Using Social Networking Sites To Tune In or Tune Out?

I was on Facebook yesterday when I saw my friend Ellin’s update and post of this picture.

© Good Lord Above on Facebook

The shared photo was created by a satirist who goes by the name  ‘Good Lord Above’.  You can read his witty and relevant commentary on Facebook. He is wildly popular and to date has received 1,000,000 ‘Likes’.


The bite of the  message was shocking and stopped me in my tracks. Clearly, “God” as he is sometimes called, was poking fun at the collective outrage displayed on social media outlets concerning the casting of Ben Affleck as Batman the day before. Could Affleck generate more social interest than Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s alleged gassing of his own people? As many as 1300 people had recently died in the latest attempt to quell a civilian uprising.  Yet, a great deal of the buzz on social media was whether Affleck was the right choice for a movie not yet shot and due for release in 2015. The irony, Affleck is a humanitarian in his own right and has lent his fame to highlight the plight of Congolese refugees.


Where was the uniform moral outrage about Syria instead of Affleck? We live in a world where we have never been more accessible to people and the sharing of information instantly. And yet, I think at times we have become increasingly superficial and disconnected from each other.  So, I am asking the question: Are social networking sites to blame? The cool thing about social media was the notion it could bring society and people even closer. In fact, Facebook – the mother of all things social media – states their mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. I think our fascination with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, and Pinterest is having the opposite effect. Now you can share and connect without leaving home or even speaking to people. Compared to our grandparents or even our parents, we appear to live in a more isolated and disconnected world. Can we really be alone while living with 7 billion other people?

Another friend, who is a wellness professional, recently used her Facebook page to implore her male friends and family members to request ultrasounds to detect early signs of  kidney cancer. She was spurred to write the post because a friend (the 5th one to be exact) had recently confided he had been diagnosed with kidney cancer.  She had also lost a cousin far too young to that same disease so this is a cause she understands first-hand. To her amazement, her friends and extended family were far more interested in knowing who the sick friend was. The superficiality and gossip held far more interest than the important warning.  She was shocked.


Long before the Internet, people took their message to the people to affect change. People naïvely wrote their government officials; protested, sat-in or marched  to be heard. What would have happened to the Civil Rights Movement if it had been launched via the Internet?  As we mark the upcoming 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s ‘I had a dream speech’ at the end of August,  it is timely to ask if it would have had the  same impact  had he posted it on LinkedIn and Facebook. Now, success would be measured by the amount “Likes” or “Retweets”? Dr. King’s oratory skill and passion would have been lost if communicated through most social media channels….YouTube would have been the exception. The impact of having 250,000 people marching to the Lincoln Memorial united for change and hear Dr. King deliver his speech would have been lost as well.

Perhaps in a world often out of control, social network sites allow us to block out the bad and focus on what we deem relevant.  By and large, it is an environment you can create and control. These sites tend to form people into groups who all have the same point of view and opinion. It is the illusion of control in a world sometimes gone mad.

Does social media allow you to tune in or to tune out?


The future becomes even more friendly-social media predictions for 2013


New Year’s has always been a time for reflection and looking forward to what will be. Many of us (almost 40%) plan on improving, progressing and bettering ourselves personally as well as professionally. It is with this in mind that I sit down to write my first blog of 2013.

Professional Growth

In reflection, 2012 was my year of professional growth. I stopped talking about Social Media and started walking the walk with my  own marketing blog. I also committed to being more active on Twitter and LinkedIn and sharing my professional insights and observations. And I created my Pinterest page.

2013 Predictions and Prophecies

Many of my fellow marketing bloggers have also wasted no time wading into the marketing prognostication pool for 2013.  It seems we all agree 2013 will be exciting and subject to rapid change. Perhaps the key takeaway? The consumer will continue to stay in control of the mediums and how they interact with the messaging,

Here are some other interesting trends to take note for the coming year:

• Mobile marketing has finally come of age and maturity due to smartphones and the mobile internet. It will no longer be
considered an after thought in marketing campaigns and tactics.

• There is no much more to social media life than Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.  To reach your customer/audience, an increased
focus will be paid to Google+ and to more non-traditional social channels like SlideShare, Pinterest, Flickr/Picasa/Instagram
and discussion forums and question areas.

• Companies are recognizing and embracing the power of retail time marketing content to build deeper relationships with
customers and increase sales. Newsjacking will be key to being found on-line and delivering the appropriate message.

•  Companies will convert consumers into friends and friends into customers by building their web presence. Once they receive
permission and validation these companies will then develop the appropriate tactics to maximize that dialogue.

