After hiking the Juan de Fuca trail, which was a beautiful and challenging trip that at times forced my brain to imagine I had wings attached to my backpack helping me up the reaaaally steep climbs, I figured the format and push that make up the character of a hike would be perfect to apply to a time-managed marathon of social media.
Preparing for the Hike
For this hypothetical situation, you have to book an amount of time out of your week to do the trip, as well as be aware of your limits within that frame – whether it’s two full days of media planning, gathering, and creation, or a three-hour stint in which your ground to cover is writing 5 blog entries to prep you for the week, or to develop a network of keywords and drive an inter-twitter communication search & response, the hike should very clearly have a start and end point. Decide whether your tactic is to do a little bit of hiking each day over a long period of time, or whether you want to speed through long distances in a short amount of time – set markers to reach along the way.
The Starting Point
This is the hardest part; getting all your ducks in a row, signing up for Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, Tumblr, WordPress, etc.. These sites are in essence the backpacks of your trip, which launch you into pulling together the tools you’ll need to fill them, like Klout: a map to track how well you’re doing; an iPhone, camera or image source to capture current happenings and liven your stories with visually appealing media; food, the most important lifeline, which can come in the form of bookmarks of related blogs, sites, magazines, companies, and following those more advanced on your topic on Twitter, WordPress, etc., ensuring you’ve got a constant flow of information to feed you on.
The Intensive Hiking Battle
You’ll find yourself up against slippery steep hills in which you might need to reach over and grab a rope to help you up; if an abundance of creative material in a short amount of time is your end-point, then the rope can mean wrapping up your post with an image that does the describing work for you, or finding a video to occupy some space between heavy text posts. You’ll need breathers and snack breaks to down your GORP (Good Online Role Playing) in which you regroup, close all windows, clear your mind and re-focus on the trail ahead, what did you want to accomplish, say, and how.
This is a natural occurrence throughout the trip, but sometimes needs to be prompted. Try getting away from the beaten path by Tumbling through links until you find a Flickr of an idea that you wouldn’t have initially come across. Turn that gem around in your hand and find out how it can mean something about you or to your readers.
This obviously means a cold beer at the end of your journey. Stretching your heels back while perusing over the collected story that you put together. And some more cold beer.