Seeking Authenticity

Animated gif of woman and dog at a park in winter

In the past week, I’ve seen several friends mention that they miss seeing/sharing raw moments of life. It’s no secret that many of us seek authenticity in our lives. But it seems more and more of us (average web users, influencers, and business owners) are serving content displaying our best selves. We’re using our (limited) knowledge of how Facebook’s algorithms work to create content which will receive more engagement. We’re selecting from an album of curated images. We’re hopping on the daily/weekly trends of Throwback Thursdays and Manic Mondays. We’re signing off our YouTube videos with “See you in the next one. Peace.”

We are becoming data-driven robots which feed AI that will take over all our current jobs and actions. We need to return to the days of being unique. Instead of trying to imitate someone successful — including their catchphrases — why not put your own unique style on it. Or reach for the stars and be VERY WEIRD. If you have dreams, desires, or odd quirks, then embrace them. Share them with others in your life. Share them in your online feeds if you’re comfortable with a larger audience.

Pasquale on not being a bot:

Businesses and Influencers may be able to mould their content to suit ever-smarter algorithms and sell enough products to be profitable. Being a content creator or influencer is just like any job: it can be exhausting and often overlap into your personal life… into your family time. It’s tough to keep a work-life balance when your life — whether tailored for the algorithms or not — is your job. However, I’m seeing many friends and peers deactivating Facebook for long periods, realising there’s more to life than being in front of a screen, and — as a person — it’s exhausting being an algorithm-tailored brand.

As a creative person, it can be tempting to make a polished vlog or Instagram Story, but we have to know our limits. Does our career require any published content to be “perfect”, or does our family need our attention outside of work hours? Each person reading this will have a different answer. I have piles of great content online. I also have many old photos and videos online which are much more amateur than my skills now. I’m proud of all of them though. I’ve worked until sunrise through countless days in my twenties; I’ve travelled near and far for conferences, weddings, and other work events; and I’ve neglected my health and friendships in the pursuit of another dollar. It’s been very challenging and I’m grateful for all of it.

I’m at a point in my life where I’m re-discovering who I am and what’s important to me. I seek unattainable perfection in my work less and less, and focus my attention on getting a job completed so that I can spend more time with my new family. It’s still hard to avoid getting roped into social media feeds, but a conscious effort can be a tremendous help. #nofilter on personal content creation can help move your life story along with more consistency than a #perfectpost.

What are your quests for authenticity looking like these days?

Further reading

Geolocating Your Face Off!

When I first heard about Gowalla I went to their website, watched the introduction video, and I was a little confused. It wasn’t until about a month later — when more of my friends were using it — that I understood it. Now, I’m pretty much hooked!

I won’t go in to great depth about what Gowalla (and other services, like Whrrl and Foursquare) is, but I’ll give you a quick description: Basically, when you ‘check-in’ to a location (Example: The Museum of Contemporary Art or Bondi Beach) it tells your friends (whom you choose), keeps a record of your check-ins, and occasionally gives you special badges (to make things fun).

Obviously, geolocation is hot right now, and businesses/brands have a ginormous opportunity to harness this to generate sales and interest in their products and/or services.

Yowza!! is a mobile application which uses the GPS in your iPhone/Android/Blackberry to show you deals and coupons at many stores/restaurants near you. Gowalla, Whrrl, and Foursquare have also started offering deals for checking-in a specific amount of times or becoming the ‘mayor’ of a particular location.

These types of offers and services are only going to explode more as 2010 rolls on. Many of these services are only about a year old and they’re already well-polished applications. If you were an early-adopter of Twitter, then you’ll know that even after its first birthday there were Fail Whales and Ice Cream Robots everywhere!

The team at Vaynermedia recently conducted a case study on geolocation using Gowalla and the New Jersey Nets basketball team. You can read and download the case study here.

I read the entire case study and was wowed by the facts, information, and the bloody sexy graphics on the slides.

While reading the case study I occasionally remembered back to high school when we created case studies. Though back then it probably wasn’t much fun; this case study by VaynerMedia looked like it was fun to conduct and design!

Unexpectedly, much of the case study was news to me. I figure the reason for this this is mostly because I don’t follow @Gowalla or @NetsBasketball on Twitter — hence, I didn’t even know this study was occurring.

Gowalla, Whrrl, and Foursquare did some pretty awesome stuff at SxSW 2010, and that got my mind swirling with ideas that could potentially be implemented into such applications. I have some pretty sweet ideas for my Mom’s book and business which will excite the people of Australia!

Back to the case study. If I received two Nets tickets in Gowalla I would probably consider going (if it was easily accessible via public transport; the stadium in the case study was supposedly a little difficult to get to) because I’ve never been to a basketball game in the USA. I don’t suppose it would be too different to a baseball or hockey game; loyal fans, uncomfortable seats, and — in my opinion — rather unhealthy/messy foods.

