Example

Do you ever just watch a video and it makes you think? This one actually touched on many things I have been thinking about lately as it correlates to social media and how we present ourselves.

Ironically, this is something I have had friends write about in the past as well. The idea of personal branding and how we present ourselves and grade our on lives is not a new revelation. The thoughts provoked in this video is nothing new as well. It relates to personal social branding and how we grade ourselves on how we present our life in public. Social networks have created this new environment and…in many ways…we are pioneers when we don’t even know it. But now I am digressing…I want to actually take a look at what this video is addressing and what I think about it.

Are we really lonely?

I would argue yes…at least from my perspective. There are others that will disagree and that is probably because they have different life experiences. For me, this last year has been a journey into myself and how I deal with situations, feelings, friends and experiences. While it is enlightening in many ways…it is also eye opening in exposing areas that need drastic improvement.

In a world that you can share every thought, feeling and experience…there is a false realization that we are actually communicating. Are we talking to each other? Yes. But are we really communicating is the real question I ask myself a lot.

That lucky number 150

The video states that we are only capable of creating intimate relationships with 150 people. For me…that seems a little bit of a pipe dream. While I would like to think I am capable to create that many close relationships…the reality is that I am not. For others that might be true but that is just not in my bag of tricks. I am the guy that puts on the “dick face” (as my wife likes to call it) when I go to get the mail. I don’t want to talk to anyone and I like it that way. I have a really hard time remembering peoples names. I just can’t get to that level with that many people.

Unfortunately, with modern day social media, I get a false sensation of actually getting “intimate” with that many people and more. I get to see your name in front of my face and what you are doing. Of course, this is your version of what you are doing at the time just like what you see of my life is what I chose of your to see in my own translation. The ironic part is that it is also all completed with a single person looking at a phone or computer just like me typing this at this point in time.

Conversation vs. Communicating

Over the past couple of months, I have really tried to take an honest look at the conversations I have online versus actually communicating online. If I am going to be truthful with myself…you guys see the best of what I want you to see whether it is a good or bad experience, situation or feeling. It is the edited version of me. In person…there is no editing. Well, at least you will be able to tell I am trying to with the uncomfortable silences or pauses.

While I do believe that we all have the best intentions online…at least for me (sorry if I repeat that over and over again. I am just trying to project the feelings of others)…I can look back now at how much I edit and proofread my own life on social networks. The weird part about this is that it creates the same situation I hate in business that you find with email (especially in the beginning of email).

The eyes reading your words never really get the full meaning of what you are saying. 

lonelinessHow many times have you had to explain your words in type because the other side didn’t read it the same way you were typing it? How many times did you obsess about every word and rewrite things numerous times before making it live?

For me at least…a lot. It is a difficult thing to deal with in a digital world. There isn’t that human connection through speech that levels the playing field. Espcially over the last year and a half or so, I feel like I have had plenty of conversation with friends (life circumstances have made it more difficult to get together on a regular basis), but I have had far less actual communication between friends. That connection that you get from face to face talking is not the same in social and typed text.

I can actually think of several friendships that have been strained due to this. Honestly, it makes me sad. Not because I feel that it is one person’s fault because it isn’t. It is the reality of a digital world where edited text is seen and interpreted by the other side. Everyone has their own life experiences that effects how they read or write words. It doesn’t make it wrong. It is just how it is.

So are we really more lonely thanks to our new digital world?

I would argue yes and no for my life. I do have the ability now to keep in touch with people that I don’t get to see as often. I get to share the points in my life that bring me happiness, sadness…and frankly the ones I just find funny that don’t mean anything at all. But as the video says above…these are all the edited versions I decide to show. And as I just stated…that might be translated differently on the other side because that human interaction got reduced to a computer or cell phone screen…and that…by definition makes you actually alone. For me…it does make me lonely.

Loneliness is not an innovation as the video tries to hook you in with. It has been here way before the digital age and it will be here with any other “next big thing” as well. I do think that our current state allows people to act like they are not lonely when they really are because they confuse internet conversation with communication. You are getting the best self marketing of the people you see in text…and that isn’t always translated correctly. That doesn’t even take into a fact of current circumstances or predispositions to feelings that people aren’t aware of.

I guess the bottom line for me is that I need to try harder. I need to make sure I don’t substitute digital for real life. In the past (before we had Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.), I would actually have to pick up the phone or hang out with friends to find out what is going on in their lives. The reality is that I probably got a to more interaction and communication through that than online. It takes more effort but it keeps friends and family longer because their is less to translate or make assumptions about. There is also a lot less ability to use the keyboard as a platform.

So…once again..are we really lonely? Kind of…but what I should really say is I instead of we because I can’t speak for you.

