Social Media for Business

This week we are looking at whether or not it is important for companies to have a social media strategy.  I’ll even cut to the chase… it’s very important.  In fact, it is uber-important and for three main reasons.  The first is that people are out there looking for whatever it is you are selling and if you aren’t doing everything you can to connect with them you will go out of business because you can bet your bottom dollar that somebody else is!

The second reason is that people on the internet aren’t just looking, they’re talking.  They’re talking about what they like and even more of them are talking about what they don’t like.  This was dangerous enough a situation back when our chatting was limited to spoken conversation, but nowadays word-of-mouth can go viral in mere moments thanks to the ever-expanding links being formed by popular social media sites such as facebook, twitter, and youtube.

There is no shortage of ways for people to spread good will or animousity and if your company doesn’t have its ear to the ground your reputation can get used and abused without your even knowing it.  And that would be a shame, especially if you end up down and out, living in a box by the river.

Finally, social media has become a top way for companies to cut out a lot of the process in finding new employees.  Sites like LinkedIn provide companies with a massive talent pool to draw on.  Certainly the days of relying on placing newspaper ads are disappearing fast.

For these reasons it is crucial to have a well-planned social media strategy that involves listening to what is being said about you and steering opinions of you by creating compelling content to draw the interest of the public and to drown out any negative vibes.  Love it or hate it, life is lived on the net.  As an individual or a company, you ignore that fact at your peril.

For more information, watch this video!

Advertisements

My Favourite Blog

This week’s assignment asked us what our favourite blog is, why it is good and why people read it.

My favourite blog is found at http://failblog.org/.  It is not a technical page.  It is not an insightful page.  It doesn’t instruct, guide or inspire me to greater heights in my personal or professional life.  Still, I believe that it satisfies a basic need in the human psyche; that is the need to feel superior to someone.

There are all kinds of places around the web where I can find the blogs of incredible people doing incredible things.  I can read the words of missionaries in Africa.  I can learn from NASA’s rocket scientists.  I can study the motivations and actions of a high school student fighting for human rights in China by leading a letter-writing campaign.  I can even gain insight into the creative process by reading the blogs of some of the most creative musicians/artists/designers on the planet.  I can… but I won’t.  It’s not that I don’t want to learn, grow or evolve as a person, because I do!  (Well, most days anyways.)

No, the sad truth is that while awesome, talented people are great, they are also kind of irritating.  I mean, have you ever known someone who was good at everything?  I’m talking about the type of person that wins the math award, the english award and is the captain of the whatever-impresses-you team?  For the purposes of this blog we’ll call this person ‘Captain Awesome’.  And while they certainly have an abundance of greatness to share with the world, I personally always end up feeling inferior afterwards.  After all, when compared to Captain Awesome, many of us fall a little short.

This is where failblog.org comes to our rescue.  Rather than bombarding us with excellence, which would inspire us to set lofty, unattainable goals and set us up for disappointment, failblog reminds us that even if you have some pretty idiotic moments (and we all do), there are always people out there that will make you look like a genius in comparison.  Consider the hair salon sign below.  Somebody actually thought is was a good idea. Knowing that they are that stupid and that I am not is very reassuring.  And the next time I run into a door or say something truly bone-headed I will be able to deal with it, because hey, at least I didn’t give my business a name that inspires images of Cameron Diaz and her special hair  ‘mousse’ in ‘There’s Something About Mary.”

failblog.or case #1

Failblog showcases examples of stupidity in all of its myriad manifestations.  Case #2 is another solid example of ‘I may be an idiot, but at least I’m not this guy.”

If at first you don't succeed...

Tell me honestly that you don’t feel better about yourself than you did before you started reading this article and I’ll call you a liar.

There are other reasons other than the ego-stroke that contribute to failblog.org’s popularity though.  One is that it is community-based in that it allows anyone to upload and contribute.  This encourages users to be involved and engage themselves.  Thus rather than being a one-way line of communication,  it is an interactive process that allows users to invest themselves in the site.  This higher level of involvement will bring them back to the page time and time again.

It is also possible to vote on individual submissions to determine the subject’s degree of failure.  That is nice, because while it is enjoyable to bask in someonelse’s stupidity, it is even better when we can tell them just how stupid they really are.

My Favourite Social Media Site

Hello, and welcome to my very first post on my wordpress site. We have been asked by our teacher to discuss what our favourite social media site is and why.

My favourite site (so far) is facebook. Yes, I know I lump myself in with the masses on this one, but facebook has wormed its way into my heart and my daily routine.  It has allowed me to connect with a wide array of people.  A number of those are individuals that I see and talk to on a regular basis in the real world, but there are even more people whom I would not have the opportunity to interact with regularly.  They are friends and acquaintances from other stages and locales in my life; classmates from other institutions, friends who have moved away, co-workers from previous jobs, etc.  Were it not for facebook (or other types of social media) these relationships would by and large be lost.  It would be great when I happened to run into those people, but that would happen very rarely if at all.  With facebook I have the ability to maintain contact with those people through messages, comments, status updates and the like.   Ultimatley, I don’t believe there is any substitute for live encounters.  I can read someone’s face or pick up on vibes in their tone when I encounter them in a way that just isn’t possible when limited to text.  However, if  it comes down to either having virtual interactions or none at all,   I’ll take the virtual ones any day.

Ofcourse, my affection for facebook and its ever-growing popularity might make one wonder why has it grown so fast?  What need does it (and social media in general) fill?  What role does it play that its integration into our lives has seemed so natural?

To understand this, let’s take a detour and visit our cousins, the chimpanzees.  These wonderful individuals spend a consistent portion of each day grooming each other.  They pick the ticks, leaves, burs and the like from each other’s fur.  This process hast two important elements to it.  First of all, clean fur is healthy fur.  So, if they want to be healthy, they have to get the crud out.  As you can probably imagine though, it is very hard to groom yourself front to back.  And if you can only groom your front side, then the job is only getting half done.  This is where the second element comes in: cooperation!  Many creatures have figured out that sometimes two heads, or in this case, sets of hands, are better than one.  The Great Apes have certainly come to this conclusion, and humans have taken it to the extreme.  So when the going gets tough, the tough work together!  It is impossible for a single chimp to groom himself perfectly, but an accord is reached wherein two or more chimps basically say that  “if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”!  This eases tensions in the group and is the basis of bonding amongst individuals.  The relationships formed by this means benefit the chimps by promoting cooperation in other aspects of their lives, including protection from dangers, sharing of food and selection of mates.

As humans, we don’t tend to spend a lot of time grooming our friends.  (Well, some of us may, and I’m not here to judge them.)  But there is an activity that chimps don’t do that occurs in the about the same proportion in our daily lives… chit chat!  We have switched one activity out for the other, but they play the same role in that they strengthen interpersonal relationships and improve group cohesiveness.  At first we were limited to talking with the people of our family group, but technologies such as the telegraph and the telephone have allowed us to stretch this further.  Social media is just an extension of this behaviour designed to perform the same function at the level of the world wide web.  In essence it has allowed us to extend the reach of our relationships beyond the end of our arms to the ends of the Earth.