Saturday, October 27, 2012

Working toward a routine

Sorry for the absence... I can sometimes get a Facebook post out now and again... which results in a tweet, too.

Reasons for neglecting the social realm?

Pretty good ones if you ask me: new paying job that has NOTHING to do with media, social or otherwise. (Well, not 100% true: I do some production: industrial multimedia, but it is not the crux of my position.); and, what was it... there was something else... OH, YEAH! SO had a BABY GIRL!!!

So I will be back with more and soon. I've got a lot I want to talk about and these little slips of paper containing random thoughts are piling up: gotta offload 'em somewhere! I've got some bones to pick, some axes to grind, and, some ideas to share.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Rules of Engagement

Normally I would counsel against using adversarial/militaristic terms*, but engagement has meaning beyond the mercenary.

We like rules and rubrics and frameworks. We need 'em.

I introduced one of my rules in a previous post and I realized I should throw them all out there. I have THREE (3) Rules of Engagement. I do most everything in threes - I don't like the black-white binary absolutism: 3 is the magic number of the Universe. If you care to debate me on it, bring it on. Anyway, I digress, and I do tend to do that on regular basis.

Point being, these three rules are the superstructure upon which I will hang my awesome-incredible-how-the-Hell-did-he-come-up-with-that Social Media Engagement for Causes framework. Twist THAT, M. Night.

Again, I digress.

Speak your mind. Be nice and polite, but say what you mean and be direct. It is social media, after all. By the way, be very careful with sarcasm, wit, and satire - from a text-based perspective, it may not go over as well as you'd like; worse still, you may be considered too clever by half :-P. It's better to appear wide-eyed rather than cynical.

Form a consistent persona, and promote it, even if there are multiple people working the line - you (and your partners/volunteers) ARE the CAUSE. You represent it, you own it. You are now in the business of collecting Likes, Follows, +1s, Shares, Retweets, ad infinitum.

Pretty straightforward, yes? Reply and respond and, well, ENGAGE. It's an enormous conversation - a massive cocktail party where every one wants your undivided attention, and you want theirs. Be a social butterfly! Pollinate and flutter along. Understand the difference between quality and quantity: 20,000 followers who want you to read their blog, buy their crap, and view vanity projects versus 100 dedicated spirits retweeting your replies to their concerns and hopes - you do the math!

So. There. Rules.

FYI - MONITOR - the M in the framework - would attach to Rule #3. I think. Sure, we'll run with that.

*For instance strategy, campaign, target. Not much of a fan of audience, too, as it suggests a unilateral association between message transmission and reception. You don't want an audience. You want relationships.


I do this thing, but really - What is it I am "doing"?

More to the point, what GOOD am I doing? I'm promoting the good works, good causes, and good messages of good people - true, enough - and I'd like to think in time I will contribute to the conversation with regards to social media engagement.

But, aside from those things, what is it I believe in? What are my causes? What is it I stand for?

You gotta have PASSION. Maybe it's a passion for your one and only true love; doing good; pets; reading & learning; teaching; skydiving; or, comic books. SomeTHING must grab you, hold you, speak to you. You can't live with out it because it hurts when it's absent. It compels you.

Granted, we should temper our passions. It makes them sweeter, and there are some passions that are unhealthy and even danger compulsions, e.g. neuroses and psychoses. Your passions simply cannot harm others. It's just plain wrong, and this is one of maybe a few things about which I am absolute (not relativistic): DO NO HARM.

(I once was passionate about politics - but that drove my blood pressure up high and ran off some friends. I tempered that passion, and I'm better for it.)

So our causes - those things we believe in so ardently, so fervently, so adamantly that we serve them without question - and, thus, our STANDS are the functions of passion. They can be exclusive of our careers and incomes. In fact you pursue them without regard of cost and time.

The question then, for me is "What am I passionate about?"

In no particular order to imply importance...

