Can Social Media Be an Artistic Outlet?

In my last blog post, The Language of Social Media, I wrote about how social media is changing the way we write. Our vocabulary, grammar, and punctuation all take a back seat to being casual and brief.

Whether this movement is good or bad is entirely debatable: there’s no objective answer. But regardless of your view on the matter, some people are embracing this change and seeing it as an opportunity instead of an obstacle. Here’s one of them.

Teju Cole is a Nigerian-American writer, who has spent time living in both countries. Cole’s experiences give him a unique perspective on life, death, and the different social issues that America and Nigeria face. Along with being an accomplished author and photographer, Cole uses his Twitter account as an artistic outlet of a different kind.

Cole’s tweets mix social commentary, American history, and Nigerian culture– only he writes them as poetry. This unique blend of content and delivery often come off as morose obituaries or headlines, and they certainly aren’t for the weak-hearted. Still, Cole achieves a goal that most of the Twitterverse has yet to reach: he makes you think. Here are some recent examples of his tweets:

What Cole proves without a doubt is that social media can be used as an artistic outlet. And I don’t mean in the way that bands, artists, and authors use it to promote their newest product– I mean it in the sense that social media is providing the actual basis for creation. Twitter is Cole’s canvas, not just a place where he can post a link for people to view or buy his canvas.

On top of that, Cole hardly ever self-promotes on his Twitter. After going back through a week’s worth of tweets (probably about 100), the only kind of posts I could find besides the ones shown above, are the occasional wordy (albeit macabre) joke, and a lot of interaction with his followers.

Cole is showing how to make a personal brand through social media while keeping his integrity as an artist. So what can we take from his example? A lot of things:

  • Be unique.
  • Provide value in a way that nobody else is.
  • Don’t be overly-promotional.
  • Write about what you know and care about.
  • Don’t be afraid to be provocative.
  • Be persistent.
  • Don’t complain about or shun change: use it to your advantage
  • Be consistent.
  • Turn obstacles and restrictions into opportunities.
Tom Hummer

Tom Hummer

Tom’s two biggest passions in life are writing and music. In his free time, Tom reads, writes, and works on musical projects.

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Friday Clicks [Volume 20] | The Best of the Social Web

This was a full week with a bevy of digital April Fool’s jokes and the mega-popular app Instragram finally coming to Android phones everywhere. It’s also a good week to think about what kind of message your company sends out over a holiday weekend. Do you feel comfortable posting about Easter? If not, that’s okay, it’s just wise to have that discussion before the time actually comes.

The Links:

  • Photo-sharing is becoming more and more popular as people’s attention spans for reading go down. So which sharing site is right for you? Our opinion is probably some combo of Tumblr and Instagram. (Click here)
  • I’ll again highlight my love of craft beer with a blog post from New Belgium Brewing Company. They launched a new beer, and with it one of the more creative marketing campaigns I’ve seen this year. It includes: an infographic, a mobile app and even a Pandora radio station. (Click here – you’ll have to go through an age-gate)
  • There have been a number of companies jumping on Pinterest lately, but Kotex seems to have embarked on the first true marketing campaign using the new-ish site. Pretty interesting! (Click here)
  • This is one of the more incredible infographics I’ve seen detailing the rise of Draw Something. It’s the fastest app to ever reach 50 million downloads. (Click here)
  • Yes, Google+ IS still around, and folks ARE still using it. All kidding aside, Chris Brogan featured an infographic on his blog detailing how people can use it for 10ish minutes a day and find success. (Click here)
  • Singer Kimberly Cole held a dance audition for a music video, and a nerdy guy showed up with incredible dance moves. It’s clearly a joke, but the dude is a totally legit dancer. It’s quite awesome.

Did we miss anything? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

Jeremy Anderberg

Jeremy Anderberg

Jeremy is a blog-reading, report-writing project manager. In his spare time he enjoys reading a good thriller, drinking a freshly brewed cup of coffee, and spending time with his wife.

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The Language of Social Media

In this video from the TED Education series, Terin Izil talks about the relationship between brevity and clarity in language. “Ten-dollar words are rendered worthless if they’re not understood,” she says. According to her, the secret to great communication is efficiency: get your point across in as few syllables as possible.


