The Grand Social Media Experiment. We learn by doing.

Liz Lemon saying, "What the what the?"

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Is Cursing Taboo, Blase or OK?

If the Internet hasn’t made our culture more profane, certainly it has diminished our collective shock by curse words. According to a study reported in digitaltrends.com, one in every 13 tweets contain profanity (nsfw, but in case you are at work and curious, you may be as surprised as I was that the C-word ranks 16th). Now, one in 13 is not a shocking figure when you consider anyone with opposable thumbs has a media platform. But for those of us who believe there is more to writing than the ability to navigate a keyboard or message chat acronyms on a smart phone, our audience and message determine the words and language we use.

The lax on the taboos of profanity goes back farther than the Internet and has been happening for decades. It’s been almost ten years since Vice President Dick Cheney told Senator Patrick Leahy to f*** himself, and even though it probably wasn’t the first time that suggestion was offered on the Senate floor, it would have been far more shocking 50 years earlier. It would be even less shocking if it happened today. Perhaps social media and the plethora of smart phones are simply revealing that we were always a culture of potty mouths. But back when a virtual conversation meant something tweeners imagined having with the latest heartthrob on the cover of Tiger Beat, profanity was considered taboo in “mixed company,” meaning when both genders were present. I’d have to try pretty hard to fain shock by the use of “naughty language” today, even though I was raised where my permissible threshold for cursing stopped after darn and before hell (outside its religious context). Mom said the use of profanity demonstrated not only a lack of cultural civility, but a lack of an abundant vocabulary. And even after I rattle off a string of profanity that would prompt Chelsea Handler and Roseanne to rise for a standing ovation (mostly when no one’s around), I remind myself that Mom was right. Words matter.

Whether defining your own voice or that of the organization you represent, the right words will always matter. Broadcasting through social media offers greater freedom but also a greater opportunity to cause damage to your brand if you don’t choose your words carefully. It pays to think before you post because no matter how fleeting your messages may be in the world-wide web of words, remember all posts are permanent and will come back to haunt you if they can. If using one of George Carlin’s famous seven curse words you can never say on television is right for your brand or the audience you want to reach, use them, But the S-word or F-word can be just as dull or jarring as using a fancy, multisyllabic word when it’s not the right word. Using the right language or even inventing new words and phrases will attract the people you want to your site. Think how popular Thirty Rock’s Liz Lemonisms, like blergh, myirt, whuck and jagweed have become.

Recently the AP stylebook, the journalist’s bible, defined “N-word” and “F-word” as the proper style rule when writing those words in print. But Jesse Sheidlower, author of  “The F-Word, The Complete History of the Word. Yes, That One,” contends that the media should reflect the real world and use the actual word when reporting. After all, everyone knows what those acronyms mean, so you could argue substitutions are silly or, at best, only there to protect the innocent. But I doubt there are many children over five who haven’t heard or seen these words many times before. Are the acronyms any less ugly than the words themselves? Would using them shine more light on their vulgarity or are they too offensive for that experiment?

Time will tell whether social media changes the bleep-word practice or other current language mores, like it seems to be changing nearly everything else. And were he alive today, Carlin would agree social media has blurred the lurid language line and he’d have a new, brilliant riff on the subject. WWCT – what would Carlin think – or tweet? SB





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ImageThe marketing mix, known as the 4P’s of product, price, placement, and promotion, is changing. A simple Google search for the 4P’s of marketing brings up 4P’s, 5P’s, 7P’s, and 4C’s. The Harvard Review suggests SAVE – solutions, access, value, and education. This approach reflects a market where services are gaining more of the market share, technology is knocking down walls, and the focus is on the customer. ImageI have also seen the 4C’s of Social Media (different than the 4C’s of Marketing) listed as content, conversations, community, connections. Or is it content, context, conversations, and connections? ImageOr content, conversations, community, and conversions?? ImageWhat the heck??? How do we decide which one to follow?

The good news is that having so many choices out there, at least one should fit your purpose. And when they are reviewed, they have the same basic principles. The 4P’s, it appears, have become a bit dated with the growth of a rising service- and online-based economy. Change is inevitable.

Advertising and press coverage are no longer the only way to get attention. People now want information-based “advertising.” They don’t want a hard sell; they want somewhere to get answers to their questions and on their timeframe. Social media allows companies to communicate directly with their consumers. It is now possible for small businesses to succeed alongside, or without the help of, large corporations. If you are unique or have something people want, you can now get noticed with minimal investment. People can self-publish, set up online stores, and create their own niche market with minimal resources. Amazon, EBay, and Etsy, among others, allow people to market their products directly to their customers.

Newspapers, radio, and television are no longer the only source for information. Up to the minute reports are often broadcast by new media and are able to quickly provide a human aspect to the story – the Arab Spring and the Boston Marathon bombings are prime examples. Bloggers are now accepted as part of the press corps and are often responsible for breaking stories overlooked by corporate, traditional media. Reaching out to and including alternative media sources is a viable option to getting your story told.