  • Family
  • Community
  • Justice
  • Fairness
  • Liberty

Broad passions - yes. I am working to stand for them all.

Join me, won't you?

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Horror in Aurora, CO

Overnight a madman terrorized hundreds and took the lives of at least 12 innocent people attending the midnight premiere of a long-awaited film, The Dark Knight Rises, in Aurora, Colorado.

I am sickened by this violent act and saddened to the core at the horror, pain, and loss. I hope all the activists, talking heads, and navel-gazers on the variety of media-muddled topics this churns up will give it a rest for a few days at least. It is further prayed that this will not become political theater. 

Then again, hope springs eternal. I already see from my various newsfeeds & search results the pundit-class sharks swimming amid the chum.

We are all simply AMERICANS at this moment. I wish to offer only my deepest and heartfelt sympathies at this terrible time to the victims of this truly senseless, horrific tragedy.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Facebook is LAME!

No, Facebook is a way of life, a social monolith and it is not going anywhere. Love it or hate it, most of us are there.

That said, it is also an excellent way of sharing a message - though it should not be the ONLY social element in your engagement framework.

Fan pages need Likes and interactions.

Please please please Like Texas Social Helps Out.

I should probably install their little widget doo-dad, too.

File this under "Seemed Like A Good Idea At the Time"

It should be noted that an organization posing as a personal profile is actionable by Facebook. All it takes is one or two disgruntled or mean-spirited complaints to get it shut down tout-suite. All gone, no appeal, no recovery of data.

Don't lose hundreds, perhaps even thousands of "friends" and potential connections - launch a fan page instead. It has useful metrics not available to the personal profile.

You're Gonna Give It Up For Free

"Free" is not always free.

Are you a member of the creative community? A shooter, a producer, an editor, an actor, a writer, a graphic designer, an artist, a musician? As you see it, are you well established?

You think you are talented & skilled. I understand that - I feel much the same way about myself. You should feel that way. It's called confidence.

By now it is possible you have served an internship, for higher education credit or otherwise. Mine didn't exactly break me into the business, but I'm told others have benefited more.

It is also possible you are still working for free: on the promise of favors, points, future consideration, or partnership.

I personally feel creatives should get paid, every time. The Biz, the industry, the scene does not always share my point of view: there's a tradition of using the creative. It's like hazing, only They call it paying dues.

So you're definitely gonna give it up, put out so to speak. You might even go to some personal expense, experience some measure of financial loss, all on the wink and nudge of hopeful reciprocity.

WHY NOT DO IT FOR A GOOD CAUSE? Volunteer your time, effort, talent, skills, and even your equipment to a charitable event or public service production. You'll make connections and build a reputation for independence and reliability. Heck, there may even be some room in their budget for an honorarium.

EDITED to include mention of musicians! Sorry about that - I'm more attuned to the visual components of entertainment given my background, training, and general tone-deafness :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Social Media Engagement for Causes

I realize I need to write more: content is king!

That said, I'll begin to roll-out what I consider a framework or methodology of Social Media Engagement for Causes (in particular) that I've been developing as a matter of trial-and-error, some research, and deductive reasoning.

I am NOT a social media expert! In fact I take exception to the word "expert" in the context of the new frontier "social" represents, as well as "best practices." Once upon a time experts insisted the world was flat and best practices included bleeding to balance humors.

Of importance to my thesis is the distinction to be made between engagement as a variable of social media MARKETING (an exploit of what I term Big Marketing), and engagement as a function of relationship communications.

The first rule of social media engagement is: BE HUMAN. I did not make this up.

The first letter of my framework is M.

M is for...

Engagement suggests the building of social relationships. In order to engage you must be aware of where you exist in the virtual conversation. This is both more or less an understanding of your own SEO in practice. Monitor your social, inside and outside. Pay attention to who Follows you, Likes you, +1s you, etc. and writes anything at all about you and your cause. Just Google it!