If you are creating just one thing, sharing is not complicated: you share, and it’s done.
But if your material comes in several parts, what then? Will you share it all at once, or over time? Or in some combination of the two?
There are lots of ways to think about this. But I’m going to keep this simple, with a few links to examples of what I describe, in hope that it sparks some ideas of your own.
All At Once
If you share one all at once, how will you configure multiple pieces of work so that people receive them and understand them in the right sequence?
On Twitter, people break up longer stories into threads of connected tweets, each one a “reply” to the last.
Anybody stumbling on a single tweet in such a thread will be automatically notified by Twitter that it’s part of something bigger. Typically, the person tweeting indicates the sequence by including a number in the tweet.
YouTube playlists work similarly, taking viewers directly to whatever you want them to watch next:
If you have your own website, you may want to do something similar, laying out what you’re sharing in a linear sequence, like threaded tweets or YouTube videos. You could additionally have clickable descriptions at the top of the page, as I have on this Q&A page.
Or if there’s no particular sequence to be followed, you might choose a grid layout, and allow people to choose whatever is most compelling – essentially, a lucky dip. Like this, from my Join Adequate Projects page.
Sharing Over Time
Here, the question is how to schedule a rhythm, and announce it in such a way that your reader or viewer feels an enjoyable expectation, and continues to look forward to the next instalments until the end.
As you may have seen, I’ve recently become a big fan of pop-up, time-limited sequences.
I did a month-long email newsletter last summer; then another in the autumn that lasted a week but may have a second “series” soon. I did a podcast for about three months, then stopped. And a nearly-daily series of (broadly) related drawings for three months on Instagram.
Doing these time-limited series is tremendous, because I don’t feel obliged to continue them when I’ve had enough. If I should happen to feel like doing another, similar thing later – well, I have a tremendous role-model for this: Charles Dickens, who published his books in serial form, then stopped when any particular book finished; and started a new book (in serial form) when he was ready.
I always try to let people know exactly what I’m planning to do, and make it clear that they can unsubscribe or unfollow at any time.
Thanks for reading.