Tag Archives: Social Media

The Limit of Sugar Mountain

Oh ye, good Bloggarians… my sentiments shalt sting… my logic, yea, shalt shatter your emotional consonance… but, alas…

I just gots ta tell y’all the truth.

From Conkrite to Rathers, Walters to Donaldson, Friedman to Chomsky, ‘Media’ was the unbiased, uni-directional communication of news and information.

The ‘Social’ aspect introduced the possibility of ‘evolving’ Media communication into a multi-directional exchange between two or more homo (and/or hetero) sapiens.

In the ‘real’ world, only 7% of social interactions is based on verbal exchanges, with 93% constituting para-linguistic cues, such as facial expressions and intonation, as well as body language.

Enter, Mark Zuckerberg (etymology, ‘Mark’, West Saxon origin of ‘mearc’, or ‘limit’; etymology of Zuckerberg, Germanic origin, ‘sugar mountain’).

‘Social Media’ wasn’t simply accepted, it was embraced… applauded… lauded…

So much so, that the collective human ego was willing to turn a blind eye to the global lexicide instigated by it.

An already tiny minority of communication, Social Media is massacring that meager 7% into extinction.

Yet, as Social Media slays away at language, humanity stands by, echoing it’s shorthand laugh…

LOL… L.O.L.

For we have foregone all grammatical morality…

Prostituting parentheses and colons as emojis; pimping numbers 4 cheap prepositions; disemboweling words of their vowels; trafficking subjects and predicates illegally…

Woe is the truth! But the truth it still is!

None other than a Sugar Mountain of Limits!

Stunting  what otherwise could have been the birth of a new generation of Shakespears, Joyces & Hemmingways…

Replacing such literary possibility with a sea of Millennial authors, whose given Christian names have been traded in for ludicrous and vulgar eponyms…

KensDoll, Hot4U…Gr8Sexpectations.

All the meanwhile, Sugar Mountain mocks us ‘Users’… ADDICTS, itching to be Liked, Followed, Friended, and Shared. Tagged, no less we are… DIGITAL VOODOO DOLLS!

Damnation, I tell you! The demise of humanity beyond Biblical proportions! For at least Babel built a language!

What will it take to wake mankind from its Sugar Mountain coma? Our grandchildren receiving, literally, an abbreviated and misspelled version of history?

We z ppl of z US, n Ordr 2 form a > perfect Union, estblsh Justis, n shur domestic Tranqulty, provide 4 z common defense, promote z gnral Wlfare & scure z Blssings of Librty 2 ourselves & our Posterity, do ordain & establsh this Consttution 4 z US of A.

We should loath no one but ourselves for what is to come… for we crawl like ants to the Sugar Mountain, feasting on its socially carcinogenic saccharine. Rewarded by empty caloric comments, our Timeline gets fatter and fatter… until we find ourselves unable to escape our mobile, tablet and laptop screens.

I leave you with this: it is nary too late. For there are some who can be saved, who can see the proverbial light. In those people, I have hope. I see a future. They are the warriors empowering a Social that will never surrender to Media.

And once I find them, I swear by the letters with which I write…

I’m gonna add them as Friends on Facebook.

 

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.”

It’s Social, It’s Media, But What’s It Selling and Who’s Buying It?

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and the list goes on and on.

They’re social. They’re media. But what the LOL are they really selling? At valuations that exceed the GDP of most developing countries, what is so valuable about them?

Let’s step back to the stone ages– the 1990s. Remember phone bills? They were wrapped up in an envelop, delivered by someone called the ‘postman’. Millenials, if you watch Seinfeld, you can see footage of one of these highly endangered creatures.

Phone companies had a business because people needed to communicate. Now imagine, if in the middle of your call, an ad message interrupted your conversation– literally just put both parties on hold so they could listen to an ad. Yeah, that would have been the death of them.

Advertisers would have jumped at the idea of course, given that they’d brand my grandma’s oxygen mask or anything else that had at least a centimeter of space to brand. Phone companies didn’t do that because, back then, a business model was built on the business you’re in, not the air you can sell.

