When selecting a digital channel to deliver a message, you need to think beyond the “sex appeal” of the tool you’d like to use and consider the message and desired outcome (if any). I’ve prepared a list of tools along with a summary of how you might consider using them. Note that each tool allows you to build and strengthen community in different ways.

BLOG, long form sharing and engagement

  • Opinion pieces
  • Short-to-long form information and entertainment sharing
  • Initiate and host discussions about nuanced issues
  • Multimedia sharing
  • Centralized community building
  • Informed commentary
  • Search engine optimized content

MICROBLOG, bite-sized updates and engagement (e.g. Twitter)

  • Breaking news
  • Brief status updates (what you’ve done, are doing, will be doing)
  • Discrete thoughts on a particular subject
  • Bursty conversations and engagement (short-term)
  • Focused questions (engaging community for assistance)
  • Links to articles and other online discussions
  • Promotion of your own online content
  • Event updates
  • Real-time photo and video sharing

SOCIAL NETWORK, medium-level discussions and sharing (e.g. Facebook)

  • Status updates (what you’ve done, are doing, will be doing)
  • Thoughts on a particular subject
  • Threaded discussions
  • Ask questions (engaging community for assistance)
  • Links to articles and other online discussions
  • Photo and video sharing

AUDIO, portable dynamic and personality-driven communication (e.g. podcast)

  • Inject personality into information and entertainment sharing
  • Interviews, discussions and issue-specific round tables (must be dynamic)
  • Event coverage (verbatim archive or documentary)
  • Generate rapport with audience
  • Very portable and doesn’t demand undivided visual attention

VIDEO, show and tell communication (e.g. YouTube)

  • Adds visuals to the mix (have something to show)
  • Interviews, discussions and issue-specific round tables (must be dynamic)
  • Event coverage (verbatim archive or documentary)
  • Generate rapport with audience
  • Accessing online video easier to understand than online audio

Photo: Bike Tools uploaded to Flickr by nocibomber.

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