 

Example

Wanted: Internet Expert | Robb Sutton

I have been thinking about something a lot lately that is nothing new…it just seems to get worse and worse with time.

As the internet becomes more social and less of a resource, we are seeing the emergence of more “internet experts”. Whether it be bloggers writing about subjects they have no experience in or friends on your friendly Facebook wall turning into a heated political debate, the social internet has now given people the ability to say things online that they would never say in person…at least not with the grander and force they do digitally.

We are now in an age where everyone sees themselves as an expert in a specific field because of their ability to research their passion through their favorite sources. This creates a certain amount of hostility online as these “experts” butt heads over what they feel is right. But…just like the experts that think they are right…the sources they quote can be just as biased and misled.

Another example…

As many of you know, we had our first kid last month. I am sure we are going through the same thing most new parents do…the ultimate search for the perfect way to raise your kid. In the pursuit of perfect information, we scour the web and books looking for the “expert” to tell us how things are done and what we need to do next. However, what we find is that no one is on the same page on anything! They can sooth themselves at a month…no wait…not until a year…6 months…3 months…can’t all of you guys just get on the same page?!

This has brought me to the underlying conclusion that you can find whatever you want to read at the time.

  • Are you having a hard time getting your kid to sleep? Then the book that said one month must be wrong and the 6 month one must be right…because that is my experience. (ours is down for the count at one month…and we are grateful for it!!)
  • Do you feel like you lean more to the conservative side of politics? More liberal? You are going to read the sources that you connect with.
  • Have friends on Facebook that are saying what you want to hear? Think you’ll listen to them more than the ones that are saying what you don’t at the time?

Now days…everyone has a voice and the answers online can bring us to a state that we forget to think for ourselves.

Before the age of the internet, we had books and other resources, but the massive volume of information was not present. Now…before we do anything we head to the computer asking The Google what to do next. We forget to stop, think and assess the situation. We completely forgo our gut instincts to trust people we don’t know or ones with zero experience in the specified field.

The internet does a lot of amazing things for our daily lives, but our trust in self proclaimed experts that arose from the ease of publication of information has brought many people to a state that they no longer adapt and think for themselves. They don’t question what they read or try to adapt and change information to fit their lives. Objectivity is going away as blind faith in information is taking over.

It as almost as if the internet put up a wanted ad for experts in fields that have zero ability to talk about things rationally.

While this article might seem like a rant (and it is in someways), it is more about challenging you to question and actually think about what you read online (including things I write and say). There is no right answer for everyone. Everything in life needs to be thought out and interpreted as your life is not the exact same as your neighbors.

That said…we have to be willing to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. I do believe a lot of the trust we give to people that are providing the answers we want to hear stems from not wanting to mess up. We then have the ability to say someone else was wrong if it doesn’t go right, or we can then take credit if it works and push that same ideal on others. Some of the greatest rewards in life come out of what we learn from the mistakes we make. We can not let that fear run how we make decisions.

The internet is a great source of information…when used correctly. It is up to you how you process the information on the screen whether it is from a friend or an article on a website written by someone you don’t even know. How are you going to adapt as information overload continues to expand in our lives?

Example

It is a struggle for everyone that is on the internet and has a video camera. What actually makes a video go viral? What brings your brand, blog, product in front of millions of YouTube visitors all looking to digest unique video content?

Real Life Examples of Viral Videos

As most of you know, I am obsessed with my Subaru WRX. I take pictures of it…take it apart on a weekly basis…and watch much of my income get dumped into it with upgrades. The sickness spreads beyond my car as I also pay attention to drivers out there that are behind the wheel of WRX’s and STi’s.

Ken Block is known throughout the car industry for producing viral videos that scream through YouTube like wildfire. His latest viral video shows off his new Fiesta RS WRC rally car with the “Monster Girls”. With 568,400+ views and counting…the video you see below is doing pretty well on YouTube.

(of course, when he made his Subaru STi video informercial…it is at 26,427,000 views and counting…maybe he should switch back to Subaru. See that video here.)

Ken is tapping into one of the oldest rules in viral videos…sex sells. In an attempt to one up Ken Block, fellow rally car driver and general nut case Travis Pastrana made is own version of “car and girls” video.

In this video…Pastrana says “car + girls = traffic”. And while Pastrana’s video is only at about 300 views when this article was published, I have a feeling it will eventually take off as more forums and Facebook pick it up.

What To Take From This And Viral Videos You Produce

Do you need to have dancing girls around your eBook or video review? No…absolutely not (but it might help).

Viral YouTube videos are a black art of sorts. You never really know what is going to take off and what sits in the graveyard never to be found. From my experience with YouTube as both a watcher and producer of content, there are several key things you need to keep in mind when producing your videos if you want them to go viral.