• Companies with large brand footprints such as Nike and Coca-Cola are bringing their social media and content marketing
activities in-house as opposed to leaving it to their digital agencies to handle. In doing so, they are now able to build a more intimate relationship with their social community and produce the editorial content they would like to tell.

• Integrated social marketing gains further momentum and the use of e-mail continues to remain strong but there will be an increased  focus personalization and real time communication. As an example, you now receive location-based phone texts and  e-mails as you walk by a retail location with a special offer. The opportunity is personalized and the message delivery is timely.

• Some new application or platform will come along to energize the marketplace.  It may be just like Pinterest or Instagram. At one point, few people knew of these applications, and then suddenly, everyone was using it.

What are your predictions for 2013?


If you start me up, I’ll never stop. Blueprint how to manage your career.

The Start-Up of You

If you start me up
If you start me up I’ll never stop

The Rolling Stones-  (1981)

‘The Start-Up of You’ written by Reid Hoffman (co-founder and Chairman of LinkedIn) & Ben Casnocha (start-up entrepreneur) is an interesting read on the importance of developing an entrepreneurial mindset to thrive professionally in today’s fast-moving, connected and competitive economy.

There was a time when people who graduated from university/college smoothly rode to the top of the professional escalator and just as smoothly exited at 60 years of age into comfortable retirement.  For most people, that dream is no longer an option. Now both young and seasoned professionals alike need to develop new models to take charge of their career futures. That sobering message is probably one of the reasons the book made the New York Times Best Seller list earlier this year.

I had the pleasure of hearing Ben Casnocha speak in Toronto last week as he laid out the required skill and mindset for succeeding in today’s modern marketplace.  Casnocha is a very engaging speaker.  That said, I did have a problem with both the book and Casnocha’s presentation because all the successful examples and insights culled were from Silicon Valley.  It is hard to imagine transferring those same entrepreneurial lessons directly to traditional “mortar and bricks” companies because of the vast difference in business culture, worker skills, fixed assets and economic realities. We hear with increasing frequency about companies such as Blockbuster Video, Borders, or Kodak closing their doors, or filling for Chapter 11 because they could no longer adapt or compete. And we need to remember the Detroit Big Three did not change their business practices until the government economic bailout required them to do so.

This book is not a book about looking for a new job, BUT the book is still an excellent read because it reminds you to find time to do things we only do when looking for a job.  As the subtitle says  “Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career.”

Here are some of the blueprint highlights the authors hope will give you an edge.

We are all born as entrepreneurs. Develop your competitive edge and formulate a plan.

Develop your competitive advantage. Combine your assets, values/aspirations and the market realities to understand your opportunities. Fit these 3 puzzle pieces together to chart your next course of action. As an example, one strategy might be to “pick a hill” that has less competition and will allow you to shine.

ABZ Planning.  Adapt and have several career plans in your back pocket because no matter what you do for a living you will always be planning and adapting. Plan A is the ideal target you are aiming shooting for.  Plan B involves being ready for “pivot” ideas or new opportunities to change your path.  And since the best laid plans of men can go awry “Plan Z ” is your fallback strategy that will allow you to stay afloat and regroup.

Build Real, Lasting Relationships. Create your own professional network composed of a select number of “Professional Allies” with similar experiences and mix them along hundreds of “Acquaintances” you can tap into and learn from each other. And no surprise due to Hoffman’s tie to LinkedIn, learn how to maximize LinkedIn’s full potential to develop and accelerate your career to the next level.

Invest In You. You can no longer rely on a company to hire and train you. Find and learn from Mentors from both inside and outside your company. Follow companies you are interested in, travel, attend conferences and seminars.  Find the time and build skills that will allow you to take advantage of these external resources.

Find And Create Opportunities. Learn to run your career like a small business and stay focused on planning and adapting on an ongoing basis. Find a way to add value in a way no one else can. See opportunities instead of obstacles, take calculated risks and have impact.

Take Risks. Risk is the flip side of every opportunity and career move. If you are not concerned about the risk involved in a career opportunity, it is probably not the discovery  you were looking for.

Avoid Using Words Like “Finished”. Treat your career like a start-up and always be in Beta Testing. We are all works in progress with the opportunity to constantly improve personally and professionally.

The book offers many practical things we should all be doing every day/week/month to learn, grow and be satisfied in our careers. Now the challenge is to do them.  The Rolling Stones often use the song “Start Me Up” to kickoff their live shows and get things started.  Read “The Start-Up of You” and get your entrepreneurial Mojo started.

If you have read the book please share your thoughts.