Face(book)ing your level of creepiness

Social media is a weird and bountiful collection of amazing, cool, average, mediocre and creepy moments – both online and off.

I have a friend on Facebook™ who is in the same line of work – we’ve meet, but we aren’t friends per se. You know what I mean, we all have people like that online. Hell, as a comedian I have people connected to me that I’ve never meet. That’s the life of being social online.

There is nothing about this person that is bad in any way. He is good at what he does – and I respect him on a number of levels. He routinely posts pictures of himself in and out of the limelight. Again nothing new in this world of selfiedom. Here’s where it starts to get creepy – or at least awkward. Many of these pictures contain his wife.

I’ve never meet her. I’m sure she is a great person. I’m not trying to say it in that sarcastic way – really! I’m sure she’s wonderful. But I’m going to repeat – I’ve never meet her.

Here’s the issue.

I routinely pass by her on on my way from the gym to the office. How do I know that it is her? Trust me – I’ve seen enough photos to know – it’s her. And each time I’m tempted to say hey – how’s this and that. But I restrain myself – because even if I was able to explain myself: Yeah, I sort of know your husband – and I’m familiar with your life because of Facebook – so therefore…

where are you going? why you running? wait up!

See – creepy! I can’t wait to meet her for real – then I will gladly engage in a conversation that doesn’t start with – This is going to sound weird, but …

What’s your best creep moment?

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Who’s social now?

For all the advertising that happens – for all that paid awareness – the true influence has been word-of-mouth. Don’t get me wrong, awareness is a key element in the process of word-of-mouth. But awareness does not close the sale.

Everyday we are surrounded by so many images and messages that they become environmental wallpaper, blending into the background with sublime camouflage. What is it that makes us take notice?

There has been advertising and marketing for a long time. And the arsenal at the disposal of companies moving those messages keeps increasing. From old-school approaches like billboards to new-fangled enterprises like twitter and pinterest. But for all that exposure, it’s word-of-mouth – still.

Interesting that we are moved by our friends using the same platforms. There is a certain disgust, stand-off that happens when we get a paid ad in our Facebook feed. But, if a friend makes a note about a product, service or even a show you are more likely to consider. So word-of-mouth still exists – it will always exist. All that is changing are the megaphones that we use – it was in person, then the phone, now it’s social media.

What will the future of word-of-mouth be?

How small is your brand?

Often, we see the world of brands in terms of large – and derivatives of such. Numbers point to the worldwide retail locations of Apple; burgers sold in a McDonald’s; how many Subway restaurants you can see in one block.

But, big branding is also about small branding.

How often have you looked at the tiny aspects of any product – are they an extension of the brand? Or just some off-the-shelf component. Over the years I’ve been amazed at the attention to detail (and to the brand) so many companies have worked at to convey. The best example I can think of right now (there are countless more) is the Nike logo that appears on the pull-tab, on a zipper, on a my sports bag. This swoosh is maybe 8 points in size (take that metric system!). It is embossed in the plastic – therefore only visible if you look carefully and the light catches it the right way.

There are larger versions of the swoosh on the bag itself. And on this bag they are subtle – being applied as if a version of using Varnish on a print piece. That actually was one of the reasons I purchased the bag. I was not wanting a flashy item, but I did want it to be a Nike.

There are myriad brands around the world that are recognized by a shape (e.g., Coke), colours (e.g., IKEA) and design (e.g., Ferrari). But all of these cases, and many more, the true beauty is in the details that each of these companies put into their iconic artifacts. It’s something that we all could be better at – whether it be a multi-national or a personal brand. How many people put the effort into customizing their social media exposure – twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages, etc. Hey I’m the first to admit – I don’t do as much as I should for my own brand.

Do you?

message delivered (maybe)

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, 4Square, E-mail, etc.

There are now so many ways to connect and broadcast that it’s time consuming just to list them.

At what point does it become burdensome to just to try and keep up. There are some services that connect and cross broadcast (like this Blog – it gets publicized through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, e-mail list and Subscribers once I press the publish button). The idea of one button pushing out content to a myriad outlets is ideal.

