I get a lot of questions about learning social media, digital, and breaking into the industry. With more universities offering diplomas, certifications, and courses for social and digital media, the question is whether it’s worth your money.
My advice is always to use extreme caution.
The nature of the digital space is such that its in a constant state of change. Social is new; Facebook is nine years old and Twitter six. What’s the next disruptive social platform?
The point is social and digital evolves quicker than any industry – formal education doesn’t mesh with this space.
Professors develop curriculum long before courses take place. It goes against the real-time nature which makes digital and social so unique and exciting. Any course becomes outdated before it is taught.
While formal education isn’t a perfect fit for the industry, there are specific use cases. I’ll rattle off a few examples.
Skill Acquisition: If you’re looking to add specific skills, ie photoshop, illustrator… etc, formal courses make a decent fit. The important thing here is utility. Ensure you are learning tangible skills that transfer and are directly applicable to your goals.
Networking: Professional network development. As much as I hate networking, it is necessary. You have to ‘play the game’ no matter how fake and phony it makes you feel. This is something i’ve personally struggled with before because I find it exhausting.
The beauty of formal education is how it provides a rolodex of connections for the future. This is probably the only reason i would consider an grad school down the line.
Keep in mind building these relationships takes effort and is only worth it if you attend a globally recognized grad-school program.
Learn yourself. I personally take pride in self learning… you should too, but how does one do this?
Expose yourself to the social space, experiment on different social networks and research who is influential and innovative on these subjects. These are who you should learn from.
An easy example is by making a Twitter list with digital “thought leaders.” Read not just what they write, but what they read as well.
Everyone knows the spiel about how everything is free on the internets, i’ll save it and instead, point you to some resources i’m using to continually learn. Same knowledge, but without the fancy piece of paper.
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With Movember winding down, I’m stroking my glorious moustache and pondering Movembers role in the greater context of mens health awareness. The last two years skyrocketed Movember’s status into mainstream.
With that comes mainstream media exposure and thus, Movember business opportunities.
Brands had this popular global event to explore. It screamed opportunity for Movember related promotions. Local brand and businesses particularly had an easy chance to inject themselves into Movember through deals and promos.
I kept thinking to myself all month how easy it would be. I’m still shocked that i didn’t see any friendly or creative promos.
In short, slap a ‘Movember savings deal’ in your store, shop, or business.
Here’s a thought.
Say i’m strolling around downtown on a Saturday, and I happen upon a coffee shop offering ‘Movember Discounts.’ It could be as easy as X amount off your brew if you’re sporting a moustache.
Not only would I gladly welcome a discount for my mo’, I would be inclined to share this info. In short, I would blast this over Twitter, Facebook and other social networks… “Hey I just got a discount for having a moustache!!!”
Instagram launches web profiles… shocker right? Many saw this announcement was coming and felt it was long overdue. The design is obviously influenced by their parent Facebook, with a timeline-esque rotating collage of pics for the cover image.
Overall it’s easy on the eyes as it should be, but instagram for web bring huge implications for brand marketers, Facebook, and ultimately the Instagram community. Let’s take a peak.
What made Facebook so popular at the outset were the photos. One could creep on scandalous photos from anyone’s profile safely and anonymously. Facebook became the ultimate time-waster for procrastinating students and workers alike.
As time spent on Facebook declines, crowds are favoring more photo-driven sharing sites like Tumblr (20 billion monthly pageviews), Pinterest, and obviously Instagram. Instagram web-profiles gives everyone immediate access to wider audiences. People will favour Instagram’s photo-rich layout over Facebook’s ad-driven, event-invite laden shit-show.
This is an interesting situation for Facebook. They own Instagram, so any success Instagram gains on the web is great, but at what cost? Facebook’s no longer the go-to for perusing images. I see this eventually diverting web traffic away from Facebook.
There’s serious issues with brands promoting marketing campaigns in affiliation with tragedies or natural disasters.
Monday, American Apparel, Urban Outfitters, and others, sent email blasts to their East Coast customers announcing ‘Hurricane Sandy Sales.’ These are feeble attempts at latching onto trending news for monetary gain – these brands don’t get “it.”
The public at large took serious issue with these ballsy marketing tactics – taking to Twitter to voice disdain. Exploiting any tragedy for monetary gain is insensitive, ignorant and careless. People are dying, infrastructure is forever destroyed and millions are without power.
We’ve seen brands try these shenanigans before, perhaps you’ll remember Kenneth Cole’s backfired attempt at capitalizing on the Egyptian protests in February 2012. Their brand image took a huge hit, causing controversy, outrage, and a ton of angry tweeters.
Public speaking infront of a group of critical strangers is universally mans’ greatest fear. Personally, I used to share echo this sentiment. I’ll admit it’s something I’ve avoided when possible. I’m not completely frightened per say — in the past I just didn’t feel comfortable speaking in front of a group of people whom I don’t know. My public speaking nerves take over.
