Three Ways to Turbocharge Your New-Media Career

MUD day 9:

For anyone involved in communications, coming to accept new media is only half the battle. The next, much harder fight, is in leaping into and mastering the ways of new media. There are probably an infinite number of effective approaches to doing so, but, based on my recent reading and on my experience this month as a blogger, I’d start with these three:

1. Be Gutsy. In a recent interview with Nieman Journalism Lab’s Megan Garber, retiring newspaper editor John Robinson offered his profession this advice:

What editors really need right now, Robinson says, “is guts to do the nontraditional things”: to consider new approaches to newsgathering and dissemination, to be open to new ways of knowing the community they’re meant to serve.

Robinson is pointing out here something that isn’t often emphasized: It takes courage to adopt new-media tools. You might just be wasting your time, or worse, risking your job.

2. Be Weird. Though the title of Seth Godin’s latest book is We Are All Weird, its premise is that most of us don’t realize or admit it. Our traditional mass-market culture and ways of doing business are built around serving the mass, the normal.  But as Robinson notes in his interview, “The sooner that we grasp that we aren’t mass anymore—that there is really no mass, that everything is broken apart—the better.” To use new media effectively, you have to be willing to look weird to a lot of people.

3. Be Arbitrary. If you worry too much about how to use new media, or what platform is best, or how to make the most of it, you may never move forward. Pick a platform, set a goal for how to use it, and stick to your plan. If you choose Twitter, for instance, you might pick a number of tweets to do each day and a number of people to retweet. Or, like me this month, you might set yourself a goal of writing one post a day in a set period of time. You might not hit your goals, but you’ll be giving yourself an excellent chance of mastering your new medium.

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