Posts Tagged ‘Social Media’

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Social Media Etiquette: How to Handle Negative Feedback

01.11.11

For those first getting involved in social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, the initial pushback can be over what content to post.  And since social media for business is different than social media for personal use only, that means repeated posts about what you’re eating for breakfast probably won’t cut it, while instead sharing a link about something in your line of work will.

So, why did I post about my breakfast yesterday morning and how was it received?

I don’t have a Facebook Official Page, just my personal profile, so it gets a mixture of business and personal.  And while I don’t recommend only writing status updates of “I’m having Life cereal for breakfast” or “I’m hungry. Time to eat” (regardless of whether or not you use your Facebook profile for business), writing about food in general is hardly off limits.  People love talking about food, seeing images of food, and learning about food.  And with so many people in my sphere of influence interested in healthy living, it seems relevant.

So, I took a photo of the box of donuts next to the bunch of bananas and posted it to Facebook with a question.  As far as posting about something as vapid as breakfast, I thought it was as interesting and engaging as possible.  At the very least, harmless.

As sometimes happens, though, it wasn’t liked by everyone.  In fact, today, this post brought out a negative response from one of my friends.  Shortly after I posted it, I saw this in my Recent News feed:

Now look: this isn’t all bad.  Sure, it’s not quite the response you long for, but here’s the bright side:

  1. My posts were showing up in his News Feed.
  2. He didn’t instantly hide me.

And now it offers a chance to be gracious and informative — even if the snarky, defensive, juvenile route appears optional, as well: avoid that if at all possible.  It’s very difficult to sense tone in people’s online posts – especially when it’s not someone with whom you regularly converse.

So, I responded:

The reality is that not everything you post is going to be interesting to all your friends.  Even the most interesting people that I’m friends with post things that don’t do much for me.  It’s just the way this whole social media business works: we post what we find interesting and thus we attract people with similar interests.

And if someone honestly doesn’t like anything I post, then they have two options: hide me, or defriend me.  While, I’d rather neither option, I also don’t want to be bothering people either.  I’m not going to change who I am, so the onus is on the other to decide whether or not to have me in their Feed.  No harm, no foul.

Turns out, my friend didn’t want to hide me altogether:

I took the opportunity to inform my friend about the different options of viewing the Facebook News Feed, suggesting that Top News might be more their speed.  Even then, my random posts could sneak through — although it’s less likely.  (And in doing so, another mutual friend saw the thread and chimed, liking my posts.  That may not have happened had I responded defensively.)

Not that it’s easy to keep your cool sometimes.  It’s easy to take things personally online, especially when it’s about something you’ve written or something you feel strongly about.  (I don’t care much about my own breakfast either, but it’s still something that I posted and, let’s be frank, we want people to like what we post otherwise we’d just write things down in a diary for only ourselves to see.)

Negative feedback doesn’t always have to end negatively.  Even plain old criticism can be spun into either constructive criticism or – in this case – a teaching moment.  Remember that the next time someone drops some dislike on your latest Facebook post.

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How Cross-Medium Collaboration Breeds Success in Digital Era

12.07.10

As the digital era changes our world literally in front of our eyes, artists have born the brunt of the negative effects as technology makes the illegal dispersion of music, books, movies, and photographs ubiquitous.  Hard to make money when people can get your creative efforts for free almost immediately after it’s created.

I’ve seen the music industry from being right inside the birth of an emerging band signed to a major label, putting out a full-length album that got released in stores across the country, and toured with top-name rock acts.  And while it lasted for a little while, the major label model of building and supporting musical acts doesn’t work for most — for every Kings of Leon there are countless bands that don’t make it.

This has always been the case.

Now, as those guys I knew in that band push forward without a major label behind them, they find themselves doing new things.  They’re writing music and songs for other artists.  They’re playing shows with other bands.  They’re connecting music producers with new talent.

Most artists are in similar situations and are finding that if they work together, they’ll all have a better chance at some success.  The days of selling millions of records and making fortunes overnight are over.  Sure, there will always be those outliers who buck that trend, but back before Napster and the MP3 changed everything, lots of bands still made small fortunes just getting signed to an Interscope or a Geffen, never mind actually having any hits.

Nowadays, it’s different. Instead of just collaborating with each other, they’re also collaborating with artists in other mediums. If you’re a musician, hook up with filmmakers to work on projects together.  If you’re a fine artist, put together a live show with a band.  If you’re a novelist, collaborate on an album with Ben Folds.  That’s what British writer Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, About a Boy, Fever Pitch) did.

It might seem odd at first if you’re not familiar with Hornby’s material, but it’s not: music is an integral character in all of his books.  He’s also in a band and writes essays on music frequently, making this collaboration not just some random pairing of an odd couple.

