Although this isn’t about digital marketing, we all play in the same sandbox. Walter Isaacson, CEO of the Aspen Institute, has a few thoughts about how we can make the internet a better place for everyone.
The internet is broken. Starting from scratch, here’s how I’d fix it
My big idea is that we have to fix the internet. After forty years, it is corroding, both itself and us. It is still a marvelous and miraculous invention. However, there are bugs in the foundation, bats in the belfry, and trolls in the basement.
This is not a technophobic rant. I am not dissing the Internet for rewiring our brains to give us the twitchy attention span of Donald Trump on Twitter. Or pontificating about how we have to log off and smell the flowers. Qualms about new technologies will always exist (ever since Plato fretted that the technology of writing would threaten memorization and oratory). I love the internet and all of its digital offshoots. What I bemoan is its decline.
There is a bug in its original design. It at first seemed like a feature but has gradually, and now rapidly, been exploited by hackers and trolls and malevolent actors. Its packets are encoded with the address of their destination but not of their authentic origin. With a circuit-switched network, you can track or trace back the origins of the information, but that’s not true with the packet-switched design of the internet.
Don’t Quit Social. Put It to Work for Your Career Instead.
As director of digital communications and social media at the career site Monster, I read, “Quit Social Media. Your Career May Depend on It,” with great interest. The author argues that social is harmful for careers. It is too much of a distraction and doesn’t provide a valuable return on investment professionally.
As someone who spends the majority of his work time on social helping people find careers they’ll love, I disagree with his assessment. I believe that you should not quit social — and that doing so will actually damage your career.
Understandably, you might be questioning my motives. “Hey, this guy does social for a living, so clearly he’s got a vested stake in this matter.” Well, you’re right. But let’s start with the point that I’m not the only one who makes a career doing this. Just one platform, Facebook, has created more than 4.5 million social media industry jobs globally, according to a study conducted by Deloitte. Talk about literal career benefits. The number of people in the creative industries, advertising and more who make a living on social is probably much higher…
Writer and blogger —Cal Newport, an associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University and the author of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World— opines in the NY Times that social media can be harmful to your career. What do you think?
Quit Social Media. Your Career May Depend on It.
I’m a millennial computer scientist who also writes books and runs a blog. Demographically speaking I should be a heavy social user, but that is not the case. I’ve never had a social account.
At the moment, this makes me an outlier, but I think many more people should follow my lead and quit these services. There are many issues with social media, from its corrosion of civic life to its cultural shallowness, but the argument I want to make here is more pragmatic: You should quit social media because it can hurt your career.
This claim, of course, runs counter to our current understanding of social media’s role in the professional sphere. We’ve been told that it’s important to tend to your so-called social brand, as this provides you access to opportunities you might otherwise miss and supports the diverse contact network you need to get ahead. Many people in my generation fear that without a social presence, they would be invisible to the job market.
“Well-written social media proposals are key to closing deals. If you’re a writer or marketer, your sales team probably needs your help writing those proposals, too. If you’re working solo, you might need to show why you’re a better option than a high-priced agency. Or another freelancer or consultant.”
More and more folks prefer to get information online than engage a salesperson. They search out more objective information from internet recommendations. Three out of four B2B buyers rely on social media to engage with peers about buying decisions. In a recent B2B buyers survey, 53% of the respondents reported that social media plays a role in assessing tools and technologies. AND when making a final selection.
Good time to read up on how B2B social selling works in today’s environment.
How B2B Sales Can Benefit from Social Selling
Outbound B2B sales are becoming less and less effective. In fact, a recent survey found that connecting with a prospect now takes 18 or more phone calls. Callback rates are below 1%, and only 24% of outbound sales emails are ever opened. Meanwhile, 84% of B2B buyers are now starting the purchasing process with a referral. Peer recommendations are now influencing more than 90% of all B2B buying decisions.
Why are more and more buyers avoiding salespeople during the buying process? Sales reps, according to Forrester, tend to prioritize a sales agenda over solving a customer’s problem. If organizations don’t change their outdated thinking and create effective sales models for today’s digital era, Forrester warns that 1 million B2B salespeople will lose their jobs to self-service e-commerce by 2020.
How many times have we heard this hoary phrase? It can be especially interesting to hear when used as an one-note explanation for doing things a certain way. So, let’s take a step back.
When someone states their position/request because it is “best practice,” the first question that—should—come to mind is, “According to whom?”
If you use “best practices” in a sentence, take ownership of this non-concrete term. “According to what I [understand/have read/have been told/just made up/etc.], this is my understanding of best practices.”
Don’t attribute it to the ubiquitous “they” or an “industry standard.” Also, be prepared to share the source(s). By owning your opinion, you can avoid a condescending and dismissive tone.
