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

Snapchat and Vine; The Basics

There has been a lot of discourse on social apps like Vine and Snapchat, and what they they mean for social media, social networking, and content sharing. Here’s the basics you need to know:

Both apps boast very engaging content opportunities; Snapchat allows for temporary snapshots in time without the consequence of suspect images or video resurfacing across the internet in unflattering ways (long story short, less ‘Weinergates“). Similarly, Vine allows for short video that is highly shareable, engaging, and allows for a high level of creativity. One succeeds because it is temporary, the other because it is a permanent moment encapsulated in short video.

Snapchat operates detached from social networks, and offers an addictive way to interact with others similar to conversations; a back and forth exchange which is unrecorded, and fleeting.

Vine operates currently as a content creator which can be shared on Twitters in place of (or to compliment) content.

Because they are so different in application, I think both have drastically different futures. With Snapchat, there is a shareable component in that snaps can be downloaded before being sent , allowing people to use them as they would a vine (but without the seamless integration). I feel that Snapchat has the potential to outlive the social networks in the sense that ‘compromising images’ can now be shared more fearlessly than before on this platform.

However I do not think Vine cannot function as a standalone. Unlike Instagram, which is available on both Android and iOS, and is inherently ‘more shareable’ Vine relies more heavily on being peppered across Twitter, but is only available for iOS. Now owned by Twitter, Vine does have the ability to be used to its highest potential, but if Twitter ever died out, so would Vine. As far as I know, vines cannot be shared on Facebook, but I doubt this capability would ever impact its success.

Questions? Email me 🙂

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! 

3 Compelling Reasons You Shouldn’t ‘Protect’ Your Tweets

Hey all! This is a quick one, because I want to make sure you all undo this fatal mistake NOW!

So I’ve begun noticing more and more 20-somethings have opted to ‘protect’ their Twitter. Some have claimed this will afford them the privacy to tweet what they only want certain people to see without allowing potential employers to see. Others have said they don’t want their mom reading Twitter, and have chosen to protect their Twitter for the same misguided reasons they (still) haven’t added their parents on Facebook. I have some hard news for you: ‘protecting’ tweets doesn’t actually guarantee your tweets are safe from the eyes of employers, and if your tweets are so vicious you wouldn’t want your mom to read them….maybe you shouldn’t tweet them. Here are some pretty compelling reasons your Twitter doesn’t need any protection:

  1. You didn’t sign up for ‘social’ media to be a loner. If you want to send tweets that only your friends can see, you should just stick to Facebook. Twitter is intrinsically designed for collaboration, conversation, and interaction is its core purpose. If you aren’t willing to contribute your insights to all of Twitter, then spare yourself the trouble of making an account.
  2. It’s not really ‘protecting’ you. In the same way that companies can get information from Facebook, its only a matter of time before they can access your Twitter too. If your tweets aren’t mature enough to survive in the wild, don’t tweet them at all. Tweeting “I hate Nicki Minaj” or “Ughh unemployed!” might be best said aloud in the comfort of your own home by yourself. That’s how you ‘protect’ a tweet.
  3. It prevents you from interacting with cool people. If you hide all your tweets, it hinders cool people from reaching out to you. Example: You tweet “I love @3lau!” unfortunately for you, @3lau isn’t going hear you, and if say he happened to be playing a show near you and having a twitter contest for tickets, you’re going to totally miss it. Bummer. Many celebrities manage their own Twitter handles, and interact with their fanbase often. If you’re protected, you’re disallowing them to reach out to you. How do I know? I tweet at celebrities…and I’ve gotten replied to. A lot. And my tweets are unprotected.

3 Things Not To Do At Night In NYC

I’m Alive!

Also, sorry for the delay. Here is a quick and simple set of 3 things you shouldn’t do in New York at night. If you are stuck at Penn Station, I sincerely apologize and encourage you to skype/call/reach out to your loved ones in this turbulent time. I wish you the best. Here we go, things that will get you mugged…er…that you shouldn’t do at night:

 

  1. Wear Red Sox gear. The saying that begins ‘when in Rome’ has never been so true as in New York: don’t wear rival teams like the Red Sox, and do not ever wear anything promoting the Eagles. ESPECIALLY don’t sing ‘fly eagles fly’ if you are out alone.
  2. Don’t wave your iPhone around. If you are on a street you don’t know (or you notice there aren’t many streetlights) don’t wave your expensive items like cellphones, wallets, mp3 players, etc. This is a great way to advertise that you are muggable.
  3. If you are in heels, have flats on hand. If you are staggering down Meatpacking on a fine Wednesday night in sky-high heels, make sure you have flats you can switch into. Why? Well assuming you are confident enough to rock stilettos on cobblestone, you probably have the super-cute outfit to match…and that kind of thing attracts attention. If you aren’t cabbing home with some hunk from the bar, wear flats in case you need to run like hell.While you are at it, always keep a spare stash of cash in your bra or underwear in case you can’t outrun them and get robbed.