All you need to do is read the comments on this video to get an idea of the controversy it’s sparked. Some people think this is a dangerous idea, and that it would mark the death of artful language.

But despite the opposition, society has definitely moved toward simplicity. In National Treasure, there’s a scene where Benjamin Gates (played by Nicholas Cage) reads the following line from the Declaration of Independence:

“But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

After he’s done, Gates says “People don’t talk that way anymore. Beautiful, huh?” and his friend, Riley, responds, “No idea what you said.” This conversation sums up the gap between the 18th century and now quite well.

Unsurprisingly, social media has definitely played a large role in this trend. On Twitter, for example, where users only have 140 characters to make their point, brevity is key. And that brevity often comes at the expense of interesting language. Even on Facebook, in text messages, and (shockingly) LinkedIn, punctuation and grammar are commonly thrown to the wind.

Since this new style isn’t going away anytime soon, the real question becomes: Is it good, or bad? Or neither?

As a social media professional with a background in literature, I’ve seen enough “LOL”s and “OMG”s to make Chaucer and Whitman roll in their graves. But surprisingly, the lack of engaging language in social media doesn’t bother me– after all, it’s about context. There’s a place for fancy, artistic language, and everyday communication isn’t that place. Izil makes that point when she talks about knowing your audience. A novelist’s audience expects different things than an online audience, because they serve different purposes.

The language of social media is here to stay. Rather than complain about it dumbing down the way we communicate, we should try to improve its efficiency. Remember– you can still read Shakespeare and Hemingway any time. But when connecting and understanding is the goal, simple is better.

Tom Hummer

Tom Hummer

Tom’s two biggest passions in life are writing and music. In his free time, Tom reads, writes, and works on musical projects.

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What Should I Be Doing On Social Media Now?

college students social mediaThis past month, Jeremy Anderberg and I talked with two different college classes about what we do at a social media agency. We discussed our daily tasks, strategy sessions, long-term goals (for our own company and our clients) and education we continue to receive at One Social Media.

We had multiple compliments (and this blog post) about how we addressed these topics, and especially the business side of social media – actually getting results for our clients and proving our work is encouraging growth and hot leads in their business.

One question that came up with both groups (and was one of the top 3 questions asked) was,

“What should I be doing on social media right now while I’m still in school?”

Here are the top 3 things we told students (and really anyone) to start doing to create a strong online identity and eventually find a job.

1. Create a Personal Website/Blog

  • Make sure you purchase a domain name (hopefully something close to your own name) and set up a website or blog all about you. Put your resume, writing samples (you better have some good ones!), experiences, and a weekly blog pertaining to whatever industry you’re going into. Make sure all your other social media sites are easily accessible through the website and give yourself a strong brand. Make sure your potential employers can learn the most about you in the fastest amount of time. Hold their attention, show them you’re creative, and market yourself! You’ve put a lot of hard work and investment into your education. You may even want a page on your website highlighting some recent industry news. Showing potential employers that you keep up on the industry news proves to them that you’re going above and beyond to stay in tune with what is happening in the career-world.
2. Experiment with Many Platforms
  • When you hear about a new social media platform, check it out! It doesn’t hurt to play around on it. Here’s the key: don’t just think how you can use this for yourself, but how would you use this for a future client or business? Even just thinking of those questions helps you to get in the mindset of business social media. How else will this benefit you? Say you’re sitting in an interview and your potential employers wants to know if you’ve ever blogged. Not only can you say you’ve blogged, but you have a blog and have experimented with multiple blogging platforms.

3. Have a Strong LinkedIn Presence

  • It’s important to not just be fluent in Facebook-ese, but you better be able to speak professional social networking as well. If you don’t have  a LinkedIn profile, stop what you’re doing and sign up for one now… I mean it. This is your professional face to the world of professionals. Your experiences, resume, recommendations, professional interests etc. are all showcased on LinkedIn, and you can bet your future employer will look you up there as well. Make sure to participate in industry related LinkedIn groups, take advantage of job search capabilities and don’t be afraid to connect with people. Maybe not just professors and friends, but reach out to other professionals you may have met or know through someone else. Check your LinkedIn as much as you check Facebook. You’ll find a lot more valuable career information there, anyway. A strong LinkedIn presence shows your future employers you can do social media, and be professional at the same time.


