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The Grand Social Media Experiment. We learn by doing.


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5 Things I love About Social Media

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I started using social media several years ago and I went on a social media hiatus. After I began using social media again, I have discovered some things I like about social media right now.

  • Social media is my number one place for inspiration and brain storming. When you’re into fashion like me, I keep up with what’s trending in the fashion world because it is forever/rapidly changing. I can also find out great new ideas and ask suggestions on how to do something.
  • Social media is my entertainment hub. I find out and explore new artists, music, videos, books and lots more. All which are accessible through YouTube, Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter.
  • Social media is my news board. Twitter is a great source to get fast news on just about everything, sometimes even at a faster pace than the traditional news platform.
  • Social media is a place for me to have my own voice. Home and work might not be enough for you to express yourself. With social media you can say what you want and have friends who are millions of miles away, but you can interact with on Twitter and Facebook. You might be uncomfortable speaking in public, but when you are online you are free to speak your mind. Being an introvert doesn’t really matter because you are in the comfort of your own home.
  • Social media is free!! , well after you pay for your internet subscription. Majority of social platforms out there do not charge people for using it. Who wouldn’t like free stuff? Social media being free makes it a great source to promote your brand for almost nothing, if done right.

I love all the opportunities social media gives me, from it being free to being my source of inspiration. I’m sure you have the things you love about social media. Please comment below with some of the things you love about social media.

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A Traveler’s Guide Through The Social Media Universe, Part II

Let’s pick up where we left off – popular social media channels. The next one we’ll be reviewing is Twitter. This channel can be likened to a noisy, popular night club. These are the main facts you need to know about the Twitter channel:

  1. Social network which allows personal and professional users to set up basic profiles and “Tweet” (send/receive messages), pictures, and/or videos confined by a 140 character limit.
  2. Users can also “Retweet” others’ messages, pictures, and/ or videos.
  3. Users have the option of tagging to “Follow” others to boost social interactions and stay updated on other users’ tweets. The same principle applies vice versa.
  4. Users also receive notices via a “Notifications” folder.
  5. Hashtags (pound sign preceding brief text) links to other sources as well as potentially attracting more followers.
  6. There’s an ongoing newsfeed of “Current Trends.” Users can opt to click on hashtag links to view more information about those trends.
  7. Last but not least, there’s the “#Discover” where Twitter searches out and filters trends the user might like.

Now, let’s examine our third social media channel – Pinterest. Figuratively speaking, Pinterest can be likened to both a playful art gallery. Pinterest’s essential elements include:

  1. Users set up personal accounts to collect, share, and store pictures/videos on virtual bulletin boards.
  2. Users “Pin it” (use web content to upload personal content) and “Repin” (import from other peoples’ boards) media content to various personal “boards” (different categories).
  3. The “Pin Feed” suggests content users might like and use.
  4. Each media image opens the door to other related information and entertainment.
  5. Users can both invite Pinterest friends to their boards and follow other Pinterest members.

Our fourth social media channel, Linkedin, can be likened to a job fair or office setting. LinkedIn’s primary components include:

  1. Professional networking site where users set up profile pages displaying their professional background, skills, and interests to find jobs and/or business opportunities.
  2. Users network with each other by establishing “connections.” There are three degrees of connections (One refers to a direct connect while the other two are indirect).
  3. Users can endorse each other (verify job skills)
  4. Users can “like” and “congratulate” each other on their achievements.
  5. Users can see who has previewed their pages.
  6. Users can also join professional groups and clubs.
  7. Employers can use LinkedIn to post jobs and search for potential workers.

We’ll come back and explore some more popular social media sites soon, but right now, let’s become familiar with the nuts and bolts of these four channels. While you’re doing this, be sure to also check out YouTube tutorials for each of the four channels to help you learn visually as well (There are quite a few.)  Of course, each of the social media channels help centers to assist you as well. On a final note, be sure to explore these additional educational resources before we move on to our next blog:

 

-Cheryl Bokon


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A Traveler’s Guide Through the Social Media Universe: Part I

For those of you who are unsure as to how to navigate with the social media universe, I’ve provided here a concise traveler’s guide to help you get started on your virtual travels. I will not only highlight four of the main social media channels, but I will also help you plan your journey as well as offer additional resources, should you need them. (Some information will be included here, but be sure to check out ongoing continuations of this blog. As of right now, I’ve posted part two as well.)

