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Anne Look

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Social Media - Friend or Foe?

Posted: 20/04/2012 05:08

Dolce far niente.

Ah, the sweet pleasures of doing absolutely nothing. Apparently it's only the Italian's that lived, and continue to live the mantra. (Well, maybe also the Greeks but let's skip over the reoccurring issues with this ideology and the economy at large for the purposes of my post).

I'm all for a lazy coffee or cocktail (not always dependant on the time of day it must be said) where we watch time and people pass by and have no anxieties about where we are or where we 'should' be; that day, or for that matter, that week. Unfortunately for many of us, this is the stuff we reserve for only well planned holidays. Point the camera, smile, upload to Facebook. Check 'likes' - how many people love that I'm having an awesome time at this awesome 5 star hotel? wonderful. sorted.

Enter the complex and narcissistic tendencies of interlinked social relationships and careers on contract. Enter the time watch. Enter the digital age. Enter the busy urbanite. Enter, Social Marketing.

If you don't have a website, a blog, Facebook (personal and company page of course), Twitter account, a running LinkedIn profile, updated Gorkana listing, Polyvore, Pinterest, A Small World, an Android AND iPhone (one for function and one for peer recognition), oh and Foursquare - everyone must know where I am at all times (heaven forbid we'd go under the radar for the night, even though we are probably conducting 4 or 5 Whatsapp and BBM conversations at the time of 'Check-in') - we simply become irrelevant if we aren't in the 'scene' of a young and highly competitive environment.

This paragraph might need to be dedicated to hypocrisy. I have all of the accounts listed above and tap into several of them each day, often over several times a day. Sometimes I'm even sat at my laptop, receive an email and respond to it on my Blackberry (my only phone for now by the way) just because it's in front of me - and because it gives me a window of time in my day to quickly glance the latest tweets and promptly delete from my two email accounts; because having had notification from Google a few days ago, I'm apparently reaching maximum capacity on my Gmail. Has anyone had this issue? I had no idea you needed to 'pay for extra storage' - my brain is running at maximum capacity now. Yikes. Call in a storage shed where I can park some unused social data for a while.

Most of our careers involve different levels of social media integration. I've recently come across the term 'Social Marketing'- quite rightly indicating that old marketing practices such as direct marketing email campaigning and expensive commercials are all but dead in the way we have used them in the past.
We interact in a different, more personal way now. We feel like we have intimate relationships with brands and even the people behind their creation. I have friends that refer to Mark Zuckerberg (The co-founder and CEO of Facebook for those not in the know) as 'Zucca'. If that's not scary then I don't know what is!

While Marketing and Public Relations once worked in beautiful harmony, it seems that the one term of 'online marketing' or 'digital marketing' encompasses all functionalities into the one role. Strategy must now include the levels of cross channel social media integration a brand and/or product must hit on to make profit. Results are constantly analysed. As they are in our own lives.

The interesting thing about business now is that the leaders of the pack are young, techie AND incredibly social. They have their HTML code creating eyes and plugged in ears on everything new and are able to creatively devise ways of adapting principles into their own businesses. Somewhere in their day they are also reading and extensively researching.

The ability to change and roll with new developments has become the most pivotal aspect in our modern lives. Social media isn't only changing our working lives either - it's a pressure cooker for our personal lives that requires a constant maintenance and ironing out of bumps in the night. We sometimes sadly can't help the lack of tact or censorship our virtual friends present us with. Un-friending can result in a social suicide.

We are all brand marketers in actual fact, some quite obviously better than others. We have all effectively become brands overnight and the way we are perceived online might as well be the difference between a job offer or dare I say it - a date? There's a profile box and about me section on Facebook to prove it.

Our entire lives are on display for the public to see and (perhaps) ridicule. Let's not forget that Facebook was created by an anti-social nerd looking to meet hot college girls.
So I am going to log-off for now before the raging debate of how much information is too much information kicks off.

Is the term 'mystery' now a foreign concept forever or are you able to segment the aspects of your life into well disclosed files?

Anyway, you can find me at an un-checked wine stacked venue this afternoon, busy at living out the most over-looked principle of our time. Maybe I'll forget my mobile.

Dolce far niente.

 

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