  1. They Must Be Entertaining – If you are going to put up some boring video and expect it to get a lot of views…you are going to be waiting awhile. People want to be entertained. Even with more boring subject matters and reviews, the entertainment value can still bring a lot of views to your video. I remember including me wrecking in one of my video reviews of a mountain bike and that video saw 10’s of thousands of views over the regular website views. It brought (and still brings) a lot of new visitors to my blog.
  2. Be Over The Top – This really goes with #1, but on video…everything looks flat. You really have to take facial expressions…wording…and tone to a new level for it to be caught on video. You will feel stupid during the execution, but it will come out better on video.
  3. It Has To Be Unique – Even with the videos above…there is nothing new about girls and cars…but there is a uniqueness to the editing and feel to the video that allows it to not be just another car video. Especially with the 25+ million views video from Ken Block, the uniqueness of his skill and the added effects (like drifting across light bulbs) add to the “wow factor” of the video.
  4. Keep It Short – When I used to work in video production, we were constantly looking for ways to keep people invested in the content while viewing. We found that shorter clips (around 6 minutes max) with multiple cuts through the clip (15 to 20 seconds) kept people’s attention. You do not have to have fancy editing techniques, simple cuts are fine but what you want to stay away from is your face infront of a camera for 6 minutes. People will get bored quickly and leave no matter what you are saying.
  5. Quality Wins – Take your time and do it right. Just slapping up subpar video quality with audio that people can hardly hear is not going to work. Also, use HD where ever possible.

At it’s heart…it really is a simple formula. It just takes time to execute it correctly. When you look back at the videos that you posted on YouTube, did they have these features that set you up for success? Or did you create a video that you wouldn’t even watch…

Example

I was looking through my timeline on Facebook yesterday when I noticed something interesting.

Within my timeline, there was a poll by a friend of a friend of a friend on Facebook that read, “I am cleaning up my Facebook friends…let me know if you would like to stay?” Seems simple enough. This girl just wanted to clean up her Facebook account like many of us do from time to time. She saw the poll feature, thought it would be an efficient way to get the job done making sure she didn’t de-friend anyone she wasn’t supposed to…and she put up the poll.

However, she forgot the most powerful aspect of the new polling feature in Facebook…people that are not friends with you see if one of their friends answered the poll.

Facebook Polls - How To Use Them

Every time one of her 247 friends answered the poll, it showed up in their timeline to all of their friends who could also answer. Her one innocent poll went viral on Facebook to get over 3,242,283 votes, 136,650 followers of the poll and over 199,200 comments. I don’t think that is what she had in mind when she asked the simple question!

The Power Of Facebook Polls

Now…while this example provides a bit of humor, it does illustrate a very important point. The Facebook polling feature can be very powerful when growing your brand for your Facebook fan page.

Inviting user opinion and interaction is an incredible tool for building a following. Luckily, with the Facebook polling feature, you can get in front of the eyes of new, potential Facebook fans by asking your current followers to check a simple box to a simple question.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been testing out the polling feature within Facebook on the Bike198 Facebook fan page and I have noticed several things that will help you gain more followers and get more people to interact with your questions.

4 Facebook Poll Tips For Success
  1. Ask Polarizing Questions – You need to ask questions that people within your niche have a definite and passionate answer about. What are things that people argue about most in forums and to each other within your niche? Those are prime questions to ask on Facebook polls as your potential voters will be passionate about answering. If you ask bland, boring questions…expect terrible results.
  2. Invite Your Friends To Answer – Once you are finished making the poll within Facebook, you can invite your friends to answer the question. Only invite those friends that would actually care to answer (I don’t ask my friends that don’t ride bikes as an example). That will get the ball rolling and get you on their timeline for exposure to people that you might not have been in front of before. Just like with the girl’s example above…it gets the ball rolling.
  3. Respond To Comments Left On Your Poll – If you are having people comment on the poll, respond to the comments to show you are approachable and to start the dialog that turns into long time readers and followers. You want these people to like your fan page and visit your blog. Like most things in online community building, that process does not stop after you hit publish. Interact with these new people just as if they left a comment on your blog.
  4. Don’t Allow For User Generated Answers – I have seen polls go wrong when the voters are able to submit their own answers. What you end up with is a bunch of 1 vote answers that are pretty much the same and that discourages people from voting due to the massive amount of choices. Put up the available answers and lock it from there.

As long as you keep those key suggestions in mind, you can grow your fan base and bring more readers to your blog.

In my opinion, the Facebook poll feature is one of the most powerful tools available to fan page owners as we continue to try to grow that following. The viral nature built into the feature is the easiest way to get your brand in front of your fan base’s friends without being a spamming pain in the ass.