Tag Archives: facebook

Why Social Media? Because I Said So.

If you are reading this blog it probably means that you are relatively well versed in the world of social media. You may have a Facebook account that you use to keep in touch with friends, a Twitter account that you use to follow your favorite celebrities, and a LinkedIn account for connecting to colleagues. Even if it does not play a key role in your profession, you still use it for personal reasons.

my Mac wireless keyboard

Because of your use of social media, you have most likely heard people complain each time Facebook or Twitter changes the appearance of the site. You have heard comments about how stupid, pointless, and time-consuming social media is. You’ve probably even thought of those things yourself once or twice. Well, unfortunately for everybody who complains about social media (but fortunately for me, somebody who makes a living partially from knowing the ins and outs of social media), it isn’t going anywhere.

The two jobs that I have now are both centered around social media. For one of them I am a Media Specialist and helped develop the entire social media campaign for the brand. For the other, Sustainable Danville Area*, I was hired, with grant money designated specifically for social media development for local businesses, in order to help develop the social media platform for SDA, and its participating businesses. More accurately, actually, the grant was for the Danville Area Sustainable Business program, but that’s neither here nor there.

The reason I am telling you all this is because, up until last night, I never realized how difficult it is to describe the importance, rather, the imperativeness of social media.

Last night, as I stood in front of 20 sustainable local business owners and explained how I was going to help them increase their use and effectiveness of social media, I was greeted by two types of looks:

  1. Half of them looked at me as though they had never heard terms “Facebook,” “Twitter,” and “Hashtag” in their lives
  2. The other half looked at me with recognition of the terms, but no idea how to put a “hashtag” into effect

Oy vey. I had my work cut out for me.

Without assistance from an overhead projector to show what I was talking about so everybody could see, my words just seemed empty. They had no idea what a Twitter handle was. They didn’t understand that every time you put “#” and then a word, it turns into a link to a page that shows you everybody else who is talking about that same topic. They didn’t get why that was even important.

I know it’s kinda ridiculous for me to get frustrated with them, after all, the fact that not everybody knows the ins and outs of social media is what keeps me in business, but it was very hard for me to fight the urge to take the parent-child question stance and answer every “Why does it do that?” and “Why is that important?” and “How will that help me with my brand?” question with “Because it just does.” “Because it just is.” and “Because it just will.” It was exhausting to explain everything so many times without having a computer in front of me. Try explaining the internet to your aunt or uncle who still sends you Pokemon cards for your birthday, still hasn’t switched over to MP3s from cassette tapes, and still uses a typewriter instead of a computer. It’s extremely difficult.

my dad's old typewriter

I’m kind of kidding about that. But in all honesty, I will never try to explain anything having to do with the internet unless myself or the person I am talking to or both of us are in front of a computer.

Don’t get me wrong, I actually enjoy teaching people what I know about social media. It means that my skills are relevant and despite the widespread knowledge about how to use the internet (especially with people my own age), not everybody knows how to use it.

After the presentations were over I had the opportunity to speak to a few local business owners one-on-one. This gave me an opportunity to use my laptop and show them my personal twitter account. Once I showed them what I meant by hashtags, followers, and user names, they perked up a bit. Once I told them that there are applications they can use to schedule posts so they didn’t have to be online all day every day, they were ecstatic. They got so excited that they all wanted to schedule one-on-one social media tutoring sessions with me. It was so nice to see their enthusiasm once they could see what I was talking about.

Although I am so happy to help them with their small businesses, I’m not going to lie and say that it wasn’t a relief to wake up this morning and connect to the social media world full of people who actually understand the platforms they are using (that means you!). I’m thrilled that so many local businesses want to receive help with their social media, but I didn’t realize how difficult it was going to be to explain the purpose and importance of social media in layman’s terms.

Okay, now that I’ve vented a bit I am feeling a little bit better about my presentation last night (I got emails from a few of the businesses who were in attendance – yay!)

Have you ever tried to explain the uses of social media to somebody who didn’t quite understand the purpose? How did you handle it? What have you found to be the best tactics for explaining platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and even Pinterest?

*Don’t judge our website. I haven’t had time yet, but I am planning on taking a good hard look at the functionality of the website and make changes so that it is more organized.


Friday Links 2012: Week 1

Welcome to the first Friday Links of 2012! I have just started using BufferApp which helps me schedule Tweets throughout the day, even if I’m not signed on to Twitter. That way, my Tweets aren’t all posted at the same time – in the morning when I do my big daily news binge.

Because I am now posting on Twitter a lot more, I will try to limit myself to 10-15 of my favorite links for the week, that way my readers aren’t inundated with every single post I put on Twitter. That would defeat the purpose, now wouldn’t it? Plus, if you want to see all of my Twitter posts, you can just follow me 🙂

P.S. If you like my Friday Links posts on this blog, you might want to check out my Picture-A-Day posts on my other blog: Rachel Discovers Happiness.


