Archive for the 'Social Media' Category

What is Hip? Tell Me Tell Me if You Think You Know

CharlesMingus.MingusAhUmIt’s pretty easy to understand the purpose of the recent viral Facebook poll, “100 Influential Albums” from the perspective of the creator. The quiz has links to buy all of those listed through Amazon, and the data mining of personal information is a goldmine. But  the motivation behind those taking the quiz to me is much more telling.

These sorts of quizzes and polls are becoming increasingly popular on the social networks as the sheer numbers of people willing to share just about anything about themselves publicly becomes a virus of its own. But why are we so drawn to these public displays of hipness?

Many I imagine do so merely out of curiosity. Wanting to know what these records are and whether we may have missed something that we “should have”, thus filling in an empty spot in our own cultural landscape. But one could find countless other lists that could help one accomplish this. Rolling Stone has it’s 500 Best Recordings of All Time, as does NME with theirs, “100 Best Albums Of All Time” How about 100 Best Lists of 100 Best Albums of All Time? Google that, I haven’t the time.

I believe that these polls work because of our need to be hipper than others. In the social world of Facebook, Twitter and Yelp where we share every last sound, bite and image that we experience, the only thing that makes us feel like an individual is doing, hearing seeing or tasting something that no one else (or any of our friends) have. The fact that I may own even 20 out of these 100 should make me feel better, because that’s better than 45% of others who have taken the poll. These numbers matter. To know that having only 1/5th of these recordings puts me above 45% of others? That’s validation. Imagine how good one could feel if they had say 60 or 70 percent of these? So maybe the tendency would be to work the numbers. I mean who “owns” records anymore? Sure I have heard and once owned “Trout Mask Replica“, but with music streaming services like MOG and Spotify amongst others, we can all “own” them all, or more accurately own none of them.

But boasting your personal numbers is not enough reason for many. No, the hipness level continues to rise above your percentile score, when you shout from your social mountain top that the list itself sucks. How on earth can “Clap Your Hands Say Yah” be on this list when there’s no mention of Charles Mingus’s, “Ah Uhm“? No metal bands? C’mon. No Sgt. Peppers? I am hipper than the list itself.

Did I take the quiz? Yes. Did I agree with the list? Some of it. How did I do? Well show me yours and I’ll show you mine. At least I won’t try and sell you something.

Now that we’ve met…

Hey wait ! Come back! Yeah you, the one that just read my blog. Who are you? What were you looking for? How did you find me and will you be coming back? And why didn’t you say hello?

It is not as if we are complete strangers anymore, you read my words. We just “met”.

It would be different if say we were in the street, say in a public square and you were looking around to meet someone. You had someone in mind, but was it me? There are people everywhere, surrounding us. Faces in a crowd don’t have keyword bubbles above their heads, nor is there a live action “search” option to find out what we might have in common, not to mention whether I might be dangerous. But we did meet, in a safe place. On my blog.

But you left without saying anything. Nothing at all. Was I not who you thought I might be? After reading maybe the first paragraph, did you just move on? Was I boring? Or maybe not the subject matter you were looking for. And what exactly were you looking for? I’d love to know.

You might have been looking for a job candidate. I could be that. I work hard, and am always looking for an opportunity that would enrich both myself and my employer. And if that’s the case, I probably failed the first interview. Which is unfortunate, because I never got to know you. We never had a conversation.

Maybe you just followed a link on my Twitter or Instagram pages, email signature or any other number of social media sites where I am present. If so, I’d love to know what I said, linked to or posted about that motivated you to go that one step further to read my blog. Even if you don’t like my blog.

There is no implied agreement in social media that you reply to what anyone says. If however we were face to face and I said something, I would expect a response. And you probably would say something, unless I was a raving lunatic and you felt the need to just run as fast as you could in the other direction. In hindsight a raving lunatic would probably get more response in social media venues than in public which is evidenced by the comments sections of many blogs.

Truth be told, I could find out how you found me, how long you stayed and where you went when you left. But honestly, that does not interest me. It’s not enough for me. I’d prefer we start a conversation. After all, you did hear what I just said didn’t you?

The Death of A Salesman

“Been so busy working, I have had no time to prospect new clients”.

As someone who spent over 10 years earlier in my career as a salesman, I know that these words promise a slow, but sure death of a successful salesman or business. I no longer am in the sales field, nor do I list my occupation as sales, but to be honest isn’t sales what we do every day? All of us?

What brought me to this post was a Facebook post by an exciting digital engagement agency based in Portsmouth, NH called Piehead. It was a link to an article over at Mashable about how sales has been slow to adopt social media techniques that other areas, such as marketing have made a required part of their operations. The article, “Why Sales is Still Missing from Social CRM” was a reminder to me that one can never stop prospecting for the future.

I had a great job for 14 years as a project manager at a Southern California design agency. We did groundbreaking work for a major power sports client. There were wetsuits hanging from the balcony in the courtyard, monthly BBQs on the patio,  and it seemed that it would last forever. Nothing does. And for those 14 years, the company stopped prospecting as well. Too busy. You can probably guess how that worked out.

