So What?

No I’m not talking about the famous Miles Davis tune, although there is a nice Youtube moment here below for your listening pleasure while you read this post!


I’m talking about the “so what?” question we need to ask ourselves more in this social media and communications space. It’s a simple yet powerful checkpoint I keep getting back to, something I need to ask myself more often. I heard about it several years ago in a consulting workshop and was reminded of it again yesterday in an influential writing course.

So, you go to that lovely little microblogging site Twitter. You tweet your 140 characters in freestyle form. Pause for a second before you hit that update button.

So What?

What is the purpose of that tweet? Are you just creating noise? Ask yourself the question “who cares?” Have you shown me an insight into what is unique about you? Are you tweeting for the sake of getting something out of your head or could your tweets benefit from asking yourself each time – so what? Perhaps mindless banter is your flavour of the day (nothing wrong with that style – microblogging lends itself to that form) and Twitter is really what each person makes of it. I would just love to see more people ask themselves those two words more often, myself included, so that tweeting has the potential form of storytelling and compelling autobiography. Some tweets grab me, others are like noise in a crowded room.

Same goes for blogging. I still don’t understand why people post “links of the day”without any descriptions. So what? Post your links with a little one liner about the difference these links made for you, a description of the content, or your experiences with finding the links down a rabbit hole that day. Personalise it. If you are sharing an article or something that inspired you, put your own spin on it. What has that article made you think about? Why are you telling me about it?

Creating a presentation? Ask yourself for each slide. Each heading. Who cares? What difference does it make? What thought process have you wrapped around the information? Will your audience care? Are you telling a compelling story?

People nowadays are pruning their RSS feeds and turning down the volume on noisy twitterings. Perhaps if people asked themselves those two simple words they would have more compelling content and be less likely to find themselves on the “cut” list. It’s something I need to ask myself more often, if only to improve my content and writing style.

So next time you tweet, IM, text, or even talk – think first “so what?” It could make the difference between losing the interest of your audience or engaging them to converse and interact with you.

4 thoughts on “So What?

  1. Sean FitzGerald

    An issue I have struggled with, but it really comes down to what is the purpose of your blogging/twittering? Is it to publish and engage an audience, or is it to express yourself?

    It can depend on your venue too… you can write with an audience in mind for a professional blog, but write for yourself on a personal blog. For me it’s about expressing myself and being authentic at the moment, and if people choose to not read/follow me then that’s fine.

    So no, at the moment I’m not going to be asking “So what?” :-)

  2. wonderwebby

    hi Sean! I understand what you are saying about the purpose of blogging. I try to write for myself at the outset bearing in mind an audience could be engaged for discussion – but still find asking myself “so what” improves my expression and I am happier with my own writing. I’m asking myself “am I really conveying the essence of this message?” “Have I thought about X topic from my own perspective?” “Is this really worth my own time of day to tweet/blog?” It’s worth a try :)

  3. Ric

    Jazz – love that tune … is that why you call yourself Jazz – some strange leaning towards the music?

    I agree with you on the ‘description on links’ – these days almost my only blogging activity is links … but I try and add something to them.

  4. wonderwebby

    heya Ric! Have to do something about the CSS so you can see the “about me” link at the top….then you will see why I am “Jazz” ;)

    I think I disagree with myself a little now, about Twitter. I think I was getting tired of wading through mindless tweets to get to the ones I wanted. Tweets can be flippant and trivial or profound and amazing. I just don’t like it when they are every 20 minutes, every day, about nothing. Know what I mean?

    The best thing about Twitter…you never have to go back and delete your “inbox”!

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