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For those of you who read my posts you’ll know that I’ve just returned to college to study journalism.  A large part of the course involves photography. Journalism and photography complement each other – part of our photography course will tie in with our journalism studies – and this got me thinking – how much has a writer’s role changed? long gone are the days when you would research, write and edit a piece.

To say that the arrival of social media changed how writers operated is an understatement.  Every writer has a blog, at least one, if you’re a glutton for punishment you might have more.  It’s a necessity, a place to showcase your work, let off a bit of steam, allow your personality to shine through and get your name known.  But it doesn’t stop there.  Just as it’s necessary to have a blog, it’s also necessary to be active on social media sites – this is where most of your interaction will come from.  Make no mistake, Social media is all about building online relationships with people and like all relationships it’s a two-way street – you have to interact with other users.  As we all know it’s not as simple as writing,  rewriting and hitting the “publish” button and crossing your fingers.  If you want to get known you have to put yourself out there and build a readership and that in itself takes time. Today, most writers are on multiple social media sites.

You can have brilliant posts, interacting on social media sites but guess what ? No blog today will receive much interaction without good quality visual content – and the standard is getting higher all the time. When I started my blog I just posted.  I was so caught up in what to write and how to write it that my first few posts didn’t have any visual content. At all.  Ahem.  Lesson learned.  To make a post stand out, for it to have as much interaction as possible it has to have good quality imagery.  Look at the amount of news feed that is fed constantly through Twitter, when you’re scrolling down through it, what makes you stop and check out a piece? How likely are you to look at something that doesn’t have a photo, ? Here’s another question to ask yourself: how many pieces on social media  Don’t have any visual content.? None.  There’s a very good reason for this: Of all the information that travels to the brain ninety percent is visual.  Information is better communicated in the form of images. We see so much content on social media sites that we need imagery to break up the content so that we can digest it easier.  Can you imagine twitter or Facebook without images?

Perhaps the one thing that hasn’t changed for writers is how we hone our craft.  Polish the piece so that every word carries weight, not one word is wasted.  Words have the potential to be extremely powerful when used correctly and every writer knows this.  And caffeine where would we be without it? Now pass me the kettle I’m gasping!