Every story has its own soul. Once published, each story develops its own legs and wanders through the wilderness on its own whim. It’s not really much different than setting a teenager free after high school.
How that story makes its way across the terrain is another interesting topic. I’ve had the chance to see how a few of my stories have ventured through the wild. My general process begins with a tweet to the @thenewsprint account followed by a retweet from my own @joshuaginter account. I then take the link and put it on Facebook for my friends to see and I recently began to submit links to The Tech Block. Using these avenues, I have some initial findings that reflect a greater trend at large.
The Tech Block’s ambitious efforts to promote great content is very valuable for new writers. Some of my quirky ideas have spread to a far wider range of audience thanks to The Tech Block. It goes without saying that putting your name out there is how it starts, and while I’m still going through this process now, I feel I can say that it works amazingly well.
But despite links and promotion from content curators like The Tech Block and Techmeme, my most widely read story to date was spread through Twitter. I posted a link and was lucky enough to have a prominent person retweet it. That resulted in 8 more retweets and a total of 393 clicks, more than any other article I have written. My phone didn’t stop buzzing that day. It was a fascinating experience.
No matter the size of the audience of a well known website, Twitter’s audience is unmatched. Every retweet spread the story to a new audience and a new set of people. The soul of each story, via the retweet, can reach exponentially larger groups of people in a very short amount of time.
I’ll try to add a little historical context to this trend as well. I had the opportunity to study the history of human knowledge and its spread throughout the world when in university. Books like Jared Diamond’s "Guns, Germs, and Steel" describe the historical spread of that knowledge through countless variables and it was really neat to read about how fast ideas spread at given points in history.
Twitter embodies the 21st Century spread of knowledge unlike any other channel. Twitter’s immediacy allows for an unimaginable pace of human knowledge and we all contribute to this spread. We can see these implications when we discuss stories about the Sochi Olympics or about atrocities committed in war-ravaged parts of the world. Ideas and stories spread like wildfire on Twitter.
A good technological-slash-history lesson wouldn’t be complete without a challenge, however. The Tech Block works hard to promote great content no matter the producer. Despite their significant audience, they can’t promote great content on their own. If you stumble across a link on Twitter that you enjoyed or that you think may have an effect on another person, retweet it. Send it off to your audience and watch that story’s soul grow. You’ll be doing the writer a favour by promoting their ideas and you’ll do your part in contributing to the human condition.
Twitter is a powerful tool. And literally anyone can harness that power. So cool.
These numbers will be miniscule in comparison to prominent writers and tweeters, but I’m sure my microcosm reflects a wider truth. ↩
For this reason, and this reason alone, I am dying to travel to old Constantinople (Istanbul) as I’ve read many of the oldest human writings ended up in the city at one point or another. ↩
Especially the bad ones. ↩