May 16, 2019

How to Get Noticed: 7 Steps to a Vibrant Social Media Presence

Are you dedicated to a hobby - building computers, organic gardening, finance research - that would help you get that internship or jazz up your college app if only someone knew?

You can get the attention you need by starting a blog or Twitter account. If you post consistently for a year or two, you'll start to show up when someone Googles your name. It's a great opportunity to present your work to the world.

Follow the steps below to get started!

1. Stick to your knitting.

Choose a subject to write about and stick to it. 

Make it your goal to help others by putting all the information about your hobby in one place. The consistency and usefulness of the information you post will get you noticed.

Politics is divisive: stay away from it!

2. Create a blog or Twitter account.

If you enjoy writing long-form content like essays and articles, start a blog.

If you like posting short thoughts and interacting with other people, consider starting a Twitter account. Make sure to do a few Twitter searches first to make sure that there's an active community for the subject you're interested in writing about.

For example, a search for tumor imaging agents pulls up posts from nine years ago with no likes, comments, or retweets. (It's really hard to get noticed if no one is looking, right?)

Twitter search for 'tumor imaging agents'
Twitter search: tumor imaging agents

Results for AMC math competition, swing dancing technique, and writing sonnets are similarly uninspiring.

A search for deep value stocks, on the other hand, suggests that there's an active community that might even have a sense of humor:

Twitter search: "deep value stocks"
Twitter search: deep value stocks

Results for replication crisis in science and Python coding are also encouraging.

3. It's more important to start than to make everything perfect.

Make a commitment to do at least one thing every day. Make an account first, then set up your template or profile, and then work on your content a little bit at a time. Try not to take a break, as it will be hard to get started again.

4. Put your best stuff up front. 

You can do this on Twitter by making a table of contents of your best work and pinning that post to the top of your feed.

Twitter "table of contents"

On Blogger. a sliding window can be used to showcase your work.

Blogger "sliding window"

5. Post brief summaries of articles you read. 

This is like putting snacks out at a party: people who don't have enough time to read articles themselves will follow you just to get the summaries.

The summaries don't need to take more than a couple of minutes to write. You can grab the most interesting quote from each article or post a few bullet points in order to save time.

Twitter summary of someone else's blog post
Summary of someone else's blog post; here are some other examples: 1 and 2.

Twitter summary using bullet points
Summary using bullet points

6. Post long-form explanations of books and scientific papers.

This is a more advanced technique and will really show that you know your stuff. Work through the paper or book in order and put a Post-It note at any places you want to come back to write about later.

If you summarize a paper, include screen shots of the original charts and data tables along with brief comments to help readers understand what's going on. (If you summarize a book, include page numbers instead.)

Summary of the finance paper Buffett's Alpha

Notice that I misspelled Warren Buffett's name and made a grammar mistake in the example above. Since Twitter doesn't allow you to edit posts after you've made them, you have to be willing to live with imperfection.

7. Answer other people's questions (but don't be a troll). 

The goal is to be helpful without being annoying - a fine line to walk sometimes, so work on doing it well. As you get to know other writers, you'll figure out which ones welcome back-and-forth discussions.

Link to your summaries if the material is relevant.

Once you have enough followers, you can also generate interesting discussions by asking open-ended questions.

Enjoy yourself.

You'll read more interesting stuff and have more summaries to write if you like what you're doing, so don't be afraid to have fun!


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