Sharing on social media: how much pre-information do you really need to write?

sharing,blogs,social media,writing,blogging,Suzan St Maur,, how to write better

How much do you really need
to share on Social Media?

When you share an article on your SocMed platforms it’s only polite to give readers a taste of what’s in it for them if they read it.

But recently I have been lambasted by two good cybercitizens – one in the UK and one in the USA – for not describing in detail the benefits of reading whatever article, chapter and verse, in sufficient detail, when I share either one of my own articles or someone else’s.

By one I was told … “Try to be creative with it then. Think of the post as an extension of the link. Try to bring up something interesting to yourself, quote the post, describe the post in more detail, bring up further discussion based on the post… something, anything…”

Not everyone has time for creative musings on information online

As you’ll see if you read an earlier article of mine about content curation, it would appear that many more people want to cut the crap and get straight to the point with social media and blogging. Long-winded preambles may please those who want to wallow in the bubble bath of what social media should be all about in an ideal world. But few business people now have the time or inclination to muse – they want news.

I can understand where these people are coming from, especially when you consider how much garbage is “shared” in the SocMed by robots and other mechanical means purely distributing links like confetti at a wedding. But there’s a big difference between giving a concise reason why something is worth reading … and waffling on at length about a post that you feel someone would benefit from and trying to explain the whole post in your preamble.

What’s the ideal style of preamble to a recommended blog post or similar?

Short, sharp and to the point. I’ve found that time and time again whether I’m sharing my own posts or someone else’s.

You do NOT need to wax lyrical about the post: the fact that you’re recommending it should be enough to tell your readers and followers that they would do well to check the article out.

Let’s get real here, as I’ve mentioned. If you have something to share, great – so get on with it. Don’t bore people with your own interpretation unless you feel that’s as valuable as the post you’re promoting, whether it’s one of yours or someone else’s.

If it is your own post, treat it as if it were someone else’s

That allows you to use the third person and it will be more convincing.

Try to encapsulate not just what the post’s about, but also what it will do for you-the-reader … but without  making your words sound like advertising copy.

Some hypothetical examples

Why (Poster) thinks she could reduce your book-keeping costs

Think you know how to write convincingly? (Poster) thinks otherwise, and could be right.

A pretty good summary of how you can upgrade your (whatever) which could save you time

If you suffer from (whatever problem) you might find this advice helpful

Not sure I agree with this post, but it certainly seems to save some (product) users a lot of time

…and so-on.

What do you think?

Am I right to believe that long-winded descriptions of what I’m about to share are overkill?

Or do you want a much longer reason why you should take my advice and read the post for yourself?

photo credit: kdonovangaddy via photopin cc




  1. I like to have at least a little idea what the link is about, so the only thing that really bothers me is if someone tweets a link with nothing but the link.

    • Hi Robyn – I agree, links-only are a bit rude unless the headline of the article (which forms part of the link) is self-explanatory. But even then, a few extra clarifying words don’t hurt … as long as there aren’t too many of them!