One thing I am often asked is the simple: “Can you teach me how to do that?” Usually it is in relation to something regarding the web or social media. For the longest time I was surprised every time this request came up. As somebody who has been immersed in the web for half my life it never occurred to me that the things I do on a daily basis are things that others might prefer guidance with.
With my job being mainly in social media and maintaining web presences, the requests became even more focused:
- “How do I set up a Facebook Page?”
- “Do I need a website?”
- “How do I use Twitter?”
I realized that to those who are not digital natives, or who have perhaps not used the web for business purposes there is a general sense that they need to do something but might not know what or even where to begin. I found an even greater need when talking to other authors in my area. Things I’d taken for granted, like my Amazon Author account, or using my status as a GoodReads author to run a giveaway, were areas in which there was even less guidance because they are more niche than traditional social media topics.
As I probed I came to the conclusion that there were a number of issues that kept people from utilizing the full potential of the internet:
- The belief that one needs to be technically savvy or a geek to do many things
- The persistent misconception that having a website or marketing on the internet is expensive
- The fact that there can sometimes be “information overload” leaving people unsure as to a course of action
- The professional tools, while present, might not be as immediately visible as those people are used to as consumers.
I’m an advocate for use of the web, and I know that most aspects are user-friendly enough these days that with just a bit of information most people can use them, provided they know what they are and where to go. My brain decided that the topic was perfect for a workshop; give people the basics so that they can build a foundation, and once they know the “how-to” they can utilize the “what-to-do” that generally permeates the discussion.
While many will say that such information is freely available on the internet, paradoxically, one has to know what they’re looking for in order to start. I determined that for me, giving people simple, actionable advice was the way to go. “This is what you need, here is why, and these are the steps you need to take.”
As I started outlining what I would discuss in a workshop, I also saw that there was sufficient matter for a book on the same topic. Thus the second part of the project was born. By writing the book first I would have a stronger outline, and those not in my area of places where I was able to present would still have access to the information.
I’ve been working on the book for the past few weeks, and am hoping to self-publish it in the spring of 2016. So keep an eye out if you’re looking to establish a digital presence but don’t know where to begin.