There’s something worrying me about social media and platforms like Instagram and Facebook.
The recent revelations about how Facebook data was a factor in the last American election has only intensified my worry — but this is not about that. It simply underlines the fact that we don’t own those platforms, even as we’re the engines (and the product).
Here’s what I see: I see us, as culture makers and media makers, creating content on behalf of the 1%.
I see us uploading posts and images and analyses and brilliance to Facebook and Instagram, making the platform owners incredibly wealthy, and then our content disappears into the ether.
Every once in a while, for example, I get one of those memory nudges on Facebook. A post pops up in my feed that I made a year ago or six years ago…
And I’ll think: wow, I wrote that? That’s really good. I wish I’d done something with that.
(Or I’ll think: what the hell, I wrote that? I’ve changed so much since then. But let’s tuck that aside for now…)
My point: every day I’m making content, and that grows the platforms owned by other peop9le, but none of it lives in my own archives.
It’s like I’m donating my work to tech titans.
Now, I still need to share my work on social media because that’s where my audience is. That’s where we all are.
But this work has got to live on my own real estate, sending SEO signals out into the world, and growing my body of work.
There is something that happens, however, when I log in to create a blog post: my internal editor swings into gear. I’m way more inhibited when I write a document or a blog post than when I riff on Instagram or Facebook. (I regularly 60-70 posts on FB each week! Lots are reshapes rather than my own original content, but you see the pattern. That’s a lot of content.)
Which is why I create way more media on social media than I do anywhere else.
And again: it gets lost in the ether.
But there’s a way I can leverage with these limits and create something out of them.
Here’s my goal: I want to set up a way to automatically turn my more substantial social media posts into drafts of blog posts. That way I keep riffing and producing a lot (on social media, where my internal editor doesn’t get in my way). my content doesn’t disappear, but does get housed in my own “public library” (my own website!). Across time adds up to a body of work.
Casting the net wider: I want you, and all the people working so hard to reinvent our culture, to be able to grow your bodies of work too. I want your media and your thoughts and your body of work housed in your archive, in your public library.
Not simply growing and feeding the social media giants.
So, a method. I’ve been experimenting and found a way to create a mostly-automatic process for this.
Here’s how to automatically preserve your body of work (the stuff you’re already producing on social media) on your own blog:
- I use “If This, Then That” (www.iftt.com).
- I add my Instagram and WordPress accounts.
- I decide in my own head on a particular hashtag that is the trigger. Not everything I publish on Instagram needs to be a blog post; but certain things I do want to save into my body of work.
- Going forward, I use that hashtag whenever I want the Instagram content to also be a blog post.
- I create an applet on IFTT using the hashtag as the trigger.
- The ‘ingredients’ in my applet — what fields get pulled from Instagram into the blog post are these: Embed code, url, caption. (The caption is what you wrote about your instragram photo)
- I set the applet to create a draft blog post, not publish it. That way I can go into my drafts and review the material, add a feature photo, do my SEO/meta homework…and then press publish.
- Every Friday morning I open up WordPress and review all my draft posts that came from Instagram, clean them up, do some SEO work, often expand them. Then I schedule them.
As a result, I’ve gone from publishing blog posts maybe one a month to several times each week.
Admittedly, these blog posts aren’t all Epic Home Run World Changing Missives.
But they do contain pieces and snippets I want to save, because they are drips of water into a glass of water. It all adds up to something — from an SEO perspective, a momentum perspective, an audience intimacy perspective, and a body of work perspective.
This is how I grow my own archive.
And it’s why I wrote this Feminist Marketing Tip. We’re all marketing with content, so let’s make sure we actually *own* our content and benefit from it. On our own platforms. Where it can grow our resources and reach.
Maybe this little hack can help you preserve your content, in your archive, and grow your body of work, too?
This Feminist Marketing Tip is part of a series. I publish new ones on Mondays. You can find more of them here.
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