For starters, what exactly does the world of social media entail? Google, an encyclopedia for many of us, aptly defines social media as websites and applications enabling users to create  and/or share content as well as participate in social networking on computer or mobile devices. 1 Expanding on this, Christina Dillon, social media author, lists the ten main attributes of social media: 2

  1. Interactive: Users must be able to interact and engage with social media channels and others.
  2. Changeable and Evolutionary: Because it’s founded on both technology and social factors, the only constants about social media are change and progression.
  3. Professional or Personal Representation: Your profiles and posts create an online impression / reputation of you and/or your business brand.
  4. Personal: Social media is also individualistic because people can directly communicate to others and vice versa by posts and profiles on their own accounts.
  5. Social: With its constant levels of online socializing, be it local, national, or international, social media is also very community-oriented.
  6. Helpful: Social media is overflowing with useful information.
  7. Sounding Board: For better or worse, social media provides quick feedback on how people are responding to you and/or your company’s actions.
  8. Testing Platform: While you should exercise caution, social media provides great opportunity to test out new ideas and projects.
  9. Soft-Selling: In other words, your persuasive tactics on social media must be more passive and subtle; wooing over your audience and satisfying their needs / desires before yours are the most important elements of soft selling.
  10. Entertaining: No matter how informative a resource may be, most would not stay tuned into social media if it wasn’t for its many fun factors.

 

 

 

 

Now, let’s move on and explore some of the main destination routes on social media.  Our first social media channel, one of the most successful social media networks, is none other than Facebook itself. Figuratively, Facebook can be likened to a popular coffee shop or restaurant joint where you and your friends socialize.  In a nutshell, Facebook includes the following attributes:

  1. Social networking site in which users set up personal and/or business profile pages which display information about their personalities, behaviors, interests,  dislikes, motivations, and so forth.
  2. Users add “Friends” or “Like” pages to boost their levels of online social engagement. Others can communicate with non-friends or unliked pages as well, but personal security settings made by receivers may limit the degree of access.
  3. Users can send/receive messages, receive notifications and RSS feeds (online content delivery vehicle of news and other web-based information 3), post status updates, upload pictures and videos, share content, create event pages,  and “like” certain posts and pages.
  4. Users can also post and share content on other friends’ profiles.
  5. Facebook’s Events and friend lists are also very useful for professional and personal use.
  6. Entrepreneurs and businesses can also use Facebook’s marketing platform to reach potential audiences and consumers.

Well, we’ve reached our first stoplight. To learn more about  the other three main social media channels and additional resources, read part two of this blog. Thank you for reading and please give me your feedback!

Sources  Cited:

1)  www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=definition+of+social+media

2) www.toptensocialmedia.com/social-media-business/what-is-social-media-10-definitions/

 

3) http://www.press-feed.com/howitworks/rss_tutorial.php

 

 

-Cheryl Bokon


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MySpace Memoir

To be honest, I have a love-hate relationship with social media. Humanity’s increasing descent into a virtual cyberspace world feels rather disturbing, to say the least. How much digital reality are we as analog beings truly equipped to handle? On the other hand, I can’t help but acknowledge a number of its perks: 24/7/365 ability to socially connect, business opportunities, and great referrals, to name a few. Perhaps a brief narrative of my social media experiences will help me better gauge its overall impact on my life. It’s been an interesting ride, to say the least.

Like so many other Generation Y guys and gals, my social media experience started with MySpace. I must have been 23 or 24 when I began to absorb the MySpace craze. Every acquaintance and friend seemed to have their own profile, and I soon became impressed with the creative content and layout included in some on their personal pages. Being as young as I was, I obviously had to jump on this “cool” bandwagon. My first page was a rather lackluster effort and my impatience convinced me to shut it down soon after. You see, MySpace had failed to fill my social voids and keep me constantly entertained, so once the glam and glitter wore off, I received learned a lesson I didn’t want to swallow; MySpace was a great resource but a poor idol.