Even if you’re not a student, these tips will help you stay relevant in the working world for the day when you may be looking to switch jobs. Even if it’s not social media related, it never hurts to keep an up-to-date personal website, experiment with different social media or online related programs/platforms, and always have a strong LinkedIn presence!

Did we forget anything? Let us know on our Facebook or Twitter page!


Kelsey Jones

Kelsey Jones

Social Media enthusiast who loves reading about and experimenting with the newest forms of communication. I'm a news and political junkie who loves advocacy work, the Green Bay Packers and working in this fast-paced environment.

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Friday Clicks [Volume 16] | The Best of the Social Web

Since our Friday Clicks guy [Jeremy] is off traveling the Great West this week, I’ve been handed the keys to the Friday Clicks van. So, here’s Friday Clicks – KelseybJones style.

Lots of great news in the social media and marketing industry this week! Apple launches the new iPad, women use social media to speak their minds about Limbaugh, online apps for creating interesting dates, viral videos to help find a war criminal, and a giggling baby helping dad feel better after being turned down for a job.

Without further delay, here’s some great stories and links for your recap of Clicks you may (or may not) have seen yet!

The Links:

  • With Apple’s release of the iPad 3, many consumers are ready to dump their old versions and get the latest and greatest Apple product. What can they do with them? Ebay has offered an easy way to put it up for sale and get the cash. (Click here) Want to know more about why everyone wants iPad 3? (Click here)
  • Women come out in force (digital force) – women are becoming quite powerful thanks to social media and have a stronger way to get their voices across to the world! This is all according to this blogger talking about the aftermath of the Rush Limbaugh ‘slut’ comments and the Susan G. Komen v. Planned Parenthood saga. Don’t forget, middle-aged, educated women are also the ones who get out to vote. (Click here)
  • Have a date and not sure where to go or what new thing to try? There’s an app for that! HowAboutWe (online dating site) has set its sites on targeting committed couples who may have met online, or maybe not! To keep them coming back, they’ve set up a component to their site to help you find and create interesting dates. (Click here)
  • Do you know Kony? Invisible Children’s 30 minute documentary (Kony2012) aims to highlight what the new digital age has done in helping bring peace to Uganda, and help stop an evil dictator from spreading fear and war across the region. The video went viral this week in its efforts to make the name of Joseph Kony famous to help find him and bring him to justice. The video (See it here) has also gotten a lot of criticism from some other groups (Click here to read more about the controversy)
  • Since Jeremy likes to throw in a fun video now and then, here’s a fun one I found: Put yourself in this guy’s shoes – Just got a rejection letter from a job he really wanted. Rips it and hears his baby start to laugh hysterically. Every rips of the letter makes the cute bundle of joy roll with smiles and laughter. Need a smile today? You better watch this.

Not seeing a great article or video we missed? Let us know on Facebook or Send us a Tweet!

Social Media Must Read Articles

Friday Clicks

Kelsey Jones

Kelsey Jones

Social Media enthusiast who loves reading about and experimenting with the newest forms of communication. I'm a news and political junkie who loves advocacy work, the Green Bay Packers and working in this fast-paced environment.

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Social Media For Personal Use vs. Business Use

On our weekly show yesterday, The Social Truth, we talked for a little while on the differences between using social media personally and using it for your business/brand. Unfortunately, due to some technical issues, the show was not recorded, so I thought I’d give you a short recap of what we talked about.

I’ve personally encountered a lot of people recently who have been thrust into doing their employer’s social media because 1) they are young and 2) they know a little bit more than the next person. This is all well and good, except that most people’s understanding of social media comes from how they’ve used the various networks personally.

The reality, however, is that using social media for your business or brand has a few key differences that must be taken into account. If you are using the exact same strategies (if you have a strategy at all), you are missing out on the full power of using the social world for your marketing purposes.

