If you’re at all involved in a business that relies on the internet, you have for sure talked with people about how/if you even can get away from Facebook. It’s not just that I personally spend too much time on it, but it’s a volatile place for pages/business owners with pages. The algorithm changes constantly, you have to pay to have things seen, but even after giving them money, you can’t actually figure out how to play the game. Facebook never shares the rules.
Plus, people are just choosing to spend less time there, or using it in different ways. It’s not what it used to be, and that’s ok. Still, I long to find a way to share things with you all in a kind of news-feed/stream way that’s not controlled by an algorithm.
I actually heard about teens using Google Docs to communicate with each other at school as a sort of chat substitute that would fly under the radar and thought, “Huh. I could do that.”
I could make a Google doc that’s pretty basic, but easily accessible to anyone, anytime. They can read what I’m sharing in the order I’ve shared it. They can save it for later to their own drive and check back when it’s convenient for them. I mean, maybe they work out of the home, and a Google Doc in a browser tab looks less obvious than Facebook? Maybe it’s less distracting than Facebook or scrolling Instagram. I feel like it could, at minimum, be a fun experiment.
So I made one last week. You can access my Sharing Doc at JillKrause.com/Doc or the long URL is:
Here are a couple screen shots. Remember, it’s nothing fancy, and I think that’s part of the draw.
So then I thought maybe I could get all my content creator friends to make their own Google Docs and we can link to each other and send people to each other, like in the old timey blog roll days.
And so far, at least a couple friends are on board because now the Cool Mom Picks women have their own doc for the stuff they share on Instagram! You can find it at http://bit.ly/cmpigfeed and I’m going to use it to help me explain how to use these in this post.
So anyone with these links can view these docs, but if you have a Google Drive account (free) you can add these docs to your own drive, and you don’t even have to remember the urls. Start by selecting Add To My Drive under File.
From here you can click Organize and add it to it’s own folder. My Google Drive is full of a lot of stuff, so keeping a separate folder for these is the best way for me to keep them easily accessible and from getting lost in the mess.
Now I can access my Google Drive on my computer or my phone, via the Google Drive app. No more having to pull up or open Facebook or Instagram to check in!
And if you really like someone’s doc and you want to share it with your friends, just hit that share button in the upper right hand side.
And email the link or copy the link and share it on your own social platforms.
Tips for those of you considering using something like this for your own platforms or businesses:
- Make sure under settings it’s set to Anyone With The Link Can View.
- In the bottom right of the Settings pop up box, click “Advanced.”
- Select”Disable options to download, print, and copy for commenters and viewers.”
- Use headers for your dates to automatically create an outline, making it easy for readers to pick up on the date they left off.
- You can access the outline by going to View.
- Here’s what my outline looks like. You can see that I used a secondary heading to highlight the welcome letter. Use headings to highlight important info you don’t want people to have to scroll and hunt for.
- Don’t get too caught up in how it looks, design wise. If you plan to share to it on the go from the app, it’s not as easy to format. Keep it simple.
- I suggest inserting horizontal lines to breakup content.
- You can also easily insert these from the app by clicking the + icon.
I can see this being used in so many ways. In my Utopia, all my best online people have one, and we link back and forth to each other in between sharing the cool and important stuff we find every day.
But maybe it’s also a great tool for a group of local businesses. Say you have a restaurant, and you team up with the boutique down the street, and the local newspaper, and the tire shop, and whoever else, and it becomes a local resource? You can give many people access to edit the doc, making it a collaborative effort.
Maybe you create one where you curate news and link to orgs who are spreading awareness around a certain issue.
Maybe you team up with your bestie who also loves a good deal and you create a shopping doc, linking all the best sales you find. (Just be sure you’re still adhering to internet best practices of labeling affiliate links as such.)
Getting the word out is probably the biggest challenge. I feel like FB suppressed my shares of the link to my doc directly, and that’s partly why I’m blogging about it- so I can share this link. I have linked to it in my IG stories a few times and keep meaning to make it a highlight on my IG profile. I’ll add a page in my Tap Bio about it, too.
The second biggest challenge is going to be training people to use them and come back to them. That’s where I think there’s strength in numbers. A couple friends have messaged asking if I’d be offended if they “copied” this, and, listen, I can not possibly trademark this idea. Like I said at the top, I didn’t come up with this information sharing strategy on my own. And I actually think the more people who do this, the better for all of us.
Maybe docs can become a thing? Like, maybe we’re putting these links on business cards, right alongside our social handles next year? Maybe. Let’s experiment.
Drop a link to your doc in the comments if you make one! Be sure to tell us what it’s about, too.