Best practices in any situation is subjective and should remain flexible. Better yet, don’t get lazy and throw a term around that has no meaning or relevance, as there really is no such thing.
For more thought leadership on this in Forbes, read: Best Practices – Aren’twhere Mike Myatt @mikemyatt explains, “too much common management wisdom is not wise at all, but instead flawed knowledge based on a misunderstanding or misapplication of ‘best practices’ that often constitutes poor, incomplete or outright obsolete thinking.”
With social media, “The audience has more control than anyone realizes.”
Well, except for those who spend their days with social. We see it all the time and most recently with Martin Shkreli, who backed down after pursuing a doomed and short-lived battle against the internet.
Although the below article is over a year old, it was a harbinger for traditional media, whose more entrenched practitioners still cling to the old notion that they can be the gatekeepers of the message, story, opinion, etc. No longer. The power has shifted to the audience, and the following article did a great job of explaining it.
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment
At first glance, Adam Richman and Anthony Cumia might not seem to have much in common.
True enough, they are media stars who took a hard fall thanks to untoward comments on social media. Richman, a host on the Travel Channel, saw the debut of his new show delayed indefinitely after an online spat led him to suggest one critic commit suicide.
Cumia, half of the infamous Opie & Anthony shock jock radio duo, was dumped by SiriusXM after using the c-word on Twitter to describe a black woman he said punched him. The shock jock said she objected to being included in pictures he was taking.
He then spent a lot of time on social media talking about “savage violent animal(s)” who “prey on white people,” noting “she’s lucky I was a white legal gun owner,” and that “there’s a deep seeded [sic] problem with violence in the black community.” Later, he insisted he was not saying anything racist; Gawker saved the posts so you can see for yourself (warning: It’s seriously NSFW).
For some, this is the story of how a Twitter fight can get out of control. But I say both Richman and Cumia were kneecapped by the new reality of modern media:
The audience has more control than anyone realizes.
When you think about how social media works, this makes perfect sense. Online platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram take authority from the gatekeepers of media, which once controlled access to large audiences — newspapers, TV networks, cable channels and radio stations. Instead, that power is handed to anyone who can create compelling content.
In the old media days, an individual’s impact was limited, unless they could get the gatekeepers involved — get a story on the local news, a letter in the newspaper or a call into the local radio station. No more.
When Richman began responding to critics who said his hashtag #thinspiration referenced a phrase popular with anorexics, he eventually suggested one “grab a razor blade and draw a bath. I doubt anyone will miss you.” Amid the controversy, Travel Channel executives delayed the planned debut of his new show, Man Finds Food,which in turn put a crimp in Richman’s plans to showcase his return to TV hosting after losing more than 70 pounds. (He has since released an apology calling his remarks “inexcusable.”)
This isn’t so much about hurt feelings as it is about marketing and branding. The real value of a media personality like Richman or Cumia is the fan loyalty they inspire, which can then be transferred onto other TV shows or products. So when the host’s brand gets damaged in the public space, their value drops.
Anthony Cumia, at an April event commemorating 20 years of The Opie & AnthonyShow, was fired after a series of racially charged tweets.
Cindy Ord/Getty Images Entertainment
Shock jock Cumia faces a different media issue. Radio personalities in his line of work walk a thin line: pushing boundaries enough to satisfy their audience, but facing the risk of widespread public rejection if their offensive shtick becomes widely known by too many people outside the fan circle.
Cumia forgot that his way of talking about such stuff might be acceptable to his regular fans — people inside the closed loop of his satellite radio show and regular Twitter followers. But once his words spilled out into the general public, he found another reaction (just ask Don Imus how painful that can be).
One other thing both Cumia and Richman have in common: Both their social media meltdowns occurred outside their regular jobs. This, of course, is something even the Kardashians learned long ago: Celebrity is a brand that reaches beyond whatever you do for a living into the rest of your life.
And since social media turns everyone into a brand anyway, every interaction there affects a star’s brand — and their possible employment — regardless of whether it happens on the clock or not.
Evidence of the audience’s new power ranges beyond Cumia and Richman. Successful Kickstarter campaigns for the Veronica Mars movie and Reading Rainbow kids TV series have given fans the ability to vote with their wallets to save dead shows. Moves by Netflix and Yahoo to resurrect Fox’s Arrested Development and NBC’s Communityalso shows the power of a vocal niche audience to push programmers into action.
My hunch is that both men will be fine. Travel Channel is probably just waiting for the dust to settle before launching Richman’s new show. More than 21,000 people already have signed a Change.org petition to get Cumia his job back as he plans a new show from his home. In fact, there’s a drive to cancel Sirius subscriptions in support of Cumia that’s building — where else? — on Twitter.
Still, everyone in this new media universe should learn from Cumia and Richman’s example.
Power is shifting to the audience. Stars who ignore that change do so at their own peril.