Category Archives: Social Media Etiquette

Is Facebook the “real world”? Part 1

Normally when I blog about Facebook, it has to do with using Facebook for marketing, but this series is going to take a look at how we use Facebook in our personal lives.

Earlier this week, I was listening to a webinar, and one of the featured speakers was the corporate social media manager at a company with many local stores across the United States. She was saying that the community and public relations people at the individual stores are best suited to also be the social media people.

“We trust our store marketers to decide which content they want to share and how,” she said. “Our store marketers know what’s going to resonate in the real world and online.”

It gave me pause. Intentionally or not, she said that the online world we live in and the tangible world we live in aren’t the same.

Is it?! Social media (especially Facebook), in addition to other online outlets, are a part of most people’s everyday lives. Sharing and absorbing information on Facebook is something we do, like drinking coffee or riding the train to work. Facebook has 845 million monthly active users.

But lately and coincidentally, I had started to wonder: is Facebook the real world? Has it become an ingrained, no-brainer part of our culture, thus making it “real”? Or, is there a separation between Facebook and everything we do outside of Facebook. And, when it comes to who we are in face-to-face life and who we are on our Facebook profiles, do most people pull a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?

In addition to the webinar, a few other things precipated this blog series: My significant other and I were recently out listening to a live band. There was a group of college students at a table near us. It seemed like every time we turned around, they were posing for photos and then furiously tapping their phones, assumably texting or sharing them online.

To me, it seemed like they were spending so much time taking photos and sharing them online that they a) weren’t interacting with the others in the group in a meaningful way and b) not appreciating and absorbing their surroundings (aka, not listening to the awesome band on stage!).

Or, has capturing a moment by sharing it online become the new way of experiencing the moment? Is it more important to remember parts of an experience than it is to experience it wholly in the present?

Then, coincidentally (this blog series was meant to be), I came across an article from Psychology Today, “Quitting Facebook Could Make You Happier,” written by Dr. Michael W. Austin, associate professor of philosophy at Eastern Kentucky University. His article is based on information from a recent study showing that people who are on Facebook believe that others have happier lives than is actually the case.

This is the crux of the article: “…don’t judge the happiness of others by their Facebook page, status updates, pictures, and so on. … Whether intentionally or not, people tend to put their best (if not entirely accurate) face forward in such settings.”

A day or so later, a good and beautiful friend of mine implied that she was feeling a little down after perusing the class notes section of her college’s alumni magazine. Freshly empowered with the article’s message, I told her that the class notes section of college alumni magazines are like Facebook: people are going to publish their best and happiest sides, more intentionally than not, I’ll argue, when it comes to Facebook. (How many of us untag ourselves from a bad photo?!)

(Of course, as we all know, some people use Facebook to air all their dirty, negative laundry, but that’s neither here nor there.)

However, a college alumni magazine would be considered part of the “real world.” Right? So what makes putting your best face forward in that outlet “real” and putting the same face forward in another outlet not part of the “real world”?

[Because this is a series, I can end this post with a question!]

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No Cards cover? Yikes, Sports Illustrated.

Update: As of 9:50 am 3:45 pm Friday, March 30, SI’s Facebook page still hasn’t officially said anything about the covers. Others, though, have posted on their wall, expressing their discontent. Many Louisville fans have said they’re canceling their subscriptions. Where are you on this, SI? There’s even a someecards about this!

The web is was abuzz this afternoon yesterday with the breaking news that Sports Illustrated created different covers to celebrate the NCAA Division I men’s basketball Final Four teams. Except there are three covers…and, well, four teams. The University of Louisville got left out.

[Disclaimer: I live in Kentucky, and I’m a U of L fan.]

That said: Come on, SI! The huge PR no no is that there’s no communication around this. As Eric Crawford (@ericcrawford), the Louisville Courier-Journal‘s sports columnist, blogged today March 29, yes, it’s in part a logistical and financial decision. SI publishes different covers for various U.S. regions with each issue (plus a national one), and “producing two covers for one region…really isn’t a good move financially.”

Why not combine the two teams on one cover? That seems like the logical solution if we’re looking at this in financial and logistical terms. Crawford agrees, as do a lot of folks on social media.

One tweeter captures my sentiments: “I think It’s pretty disrespectful to not have Louisville at least on the cover with Ky. Your marketing department dropped the ball.”

If you’re wondering why “Louisville” and “cover” are bolded, it’s because that’s the search term I used on Twitter to learn more about this. Hopefully, SI’s communication team is doing the same right now. A lot of tweets were found with those search terms.

Interestingly, as of 3:06 pm this afternoon, SI hasn’t address this issue on their Facebook or Twitter accounts. I’m sure (I hope) that’ll change soon.

Back to solutions: Why not bite the financial bullet, and produce two covers for one region? SI understands and appreciates the historic significance of the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville rivalry and the importance of this Final Four match up (check out their story about it). There wouldn’t be any magazines left on newsstands across the state.

It’s hard to say why SI made this decision. It would be fascinating to know what went on during the editorial meeting where this was decided.

At the very least, SI’s media relations and social media folks need to be responding asap to what’s happening on the web right now. A #boycottSI hashtag isn’t a good way to go into this basketball weekend.

P.S.: Good article on this from The Bleacher Report.

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Viral video FYI: people love babies, people are mean

People love looking at babies doing funny or silly or weird things. That’s why my friend Adam’s video, “Fatherhood is confounding the baby with new sounds.,” has gone viral in two days. Among others: 350,000+ hits on YouTube, Inside Edition last night, Good Morning America today, and he’s signed release forms for Jimmy Kimmel and Ellen. Edit: the video was on Jimmy Kimmel last night!

The video began as something for friends and family who follow his blog, Fatherishood (an account of he and his wife’s experiences parenting newborn twins), to enjoy. He posted it on Facebook, and soon it turned viral, as many of his Facebook friends predicted.

Going viral is usually organic (unless there’s a company putting thousands of dollars into promoting something on Twitter or Facebook), and it’s something for which you can’t really plan. Check out Adam’s follow-up blog post; his reflections on the past 48 hours of viral insanity talk about how he couldn’t possibly have planned for this!

My best advice for him or anyone who has something go viral: ignore the commenters on YouTube. Of the 260 (currently) comments on the video, I’d say 90% are ridiculous. Some are downright mean and 100% ignorant. Comment sections for videos and articles and blogs are meant to encourage discussion (worthwhile discussion, presumably), but most of the time, they’re a playground for idiocy. Reading the comment sections of most things makes me disheartened at the general intelligence level of humanity.

That said, there are some awesome and encouraging comments on Adam’s blog, where the video originated. So, maybe we should listen to commenter Kimberly, who told Adam: “The most important lesson on the internet is to never read comments on YouTube.” Amen, sister. Oh, and to second something another commenter said: “Awww people are such assholes!”

P.S.: Congrats baby Charlotte on your first viral video sensation! Don’t let it go to your beautiful little head. Or, rather, don’t let anyone tell you anything. Just keep listening to your dad’s motorboating.

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