A quote by the Senior Director of Marketing at Nets Basketball in the case study mentioned that they’d hope to make lifetime fans of the Nets. This probably wouldn’t be the case if I won those free Nets tickets; I’m not that interested in sports, and I prefer to play them than watch them. I certainly know that I’m in the minority on that account though because this case study was quite positive and many of the winners were super happy with the experience.

I’m super-excited to see geolocation services continue to blossom (dude, I loved that TV show) and be adopted by more people.

I can’t wait to see the future case studies coming from VaynerMedia! If you haven’t read the one mentioned in this post, then go read it, yo!

What is the Fiesta Movement?

Alrighty, I realise that just talking/writing about this is promoting it even more, so I’ll try to refrain from brand names during this post.

During the ninety-nine percent of 2009 I was completely confused about the #fiestamovement hashtag on Twitter. The people that come to mind when I think about who was tweeting the hashtag last year are @SarahAustin and @iBoughtAMac. I know Sarah was part of the Fiesta Movement, but I think Brent was just joining in on the hashtag to win a contest or something.

Anywho, it wasn’t until I saw an article or video (sadly, I can’t find the link) which explained what the Fiesta Movement is/was.

Basically, it’s Ford’s attempt to use social media to promote their small/sporty car, the Fiesta. To do this they accepted entries from bloggers, vloggers, and other personalities relevant to social media and gave them a car for 6+ months.

During that whole time the only thing I saw from the campaign was thousands of tweets like the following: “I’m eating some cake. #fiestamovement” (yeah, no context or relation whatsoever!), and this video of Justine inside a Ford Fusion. Wait, Fusion? Yes, you read that correctly; Justine’s video had nothing to do with the Fiesta Movement, yet I related them together because it was a Ford. Gosh!

Summary of the above: Ford gave bloggers cars to drive around and persuaded them to drive more; taking cross-country trips across the USA, etc.

Yay for them! Using even more dirty fuel to promote their cars. C’mon, seriously!? Yes, seriously. They’re even doing the whole campaign again this year with a new set of bloggers/vloggers. Soon it will have it’s own reality TV show. Then we’ll all be doomed!

Ford has never been at the top of my list of favourite cars, and now it has plummeted even further!

I challenge a car manufacturer to build a car that runs completely on clean energy, and get some people to promote that. I’d be happy to get in on that campaign!

Until then, I’m going to slash the tires of every #fiestamovement car I see.

Youch, Derek! That was a bit harsh. Yeah, well, current car technologies are outdated and manufacturers think it’s okay to charge people their live savings for a pile of metal. No sir, I’m not going to have any part in that!

Teaching PR Consultants to Care

Hey friends!

I’d like to request your knowledge for a meeting I have on Sunday/Monday.

I know pretty much anything and everything about new/social media, and I’ve been helping a couple of companies become more involved in these communities to engage with customers.
I do find it frustrating to teach to old media minds, but I’m patient and they eventually get the hang of it.

I’m asking your help in something that I think I might find a little tough. I’m meeting with a friend that works for a PR consulting company. She’s good at what she does and gets to travel internationally to make clients comfortable on their tours, etc.

I recently had a conversation with her which resulted in her stating she feels the Internet [and new/social media] doesn’t have a place in businesses because the business can’t control their message.

I.e., If someone writes a negative review [on a blog, Amazon, etc] about a company’s product or service, then that makes the company look bad, and PR people don’t like that.

Obviously I know that companies involved in social media rectify issues like this by responding (possibly writing a comment on the blog post, or writing a public response on their company blog) well to it.

I suppose I’m looking to prove my friend wrong, but I’m not saying it should be all about new/social media; just that customers now expect a good experience, and getting personal attention (caring) via Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc makes customers feel good.

What’s your top 5-10 tips for me? (Links to short videos/articles preferred.)

Social TV

In October last year I was watching an episode of Heroes while following the hashtag #heroes in TweetDeck, and I pondered: Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a column on the edge of the screen displaying tweets with #heroes.

I felt so giddy about this idea that I had to pause the show and make the following video about it.

To make things super-clear, there would be the options of having a chat and/or hashtag search on the right edge of the screen during the live broadcast AND the ability to watch that pre-recorded chat (or turn it off) if you recorded the episode.
Else, you could have a live chat appear when you’re watching the recorded episode because, chances are, a lot of people recorded in on DVRs and are watching it a day or so after it aired.

The idea of having television/web shows with Viddler-style timed-comments on the timeline isn’t as far fetched as you may think. Wine Library TV is on Hulu and many other video hosting websites, yet the Viddler player is embeded on because it’s customisable to look like the WLTV blog as well as having tags/links to the wines mentioned in the show.

I began thinking about this again today because of C.C. Chapman’s video about the Facebook Connect feature on CNN’s coverage of the 2009 Presidential Inauguration.