Category Archives: Social Media

#hashtaginsanity

Despite the contractual obligation of my age group to embrace social media, I’m not a big fan of Twitter. Immediacy is nice and all, but Twitter is too fast and too immediate for my tastes. Stop looking at your feed for five minutes and five-hundred posts pass you buy in the blink of an eye.

Despite my annoyance of twittering around, I admit the hashtag feature is nice. The feature is also #heavilyabused and #wronglyused. This article from socialmediatoday sums up my thoughts nicely. Just like any form of communication, if you do not put serious thought into the five w’s then your Tweets will fall on deaf computer monitors.

#andthatsterrible

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Millennial Avoidance

I came across a post today from the writer of TranscendingBorders mentioning that she deleted all of her social media outside of her blog. About two weeks ago I attempted something similar, albeit less dramatically, in taking a temporary break from Facebook. I still have my account, and I’ll return to it eventually after I finish my little Facebook-avoidance experiment.

Like many millennial Facebook users, I spend way too much time being nosy and following the exploits of my friends in lieu of doing something productive. So during my free time, whenever I get the urge to visit Facebook, I turn on my Kindle, write for this blog…basically exercising my creativity. I also apply this to other random internet distractions like YouTube. Fortunately I’m not a heavy Twitter or Tumblr user.

What have I learned so far? That I spend way too much time on Facebook.

In the past week and a half I finished the book I was reading, got through two more, and written some blog material. Not a bad start, although writing will soon turn to wedding planning (I popped the question last December!)…and writing about wedding planning, but more on that later. I am not trying to say Facebook is evil as it turns 10 years old, but sometimes you need to step back and re-examine how you spend your time. The results may surprise you.

Ironically, all of my blog posts and Goodreads activity shows up on my Facebook. Even though I haven’t been checking in, my Facebook d stays active.

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Filed under Life, Social Media, Writing

Justifying the Role of Social Media Managers

Like all good humanities-based careers, Social Media Managers often feel the need to justify their worth to the world at large. While the role of social media manager is but one small hat I wear (or more specifically, third monitor) in the small business I work for, I understand the frustrations those more invested in the job constantly endure. So I’ll add my two-cents for the record.

The social media manager role appears obvious at first glance. With social media outlets multiplying like bunny rabbits, companies face an increasing need to designate a specialist to manage everything from Facebook to Xing. Once again, like all good humanities-based careers, people assume that anyone can handle this job. All you need is a little experience with Facebook and Twitter right?

Oh so incredibly wrong, and here’s an easy explanation why. Look at your Facebook news feed and you’ll see two general types of people.

1) People who post silly, easily forgettable things on Facebook every five seconds. You might chuckle or agree with their post/picture/video, maybe even give a “pity-like” and then move on. These people often post multiple times a day, using their Facebook as a Livejournal to tell their life story to the world. “Find out what I’m up to, every hour on the hour.”

2) People who post well thought-out, possibly infrequent but definitely engaging posts. An interesting article that promotes discussion. Perhaps a cool video solving a common problem in a creative way. Posts people come back to, receive dozens of likes, make you want to actually visit that person’s unique profile to show the post to someone else. These posts are not about what you are eating for lunch or questioning your evening plans.

Some people naturally fall in the middle ground or maybe into both groups, but you can probably divide a significant portion of your friends in Group 1 or Group 2. Now if you were a CEO and wanted someone to manage your online presence, which group would you pull talent from? Group 2 of course. Companies need to engage their customers on a professional, intelligent level. Not a level of “The Metro is 20 minutes late OMGFML.”

Social Media Managers are not allowed to use their tools of Facebook and Twitter for their own personal amusement, much like the tools given to Biochemists or Engineers. They do not have time for such trivial games because they, like other hard-working individuals, are too busy using their tools to do their job.

Given the nature of social media, specifically the instant transfer of communication, that job becomes a specific form of public relations on steroids. Someone comments on your Facebook page? Better reply back immediately. Something exciting happened that you need to report? Better tell the world immediately. Social Media Managers do not have time to complain about their lives on Facebook; they are too busy acting as the voice of their employer.

Not everyone writing blog posts deserves an English degree. Likewise, not everyone operating social media deserves a Communication degree. Of course, Linux, Perl, and MySQL are just as open source as social media and blogs, but that’s a topic for another day.

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Social Media Motivation

Looking back at my Facebook and Twitter posts, I now realize just how infrequently I update my status…and how frequently I have updates posting from outside sources. Most of my posts consist of various announcements and updates telling the world what I am up to in a variety of non online facets. The expresso bike tells my friends I can bike a four minute mile. Goodreads tells my friends just how much I love the novel “Cloud Atlas.”

…and the list goes on. The ability to post updates on Facebook or Twitter on my accomplishments greatly motivates me to do…well everything. Not necessarily to brag (although I am accumulating quite a few accomplishments in Skyrim, heheh), rather I like the challenge of constantly finding new and relevant posts to show my friends. Starting up a new discussion on my latest reading or how I managed to beat a tough level with friends is a nice side benefit as well.

I admit that social media motivates me to go the extra mile in the things that I love. Things that actually hold meaning, unlike those silly Facebook games. Seeing a cool article someone read on the Washington Post is great. Seeing a request to help tend a friend’s virtual farm? Not so great.

This is what my Facebook timeline turned into – reviews of my favorite books.

