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World Reeling After Killer Content Unleashed Online

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The ACME Marketing Company accidentally released killer content yesterday, wiping out millions of internet users within mere minutes.

The content, a viral video developed in a decommissioned germ warfare lab, began its psychopathic bloodbath within moments of being uploaded to YouTube. It then quickly spread across Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter, leaving a wake of carnage and destruction in its wake.

In a blood-scrawled statement, the CEO of the ACME Marketing Company posted the following to Instagram, “Our deepest sympathies go out to the millions of families we annihilated yesterday. How could we know this video would harbor genocidal tendencies? We’re so sorry. God forgive us.”

Though the video remains at large, comments on YouTube from survivors describe the video as “Kinda gay” and state “Only pussies get killed by this shit.”

How to Optimize for Facebook Paper

20140204-001018.jpgFacebook released a new app yesterday for iPhones called Paper.

Paper makes the newsfeed on Facebook prettier. But only if you have an iPhone. Now, when your uncle shares his crazy conspiracy theories, you at least have something nice to look at. But only if you have an iPhone.

Of course, now that every social media “expert” has had less than 24 hours to use the app, they all have opinions and best practices on the app based on their thorough understanding of consumer behavior. They’ll also tell you how it’s going fundamentally change show people use Facebook.

Because their iPhones tell them things the rest of us will never know.

Well, I’m going to beat them to the punch. Here are my tips for optimizing your Facebook posts for Paper:

  • Don’t optimize for Paper.

Paper is one day old. It’s only available on iPhones. The only people using it now are total nerds.

There’s likely to be lots of changes to how Paper serves content over the coming weeks and months if it catches on. And that’s a big if. 

You can wait a few weeks to see if Paper catches on. In the meantime:

  • Produce great content.
  • Tell meaningful stories.
  • Have honest conversations.

Those actions will always get attention, regardless of what a newsfeed looks like.

Why I hate social media curators

Social Media CuratorsThere is a new category of people I despise most in my social networks:

Curators.

Curators are the people who don’t engage in conversations with people. Instead, they think that all people want from them is an endless stream of links, scheduled to spew out when some algorithm says is the most opportune point in the day.

These people border on the edge of robots.

Can you name a great curator? I can’t. Do you think most people said, “Gee, I want to be a great curator when I grow up.” Those who do probably end up in art museums.

But other than those curators, the rest are just taking social media space.

Here’s the biggest issues I have with curators:

  • Curation has little personality - Link curation makes sense when you have something to add. A viewpoint. An opinion. Something smarter than “Good read” or “Love this!” Otherwise, you seem bland and computerized.
  • You can’t always find something great to share – Look, not everything on the internet is worth reading and sharing. Take this blog for example. Or anything posted on Business Insider. A lot of the stuff posted online these days is just crap to get page views and advertising dollars.
  • People shared curated links at the weirdest times - The internet is 24/7, and not everyone is online at the same time. But do you really think sharing a post at 3 a.m. in the dead of night makes you look better?

Let me be clear: Curation has value. When you can add an informed opinion or a smart viewpoint, curation becomes a great way to start conversations. Link bloggers, like Jon Gruber of Daring Fireball, are the best examples of this.

But not all of us can be bloggers, YouTubers or Instagram selfie stars. That’s OK. Don’t hinge your online existence on sharing crappy links five times daily. Start your own conversations. Join in the conversations of others. But share things when they are worth sharing.

Don’t let your social media presence become a museum of the internet’s crappy link bait. No one wants to see that.

Merry Christmas from The Anti-Social Media

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LinkedIn Profile Picture Tip

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The other day I had a cat in a bow tie try to add me as a LinkedIn connection. I know some smart cats, but none smart enough to have a LinkedIn profile.

He was a handsome cat in the picture. But the profile was for a real person who choose to represent their professional life as a cat.

To that person and others like him, let me give you a tip:

Use a nice photo, professional of yourself on LinkedIn. Not your husband. Not your sister. Not your dog in a Halloween costume he hates. A photo of yourself.

If you don’t have a photo you feel comfortable with, don’t worry about it. That only means potential employers can’t discriminate against you based on your looks.

But whatever you do, don’t use a picture of your dog, cat or other pet. That’s animal cruelty.

Why I hate Bitstrips

I Will Dance on Bitstrips GraveI thought the future of communication would be infographics and PowerPoints.

Infographics were a cool way to communicate data visually. Then they just became ways to take a message and put some design on it. Every idiot with access to a graphic designer or Microsoft SmartArt has an infographic.

