Social networks are changing the way people communicate, socialise, work together, create and interact on all sorts of levels. For us at freestak, we see this as a huge opportunity for businesses to tell their stories and find out what it is that their customers really want and what they think.

But there are some qualities of social networks that can sometimes create conflict. One of these qualities is immediacy: a photo, tweet, video or update can be posted, shared, re-shared and spread virally within hours if not minutes.

This immediacy is one of the things that we think is a benefit of social networks, but it also creates a tension, where the balance between quality and speed is hard to get right.

For example, if you are hosting an event, there might be a temptation to produce a beautiful film utilising multiple camera angles, beautifully edited transitions, lighting, special effects and so on. However the person in the front row at your event, filming on his or her smart phone, can do some very basic editing and upload a film to their YouTube account, posting the link on twitter, Facebook, their blog and half a dozen relevant forums and other social media networks, during the coffee break.

Suddenly your very expensive and beautiful film is redundant. The socially media savvy person in the front row has just told everyone everything they need to know about the event.

So what is the answer? Well we believe that you have to embrace the idea that you need to produce content fast. The world expects it and the response you will get to it will be many times more powerful than if you wait for months, weeks or even days before you reach out to people. To do that, you need short snippets – 200 word blog posts, half a dozen photos, a few clips from the video you have recorded.

Then you can interact with your audience while you work at finishing something more significant. With the snippets you can tell people about what else is coming and actually build the suspense. But the most important thing is to capitalise on whatever you have done and if you have to sacrifice one thing, let that be a little bit of quality in favour of speed.


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