We May Wear the Pants but We’re Not in Control.

The last two days, social media platforms around the world have been filled with angry users who want to know one answer: Is the damn dress black and blue or white and gold. The answer à the dress is black and blue. White and Gold people do not stop reading here – you are not crazy; I too have seen white and gold. If you’re really curious to know the science behind why we see different colors, check out The Science of Why No One Agrees on the Color of this Dress. I personally gave up care half an hour ago (kicking stress out of my life); I am more interested in explaining why the dress has went viral and what this tells us about the impact social media has on our lives.

A List of Relevant Topics to be concerned about in the World:

  • Poverty
  • Hunger
  • Climate Change
  • The Economy
  • International Terrorism
  • Availability of Energy
  • Increasing Global Population
  • Spread of Infectious Disease
  • Armed Conflict
  • Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons

With all of the problems in the world, we are in tears over the color of a dress that no one can seem to agree on. I have read countless articles that are attempts to determine the color of the dress but I believe we have a far bigger issue at hand: Why is this such a great concern? Well, I have an answer: because of our inability to escape social media.

If you’re alive and on the web I know you’ve seen the dress, the articles, and the furious users who are making their best effort at articulating a compelling reason as to why the dress is the color he or she believes. Issues relevant on social media are inescapable and information we intake is no longer up to us, but everyone we follow. It’s the Bullwhip Effect but for Social Media! Literally. The bullwhip effect of business is an observed phenomenon in forecast-driven distribution channels. It refers to a trend of larger and larger swings in inventory in response to changes in customer demand. In Layman’s terms it means a small change can create a big impact.

The controversy over the color of this dress probably stems from a conversation amongst a small group of friends that ended on their followers’ timelines. As more and more people joined the conversation, the more relevant the issue became. Before long, the world was talking about it and CNN was working hard to get out an article on it.

This goes to show that users and journalists (thanks CNN) aren’t choosing what conversations to partake in. We’re all thrown into the social media arena and we choose to swim, by furthering the conversation, or sink into irrelevance.

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Facebook Encourages People to Not Give Up

Social Media has become a virtual reality for the way we engage, stay informed, and communicate with one another. Conversations and engagements held off-line are mirroring, more and more, conversations that occur on-line. A mimic of reality on-line creates the same ugly truths and issues that take place, off-line. Every-day, someone threatens to commit suicide via a social network, most commonly on Facebook or Twitter. Facebook has developed a new feature that combats real issues on-line, keeping in mind a user’s privacy. The feature is aimed at preventing suicide; it has been reviewed and studied by suicide survivals to ensure its projected success.

Here is how the feature works. When users see a friend’s post that is suspect for depression or suicide, users have the option to click a button that triggers the pop-up of two options to either directly connect with the user or report the post to a Facebook analyst. The Facebook friend who posted the post will be notified, anonymously, of resources, such as a suicide 24-hour help hot-line, and tactics to help them through their feelings of suicide. This feature has been reviewed by suicide survivals to ensure its success.

I’m interested to see the results of such a valuable tool. I think suicide is an important issue, especially as it often correlates with social media. The development of such a feature has increased the relevance of Facebook amongst society. It at least encourages myself to use Facebook more since they have taken an active role in corporate social responsibility on a platform that needs it most.

For more information on how Facebook plans to reduce suicide rates, check out this video: Facebook reaching out to users who might be suicidal

Oscars So White It’s Not Funny.

The Oscars opened with a joke regarding its lack of diversity. The hash tag, #OscarsSoWhite was created to draw attention to the lack of minority nominees; this year was stated to be the worst year for diversity since 1998. Since the beginning, there have been a total of 2,947 Oscars given out and only 31 of those were given to women and men of color. The hashtag has created a platform for people to take a stance against the harsh realities of the entertainment business. So why is it funny?

EXACTLY. It Isn’t.

Black people have been protesting the viewing of the Oscars to stop the laughter and bring to surface a sensitive issue that matters in an era that’s already has trouble swallowing the fact that #BlackLivesMatter. What’s currently happening is that social media is working against this social justice stance of my black and white counterparts, and working in support of those who find the issue funny.

Those who are protesting the Oscars and those that view the concentration of whiteness in the crowd as a laughing matter are using the exact same hashtag. Upon researching the hashtag, myself, via twitter I found a mix of comical and upset remarks preceding #OscarsSoWhite. The issue is that there is no way to separate the two sides of the argument, by data, to analyze the severity of the issue.

Now, it is time for journalists to take the forefront on this battle. They need an explanation, a reason to understand why mass amounts of black people don’t find the concentration of whiteness for an entertainment awards recognition funny.

In a society that idealizes a post-racial culture more often than it supports one – the issue is not a joking matter; America has proven us all of that.

#OscarsTooWhite

#SpeakBeautiful: Dove Campaign Addresses Negativity

Dove recently launched a new advertising campaign tilted, “#speakbeautiful,” aimed at encouraging positive posts on social media. I’m a fan of the campaign and I’m an even bigger fan of the trend I am projecting they just started. As social media grows in relevance so does the need to combat issues present on social media platforms. It is important that more companies take the same actions. Many companies have initiatives to improve the quality of life for their consumers. They all have initiatives that align with their culture, why can’t social media take part in helping companies address these issues?

Equal payment for men and women, diversity in the workplace, and LGBTQ alliance are all examples of initiatives that occurred within the workplace because conversation aroused regarding an issue. Today, I argue that much of what companies are looking for, to advance the lives of their employees as well as their consumers, can be discovered via twitter where the conversation lye. Dove did their research and found that women are 50% more likely to say something negative about themselves than positive on Twitter. To combat the issue, keeping in mind Dove’s vision of a world where beauty is a source of confidence, and not anxiety, Dove began this campaign encouraging the spread of positive posts.

