Now Consumers Have First Right of Refusal

“The main reason for [companies not admitting dearth of Social Media skills] is personal technologies have outpaced business technology for the first time in a generation,” Keith Privette replied to me. Great observation- so key. Instead of consumers having second exposure after businesses have understood and implemented a new product or service, consumers have the essential dibs, the first right of refusal: they have chosen to popularize Social Media because of how innately useful, effective, and egalitarian (in the sense of a meritocracy) it is.

As you’ve read, I’ve been curious lately about where it’s all heading. In the next ten years, what will be the ultimate nuanced importance and overt importance of knowing that ten Facebook posts per day a real SM presence do not make? Working in Social Media is difficult in a different way than is, say, the field of law, because at least in the legal field, someone can respectfully/realistically aspire to – and one day actually be seen as – a guru. (Pardon my use of the word.) In an emerging field such as ours, it is difficult for someone to appreciate that seasoned, experienced SM strategists do base their expertise on learnable concepts. Those concepts, however, change everyday and that’s why SM gurudom is (and wonderfully so) like nailing jello to the wall.

Social Media Fluency as Job Prerequisite

“We’ve got Social Media covered” is a common (problematic) sentiment among many businesses. Having someone haphazardly post on Facebook is just not enough. However, that’s not to say that hiring an agency beats assigning the task to someone internal. Anything can still go wrong- that is the scary and challenging beauty of where marketing has arrived. There is something to be said for the positive effects of giving employees in an organization a voice about what they know best- their product. I’ve read a few articles lately stressing the importance of reminding everyone on board that they represent their brand in every customer interaction (isn’t that a given?). Alexis Karlin’s post “Are Brands Socially Disconnected” illustrates the point that whether or not you have the sweetest tweeter money can buy, a company is still only as strong as its weakest link. See a related line from poynter.com coverage of recent NY Times elimination of Jennifer Preston’s social media editor position:

“Social media can’t belong to one person; it needs to be part of everyone’s job,” Preston said. “It has to be integrated into the existing editorial process and production process. I’m convinced that’s the only way we’re going to crack the engagement nut.”

Maybe it will take another ten years for SM fluency (operational definition: basic familiarity and proficiency/absence of Twitter xenophobia) to be an assumed prerequisite for being hired, like Outlook or Excel skills are today. Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead- Sue EllenGranted, even in 2020, what an agency or external SM strategy consultant will provide on top of this general SM literacy should still be, theoretically, expansive and singular. I.e., worthwhile.

Picture this: A mobile, portable device for employees, installed on most employees’ desks (assuming physical office presence is still quotidian in the future). “Installed” is too physical a word. Let’s say projected, beamed, holographically produced when relevant. Everyone follows the company on the future equivalent of Twitter (which will be far more customizable and include secure gateways and a totally evolved hashtag methodology that surpasses even Google’s instant predictive search). People from all departments use this tool to communicate to each other and/or to customers when appropriate. In fact, if you think you can invent this tool now, please contact me about our startup- @emilybinder

Facebook Vs. Google Means No Hiding

More about Facebook privacy and idiot users.

From NYTimes article: Company Accused of Firing Over Facebook Post

“…The case involves Dawnmarie Souza, who had to prepare a response to a customer’s complaint about her work… Ms. Souza then mocked her supervisor on Facebook, using several vulgarities to ridicule him, according to Jonathan Kreisberg, director of the board’s Hartford office, which filed the complaint. He also said she had written, “love how the company allows a 17 to become a supervisor” — 17 is the company’s lingo for a psychiatric patient…”

Well, it was only a matter of time until this explosive online social arena leaked into workplace drama taken to the courts. We’ve already seen middle and high schools battling cyber bullying (which is horribly damaging to students in a different and likely unfathomable way, being a still nascent reimagination of typical developmental cruelty). Utter permeation.

Ferris Bueller was successful at playing high school hooky not because he checked in on Foursquare at the five star restaurant where he nearly ran into his father at a business lunch; not because he posted pictures of himself and Sloane at the Cubs game; and not because he blogged about his plans before enacting them. If you imagine that Ferris’s parapet to Mr. Bueller seeing him across the restaurant — hiding behind his menu raised to eye level — exists in any way online, you’re mistaken.  Abe Froman and his face-shrouding menu are things of the past.

Ferris Bueller Abe Froman restaurant

I am excited to watch the Facebook-Google war unfold (and I mention it because when you’re active on a social platform that is in the same sentence as “Google” and “war” you need to stop behaving like a fourteen-year old in an AOL chatroom):

So well-put:

“Today, the Google-Facebook rivalry isn’t just going strong, it has evolved into a full-blown battle over the future of the Internet—its structure, design, and utility. For the last decade or so, the Web has been defined by Google’s algorithms… Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg envisions a more personalized, humanized Web, where our network of friends, colleagues, peers, and family is our primary source of information, just as it is offline. In Zuckerberg’s vision, users will query this “social graph” to find a doctor, the best camera, or someone to hire—rather than tapping the cold mathematics of a Google search. It is a complete rethinking of how we navigate the online world, one that places Facebook right at the center. In other words, right where Google is now.” – Wired: Great Wall of Facebook: The Social Network’s Plan to Dominate the Internet — and Keep Google Out

Clearly, most people like Ms. Souza must reformat their Facebook schemas.  As I have said before, my generation stands at an unique vantage point before these social media shenanigans. I thought it was primarily we who would need to edit our posting rules, because what was acceptable in college for Facebook simply no longer is. I wrongly assumed that older users would have jumped on the FB bandwagon with the wherewithal to infer why privacy settings were so intricate and developed beyond their early iterations.

Digital Scars

The internet is a place where the birth of a single character is eternal. Blessing and curse in concert. Ultimate recorder of civilization- but is it worth the hard drive real estate? How long until we max out the digital space?

"Contemplating My Soul" by Punch Buggies
Artist credit: Punch Buggies on deviantart.com

How will the earth store our exponentially increasing input of data mixed with blood and dust? The master computers in secret rooms will shrink until near-infinite data is in the expanding cloud. Just as the same matter that is in our water was once in a dinosaur’s body, our text messages, tweets, and energetic outputs will somehow live on in this bionic state of existence into which our baby planet has morphed. This is not a forested plains land of indigenous peoples. This is not an unpolluted crystal sea. This is a greying, littered land of scars, where human action on the earth at large, and human interaction in the microcosm of our increasingly antisocial relationship conversation has departed from anything we could have been programmed for. I might call some of our cultural norms unnatural, but really anything produced on this planet must come from this planet.  Skyscrapers are natural, because metals were already here. We simply shaped them, maybe in a likeness of some god.

Ponder this: “Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage’s whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.” -Ayn Rand

Some Native Americans believe that we store all our experiences in our bones. Assume that the pain body lives inside us, as Eckhart Tolle posits in Be Here Now. Psychology and medicine have repeatedly evidenced psychosomatic illness: your body reflects your mind. More than you realize.

If we are organic human bodies roaming this planet, cell phones in hand, relationships drastically altered as for the way our bones store their effects, their digital marks on each of our individual online clouds, how will that affect the collective unconscious? Has it already changed? Jung?

If Ayn Rand is correct, that “the skyline of New York is a monument of a splendour that no pyramids or palaces will ever equal or approach,” then is the skyline of our digital empire in the cloud equally or comparably splendid?  Or is it too confusing in its very essence of lacking tangible metals from a steel mill and sturdy bricks and mortar?

Marketing, Technology, Society