Okay, so let’s come back to the future, 2015. Phone conversations are replaced by social media chats, phone cords by WiFi and dialing pads by keyboards. Same business– connecting people… save that the social media companies are under the impression they can sell the air.

Chalk it up to the fact that most of their founders were or are in their 20s, and have been called the Tech ‘Gurus’– their experience in business, let alone life, is about as savvy as ours was at 20, so ‘Guru’ might be an overstretch (and of course a brilliant term only an advertising or PR exec could coin).

Throw in the fact that the old-school financial or investment experts are in a mid-life fret about not really understanding the technology, the age of digital and all the new apps in between– instead of offering their expertise to guide these creative tech geniuses through building a solid business, they’re slipping into their Silicon Valley Crocs and voyeuristically enjoying the ‘Billionaires Under 30″ ride.

Then again, these seasoned venture capitalists are no different than their Neanderthal Wall Street ancestors, who parlayed everyone into the 2008 shits and giggles meltdown.

Let’s step back a bit, shall we? Businesses sell something– something that is tangible, such as a product or service. Ergo, they have a ‘core business’.

Second, the business model is built on that tangible product or service.

Lastly, advertising (marketing) is used to sell THAT product or service.

So, when we use the simplified– oh-so-ever oversimplified, but key checklist– let us look at the social media business:

  • Product/Service: Communication. Call it sharing, posting, status update, poking– in business terms, its communications, people.
  • Business Model: Advertising. Call it ‘Pages You Might Like’, ‘Brand Influencers’, or ‘Brand Advocates’. If it looks like an ad, sounds like an ad and talks like an ad, it’s advertising.
  • Marketing Strategy: PR 20-something ‘Gurus’ in jeans and sneakers, sporting a ‘Geek is Chic’, ‘Techy is Sexy’, image. Big Bang Theory meets (or rather bumps into) GQ.

Will everyone who graduated from Wharton please stand up? What’s wrong with the above picture?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?….Bueller?

Well, then, let’s begin.

Social media is no different than telecom, broadcasting or publishing– they are all media venues that make advertising more possible and place-able. Having said that, the latter 3 create have core businesses, with business models built on their core products/services, and they use marketing to sell them.

Telecom sells phone lines.

Broadcasters sell programing.

Publishing sells information.

Advertising supports these businesses, but these businesses have something to sell– things that they produce or service– things that answer people’s needs and wants.

Social media sells people. Really, that’s about it. It sells people to advertisers.

They know that’s all they have to sell– because it is the easiest way to sell.  They know it so well, that they’ve compromised our personal info and content in hopes that they can close the gap between their ACTUAL profitability and their pie-in-the-sky valuations that they need to keep up in order to get more investors.

The joke is, the big punchline we haven’t seen coming yet– the last time history had businesses selling people was the slave trade; it’s irony at its best, my friends… social media as the altruistic hero carrying us all into the age ‘democratization’.

What we haven’t learned for some reason, though history is sick and tired of teaching us, is that people will only buy air for so long before they realize the air can’t be bought. It happened with the dot.coms, it happened with real estate, its happening with Quantitative Easing.

Valuations in the double-digit billions should make us think it won’t happen with social media businesses– simply put, they don’t have a business.

The question is, who’s going to wake up before all the 20-something Gurus and the financial suits-gone-surfers grow up?

If history is always right, unfortunately, we all will… 10 seconds after the social media bubble bursts, and we find ourselves covered in Guru goo.

Cello

Untitled

A cello

That weeps.

My heart,

The base.

That beats.

The tears form into

Notes

on the staff

Of my life.

They hear music

In the pain.

Crying has a rhythm.

It is a melody

Of happiness

Overcome by pain and sadness,

The gods clap for me.

I have not asked

To lead the orchestra,

I have not asked to compose

Any movements.

I am too still.

I don’t know how notes become a tune,

Perhaps it is the vicious cycle of my doom.

The bow, Fate,

Grating against the strings of my will

Wearing them away

Until

they break.

