with a computer or mobile device to consume content. This vague concept of ‘content’ includesFlickr.com in-depth news articles, artful videos, meaningless comments and obscure GIFs that I can never seem to get to work. I know toddlers who are playing Angry Birds on their parents’ phones. There are countless consumers out there with an undead-esque hunger for anything and everything they can find online.

What’s more, everyone out there who is looking to consume is also looking to generate content. Johnny wants to write it, Joe wants to code, Susie wants to pin it, and so on and so on and Scooby dooby dooby.

The key is to have a niche or area of expertise. I could pump out as many blogs or microblogs as Johnny, Joe or Susie, but none of that’s going to matter if I don’t have that one thing that people can associate with my name.

Need for a niche

As we discovered during our presentations, there are is significant value in having a niche. If I consistently generate content in my one area of expertise, I will eventually become known for it. I may never be so well-liked that a classroom of 24 college students drop everything to video-chat with me, but at least someone out there will know what I’m all about.

Plus I’ll be writing what I love.

And if I brand myself properly and blog until my fingers bleed, as Jenn advised, someone out there will love what I write. That’s the other really great thing about having a niche. With that niche, with that topic-specific content, comes a whole community.

Importance of community

I am really beginning to understand the need for a community. Like most communities in “real life,” those people will be there to support and aid me in my own pursuits. The more related content I find, the more knowledge I will have to generate my own original content.

A community will also help me by give me a platform to share my content. These like-minded people will appreciate and propagate aforementioned content.

Like our impromptu video-chat revealed, it is important to have connections as well as content. We have to have a platform before you can expect to get the content out.

Scott Stratten reminded us that some “great things never get read because there isn’t a platform for them to be seen.”

Unfortunately for most of us, all of our content experts agree that it takes time to build that platform or community. Fortunately for most of us, we’re starting early with this class. And we’re starting out the right way. We are learning to create content through a number of media, content that is important to us, and content that will set us apart from all others.

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One response to “Even amorphous freaks of nature belong to a community”

  1. ebethsule says :

    Good words. I really enjoyed reading this blog and am taking a lot of useful advice from it.

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