Did he just say that? Does he mean that? Or is he simply using a provocative headline to attract readers, first of all, and to set the mood for the post, the subtle shading and shaping that takes place to elicit specific feelings and the desired response from the audience.
The answer, naturally, is both. Earlier this week I read with interest as someone said a certain post had been written to elicit a certain reaction from the readership. My first thought? No kidding.
Did Hemingway not try to elicit a reaction, to create a mood, with readers of the Old Man and the Sea? Is the Mona Lisa debated ad nauseum accidentally or because da Vinci painted specific elements to cause a great debate that has lasted for centuries?
A blog post may not be a great novel nor an artistic masterpiece but it is art all the same. Well, unless it’s a featured post on Active Rain. (And yes, dear readers, that was gratuitous. Guilty as charged.)
Blogging Inversely Proportional to Work Load
Now to the larger point, for the few who happened to have noticed the silence coming from the Northwest Valley of the Sun. Last week was spent enjoying views such as the one above … the gentle sound of the surf, the splendor of the sun setting into the water (or at least the misty murk hovering above the water), the utter agony of Legoland. Six days with limited e-mail, occasional cell phone service, and very little concern about either situation.
This was in contrast to the sheer panic six weeks ago at the notion of spending nearly a week away from the business, no matter how much a break was needed by my wife, my kids and by me. The market didn’t much care that we needed time away.
In that respect, nothing changed. The market still doesn’t care whether I needed time off. But months of effort including – get this – prospecting via blogging and other Internet channels – led to six transactions in a span of six weeks, including the aforementioned week on the beach.
So now we’re entering July and I’m 40% ahead of plan in sales … and I’m nowhere close to satisfied.
A Child’s View of the World
On the History of Howard Stern broadcast on Sirius satellite, Stern said that when he pulled an 8 share in DC once upon a time he was disappointed. Why? How dare anyone listen to any other share. It should be a 100 share. It was, he said, “a child’s view of the world” but it was his.
It’s also mine to some degree, for better or worse.
And that desire to continually increase my own market share, to not only meet the stretch goals I set for myself but blow them away (not only this year, but next year, and the next, and the next …) has caused me to rethink how my time was spent not so long ago.
Twitter? Not so much …
I could be missing an opportunity. Maybe once the kids are back in school and I have more time to watch Twhirl twirl I’ll get back on. I miss some of the conversations but the conversations weren’t necessarily helping me toward my goals.
Facebook? LinkedIn? I need to get back to the latter and decide once and for all what to do for the former. But until I develop a coherent business strategy with concrete results … sorry.
And my rants?
Too Busy to Care
I’ve spent far too much time this year worrying about real estate’s snake oil salesmen who don’t sell but will tell you what you need to do to sell, endless cycles of circular arguments, the extreme use of Latin rather than Yiddish or the Fair Housing violation breeding ground that is Trulia Voices.
Do what you will. I don’t care.
Active Rain? Cheap shot aside, the introduction of outside blogs doesn’t mean a great deal to me. Post your content to four different blogs at once. Have a good time. And before I forget, “Great Post!”
Oh. And I don’t care.
Want to hear what’s been more productive? FIFA 2008 for the Playstation 2. Six minute halves and endless frustration trying to learn how to play after the relative ease that was FIFA 2004. Why 6 minutes? Because I can work away any accumulated stress in less than a quarter hour, or roughly two-thirds the time it takes for me to pound out a well-considered rant here on AG or my own blog.
It’s like seven-minute abs, but it’s six! (Bingo, man! And we DON’T guarantee the workout. And we don’t care!)
You can scoff at the thought of a soon-to-be 39-year-old (birthday’s Monday, shop now and beat the crowd … a Wii Fit would be most welcome) spending any time at all playing on the Playstation during business hours. But what I’ve found is sometimes a break can be productive.
Including an extended break from one of my favorite blogs.
If you’re not on Clubhouse, you’re missing out – here’s why
(SOCIAL MEDIA) What exactly is Clubhouse, and why is it the quarantine app sensation? There’s a few reasons you should definitely be checking out right now!
Developed by ex-Google employee Rohan Seth and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Paul Davison, Clubhouse has only been gaining in popularity since lockdown. Here’s why you need to join immediately:
What is Clubhouse?
Clubhouse is like if subreddit pages were live podcasts. Or maybe if niche, topic-centric Zoom chatrooms could connect you with people from all over the world. But it’s ONLY audio, making it perfect for this period of lockdown where no one truly looks their best.
From networking events to heated debates about arts and culture to book clubs, you can truly find anything you want on Clubhouse. And if you don’t see a room that peaks your interest, you can make one yourself.
Why is it special?
Here’s my hot take: Clubhouse is democratizing the podcast process. When you enter a room for women entrepreneurs in [insert your industry], you not only hear from the established experts, but you’ll also have a chance to listen to up-and-coming users with great questions. And, if you want, you can request to speak as well.
If you click anyone’s icon, you can see their bio and links to their Instagram, Twitter, etc. For professionals looking to network in a deeper way, Clubhouse is making it easier to find up and coming creatives.
If you’re not necessarily looking to network, there’s still so much niche material to discover on the app. Recently, I spent an hour on Clubhouse listening to users discuss the differences in American and British street fashion. It got heated, but I learned A LOT.
Did I mention there’s a TON of celebrities on the app? Tiffany Haddish, Virgil Abloh, and Lakeith Stanfield are regulars in rooms – and often host scheduled events. The proximity to all kinds of people, including the famous, is definitely a huge draw.
How do you get on?
Anyone with an iPhone can make an account, but as of now you need to be “nominated” by someone in your contacts who is already on the app. Think Google+ but cooler.
