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We live in the social media age of instant gratification. An age where we can mistake likes, retweets, backlinks, and comments for validation of our content and ourselves. It’s not that social media is a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination, just that as an author or thought leader you can fall prey to allowing the culture of likes and such to influence your content at the expense of insight.
Insight and wisdom will never go out of style and will not be diluted by Instagram or Vine. You are a thought leader and while you may need to tweak your voice to be heard above the noise, you cannot fall prey to a social media strategy that develops content with the sole intent of generating likes and being “popular.” Insight and likes are not mutually exclusive. In fact, content that is thought provoking, that has a direct business application, that can drive behavior change, and that leads to measurable results is very “like-able.”
Don’t be tempted to dumb down your work to make it more “social” friendly.
Instead, expand your social media strategy. Experiment with the new platforms and formats. You may be a master at writing powerful 2500 word articles, a world class keynote speaker, or a globally admired academic who’s published in countless journals. That means you are a thought leader, that your work has value. What you’ll need to figure out is how to master these new mediums to expand your reach. I’m not suggesting you start taking silly selfies, but to discover a way to impart your wisdom and insight into shorter formats. Formats that are more visual, formats that are consumed via mobile devices as opposed to traditional print.
We live in an age that is changing rapidly for authors, speakers, and thought leaders. The models that worked for decades are no longer valid. They haven’t taken a hiatus, they’ve gone extinct.
Stay relevant — try new formats and models.
Content by its very nature is dynamic and fluid; if you let it take new shapes and forms you can convey wisdom and insight to new populations — to a new generation. It’s on you to have the courage to push your work into new formats and to do so in a way that doesn’t dilute it to pithy and hollow phrases. You can be insightful, get retweeted, and be liked but it will take effort and it will require you to be thoughtful in your approach to being a thought leader in the social age.