“Duck and Cover.”
This was the name of a 1950’s animated movie featuring “Bert the Turtle” and he taught American school-age children how to respond to a nuclear bomb attack. Bert the Turtle taught the kids to drop to the ground (duck) and get into a shell (cover).
We may laugh now at such a movie, but generations ago, the government produced this film in hopes of educating children and reducing their fear of a nuclear attack.
Maybe you or someone in your family remembers practicing the “duck and cover” drills at schools. As we know, a nuclear attack never happened (may it always be that way!).
While the threat of nuclear attack still exists, our fears are reduced because we have confidence in our ability to prevent or mitigate such an attack.
Right now, our social media world feels like there’s an impending nuclear meltdown. Is that meltdown happening now? Will it happen? Who knows. What we do know is that social media feels threatening these days. While there isn’t a way to define what constitutes leveling a “social media nuclear bomb,” we are launching plenty of grenades and hate-heavy verbal missiles at each other.
In the midst of our weaponized online world, how you can “duck and cover” to survive?
“Duck and cover” isn’t about running away from what’s happening. It’s not about denial, nor about cowardice. Rather, “duck and cover” is about learning how to protect your platform and offer cover to your audience.
Earlier this week, one of our Books & Such Authors asked whether authors should expand out to the newer social media platforms because of the toxic Facebook environment.
For some, just the thought of adding another social media platform elicits a giant UGH. It’s like a mom and dad who finally get the hang of operating one-on-one defense with two kids, and then they have a third kid. The game changes to zone coverage, meaning that they have to spread themselves a little thinner and leave a few more gaps. It’s possible, but it’s harder, too.
As I reflected on the 1950s “duck and cover” strategy, here are a few thoughts that transfer to what we’re facing now as we’re looking at a deeply divided social media world and how that impacts us writers and our audiences.
- “Duck” is about choosing to get down to a solid foundation if there is a threat in the atmosphere.
For us writers, this is our email list. If social media blows up or our audience fragments into dozens of social media silo platforms, our email list is the one thing that we can control AND that no one can take away from us.
Should we run after our social media audience if they choose to flee from well-established platforms to new platforms? That’s a question that you have to ask yourself. But, might I add a few other questions to the conversation:
a. Do you know for sure if your audience is fleeing?
There’s a lot of talk on social media, but how much real action? Remember, people are creatures of habit AND people are drawn to drama.
b. Where is your audience supposedly fleeing?
Also, a sensitive follow-up question: If your audience seems to be running toward new platforms that segregate them from people different from them, should you let them go?
c. If you’re wondering if you should follow a segment of your audience, will following them pull you away from who you’ve been called to reach or serve?
- “Cover” is about protecting yourself and the opportunity to create protection for your audience, too.
The most proactive measure that we can take while watching to see what happens on social media is to take care of the mailing list that we have built.
The people who’ve signed up for your newsletter, subscribed to your podcasts or registered for your online courses are counting on you to add real value to their lives based on your specific God-given gifting.
Keep in touch with them. Ask them how they’re doing. Equip them to resist the weaponized culture by offering content that’s literary, poetic, musical or scriptural– content that protects their hearts and minds and uplifts their souls.
Writers, if you create life-giving cover for your email audience, they will gratefully shelter with you.
Let’s hope and pray that what feels like an impeding social media nuclear meltdown never happens. It may feel bad out there, but that’s also an indication that your creative work is needed now more than ever.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION:
QUESTION #1: What questions are you wrestling with about your social media platform these days?
QUESTION #2: If an email list is a writer’s best “duck and cover” in a volatile online culture, then why do you think writers are more stressed than ever over social media?