To Be Seen, To Be Heard…To Matter

Whether you’re marketing your crayon startup or trying to launch a fledgling career as an accordion player, people look at social tools and at some point wonder how they can get people to care about what they’re doing.

So much of the conversations these days tends to be focused on get-rich-tactics that pre-suppose that people have enough time to develop strategies, curate and launch successful schemes on their own. The reality is, most social media projects are done by one person who has other responsibilities. They’re not blogging because they don’t have time for such luxuries. Chances are, they missed your last awesomeConf 2019 because they couldn’t afford to do that or maybe they’re not even aware such things exist.

Right now, someone is doing the job you do in an office somewhere and feels like they’re the only one in the universe going through what they are. They might feel there’s a possibility that someone else out there does this work — especially in 2011 — but they don’t know how to reach out.

All around you – turn over your left shoulder and observe, switch shoulders and perform the same visual fact-finding operative – it’s hysterics. People are hysterical. Things are spinning completely out of control, making everything a nasty, head-splitting blur of activity. Just standing in it could induce migraine headaches and hyperventilating. There’s a nervous, coffee twitch that is steadily coursing through our hands and face muscles.

We all feel on edge and ages older than we should physically and mentally be. There’s always someone or some thing making the encouragement to do more and to move faster – hear those bleating traffic horns from behind if you haven’t stepped on the pedal when a light turns gloriously, finally (!!!) green. Your eyes probably hurt from all of that connectedness, all that text-messaging and computer screen-watching that you do all day long – skirting actual occupational responsibilities.

There’s a constant aching from head-to-toe and the rings under your eyes look like wedding bands for giants, thick as burrows. Health is a secondary concern. The emphasis is placed on productivity and products and progress and earning power. It’s about massiveness and mergers.

The only way to fight all that boredom – all of the marketers would suggest – is to buy more things, to be more technologically tuned in, to be wireless everywhere you move your feet. You should be able to smell the Internet in the air no matter where you are, you should be able to taste that sadness.

Words by Sean Moeller for Daytrotter about The Bowerbirds (via lprecords)

Going back to school does offer the possibility of joining the labor force when the economy is better. Unemployment rates are also generally lower for people with advanced schooling.

Those who do not go back to school may be on a lower-paying trajectory for years. They start at a lower salary, and they may begin their careers with employers that pay less on average or have less room for growth.

“Their salary history follows them wherever they go,” said Carl Van Horn, a labor economist at Rutgers. “It’s like a parrot on your shoulder, traveling with you everywhere, constantly telling you ‘No, you can’t make that much money.’ ”

And while young people who have weathered a tough job market may shy from risks during their careers, the best way to nullify an unlucky graduation date is to change jobs when you can, says Till von Wachter, an economist at Columbia.

“If you don’t move within five years of graduating, for some reason you get stuck where you are. That’s just an empirical finding,” Mr. von Wachter said. “By your late 20s, you’re often married, and have a family and have a house. You stop the active pattern of moving jobs.”

Many With New College Degree Find the Job Market Humbling (via NYTimes)

What the appropriate marketing response to comments who call today’s graduates spoiled brats who don’t want to pay their dues? Is there a curriculum for “responding to the contemporary marketplace?” Is there a parallel for this in history? Probably not, given student debt loads.

Keeping the fire lit


“It’s hard to tell whether one is winning or, in fact, losing once one starts to think of oneself as a commodity, or a product, or a character, or a voice for the downtrodden. It’s called losing perspective.” – Roseanne, via Molls

This, in a way, is a big part of why it’s hard for me to make videos regularly. Other than my years teaching at the group home, the extremely modest success of Ill Doctrine is the most fulfilling experience I’ve ever had. Getting to share my little ideas with .00001% of the population never stops being awesome. But it has also taught me a lot about what making media requires of you, or more precisely: what making oneself into media, what sustaining oneself as a media product, requires of you.

The more steadily I keep at it, the harder it is to feel certain it’s a healthy activity. Sustaining that belief, keeping it on an even keel, requires such a firmly grounded sense of self, and rigorous self-awareness. On a good day I can trick myself into believing I have those qualities. But it’s hard to string those good days together without running out of tricks, and succumbing to that “why did I think I could do this?” Wile E Coyote moment.

So I guess, according to what I just typed out, the challenge of creative work is: how do you stay grounded enough to keep from noticing there’s no ground under your feet? Okay maybe I need to keep working on that one.

I can understand this. 

Facebook has no influence on the relationships that actually matter to me. It’s the people on the periphery who get to stick around past their expiration date. If I deleted it, those are the kinds of people who would become casualties. And who cares, right? Let them fade away! I have almost 800 friends on Facebook, but only hang out with a handful of people in real life. Isn’t that bizarre? Who are these 790 friends of mine? When’s the last time we actually hung out? Do I even know them? If I don’t, why would I want them to know me?

The Pros and Cons of Deleting Your Facebook, Thought Catalog (via lprecords)

Anatomy of a contest

What if, rather than buy lots of chocolate bars in the hopes of a Golden Ticket; Charlie had to spam several hundred of his friends for two weeks? Does this sound familiar? If so, you might be on a social network where right now someone you know is trying to win something.

If you’re a good friend, you’re probably trying to help. Maybe you enlist others to join the cause as well and before you know it, you’ve got a small army attempting to help someone get something cool, nice or perhaps support a good cause along the way.

As social media continues to invade the mainstream, brands and whoever else want our attention seek ways to capture the eyeballs of a mass that don’t have time for them. Tugging at the heartstrings of personal relationships seems to be a good way to develop brand awareness, if you lack it. But at what cost? And is there long term value in this strategy? Without hard data, I won’t begin to speculate. 

Just looking at it, I think people are going to gradually wear from these types of contests. Right now, they favor folks who have a lot of social connections and can leverage those to their benefit. It can level playing field sometimes and result in the best team wins. In other instances, it just harnesses the power of the “American Idol” effect and while it might provide an uptick for the sponsor; it’s questionable whether small brands with little impact see an increased buzz to their aims by running contests in this way.

I’m not sure if running contests that are just opportunities for the web savvy to demonstrate their prowess really benefits brands. I’d think hard before plunging into an ocean head-first with an upstart or little-known brand in tow, in an effort to spam people into noticing what we’re doing.

It might work, but I’m not convinced (yet) that it’s worth the potential harm.