Offline Expectations from Online Engagements are Unrealistic

great-expectations

Picture this: You’re at a stop light. It seems to be taking forever for it to turn green. You become impatient. You start yelling. You’re wondering why it hasn’t changed. Finally it does change and you peel out. You’re angry because it took entirely too long. It’s been an astounding and unfathomable 3 minutes.

Here’s another scenario: You’re at your computer, you’re on Google and you’re searching for something…The screen freezes, you see the little “thingy” going around so you know it’s “working,” and still nothing. You become impatient, you check your connection, check the cache, check your security settings. finally the page loads…and you think, I’ve got to get a new machine; yet it’s only been an incredible 2 minutes of agony and frustration.

Why are we like this? How has it come to this? Blame it on technology. You see technology has set an unrealistically high bar of expectation for speed and delivery for everything that is not technology related. Whether it’s your toaster, the elevator, the manager at a hotel, the service at the restaurant, the boarding of the airplane, checkout at the grocery store, customer service on the phone or the drive-thru of your favorite restaurant. If we don’t get what we want and need NOW, we have a melt down.

Like the New York Times says, “We need a reset.”

The problem is that we’re armed with so much more information, access and ability so quickly through technology, that it has lead people to expect, demand and want the same type of results from their offline experiences. Is that realistic? Probably not.

 

 

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Facebook Stickers- Bad Idea Good execution…

glasses

Did Facebook just jump the shark?  Or does it just seem like it? Back in April of 2013, Facebook launched stickers but only in private messages. Now they’re is rolling out the “stickers” feature to everyone’s timeline posts, enabling users to voice their opinions with a cat, a smiley, or anything else that’s in the Facebook’s Sticker Store (social commerce?) (virtual goods?)

Initally only available in Japan, the feature appears to be rolling out globally. One has to ask the question why? Yes we needed something other than a thumbs up, but stickers? Really?

I’ve said for awhile that social is killing the written word and now this, the dawn of the social infused emoji.  This just solidifies my belief. So instead of saying how much fun I had at the beach with my friends. I’ll just do this…

stickers1     stickers2  stickers3

Where’s that sad frowny emoji when I need it?

:(

What Does it Take to be a Senior Social Media Manager? [Infographic]

Think just because you play on Twitter and Instagram, have a Tumblr page and have a Facebook account that you could “do” social media for a large company? You might want to rethink that.,,

SoMeMgr (1)

Social Media is the Back Channel for Teen Angst

back channel

First I want to quote a paragraph from the abstract of a 2011 paper by danah boyd, a renowned expert on teen culture and social media at Microsoft Research. The paper is titled, The Drama! Teen Conflict, Gossip, and Bullying in Networked Publics. Here’s the quote:

“Drama is a gendered process that perpetrates conventional gender norms. It also reflects discourses of celebrity, particularly the mundane interpersonal conflict found on soap operas and reality television. For teens, sites like Facebook allow for similar performances in front of engaged audiences. Understanding how “drama” operates is necessary to recognize teens’ own defenses against the realities of aggression, gossip, and bullying in networked publics.”

Now for the back story. For some time now I have been reading the tweets and Instagram posts of my children and the kids I coach. Initially I thought it was amusing to see how middle school and high school students use Twitter and Instagram. Upon further reflection, it in no way really resembles the way I use it both platforms either personally and professionally. It’s different, to put it mildly. I could say it’s hopeful and idealistic on their part, but that’s not really revealing the whole story. It is, on the one hand, nakedly transparent and on the other, completely narcissistic.

Per danah’s paragraph above, and I’m paraphrasing, Twitter and Instagram for teens can be like the equivalent of passing notes in class, spreading gossip at the tables in the cafeteria at lunch and or stopping for a quick chat in the hallways between classes all rolled up into 140 characters or words and hashtags with pictures… Both platforms are now very public digital platforms for high school drama, love, hate, desire, trends, trouble, music, coolness, drug use, alcohol abuse, sex and above all, angst.

