A Word on Transparency and Professionalism

 

 

The word ‘transparency’ is thrown a lot in the social media world, a tantalizing buzzword meant to embrace authenticity, or put simply ‘realness’. In terms of brands, companies, and influential professionals, this means being accessible to others by what you share on your media platforms of choice. Put simply, transparency could be characterized as being truthful and genuine to the outside world, or appearing to have nothing to hide.

And transparency is a beautiful thing.

Until it isn’t.

In a 2013 report from Fox Business, it was estimated that Americans in particular spend approximately 16 minutes of every hour on a social media site (like Facebook, Twitter, etc.).  The more readily available social media has become, the faster we embrace it, spending more and more time sharing our lives with the outside world. And this is a great thing in principle, giving us an inside look into some of our favorite celebrities on their own terms separate from the invasive lens of the paparazzi. At a glance, social media enables even the most distant figures of our world accessibility like never before. For example, did you know you could tweet at the pope, the president, and Oprah with just the touch of a button?

There is a Downside

I’m not sure whether our ability to share has prompted us to share more, our defenses have been lowered by promises of confidentiality, or whether younger adopters of social media have less inhibitions, but transparency has shown a darker side to those we share the Internet with.  Where before, it was common for users to adopt a ‘if you wouldn’t want your mom to see it, don’t share it’ policy, many users now share images that could greatly negatively impact their future careers; drinking pictures from high school and/or college, explicit photos and video, and even viciously hateful remarks about others via Facebook, Twitter, and the newly adopted Snapchat apps.

About Snapchat…

You may or may not have heard of the app recently applauded as ‘the new instagram’, but if you are a parent, you probably should. The app’s primary function is to send and receive videos and photos, which self-destruct after 10 seconds. As you might imagine, like with the ‘confidentiality’ claims of Facebook, this isn’t entirely true; with the right smartphone, its possible to take a screenshot of a compromising image and publish it to another social media website, often with dire consequences.

Going Forward

If you choose to be transparent on social media, make sure you make smart decisions about what you post, where you post it, and what the implications might be. If you are seeking a job, or maintaining a professional presence, it may be wise to avoid posting compromising photos involving alcohol, illegal activities, or that portray you in a way that could be easily misconstrued. It’s also important to note that ‘protecting’ your tweets on Twitter, creating a ‘limited’ profile on Facebook, and even trusting in Snapchat’s ‘vanishing’ images will not prevent someone from finding images that could put you in a compromising position. The safest way to use social media is by always putting your best face forward and presenting content about yourself and others in the best light possible.

In fact, maybe even show your mom before you post it, because chances are she’ll eventually see it regardless of what privacy settings you have.

Hope this helps! 🙂

Sources:

http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2013/04/26/social-media-addiction-study/

http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/03/tech/mobile/snapchat

http://gawker.com/5967303/snapchat-sluts-shows-why-snapchat-isnt-the-consequence+free-sexting-app-wed-all-hoped-for

Your Social Media New Year’s Resolutions

So I’ve heard a lot of interesting feedback from people about articles I’ve written concerning Twitter and Facebook, and people I’ve spoken to about social media. Before I get started, its important to note that I have been working with social media since college and that I view it as an essential tool for small businesses. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I know just enough to have formed a strong opinion about it. If you think social media is a waste of your time, you can stop reading and go listen to your Walkman.

Here is my list of social media resolutions you should aim to master in the new year:

  • Stop deleting emails from multiple vendors, and start unsubscribing. If you are getting assaulted by as many as 300 emails a day from ecommerce sites and causes you can’t recall caring about, DONT DELETE. Deleting doesn’t actually make the problematic emails go away, it only spurs a resend prompt to spam you with even MORE emails. 
  • Stop saying you’re too old for Twitter / It’s too hard. It isn’t too hard, and you are not too old. If you view tweeting as a part of your daily schedule like brushing your teeth and washing your face you can effectively manage your channel. Once you get the hang of it, start interacting with trending hashtags and start get access to information much faster than just flipping through a magazine.
  • Stop avoiding Facebook. One huge problem I’m seeing is people somehow thinking that ‘unplugging’ from Facebook will solve all of their problems, than getting upset when they miss special offers, forget birthdays, or ever miss out on great conversations or internet phenomenons. Stop tuning out! If you can’t stand getting updates from XYZ person or company, ‘unlike’ or ‘unfriend’ them! You can customize your experience to be fulfilling and satisfying to you if you want. Sick of seeing people’s political opinions? Install unpolitic.me and have all political banter replaced with pictures of babies, food, or whatever you like looking at.
  • Learn about trends. Seriously, if you are working at a company trying to seem ‘cool’ to us young folk, stop ignoring memes and viral content: we LOVE that stuff. By all means, have your employers do a funny ‘Gangnam Style’ or let your creative team think up a funny but engaging way to catch our attention. Just look at Old Spice: they went from total bore to total badass with just a few ‘Man your man could smell like’ ads.
  • Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion. If you feel that a company goofed up, don’t reach for the phone first, try hitting them up on Facebook or Twitter. Companies can handle multiple disgruntled clients on social media than on the phone (a rep can only handle one of you at once). If a company isn’t savvy enough to follow best practice on social media, then try calling them.

Hope these help you in the new year! 

Sandy Hook Elementary: An Op-Ed

 

I should preface everything I am about to say, by stating that nothing that I am about to list below made me more upset than the shooting itself.  The fact that young children lost their lives in an act of such senseless violence, and in a state of terror upsets me to no end. The fact that their peers had to witness, overhear, and experience that same fear, and may be forever scarred and affected as a result upsets me as well. However, there were 4 things that truly struck me about the aftermath of this shooting that made me upset as well.

 

I apologize in advance. This will be long, bear with me.

 

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How To Make Me Hate Your Company

Social media has been hailed by many as the beacon of hope in dark times to bring customers to companies through engaging content and web presence among ‘the usual suspects’. Tweeting as a company, posting on Facebook, and even scheduling content to help wave the pom-poms for your company are all great starts at creating an iconic and successful brand. But like all good things, when done too often, too forcefully, or incorrectly, social media can quickly turn into a untameable monster that will drag your company to the pits of hell. Run-amok twitter handles, overly sales-y content, and bullhorned / overpromoted / overzealous status updates on products are just a few things that will make me hate your company. Here is a full list of great ways for me to hate your company:

  1. Tweet about thyself hourly.
  2. Make thy Facebook plugins massively spammy.
  3. Shove thy sales emails down my throat.
  4. Post on thy Facebook more than 5 times a day.
  5. Promote all of thy tweets all the time.
  6. Post nothing but bland sales copy on thy social media.
  7. Beg me hourly to use thy hashtag.
  8. Robotically address they customer service queries.
  9. Indifferently respond to thy fans.
  10. Hustle influencers.
  11. Conduct thyself like a human airhorn, spewing your uninteresting materials across the web and in general making a huge mess.

What can you do to make me love you?

  1. Be human.
  2. Actually respond to me when I tweet at you / comment on your social media.
  3. Actually respond to me questions and customer complaints.
  4. Show me your office, your life, ….affirm that you’re a person not a bullhorn…just don’t go too crazy.
  5. Shout me out once in a while  (show that you care that I like you).
  6. Show me special offers only sometimes.
  7. Relate to my demographic (I like music, what kind of music do you like? etc).
  8. Just be yourself. Even if yourself is a nerdy CEO of a soap company that likes Batman and PopTarts…Rock it.

Fashion’s Night Out

So some may have heard about a “little get-together” in New York City known as Fashion’s Night Out. It’s a smattering of parties for fashionable individuals who want to meet and greet the hottest new names as well as the quintessential ‘who’s whos’ of the fashion industry. In line with this up-beat event I will be attending one such event tomorrow night from 6-8 pm hosted by PlumAlley.co as a member of the social media team.

This is magical image is made by Tina.

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‘Major’ Accomplishments: Being A Hired Comm Major

When I first swapped majors from English to Communications, I was initially greeted with some very immediate and disturbing reactions from peers. What surprised me most, was the notion that Communications majors “don’t have homework” or “aren’t a practical major“. Now that I am graduated, have a job, and spend weekends at home, I finally have the free time to address this issue. Politely. Sort of. (This is going to be a long one folks)

I’m going to don the hipster shades for this one.

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