Weighing Whether to Build or Spread

Instagramatical Hierarchy of Needs
One of the recurring themes in recent years of intense digital concentration has been that of where to create, consume, and comment on content.

It seems like a fairly simple choice for many who have immersed in understanding the evolution of tools and options available.

However, once we start factoring in the number of social networks and media platforms (potentially) available, the formula becomes more complex.

For simplicity sake, say we have two main choices, each with multiple ramifications:

(1.) Do we build our own — URL, platform, body of work, and brand as a consequence — this involves original content creation, adding value with accountability when curating the work of others by expanding on it with our own experience, ideas, and results

(2.) Do we spread ourselves across — a higher number of renown platforms, better trafficked networks, and prestige media, thus accelerating the personal brand by association — contributing original thoughts and experience to the platforms of others and gaining reflected reputation in the process

In reality the choice is not so clean-cut. Being active in any communication channel involves both — some form of content creation, and some or many ways to help spread one's content and that of others.

The selfie took off because it was a timely digital — thus easily done and spreadable — version of the photo opp: an opportunity to be seen in the act of doing or expressing something interesting. So many networks one can use, and such a demand for visual and text content to fill them to become attractive.

In turn, thanks to confirmation bias, what we pay attention to tends to become the default. Bloggers find blogs are the answer to most questions on building credibility and earning reputation.

It is quite easy at this point to make pronouncements. Much harder and more worthy of your attention to do the work that figures it out in an ever evolving scene. Planning as part of a responsive strategy becomes far more interesting and demanding.

When we weigh this question from a personal point of view, it is easier to change our minds, too. One day we aspire to become a content destination by building, the next we start introducing other contributions to the mix, or going the other way altogether in favor of bigger propositions like building a business.

I am most interested in understanding the mix for businesses and brands, especially those that are not in the content business (i.e. media organizations), the organizations in the fashion and style, beauty, apparel, technology, wellness, etc. business. You get the point.

Where is the line? What is the mix? If the organizing principle of converged media is the customer, how do we orchestrate the conversation from getting attention to keeping attention?

So this is what I've been thinking about lately. Remembering that it is hardly ever either/or and that transition and transformation are filled with opportunity.

More to come.

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Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover the value of promises and its effects on relationships and culture. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. Book her to speak here

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