But a cello cannot play itself.

The masterpiece,

What is it?

I value not the legacy of it.

I seek nothing from fame.

Who are the hands

That play it?

Where is the audience

Who will feel it?

The cello awaits.

The bow grates.

It’s so sad,

It weeps so badly,

My heart is the base.

Hear me,

Hear me,

I am not loud,

It is the echo of my sob.

Do I exist?

Do I exist?

If I do,

I am so frightfully scared.

Love.

Dear Me-at-Menopause-20-Years-From-now

Dear-Me-at-Menopause-20-Years-From-Now,

You haven’t changed a bit- you look just like you did at 38.

Be sure and thank Dr. 90210. He did a great job.

The whole hot flashes thing passed. Your ovaries dried up- but, hey… at least your cash didn’t, right?

I told you a long time ago that you had to fuck it all up and self-destroy to self-build; not just once in your life- you do it several times over. What you were had to die in order to make room for who you were going to be.

Thus, it follows, the same will happen over the next 20 years.

But you are prepared for it, as you well know it is not what happens to you that makes or breaks you, but your perception of it that does. ‘Bad’ does not exist, in as much as ‘good’ doesn’t- these are the figments of our biggest illusion, the mind. There is only reality and truth.

Reality, being that which is physically observable.
Truth, being what is spiritually observable.

You’ve kept your eyes open, having had the intelligence to observe the reality of all that is around you.
You’ve kept your soul open, so by now, you’ve been blessed to observe the truth that binds all which is around you.

And through it all, you’ve passionately lived each moment, as you never forgot to keep your heart open.

You’ve grown to appreciate the wisdom you’ve received as a result- you know that reality is transient and constantly changes… leaves will grow, turn a vivid emerald green and wither into a curled skeleton of drabness…

20 year olds will have the vitality to do the things they can’t at 70, yet 70 year olds will have the wisdom to do those things better than at 20…

Winter drifts into spring, spring extroverts into summer and summer falls, well, into fall.

Truth, though, is what is constant. And this is why you have made that your foundation. You may have moved from one reality to the next, but truth…

Is your inertia.

Regardless of time and space in which your current reality is, truth is the law of human physics that propels or impedes your ability to keeping moving through that reality.

It is because of all of the above, that you have triumphed over your weaker self… as there is no battle, nor any enemy, greater than that which challenges you from within…

It is because of all of the above that you have destroyed what you knew to relearn new ways… as by changing patterns of thought, you have found nothing strange, and everything comfortably familiar…

It is because of all of the above that you’ve decided who you are… as the importance of that does not lie in awards, promotions or career titles.

It lies in no domain but your own.

And hey-

If Madonna is still wearing a cone bra (a little lower granted),
If Mark Zuckerberg is still changing facebook to be (air quotes) more user friendly (air quotes),
If Apple can invent the iGasm for women,
If Israel and Iran are now allied against the United States,
And Matt LeBlanc finally got at least 1 more than 2 seasons before a sitcom of his tanks…

Rest assured.
It so isn’t over.
You still have a lot to do.
Keep it real.
Make it true.

Victoria’s Discreetness (Weekly Writing Challenge: Mind the Gap)

“Anyone who says there is nothing more beautiful than the sound of children hasn’t experienced the sound of silence.”
-Anonymous (or, can’t be found on Google)

Not having any children of my own, yet being an aunt to 2 and half kids (the half being in my sister-in-law’s belly), I find myself caught between a rattle and a hard liquor on the rocks. Thus, I shall attempt to approach the subject of children in adult-oriented places with great delicacy…

Kids are like underwear.

Ideally, as with underwear, children shouldn’t be seen at more formal functions; however, it may be acceptable for them to appear within more casual establishments and at White Castle.

For instance, at the opera no one would welcome seeing your boxers or your kids. On the other hand, most of us in Starbucks will simply sigh and roll our eyes at the sight of your thong string peeking out of your jeans, which is also the most common reaction to the sight of your kids being there too.

