Man. I wish I had time to recover from the story about the baby that was named Hashtag just before the column was due. And the newborn is a girl, no less! To the extent that I've put thought into Little Baby Hashtag at all, I was positively sure this name-challenged infant would be a boy. I'm reeling. But life, and social media, must press on, so today, let's ponder Facebook Gifts, an ecommerce upgrade from what I'm pretty sure was the only thing you used to be able to buy on Facebook: a virtual cow.
By far the biggest mistake marketers make is thinking social media is an insular activity that is strikingly different from the "real world." But the "real world" can't exist without social media, and social media can't exist without the real world.
Instagram is most definitely its own beast. Businesses thinking they can parlay a Pinterest strategy into Instagram will be sorely mistaken, thanks to strikingly different user engagement styles on the two platforms. Without clear "transactional" support, Instagram is proving to be much more about brand building and brand allegiance. If your company doesn't hold the term "brand" highly, simply stay off Instagram for now -- there are other platforms more worth your transactional-based time. However, for the brand-conscience, recent metrics show Instagram might be a worthwhile marketing tool.
So I guess by now you've cancelled your reservation at Guy's American Restaurant and Bar, because the cocktails are said to taste like formaldehyde, the rice isn't rice, but "an insipid Rice-a-Roni variant," and the fish tastes like toasted marshmallows. (Wait. It's the other way around -- the marshmallows taste like fish.)
The right to participate within the public dialogue has always come with responsibility. Television had its obligation to share the news. Radio and television participate in the Emergency Alert System. Newspapers have a self-enforced responsibility as the "fourth estate." As brands become more like publishers every day, we have to start asking ourselves if there is a higher level of responsibility for participating in the public discourse - a responsibility beyond that to shareholders and investors.
I don't know about you, but I still find myself in a post-Sandy hangover. I realize that makes this a prolonged condition, but today's reason is the little Nor 'easter, which, while David to Sandy's Goliath, still dumped enough snow around here last night to delay the start of school until 10:30 a.m. As if having no school all of last week wasn't enough! Side query: Does playing endless games of Monopoly count as math drills?
Many of us feel as if our lives revolve around social media -- that the lines between work and personal are nonexistent. For Jason Sadler, founder of IWearYourShirt, this is actually true. Since 2008, Sadler has been using social media to help businesses gain attention, attract consumers, augment search results and garner research. Here is an Insider look at the crazy brain of a social media entrepreneur.
Remember how quaint it used to be when rock stars like Kurt Cobain used to do a live "unplugged" set on MTV? It almost always felt more visceral than when the musicians actually plugged in all of their amps, guitars and wah-wah pedals and turned up the volume. Turns out it doesn't feel the same when Facebook goes, well, acoustic, courtesy of everyone's favorite hurricane, good ol' Sandy. Once our power went out at about 6:30 p.m. Monday night -- thankfully, it came back at about noon today -- I needed Facebook more than ever, even as accessing it became …