The highlights:

  • Content
    • Personal. Here, it’s okay to simply share the old Twitter mantra “What are you doing?”. Your family, friends and coworkers may in fact be interested simply in what you’re up to that night. And they are definitely interested in pictures of your kids, kittens and kite-flying afternoons.
    • Business. This is all about sharing content and giving value. Most of your updates will include links, or little nuggets of wisdom related to your industry. That’s why they are coming to you.
  • Networks
    • Personal. Stick with what you like. Think of it more like a hobby. Love making videos? Dive in to YouTube, and try out Twitter later on. Are you a photographer? Stick to Flickr for now, and try out YouTube later. Don’t feel obligated to be on everything.
    • Business. Have a footprint on all the channels you can reasonably handle. Obviously you don’t want to be overloaded, but you want to reach your intended audience where they are, and they probably aren’t all in one spot. We especially advocate for the Big 5: blogging, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.
  • Facebook specifically
    • Personal. You don’t have to reach out much. Here it’s okay to simply be a consumer and digest all the posts coming your way. Put smiley faces and “lols” on everything you like.
    • Business. Get familiar with applications. You can literally do just about anything within a Facebook page that you’re able to do on a standard website. If you didn’t know that, you’re already behind. Do some research and know what they do. Also be intentional about reaching out and adding comments to other pages that add value to the people reading.
  • Consistency
    • Personal. It’s not crucial that you’re posting every single day multiple times. I am one who has a love-hate relationship with social media. Yesterday, for instance, I forgot to tweet altogether, and I get paid to do social media (Yikes! Am I fired?). At the end of the day, though, my friends/family/followers will come back to me because they have a real relationship with me.
    • Business. Consistency is crucial. If you’re not posting every day, your audience is finding a similar company who is. I guarantee it. There are tools like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite that allow you to do this if you have to be out for a few days. Make it a priority to share fresh content at least once or twice every single day.

A couple last points. You want to make sure to clean up your own social media once you become in charge of business or branded accounts. Go ahead and delete some of those old college photos, and clean up the language as well. This doesn’t mean don’t have fun, it just means be a little more aware of what you are posting and the people who might see it.

You also want to make sure you have a strategy for jumping into social media for business use. Read some books and take a look at the companies who are doing it really well. Have defined goals and ways of measuring those goals, just like you would with any other marketing or advertising strategy.

Using social media for yourself may be intuitive, but it’s almost certainly not intuitive when you are doing it for a business or brand. If you have questions or comments, drop ‘em below…or find us on Facebook and Twitter as well!

Jeremy Anderberg

Jeremy Anderberg

Jeremy is a blog-reading, report-writing project manager. In his spare time he enjoys reading a good thriller, drinking a freshly brewed cup of coffee, and spending time with his wife.

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3 Social Media Changes You Don’t Want to Miss

As a social media company, it is our job to stay on top of all the fancy new stuff that pops up every 10 seconds or so in our industry. Most of these changes don’t really mean much to you, our readers – they are new startups working out glitches, back-end programs that make our jobs easier, or simply new ideas that haven’t quite reached critical mass yet.

The last couple weeks, however, have brought about 3 major news items that are worth sharing. The first is the release of Google+, a social network that is Google-based and is supposed to be a new rival for Facebook. The second is a trio of information bits from Facebook regarding their chat features. And finally, YouTube is in the works of redesigning their user experience, and the early results look promising.

1) Google+

Currently in Beta Mode with limited availability, Google+ seems to be aiming at being a simpler and more user-friendly social network. Friends are organized into “circles” such as work, friends, family, acquaintances, etc. The rumor is that it will be open to the public as of July 31. They will also be rolling out business profiles sometime in the next few months.


  • Seamlessly integrates with other Google Apps, especially chat.
  • Has built-in video chat.
  • Organizes friends better than Facebook, making it easier to find the ones you’re truly interested in following.


  • Yet another social network to share content on.
  • Not sure yet of how it competes in the social world with the giants that are already present.
  • Has yet to integrate things like events (Google Cal?) or collaborative work (Google Docs?).

