Mining Social Media for Ideas

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

Whether you write for young readers or adults, social media and the world of apps can be a treasure trove of ideas. I realized this yesterday when a read a friend’s post on the Muffin blog about how the Nextdoor App sparks her creativity (see her post here).

Another friend commented that she reads AITA posts. For those of you not in the know, that stands for Am I the A-hole. In general, someone whose family, coworkers or friends are angry at them will post about the situation wanting to know if they are in the wrong. Search AITA and your feed will be full of drama!

For cozies, I tend to pop over to the Facebook group for the city where I live. In addition to numerous posts about expired license plates and people running stop signs, you will find questions about how to settle conflicts with neighbors. The situations that people describe often seem trivial (a neighbor’s irritating wind-chimes) but people are furious! It is easy to imagine an escalation that could lead to a murder mystery.

When it comes to writing for younger readers, I also find a lot of story ideas on Twitter. I know. Twitter has a bad reputation as someplace where people treat each other badly. But people also ask for advice on dealing with situations with their children and their students. One such question led to an idea about a little girl who cannot sleep and what she finds when she gets up in the dark.

Twitter and Facebook are also places where people share things that interest them. Scanning posts, I find ideas about historic people and events, inventions, and natural wonders. So many STEM ideas! What is in my feed slants in these directions because who I’ve friended (Facebook) and followed (Twitter).

Graphics. Messages. Requests for information. Questions. All of these things can feed your list of writing ideas. They show you what people are interested in and what they are commenting on. And, if you use the list at the upper right in Yahoo and Twitter, you can also see what is trending. So many ideas can be found on social media.