But once we get the message out – how do we know that it gets to where it needs to be (in front of a pair of eyes – man I’m going to get a load of hate-mail from the cyclops Society of Canada). How do we really measure that result? It’s not just a question of broadcast math.

My blog is (according to my WordPress stats) broadcast to 750+ people on Facebook, 50+ followers on Twitter and 300+ connections on LinkedIn. Plus about 15 people have subscribed to this Blog. That’s the broadcast math. My daily viewing stats are much more humbling – in and around 10-20 views per day when I’m generating new content.

So – that’s a big difference. I would love to be in a better position. One day. But producing content (and content worth reading) is key. Above and beyond that sometimes it’s luck, finding a niché, or getting recognition in other venues (speakers, being quoted in an article, etc.). Which ultimately becomes a weird vicious circle.

How often do you check or block content from people that constantly are broadcasting? Do you find yourself using curating apps/sites (like Zite, FlipBoard, Currents, etc.) to help filter and consolidate topics or areas of concern and interest?

Size does (not) matter

This Sunday, February 3, the greatest one-day TV event takes place – The Superbowl. The best of the NFC against the best from the AFC.

Everything about this game has gotten larger over the years. The hype. The price for commercials. The hype about the commercials. The fact that the pre-game show is already on – me thinks.

The one thing for sure that has changed is where people are watching the game on the big screen. For a long time people would make their way to a local drinking establishment and cheer on their newly adopted team to catch the game on the Big Screen. Over time, if you were lucky enough to have a rich friend, you may have made your way to their place for the game. A friend proudly displaying the lasted big screen technology (which was the same resolution as your crappy tv).

Oh my how the times have really changed.

How many people do you know that have a sub 50″ flat screen with hi-def and are jockeying to be invited to a buddy’s place to catch the game on a 70, 80 or the new big bad boy – a 90″ flat screen from Sharp. Try to imagine one of your living room walls as a tv.

So – the fact that almost everyone has equal (or better) technology than our friends and local bars, does not stop us from getting together. Regardless of the technology – we feel the need to spend time together – connecting in a real way. Regardless of the teams that are playing – especially this year. Yes, twitter and Facebook will be happening places – but it’s not the same as high-five’n after a touchdown, interception or a half-time show wardrobe malfunction.

Enjoy this weekend. Gather with friends (in person) and celebrate the single, most-hyped sporting event in the world.

Go San Fran!

Backlash and the Social

Empathy: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

Apathy: lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern

Parody: an imitation of the style of a particular writer, artist, or genre with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect

ING Direct yesterday responded yesterday to a social media backlash against one of it’s television ads. View Marketing Mag article and commercial here. ING Direct has apologized and indicated that the ad will be pulled.

I think in Canada – like no other country – we have the ability to be offended on behalf of others. Make any kind of taboo comment (or near taboo comment) and watch the face of people react as if you just kicked their puppy. The commercial in question mimics/parodies the formulaic aspects of many Mental Health awareness ads. That is to say a sombre voice over, moody short-focused camera work and the reveal – suffering from RSP.

On the ING Direct Facebook page (as well as others) there is backlash to the ad – some even calling for a CRTC investigation.

Now, before I sound like an apologist, Mental Health is a serious issue – but to be fair so are many other things (causes and events). Everyone one of us has some degree of something that gets to us mentally – and effects us. Some are large, major concerns (bi-polar, deliberate self-harm, etc.) and others are things as innocuous as scratching of skin or in one of my daughters’ case – hearing velcro torn apart. Too be truthful that last one does bring me joy every once in a while.

But at what point do we – as a society – totally give in to any and every offense taken (Quoting British Comedian Jimmy Carr – Apple Podcast – Offense is taken not given). It’s been the reclamation of words by groups, it’s been the banishment of peanut butter (and sometimes kiwi) and most recently even the request to cut down oak trees in Toronto. I understand that there are myriad things in this world that people find offensive. But if we start shaving off our ability to lighten the mood of any offering we are headed towards a dull, boring light.

What’s your take on the reaction of ING Direct and the backlash that caused this maelstrom?