2) Facebook Chat

Facebook held a live event viewed by thousands of people online to announce their latest upgrade. The Facebook Chat feature has long been known to be a little glitchy, and not as easy-to-use as Google Chat or Skype. They seem to be trying rather hard to fix that problem. Their trio of items to note:

  • Group chat: You can now add multiple people to a single chat box, making things like weekend planning a breeze.
  • Chat sidebar: depending on your browser size, you may now have a sidebar with a listing of your friends and the ability to chat with them right there, versus just that little box in the bottom right corner.
  • Video chat: This is the biggie. Facebook has partnered with Skype to bring video calling to any of your Facebook friends.


  • Group chat seems like an awesome feature and will be easy-to-use. This will make life much more simple for a lot of people and even businesses.
  • The ability to video chat without having to download a program is huge. You now have access to all your friends, versus just those with the Skype program.
  • They capitalized on the best video technology out there (Skype) instead of trying to create their own.
  • You can leave video voicemails when your call isn’t answered.


  • You still have to download a plugin, and it may not be user-friendly for those who aren’t tech-savvy.
  • Still no group video chatting – that really would have been icing on the cake. It will likely be a paid premium feature in the future.

3) YouTube Redesign – Codename “Cosmic Panda”

This change might be my personal favorite. Virtually since its inception, the site has looked a little clunky, and not very user-friendly. All of that is about to change with this update. The overall design is slick and clean, and makes navigating much more intuitive. To activate the update for your account, visit


  • It just looks and feels so much better. That’s a big pro in our book.
  • Playlists are organized neatly on the right side and can be seen at all times.
  • Channel stats such as subscribers and views are now easily visible on the rop right.
  • You can change the video size manually, putting the viewing experience totally in your control.
  • It is easier to scroll through videos of a selected channel.


  • The “Featured Video” seems to be lost, so the video that people see when they land on your channel is likely just the most recent upload.
  • That’s about it for now! We LOVE this update!

What do YOU think of all these changes? What pros and cons have you found? What are you most excited to start using? Chime in here on the blog, or over on our Facebook and Twitter pages!

Jeremy Anderberg

Jeremy Anderberg

Jeremy is a blog-reading, report-writing project manager. In his spare time he enjoys reading a good thriller, drinking a freshly brewed cup of coffee, and spending time with his wife.

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Creativity And Social Media: A Match Made In Heaven

One Social Media is a company that not only encourages creativity but requires it from its employees.  I’ve learned, every post, every image, every link should be connected with some creative process.

Creative Posting

This is probably where creativity is most important and where it is also extremely under valued.  The content you post does need to be valuable.  You can do this many ways but ideally you are looking for something entertaining, applicable, or educational.  Anyone can search the internet for articles, blogs, videos, or images that can somehow relate to a company or brand, and post it all over the social media world.  when people see these posts they think, “That makes sense.”  A creative poster will be doing the same exact thing but the people who see their posts will be thinking, “That is awesome!” (or some variation of that).  The difference is that the person using their creative thinking powers, is looking for content that doesn’t necessarily make sense, or isn’t the obvious choice,  but is still valuable to the reader.

Creative Visuals

Visual stimulus is in high demand for many reasons.  There is so much text floating around the internet that people tend to overlook anything they aren’t looking for.  Be creative in associating your content with an image.  There is most likely an image for any thought you have, if you can’t find one take the time to make one.  Again creativity is key, because the right image is often all you need to inspire conversation, and that is the beauty of social media.

Creative Campaigns

A creative campaign can be considered a contest, a themed series of posting, or a reoccurring event.  I have been working on a series of images similar to the one you see here.  We post them on our client’s page once a week, with the intention of putting them out there for the world to interact with.  The original idea was probably something like “What would it look like if Batman was reading this book?”, and I most likely came up with this idea while I was supposed to be focussed on something important our CEO was tasking me with.  I obviously ended up reworking the idea and creating something that brought about the most active conversations on the page.

Any idea you have can be useful.

What really matters is how you use your idea to reach a goal.  In this case I just wanted to give fans something different to talk about and interact with and that is exactly what it does. It sparks conversation and keeps people curiously thinking, “What’s coming next?”

