Have you ever been involved in a random conversation with a bunch of strangers discussing a topic you are curious about? Especially one that can help you achieve a goal you want but not sure how to? Well, that’s what happened to me when I realized how a Twitter chat can define an idea for my writing project.
I participated in the popular chat hosted online at Twitter, #bufferchat. It was during one of the questions that I had the good fortune of engaging with the director of marketing for Buffer, Kevan Lee.
Kevan responded to one of the questions which caught my attention and resulted in a Twitter conversation.
What do you see your marketing career path looking like?
Here is a clean, simplified version of the conversation.
Kevan: One thing I’ve done (accidentally) is not plan a career path but rather embrace opportunities as they arise.
Mark: Has it been a zig-zag like career up to now?
Kevan: Yeah, pretty straight actually. Content (specialist) > Growth (generalist) > Management (leadership).
Mark: Interesting… seems like an upside-down pyramid type of path. Congrats on your success.
Kevan: Thanks! I didn’t know much about digital marketing when I joined (I came from journalism). Definitely grateful they took a chance on me!
Mark: Did you ever ask why they took a chance on you?
Kevan: Oh yes, I did some relationship-building to get my foot in the door. Here’s more of my story: How to Get the Content Marketing Job You’ve Always Wanted.
I managed to open up the link and scan it quickly. I was impressed with it and pocketed it for later so I could return to the chat. I didn’t want to stop learning about the topic.
If you are interested in learning more about what a T-shaped marketer is, Buffer posted a recap of the chat. On a side note, much to my surprise, the Community Champion for Buffer, Arielle, picked one of my answers for the recap.
The Image Description Train of Thought
A few days later after things settled down, I was able to read the article again. Basically, Kevan wrote about how he fell into content marketing. It appears that he grew up around the same time I did before the Internet became a virtual workspace.
It felt like I was taking a trip down memory lane. During my teen years, my counselor gave me a career assessment test. The results of my test generated a deep suspicion to the validity of the test and a distaste for the system.
It encouraged me to pursue a career as one of the following:
- Physical education teacher
Forget about any kind of career associated with the Internet. Such career did not exist back then. If I were to describe my facial expression at those results, it would be one of those “get out of here” expression.
However, Keven did bring up a few points that I agree with.
Write every day.
It can be challenging to write every day. I do have a few methods that allows me to meet this challenge regardless of whether I am in the mood or not. However, writing does get boring sometimes.
It can take a while to figure out what else can be done to achieve this goal. By examing the goal of writing every day itself, it can be easy to visualize the bigger picture and find the solutions.
Write something that provides value.
Everyone knows that to get what they want, they have to give something of value first.
This is where Kevan brought up the concept of a playground. A place where you can go and play. In other words, your playground is a learning opportunity.
In my case, I wanted a playground where I could start writing something of value to my readers. Just like Kevan and thousands of other bloggers, my website is my playground. As a result, I am using my playground to test an idea for my side project, image descriptions.
Ship today and often.
Basically, Kevan wrote about a concept that Seth Godin likes to point out often.
- Create something and ship it now.
- The sooner you ship it, the sooner you get feedback.
- The sooner you get feedback, the sooner you can improve.
The concept behind shipping as soon as possible is to avoid delays. The more delays, the easier it is to derail yourself. This is something I struggle with in terms of writing blog posts.Fill in the gap between shipping blog posts with great project ideas. Click To Tweet
As you know, I am a strong advocate for accessibility and incluison. This includes creating accessible content and including readers with different human conditions.
I noticed part of the reasons for the gaps between my blog posts is the time it takes to write image descriptions. It was this gap that gave me a great idea for an image description project.
The reason for this project is because the more accessible our content becomes, the more inclusive we become.
More often than not, image descriptions are often an oversight more as a result of the race to ship our products and services to the market. It is a similar experience with videos not having captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing. Or even audio descriptions for that matter.
It was something Jeff Goins did that made me realize that I have to put something out there – warts and all.
Three Reasons To Ship Image Descriptions Fast
- I want to fall in love with my readers’ ability to enjoy image descriptions.
- I want to engage with my readers and learn how to improve image descriptions.
- I want to change the lack of image descriptions and increase the level of inclusion.
There is simply not enough image descriptions in the world for everyone to enjoy. Beside the obvious benefit of adding more image descriptions to the Internet, it is a skill I can hone over time with your feedback.
Feedback can help define an idea.
Feedback will be critical to the success of this project.
Feedback is what will help define an idea regardless of whatever the idea is. The challenge is figuring out how to get feedback. At the moment, there are three possibilities:
- You are able to leave comments on these image descriptions.
- You are able to share these image descriptions on social networks.
- You are able to use my image descriptions under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.
Beyond that, I am still figuring out other ways to get feedback.
The Bottom Line
This is not the first time I have used a Twitter chat to help me define an idea for a project. In fact, I engage regularly on Twitter during the following chats:
- #AXSChat – covers accessibility and inclusion topics.
- #bufferchat – covers social media marketing topics.
- Travel chats – covers a wide range of travel topics that have been useful for defining other relevant ideas.
Have you ever experience a Twitter chat that helped you define an idea? Share your experience in the comments below.