Life In Real Time
During a recent trip to South Africa, I uploaded a batch of photos to Facebook of our first two days in and around Cape Town. A girlfriend of mine commented, "Great photos. That was quick!" The photos were already two days old and in my mind becoming a memory. In my chosen career of social media marketing, of which most of my time is spent on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, if something happened two days ago it's no longer new. As a lover of social media from it's genesis, and being very social by nature anyway, I was drawn to Facebook from the beginning. Having been involved in the sport of equestrian show jumping for many years and doing quite a lot of international travel, many of my friends met and married people from outside of the U.S. The fact that I was still able to see events in their lives almost as they unfolded resonated with me straight away. Whether it's a photo of a friend's new baby, new puppy or new ottoman, social media provides us with the ability to stay connected to the people we love in a whole new way.
From a marketing standpoint there is no better way to get a business or brand's message in front of people's eyes than with social media. My main client base is a result of people for whom the days of buying cooking magazines and reading an actual newspaper are becoming less of the norm. Nowadays people only need go as far as Pinterest to find any recipe, design idea or item of clothing they could possibly want, complete with high res. images and commentary from their friends. The recipe and interior design finds are often linked to an interesting blog and easy to locate for purchasing. It really has made other marketing tools obsolete.
Conversely, there is a school of thought (of which I wholly disagree) that in this age of the internet, by the time we see something in person for the first time it can be an anticlimax. I am of course referring to examples such as great works of art or the Grand Canyon rather than a friend's new baby. While I suppose that t.v and internet may take away from the initial surprise, I find it no less impactful when I see these things in person for the first time. A further illustration would be arriving as we did at the Cape Of Good Hope in South Africa. No pictures could have prepared me for the intensity of the experience and the overwhelming natural beauty; there is an energy that does not transmit through photographs. What's more, I could have continued to watch the National Geographic channel for the rest of my life and still been overwhelmed by the sights and smells of my first safari. I honestly have no words.
As if relationships and leisure activities were not a compelling enough example, the world news factor had me at hello. The rise of social media tools such as blogs and Twitter have absolutely changed the political landscape, in part by speeding up the news cycle and broadening the range of sources that are available. When the Supreme Court upheld the Health Care Reform Act it was publicly known in seconds, #upheld was a trending keyword on Twitter and nobody had to go further than a click on their keyboard to learn of it. Furthermore from an entertainment standpoint, the live Tweeting during the recent Presidential debates was far more interesting than watching the real thing IMHO (Twitterspeak for in my honest opinion).
Which leads to my final thought and only true concern in all of this. Although I have an appreciation for succinct conversation, it's somewhat troubling that there is an entire generation learning to condense their written thoughts into 140 characters or less. What happens to the Dear John letter? Are people breaking up via Twitter? "Dear @John, I feel as though we've grown apart. #It'sNotYouIt'sme.
My blogging agenda for the African trip was to write about "How To Unplug," but the truth is I'm still trying to figure that out. My business is less than one year old (just a baby really) and needs quite a lot of attention. The good news is, my expat friends will be able to watch it grow up on Facebook.