With lockdown giving us so much free time that our podcasts and shows can’t keep up with the demand, Clubhouse is a self-sustaining content mecca. Rooms often go on for days, as users in later time zones will pick up where others left off when they need to get some sleep. And the cycle continues.
Though I’m still wrapping my brain around it, I can say with fair certainty that Clubhouse is very, very exciting. If you have an hour (or 24) to spare, try it out for yourself – I promise, you won’t be disappointed.
TikTok: A hotbed of cultural appropriation, and why it matters
(SOCIAL MEDIA) Gen Z’s favorite app TikTok is the modern epicenter for cultural appropriation – why you as a business owner should care.
Quarantine has been the catalyst for a sleuth of new cultural phenomena – Tiger King, Zoom, and baking addictions, to name a few. Perhaps most notably, TikTok has seen user numbers skyrocket since lockdown. And I don’t think those numbers are going down any time soon.
TikTok is a very special place. More so than any other social media apps I’ve engaged with, TikTok feels like a true community where total strangers can use the app’s duet or audio features to interact in creative, collaborative ways.
However, being able to use another user’s original audio or replicate their dance has highlighted the prevalence of cultural appropriation on TikTok: the app, as wholesome as it may be at times, has also become a hot bed for “virtual blackface”.
The most notable example of appropriation has to do with the Renegade dance and Charli D’Amelio – who is young, White, and arguably the most famous TikTok influencer (she is second only to Addison Rae, who is also White). The dance, originally created by 14-year-old Black user Jalaiah Harmon, essentially paved the way for D’Amelio’s fame and financial success (her net worth is estimated to be $8 million).
Only after Twitter backlash did D’Amelio credit Harmon as the original creator of the dance to which she owes her wealth – up until that point, the assumption was the dance was hers.
There is indeed a myriad of exploitative and appropriative examples of TikTok videos. Some of the most cringe-worthy include White users pantomiming black audio, in many cases affecting AAVE (African American Vernacular English). Styles of dance and music that were pioneered by Black artists have now been colonized by White users – and many TikTokers are not made aware of their cultural origins.
As you can imagine, TikTok’s Black community is up in arms. But don’t take it from me (a non-Black individual) – log onto the app and listen to what Black users have to say about cultural appropriation for yourself.
Still, the app is one of the fastest growing. Companies are finding creative ways to weave their paid ads and more subliminal marketing strategies into the fabric of the ‘For You’ page. In many ways, TikTok is the next frontier in social media marketing.
With a few relevant locational hashtags and some innovative approaches to advertising, your business could get some serious FREE attention on TikTok. In fact, it’s the future.
As aware and socially conscious small business owners, we need to make sure that while we are using the app to get ours, that the Black creators and artists who made the app what it is today are also getting theirs. Anything short of direct accountability for the platform and for caustic White users would be offensive.
Promoted tweets getting over-promoted? Time for Twitter backlash
(SOCIAL MEDIA) Twitter has enacted changes to how frequently Promoted Tweets – i.e., ads – are seen by users, and in true Twitter fashion, there’s mixed opinions.
Did anyone else ever watch the Strong Bad Emails cartoons from Homestarrunner? One of the running gags there – and subsequently one of my favorite bits – was when he’d just delete a fan’s email outright while insulting the author. Strong Bad was great at laying down the delete hammer and had zero cares in the world about doing it.
The idea that you – as a user, person, entity – can reclaim a little bit of omniscient authority is powerful. Generally, we like being in control of our lives, and the ability to exercise that authority resonates deeply.
Digital companies are still coming to terms with the idea that their users maintain some ability to revolt against their new policies, trying to straddle the line between new features and improved tools while still keeping an existing audience happy. Typing “hate the new” into Google will show results solely around new interfaces and an endless string of abhorrence. The new Facebook layout is bad. The new Gmail is bad and here’s how to revert it.
I’m sure others exist for any widely used app or service. Sometimes even new logos incite rage. I’m not here to make a statement either way, but usually there’s some ground in between pure opinion and justifiable discussions about user interface and experience. Regardless, change can make users upset.
Twitter recently rolled out changes to how Promoted Tweets work. You should know first that a promoted tweet is just an ad, and were originally set to appear only once per timeline. However, recent updates to Twitter’s internal services has resulted in some users reporting the same ad being shown multiple times in rapid succession, and even repeatedly over and over.
Think about Google search results – there are definitely ads at the top of the first page, and they are usually relevant to the topic at hand and only show up in that area. A user can quickly scroll downward past this and look through other results. But imagine how frustrating it might be to have a first page riddled primarily with ads, effectively choking out other results.
Twitter maintains that, “we’re thoughtful in how we display Promoted Tweets, and are conservative about the number of Promoted Tweets that people see in a single day.” This has led some users to believing this behavior indicates some kind of issue with their internal systems. I like to think about the scene in Office Space where Michael Bolton (not the singer) mentions that he may have put a decimal in the wrong place; that is, there’s a configuration error at Twitter instead of some kind of sea change.
However, Twitter has said this is not a glitch. In fact, they stated it was intentional, and further clarified that, “We regularly experiment and deploy changes to our advertising experience. We are constantly innovating and testing, and will continue to adapt as we learn.” Despite worldwide complaints, Twitter has not officially acknowledged this situation as problematic.
As a result, many users have taken to blocking the advertisers involved with the Promoted Tweets. Much like Strong Bad exercising his ultimate authority over his domain, this means that companies are in danger of losing their ability to reach users entirely. As this number grows, the consequences could widespread, and it will be interesting to see if Twitter changes their outlook and/or has potential pressure from advertisers. Twitter has stated that this may simply be temporary to exhaust a surplus of ad inventory, and this remains to be seen.
As users continue to voice their complaints, it will be interesting to see how the situation ultimately resolves.
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