3 Things You Need To Stop Doing On LinkedIn

Here are three things, seriously just three easy things you need to stop doing immediately on LinkedIn. Why am I cutting right to the chase? Because I think that right after you read this, you should make sure you aren’t doing any of these major no-nos.

  1. Be anonymous. If you are a job-seeker and are afraid of people ‘knowing who you are’ on LinkedIn STOP IT. The whole point of making your profile and firing off copies of your resume is so that employers can go look at your face, read up on what you’ve done, and even see what your past boss had to say about you. Yes, sure, they could call up “Benny Bossman” but wouldn’t you prefer to save them the trouble? And yes, sure, you might want ‘your privacy’ on the internet…but if you want to remain anonymous, don’t use LinkedIn.
  2. Update your status erroneously. There is a time and a place for letting your friends that you are off eating a sandwich, and that place is not LinkedIn. Instead, post articles you  feel are interesting or post blogs that you have written (I do that currently). I would try to avoid political statements, but if there is a genuinely compelling political article from a ‘legit’ source (by which I mean Politico, CNN, or any major news source,…not a GodHatesObama.net or RomneySucks.com).
  3. Start any cover letter with ‘To whom it may concern”. If you are using something as forward-thinking and modern as LinkedIn for your job search, avoid looking archaic and bland…actually look up the Talent Director/ Recruiter’s name. The more you appear to care, the better the end result.

I hope this reaches you well, and good luck!

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.

The Essential Interview Kit

When you’re hunting for that elusive job, you will need to pack quite the toolkit. Whether you’re toting a plastic folder, a flashy attaché case, or a hybrid of the two, you will need a ‘kit’ to navigate job fairs, interviews, and the occasional run-in with a recruiter on the street. Sure, you may know some of the things to bring in your kit, but do you have the full she-bang to knock ’em dead? Check this handy list I compiled based on what I have heard from friends/family/colleagues/bosses/etc.

Example leather folder/attaché. Image courtesy of High Veld Promotions

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What’s A Tweetdeck? Hootsuite?

No, Tweetdeck is not a new weapon the Bad Piggies are using against Angry Birds. Similarly, Hootsuite is not a nightclub for owls. Both are fabulous ways to organize your twitter.

It should be noted that I’m a proud Android phone owner, but a mac computer user so my experience with apps tend to be more skewed to what works on my android.

If you are new to social media (or seasoned, and want a refresher) here are two tools you should have in your kit to effectively manage media:

  1. Tweetdeck. Tweetdeck is an excellent tool to manage streams of tweets and keep up with trends. You can create tabs which monitor every tweet containing specific hashtags, and even scan for mentions of you and your branding. The real advantage? If people misspell you brand name, your handle, or your name you can seek them out and reply to anyone and everyone that has mentioned you. You can also schedule tweets for peak viewing hours, (and for days when you take vacation so you can put your phone away) and track the effectiveness of your tweeting (Click-through-rate, # of clicks, relevancy, etc). Its very effective for tablets and light computers, especially for ‘bullpen’ scenarios where you are dealing with a steady flow of material. Can get a little wonky on android devices.
  2. Hootsuite. Basically everything that Tweetdeck is, but you use it via your internet browser, not as a separate app (except when you use a mobile device). The other major difference is that Tweetdeck is now owned by Twitter, which for me colored my opinion about it It doesn’t make streams update automatically (well, auto but not as blazingly fast).This is handy if you get easily overwhelmed or dizzy from watching twitter conversations fly by in light speed. The setup is (in my opinion) more user-friendly, and feel less like a stock ticker than Tweetdeck. If you want efficient, free, and a good starting point, opt for Hootsuite.

Harnessing LinkedIn

Hello Again!

Did you miss my actually helpful posts? Well good, because I’ve done away with Viral Monday and the lot, and I’m just going to stick to NYC updates and social media helps and how-tos. ENJOY!

So as I’ve been navigating today’s job market, I’ve started to pick up on some valuable networking strategies that should absolutely be at your disposal as you navigate the tricky prospect of getting hired in 2012. Previously I’d mentioned specific job sites (or job boards), learning social media, etc; what I want to really hammer home today, is how to effectively utilize one major tool for employment, LinkedIn.

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