In Social Media, Perfect is the Enemy of the Good

Tropical Hinchinbrook Island from Cardwell, no...

A lovely example of somewhere I did not go this week

Some of you may have noticed this post is late.

It’s not because I’ve been vacationing on a tropical island. In fact, I spend more time on this week’s blog post than I have in quite some time.

The idea was a good one– Why blogging is awesome and more nonprofits should do it.

I’ve never written about blogging here so it’s definitely not an over-done topic, and it’s useful because blogs are an under-utilized resource for most nonprofits*.

Should have been a slam-dunk.

And yet, after 16 or so hours of writing, rewriting and maybe a bit of pouting, I still didn’t have anything worth publishing.

For reasons that are not yet clear to me this seemingly easy post was just NOT. GOING. TO. HAPPEN.

Why am I telling you this?

I spend a lot of time here touting the benefits of social media and online communication.  I remind you that its easy to get started, mistakes are usually easy to fix, and that you are much better off engaging your people in conversation, than trying to maintain your illusion of control.

All of those things are true.  And yet there will be days when:

  • finding time to engage on Twitter would mean missing dinner with your kids three nights in a row–and so conversations  get missed and mentions go unanswered.
  • all the good intentions in the world aren’t enough to make the  newsletter go out on the 3rd Tuesday of the month.  In fact, sometimes monthly newsletters would be more accurately called, “nine, maybe ten issues a year” newsletters.
  •  a seemingly easy blog post eats up most of a week and then still isn’t publishable.
These dry spells, dark spots, or just periods of overwhelm  totally suck.
They also happen to everyone.
The important thing to remember is they are temporary.  The only way they can have a lasting negative impact on your social media strategy is if you let your monsters convince you that breaking the “consistency rules” means you obviously aren’t cut out for this kind of work and blogs are stupid anyway, so there! –and thus it’s time to abandon your social media plans all together.

Help Each Other Avoid the Perfection Trap

The worst part of social media “failures”  is the feeling that everyone else is doing it perfectly and you are the only one who sucks.
I’m here to tell you that is totally not true.
In fact, you can help me illustrate the point by  leaving a comment with an example of a time you didn’t live up to the letter of your on-line communications plan–as well as an example of how you’ve benefited from your less-than-perfectly executed plan.
Are you willing to share for the benefit of all??

*Bonus:  Turns out John Haydon has been thinking about nonprofit blogs this week as well.  Check out his post on the subject while I figure out what’s wrong with mine 🙂

5 thoughts on “In Social Media, Perfect is the Enemy of the Good

  1. I’ll get us started.

    I published a total of two posts in August and September of last year and all but abandoned Facebook and Twitter. While my readership did take a hit during that time as soon as I started publishing again, the numbers came back up–and within 2 months surpassed my previous high water marks.

  2. Thanks, Mo. I don’t “do” Twitter, I hardly FB, my two sons + one hubby suffer from partial neglect, and my house is pretty much dust bunny breeding ground … and my goal of ONE blog post a week is overwhelming me if I pause to think about it so, this came at just the right time for me. That said, I find I have about a gazillion ideas for posts popping into my head all the time — it’s an interesting exercise in organizing my thoughts — so I’m hopeful that if I manage to capture some of those ideas I’ll have a full “goody box” of go-to ideas when I hit the inevitable dark-n-dry spell. We’ll see.
    And I really resonate with the idea that I’m the only one who’s lousy at something, while everyone else is great. I’m pretty sure that’s called “the human condition,” aka the grass is always greener syndrome … must. practice. contentment. and gratitude.

    • Thanks for weighing in Lesley. You’ve brought up another good point–there is no law that says you have to be active on every social media channel that’s hip this week. In fact, most organizations (and people) are better off figuring out where their right people hang out and focusing their energy there.

      I also love your goody-box idea. I’ve tried that myself with some success. My problem is I’m not very patient, so when I have an idea I want to share it RIGHT NOW! Not a great strategy for building sustained online relationships 😉

  3. Ah, yes!

    My social media failures are legend (at least in my own mind). I have a blog. It’s been active for more than a year. I think there are three posts on said blog . . . maybe four. Great intentions, but I just got myself overwhelmed, totally freaked out and let the blog go. Now that I’m in the process of revising my website, I’ve decided to fully commit to a blog. I’d love to post once a week, but I’m going to start with once every other week. In preparation, I’ve written a number of “evergreen” posts — which I will schedule to publish in the appropriate time slot once the new site is up. I may change a post around a bit before it goes live and I know that I may reschedule it for a later date if something more timely is called for. So, I think that one is fairly well under control. But we need to give ourselves a break when things aren’t perfect. The online community gets it. We’ve all been there!

    The other less-than-perfect piece is twitter. I absolutely adore twitter, but when I’m overwhelmed — either with too much going on in my personal life or my professional life, I fall off the face of the twitterverse. But, I always come back. And that’s what matters.

    Great post, Mo!

    • Thanks Erica for sharing your difficulties and your great ideas. You did forget to mention that all four of your blog posts are amazing 🙂 Can’t wait for you to unveil the new site to the world!

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