To successfully communicate with your audience, use an authentic voice; business casual and conversational. Tell your story or the stories of your clients, but remember that people don’t want spin or propaganda; they want information and facts with which to make their own, informed decisions. You also want to make yourself available in order to create the human interaction and personal responses people are looking for.

The rules of marketing matter. New media has not replaced the old rules, but requires additional rules that fit with the differences in the way information is communicated. New rules, new media, new connections.


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You’ve got the RIGHT stuff BABY!!!

Using social media for marketing can enable a small business looking to further their reach to more customers. Your customers are interacting with brands through social media, therefore, having a strong social media presence on the web is the key to tap into their interest. If implemented correctly, marketing with social media can bring you remarkable success! In case you need to be reminded of how great marketing can be for a business, let’s stroll down memory lane with McDonald’s. Brainstorm how these tactics would look through social media…elaborate on that!

  • back in the day (in the ‘60’s), they targeted hard-working moms – “You deserve a break today!”;
  • in the ‘70’s, they marketed to kids, with characters like Ronald McDonald, Hamburglar, and other characters, and introduced Happy Meals (smaller portions and a free toy);
  • in the ‘80’s they offered Dads the “Big Mac” – Baby Boomers everywhere could rhyme off the ingredients (and probably still can today) – “2 all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun” – remember that?, and created Ronald McDonald House(s) charities, to support families with seriously ill children in hospitals;
  • in the ‘90’s, they targeted the teen market with Justin Timberlake, rappers, hip-hop – “I’m lovin’ it!”;
  • in the first decade of the 00’s, they marketed to the wellness-focused, healthy eating audience by introducing wraps, salads, and other alternatives to fried food;
  • now, in the 10’s, nutrition-savvy parents are happy that every McDonald’s includes a play center, and offers healthy foods kids love (apples, grilled cheese, etc.).

Create a social media marketing plan and brainstorm about your goals: what are you hoping to achieve through social media marketing? Who is your target audience? Where would your target audience hang out and how would they use social media? What message do you want to send to your audience with social media marketing?


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Knee Boots Aren’t Just for Fashion!!!

Bootstrapping is the act of building a business with little or no outside funding. Most all of us are familiar with this as 95 percent of small business owners struggle alone, typically relying on savings and early cash flow to get things going. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There’s no better feeling than becoming a self made success, elevating one’s self by grabbing the straps of our boots and pulling with great intention. The phrase implies achieving the near impossible. The reality is that we know it can be done. Bootstrapping is akin to “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” When the situation becomes difficult, the strong work harder to meet the challenge and elevate their professional expertise. You can use SOCIAL MEDIA to start your own business; the clients are already there…it’s called a ‘friends list’, ‘fans’, ‘followers’…you get the point!

Be smart about what you are putting on Facebook and treat it as a valuable business tool. If 20% of your posts are how great your business is and then 80% of your posts are for venting and complaining (regardless of what you’re complaining about), you’re making a bad business move. I think about it like this: why would anyone want to work with me and build a business with me if I constantly complain and post negative comments? Be aware of what you’re posting, but don’t be so hyperaware that you don’t post at all. Practice posting different kinds of updates, like photos from events or shout outs to new team members, and see what kind of response you get. Teach your team that social media can be a powerful tool, when done correctly. Your goal should be to post updates that give your friends a taste of where you are going, not where you’ve been (in relation to business).

That being said, keep in mind that even if you “keep it positive” on your profile, using your page to sell, sell, sell is also bad business decision. Your friends can spot a sales pitch a mile away and won’t take you seriously anymore. Your posts will begin to annoy them, and they may go to the extent of defriending you. Use social media to be social, not to sell. Remember Facebook is a way to get conversations started…now strap on those knee boots and get to work!!   -Sweetlaw



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Instagram J(*V*)

instagram-app-headerInstagram is one of the up and coming runners in the social media race. Because I’ve heard so much about it recently, I decided to do a little research to understand what all the commotion is about. This post gives some great information about how to use Instagram for business or personal use, http://www.wikihow.com/Become-Instagram-Famous

Wiki says: Instagram is an online photo-sharingvideo-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, apply digital filters to them, and share them on a variety of social networking services, such as FacebookTwitterTumblr and Flickr.[5] A distinctive feature is that it confines photos to a square shape, similar to Kodak Instamatic and Polaroid images.

Some interesting facts I dug up about Instagram:

      • Named by combining the vintage “instant” camera and telegram
      • Instagram offers a 15 second editable video as well as photos
      • Is a free app that was launched on October 6, 2010
      • It became the #1 in the App Store within 24 hours of launch
      • Holds the record of being the first app to reach 1 million downloads (Dec. 21, 2010)
      • By 2011 more than 100 million photos were uploaded
      • An Instagram photo made the cover of the Wall Street Jounal
      • Surpassed 25 million users in March 2012 – acquired by FB the same month.
      • Can be instantly shared on multiple platforms; FB, Flickr, Twitter
      • October 15, 2013 – More than 150 million users and 16 billion photos shared
      • Vernacular: “regram” “latergram” “selfie” “#FlashbackFriday” (to name a few)


Social media conversations are shifting from texts to visuals. Images are the new language of follower engagement.   Every phone has a camera, making it easy to snap a quick photo while shopping to get a second opinion, before purchasing a Christmas gift. Or one can capture that special moment in a 15 second video to capture and share, or revisit  at will. I found a pin on Pinterest offering a step-by-step on how. Instagram has become the new family album.

