I am in a training session as an observer, which is always interesting as it allows me to see the delivery styles of other trainers, pick up new methods and note the kinds of things that I might also do, but are annoying or get in the way. I work for a software company and train various enduser groups on how to use or manage the client, with specific goals in mind and techniques employed to reach them. Understanding the purpose of the training is important in identifying what should be included and how it should be delivered.
Traveling a little further along this path, we can use purpose as the basis for the content we create on Hive and there are many different ways to approach content creation. For example, if writing some kind of user guide, it generally becomes a stand alone piece of content, that works on various assumption, for instance, the background information required.
A lot of people on Hive think "shorter is better" but this is going to make assumptions on the background of the audience too. A lot of people like to use lists and little phrases to explain larger topics, but is this the best way for someone to actually learn, or is it giving the feeling of learning? An easy demo I use for this at times is featuring the most famous equation of all.
E = mc²
I will make the assumption that all readers have seen this and many will know what each piece represents, but how many really know what it means? For a simple exercise, firstly think about what each letter means in the equation, secondly what it can be applied to and thirdly, apply it to find a solution to a problem.
How many people understand this "simple" equation well enough to practically apply it to their world at a practical level? So, how many people read the list of things to do, understand the words, have examples of ways it could be applied - but don't have the skill, knowledge or will to actually do it?
What is the purpose of getting information to an audience that is not enough for most of the audience to apply to their personal processes? This raises more questions about what is useful content, as while a post for example could be applied* if it doesn't actually get anyone to change their behaviors in some way, it has been ineffectual, uninfluential.
Influence. This is something we hear about a lot in the world today and we could use Elon Musk as a current example of an influential person. I have heard people say, "look at the influence one tweet can have over the market", but this fails to recognize the reality - it isn't the one tweet that has the influence, it is all of the information content that led to the person behind that tweet holding sway, so the one tweet could convey their message. If Elon Musk hadn't done all that he has done in the past, he can tweet all day and have no effect, because he would have no followers.
Each Tweet that goes out is like "E = mc²", a formula that carries the weighting of all of the knowledge that people have surrounding him and what he has done, positive and negative. If it was the content of the Tweet itself that was influential, everyone would be an "influencer" and it would be even messier than it is now. To be an influencer, requires building a track record, and that comes through consistent activity, often in a narrow field of information or behavior.
When it comes to posts on Hive, some people spend a lot of time developing posts, but far less time building influence. This often results in content comparisons that do not take into consideration the track record of the author. Someone who has built their account through the development of content, recognizes that while each individual piece is a part of the puzzle and important, it is the overall experience of the account that has value, as there is a consistent and continuous story that weaves through the account itself, usually, the personality of the author.
This means that regardless of the content topic, length or delivery, there is a familiarity with which to connect, a type of "logic" that gets applied to all content. This can be consistent even when different kinds of writing styles are applied and perhaps for some, when they read the same author enough, they develop a "voice" for the character that represents the author. This adds to the story of the account and makes it personal in many ways, as the audience is a creative force itself, as they build the narrative in their head.
When I am training the client software, I spend a lot of time on the logic, terminology and mindset behind it, as everything else is built atop these things. Once an enduser has a strong understanding of the logic and a few case examples, they are able to practically apply it to their further self-directed learning, as they have a base from which to push from, as well as hooks to hang what they have learned upon. This means that they flesh-out their own world in regards to the software, focusing on the points of interest and need that are relevant to them specifically.
I often get asked,
"How can you write so much and still have people engage"
Well, on average I not only get a fair bit of engagement, but the level and quality of engagement is also high, because there is something to actually interact with. Let's say I posted a single photo, no matter how great the photo is or how brilliant the technique is behind taking it, what is there to really engage with? To interact with the skill of the photographer and techniques, requires specialized understanding and a discerning eye and while people can appreciate the picture, it is unlikely to evoke more than a "nice pic" kind of comment from non-specialists or enthusiasts. Adding in a bit of background and context for the image is far more powerful as an engagement tool, because it gives more points of reference for a wider audience to build upon or query.
But, that isn't why I write longer posts, although it is a part of the reason. For me, the length of the post doesn't matter that much, but I look long on almost everything in my life, including the content I consume. If it doesn't bring value to me that improves me, there is no point and for the most part, a list doesn't cut it. For me to be able to have real control over my life, it isn't good enough to follow the right list of things to do, I have to be able to change the list as I need to, because we live in a dynamic world in continual flux.