Companies should research the space where their consumers talk and change the conversation. The focus is where it always has been: within the thoughts and opinions of their publics.

Engage. Understand. Research. Implement.

Broadcast Yourself, but Carefully.

My boyfriend and I always fight about two major topics: why Nicholas Sparks is the best author (Ever) and Twitter. As seniors in college, we are 2 months, 19 days, 9 hours, and 7 minutes away from our next phase of life. For many of us that means graduate school or time abroad. For the majority of us this means employment, at least that’s what we’re betting on. We have 99 ways to go about ruining our chances at scoring a full-time offer and social media should not be one of them.

I always knew that what our generation Tweets, Facebook posts, and/or Instagram posts would be able to come back to kick us in the butt. Finally, I have some cool trends and funky numbers to prove it! Prepare yourself; your twitter may never be the same. And for your sake at finding a job, maybe that’s a good thing!

52% of employers search their candidates’ social media profiles during the recruitment process. Out of those who search, over half of employers re-consider a candidate due to something he or she has posted. Out of the topics that are most likely to squash your dreams of getting employed, the following topics are leading the race: illegal drug references, sexual posts, and profanity.

While Social Media can hurt you, it’s important to also acknowledge the benefits. 1 in 3 employers who search for their candidates on-line have come across content that has strengthened a candidate and made he or she more qualified for the job. What recruiters like to see most in candidate profiles are experience and persona. Be yourself, in the utmost appropriate way (without the social media slander and diarrhea of curse words.) It is important for a company to get a feel for whom you are to ensure that you will culturally fit with company values and atmosphere; it’s a mutually beneficial thing.

In summary, I’m not saying that everything you post can be used against you or that you should limit your freedom of expression. I just want you to remember, everything on social media can be seen – yes, it’s an open platform to say how you feel but it’s also an open platform for employers to judge how they feel.

Rather Safe than Sorry.

Strengthen your Company on Social Platforms: Take Improv Classes!

Recently, I have been taking a class in applied improvisation. The more I learn, the more I realize how applicable my improvisation skills have become. I begin to wonder if my improvisation skills have a place in the world of social media. Further, researching my question – I finally came to a clear answer of yes. Improvisation utilizes a skill set that can also be used by companies to strengthen their brand on social networks. I have adopted a few tactics from Why Social Media Is Like Improv Comedy to help you see the correlation between tactics used for improvisation and the potential they have to succeed on social media platforms.

  1. Say Yes…And….

If you’ve ever taken part in an improvisation class then I’m sure you’ve participated in this exercise. The point of it is to verbally agree with people and add a bit of your own perspective. Imagine taking this tactic to the world of social media and applying it to the feedback companies receive from consumers. Maybe, not literally “Yes…and” but use the same concept. Acknowledge how your audience feels about your brand (rather it be positive or negative), understand why they feel that way before becoming defensive, and then add something meaningful to the conversation to fix or alleviate the issue.

  1. Improvisation is a Conversation, Not a Monologue.

A key component of improvisation is the audience. Throughout a scene it is important to allow the audience to engage with the actors and actresses. I’m not saying the audience runs the show – but you have to at least take them into consideration. In regards to social media, companies must listen to their consumers and digest it in a way that responds to their concerns. Social media makes for a two-way communication and remember: it never goes over well to tune out half of the dialogue.

  1. Life comes at You Fast.

In Improv your objective revolves around you not planning what you’re going to do next. You can tell the good Improv actors from the bad by what they decide to do with the unexpected. Does he or she fall or do they turn it into a success? The world of social media is a large platform full of uncertainties. A company doesn’t always know how the public will respond to its actions. The companies who are the most successful on social media platforms can take the most challenging situation and turn it into one that’s worthwhile.

Newsflash: Learning in the Workplace is Different, Now.

83% of global Internet users consider access to the Internet a basic human right. With access to practically everything at the tip of our fingers, the Internet makes us more self-efficient yet, highly dependent. The Internet effects how we consume information as well as how we learn. The workplace has to adjust to this new age of learners. Google, Inc. is one company who has already embedded training tactics that already align with how employees consume data, regularly. Through the incorporation of video learning, team trainings, and interactive on-line resources – Google stands at the forefront of conducting employee trainings that work!

Below, I have included tips and suggestions that can make trainings for employees more fun for them and more beneficial for you!

  1. Teamwork and Collaboration Is Preferred

The digital age has made people more accustomed to digesting various resources and perspectives. It’s rare that in consuming information or data, people explore one source and end their search there. The Internet has allowed people to grow up in a world where collaboration is encouraged. People are used to the thoughts and opinions of others. Teamwork is no longer a burden, but a preference!

Tip: Incorporate employee trainings with group dynamics in mind. Allow employees to work together and bounce ideas off of one another.

  1. Virtual Interaction Is A Necessity

Recent generations are spoiled with the ability to interact face-to-face with people thousands of miles away through video conferencing. People value face-to-face communication that removes barriers and makes the experience more personal. Not only has the Internet allowed us to directly connect with one another, but it has also allowed us to connect with virtual stimulations.

Tip: Give employees hands-on practice through the creation of virtual job stimulations. Also increase video conferencing, as a means to have meetings and collaborative events.

  1. Teaching Versus Learning

 

According to a study done on workplace knowledge shows that self-directed learning and social skill sharing is the leading role in self-development. The digital age has created an environment where individuals can access and learn information, on their own, via the Internet. This has made self-learning natural for recent generations.

Tip: Facilitate more and teach less. People learn best by trial and error. Allow them to do this and then teach them what’s right. Recall the virtual stimulation I suggested in tactic #2 – practice makes perfect and more importantly, the best experience.