social media

/r/fellowkids is a goldmine of business social media miscalculations

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Whence /r/fellowkids? It derives from Steve Buscemi’s appearance on Ep. 401 of NBC’s ’30 Rock.’ (Please note: two skateboards)

I rail at length to anyone who’ll listen about the importance of an authentic personality in social media: coequal to value and responsiveness alike. Failure of any of the three can cripple a social media campaign. Without the latter two a social campaign is susceptible to vandalism and anemic reach/growth. Without the former, well that’s where it gets more complicated.

The content of the /r/fellowkids subreddit may occasionally reveal the conspiracy-seeker’s readiness to spot a corporate motive behind every visible logo in a ‘viral’ video, but there is no question that at times the hive-BS detector is spot-on. Like the writer is abjured to ‘write what you know,’ a social media manager with no frame of reference for social media is doomed at some point to publish comments & memes that not only tip off users, but turn them off as well.

A few cringeworthy examples:

Hillary Clinton’s campaign with the meaningless fluff.


A terrible, obvious, cringe-worthy misuse of the ‘confession bear’ meme.


Famed author Anne Rice tries and fails to reach ‘the kids’ with a ‘meme’ that completely misses the point & social context of memes.

The Power of Social Media

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Search stats @ PornHub relative to Reddit AMA. Graphic via Reddit user /u/katie_pornhub (Official Account)

The efficacy of social media is at times lost on business-folk. Beyond a certain generational boundary work in social media appears increasingly futile and time-wastey, like paying a teenager to chat with his/her friends.

For a long time it was hard to demonstrate the business value of social media in terms management could understand, let alone explain the value of likes, followers, and friends in linear industrial terms. For years businesses accepted as a truism the keeping of web traffic & search data a closely-guarded secret, forcing digital marketers to cobble together insightful if incomplete conclusions from traffic ranking websites and Google’s powerful adware.

In time tech-savvy managers have ascended to positions of real decision-making power. These managers –every one a data-hungry technologist– having grown up on the web realize ‘success’ is bigger than clicks and units sold: that building means to user engagement not only extends time spent on a website but creates an intellectual space in the minds of technologists, who come to count useful data sources (like that pictured above) among the insight-laden destinations they visit and rely upon.

Granted’s data set is of use only to a select few businesses, but in moment like this –when social media and public data coincide– we’re given a glimpse into key user data of the sort usually contained behind the corporate firewall.

The adult actress Riley Reid did an AMA on Reddit last week. In the graphic above right you can see both the historical trend of searches for Ms. Reid, with the time of her AMA indicated. See that spike? That’s traffic. That’s engagement. That’s proof-positive that social media works when done right.

The exemplary PornHub traffic page (SFW) can be seen here. It is specifically insights like these –generated publicly by destination sites– that give advertisers and social media mavens a critical insight into the results of digital marketing efforts. Far from chatting online with friends, work in social media can drive a ton of traffic in the act of building a social media personality for your customers to know and appreciate.

Reasons to Hire a Writer #2: A Writer Remembers

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"The dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water." -Ernest Hemingway Photo by flickr user Denny Nkemontoh, under CC license.
“The dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water.”
-Ernest Hemingway

Emerson said ” ‘Tis the good reader that makes the good book.” Two readers pick up the same volume. One reads words, receives a story, and is entertained. The other –a writer– also reads the words, but in the context of the thousands of other books s/he has read. In his mind each setting, each character, each way of writing is filed in a mental list, becoming in essence a living database of style and context.

The writer also receives a story, but the writer knows stories. The story, is it wordy? Does it say enough? Is it full of gaps: barriers to comprehension? Does it inform and impress enough to be authoritative; to have what some call ‘the ring of truth?’

The writer is also entertained, but as this is his trade and he is a list-making analyzer, his standards will be high. In business and technical writing we replace ‘entertain’ with ‘inform,’ but just as the words used in fiction and business are identical the analytical tools of the writer transform seamlessly to commercial communications.

The writer you hire has a mind just like yours. Whereas yours might be swarming with lines of unwritten code or crowded with market & performance data in aid of your strategic and operational decision-making, the writer’s mind is stacked deep with context, driven by a mania for clarity, and made to adapt.

This last provides perhaps the most value in the business world. A writer is a reader, and by nature an editor. S/he is by training and instinct accustomed to holding hundreds of conceptual lines in mind at once. As Hemingway observed early in his career writing for Cooperative Commonwealth (a former weekly business magazine in Chicago), when presented with business tasks the writer simply makes room in his mind for work and art together. In this s/he is supremely adaptive both to circumstances and information, an inherent skill that translates perfectly into a MARCOM gatekeeper and editor, a social media manager, or communications project manager.

The writer brings a wealth of cultural perspective to discussions about strategy and deep knowledge to conversations about messaging in the act of putting his considerable talents at the disposal of his employer. No matter the message, no matter the audience, a writer has the tools organizations need to bridge critical gaps in messaging, strategy, and talent.