Tag Archives: Social Media

Action/Consequence: The Concept Lost On Millennials.

From career choice to personal interactions, social media is a pretty big part of my life. This is in part the ‘look at everything I have done’ generation I grow up in, mixed with a University that was ahead of the game and hammered home not only the power social media possesses and the opportunities it presents, but also the responsibility we have to control ourselves on it. 

For the most part, the constant evolution of the online nature has yielded a sense of awareness to the issue of ethics. That said, it doesn’t take half a scroll down one’s newsfeed to find something that causes an eye roll or head shake followed by a question of where humanity is heading.

For years I’ve studied the actions that prompt someone to post what they do. A sense of entitlement, narcissism, ignorance or just a different perspective on the definition of ‘interesting’. The biggest thing to note is that at some point or another we’ve all been guilty of it.  Like falling down or the feeling of getting too close to a fire, we’ve all posted something that we immediately second guessed. Certainly not on the same magnitude as others, but it’s a feeling we all understand. It’s like I’ve always told my clients, colleagues and superiors in the office hierarchy, the ONLY thing I truly know about social media is that there is no right way to do it, but there are millions of wrong ones.

In college, some friends and I started a social campaign as part of a project to promote online ethics to the audience that needed to hear it: Everyone. We started a Facebook page called The Social Media Résumé Project (then we dropped the ‘the’…it’s cleaner) and took our presentation to local high schools and junior high schools in an effort to minimize the amount of things posted online that could affect future opportunities. We showed statistics, gave personal testimonials and offered alternatives.

Yet, as it always has been, the most effective form of education is through experience and the impact those consequences have.

SMRP has lived on (often times barely) to exist with that purpose. Mainly because those stories are out there, even close to home. Recently my friend Amanda, owner of 417 Pet Sitting sent me this testimonial of her experience managing those that manage social media: 

Most of us, at some point, put thought into what we post on Facebook and other social media sites. As a 30-something, single, female, business owner who is active in the community, I have accepted the fact that “big brother” is watching my every move.  Even when I have a “night off”, what I am posting reflects on me and ultimately my business.

 I am a fairly laid back boss, I like to get to know my sitters which then helps me invest the trust in them that is required in our profession.  That being said, I have always been friends with them on Facebook.  We email and text daily about clients and jobs.  We share totally open lines of communication, which brings me to my point: 
Recently I was having trouble with one of my sitters.  I had received a couple minor complaints from customers which were addressed and resolved. But, in keeping an eye on her, I started noticing more and more posts and inappropriate pictures. To make matters worse, they were being posted during times in which that young lady was supposed to be caring for clients’ pets.   As much as it angered me that she was blatantly lying to me and the clients, it saddened me that she was making such poor choices in posts and photos online.  Someday, this young lady is going to be a business professional. She has since taken down her Facebook page.  At least now she isn’t sharing her lack of responsibility with everyone, including her present and future employers.
Mistakes happen. the goal is not to abolish them, all in all it is the very thing that makes us human. 
Make them, just don’t tweet them.

Hashtags Are Getting Out Of Hand

Holy cow! I just realized it’s been quite some time since my last post on here. Truth be told, there’s a lot going on. I realize that’s the easiest excuse ever for not getting something done and we use it all too often, but I’ll follow it up with the second most used excuse: seriously, there’s a lot going on.

I have taken notice to something though in my time away: Hashtags are getting out of hand. Does anybody know why hashtags were originally created? It was a communication tool to link anyone around the world to a conversation of like items. Such as #MyDayWasLike or #CookingProblems. Television and Venues were licking their chops at this: it was an opportunity to make your event interactive: You could connect EVERYONE watching The Voice to the same conversation with #TheVoice. Attendees at SXSW could find each other throught #SXSW. It’s been something I’ve been trying to integrate into radio with #request or #OZKTop20.

Unfortunately, hashtags have fallen victim to the masses; Most people don’t use social media to listen, they use it be heard. Good hashtag conversations are few and far between, falling victim to stupid things like #swag and #yolo. People don’t click on those links, they just use them to fill up space in their tweet because it takes less time to explain than a sentence.