Admittedly, neither of these artists necessarily needed to combine efforts to get a project off the ground.  They’re both established with a long history of commercial success.  So, it comes down to two things:

  1. Collaborating for Collective Success
  2. Collaborating for Personal Growth

You can join forces so that even though you’ll be splitting the profits, you’re better off having some success together than none alone.  But also, jumping into a new medium encourages you to adapt your creative skills, to grow, to learn.  You keep your mind sharp by giving yourself new challenges to jump over. Maybe even new, fresh ideas spring forth from this all.

And it’s not just for artists, either.  While technology hasn’t specifically singled out other professions quite in the same way, the playing field has leveled in many other aspects, which has had interesting effects.

For example: right now at work, most of the Realtors I work with haven’t blogged before.  They didn’t have Twitter accounts.  Nor did they video themselves and put them up on YouTube.  But they’re learning how to do all of that and more because they realize that technology has put marketing tools in the palms of their hands (literally) and that working together to write blog posts for the same site will increase their market share and thus: more success, more money.

Realtors become writers and micro-video stars.  Novelists write rock tunes.  Guitarists compose movie scores.  Artists paint on stage at live events.

I think Ben Folds sums it up just right:

There’s no one concept or story line unifying the songs on the album; the collaboration itself is what unifies it.

Which brings up: what happens next?  Gone are the days where people are specialists, focusing in on one trade only and being a master at that.  To compete in the new world, people must be bona fide jack-of-all-trades.  But not in the “decent at a few, great at none” modes — instead, people will need to be extreme adept at multiple crafts.

Realtors won’t be able to just be great at contracts and negotiating; they’ll also have to be video editors, creative writers, and WordPress-competent.  Guitarists won’t be able to just shred wicked solos; they’ll also need to be able to compose music for many instruments, mix their own tracks on ProTools, and of course: shoot and edit video, blog, and Tweet.

And for you? What mediums will you be combining?

Image courtesy of Parksy1964’s Flickr Photostream.

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Vampire Sketch Comedy | Edison Price: Homeless Vampire Hunter

11.20.10

Long before Twilight turned vampires into shimmering teenagers, there was Edison Price: Homeless Vampire Hunter.


Having watched Fright Night, my buddy Matt Cassatta and I spent two long, brain-melting days videotaping our ode to 1980s horror with a comedy spin. Since this was before YouTube had taken over Internet video and social media had yet to become the powerful marketing force that it is today, only a select few from Michigan got to see our magnum opus — live in a movie theater that Matt so graciously rented for us.

Until now!

We chopped up the nearly 20-minute-long short into four 5-minutes-or-less segments to put on YouTube for easy viewing. I then turned it into a playlist so you can see them all in a row, all at once, so you can experience the whole thing straight through without searching for all episodes.  Enjoy.

But since WordPress won’t let me embed a YouTube playlist, I’m just going to post all of the videos in succession here:

Yes, this is a shameless plug for this goofy, amateur movie shot on miniDV before HD cameras were affordable for a couple of recent Michigan film grads. We’re evidently no directors of photography — but it’s fun, and we had fun making it. I promise our skills have improved exponentially since then, as you may have seen in other short sketches we’ve done together over the years.

Also become a fan of Edison Price on Facebook while you’re at it.
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New Social Media Tools: Time Saving or Time Wasting?

11.19.10

When you learn about a new social media tool — whether it’s TweetDeck, Posterous, or Ping.fm — do you immediately jump at the chance to add it to your digital marketing toolbox?

(Image courtesy of dipster1.)

We all love new toys.  But, remember when we were kids and every time you saw a new gadget or gizmo commercial near the holidays (like now) you would proclaim to your parents: “I want that!” — only to play for it for a couple days and then have it join a group of virtually untouched playthings in a box in the basement?

Social Media ADHD

Like children, many of us have social media ADHD — also known as smADHD (pronounced smadhead if you prefer, but I don’t prefer) — where the latest and greatest tool advertised as a revolutionary way to make connecting with people online even easier and more time-efficient makes us salivate and drool and download instantly without even thinking of the ramifications.

Here’s my recommendation.

Instead of asking yourself: How do I use this new tool?

Ask: How much time do I need to invest in this tool to make it worth my while?

Hidden Costs

New tools come with hidden costs: learning curve, new technology, different functionality, upgrades and glitches.  And biggest of all: adding it to your growing number of tools that all make online conversation with your sphere of influence.  Every new element in your digital marketing toolbox takes time to use.

Even more time-sucking than the obvious are the latent time costs. Take Posterous for instance, which syndicates to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and a number of other social media outlets making it simpler and quicker than going to each one individually to update your status. It takes time to get used to, learn its ins and outs, set up all of the sites.  But what if you signed up for Posterous before you knew what all those other sites were: now you have to go to each of them and see what they’re all about, which then takes you hours to set up…

Tools tend to lead to new tools which leads to more and more time spent. Now, if you have all the time in the world, then by all means, go for it.  But most of us don’t.  So we need to use our time wisely and efficiently.

Taking My Own Advice

I’m about to take my own advice: I just learned about a new tool called RockMelt, a new type of browser.  Before diving into it, I’m going to do a little research to see if will indeed make me more efficient… or if it’ll just be another tool that takes up too much time to do the same things I’m already doing.

