Social Media and the Introvert

By Maureen Alley

To be successful online, branding and self-promotion is a must. But for most editor and writer types, this involves pushing yourself outside your comfort zone. It’s not news that most editors and writers are typically introverted or at least behind-the-scenes kind of people. We are different than our sales counterparts. So how do we balance the uncomfortable feelings of putting ourselves out there and being successful?

I admit, I always second guess what I write when I know the content I’m writing has the possibility of being viewed by anyone who access to the Internet. I stagger over the “publish” button before executing. Here are a few steps to keep in mind when moving around the online landscape.

Step one: Write about topics you know. Being confident in the topic you’re writing about will make you more comfortable knowing other people are reading what you’re writing. And if you write about things that you aren’t confident of, say it. Generally people like when they can relate to other people. We all have insecurities, so owning up to them isn’t a crash course to failure.

Step two: Accept that you won’t please every person who reads your content. Just as when you’re writing an article in a magazine, you will never meet everyone’s expectations. We all see everything through our own prisms and experiences. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean your point of view doesn’t have value.

Step three: What is important to you? Do you want to become a name brand in your industry or stay unknown? If putting yourself out there is too much for you to handle, then staying unknown is your path. There is nothing wrong with this, but accept that you will never be known in your industry.

Step four: You are an expert in something – determine what it is and go for it. It’s easy to think that everyone knows more than we do when we read all the blog posts throughout the Web. The saying we were taught in school, “ask a question because it’s likely someone else has the same question,” applies here. It’s impossible for everyone to know everything. We’re all at different learning stages, so it’s most likely that you’ll help someone else with your advice.

Step five: Rely on each other. Read fellow editors’ and writers’ posts. Reading what they have to say not only makes you more educated and aware, it also shows you that other editors/writers are out there.

Maureen Alley is managing editor for Website Magazine, a trade publication dedicated to Web professionals. She was formerly managing editor for Residential Design & Build magazine, a property of Cygnus Business Media. Alley graduated with a BA from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and is currently attending Roosevelt University in Chicago for her Masters of Science in Journalism. She has been a member of ASBPE since 2006 and was a judge for the 2009 Azbee Awards program. She writes a blog at www.maureenalley.com about young journalists and new media. Contact her at malley13[at]gmail[dot]com.

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