It’s almost become an act of spamming. Entire tweets consisting of nothing but hashtags. What does that accomplish? Sure it may gain you an extra follow or two, but is having someone wiling to follow THAT a good quality follow? Plus, it takes away from any of those conversations you linked to, and probably lost you any additional follows you gained or more.

Perhaps the worst part is that this trend has carried over to Facebook. Hashtagging in status updates, most aren’t even linked to the Twitter accounts. Granted, this may change with their new Graph Search (hold off on that verdict) but do these hashtaggers realize IT DOESN’T LINK TO ANYTHING ON FACEBOOK?!?!? This proves my afore-mentioned point that the masses don’t use social media to truly listen to what their followers are saying, they’re merely waiting for their chance to speak.

Maybe this is the way of the future. If social media has taught us anything it’s that it can’t be predicted. Maybe this is the new form of communication. From full sentences, to shortened sentences to this. Maybe this is inevitable. Hashtags will just join the ranks of poking and profile songs as the ‘Unnecessary Applications Of Profiles’. I hope not though.

I don’t want this post to be mistaken for a complaint. I still think there’s value behind the hashtag and desperately wish to see it return to the reason of it’s creation: to link us all together in one really big conversation. End this madness.


The Five Folks You Find On Twitter

The progression of ‘Should I?’ has reached another level.  In the initial conversations we have with new businesses on the subject of “what are you doing digitally”, it almost always comes up: what about Twitter? Is it beneficial for my business to tweet?

While there is no question as to whether or not businesses should be on Facebook, with over half the world on the site AND 52% of them on it more than once a day, it’s the perfect place to interact with potential customers and drive them to the store and or website, often times replacing a website entirely.  However, when it comes to Twitter, the purpose of use for a business gets a bit blurrier.

Twitter’s a much more niche form of social media. It has nowhere near the reach, but if it’s done correctly and with the best of intentions can lead to a true success story.  The first question to ask is this: Who are you trying to target? If your answer is any of the following, let’s talk.

The Actively Active Individual: Twitter is microblog that caters to the needs of the busy.  This person is all about conveniently quick (except fast food, which is horrible for the diet).  On The go, does everything from their phone and loyal to all things pro-active. A good group to target, but it would take some convincing.

The Hashtag Addict: One of Twitter’s greatest contributions to the social world: the ability to engage in any conversation of a similar topic just by putting ‘#’ in front of it.  It’s so popular tons of people use the same theme on Facebook, even though it does absolutely nothing.  Hashtags are also one of the things that are often abused.  Some are created and used with purpose, but when you see a Tweet similar to “Got some new clothes at the mall today #swag #crazy #lovemylife #followmeonFB” you know they’re probably not going to engage in any conversation and are posting for their own purpose. They do care about image though, so for retail this could be huge.

The News Reporter: These are the folks that are constantly reporting on niche topics.  Not really an opinion tweet, but something factual and could be found just as easily using Google.  They also tend to Retweet celebrities or more established journalists.  They’re up to date on everything, and a pretty good target for area events managers and promoters (they tend to want to be on the spot so as not to rely on Retweeting somebody who beat them there).

The Follow Wrangler: The only thing they care about is how many follows they get.  They tend to follow celebrities and companies. Could quite possibly be any business’s best friend.  They generally have a huge following because they, in return, are following a large number of people in return.

The Combo Pack: Literally every category mentioned before, all rolled into one.

Just like these 5 Individuals, Twitter can service a specific need.  In order to answer the question, you must first figure if these folks are indeed the folks you are after.  Also, be sure to learn how to use hashtags properly. #truth.

15 With Zuckerberg: A Conversation With Innovation

Everybody gets a different feeling when meeting a celebrity.  by that I mean a feeling unlike the norm.  Being in the industry I’m in has afforded me many opportunities to relive that feeling as well as seeing those who have wanted that opportunity for so long.  I admit I don’t necessarily get giddy unless it’s a St. Louis Cardinal or someone who has truly had a hand in shaping society. A true innovator that will forever go down as an individual who changed the world. A few Saturdays back, I had to opportunity to see a few of them.