As a consultant and as a parent, my job isn't to tell people what to do, it is to facilitate the building of the tools that allow them to self-direct and discover what works for them. The goal is to make myself obsolete. As a content creator however, the "obsolete" is a little bit different, because I am developing content that is relevant (usually) continuously in various ways and for a dynamic audience that is changing, from people who have read similar before and might be looking for something new, to people who have never come across a topic or me earlier.
For the "regulars", the new might not be about the topic directly, but it could be more related to some aspect of my life they have been following, for example the renovation of my house or the challenges with the bank loans. For the "new" reader, they may have no visibility on this aspect of my life at all, so look more from the perspective of the individual post, but as they read more and especially when they comment, we start to build a kind of relationship with various complexities, some where we interact directly, some where people have built an "impression" of me that becomes their mental representation. Many people picture me as taller than I am, yet what gives them that visualization?
I have never said I am tall, yet through the content I have written, people tend to make various assumptions based on their feelings about the content. One aspect of that is probably tied to the sense of authority or applied influence, where there is a stereotyping and characterization of that feeling. the reason people might attribute me some kind of informational authority is not because I force them to or tell them to, it is because I have built a reputation on the platform that goes far beyond the silly number next to my name.
The reputation isn't all positive either, as there are plenty of people who dislike me here for various reasons, mostly because they have "imagined" some kind of slight I have caused them, where they haven't agreed with what I have said or often, that they compare their results to my own and think I am undeserving. For those who do actually have influence in some way, they will know that a significant portion of people are going to dislike what is said. However, being disliked doesn't mean the content has merit, which can be seen by those who are disliked by many because they are unlikable people who do not offer much value, leaving them without influence. They won't think this way though, as they believe what they have to say is important, because it is important to them.
I think the content that we create should be important enough to us as content creators that we care to put effort into it, but this in itself doesn't necessarily mean it is valuable to others. For that to happen, the audience has to come across the content, consume the content and then, feel that it was worth their time and effort. This is easier said than done as a content creator who is looking to build a presence that spans across a long timeframe, because people's attention spans are short and most have been led to believe that quantity over quality matters.
You see, what many don't seem to realize when they are consuming short and complaining about long is they don't realize that the time they spend consuming is likely longer with the short content as it feeds this little dopamine kick of getting something "new", even though they didn't get enough out of it to act upon it. This is great for driving higher consumption and marketing products, but has very little value in building the skills and knowledge required to have personal value.
If it is all about how much information can be consumed, Google wins. However, the marketable value for an individual is what they are able to practically do with that information and if the information and the skills are easy to obtain, there is very little value in it for the individual, as there is an over supply or a very low barrier of entry into the topic. The skills that are actually valued in the skill marketplace however, are the ones that are practical and hard to come by, so that specialists are required. Stacking a supermarket shelf isn't a high barrier job, writing the code for inventory software is, because of the time and effort it takes to learn and, the types of skills required to effectively do it.
Almost without variation, things of value take time to learn, whether it be how to write well, move well, speak well, jump well, dance well or *consume well - as well as a million other skill areas. Most people can speak and move, but it doesn't mean they are master speaker or top athlete material. It takes time to master something, but in a world of quick content and rush for low-grade result to get the dopamine hit, those willing to master something is a shrinking pool, which makes those who do it an increasingly scarce resource. If what they master is seen as a valuable skill, they themselves become valuable.
The internet is absolutely jam-packed with low value content because it is consume only, not actionable. There is value in this, but that value is for the platforms that position it as valuable. Instagram is full of selfies and travelbloggers, Twitter full of trolls and shillers and Facebook is full of people spying on the daily lives of others - but where is the real value for the audience, what is being learned and is the life of the consumer any better off?
In my opinion, so much of the content now is directed to keep people preoccupied so that they don't learn anything of value. It is entertainment that holds most of us back from focusing out attention on more important things and more importantly, ensuring that we are unable to reach anywhere near our potential. The people that create the content don't care much as to whether people are improved by it, as long as they get some popularity, some money, some influence - even if that influence is as a managed tool, designed and deployed to enslave others in a flood of inapplicable content.
Design your own purpose, or be a slave to someone else's formula.
Everyone has influence over their world.
[ Gen1: Hive ]