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 21] | The Best of the Social Web

Well, the Internet nearly broke this week when Facebook bought Instagram. That’s been covered endlessly by many other outlets, so I won’t worry about it here. <soapbox> A note to those who were vehemently angry about it, however: if you’re so upset, stop using Facebook. That’s the only way the domination of Google and Facebook in the social/digital sphere will stop. If we keep using them all the same, nothing will change. </end soapbox>

The Links:

  • Credit cards are hopping onto the social train is some quite innovative ways. Financial institutions have traditionally been terrified of jumping into it because of tight industry regulations. American Express, though, is finding ways to give Twitter users special savings using hashtags. Pretty cool. (Click here)
  • Spotify released an embeddable “Play” button – so you can add music to blogs, websites, etc. This doesn’t seem inherently social, but the implications are huge. Stream music to your blog and perhaps in the future to Facebook, and you can trigger people’s memories and emotions in unique ways. (Click here)
  • Out of nowhere Google did a total redesign of Google+. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, but it seems to look nice. Worth noting is a new “Cover Photo” option. Wonder where that idea came from… (Click here)
  • Grantland.com, a well known sports blog believe it or not, talks about the issue of digital elitism. It notes how belonging in a “secret” club (like Instragram was) gave us a nice big digital ego. Fascinating read, and my favorite article of the week. (Click here)
  • Another more philosophical piece here, but Slate discusses how the Internet, despite being an unending well of knowledge, can actually polarize us even more, especially in terms of politics. (Click here)
  • And now to make you giggle. The video below gets better every single time you watch it, and EVERY LINE is a golden nugget. Every. Single. Line.

Did we miss anything? Let us know on Facebook and 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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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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Friday Clicks [Volume 19] | The Best of the Social Web

Well, it’s judgement week for Facebook pages everywhere, as they automatically get converted to the new Timeline. We’ve written and talked about this plenty (here, here and here), so I won’t do it more here, except to say that I’ve seen a lot of Cover Photos popping up into my News Feed. I was a little surprised at how many big brands waited until they were forced. No harm done, though. Just being prepared, I suppose!

The Links:

  • Are you a CEO? Do you know a CEO? In our current economic world, people aren’t generally thrilled with their executives, but a new study shows that those who tweet are held in higher regard than those who don’t. Interesting (click here)
  • Who are the Pinterest-ers? This article shares some generalized demographic info about the folks using the online bulletin board phenomenon. (click here)
  • Do you love Instagram? We sure do – in fact you can follow OSM if you’d like (OneSocialMedia)! A new service allows you to make photo books with your Instagram stream as well as your Facebook photos. Pretty cool! (click here)

  • We all saw this coming, but RIM/Blackberry is making some major changes after another awful quarter. Bottom line: They didn’t adopt social or apps like Apple and Google did. (click here)
  • If you are a fan of the Will Ferrell classic “Anchorman”, you’ll absolutely love the video below.

Did we miss anything? Let us know on Facebook and 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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Friday Clicks [Volume 18] | The Best of the Social Web

There weren’t any huge social announcements this week, but there are definitely some newsworthy items to share. One of those  being that allergy season has hit us in full force here in Iowa, which the majority of our office having stuffy noses and pollen-induced headaches. How about where you are?

Anywho, onto the goodies:

  • Twitter celebrated its 6th birthday this week. Piers Morgan gives a nice ode to the social site, saying how it has transformed America and is a shining example of the entrepreneurial spirit. (click here)
  • As with any new and booming social site, Pinterest is running into problems with folks poaching usernames of big brands. The company has yet to really do anything about it, but that likely won’t last. (click here)
  • One Broadway show in New York has started selling “tweet seats” in an effort to combat phones going off in the middle of the show. Interesting way to solve the problem and integrate the 21st Century. (click here)
  • Have you ever been asked to give your Facebook password to a potential employer? Apparently it’s becoming more common and companies really want to dig in to applicant’s personal lives. The ACLU is not happy. (click here)
  • A new study shows that folks with more Facebook friends are likelier to be socially aggressive and narcissistic. Seems to make some logical sense, but is also quite a broad generalization. (click here)
  • Finally, in honor of Twitter’s birthday, Jimmy Kimmel had celebrities read people’s tweets to them. Quite funny indeed.

