Category Archives: marketing

Transformation Tuesday (Or, How I Stopped Bitching and Learned to Love the Hashtag)

There’s this holiday-themed Fruity Pebbles commercial from the mid-80s l that I would drop everything to watch when I was a kid. As we were more of a Grape Nuts, Cream of Wheat, and Quaker Oats family, the draw was less about the product and more about the strong sense of family and the magic of the Christmas season (and, of course, Fred finally letting Barney have the cereal).

No lie, that commercial is still fun to watch as an adult. But being an active, sometimes unwilling participant in consumerism, I have developed a little bit of a Grinch complex, particularly towards the over use of hashtags in social media and digital marketing. Considering their overall purpose and that they’ve only been clickable links within the past decade, I can’t really be too critical of them. Within the social media framework, they only serve to further connect people and ideas, whether for good, bad, or worse. And when you think about it, SEO and hashtags are merely yester-era’s catchphrases and slogans. The only difference between :more traditional” forms of media (i.e. print, radio, and television) is that this still relatively new media is available on demand, 24/7.

Anyway, with this realization, I’ve decided to shut up about the whole hashtag thing and learn to love the monster for linking the world together. Marketing means consumerism, which means a potential boost in both local and global economies. Even further, the fact that notable messages, ideas, causes and projects have the potential of receiving substantial exposure outside of an echo chamber is huge. 

Finally, because this type of media is still so new in comparison to others means that there are still plenty of uncharted avenues in which to employ it outside of the standard, excessive, and sometimes annoying. Independent creativity, meet wave of reinvention?

I can feel my growing heart three sizes already.

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Is LinkedIn the New Facebook?

I used to follow a very notable personality who I had assumed was an expert in nutrition, fitness, etc. Without naming names, it was one of those situations where — with  an e-book, numerous videos, subscribers, a certain aesthetic and surety in one’s voice — it would have been tough to not think they were an expert in some way.

Naturally, not just this one person, but many others I’d assumed to be relative experts, started coming out as just that: personalities, with life experience as teacher, and not experts in their field or line of interest.

Now, to me, there’s nothing wrong with any of that. However, there is something to be said for some backing regarding one’s experience rather than merely what they speak about. It’s one of the reasons why I’m taking public speaking courses, digging through old textbooks on literary theory, looking to perform personal essays — for me myself, I need some educational backing to improve upon my interests, and to work with the world around me to do so  (but I digress… so worth it, though).

With all that said, LinkedIn is quickly becoming the hottest place for normal folks to build one’s brand, if not already. No longer a place to merely update your resume in between jobs, it is a highly active networking/sharing platform for professionals of all types.

On YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, etc., if you’re a lifestyle / vegan / travel / fashion / fitness / model / guru / whatever, you’re probably going to be lost in a sea of carefully crafted personas. LinkedIn, however, is a slightly smaller pool with with less trolling and more substance. It is user-friendly with liking, sharing, and following capabilities, but is built on professionalism first. Now a place with influencers and channels, it’s a buzzing environment and a lot of fun to navigate.

In my personal opinion, Facebook is quickly becoming MySpace in the form of memes, viral video sharing, and random pages of cluttered, black hole content. It seems to be implementing flashy integrations to boost its relevancy when compared to competitors rather than actually improve users’ experience — whereas other outlets such as LinkedIn provide more focus, with the foundation of professional networking that seems to curb any overstepping.

Social media is definitely not going anywhere. It provides an opportunity in which spectator can be entertainer (and vice versa), a highly interactive format where anyone’s voice can be heard. That’s powerful. And really, for all the meh content and functionality, there’s some really great stuff out there as well.

But if you’re looking to improve upon your brand and network, I highly suggest LinkedIn. If you’re not logged in at least three times a week, well, you really might want to be. In fact, I dare you.

Do you think I have a point, or is this all BS? (I don’t think so, but I’m open to being wrong).

What’s your favorite way to network?