Category Archives: Social Media

Middle School Angst Has No Place in A Professional World

I was just goofing around on the Facebooks and I posted this picture I took of a piece of exercise equipment that I never bought. Because, you know, New Years.

2014-02-01 12.38.14

A FB friend almost immediately posted a picture of Shake Weight and I snarfed Pinot Noir all over my keyboard.

shake weight

(Now is not the time to mention that I own a Shake Weight, and when I remember where it is, use it unironically)

I was thinking about that FB friend, and about a time that he posted on his page that he was looking for a person to do SEO copywriting, or some such thing that was in my wheelhouse. I posted an “ahem” and he posted something akin to “I said someone GOOD to do it.” It was in jest, and funny, because, let’s face it, we’re all hacks, but I sent him a personal message imploring him to delete his post.

The gist of it was something like “I’m actually trying to make a living at this and even though I know you have have a sweet nature and are a good guy, any bad PR is bad PR and I need you to go ahead and delete that.” It might have had more of a metallic panicked edge to it. I don’t remember and I’m too lazy to go back and find the message. He did, and was very nice about it, and life went on.

When he posted the hilarious Shake Weight picture in a rapid fire response to my “I saw it at BJ’s Wholesale Club and Took a Picture Of It But Didn’t Buy It’ cover photo I thought about that, and how I was kind of embarrassed that I made such a big deal.

And the whole point of this post was to connect¬†that story, the one I just told, to a middle school dance where Josh O’Donnell, one of the cutest boys in school, came up to me while the DJ played “Paradise City” by Guns N Roses and I was all happy for a second until he said “Can you take me down to Paradise City? Oh, I’m sorry, they said that’s where the girls are PRETTY” and I cried and called my mom to come get me. I was going to sort of say that my reaction to that FB conversation was residual “Paradise City” trauma and I should sort of check my digital marketer/copywriter privilege and get over myself.

But now that I write it all down, I wonder if it’s wasn’t smart of me to ask him to take that post down inferring that I was not a “GOOD” SEO copywriter person. In today’s “IT IS ALL ON THE INTERNET. SERIOUSLY. JUST GOOGLE IT” world, you can’t be too careful, can you?

As a once freelance writer who is now a NOW freelance writer, business partner, professor, tutor, marketing consultant and amateur professional creepy doll photographer (that last one is an iffy), how important is every little crumb of information on the internet?

Or, how important is it to be able to take a joke?

Boyfriend has a nephew who is 25-30 ish. He’s a “Digital Native” and he’s absolutely careful about what is posted about him on social media. You may not tag him in pictures. You may not post on his page without approval. In fact, if he is at a function and he is photographed without his permission, he requests that the photographer delete his picture. He sees the internet as a place that you present yourself the way you would present yourself professionally.

I have a FB friend from high school who posts many personal details of her life on the internet. Nothing is secret, nothing is withheld. If you want to know how she is, just check her posts, because there has likely been something deeply personal posted within the last 5 hours.

Personally, I overshared in the past (see here) and it bit me in the professional buttocks. Even after that, I overshared gooey posts about things that didn’t last as long as my (admittedly long) college career. Lately, I do silly, frivolous things, make a few insightful (yet benign) observations, and keep to myself.

How much sharing is OK in today’s digital age, and how much damage can the “wrong” social media post or conversation do to you in the long run? I invite comments (so long as they are relevant, and are not a long list of product urls…)

Screen shot 2014-12-29 at 10.12.32 PM

to start a conversation. With you, my three readers. You have thoughts? Let’s talk.

Social Media Has Come Full Circle

On the surface, this might seem like a think piece on social media and social games. How social media has evolved and devolved to take us back to some sort of cyber grassroots state of loneliness and how we’re all just here to find a connection.

Nope.

In November of last year, HootSuite published an infographic on “The Evolution of Social Media.” You can check it out here:¬†http://blog.hootsuite.com/evolution-of-social-media-infographic/.

It traces 5 years of social media. 5. Granted, a lot has happened in the last 5 years. The amount of social media users is staggering. People are using social media to innovate, to change the world, to drive business, build brands and other Important Things.

They’re also using it to connect to other people.

When it really comes down to is, the Facebook and Twitter users that companies are trying to hook with compelling content and calls to action are people who, even though they may buy what the companies are selling, are maintaining their online community because it’s their COMMUNITY. The people they interact with are their friends, or at least they are sort of friends, and it becomes very important on a psychological and philosophical level.

This isn’t news. Since AOL launched in 1985, people have used computers to connect to one another. By 1997, they could chat with each other real time. Google was born in 1998 and by 2000 the dot com bubble went kablewy and people were already wondering about the future of the Internet. That was the first year that I, personally, started using the Internet with any frequency.

I know, right? Late bloomer for sure. In 2000, as Google announced that it had indexed over a billion pages, I was taking surveys on a site called emode.com. The first quiz I took was “What Type of Dog are You?” I was a Golden Retriever.

I didn’t realize it, but emode was a social networking site. Later owned by Tickle, Inc., Wikipedia says that they provided “self discovery and social networking services.” I slowly built a profile and made a few “friends” but didn’t accept any date invitations and never sent anyone any pictures. I actually met a friend on that site that I remain friends with to this day. I’ve never met him in person, but he was the one who typed “you should make a Friendster account. It’s fun.”

So I joined Friendster. The personality quizzes gave way to testimonials written by people who knew you in real life and who had known you on the Internet long enough to say something nice about you. You posted pictures of yourself. You looked up ex boyfriends and ex friends and long lost family members. Sometimes you found them.

I’d just gotten settled into Friendster when this same friend said “Hey, everyone’s moving over to MySpace.” I said I didn’t want to go over to MySpace. But those customization options were too tempting and I caved. You could post songs to your profile and change your background. You could pick who your “Top Friends” were (a pressure-filled task) and you could have your own blog. I started blogging there, almost lost a job over it in 2005, and this blog was born in its first Blogspot iteration soon after.

In January 2008, based on an invitation from the same friend who lovingly dragged me into every social media platform I’ve actively participated in (you know who you are :)), I joined Facebook. Since then I have shared probably way too much information (though not nearly as much as a lot of people I know), have watched friends go through breakups and heartbreak, have gone through the same thing myself, and have, on the balance, had a pretty good time on it.

My friends are generous with their likes and comments. They cheer me up most days. While it’s not like it used to be (what is?) it’s still a nice place to “be.”

Lately, Buzzfeed and Zimbio have had personality quizzes clogging up everyone’s feed. “What Game of Thrones Character Are You?” and “What Disney Princess Are You” have provided delight to some, a cause for disdain and complaint for others.

But today, I saw it. “What Kind of Dog Are You?” Social media, for me, has come full circle.

And, apparently I’m a Lab.

Screen shot 2014-01-30 at 12.42.15 PM