Did we miss anything? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter! Also be sure to follow us on YouTube and Pinterest!

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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Friday Clicks [Volume 15] | The Best of the Social Web

This was a week that marketers and businesses had been waiting for since that day back in December when Facebook announced profiles being redesigned into Timelines. The social behemoth finally gave branded business pages the ability to convert over to Timeline as well. It is optional until March 30th, at which point all pages will be converted automatically.

Google was also in the news this week with some unflattering headlines, so let’s dive in.

The Links:

  • As you can imagine, we’ve already read quite a few articles on Facebook Timeline for businesses and what it means. In my opinion, TechCrunch has about the best round-up of all the changes. They are ALL important, so pay attention. (Click here)
  • Google’s new privacy policy took effect, sharing user’s data across all their web services. Personal Soap Box: I don’t see it as a huge deal. Your internet service provider has all your data as well. So does your mobile company. It’s not like they are looking up your personal information to steal your life. They use generic statistics to sell ads, just like advertisers have been doing forever. (Click here)
  • Thanks to Facebook’s algorithm for sponsored stories, an unwitting Iowa man became a pitch man for… uh .. lube. In large quantities. (Click here)
  • Two airlines are letting passengers share social profiles and choose seat mates. You can sit next to the middle-aged businessman and get some career counseling, or next to the chatty older woman who is eager to hear your life story. Kinda cool, kinda creepy. (Click here)
  • Check out this very cool infographic detailing the history of social media going all the way back to 1978. Included: GeoCities, AIM, and Live Journal. Neato. (Click here)
  • In honor of Leap Day (and my birthday), here is a little educational video that will tell why, in fact, we need Leap Day to keep the days and seasons aligned. It’s quite fascinating, really.

Did we miss anything? Let us know on Facebook and 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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Using Pinterest For Business

Earlier today Kelsey and I aired our live show that runs every Wednesday at 3 PM Central. The topic for today’s show was all about how businesses could and should be using the increasingly popular social media site known as Pinterest. At the end of the show, I promised to publish a blog post that offered a few extra details and information about the site and how you can use it for your specific business and/or industry. Before I get into the additional information however, I wanted to share the archived recording of the show for those of you who weren’t able to watch live. Here it is:

Here’s a brief description of what Pinterest is, from the site itself:

Pinterest is a virtual pinboard. Pinterest allows you to organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. You can browse pinboards created by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and share their favorite recipes (Source). 

If you haven’t been following Pinterest very closely lately, here are a few facts you should know:

  • 10.4 million Registered users on Pinterest
  • 1/5 Ratio of Pinterest’s registered users who visit the site every day
  • 11.7 million Unique monthly U.S. visitors for January 2012, according to comScore. Pinterest crossed the 10 million threshold faster than any other standalone site in history
  • 18 to 34 Age demographic of women propelling the site

Sourced from: http://theweek.com/article/index/224399/the-webs-growing-pinterest-obsession-by-the-numbers 

Naturally, as more and more people have started using Pinterest, the brands that really understand the power and reach of the site have established their own unique presence. Here are just a few examples (click the images to explore the profiles) from a number of different industries:


Now is the time to create a Pinterest account for your business. There are a lot of “big brands” jumping on the site each and every day, but there aren’t nearly as many small or mid-sized businesses taking advantage of the opportunity to reach a new community to interact with.

To take the first step, click here. 

Rob’s Extra Tip: Want to learn even more about how your business could be using Pinterest? Click here to download a FREE e-book from Hubspot.

Rob Wormley

Rob Wormley

As a social media specialist, Rob thrives in situations that require constant creativity. On days when Rob isn’t working hard to create, maintain, and strengthen relationships online, you might find him spending time with family, browsing through his nearest bookstore, or sipping on a cup of coffee at his local Starbucks.

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