My best friend of childhood Nick, accepted a position as a merchandise planning analyst at the Wal-Mart corporate offices in Bentonville, AR.  Since he started he has become a regular at Wal-Mart’s Saturday Morning Meetings. As I understand it, are ‘optional’ but usually get a decent attendance because corporate brings in some high profiles names to speak.  It just speaks volumes of the name the Wal-Mart brand carries.  Today was certainly no exception.  Nick called me about a week in advance and asked that I come down for this, stating that he could not “confirm or deny that a Mr. Clay MathewsMr. Kirk Herbstreit & Mr. Mark Zuckerberg would be in attendance’.  Couldn’t really pass that up…

The meeting began at 7:30am with the kind of production you would expect to pay for at a seminar.  Clay Mathews spoke of teamwork, effort and dedication.  Kirk challenged folks to come out and support a good cause in the name of competition at a game he had set up on Bentonville’s square for Wal-Mart’s 50 year anniversary celebration.  But towards the end of the meeting, the vibe started to pick up around the room.  We all knew what was coming.

Entering the meeting, signs were clearly marked stating ‘NO Photography’, yet when Zuckerberg came up to speak with Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke, cameras, iPads, phones, you name it. All were out and pointing at the man of the evening.  The man who changed the internet.

For 15 minutes, it was incredible.  Watching a ridiculous amount of our nation’s net worth having a conversation, bouncing ideas off one another. Before a room full of Wal-Mart employees, family, friends and myself, there was a lot to take in.  Zuckerberg is a rock star in the digital world, yet slightly awkward in reality.  His words came matter-of-factly, but not without great merit. I took away two things from what he had to say.

1) Move fast and break things: This is by no means meant to be taken in a literal sense.  Rather, it’s that if you spend so much time trying to perfect every single detail you are going to miss out on the opportunity for innovation.

2) Always ask yourself what decisions you would make were you not afraid to make them. So powerful.

From listening to this conversation, to watching what will most likely be the most expensive handshake I will ever see in my life, to the experience in general.  No doubt, it will forever change my life.

Dual Personality: The Perils of Having Two Profiles

Businesses, alter egos, celebrities or people who think they’re celebrities.  It’s not uncommon to see more ‘fake’ profiles scrolling down the newsfeed than names you actually recognize.  Some do this for promotion of a product or service they are pushing.  Some are doing this to socially separate their business lives from their personal ones. Some are doing it so they can actually live out their fantasy of having the last name ‘Bieber’.  Whatever the reason, it’s happening.  Like social media in general, there isn’t necessarily a ‘right way’ of doing it, but there are sooooo many wrong ones.

I say there isn’t any single designated ‘right way’ and this is due to the fact that social networks don’t properly know how to acknowledge this.  Facebook and Twitter have no way of regulating and the only site that has actually acknowledged this situation is Google. Which went oh, so well…

The first choice would be this: why allow it? When you think about it, it’s kinda taking on a false identity if you think about it.  But what about those celebrities that have amassed a following with their stage name? Or more importantly what about those who are going under a separate name to protect their identity from a stalker, etc.?  Hopefully your situation is not in that realm, but there is some food for thought.

  • When considering another profile, be sure to delete the other one – you may be wanting to get rid of that profile your mom wouldn’t approve of, but to keep it around after creating a new one just causes confusion for everyone.  Dump it.
  • If you do create another profile, be sure to make it unique enough to stand out from the other one – a great example of this is the station jock profiles we have at Journal Broadcast Springfield.  My personal profile is separate from my on-air personality profile and each stand out enough to where mutual followers can expect different content (hence, reasons to follow) from each profile.
  • Make sure there’s a name differentiation – it’s one thing to have a Mike Jones (who? I know, I know…) profile, but to have Mike Jones and a Mike Jones Amcorp Marketing profile.  People won’t really be able to tell a difference and the cause is basically lost.
  • Consider a page – So you can avoid the whole ‘logging out and logging in as your other profile’ thing, it may be easier to go with a page, but only do so if you have legitimate cause.
  • If it’s possible to stick with just one, stick with just one – what’s wrong with cleaning up what you’ve got.