Powerpoint is the poor man’s infographic. The design is already done for you. You only need to drop in pictures you stole off Google Images. The funny thing is business folks put more thought into a handful of bullets, an Excel graph, and a table in a PowerPoint than any paragraph they write.

Maybe this is why they teach “Language Arts” now instead of English.

But move over infographics and PowerPoints! Here comes Bitstrips.

Take everything you hate about selfies, mass-produced content and people’s bad sense of humor and you get a perfect storm of social media shit.

Bitstrips is an app that allows you to make a cartoon version of yourself and your friends, drop them in a template, add some text and post it to Facebook. Bitstrips comics can even be made on your crappy smartphone.

The creators of Bitstrips are evil geniuses. They figured out a way to lets people express themselves creatively. They hijack the Facebook Newsfeed and its preference for image content. The comics are inherently social because they pull in your friends.

But for all the smart things with Bitstrips, there are so many things that are terribly wrong.

  • They’re generic. Bitstrips are templates. Sure, there are thousands of templates, but when you have a hundred friends sharing comics, you’re bound to see the same template over and over. It gets real repetitive real fast.
  • Bitstrips only make sense to a small group of people. When you have 700 friends, a majority of them don’t know everything about you.  Your crazy comic makes sense to one or two of you, at best. The rest of us are annoyed at another meaningless thing in the newsfeed.
  • People aren’t funny. The biggest issue with Bitstrips isn’t the app itself, but the people who use it. People like to think they’re funny. Most of us aren’t. As someone who has written humor pieces for years, take it from me. It’s hard to be consistently funny to a broad audience.

You can hide Bitstrips on Facebook easily by clicking the arrow on the top left of a Bitstrips Facebook post. But that doesn’t stop the people who cross post them to other social networks. I’m looking at you, Instagram “friends.”

I have seen the future, and it looks like a bunch of crappy single panel comics. You’ve been warned.

Link

Apple Buys Twitter Analytics Company Topsy

I love Apple, I love Twitter and do I love me some analytics.

But this acquisition makes no sense. Will Siri now tell me what’s popular on Twitter?

You are not a content machine

Never Stop Writing Cartoon - The Anti-Social Media

Social media takes content. Billions of pieces of content. An endless army of content enchanting mythical audiences dying to hear from another brand.

Or so we’re told by social media experts.

To do social media right, you need the creative chops to create dynamic and entertaining writing and visuals. That isn’t easy. It takes time and an aptitude that is foreign to many of us.

Now do that daily, or maybe multiple times a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

What your audience wants

Before you go posting all willy-nilly, ask yourself, do you know what your  followers want to hear on a daily basis?

In the early days of social media, there was the theory that if you build the social media channel, they will come. If you started a social channel, a Facebook page or a Twitter, people would just show up and follow you. Your content didn’t matter that much.

That strategy worked for maybe a day or two. Then people’s news feeds became cluttered with pictures of pets, babies, George Takei and poorly targeted advertisements.

Now, when a person or a brand is social, you need to have something to say that is informative, emotionally powerful, or entertaining. Even better if you can be all three at once.

Ask yourself, ”What does my audience want?” If you don’t know, ask. It’s social media. Someone is bound to answer, even if it’s a spam bot offering you a free iPad.

Once you know what they want, then you can start creating content that will be meaningful for them.

Doing content right

There are three factors that make great social media content:

  • Quality – Nowhere in the history of humanity has anyone said, “Gee! I want more brand messages on my social networks.” I’m not saying you can get away with posting every six months, but if you don’t have something meaningful to say on Tuesday, don’t feel the need to fill the void with bland dribble and a trackable link.
  • Entertaining – when you think social media, what brands come to mind? The brands and people we praise most on social media entertain and delight us. We share their stories because they’re fun. Find ways to make your content entertaining and it will go far.
  • Information- Let’s face it. Not all of us can work for sexy brands that make people laugh. We have business goals to meet. Customers to educate. Complaints to answer. When you can’t be funny, find a way to share useful information.

Those three things are hard. Most people don’t have something quality to say about themselves daily, let alone their company.

Take your time and do it right. No one says it has to be perfect. No one says it will go viral. But if you take the time to write it it, write it well.

Moving Beyond Mass-Produced Content

There is no point in sharing content for content’s sake.

You’re not a machine. You don’t just churn out a great post every day, let alone seven of them. This is hard work. Maybe not back-breaking labor, but more than most of us dedicate to a social media post.

Once you get beyond the myth of endless content, you find more meaningful things to share. You don’t stress over having a “minimum” number of tweets per day.

You find the stories worth telling. You delight and enchant your customers. You create something that has meaning beyond a Facebook post.

And that’s where the true beauty of social media takes place.