On Tuesday I went to a school careers fair to talk about working in social media. Nearly all the pupils I met (aged 13 – 16) were already active on social networks like Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram; a couple had their own YouTube channels.
Some of them asked me how to become an influencer. They were keen to monetize their presence like Zoella or KSI. One of them simply wanted to know how to be famous. Most had questions about how to make the jump from using social media for personal social networking to using it for work.
Here’s the advice I gave:
1. Yes, there are YouTubers and celebrities who’ve become famous and made millions from their social media profiles. They probably make up less than 1 percent of people who earn a living through social media. Many of these (like Paris Hilton or Kylie Jenner) already had money and networks of privilege to help them. Others (like PewDiePie or Jenna Marbles) have become leading influencers through their own unique style and delivery – and sheer hard work. It’s not impossible but the odds will be stacked against you.
Last week I was up North for Thinking Digital’s tenth birthday. This was the tenth year that Thinking Digital has been held in Newcastle, although the actual conference is well into its teens. There have been Thinking Digital spin-offs in Manchester and London. I’ve lost count of how many TDCs I’ve been to. Each one has been amazing.
I used to work in live TV: it’s exciting, anything can happen, and you don’t have to edit. Now that immediacy is available across social media. Yes – YouTube and Snapchat have been around for years but it’s only really with the global roll-out of Facebook Live last year (and accompanying hard sell) that live video has been pushed into the mainstream.
Zunas’ tweet shows a photo of her colleagues on board their expedition ship, preparing for the march. Each of them holds a placard with a message: “Men for the earth”, “Save the planet”, “Seals for science” or “Penguins for peace”.
Social media consultants used to talk about the difference between “broadcasting” and “listening”. You don’t hear that so much any more. One of the reasons Twitter isn’t the fun it used to be is the reversion to broadcast across so many profiles. (Combined with the rise of trolling – which makes Twitter like a party full of bores and bullies. And who wants that?)
One reason brands broadcast is because they can’t actually “listen”. Not in the true sense of the word. You can have all the monitoring systems you want, all the data gathering, all the analytics, but you can still completely miss the point.
Like puzzled parents trying to chime in with their kids’ conversations, or the proverbial dad on the dancefloor, many brands may need to face up to the harsh reality that they can never really be cool. At least, not that cool. Not achingly hip, blink and it’s over, cool.
Does your boss ban Facebook? Is YouTube access blocked from your office? Do colleagues look nervous when you mention Twitter? If so, chances are your employer is a large corporate or public sector organisation with deeply-ingrained concerns about productivity and time-wasting. Many large companies (and the more traditional smaller enterprises) have a myriad of communications restrictions in place.
IT departments nearly always cite security and legal issues as justification for this draconian behaviour. A few years back I heard a talk by the head of social media at a leading US retail bank. He referred to legal, compliance, fraud and security as the “four horsemen of the apocalypse”. It’s difficult for ordinary employees to argue, he said, when confronted with effective corporate death as an alternative.
So what about startups – are they cool with social and other new technologies? Well, yes, they generally are. They’re digital natives, aren’t they? It’s hardly surprising that a recent survey by online recruitment platform Tyba found 68 per cent of people working in big companies said they’d move to a smaller startup if they had the chance…and bad IT was cited as a key reason by 27 per cent of respondents. Continue reading →
A trendy online retailer with the tagline “Europe’s largest provider of high quality repro designer furniture” sold me some stuff that never arrived – and is clearly never going to arrive.
I came to this realisation while on the phone to a man called Anthony who apologised for delays at the warehouse. After 20 weeks? What a ridiculously poor excuse I thought (or words to that effect). I wondered if anyone else had been given similar excuses…so I Googled the company. And my search query returned page after page of customer “reviews” talking of lost deposits, unpaid refunds, even upheld county court judgements.
Unfortunately I didn’t see these comments prior to parting with my cash. I only saw the things “Europe’s largest provider of repro designer furniture” wanted me to see. The customer reviews on the website are glowing. They have had hundreds of pins on Pinterest; tens of thousands of views on Youtube. The website is beautiful, super slick and easy to use – oh, and very easy to pay.
But look a little closer, scratch below the surface, and it’s all a little like one of those stage doors that opens up into nowhere. It’s easy to say in retrospect, but I should have seen the warning signs. And there were plenty of them:
“Video is how everyone sees the world’, says YouTube UK MD, Kevin Mathers, speaking at London Social Media Week.
It’s our natural affinity with the medium – ease of use and comprehension – combined with rapidly improving download speeds, that has been behind the phenomenal growth of online video platforms, such as YouTube, in the past few years.
Kevin sees two trends driving video growth in the immediate future:
1. Freedom – the freedom to consume, and the freedom to produce.
2. Passion – we are seeing an abundance in video production: the more there is, the more we have to decide what we want to watch. For this reason, we only consume the things we’re really passionate about.
“4G is going to change the way we view video”, says Kevin. “3G is a bit like dial-up used to be. Commuters in Seoul today don’t wonder if they’re going to be able to watch a video on their way to work – they know they can. Soon, we [the UK] will be in that space too.
“We can all upload video today. That lowers the bar to entry – creativity can explode – there is complete freedom, and huge amounts of video online. YouTube is growing by 100% yearly in terms of minutes watched. There’s just too much out there.
“YouTube’s a big city like London: tens of small villages grouped round different interests. People are much more engaged with the video they’re watching. They’re in an alpha state not beta state: the fact that you’re choosing to watch [a video], means the power is with you. And also with the producers – it’s all encased in an all-consuming passion, driven by real fans. That’s different from the way video has been consumed in the past.”
Here’s a frame from the animation we’ve been working on for All About Brands’ new social media arm, AAB Engage. We’ve some great talent contributing to the film and I’m *very* excited about it. To be screening on YouTube very shortly…!