As stated earlier, there is no true ‘right way’ to do this, but there can be sooo many wrong ways.  The whole point of creating multiple profiles is to provide relevant and engaging enough content to appeal to each audience.  Besides, there may come a time when you’re alter ego gains a bigger fan base than your original. Trust me, I know…

Advertising & Music : The Happily Married Couple

It’s not much to say one is in a relationship anymore.  Used to be (at least I’ve been told, I really don’t know) when someone says ‘yeah, we’re married’ the appropriate response was ‘congratulations!’.  Now…it’s ‘ohh, for how much longer?’ The divorce rate is what, half?! Ridiculous.  It’s one thing to say you’re married, it’s another entirely now to say you’re happily married.  That’s the difference: that’s when you know it’s real, it’s pure and it’s going to last.  Happily married equates soul mates.  That’s advertising and music.

Advertising has been around as long as the pyramids if not longer, so has music.  Yet they didn’t really find each other until the origin of the jingle, which is unclear in itself.  Some say Wheaties, others say Lucky Strike. Whatever it was, this relationship got hot and heated…FAST.  The point of advertising is to persuade the audience to purchase the product advertised.  The jingle caught on so fast it quickly became such a saturated market that audience they were singing to couldn’t tell the difference between jingles.  It took a while, but jingles died out.

Yet this flame never extinguished between advertising and music.  The 80’s & 90’s saw some glorious passion, Pepsi teaming with Michael Jackson. Kool & the Gang performing in Wendy’s parking lot. The relationship was taken to the next level, advertising saw that it didn’t need to recreate the wheel to establish brand credibility, a loyal following could be attained through music and it’s mainstream artists.  Music saw benefit too, artist’s singles skyrocketed up the charts if they were featured in a commercial.  Talk about brand recognition…

There’s no doubt the relationship between advertising and music is a happy one, the question is this: who wears the pants? Does advertising reflect music, or does music reflect advertising?  I don’t think there is a wrong answer.  Present day is a great example.  Working in CHR Top 40, you get a very good view as to how the music industry moves (albeit slightly delayed, it takes time to get your favorite song to the top of the charts, person-who-hears-a-song-on-the-radio-then-says-‘I heard that 6 months ago’).  Noticeably there’s been a shift to a more indie feel in the world of mainstream music, hence the popularity of bands like Fun., Gotye, Grouplove & The Black Keys. This is due to several things, among them resistance to another poppy beat with auto tune, respect for a unique sound and maybe even a catchy hook.  Definitely among them however, is the fact that they recognize it.  Thanks to advertising.  This was stolen from the 80’s (or before): as an artist, a goal is to get your song into a commercial.  Great example: Fun.  They ware relatively off the mainstream map…until the Superbowl when Chevy used ‘We Are Young” in a commercial.  How effective was it? 110 spins a week on a mid-market station in the midwest is a small example.  A promoter here in town was looking to bring them to in.  She contacted their people in late November, they were looking at around the $13k price tag.  After the commercial: the price jumped to $35k.  Recognition is key to mainstream success.

Like any relationship, it’s all about give and take.  Advertising can help music, music helps advertising.  Once again, go back to the 80’s. Pepsi gained a fan base by appealing to a target demographic: the demo that listens to Michael Jackson.  Same thing with American Idol winner Taylor Hicks and Ford in 2005.  Pepsi again in the 90’s this time with Britney Spears. These are all just going off the top of the head references, and that’s the point. Music can give advertising instant credibility, like how Kia was instantly on top with brand recognition when it had it’s hamsters dance to LMFAO’s ‘Party Rock Anthem’.  Crazy, but memorable.

