Format Archives: Aside


No one is old enough to handle your social media

Am I old enough to handle your social media?

There’s been a lot of discussion recently about what the right age is for your social media manager.

For the past couple weeks many of the major social media influencers have been discussing a two articles. First someone says that every social media manager should be under the age of 25. Then someone else says your social media manger should be older than 23. And then the whole Internet gets into a pissing match over an argument that can’t be won.

As a social media professional, and a young one at that, I think it’s important for me to share my overwrought and extremely important opinion without having read either source article.

How on earth should you, a marketing or corporate communications professional, know what the right age is to hire? How are you going to know who the right person is to manage your social media channels? If you don’t know their age, how can you decide if they’re the right person?

What’s even worse? As the hiring manager, you can’t ask someone their age here in the US. So how are you going to know who’s old enough and young enough to manage social media properties?

The answer is simple. There is no one old enough and young enough to manage your social media properties.

If you need to hire social media professional today the better answer is to not hire a social media professional. You will never find someone eho is simultaneously old enough and young enough with the perfect skill set to be your social media manager.

I know how hard it is to accept that. Once you learn that no one can manage your social media appropriately you’ll learn that it’s better to live your business life without social media.

Still, if we as social media bloggers focus on the age of social media managers, we will never discuss the real things that matter to social media professionals and the businesses they work for. Things that matter, such as measurement and enterprise social media scaling. Things that could get you hired, like real and demonstrable skills. Or things that change the very nature of our work, like the convergence of social messaging and social advertising into paid, owned, and earned media.

But that shit is boring and doesn’t get page views.

So fine. Let’s just focus on age of social media managers. We don’t want to get anywhere productive in our social media conversations. Who seriously wants to discuss what the right skill set is for an entry-level social media position?

And if you’re going to seriously discuss that, I’m going to need a drink.



I’m back, bitches

I'm So Happy to be back

I’m back.

I missed you. No, not you in particular. The collective you.

OK, fine. I did miss you.

But really though, I’m glad to be back.

I took a break for a number of reasons.

  • I got bored.
  • There’s only so much to bitch about social media.
  • I trained for a half marathon, which meant time spent blogging was spent running and praying I don’t die of exhaustion.
  • Blogging doesn’t pay my bills.
  • I decided it was more important to have a life with real meaning off the internet, rather than waste my life on the screen.

But here I am, back for more. I guess you can say that I’m a glutton for punishment.

There have also been a number of topics that have been bugging me. Social media bloggers have been arguing back and forth about meaningless topics that have no value. We’ve stepped away from critical analysis of the tools and how people and businesses use them. Instead, I see pointless bickering, opinions offered as facts, and critical thinking sacrificed in favor of bite-sized information crammed into poorly designed infographics.


Someone needs to elevate the conversation. And for fuck’s sake I guess it’s going to be me.

So, this week I’ll be blogging about age, the future of social media, Twitter, and lurking. Maybe I’ll throw in a post about cats too, or what diarrhea can teach you about Pinterest marketing strategies.

It’s good to be back kiddos. What’s on your plate this week?



Social Media Blog Posts I Haven’t Written

A Whole Bunch of Crap - The Anti-Social MediaI often start a post, or a title, and then leave it in a list or half written post somewhere to die.

Let’s just say I’m really good about curating my ideas into tombs or mausoleums. Maybe one day I can be a very well-paid (and verbose) idea crypt keeper.

Recently, my friend Laurie Ruettimann shared some of her unwritten blog post ideas. That inspired me to drag the corpses titles into the daylight.

Here’s a whole bunch of blog post titles I started, thought of, never finished, or published:

  1. A few thoughts on prioritizing social media over real life
  2. Social consumerism, or how to get stranger’s friends to buy crap
  3. Facebook isn’t for deep thoughts
  4. How I (don’t) blog
  5. The YouTube time warp, or 72 hours in a minute
  6. Your social media signs are worthless
  7. What frictionless sharing is really like
  8. Social networks for selling crap
  9. Social networks don’t tell stories
  10. The one true way to blog
  11. Performance in the age of the timeline
  12. Why you get angry over whiny tweets
  13. Social media holiday gift guide
  14. Social media and coercing
  15. On Klout
  16. Follower churn
  17. How many screens do we need?
  18. What the hell do you plan to accomplish on social media?
  19. Who the hell do you plan to talk to on social media?
  20. Is the personal brand the online identity unifier?
  21. Is online identity anything like real identity?
  22. Tech writing is a bunch of mysteries and nonsense
  23. Your brand is arrogant for wanting engagement
  24. Your connection are feeble
  25. A retweet doesn’t say you matter
  26. You can’t have sharing both ways
  27. Behind the scenes of a customer service tweet
  28. Social media and TV
  29. Why do guys on Twitter always describe themselves as Husband and Father?
  30. Who came up with a crappy idea like smart phone learning?

There you go. A whole month of social media blogging that I’v e avoided or thought was too boring to actually post.

What are the titles that you haven’t written yet?


The Two Things You Need for a Personal Brand

Personal Branding - The Anti-Social Media“If I could only be like him.”

How many times have you said that about someone in your life? Maybe you’ve said it about someone you’ve seen on TV, or in a movie.

