media

Who Needs Muscles When You Got Twitter. How Are Social Media Users Powerful? (And How Organizations Should Use It)

Social media has been part of my life for a long time. I have Myspaced, Facebooked, Twittered, GooglePlused (Ha! Just kidding), and whatever came out that sparked my angsty teenager self. For years, I sat down and posted misspelled statues with absolutely awful pictures to try to make me look cool. I was pretty seasoned in social media and all I did was put my bootay on some sort of surface and browsed. And browsed. And for some reason, I never got bored. However, thinking about the platforms brings a great point…why? Well, I guess it’s because I want to be constantly connected with people who matter to me and my world.

Nah, it’s about the power and influence, man.

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Think he is losing in life? His 4,000 friends on Facebook will tell you different.

 

 

You might be confused, and quite frankly, I’m confused too, but stick with my banter and you’ll be rewarded with a cute picture of a sloth.

The power aspect is interesting because it’s hard to see at a personal level. Nevertheless, if you take a look at some of your own habits on social media, you kind of see it. For example, you share a controversial post on Facebook about orangutan abuse in Spain and all of a sudden, your mother and 5th best friend from preschool are having a great conversation about it in the comments. How is this power? Simple, you influenced an exchange that may have never happened. You created something and that feels nice. Have you ever been in a group of friends and one of them always get’s the group talking? That person has the ability to influence the creation of communication which in it’s own manner is powerful.

Confused still? Well this is only a small amount of power. Add a few hundred more people and we got something good! When many people in a social media platform combine and push for something, it can create a huge wave of power. Think of an army of peasants armed with long pointy sticks. Enough of them becomes a force to reckon with. The best example of this hive mind of power is during any internet firestorm. A firestorm is a rapid discharge of protest or attack on a person or organization quotes Social Media #facts. Firestorms used to be somewhat a non-threat, something that only happens with a small group of people, but in modern times, it’s much more serious. A firestorm can absolutely destroy a person in terms of presence and credibility. A great (and local) example of this would be the situation with a Purdue staff member and his comments. If one person would have yelled to the big Cloud in the sky, no one would really care, but if a bunch of people scream, you can shake some foundation. In this case, the internet firestorm caused him to quit. Plus, his credibility crumbled like a crappy dollar store cookie. That is serious, that is power.

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Well, that’s a “hot” topic….GET IT! HAHHAHAHAHAHDHFKLD:AJS:JDJFKAS

That is only one example of power. There are tons of examples of power! There are users on social media that created so much “conversation” that they now have an enormous amount of power. Take Jerome Jarre, a Vine star, for example. He had practically nothing at first. After months of working on his Vine game, he gained power! So much, that he started to do things that are stupid for views. In 2014, he was detained for a prank he did on a plane. Yeah, that’s a bit much, but he wouldn’t have done it if he didn’t realize he had power and influence.

Yeah yeah, there is power, but how can we utilize it? More specifically, what can organizations do to use it? Well that’s easy, nothing.

What?

Yes, nothing.

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I SAID DO NOTHING!

Organizations themselves already have some power. They have money and manpower, two parts to success. No matter how much of either you have, you will not be able to control people of social media. Using social media can be great for organizations. It can make a company into something it never imagined like Wuju Hot Sauce. However, you cannot force users to comply. For example, Woody Harrelson did an AMA on Reddit. It is a great place to spread a message (once again, Wuju). However, the users were getting frustrated by the forceful advertisement of a new movie and back lashed. It didn’t work and, if anything, hurt the organization (in this case a person) bad. What organizations should do is let the social media users come to you. Don’t try and get them, but make a space for them for “conversation.” There is the word again! Conversation is powerful and it will always be powerful for years to come.

There is still some points that I would have liked to brought up, but I think you get the point. Give a comment in the box if you have an argument and or an agreement! Oh, and here is your prize…

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Actually…this is horrifying.

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*Smile* *Flash* *Cringe* repeat. How Has the Selfie Always Been About Branding?

This is going to be an interesting topic to go over and I’m excited to share my findings. But first, let me take a selfie.

Er, well, put some on here.

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Wow!

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OH MY!

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Awwww!

Those are some nice pics, dawg, but why oh why did I post them? Think about it for a second. What do all these pictures have in common? Sweatshirts? No. Heights? Well kind of but no. How about the location? Well, I hope not! There might be some obvious similarities, but what is the overall theme that these and all selfies have? Simple, branding. Not just any branding, personal branding.

