More is practically* always better

I was talking with some friends today about their nonprofit website. We were talking about a bunch of other stuff about creating community, building a network, etc., and they said, by the way, how often should we be updating the site?

Love this question. Partly because I have a better answer than I ever have before. It’s one of those questions that editorial folks like me love to bat around, as if there were a “right” answer.

So before I give you the “right” answer, just remember, the real answer is “it depends.”

So the answer I gave is, today, information is flashing past all of us much faster than any human could hope to absorb it. If you want to have any hope of competing — with your competitors, with Facebook, with TV, with Netflix, with text messages and iPhones and Angry Birds — you have to throw as much out there as is humanly possible while staying true to your mission.

The more nuanced answer is, you also have to mind how you’re delivering your content. Because in practically no situation is 100 posts a week on Facebook the right answer. Are you hitting people at the right time, in the right medium, with the right info?

But too much is so rarely the issue. Look around here….I’m terribly stingy with my own blog posts….resolving to improve that situation posthaste. The point is, so few people are putting out too much stuff. The danger of that is rare. So get out there and start sharing!

*Practically: The only situation is which more is NOT better is alas, a situation I do see from time to time, and that social media sadly enables. People who are out there spamming their poor audiences with irrelevant content should be drawn and quartered. There’s enough real information we can’t sort through — don’t muddy the water with spam, no matter the medium.

Learn where to put the peanut butter

I’m blogging today over on the Digital Nashville site. Digital Nashville is one of our great local tech organizations — we have a growing tech community here, and DN connects some of the best marketers and tech folks.

Learn where to put the peanut butter [and how to handle other thorny questions of website structure] today in my post over on the Digital Nashville site.

Social media is neutral, but people are angry

I was talking to some folks today about social media, and got a question I didn’t feel like I answered well. It was along the lines of,

How is social media contributing to the downfall of civility in our society today?

My quick answer is: It’s not.

My longer answer is [hopefully better than I phrased it this afternoon]:

Social media is a tool. Period. Social media doesn’t contribute to anger or incivility any more than washing machines do. What social media has done in the past few years is reveal that many of us are angry. Social media has given many people an amplified voice — people who previously only could express their anger at the dinner table or around the water cooler at work.

In addition, the more extensive media saturation in our society [both old and new media] may provide information to people about things they used to not know about — thus allowing them to be angry about things that would have made them mad 30 years ago, had those things been publicly known.

This kind of question makes me nervous….it makes me think that people would like to regulate speech in some way. The First Amendment isn’t just protecting happy speech, or speech that we agree with. I would argue that it most emphatically protects angry and rude speech. Think about the context of our nation’s founding; revolutionaries who lose are just traitors. “We” won, so we wrote the history on the founding of America. And several rights in our Constitution reflect a perspective that values dissent as part of a healthy democracy.

At the very least, I think many people look at social media and reject it as the province of blowhards and reactionaries on both sides of the political aisle. But I look at the cacophony online and think, Thank God. Now we can have a dialogue, because all people now have a platform. The powers that be no longer dictate the entire agenda. We can all be heard.

It’s not pretty to see how angry many people are today….but I assure you, many of them were before. We just didn’t know it.

To me, social media provides such valuable insight into the minds of people who are very different from me. It’s not my job to change their minds; it’s my job to understand them. So I say, thank goodness for the angry people on social media. Thanks for speaking up. Let’s talk.