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What’s ‘Likes’ Got to Do, Got to Do with It?

You just moved into a new neighborhood, and really want to get to know your neighbors. Suddenly, you get a brilliant idea! Sprinting downstairs, to the entrance of your building, you tack a sign on the community bulletin board, “Party in 3D, Saturday at 8pm”.

Come Saturday, people start pouring in at 8pm– by 10pm, 200 people are jam-packed into your sardine box of an abode, overflowing out the balcony. They’re talking, drinking, dancing– really, really enjoying themselves. It couldn’t be going any better. As you wind through the crowd, making sure everyone’s cup runneth over, random guests cheer you on,

“Great party!”

“Really happening!”

“Wicked music!”

Come Sunday, your apartment looks like Katrina ran into King Kong throwing a hissy fit. But, hey, you don’t care, cause you just threw the party of the century. Mission accomplished…

YOUR NEIGHBORS KNOW YOU… and LIKE YOU.

Monday morning, as you sing to yourself in the most un-Mercury voice possible, “We Are the Champions”, you set off to work. As the elevator doors slide open, you meet a few of the party goers, who begin raving about your shindig.

“That was epic, Mike!”

“It was totally insane, John!”

“DUUUUUDE, it was fierce!”

By now, you should be stoked– and you would be, if…

Your name was Mike or John, or it wasn’t so obvious that ‘DUUUUUDE’ was an eponym for ‘I don’t know your name’.

See, the problem is, though it was a kick ass party, and everyone who was anyone was there…

No one knows you. They ‘liked’ your party, but who doesn’t like a party?

If you really wanted them to know you, remember you and actually interact with you again, you’d probably have fared better throwing a small dinner party for a few people in 3C and 3E. The week after, you’d invite Mrs. O’Mally and the Browns, whom you met at the mail boxes s a few days ago, over for tea.

Replace yourself with a brand, and the party guest with social media followers. Social media is more social than it is media– you can have 1,000,000 people love your page, but that doesn’t mean those 1,000,000 people really know you or care about you.

News flash: People are humans, and humans form relationships through one-on-one interactions. Those interactions are predominantly based on you getting to know them too– ie, seeking their presence in your life necessitates you giving a damn about theirs.

Brands today deal with social media as if it was a billboard space. They think its enough to boost a post, and get more ‘likes’. But in the end, those ‘likes’ are a faceless number of clicks. And as much as ‘numbers’ are the mantra of marketeers, quantity is the LAST thing social media is about.

Because social media’s greatest advantage, is it allows brands to get up close and personal. It takes brands from talking TO a consumer, to conversing WITH a person– having 100 people you know and speak with is infinitely more valuable than having a whole sea of followers who, you aren’t even sure, are really people with whom you want to engage.

The biggest culprit of this massive catastrophe, ironically, is the inventor of social media; to be social, a brand MUST be on Facebook, but…

The way Facebook taught brands to be social, has them acting more like immature frat brothers, than grown-up adult holding a mature conversation. Which, shouldn’t be a shocking surprise, given its founder just graduated a few years ago, and, like his other 20-something Silicon Valley compadres, deals with social and the business of it, as such.

But, for you marketeers out there who still love your numbers, let’s talk fact: on average, less than 1% of your followers are ‘talking about’ you. Worse, if you scroll through people who ‘like’ posts you’ve boosted, you’ll find more than a couple of Juanitas from Guatamala and Marias from Mexico– which would be so bloody brilliant if you weren’t a hunting store selling fishing lines in Cardiff.

The problem is compounded by brands rambling on with posts that offer no significant value to social media followers– in the pre-digital era of media, we called that ‘filling dead air’. Brands think by keeping up these posts, they are being socially ‘active’ and ‘engaging’ their followers.

But engagement is a two-way activity… and it’s the brand’s job to listen more than speak. The incentive to keep your followers in that engagement is recognizing and sharing the content and insights they provide you.

Because a successfully social brand doesn’t have an audience of millions; it has a front row seat in the audience of 100 people— and it is listens to each one of those 100 everytime they speak. Further, a brand that really capitalizes on social media uses its own pages to post content from each of those one hundred.

The payoff being quite self-evident: if a brand recognizes each of those 100, and they each have at least 500 friends in their social networks, that means genuine brand exposure to and engagement with 50,000 others…think about it, when a brand shares a follower’s content on its own page, that follower will share his or her recognized content with their own networks.

To cut a long and very twisted story short… having the most ‘likes’ might make brands feel secure about their social status in the digital world. But that insecurity should have probably waned their in sophomore year at the University of Grow Up. Punning the words of that ever-so-famous cereal rabbit, “Eh, ‘likes’ are for kids.”

When Did Cookie Stop Being a Monster

Fitting millions of bits of information onto chips the size of a needle head; intricately connecting the world through satellites and air; building virtual lives that sometimes are so close to reality, they become many’s reality; creating a global nation founded on 1s and 0s. The historical icons behind the Internet have awed us with their feats and ingeniousness. Then outta nowhere, logging into their world, awaiting to be mesmerized by their software and applications, these technological gods ask us…

‘Want my Cookie?’

When Goldman Sachs, Lehman’s and J.P. Morgan launched the mammoth banking system, integrating the trade of capital, stocks, commodities, establishing a new era of finance that changed the international business and economic landscape forever, how awkward would it have been had you walked into one of their institutions and a Harvard graduated banker asked…

‘Want my cookie?’

We all love cookies. We all love Cookie Monster. But, being asked on the Internet to accept a cookie is…

SUSPECT.

It’s like Godzilla leaning over you, extending his claw in front of you and then patting you on the head gently.

You want to believe he’s being nice, but in reality, you know he’s just baiting you and about to go all evil on your derrier.

To my understanding, a ‘cookie’ on the Internet is bytes of data from a website stored on a user’s web browser in order to remember user history on the respective website.

That sounds as innocent enough as an oatmeal cookie- but then again, oatmeal cookies only track through your ass… they don’t track your ass.

Tracking cookies basically follow you on the Internet… like the once controversial SUPERCOOKIE which could impersonate user’s profiles. And what’s the biggest advantage to tracking cookies for websites?

Ego. They get to know how many people visit there site.

Money. Those numbers are how they pull out dollars from advertisers.

Believe it or not, there are also cookies that come back from the dead. They’re called Zombie Cookies and recreate themselves even after being deleted.

There are also spy cookies- cookies you have to accept on certain websites FOR LIFE. Kinda of a Godfather cookie… once you accept it, you can’t give it back.

The whole cookie scandal came to light in 1996 when the Financial Times reported on it. Before then, cookies had a default status, and sort of automatically ran in a user’s browser. Initially, one would think maybe we’re a bit paranoid for being afraid of a little thing like a cookie, especially one that is calorie-free; but that paranoia was dispelled in 2006 when AOL posted 20 million search queries of 650,000 AOL users and subscribers were tracked down from their search queries:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/09/technology/09aol.html?ex=1312776000&en=f6f61949c6da4d38&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&_r=0

Considering the functions of a ‘cookie’, to coin it a ‘cookie’ is quite ironic. It not only patronizes people, it’s the equivalent of Mr. Rogers distracting us from the colossal rectal exam about to take place.

Except this time, the proctologist doesn’t plan to remove his hand again.