How do you react to what you read? How should you process it?

After reviewing thousands of tweets, I can easily say that for a lot of teens, they say things, they would never say IRL (In Real Life) and they do things and post things that are just not thought out too well. Not much different than what adults and companies do, but what one has to question though, is the impact. The ripple effect.

For girls in particular danah nails it:

“Drama is the language that teens—most notably girls—use to describe a host of activities and practices ranging from gossip, flirting, arguing, and joking to more serious issues of jealousy, ostracization, and name-calling.”

My concerns with the wild west mentality of middle school and high school social media usage are fivefold.

  1. The impact that  comments and tweets have on those involved or affected; as well as those that are indirectly involved, is more precarious than first thought. What happens in school is now being played out on Twitter and a myriad of other social sites. Picture concentric rings of influence like a dart board and you get the idea of impact and influence. It resonates. Social media extends the drama for students involved.
  2. There are conversations we don’t see that sit behind social chat apps like Kik, WhatsApp and WeChat and Ask.fm that are 10 times worse than the conversations that we see or hear about.
  3. The lack of parental guidance and or knowledge as well as sub-par levels of teacher engagement and intervention might be more pervasive than first realized.
  4. The perpetuating or perpetuation of a lifestyle that is neither real nor realistic or is in fact very real.
  5. A fealessness of posting anything coupled with a complete disregard consequences.

Transparency is Opaque


Concerns aside for a minute. I think what’s interesting is that the levels of attack and angst ebb and flow fairly regularly amongst teens. To the degree that most are descentized to the point that they either don’t care that their tweets/posts are being read, or are just not aware that the public can read them. Though they do erase from time to time, most don’t care.

Either way, the view into their social digital lives reveals a dystopian society where:

  1. It’s cool to post that you do lots of cool things, even if it’s not true.
  2. Your last “selfie”, Instagram or Vine is all that really matters.
  3. The more inspirational yet vaguely aspirational your tweet or pic is, the better.
  4. Their devices are always on and always with them.
  5. They are always one step ahead of what’s hot in digital and social apps and platforms, which is in direct contradiction to what they’re parents know and school administrators think they know.
  6. Everyone and everything is fair game to be digitally documented.

So what do we do about this? Do we do anything?

In my profession as a digital and social strategist,the first things we tell large organizations is that if you are not listening and monitoring the conversations, you will never know what is being said about you and your org. The same holds true here as well. Am I qualified to say that? Absolutely. With over 13 years in the digital space and nearly 7 of those spent in social media, I can without hesitation say that the more you listen, the more you learn.

Taking the first steps

The bottom line for parents is, if you’re not listening, then you’ll never know. Some parents either prefer not to know what their children are doing on their devices or don’t know what they don’t know. Either way, that’s unacceptable. I get that sometimes parents may feel like asking too many questions about just what it is their children are doing on their devices is prying, but remember who bought the device and who pays the bill. That might be trivializing a more appropriate response, but at the end of the day, that might be what resonates.

The days of being informed via other parents, teachers, administrators, students and traditional news outlets on what is happening at school and with your children, their friends and their circle of friends might have worked before the age of digital, but it doesn’t and can’t fly in 2015.

By the time you find out, it’s old news. How do I know? I’m a digital native and I am still surprised daily by what I read, what I hear, and what I observe. Truly, the digital dynamic has changed peer and parental relationships forever. At its core, it has created a whole new layer of responsibility and outcomes for better or worse. Expectations in this new digital realm need to be level-set.

Maybe then the question for parents isn’t so much how do you stop it, as much it might be how can you learn how to listen to the conversation?

How do you Measure Success?

napking-notes-dad-6

I save way more than I need to. I’ll admit I do have a bit of a hoarder in me, not to the extremes that you see on TV, but only in the sense that the things that I save have a) some sort of lifetime business value or b) a sentimental family value. So, needless to say, there is a bit of an accumulation.