I love my job because I am encouraged to eat, sleep, and breathe creativity.  As I wander the world of social media on a daily basis I see a lot of social media marketers who have the right idea, but aren’t allowing themselves any room for creativity.

There are a million great ideas running through your head every day, you just have to let them develop before you shoot them down.

Mike Bal

Mike Bal

Hi, I studied advertising, I have a passion for creativity and I love working in social media. I try to write about the combination of traditional marketing, branding, and advertising strategies that can apply and work affectively with social media. I also enjoy music, batman and life.

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How Enchanting is Your Business?

Guy Kawasaki’s latest book, Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions, forces readers to reflect upon the ways they have created, maintained, and sometimes broken relationships with people throughout their lives. The former chief evangelist of Apple and author of the international best-seller The Art of the Start has written a book that will be known for transforming not just businesses but interpersonal relationships as well.

Enchantment on

Guy’s understanding of human relations makes this book stand out in a sea of other business books trying to teach you how to grow your business, while overlooking the human side of what makes relationships work, both offline and online.

Through his use of personal anecdotes, real-life case studies, bulleted lists, detailed diagrams, and interesting photos, Kawasaki has put together a truly inspirational book that can be used by anyone—from the local coffee shop barista, to the recent college graduate, and all the way up to the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. If you are passionate about the work you do, this book is definitely for you. (Keep reading…we’ll show you how to apply the lessons in the book to your social media efforts!)

You will fill up a notepad with notes and ideas of how to make your own business more enchanting* using his proven enchantment tips that are sprinkled in each chapter throughout the book. From establishing goals, achieving likability by finding shared passions, and achieving trustworthiness to learning the differences between utilizing both push technology (e.g. Twitter) and pull technologies (e.g. Blogging, Facebook) to be more enchanting online.

We admire how Guy doesn’t just tell you what to do. He tells you how to do it. For example, he explains how to to tell a story, immerse people, and shares his idea of building an ecosystem which allows more people to help you because their success is intertwined with yours.

He ends the book with chapters on how to enchant your employees, and if you are an employee, how to enchant your boss.

Our advice is to not buy this book and read it. Buy the book here* and take notes. Write in it. Highlight it. Dog ear it. More importantly, use it as a guide to build a more enchanting business and be more enchanting to your clients.

So HOW DO YOU APPLY the principles taught in Enchantment to your social media efforts? Watch our archived video review and learn how we apply lessons from the book to real clients to get real results.


This is a slideshow of Guy’s recent Enchantment speech:


Guy’s enchanting infographic:

Enchantment Infographic
Reviewed by: Joe Soto & Rob Wormley
*Amazon affiliate link
Note: Guy sent me a free copy of the book to review, and I’ve since ordered the book for some of my clients. It’s well worth it.
Joe Soto

Joe Soto

Husband, Father, Entrepreneur, Social Media Strategist, Speaker, and always learning.

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What Happens When You Don’t Use Facebook?

We talk to a lot of people who don’t think Facebook is necessary for their brand or company.  What they don’t realize is that millions of people have come to rely on Facebook as their primary form of interaction with companies, brands, and people.

What happens when someone can’t find you on Facebook?  They give up and look for someone or something else to replace you. The hardest thing to do as a brand is to get people to trust you.  Facebook makes taking that step a little easier for the customer.  They can start by clicking the “Like” button.  From there they can interact with you and your page all the while developing a better relationship with your brand.

Marketers have spent years trying to find the perfect customer.  A customer who wants to hear what you have to say and who will spread the gospel of their favorite brand.  Facebook offers a way for those customers or fans to find you and we would recommend taking advantage of it.

Having a presence on Facebook doesn’t mean you are getting anything out of it.  You have to be willing to maximize your efforts by creating strategies that get your customers and “fans” involved. By being valuable to those who choose to follow you, learn from you, be entertained by and informed by you.

How are you being valuable to your customer base?

Mike Bal

Mike Bal

Hi, I studied advertising, I have a passion for creativity and I love working in social media. I try to write about the combination of traditional marketing, branding, and advertising strategies that can apply and work affectively with social media. I also enjoy music, batman and life.

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