By the second time around, though, I swallowed the moral pill and gave MySpace another go. No, MySpace would not help me find Romeo and MySpace would not make me Ms. Popularity , but I could still enjoy the platform.  Always wishing I was in a different dimension, different world – hell, even a different planet, I certainly vented this desire while creating my second profile. To give you an idea, my background picture included a floating tree. Some considered my personal page fantasy fluff, but I preferred the word “ethereal.”  In retrospect, I consider this first of my social media marketing efforts. Look at my cool tree. Listen to my Enigma music. Look at the Hindi symbol I don’t even understand the meaning of. Aren’t I just so “spiritual?” I won’t lie, I was trying too hard to be something I already was, but hey, you live and learn.

On the Myspace channel, I got my first tastes of hackers and trolls, stupid arguments via online message, and those horrifying moments when you’re like, “Did I really share that?! No, no, no!” (Based on experience, I definitely don’t recommend posting on your social media accounts when you’re deliriously drunk. If you insist on embarrassing yourself, revert back to the timeless classic of drunk dialing. Your loved ones may find out, but chances are lower the World Wide Web will.) I’ve also experienced the pros and cons of treating social media like your psychologist. Sometimes, venting my struggles proved helpful after my friends gave me therapeutic feedback. Other times, they went dead silent or offered sugar-coated pop psychology advice I hated. Treating social media like a therapy appointment is similar to treating your bartender like a shrink – beware.

On a more positive note, Myspace also exposed me to some very fascinating information. For instance, I’ll never forget the experience of watching a video one of my friend’s MySpace pages. The video described the miraculous  impact numerous meditators (including notables such as the Dalai Lama) had on Washington D.C.’s crime rates years ago when they committed to  constant meditation for an extended period of time. Furthermore, I was also able to reconnect with friends I had not heard or seen from since elementary school. Last but not least, I found out interesting qualities about people I may have otherwise never know. Often, when I tuned into my friend’s profiles and learn more about their own personal world, I was received needed perspective and a relieving hiatus from ego.

In hindsight, while MySpace gave me some hard-knock lessons on social media do’s and don’ts, the social platform also afforded me some golden experiences as well. Perhaps, I’ll eventually give MySpace another go – I never really understood why Facebook stole MySpace’s popularity – but for now, I’m content to remember all the antics I pulled on the site. Last but not least, I’m certainly happy I learned early on to not treat social media like a god, although from time to time, I still need a few reminders.

-Cheryl Bokon

 

 

 

 

 


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Star Wars Kid Ghyslain Raza

Original Star Wars Kid

Star Wars Kid, Ghyslain Raza

My first experience with “Star Wars Kid” was on a favorite show of mine, Arrested Development. George Michael was embarrassed as his video was accidentally shown to the Bluth family. Arrested Development had spoofed many things, but I wasn’t aware of an original “Star Wars Kid” until now.

“Star Wars Kid” was one of the first videos to ever become viral. Canadian Ghyslain Raza recorded himself as he wielded a saber against imaginary antagonists in his school’s recording studio. He forgot to take the 8mm recording with him when he left for the day, and months later, it was later found by classmates of his. They thought it would be funny to post it on Kazaa, a peer-to-peer file sharing site that originated in 2001. (As of August 2012, the Kazaa website is no longer active). This was in April 2003.

Original “Star Wars Kid” video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPPj6viIBmU#t=56.

Almost as soon as the video hit the internet, people began remixing it, adding sounds and glowing light-saber-like effects to the stick Raza brandished in the video. The original and remixed videos began appearing all over the internet on popular humor sites. As soon as classmates at his school found out about the video, Raza was humiliated to no end. They harassed him by saying he should just kill himself because he was such an embarrassment.