That means not only do I occasionally print things out, but I also bookmark a lot of sites and I also write stuff down on anything and everything. Translation-stacks of paper, folders, random scraps of paper, bar napkins and the backs of envelopes are not an uncommon sight on my desk. For me, when the thought or idea hits I reach for whatever is around to get it down on paper before it flies away!

The takeaway is that I realize that I save stuff, so I’m always trying to weed through and see what I can save and what I can throw away, which leads me to what I found written on a the back of an unopened envelope this past weekend. It simply said:

How do you measure success?

It’s weird but when I wrote it down it didn’t have the same impact as it did at that moment. Maybe it’s the timing of words. The moment has to be right for them to have the greatest effect. Regardless, they were powerful words, if not a powerful question.

I immediately sat down and just started to noodle on it. Maybe it should be your success? How are you measuring your success? My success? Some might tell you that success is relative. And it is. As singer songwriter Paul Simon once sang, “One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor.” We all can measure success either incrementally or micro-incrementally. The point being that we can measure it no matter how large or how small.

We can call them baby steps. We can call it growth, maturity, experience, whatever. The bottom line is that we can associate success with the smallest of things or the largest. All you have to do is “define” it. Define your success and define it in terms that make sense. I think sometimes we believe that we have failed because we have not succeeded. Perhaps it’s because we failed at looking at success in the right way?

BarbellSet

Noted scholar and teacher, W. Edwards Deming, is incorrectly attributed to a quote that gets used each and every day. It’s as follows: “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” Most people have the quote wrong and yet it continues to be an extremely popular saying. In its present form, it fits for the sake of this discussion. However, what Dr. Deming really said was that one of the seven deadly diseases of western management is “Running a company on visible figures alone.” This makes complete sense and yet runs counter to the quote, but is a perfect segue’ into how we all measure success in digital and social marketing.

I read Dr. Deming’s “real” quote to say that you need to trust your gut and trust your instincts. In other words, know that though the numbers may say that you have a “successful” company, if everyone is miserable and everyone hates you? Is that success? Is that a visible figure?

For a lot of large companies and even the small ones, it’s all about measuring the impact of their efforts, right? Whether it is sales, leads, deals closed, online orders or prospects identified etc., companies can’t really keep the lights on without this type of quantifiable data. Some will call this ROI and still others will simply break down these efforts as, “Here’s the money coming in, here’s the money going out and here are the expenses.”

However, the bottom line is that in business or in life, what we all do, whether we realize it or not, is we measure the outcomes. Maybe not so much in an analytical way but we do measure our daily outcomes. Was it fun? Did we lose? Was it worth it? Did you have a bad experience? Did they like you? Was it your fault? Did you win? Did you buy it? Did you get the promotion? Lose your job? Did you diet? How was your workout? Are these successes? Sure they are!

Yes, like it or not, it would seem that we do measure all of our engagements and experiences. Things that we manage it would seem, Dr. Deming notwithstanding, can be measured. We are indeed, measuring our success.
But maybe we’re missing the big picture? Maybe, just maybe, we’re getting the definition of success wrong? Or maybe we’re just not defining it properly? Perhaps if we realign our definition of success, we can achieve more?

Two questions that I always ask of every friend or client who either wants to get themselves or their company in to the digital game, whether it’s social media, mobile marketing, web design, search engine optimization or otherwise:

What do you want to do and why do you want to do it?

Be clear on those 2 objectives and then be clear on how you’re going to measure your success. Little wins are just as important as the big ones!

How to Start the Day

I haven’t been posting much, for that I blame it on client work. With that being said, I stumbled on this and thought I would share. It comes from a site called Funders and Founders. Good stuff!

The State of Digital Marketing 2014

Thanks to the folks over at  Web Marketing 123 for this Infographic.


The Deets

Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.

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