journal-writingThink about it (if you’re old enough)…how much did you write every day BEFORE social media came along?

Not everyone has made the transition to the New Media world with grace.

Yet…in a day’s time, you (1) text (2) email (3) post on FaceBook (4) post on some other social network and (5) create content of some other sort (newsletter,  ad copy, bio, blog, etc.).

In most cases, you don’t have body language, facial expressions, voice intonations, or attitude at your disposal.  You have your keyboard (and maybe some emoticons).

With those limitations, can you afford to be misunderstood?

Right.  This is how flame-wars get started on FaceBook threads between two of the nicest people you thought were your friends.

Even more, can you risk your unique humor with a client prospect?  It works…sometimes.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained, but can you maybe insert the humor in a more diplomatic way, and still be safe?

Consider these two opening statements in an email to a possible client you recently met in a brief encounter at a conference:

Exhibit A:  Dear Joe, It was so cool running into you at VoiceCon…like, I could tell you were the MAN because you were so hard to get to after your talk with that long line of people…it was like, too much! Anyway, I wanted to let you know I’m available to work for you anytime.

Exhibit B:  Dear Joe,  My hope is you won’t mind my calling you by first name, as your talk at VoiceCon made everyone in the room feel like your best friend.  Thanks for that!  I learned a lot.  Your approachability gave me the hope that you might consider me as a possible talent for your company.

Exhibit A shows enthusiasm, and a certain colloquial flair, but since you really don’t know Joe, you run the risk of being too familiar and taking too much for granted with someone who is basically a stranger.

Exhibit B is more formal – yes – but remains in safe, cordial-but-reserved territory that is still universally accepted in the business world between client and prospect.

Here’s my bottom line in the world of written social media-attention-span writing:

The first few words of ANY written appeal are just as important as the first 10-seconds of your demo.

If you don’t grab ‘em at the first opportunity…you’ll not likely keep their attention.

Here’s my “honorable mention” suggestion for writing believable, engaging, humanized messages that get attention (besides spell checking):  PROOFREAD everything you write before hitting “send”.  Even better…set it aside, go do something else, then come back to it with fresh eyes, and read it again before sending.

OK, I just read this blog through about three times, and found two misspellings…and before social media, the only serious writing I did was college essays.

See?  The internet is making us all better writers?