There have been bumps in the road, like any other relationship.  They still argue about the jingle; whether to reinvent it (State Farm) or to never let it go despite evidence that it should (freecreditreport.com).  They’ve also seen surges, both being able to gauge popularity through social media like YouTube.  From the beginning though, advertising and music have always been about one thing: love.  Take that, divorce rate.

How Bout That Email?

Here’s the thing: this isn’t a post about the demise of e-mail, at least that is not my intention.  I still think email serves a purpose in today’s digital culture (and it better, businesses still charge clients a fair but decent amount of money to be a part of theirs), but really…I don’t know why.  I can’t justify it without some completely reasonable retort, I don’t even claim to be a huge advocate for the medium. I guess I just, do. There’s so many signs that point to the contrary, but like television, radio, and even print (for now) it’s still around.  There are pros to this:

One – Email is still the main source of communication in the workplace.  If you’ve ever seen Office Space, you cringe when you hear the term ‘TPS reports’, or ‘didn’t you get the memo?’  Fact is, these phrases are all but gone thanks to email.  It’s now, ‘did you send that Google doc?’ or ‘did you get cc’d in that last email?’.  My office laughed at me when I didn’t know how to work the fax machine, but they don’t think twice about coming to me with a question on Google Calendars.  Especially now that they’ve found how it integrates into their email.  It’s taken some getting used to, but corporate America is all about email.

Two – Email is still the most trusted way of getting something directly to someone as quick as possible.  Sure some use Facebook messaging, others Tweet it. However, email is the .pdf of the conversation.  Pretty much everyone can open a .pdf, and pretty much everyone has an email.  Not everyone’s on Facebook, whether it be for privacy concerns or sticking it to The Man.  Not everyone is on Twitter, whether it’s lack of time in the day, or ‘not caring what someone is eating for breakfast’.  Everyone has email, and more importantly if someone wants to get something to another person fast, they send it via email.

But here’s the rub: for as many pros, there has to be cons.

One – The next generation will always be a step ahead.  The generation before mine had cellular telephones and fax machines, mine has been baptized in email and smart phones with a dose of social media.  The next generation will have their own thing.  There are a crazy few that try to keep up with the trends, but in the end you just don’t get it man.  I’m really not looking forward to that moment.  Fact is, there are colleges no longer passing out email accounts but rather iPads.  There will come a time when children will read about email on their video feed from their Google Glasses (or whatever those Tron looking things are) and think “man, how did people live back then?”

Two – Social Networks are a competitive bunch.  It’s like a real version of the Michael Jordan v. Mia Hamm Gatorade spot with the tune “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better”, except it’s not sports it’s our digital culture and literally billions of dollars.  It’s an app eat app world out there, and only the richest with the most accounts tend to survive.  Case in point: Facebook’s $1 billion acquisition of Instagram.  Great app (something Facebook doesn’t know much about) so instead of sitting by letting Instagram build a photo sharing empire, they buy it for a sweet price and continue to let it do what it does.  They did it to an up and coming force in the social world, don’t think they can’t do it to email.  There’s constantly rumors of when users can integrate email into their Facebook and just receive everything right in one spot.  It’s just around the corner.

Pros meet cons.  Each of you is valid, but arguments weren’t made to be tied.  10 years ago it was unheard of to say “yeah I got your email, Skype me real quick so we can go over the main points” or “I was about finished with your memo but my battery died”.  It’s amazing how far we’ve come.  Technology is introduced to help better our lives, and with that previously existing tools must die.  I don’t know when, but email will at some point meet it’s fate.  However, I truly think now is not that time.  It’s like religion: I don’t have solid, indisputable facts that email is here and strong, I just believe it is.  I still believe it has a purpose to serve.  I do know this: Go without Facebook for a week and you miss out on a bunch of useless status’, and barrage of time-wasting photos and maybe an invitation to that thing your neighbors are having but they told you about it in person anyway so you knew.  Go without email for a week and you could miss out on a major business opportunity or life changing decision.  For now, that’s power that can’t be bought.