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5 Ways to Deal with Facebook’s Privacy Policy

05.13.10

Many people are up in arms about the new Facebook privacy policy that defaults to making your information public.  This puts the onus on you to go through the dozens of options and select for yourself the level of transparency you want for your different personal info.

I do not understand this public outcry.  Look: social media is about transparency.  It’s about putting it all out there, letting it hang loose, and saying, “Hey, this is me.  Deal with it.”  It stems from a push against traditional media and advertising that forced people to fit into some sort of predetermined box of expectations.  This move toward transparency is liberating, not stifling. And if you don’t want to participate, no one is forcing you to post potentially embarrassing photos from last night’s party on your Facebook Wall when you know full well that you’re friends with your boss and other colleagues from work.

It comes down again – like so many current hot-button topics in American life right now – to personal responsibility.  We’ve become a society that is unhappy with virtually everything yet rarely accepting the fact that we are to blame for, if not the issue itself, then with not doing something about it ourselves to fix it.  Don’t like the idea of the world reading your status updates or knowing your birth date?  You have a few options:

  1. Spend fifteen laborious minutes that you’d otherwise be spending playing FarmVille and go through your privacy controls and make them fit your comfort level;
  2. Don’t put up anything on Facebook that you wouldn’t want the world to see;
  3. Bitch and moan;
  4. Design your own non-evil Facebook clone called Diaspora*.

Or just pull the plug altogether and go off the grid, John Connor-T3-style — which I don’t recommend unless you want to be one of those people who complain about “those damned kids and their Internets” and get laughed at by those damned kids for being completely out of touch.

I’d say choose either #1 or #2.  If you’re programmingly inclined, give those guys at Diaspora* a call and get on that bandwagon.  Please, though, stop with #3.  Seriously.  You give far more sensitive information to companies around the world every single day and there’s no outrage.  You give your phone number to the local grocery store to get those in-store discounts.  You punch in your secret code every time you grab money out of your ATM.  You hand over your Social Security Number to apply for a credit card so you can afford to buy things from Amazon.com which stores all of your billing and shipping information and keeps track of all of your recent purchases so that it can suggest to you what you might end up liking to buy on your next visit.  And let’s not even start with Google’s GMail…

The truth is, you want people to comment with an “LOL!!!OMG!!” next to that photo of yourself doing a kegstand on Spring Break.  You want people to flood your Wall with “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!” on your special day and send you little digital gifts.  You want people to chime in on your latest genius observation of the world that you posted as your status update.  That’s the whole point of Facebook and social media in general.  Otherwise, you wouldn’t even have an account; you’d just have a big tackboard at home on your wall where you’d keep all of these gems to yourself for your own amusement.

And it looks like that’s option number five.

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Palin Doesn’t Understand Social Media

03.03.10
Facebook, Inc.

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin claims that she never had – nor currently has – any opportunity to further explain her comments on the Family Guy-Down’s Syndrome controversy.  She even uses her time on Jay Leno’s return to The Tonight Show to reiterate her lack of ability to further explain:

“But a special-needs family asking me what I thought about the episode. I commented and then that gets out there in the blogosphere, it gets out there in the different forms of the mediums that we have today. And then it’s left there, not an opportunity for me to follow up and kind of elaborate on what I really meant and what I really thought of the thing.”

Before Mr. Leno went to a commercial break, Ms. Palin said that a fuller opportunity to discuss the incident would have led to a “much healthier dialogue.” After the commercial, she did not expand on her remarks.

If you believe her claims then it means Palin needs to learn a thing or two about the blogosphere and social media.

I don’t believe her.

The beauty (and ugliness) of social media is that it is constant conversation.  Just stop by Palin’s own Facebook page and read the thousands of comments on her notes where vitriolic fans engage in all kinds of continuing discussion on whatever she happens to write and you’ll see what I’m talking about.  People comment not only on the article itself but are responding to previous comments, whose authors get notified and then can choose to respond or not.  Judging by the number of comments, they are responding.

If Palin is unaware of this, she’s even further removed from reality than I thought.

Don’t like an article?  Write a blog.  Post your anger in the article’s comments section.  While you’re at it, most writers have their bylines link directly to their email address, so you can also go straight to the source. This isn’t like the old media where you’d have to write a letter to the editor and hope that they choose to publish your dissent for an article.

Part of what makes social media so much different from old, print media is that it’s not static.  It’s dynamic, living and breathing, changing and changeable.  It’s instantaneous.  This means that there is always a way to jump into the conversation or start your own.  Sarah Palin just chose to not respond to emails from Family Guy producers or the actress from the controversial episode who actually has Down’s Syndrome.

Probably because she doesn’t actually have anything to say that would clear up the matter.  And it’s more fun for her to just claim to not be part of the media machine so she can keep berating it.

(H/T The Daily Dish)

Image via Wikipedia
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