Part of my apprehension is value based. If I didn’t have much to contribute, (translation: who cares what some dumbass like me has to say?) why potentially embarrass myself in front of a group of strangers? The risk-reward didn’t seem to check out… Much like how terrified I was starting this blog.
I firmly believe in not talking for the sake of talking – only speak when you truly have something to ‘say.’
The issue is vulnerability — we struggle to step outside the comfort and safety of our daily routines to which we can control.
I’ve come to realise I’m in a somewhat unique situation (narcissistic rant coming). I’ve accomplished my goal of startimg a career the social media landscape — making the transformation from full-time amateur athlete / student to working at a upstart tech company.
I’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking about goal setting. I remember back in CAPP class, we had to go through these garbage goal setting exercises that made me cringe. What a waste of time.
If anything, that experience deterred me from wanting to set goals. To be honest, since then the only goals I’ve set are in sport. I guess because sport consumed most of my life.
It never crossed my mind to think about lifelong personal goals until recently. What do I want to do? How am I going to do that? These questions scare the shit out of me.
This is when I started to think big. I’ve come up with some lofty goals that I won’t share now… They are ‘need to know.’
What I will say is how I am going to get there. Creatively working my ass off and investing my time and resources on things I care about and can control.
I’ve developed an interest in building communities around a brand. Social media is an amazing tool in this process. About six months ago, I made the decision to master social media. What the hell does that mean? I’m not sure either.
Nonetheless, I got on my grind reading everything I could all day until my eyes wouldn’t stay open. See you later school. I had a burning motivation to learn and felt like it was only a matter of time.
Here is a snippet from an interview I did with Chevrolet at Social Media Week in Toronto in Feb, 2012. Fast forward to 1min 39 seconds.
After the Chevrolet social media presentation, I was offered the chance to do a quick interview. Clearly they were looking for a cushy sound byte relevant to the Chevy brand, so I played the game because I wanted to get on Youtube.
This was also a great opportunity to get comfortable in front of a camera.
Hope this provides a few seconds of entertainment.
Since KONY has fizzled out, Dollar Shave Club (DCS) has jumped into viral relevance. It starts with an unexpected tagline: Our Blades Are F***ing Great. Right away, we are caught off guard. At the time of writing, the DCS Youtube video has about 3 million views in six days.
Here are five reasons why Dollar Shave Club is killing it online:
At the end of the day, DSC is providing a useful service that is apparently in demand. People always run out of razors and they will always be used.
Since DSC is the hip new thing. The masses will flock at sharing with their networks that they just drank the DSC Kool-aid.
The cult like following which Dollar Shave Club received looks easy – it is important to remember that it’s not simply about posting on Youtube.
Creating a viral hit involves a ton of strategic help. To get initial eyeballs, there’s likely a ton of hustle in getting websites and blogs to publish the video.
Has anyone see a more creative use of a leaf blower?
This is the first of a few posts on the relationship between social media and real life.
A question causing discussion is whether mobile social networking is sacrificing real-life relationships. The ‘mobilize everything’ trend is everywhere.
On days I ride the bus to work, I would say 70% of people are buried in their phones and/or have headphones in. I would guess that other 30% don’t have phones to begin with (this is a generalization).
Of course, I am as guilty as everyone else riding the chariot. I check news sites, emails and twitter; all with a podcast firing. I personally feel like this type of behavior can be acceptable in public settings if you are riding solo.
If this dips into more direct social settings, the slope gets slick. The extent to which we are foregoing face-to-face interaction for mobile companionship is a huge concern.
MIT psychologist Sherry Turkle makes a good argument (in her TEDxTalk) that we are sacrificing real life conversations by using social media. The way we interact online creates unrealistic and distorted perceptions social relationships.
Life has been super busy since I started interning at HootSuite. I am working Monday –Wednesday-Friday. Mondays and Wednesdays I head straight from the office (love saying this) to practice at UBC. These end up being pretty long and exhausting days The Renaissance Man wouldn’t have it any other way.
The scheduling works out pretty well given that all my classes are on Tuesday and Thursday. I’ve been able to manage everything pretty well… Up until midterm season kicks around. Case in point was last week when a midterm came up. It was brutal getting home from work / practice at 7:30 then having to eat something and head to the library.
As I invest more time and energy into work, the burden of school lurks in the background, like this guy. I am stoked to be graduating at the end of April, but I wish it was over now. School feels like an unnecessary weight on my burly shoulders at this point.
The blog has taken a bit of a hit as well. My ambitions were to post three times per week. This is clearly a bit of a stretch at this point. Bi-weekly posts will suffice for the time being.
Midterm season is over; term paper season is in full swing. Time to see if my blogging prowess transfers to writing research papers.
No excuses, play like a champion.