A Lowe(‘s) Blow

As a PR professional, I know that it is not necessarily a good idea to speak out about things that could later get you in trouble. PR is all about image and following the mission of the organization/person being represented. Maintaining the image of a company is a tricky thing – you don’t want to upset your consumers, investors, or the general image of your company because that may affect sales/perception. On that note, I think it is important for people to remember that their actions do affect others.

That’s why I am (sort) shedding my PR role right now in order to give you my opinion on a big PR issue going on at the moment. What happened is this:

The TV channel TLC, known for it’s controversial shows such as 19 Kids and Counting, Sister Wives, Toddlers & Tiaras, and My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, came up with an all new show this season – All American Muslim. The creation of this show caused a major advertiser – Lowe’s – to pull its advertising from the program. Needless to say, this caused an uproar from liberals, conservatives, progressives, Christians, Muslims, Lowe’s shoppers, TLC watchers, and many more. Many comments, letters (and here), and opinions have chastised Lowe’s for its discrimination of Muslims and their heritage; however many have also come out in support of Lowe’s decision to remove advertising from the show. Since the announcement of the removal of its advertising, Lowe’s has posted an apology on Facebook which was subsequently taken down due to disrespectful and harshly worded comments. Lowe’s then posted a follow-up comment that can be seen below:

self-taken screen shot from Lowe's Facebook page

Anyway, the purpose of this post is not to chastise Lowe’s for making a (what I believe to be poor) business decision. This post was sparked by an article I read earlier today (or yesterday?) about the 25 Dumbest Comments on Lowe’s Facebook Page and was infuriated by what people said and how ignorant they are, the purpose is to call out the people who are supporting Lowe’s decision with the argument that it is in “America’s best interest” and that Muslims are not “true Americans.” My questions for them is: what, exactly, is a “true American”? Is it somebody who is born in the United States? Does it depend on the color of your skin? Your religion? How long your family has been in the States? The amount of education you have? I’m serious, what exactly is a “true American”?! Would you consider me a true American? I am white, Christian, and pay American taxes. What if I told you that I was second generation American? That my grandparents came from Germany and England – one leaving Germany out of fear for his family with Jewish roots. Am I still a true American in your eyes?

I know we have all heard this before but I will say it again: this country was founded, amongst other things, on the freedom of religion. In case you forgot, here are the words written on the Declaration of Independence – a document written by our Founding Fathers after white christians left Europe and fought against the British for their freedom of religion and independence from prejudice. They wanted to create a country where people could practice the religion they wanted – without being persecuted. Just to refresh your memory, here are the first words written on the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Now, I’m not going to give you a lecture (anymore than I have) on what the Constitution and Declaration of Independence have to say about the American people’s right to freedom. What I am going to say is that sometimes I am sorely disappointed by the people I call neighbors and fellow Americans. All of us came here from somewhere, at some point. Just because you have lived in the United States longer than others does not make you any more or less patriotic than somebody who moved here ten or twenty years ago.

Perhaps I will be labeled as the “classic liberal,” but I think that there is something to be said about being open minded and listening to other people’s opinions. Before you argue with me, I do realize that being open minded also includes understanding that not everybody is as open minded as me and that other people will have different opinions, but that doesn’t mean that those people have to impart their opinions on me and others. Just because you think you are right, doesn’t mean you are. Yes, I know, that means that I could be wrong. I am willing to risk it.

Here is a little insight on the roots of my beliefs:

The other day I got into a conversation with my dad about what I was like when I was little. The first thing he said was that I was sensitive (surprise, surprise – the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree). The second thing he said was that I didn’t see color, religion, or sexual orientation. I didn’t care whether someone was black, white, green, Christian, Jewish, atheist, straight, or gay. As long as they treated others well, everybody was the same to me. In fact, when I was 3 and attending preschool in El Cerrito, CA, I was exposed to a lot of ethnicity: the main preschool teacher was Sikh, another teacher was white, and another was black. My dad said I didn’t pay attention to their skin color – instead of saying “my white teacher” or “my black teacher,” I said “the teacher with the light hair” (meaning my white teacher) and “the teacher with the dark hair” (meaning my black teacher).

As I thought about that story, I got wistful for those days of innocence, for the days when no prejudice based on color or religion clouded my opinions of people. I try to keep myself from pre-judging people, but sometimes it is hard. Sometimes I find myself thinking about other races and applying stereotypes to them, or looking at other Christians and judging them for their extremist views, or vegetarians for their judgmental comments. At those times I have to step back and remind myself that everybody has a right to be who they are and believe what they think is true. It is not my right to get in their way.

I suppose the best I can hope for is that, by the time I have grandchildren, they will live in a world (or at least an America) where people aren’t persecuted for their beliefs. An America where the Constitution and Declaration of Independence are actually followed.

Finally, I will leave you with a quotation from Nazi opposer Martin Niemöller:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out —Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out —Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.

And now that I’m done with my (not-so) mini rant, have a wonderful night.


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