Now, let’s go into more controversial territory, that of transportation. Primarily cross-continent and/or cross-oceanic.

In an airport, no one’s really going to question parents bringing their kids- one understands you may not be able to travel ‘Commando’. In a first-class or business lounge, though, running around in your briefs would raise more than a few eyebrows and most likely end with one or two complaints from fellow lounge guests.

On the plane, it is natural for your bra strap and/or child to appear frequently. But as long as you’ve got a hook on both, we generally can handle the situation with toleration. However, if the bra or child continues to excessively kick the posterior of our seats, the more sleep-deprived of us may end up snapping the child.

Sometimes, the type kid makes a difference too; just as we might chuckle at the sight of funny days-of-the-week boxers, kids that are a bit of a ham can be quite entertaining really.

The type of parent is even more critical. Some are careless and leave their kids everywhere. Others have the audacity to expect people, such as a waitress in a restaurant, to clean up after their kids.

To those parents, I simply say: your dirty underwear, your responsibility to clean them.

As for you parents who find it totally acceptable to ask random strangers to watch your underwear while you go to the bathroom, or to hold your underwear for you while you go try something on… hire an undersitter or leave your underwear at your mother’s house when going to the mall or grocery store.

The finality of the verdict when it comes to children being in adult-oriented places hinges on how well put-together Victoria is; if she’s a mom that can adjust her bra and her kids without causing a scene, then it shouldn’t really be a problem and not many of us will mind it.

After all, in public, it is not fair to expect Victoria to keep her kids a secret…in fact, all the power to her in bringing them along as long as Victoria exercises discreetness.

Oh Ye, Vagina! Abandon Thy Ville-ainous Farm!

Friends, Ville-ans and countrymen! Drop your virtual potatoes and lend me your ears…

Good man men who plowth not for plants, but points, what is it you reap from such a game? What fruits do you bear when all you sow is virtual?

Honey child, unless your first name is Cruella, it’s time to let go of the Ville… Fish, Pet, City, Frontier, Chef…

but most of all, especially Farm.

Did you really want to be a farmer when you were 10? Then why do you want to be one at 30?

You may not see that it has consumed you- but from the objective view of point of our newsfeeds, it is undeniably evident you spend your entire life on that croppy game (pun intended, poorness of the pun, duly noted)…

Nonetheless, studying how this epidemic has become a pandemic which is now systemic in being utterly pathetic, what is most alarming is that each one of you Ville-ans do not recognize that you are on the verge of becoming…

…a VAGINA.

Otherwise known as a ‘Ville-an Amauroticly Gaming In Need of Aid’.

Unfortunately, a mild case will go undetected before one becomes a full-fledged VAGINA, and anti-social behavior can be observed. As a result, it becomes an extremely painful process for those seeking to get through to a VAGINA, sometimes seeming almost next to impossible.

The only solution at this point is similar to that of a heroin addict, ceasing the gaming and cutting off access to online friends who frequently used to play with the VAGINA. Initially, withdrawal symptoms mirror those of a heroin addict as well, such as a VAGINA appearing to be excessively itchy; however, over time, eventually this does dissipate as a VAGINA’s elasticity of substitution expands and they learn to replace gaming with other activities of interest.

Ironically, online studies show more men are VAGINAs than women, with the predominant number of them Brazilian. These studies come from online advertisers mainly who will throw a lot of money at a VAGINA, as they are a great way to test new versions of their games.

Additionally, because there are no medical studies on them, recognizing a VAGINA only occurs upon becoming exposed by friends, though in Appalachia there have been incidents where a VAGINA has been exposed by various family members as well. Of the ones who game at work, inevitably these VAGINAs are exposed by an office colleague or even their boss.

Sadly, in more conservative parts of the world, exposing a VAGINA is for some reason a cultural taboo. What’s even more tragic, is that these VAGINAs seldom have access to protection.

So, the next time you tell yourself you want to be a Farmer, ask yourself: yes, but do I really want to end up a VAGINA?
It’s time to end the madness, stop the mania.
You’re better than that.