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The Perils of Public Facebook

Now that I’m done graduate school I can turn my writing efforts towards topics that don’t involve dead writers. Of course there is nothing wrong with dead writers, in fact I love them! For now, I’m directing this Monday evening post towards a blog post I noticed on the excellent Austalian blog Wine Women and Wordplay, who in turn reblogged it from the equally amazing blog of Kristen Lamb.

The chain of sharing – that’s what social media is all about, right? 🙂

Anyway, Facebook recently changed the way fan pages reach out to people on their news feed. Now, fan page owners will only reach out to a certain number of fan’s news feeds. Want to hit all of your fan’s news feeds? Well you’ll have to fork over hundreds of dollars to Facebook…per post. And these are for the poor smaller fan pages that don’t have millions of fans.

“But Matthew, fans can still go to a fan page to see all of the updates right?” Well yes, but let’s be honest…who actually does that? Everyday you login to Facebook it is inevitable that at least one of your friends have found some new fan page to like. Whether it be Jimi Hendrix or Subway, everyone is becoming a fan of something. Considering the rates in which our news feeds constantly feed us the latest and greatest insights into our friends’ personal lives, most of us don’t have time to go poking through all five-thousand things we’ve decided to become fans of. Clearly Facebook realized this, and now that they’ve gone public they are hitting the little guys were it hurts – the pocketbook.

Amusingly enough, some fan pages have decided to lampshade this unfortunate inability to connect to everyone. As the local fitness center I visit posted this morning: “Happy Monday! Too bad only 100 ish of our fans will reach this because of facebook wanting to charge to status now lol” Fortunately I was one of those lucky 100.

So why is Facebook doing this? Well now that the social networking site has gone public it now has shareholders. Facebook needs to appease their new shareholder friends, and the best way to do that is to find ways to make more money. If enough people complain and fight back against this change Facebook may change their mind. Unfortunately they only seem to be keen on doing that if there is a major privacy risk involved…for now.

As an aside, if you enjoy writing in the digital era, I highly recommend following Kristen Lamb’s blog. Her WANA (We Are Not Alone) project is a great example of how social media can be used for the powers of good.

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Medical Device Online Marketing: Part 1

The nice thing about the Professional Writing degree I’ve been pursuing  at Towson University (and finishing, graduation in three weeks, yay!) is the freedom to chose my own topic for many of the projects and papers I’ve written. To fully take advantage of these open-ended opportunities I’ve worked on answering questions and solving problems that have plagued me in the professional world. For one of my last papers, I am examining a problem that has been bugging me since I’ve started working at Medical Device Depot – enhancing online marketing capabilities for the niche field of medical device sales.

Selling an EKG machine or a blood pressure gauge is obviously not as simple as marketing a t-shirt, food, or something that most people in the world have a need for. Initial thoughts into the topic may bring up the question – is there really a market for medical devices? Considering the success of the company I work for, I can definitely say yes to that. The problem becomes reaching out to the target audience, of which a significant portion are older people who think iPads and laptops are scary monstrosities.

Although doctor’s are more inclined to stick to traditional non-online methods than other interested customers, the ever-widening generational gap for healthcare workers brings more people online. Medical devices are no longer becoming stand-alone, as an increasing number of machines are utilizing laptops and PC’s to enhance the potential and capability of medical devices. EKG’s can be viewed and printed on bigger laptop screens, data can be transmitted wirelessly through the internet. The list goes on. Although a significant portion of doctor’s may prefer to keep their practice as technology-free as possible, the younger generation is rising up and embracing the courtship of medical device and computer/internet technologies.

With laptops, bluetooth and wi-fi gaining an increasing presence in the healthcare industry, it makes sense that medical device stores can tap into this field to market goods. Shopping sites like Nextag and Amazon are starting to realize this as well, with more and more webstores offering categories for medical devices. When also considering that the target audience for medical devices extends far beyond doctors (physical therapy clinics and dentists just to crack the surface) there are many people out there searching for new devices.

The question therefore becomes: how do you reach these people? The same way you reach out to people looking for non-esoteric goods. Well, sort of. I’ll elaborate further in a later post.

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Filed under Social Media, Technical Writing

BipolarNation – Why can’t we all get along?

The blog I will be covering this semester is BipolarNation, a media blog created by Dan Kenitz. The blog’s mission statement is partly the reason why I decided to cover it. The goal of this blog involves bringing EVERYONE together, regardless of things like political stance, culture, beliefs, and so on, to discuss various events. Although the site does not appear to garner as much traffic or hold as much involvement as some major blogs (perhaps due to the forum aspect described below), it offers an interesting attempt to look at issues from multiple viewpoints, including those on a political level. The actual structure is very simple. The author of the blog (usually Dan Kenitz or Aaron Robertson) constructs a post describing and occasionally taking sides on a current issues. After presenting some background information mixed in with the author’s individual thoughts, a link is provided to a designated forum topic where the post can be discussed or commented on in greater detail by visitors. In this way the traiditional method of leaving a comment is not used. I presume that the forum method is used to force less anonymity and allow greater flexibility in any needed moderation, due to the encouragement of responses from a wide variety of people. The issues discussed tend to concern mostly serious issued concerning the United States population. Given that the primaries are an important (and popular) topic many recent posts have been examining candidates and big issues surrounding the primaries such as health care and the economy.

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