Building, sustaining and growing Lava Row has been the most rewarding challenge of my life. Along the way I’ve met an unforgettable cast of characters, and I have been so fortunate to work with talented employees and do meaningful work for smart clients.
One of those clients, Hy-Vee, expressed interest in expanding their digital team and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. I can’t wait to join them on October 7.
Onward and upward!
Social media marketing has become formulaic, automated, bland and misaligned from business goals. Brands are wasting their time tweeting about holidays and condescendingly reminding us to eat our vegetables.
This is drawing 7/100 of my #100sketches project. Hey, I’ve been at this a whole week! You can also follow along on flickr.
Virtual assistants (remote workers who help manage your email, sales pipelines, meetings, etc.) likely provide some value to people who are legitimately busy. Recently, though, I’ve noticed a lot of bragging about virtual assistants by individuals who just can’t get enough of telling everyone on the Internet how overwhelmed and overworked they are.
“I’m just so buried,” they tell you. “I can’t even get to all my emails at the end of the day,” they say.
“But I’ve got this great new virtual assistant who really helps me manage my time and you should check it out too,” their auto-generated tweet says, followed by an affiliate marketing link that tracks any resulting purchases and kicks them back a check for $2.99 at the end of the month.
My issue with the Inbox Zero and productivity hack movements are the bragging rights that come with them. Having an empty inbox, gaming work to become more efficient, and outsourcing your mundane tasks should result in zen, focus and peace of mind – not a Twitter-fueled pissing match about who’s the busiest.
I drew this back in January, inspired by Ray Kurzweil‘s prediction that machines will be able to create their own art and music by 2019. Today, we can at least build and program robots to play music, as evidenced by Compressorhead in the video below.
(Above video discovered via Perfect Porridge.)
During a divorce, how do spouses navigate their social network relationships with each other? And with mutual friends and family?
This has emerged as a bizarre new layer of the breakup process, and I recently talked about my personal experience on the June 17 Talk of Iowa show about online etiquette. What follows are a few highlights and expanded thoughts. This post isn’t meant to be prescriptive, but it might provide clarity for someone going through the same thing.
During the separation period preceding divorce, my ex-wife and I set ground rules about many different things. We talked at length about what to do with Facebook and kept coming back to two questions:
Should we stay connected (friends) on Facebook?
We decided to mutually block each other. Blocking, unlike un-friending, means the other individual can’t see any of your posts or content. We felt that if the other person is digitally out of sight and out of mind, there would be less temptation to act on the impulse to snoop into the other person’s activity. Even mundane or innocent posts during the divorce process could be taken out of context, create unnecessary longing or elevate existing stress levels. While blocking your spouse might sound harsh, I believe our reasoning for it was healthy.
Andrew High, assistant professor at the University of Iowa’s Department for Communication Studies, cited research on the Talk of Iowa show which suggests Facebook surveillance of an ex-partner can be “associated with greater current distress over the breakup, more negative feelings, sexual desire, and longing for the ex-partner, and lower personal growth. Overall, these ﬁndings suggest that exposure to an ex-partner through Facebook may obstruct the process of healing and moving on from a past relationship.” 1
This is exactly what we were trying to prevent. Healing was necessary.
What should we post about during the process?
Out of respect for each other as human beings, and the mutual friends and family who were still connected to us on Facebook, we decided that posting photos of ourselves with the other gender was not cool. This rule applied to the early months of the separation and wasn’t intended to be permanent. We established it because we’d seen so many other couples behaving in extreme ways online during separation, while the wounds were still raw for everyone, and we agreed it was distasteful and uncomfortable. To summarize: Feel free to act like you’re divorced when you’re legally divorced, not during the separation weeks/months.
Moving forward, every couple will have to face these issues when a relationship ends. Our digital selves are increasingly a part of our whole selves, and the two are difficult to untangle.
(Hey, Geoff Wood, thanks for prompting me to put these thoughts on digital paper.)
Above photo: cbhdesign via flickr.
1 - Facebook Surveillance of Former Romantic Partners: Associations with PostBreakup Recovery and Personal Growth - Tara C. Marshall. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. October 2012, 15(10): 521-526. doi:10.1089/cyber.2012.0125.
Father’s Day is approaching (June 16, to be exact) and that means social media brand managers will have tweets queued up on their content calendars scripted something like this:
Brand: Happy #FathersDay to all the dads out there! What are you doing to celebrate the day?
Of all the various manifestations of marketing that exist (97.8% of which are awful to begin with) this is absolutely the most awful and it needs to stop.
It’s lazy. Marketers are now drunk on the fact that they can inject themselves into the broader conversation du jour on Twitter with bland holiday-related statements like the one above, then check the social media box for the day. Done! Social media strategy achieved.
It’s formulaic. This follows a classic social media content formula that is already overused: make a statement then ask for engagement. Formulas are easily detected by human B.S. radars and they will be ignored.
It’s not connected to any business goal. If a form of marketing doesn’t align with a specific business goal or opportunity, then what’s the point of doing it? Especially on a platform where posts have a shelf life of only a few hours. With no strategic direction behind them, these tweets are a waste of time, a waste of data, and can easily be filed away in the happy horse shit, sunshine and lollipops folder. “Joining the conversation” isn’t a strategy.
I’m asking marketers to do better. Below is a fantastic example from State Farm that mentions Veterans Day but does so much more.
It connects Veterans Day back to a core piece of the State Farm brand: Their agents. It supplements the post with rich media, in this case a video of an agent describing how his military service impacts his leadership style. By doing this, they’ve created timely, relevant content that perfectly aligns with broader communication goals.
Now go celebrate Father’s Day. But give your audience something extra before you post about it.