TL;DR Version: This post details the work process I use and my thinking behind how I share content on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook.
Sharing with others online is a good thing. Granted, some of us (I’m pointing the finger at myself) share a bit too much. That being said, sharing your thinking, and posting your thoughts openly online is a good thing…IMHO. We all have a certain amount of expertise in a given area, and I believe that openly sharing your thoughts and ideas online allows us to be connected, networked learned. In this post I’ll share my tips and strategies for posting openly online. Hopefully, they’ll help you out as you decide what works best for you.
Use Creative Commons licensing
For content that you write, or create, I’m a believer in Creative Commons (CC) licensing. CC licensing allows you to set the level of use and attribution for your work. Please review the following posts to learn more about CC licensing and how to use it effectively to protect yourself. CC licensing is a powerful statement of ownership for content that you create. I CC license this blog and the content that I share. I also CC-license the content that I share on the Digital Texts and Tools repository. I urge you to spend some time thinking about CC licensing and what if can do for content that you create.
Be considerate to your audience
This post is mostly directed at content constructors that are blogging, sharing videos, posting photos, sharing audio clips. Nevertheless, I believe there are some “best practices” associated with sharing content and links openly online. Please keep in mind that there are no “rules” to this. These are merely the guidelines that I utilize…you need to figure out what works best for you.
When you share out a link to online content, I include a brief description of what content is available at the link. I want the online reader to have an idea of what they’ll encounter when they get there…and allow them to decide if they want to click on the link. Part of online reading comprehension includes not only searching and sifting online text…but also knowing what to read and what to ignore. I want to provide enough information for readers to allow them to make the decision if they want to click and read…or ignore my link. My thinking is that if I don’t include this text with contextual information, the reader is more likely to ignore the link. Even more important in social networks is a link that looks like non-sense, or a virus. Obviously tweets are easy to spot viruses like this…but it’s helpful not to leave your audience with any gray areas.
@wiobyrne Hey this cute chick on KIK wants to chat with you 😉 her username is luckytaste3
— HYⓧ (@ItzMePo_G) July 20, 2014
Length of the shared content
Typically when I share content online, I’ll include a link and a short snippet of text. The length of the snippet of text usually is around 120 to 140 characters and this includes the link itself. Google+, Twitter, and Facebook will usually scrape the link for a photo or image to post with the link and include this in the message. As I stated earlier, the body of that text snippet usually will include the title of the link I’m sending, and perhaps a brief indication of why I’m sending it. If it is any longer, I’ll write up a blog post to share my ideas.
Once again, there is no definite rule of acceptable length of a Tweet, Facebook share, or post to Google+. I’m sharing what I do and (for the most part) it works for me. The following “research” by Buffer gives you a much better idea of what others are sharing online, and what effect it has on the content that they’re sharing. Buffer is a great tool that you can use to autopost to Twitter for you. You can fill it up while you read online, and it will stagger your posts throughout the day to get a better “effect”…AKA post when Buffer thinks your readers are reading.
My sharing process
I use a service called Friends+Me to autopost from Google+ to Twitter and Facebook. I’ve tried many other services, and this one just works…and keeps working. I don’t mind the small fee that I pay for the service. When I share a link online, I typically first read it in Feedly, or on Reddit. Typically I’m on my phone and I’m able to quickly share a link and add some text to the link as I described above. I share it to Google+ and include in the appropriate title, hashtags, contacts, and any appropriate information. I try to keep all of this information within the 140 character limit. The reason for this is that Friends+Me will automatically re-post that content to Twitter and Facebook. I don’t want anything that might be important, like a hashtag to get cut off.
I might also re-post the link to a specific community in Google+ that I want to see the post. An example of this is a recent link that I sent out to the Connected Learning MOOC Community. I wanted to share a link publicly on Google+ to make sure it went to my audience..and automatically posted to Twitter with the appropriate hashtag. I also wanted to send it directly to the #CLMOOC Community to make sure they all saw it there. You can review the public message from Google+ and the annotated tweet below. As you can see, the content is exactly the same on Google+ and Twitter. It’s also the same content and link on Facebook…although it’s a bit limited.
Once these links are posted to Google+, Twitter, and Facebook, I monitor responses, +1’s, favorites, replies, RTs, etc. I recognize some difference in what each community will latch on to, but most of this is anecdotal at this point. I do believe that it is beneficial to me to post on all three networks. I also steadily post content to all three spaces and focus on the same type of content…mostly Education/EdTech/Tech with some Star Wars mixed in for good measure. I’m beginning to let my “hair down” and share some of my personality in the content that I post online…but I try not to editorialize. My longer form content, my opinion, lessons learned, and teaching examples all come from this blog…and I post these links out to the various social networks…thereby repeating the process anew.