In July 2003, the students who originally posted the video and hundreds of other fans of the video raised over $4,000. As a way to say thank you, they bought Raza a 30GB iPod and a large gift certificate to an electronics store. But because of the mortification Raza faced, he had to drop out of school and seek psychological help. His parents sued the classmates’ families for emotional and psychological damages, seeking a quarter million dollars. This was the first time privacy invasion became a concern on the internet, and has been a hot topic since.

Since Ghyslain Raza’s portrayal of Darth Maul was first uploaded to the internet in 2003, it has been estimated that the original, unmodified “Star Wars Kid” video has accumulated well over one billion views. Even before social media as we know it today, interesting content found its way around the internet. Raza’s original and remixed versions of “Star Wars Kid” still receive views, although interest level has waned.

Today, Raza is the president of Patrimoine Trois-Rivières, a company dedicated to the conservation of his hometown. He also studied law at McGill University in Montreal. Raza has recently been inspired to come forward to speak out against cyberbullying. Because of the rise in suicides resulting from bullying, he is taking steps to do something.

For more info: http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/star-wars-kid.

Arrested Development’s George Michael recreating the Star Wars Kid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-EouZi1mvQ

“Star Wars Kid” picture from: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/story-behind-the-star-wars-kid-20110805-1ie0k.html.

—Laura


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World’s Ugliest Woman

 

Be STRONG when you are weak. BRAVE when you are scared. And HUMBLE when you are victorious.

Be STRONG when you are weak. BRAVE when you are scared. And HUMBLE when you are victorious.

Lizzie was a sweet little girl, born to two very excited first-time parents in Austin, Texas. She was very small at birth—she was born four weeks premature and weighed less than three pounds. Lizzie was nurtured and cared for by her loving parents and grew to be quite a precocious child. She was blessed with two younger siblings, many relatives, and had a very charming, very normal life. At least that’s what she thought until she went to school.

Little Lizzie was very excited on her first day of school. She had a pretty dress, new hair ribbons, and a snazzy lunchbox. She couldn’t wait to make new friends in kindergarten, but when she got to school, things didn’t happen as she thought they would. No one would speak to her. When she talked to them, they backed away. She had a very bad first day.

When Lizzie got home, she told her mother what happened at school. It was then that she discovered she was not like other children. Her mother told her they would learn to like her and they quickly did. Throughout Lizzie’s school years, there were those who stared and were mean and insulting. There were also those who were very good to her—who loved her and stood by her side when other kids mistreated her. Through all of this, Lizzie remained positive and kind.

Lizzie was very smart and had a great sense of humor. Whatever she wanted to do, she did and was successful at it. Lizzie prospered in school, joined lots of clubs, and was on the cheerleading team. One day, while distracted and not wanting to do homework, she listened to music on YouTube. Lizzie saw a video on the side that looked familiar to her and had over four million views. She clicked on it and was horrified to see her face in a video titled “World’s Ugliest Woman.”

This is how I discovered Lizzie—I was watching something on YouTube, a news program or something, and saw a video on the side where Katie Couric interviewed the ugliest woman. I hadn’t ever seen Katie Couric but was familiar with the name. I was curious to see who she was more than I cared about seeing an ugly woman.

What I saw made me sad and happy at the same time. Lizzie Velasquez is an amazing young woman. She is funny, upbeat, kind, and adorable. She was born with a disease so rare that it doesn’t even have a name. She has no fat cells in her body and cannot gain weight. She is also blind in one eye. Lizzie has put up with so much—wherever she goes she is stared at and treated as if she is a monster. But Lizzie is a special beauty with many loving friends and a wonderful family.

I was so moved by her story that I wanted to learn more about her. I watched a few Ted talks she has done. Lizzie is an inspiring motivational speaker and encourages people with her story. She has decided not to let the bullies win—the video that made fun of her made her even stronger. She vowed to not let it get her down and speaks out against cyber bullying. Lizzie lives every day to the fullest.