 It’s all about “telling the story,” and what better way to share than with a photo or video? Not to mention, it gives our  tired thumbs a rest. It should come as no surprise that Instagram is the app choice for smartphone photographers. Today it seems anyone with a smart phone can be a journalist and a photographer. If you possess  the natural ability to  compose visual and written content that attracts an audience— the stage is all yours!

Businesses use Instagram as well to publish photos and videos cross-platform instantly. With smart images, branding, messages and content, businesses can find an immediate audience and quickly develop an army of followers. Instagram adds a personal touch to the faces behind the brands people love. Businesses, breaking away from the less personal, press-release format, can tell their story and create a more intimate connection with their customers.

For business or personal use, it seems that Instagram seems to be all about  following others so they will in-turn follow you. This is such a competitive world we live in, one that sends dichotomous messages. One minute we are “sharing,” which is one of the basic social skills we learn as toddlers. The next minute we are competing “Omarosa-style” for the most amount of followers or market share. Yikes! Somewhere in the middle we find ourselves searching for the perfect platform to share our voice and our talent with the world. Although social media seems over-whelming at times, there are far more open doors now than ever before in history. The challenge now in expressing ourselves, is to choose which ones to open—yes that is the key. As an artist and because of my interest in photography, I believe Instagram will be one door that appeals to me as I move into the public relations world. 🙂



The Social Media Pool J(*V*)

The social media pool, as a topic, tends to conjure up mixed  emotions, depending on who you are talking to. Some readily embrace change, new methods, and technology by jumping, with reckless abandon, into the deep end of unknown waters to explore the possibilities with expectancy, and open-minded vim and vigor. On the other hand, others tend to, just as instantly, reject, deplore, and criticize anything new that deviates from the safe haven of the familiar. These reserved folks, from the shore, boldly proclaim their distrust among friends and family, painting a dark picture with negative scenarios and warning of the evils that will surely contaminate us all. Still there is a third group of apathetic individuals who seem to be neutral and engage in social media only as it applies to their lives directly, or as needed; wading hesitantly on the shore and perfectly content to pensively immerse one toe at a time into the waters of change. In all three groups, perception is truth.

The disparate divide in mindsets creates a unique challenge for new public relations specialists entering the job market today. Companies can be as diverse in their mindsets as individuals. Understanding the power and importance of social media today is as misunderstood as the public relations job description itself, often raising as many questions as answers. Commissioned to create a communication bridge between the attitudes of a new employer and their diverse publics will certainly require an extra measure of finesse. As new pioneers creating the bridge over choppy waters, our newly-honed communication skills will surely be put to the test.

As a sales professional, over the years, I have learned that sales is actually a transfer of beliefs. Public relations, as a field, is also about crafting beliefs. As media professionals, it is imperative that we know how to engage different attitudes, beliefs and mindsets. In a sales situation, the best way to be relevant is to tell stories that are relateable. Personal stories are the most effective because you are  conveying your own truth—and truth resonates supernaturally through all forms of communication. Deep down, all people, whether they admit it or not,  want to be persuaded and convinced. Deep down, the more they resist, the more they want you to push back.

If put in the position of presenting a social media campaign to a hesitant manager, being prepared with statistics would be important, especially when dealing with an analytic personality type. When demonstrating to a more emotional person or group, personal stories relative to the audience you are attempting to reach, along with an attractive visual presentation will reverberate. Knowing the audience, determines the message and delivery. Mirror the the attitude of the audience to earn trust and influence them with their own logic and emotion. Public relations professionals prepared with a strong personal conviction, statistics, and stories will be equipped to entice even the most reserved to swim confidently in the deep end of the social media pool.



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Dummies have a powerful voice… (Week 2)


The best way to handle comments through social media, whether they’re positive or negative, is to be proactive. Commenters come in all shapes and sizes, as we’ve seen this quarter through the various channels we’ve studied, and every person who comments wants attention. Most of the time, people When someone talks they want to be heard. They want to know that their voice isn’t a waste of time. When someone comments on a thread or post, they want the creator of that post to acknowledge them and they want it five minutes ago.

Sitting around and waiting to see what happens next on social media is a death sentence. Nothing positive can come from waiting. When consumers comment on social media, it’s important to understand from where they’re coming, but that can be hard. If a customer has a complaint, it may be obvious that it was their mistake. Common sense errors on either side of a transaction can easily result in bad customer service. It often times isn’t the fault of the organization but since social media makes feedback from the public so easy, dummies have a powerful voice. By responding quickly and letting the public know their voice was heard, it can help preemptively snuff any fires.