“Objection!!!!” you ring in with god awful shrill, “Selfies aren’t for ‘branding,’ they are for just fun!” Oh really, fun???

Well you are wrong…kind of.

I had fun once. Or twice. I dunno, maybe like…seven times?

Selfies are one of the most “complicated” trends of recent years. A selfie is defined in a couple of ways. Oxford dictionary states that it’s simply a picture taken of yourself, by yourself. That’s not really right, is it? Urban Dictionary (which over the years has become more credible than most news sites) defines selfie as taking a picture of yourself to post on social media to show that you have no friends so you hope that the picture brings in waves of friends. Admittedly, that definition takes it to another level of obscurity and sadness, but they are right. A selfie is not something you take for yourself, it’s something you take for everyone else.

Still don’t believe me, take for example the first ever occurrence of the word selfie. Lexicographers believe that Nathan Hope of Australia during the far away year 2002 was the first person to use the word as we do today. Nathan was at a “mates 21” party and fell over after what I assume was three occasions of Edward Forty-hands of Fosters (I know, I know, Australians don’t really like Fosters that much). He busted his lip and took a picture of it. The article states that he posted a picture of a horribly unfocused fat lip in a forum with the text “…sorry about the focus, it was a selfie.” For you youngins’, a forum was like our Facebook but for a more specific audience like gun experts or lotion enthusiasts.

Let’s get to the fun stuff now.

'Sorry about the focus, it was a selfie,' Mr Hope said

This isn’t fun…this…this is not what I wanna see.

Right off the bat, Nathan Hope was pushing his personal brand. How? Easy, he posted it on a forum. A public forum. This isn’t a piece of art, this isn’t flippin’ Monet. This is a blurry picture of a twenty-something Australian male with a wound. He wanted people to see it because he wanted to tell his story, his experience, his *drum roll* brand.

Before I go all analyst on this, let’s get a quick overview of what a “brand” is. How I see brand (and I’m sure you will agree) is the image and expectations of a company/product/person. For example, when you think Apple, you think evil corporation with awful products. Just kidding, people think of reliable products with beautiful design. Also, very over-priced (that’s another argument for another time). That’s Apple’s brand. So what is Nathan Hope’s brand. No one knew until he posted this picture. So what is it? It’s that he likes to party and he is tough. That’s the brand he wants people to see of him in his picture. According to The Telegraph, Dr. Terri Apter says that people take selfies as “a kind of self-definition.”

Bam! 

A personal brand is 100% a self-definition. Well, more of a combination of looking glass self and ideal self. Looking glass self is the personal image for yourself that is indirectly created by others while ideal self is the image that you strive to be. In this case for example, you took a selfie in your Sunday best at a dance. You wanted to show the world who you are in the best situation possible. That is your ideal. However, no one likes the picture. Indirectly, those people changed your perspective on what you thought of yourself.

What, no one likes this picture!?!? I guess back to the drawing board you ugly person me.

Let’s go back to the selfies up top. The first one is pretty awesome. Taking a selfie while on a roller coaster with all your closest friends. See, it’s just for fun. Nope, that man in that picture is obviously trying show his personal brand as well as others. Look, he is the guy taking a dangerous group picture and wearing the same shirt as some others. This photo gives his brand a huge notch of “cool” and “fun guy” vibe. Let’s look at the next one. This is a stupid selfie, just taking that picture up there is illegal. Why? Those guys wanted to be noticed as “extreme” or something along those lines (a certain feminine cleaning product comes to mind). Lastly, that cute couple is my roommate and his girlfriend. Now this definitely is just a cute picture. Noooooo way, it’s definitely branding for themselves. I know for a fact that they took multiple pictures to make sure that both looked pristine. This is their brand, they are an attractive couple that travels. End of story.

Of course, people do take selfies just for fun. Nevertheless, they have some sort of intent to show who they are. People who got self-portraits back in the day did it to show that they are important and have some sort of status in this culture. The same goes with selfies. You take them to show your status in this world.

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I swear if she doesn’t like this selfie, I’m gonna give her a piece of me.

In the end, we all do it. We all know what a selfie does to yourself and to others. It can be good for us. It can be bad for us. Yeah, it is proven that it can cause poor judgment because of the thrill of narcissism. Plus, it isn’t exactly healthy for other people as shown in the issues of self-esteem. However, no matter what a selfie does, we still do it. We want to have a reason to be here in this world and oddly enough, selfies help that flourish. That reason, that self-definition, that brand.