I know I’ve said it. That’s why when I’m at home alone, I act like a playing a video game, trying to be the heroes I see on my TV screen.

Shut up.

You know you do something just like that too.

When we talk about personal brands in social media, we look at people like Gini Dietrich, or Mari Smith, or Chris Brogan and we worship them for their ability to create a cult of personality around themselves. But is it really just a narcissistic circle jerk?

There are two things that go into strong personal brand:

  1. Strong values to stand for.
  2. Great work to stand behind.

You don’t have a personality if you don’t stand for anything. When you don’t have any values you’re a barnacle, clinging onto whatever values you can. Or maybe you’re just clay, molded into whatever values are acceptable from one person to the next.

People with great personal brands hold strong values. I believe that half-assed social networking is ruining our ability to communicate with one another. I also believe in the power of humor to educate.

These values fuel the work I do. They make sure that whatever I do, my work support those values. They charge me with doing the best work I can. This includes my online persona. I don’t allow myself to suck just because I’m trying to figure out “the Twitter” or whatever the next social networking craze is.

You don’t need tips, hints and guides to have values and do great work. All you need is a spine and the gumption to do the work.

Stop worrying about your personal brand. Start worrying about what you value, and how you can do better work.

Once you’ve got those under control, your personal brand will reveal itself.



Cyborgs - The Anti-Social MediaHow many people do you know who schedule their tweets?

I call these people cyborgs. They’re engaged, but when they can’t take the time to engage, they let the software do the talking for them by sharing content.

I understand the cyborgs. They have jobs. They have lives. They can’t spend their lives in communion with their computer or smartphone in an attempt to be a god of social networking.

But at what point do you decide that you should be a publisher when you’re not around? How do you measure the value of sharing content when you’re not there to see the conversation it creates? If the conversation is so important to you, why can’t you be there to start it in the first place?

Maybe it’s different for some people. Maybe these people are too worried about building a cult of personality around themselves than actually making social networking social.

Or maybe they’re just smart about how they use their time. I don’t know what their exact motivations are.

What I do know is that I think something is lost when you decide that it’s more important to be a robotic publisher. If you decide you can’t be everywhere, but want to give the illusion that you are, you haven’t made the decision about what’s really important to you.

You can’t have it both ways. You have to decide where your real priorities are. If social networking is important to you, make the time to be there. If the real world is important to you, don’t spend your time trying to make yourself appear like your always online.

Don’t end up a cyborg, unable to chose what will actually make you happy and successful. Make a choice about what’s really important to you.

Are you a cyborg? What made you choose to allow the computer to take over your feeble social networking skills?



TwitterBird - The Anti-Social MediaTwitter changed it’s logo and tried to make a stink about it.

“Twitter is the bird, the bird is Twitter.”

Oh fuck that.

Twitter is about exchanging messages around the globe quickly from any device with SMS capabilities. It’s about posting what you ate for breakfast. It’s posting what you overheard at lunch. It’s making some sly observation that makes you seem both like the coolest person ever and the biggest douche on the internet. It’s waking up and telling Twitter good morning before you’ve kissed your loved ones.

Changing your logo and posting a pretentious blog post will not make you relevant.

Providing a useful service that allows people to exchange information quickly and easily will keep you in the hearts and minds of the masses. In fact, you already do that Twitter. And you do it well without being a total asshat like some other social networks I know.

So, in six months when your creative director is trying to get you to change your logo once again (“It’s made of fairy dust!”), just stop and think about how you can use that money to improve and enhance your service to your users.

Me and the rest of Twitter will thank you then.


When to Join a New Social Network

Too many People - The Anti-Social MediaPeople are making more social networks and normal people don’t  know what to do with them. I should know, because these networks send me every awful press release they write.

FaceSpace just passed 200 users! We’re going to beat Facebook in the next millennium!

Yeah. Right.

So with so many crazy social networks popping out of every God-forsaken corner of the internet, how do you know when it’s time to join one of these new fangled social networks?

You know a social network is worth its meddle when the network can be described in a  clear and concise way. If it takes paragraph, or two, OR FIVE, then you know there’s a problem.

It’s even worse if it’s described as, “It’s like that other crappy social network, but it has a feature that appeals to Linux users.”

Kill me now.

You should join it if you actually know living, breathing people on there. Social networks with only a handful strangers are sad, lonely places. And knowing people means you might actually come back and find something you like.

What does it take for you to join a new social network? Well, you know, besides a hundred dollars.


The Worst Facebook Ad Ever

I get bad Facebook ads every. single. day. Normally, they target me with awful stereotypes  because I’m gay. There’s nothing more exciting than logging into Facebook and seeing your newsfeed surrounded by an underwear party.

Well, actually, that is pretty exciting, if you know what I mean.

Then I got this image in a Facebook ad for a job searching tool:

A Very Scary Facebook Ad Image

Oh. My God.

This is the stuff of nightmares. Now, when I look at Facebook ads, I see this:

The Stuff of Nightmares - The Anti-Social Media

Who in their right mind chose that image? It makes me want to stay the hell away from that ad and Facebook. For all I know, I’ll click that ad and I’ll be floating in a sewer with Tim Curry.

Please Zuckerberg – Take this terrible dream away.