I recently spoke on a panel about publishing where I identified myself as a "social media experimenter" rather than an expert in the field.
Why? Doesn't everyone want to be a "social media expert?"
- Social media is changing too fast for anyone to be an "expert" on all of it. Seems like every time I feel like I've mastered a new application, it's already changed and a better one has come along.
- There are lots of people out there calling themselves experts. Each of them knows some important parts of the puzzle, but no one knows everything. And that's okay! It's a big field, and it's just not possible to know everything.
- "Expert" status can lead to complacency. I once heard of a physics professor who suggested to his younger colleagues that they photocopy their lecture notes every few years so the students wouldn't see how they were getting brown with age. That just won't fly in the social media world.
- I'd rather experiment and imagine new possibilities, instead of sitting back and doing the same old thing. We live in an age where the lines between personal and mass communication have been blurred. Where individuals with great ideas can do an end-run around the gatekeepers and get their work and their message to interested readers and listeners. Don't sit back and do what they expect with these social media tools - experiment and try them out in unexpected ways to meet your needs.
My newest social media experiment is an ebook: The Streetwise Cycle. It's a series of short stories presented in text, images, audio, maps, word clouds and more. You can read it online, print it, or download it to your phone or e-reader. It's also an experiment in content, combining things I've learned from working in human services with the craft of storytelling.
I hope to continue adding content to the site. If you have ideas for more social media experimentation - with The Streetwise Cycle or otherwise - I'd love to hear from you.