So for the better part of a year, while I looked for a job, I began to sell again. The product was me. I engaged on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. I began to use social media as a sales tool. And what I found, was that it was what I would have dreamed of having as a tool back when I was selling print. To be able to connect with my clients as well as prospects by engaging them daily, to share their work with others, to find out what they were interested in, both within and outside of the office would be incredible. So I was stunned to read in this article that sales forces were not utilizing social media in their daily work.

I am not going to reiterate all that was said in the article (that’s what the link is for), but what I learned from it was that it was time for me to re-start my sales engine. I know how to use the tools, in fact I use them everyday. But I swore over a year ago, to never stop prospecting or looking for new opportunities. You never know what the next digital engagement will bring.

Definitely Not My Last Communion

I spent the entire day today, save for a brief walk in the fresh snow with my dog, in communion. And this blog post is but a continuation of that communion. There are of course different definitions of the word, but my favorite is this: communion as the interchange or sharing of thoughts or emotions; intimate communication.

There are many detractors to social media. There are those that say that we are becoming more disconnected everyday even though through our social channels we are sharing so much, with so many. But if, when we engage those in our communities, we are being thoughtful and honest, how could this be?

Today I read probably 2 dozen blog posts, countless web pages, Facebook links and emails, mostly driven by those juicy 140 character kernels in my Twitter feed. Just about anyone who takes the time to write a blog, or create content of any type, wants to share his/her thoughts and or emotions. The great thing is that these are the people who I have chosen to commune with. A congregation of sorts.

Tomorrow I’ll probably spend the lion’s share of my day continuing to interview with potential employers, following up on emails etc. But for today, it was all about you. Thanks for taking your time to commune with me.

In Search of Thoughtful Media

Last week while up in Northwestern Maine without a computer, I still got up to the minute “news” via my phone. For days after Kevin Smith ranted on his Twitter site about his experience at the hands of Southwest Airlines the twittersphere was inundated with everyone’s instant opinions on the matter. Links, blog posts and videos instantly spreading the story. And over that period the story kept changing.

These are the times we live in. But in a world where traditional broadcast media’s 24/7 isn’t immediate enough, do we want to model this medium in the same way? Is the need to be first in social media trumping the need to be thoughtful?

Sure, newspapers and networks have adopted the mea culpa fallback when things go awry. But usually, a well researched and thoughtful analysis of information prior to broadcasting is more beneficial for everyone. It builds trust through reliability. In our businesses, we don’t just shout out loud or repeat every idea or message to everyone within hearing distance. At home we are sure to get the whole story (both sides) before meting discipline. So why the rush?

In the end, if one steps back and considers the issue, researches the sources and takes a deep breath, many times, their contribution will be of more value. Sometimes the best way to receiving recognition is by not being the first to seek it. Think about that.

TMI, Too Busy or Just Distraction

With the introduction of Google’s Buzz application this week, I have been thrown for a loop. Not because of the inherent implications of yet another social media channel but more so by the broader effect on the mediums’ consumers as relates to overload.

It’s obvious to anyone who is reading this blog post, that I have not put my thoughts down on this blog in over 8 months. What have I been doing? Well in a word, reading. Reading all sorts of material by others. It’s a very convenient excuse to just explain it away as, “I’m too busy to write”. And at times, this may be true. But might there be just too much information out there? How can we keep up with it?

Just in the realm of the social media world alone there are over 119M blog page results listed on Google. Add to that Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, Linked In updates and whatever news media you regularly check, and it is a daunting enterprise to keep “current”. As I have been “re-branding” myself over the past 10 months, I have found loads of great information, made innumerable new contacts and even landed a few interviews, all with the help of these social media channels. I have learned much about the dos and don’ts of social media interaction. I have seen a very healthy growth in the number of “old school” print people dipping their toes into the future. And I know that for me, there is no turning back.

I love the conversations and the communities that are being formed. I am witnessing an incredible sense of knowledge sharing. And when we share what we are passionate about with those who are interested, everyone benefits. I am going to strive to keep up. Maybe I can cut down the number of blogs I read about blogging. That should give me more time.

Are You Guilty of “soloing” Too Much?

Miles Davis, the late jazz trumpeter/composer when asked about his tendency to emphasize the space between the notes when he played, replied “Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there.” As I wend my way through the mass of content on Twitter, Facebook and other outlets, I am struck by the frequency of posts by some users. How much is too much?

If Twitter is indeed a conversation, some people just don’t know when to shut up. A conversation is between two or more people. And a conversation requires that participants listen to each other before responding with another message. It’s “what’s not there” that tells the story. It shows introspection as well as respect. The message becomes much clearer if it isn’t surrounded by all the noise.

We have all seen the “twitter flurry”. When someone logs in to their account and tries to catch up on time lost by making 10 or 15 posts in an hour. I know that when I see a stream of this type, I tune out. It’s as if someone walks into a room where people have been talking, and suddenly just rambles on, not even caring if anyone is listening, and subsequently walking out.

A good conversation is like jazz, there’s a lot of listening, learning and sharing going on. And when that happens, we all benefit.
miles_davis


As Bill Tweets

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