Posts Tagged ‘Instagram’

I don’t wait in line. I’ll either try something out before it’s super big, find a way onto the VIP list or wait until the hype has died down. Let me rephrase. I don’t wait in big lines.

And yet, as soon as there’s a lineup, people will join it. They’ll wait in line for hyped products, for new releases, for rides, for food trucks, or sometimes even for something unknown. Is it a North American thing? Or a human thing? I’m not sure. But… the fact remains, all you need is a lineup.

The proof is in the pudding with the virtual lineup Mailbox has created. “Put email in its place,” the tagline touts. A redesigned inbox promising to make the ever elusive Inbox 0 goal an attainable, sustainable reality. I first heard about it on Instagram when one of my fellow grammers posted her wait time. “What is that?” I wondered. I followed the link, downloaded the app and set my clock to wait. Then… I posted my wait time. “What is that?” a few of my friends wondered. I was waiting in line and posting about it. It must be important. Next thing I know, they’re waiting in line with me. We don’t even know if what we’re waiting for is as impressive as it promises to be.

Mailbox1

Now, the lineup’s still growing, and I’m 143,214 people away from my new inbox. It sounds silly, but every few days I check in to see how quickly the “lineup” is moving. I want that inbox dammit!

And… my friends are doing the same! And I’m so totally jealous of those much farther in front me.

See? Lineup. All you need is a lineup.

Photo Credit: Paull Young

Photo Credit: Paull Young

Way back when I started going to meetups explaining what this social media stuff was all about, there was one important message that I kept hearing over and over. In its simplest form, the message is this:

Social media is nothing more than word of mouth.

That’s it. It’s not about Pinterest or Twitter or Instagram or blogging or YouTube or any of the other mediums out there. It’s simply word of mouth. And those who are good at getting people to interact with them, to create stories and experiences with them and share these with others… those are the true social media practitioners.

If you have a blog or a website and you’re trying to use social tools to drive more traffic to your website, you are NOT employing social media, you’re building an audience. It’s not bad, they’re just two different things.

If I put a pen in your hand, does it make you a writer? A poet? An artist? Or just a person holding a pen?

So, before you say you want to engage in social media, define first what it is you’re hoping to accomplish. And then know that just because you’re sharing information through online channels, it doesn’t mean you’re engaging in social media. It means you’re broadcasting, answering questions, delivering customer service. The social media part comes when your audience, customers, friends, whoever, become a part of what you’re building. They take ownership for having an influence over your brand and they do so simply by sharing.

Social media isn’t new. It isn’t a tool. It’s a technique. And when applied correctly using tools, either online or off, it’s a more powerful force than any we could hope to harness individually. Because the whole is greater than the sum of its part, it’s impossible for social media to exist without a community behind it.

 

When you become an expert adventurer (oh snap… am I claiming to have expertise on a subject? Sure am!), having everything served up to you on a silver platter by way of online recommendations gets a little stale. I miss the surprise injections of ideas and stimuli from parties outside my social circles. Surfing through Facebook, flipping through photos on Instagram, aimlessly watching Twitter feeds waiting for something interesting to pop out and catch my eye… in moments, most of my connections seem to be talking about the same topic, taking photos of the same subject matter and so on. My only saving grace is the odd witty caption, joke or sarcastic remark from a few people who are known for such. I’m understanding why many of you only chose to follow a dozen or so highly entertaining people.

My world is about digging up what others know little about. And while online tools still help me do this, it’s now become more like rummaging through the piles that most people would pass by in order to find those little golden nuggets. What I once loved about the interwebs was that most of it was unknown. We were still pioneering it. And it was a haven from the relatively ridiculous and mundane  behaviours that had taken over things like email (Forward this to 15 people on your list or you’ll have bad sex for a year!). Now it’s getting to a point where it’s becoming a civilized place to live. We’re appointing sheriffs and local law enforcement to keep the peace so we can all co-exist. But in that, if it means tolerating the overwhelmingly useless dribble or spending hours putting the right filters into place to weed it out… quite frankly, I think I’d rather just go elsewhere.

It turns out, elsewhere is “offline.” What? Seriously… hitting the streets, walking through doors I’ve never opened without having looked it up online, picking up books to read based solely on the cover (or off the recommendation of the staff in the bookstore who can’t ever shut up about the last insane book they read)… yes, finding the real nerds. Social networks are making the world too big. And when it gets too big, it loses its value for me. It’s harder to connect, harder to have genuinely interesting conversations. So, see you later interwebs. I’ll be back to use you for writing and publishing and the sort, but as far as supporting my adventuring pastimes, you just aren’t bringing me what I need. Expect an exodus of the nerds in the coming months. Surely, I’m not the only one feeling this way.