I found Lizzie at a time when I needed to hear her story. I was very stressed and things were going poorly for me. Lizzie is so strong! If she can move forward with all that is against her, I think I could too. Lizzie has a website and uses Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumbler to share her story. Lizzie’s story has appeared via broadcast, on-line, or print media all over the country and internationally. She has written three books, of which I now have two. I’m so glad I was distracted that day and virtually met this amazing, inspiring young woman.

You can hear about her story here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1tydA1MraE. Just don’t read the comments—they will make you sick.

PS: I screen-captured the beautiful pictures of Lizzie from http://lizziebeautiful.tumblr.com/post/98397430713/be-strong-when-you-are-weak-brave-when-you-are (top) and http://ryantowephotography.com/blog/lizzie-velasquez/ (bottom).

—Laura

Lizzie Velasquez

Beautiful Lizzie

 


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Twitter Tips for All

Twitter logo

Tweet! Tweet!! A little birdie told me…

Thinking about using Twitter? Not sure why you would or if it’s even worth it? Twitter is many different things to many different people. It’s a great place for keeping in touch with friends and family, staying current with what’s happening in the world, and informing others about your business’s products and services.

Twitter is like blogging (it started as a micro-blogging service) and instant messaging combined. It is the ultimate in social messaging, as you can connect with lots of people whenever and wherever you want. It is an event coordinator, a business tool, a news reporting service, and a marketing device.

In order to effectively use Twitter, I’ve put together a list of things to keep in mind as you enter the world of Twitter and get ready to “tweet” (or post) a brief message:

MISC. INFO

  • Maximum length of username is 15 characters—the shorter the better. It will be easier for people to find you.
  • Maximum number of characters per tweet is 140. Leave at least 20 characters free as space for people to retweet you.
  • Twitter shortens links with their internal shortener, or you can use bitly.com. Each link uses up 22 or 23 characters.
  • Starting the beginning of a tweet with @username is a reply. It will only be seen by that person and people who are following both of you (it will also show up on your profile page and in Twitter search). If you tag a username anywhere but at the start of the tweet, everybody following you (including the user) will see that message. This is called a mention.
  • Images dramatically increase social media engagement. A picture on Twitter uses up 23 characters.
  • If you make an error in a tweet, to fix it, delete it first and then re-submit. You cannot edit tweets.

USING TWITTER

  • To be social, when you are mentioned (@username), you should respond to that tweet.
  • Retweet, reply to, and favorite other people’s tweets.
  • People who tweet frequently attract more followers. An active Twitter presence can help a business generate more revenue.
  • Link your tweets to interesting articles you find.
  • Hosting a creative contest or sweepstakes is a great way to improve engagement for businesses.
  • Join a worldwide public conversation by participating in Twitter trends (#hashtags). Twitter provides a daily list of trending topics near the top of your Twitter page on the lefthand side.
  • Behind-the-scenes info and photos are a great way to humanize your business.
  • You can live-tweet anything that would interest your followers and friends. Concerts, low gas prices, Elvis sightings, etc.
  • Quotes are always popular no matter what social media platform you’re on.
  • Create an original meme that fits with your company or product. Everybody loves memes and they often go viral.
  • Use one to two #hashtags per tweet for maximum engagement.
  • Become an expert: inform, talk about your company and other things your audience is interested in.
  • Use Twitter daily—search, lurk, post, retweet.

ADDITIONAL TIPS

  • To grow your community, add your Twitter ID to your email signature and other content, both online and off.
  • It’s OK to schedule tweets, but don’t automate anything.
  • Don’t be a salesperson on Twitter. Instead, be informative, entertaining and social.
  • Don’t ask people to follow you. They probably won’t. Some may unfollow you.

REMEMBER

  • Everything you say can be seen by anyone, right from the start.
  • Your tweets can be found in Twitter search and also by Google and other search engines.
  • Search your company on Twitter. See what people are saying about you. Respond whether good or bad—make things right!
  • Follow 20-30 good users.
  • Google search companies doing well on Twitter and check out what they do; follow them.

Don’t be nervous! The best way to learn is to jump right in and as Nike says, “Just do it!”

—Laura