Themba Jay on social media; how I use hashtags

#ThembaJayWriting

This hashtag contains the written stories I produce, or my talking about anything that’s related to written content. When I comment on the joys and pains of writing, my journey and insights on the art, I use it. This is how I add my writer-ly voice on the delicate art of weaving words and sentences together.

#ThembaJaySpeaks

And this one’s for all my (public) speaking content and all that’s related to it. Also, I use the hashtag when I share my perspective and stories on subjects that I am well versed in.

# Reasons For The Two Hashtags

I decided to use only two hashtags for my work and storytelling across all my internet activity because it’s easier to monitor on my end, and even easier to keep up with for my audience. Just think of #GaryVee – simple and short and that’s what Gary Vaynerchuk uses for all his stories on social. In other instances, #AskGaryVee, for his web show where his audience can ask him questions about building businesses, marketing, life and other things he can offer perspective and thus, value, on.

(When you want to have your question answered live on the show, you simply add the # to it when you tweet so they can easily pick it up.)

This way, it’s easier for me to direct you – when you want to get a quick sense about what I do and how good I am – to search #ThembaJayWriting to see what I am capable of. To see the portfolio I have built online.

The # then becomes that important in that it houses my work in a thread; a file cabinet that keeps my work bound together neatly – easy to search and find when needed.

These ideas, oddly enough, are not yours to execute provided you can pay a lot of money. Nor do they need any sort of expert to tell you about. You can learn these things yourself if you are willing to pay attention and listen beyond the noise of useless chatter on the internet.

That means you ought to want to get better at telling your stories, at being more adept at social media. Because although it did seem like a fad to most people when it started becoming popular, somewhat “dictating” our lives and radically altering them, social media has proven that it’s here to stay.

The interesting thing is this, Facebook can cease to exist tomorrow; Twitter can come crashing face down in the following month or year; Google Plus, now that’s a good example, it flopped in that it failed to take off as expected. But did people stop using social forms of media? No. MySpace crashed and produced a giant ball of flame and was smothered in it. Dead. Ceased to exist.

. . . right here at home, South Africa, a once budding social network called MXit came to a slow, searing demise. Defunct. Coincidentally, that’s where I started using social media – I built my first online profile there, made a lot of friends, memories, learned a great deal, et cetera and so forth. However, I never stopped telling my story to the world because of that. Instead, I found other platforms that allowed me what I wanted to do – connect with people and tell stories.

Anyway, lest I digress. My point is simply this . . .

Now that we’ve had a taste of this form of communication that enables us to talk to people across the world in an instant, we’re hooked! There’s no going back from this!

As a way of example. I have a dear friend who lives, studies and works in France and her life overlaps into Belgium, originally from Pretoria, South Africa and we talk often using WhatsApp. It’s helluva fun I tell ya! Best times I cherish.

Now answer me this: why would I want to let go of tools that afford me such experiences?

The only way forward, methinks, is that we make a concerted effort to at least be decent communicators in this rapid moving and exhilarating digital era.

(As Steve Jobs was fond of saying) One more thing . . .

When we realised how important email was to (mostly) our professional lives, we learned to be better at it. We took it seriously. Unfortunately, I suspect, that’s why we are still stuck with archaic expressions and writing such as “Please find attached the below documents!” Goddamn’it! Really? There’s no soul in that piece of writing – too polished. Almost legalese. Over there, the big words and fancy speak become more important than writing like a human. Or this worn out opening, “I trust this email finds you well!” Surely there are various expressions to use, instead of one, almost all the time. No?

*chuckles*

The point is, we took email seriously when we woke up to its importance. So much so that most people prop up their language when they write an email message than when they write on social media platforms. Of course the noticeable difference between the two is the tone and the conversation that’s being had. The abovementioned is business-like, often, and what I am discussing with you with this article is relaxed. A playground almost.

Nonetheless, my suggestion is that we learn things as seemingly inconsequential as hashtags, pay attention to the minute details, if we are to win in the long run.

That’s it!

And, I have to admit . . . I really appreciate your time and attention; this has been yet another #ThembaJayWriting installment. Thank you!

*bows humbly*

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