The Future Looks NOT SO Bright

Smart Phones, Dumb People

Smart Phones, Dumb PeopleWe’ve all seen the photos by now: people sitting around a table (mostly teens) with their head buried into their phone instead of having a conversation; a photo of a sidewalk menu that says “No WiFi – Talk to each other;” and you might have seen this well done video anecdote “Look Up” about social media and the future digital generation.

All of this reinforces the idea that we are ‘dumbing’ ourselves down. Sure, technology always has a way to make our lives easier, but the underlying problem is: while having a cell phone with the internet gives you instant access to any topic, or your entire medical history, we still need to understand the implications of all this technology.  In other words, “Without smart citizens you can’t have smart cities. Without smart patients you can’t have smart healthcare.” In essence this is nothing new. A well educated society that embraces technology correlates to a more productive, higher quality of life than one that does not.

So how ‘dumb’ are we? I can’t help but think about the silly futuristic comedy “Idiocracy” starring Luke Wilson. Clearly the film is quite an exaggeration, but we seem to be heading in that direction. Check out the article on “Idiocracy” predictions that actually are true today. One of the predictions of the film was the complete degradation of human language. Well not only is social media making us actually ‘less social’, but texting with limited characters is having a negative effect on how we interact and communicate.

Social Media Rears (and loses) Its Ugly Head

Here’s where the danger of an uneducated,  undeveloped society comes into play. Over the last few weeks, something caught my attention: CNN reporting beheading videos posted on social media sites are used as “recruitment tools” for terrorist organizations. And now just the other day, a man in Oklahoma goes on a rampage and beheads a co-worker.  The facts are still being put together, but he appears to have a violent past, mental problems, and a Muslim (convert). Throw in a radical Facebook page, web links, etc. and you are pretty much asking for trouble. I don’t think Andy Warhol ever fathomed beheadings in his famous quote. Moreover, ISIS and the atrocities of Muslim extremist groups have been televised and broadcast across main-stream media ad nauseam. So in no way am I suggesting Social Media is to blame for a beheading in Oklahoma or any of the other violent and ruthless acts. Of course it’s not helping, and it’s impossible to fully regulate or censor.

Imagine (easy if you try) the Nazi Propaganda Machine was around today and could utilize social media to reach and indoctrinate millions.  Similar to what we are seeing with ISIS as individuals from around the world have joined them. Not a massive number, but it’s a ‘no-brainier’ to realize the darker side of social media, also described as “Terror Marketing”. Not to mention we are witnessing not just an increase of Hate Speech, but Hate Crimes.  Hey, I don’t know where we would be without the internet and I’m big fan of social media which I highly recommend my clients utilize in their business. But as I alluded to above, this presents some serious issues. So what happens when the uneducated and misinformed masses are manipulated by massive amounts of harmful, false information? Are we living in the dawn of “Idiocracy?” Perhaps we will find out in the not-so-distant future.

The future’s been bright for so long now, it looks like dark to me

Check out the 80′s classic one-hit wonder by Timbuk 3

Some Mind Melting facts on Social Media

Please watch and enjoy this fact filled, entertaining video on Social Media from Kevin.
Pay attention, there’s a quiz at the end.

Social Media Marketing

Chances are by now, you are one of the billions of people that are on Facebook and most likely if you are reading this article, have several, perhaps too many, Social Media accounts. So now what? Likes. Followers. Connections. Great!  But what about Dollars?? The ‘billion dollar’ question: ‘How do I leverage this incredible technology and massive virtually unlimited customer database for my business?’

The answer has more to do with your business than you probably realize. You may have signed up for Facebook just because everyone else started signing up, and continue to post and share the same rather meaningless ‘stuff’ that’s quite frankly just a wast of time. Hey, we all get caught up in it (and no, your kids are not meaningless) but better start to focus on business. You need to: get organized, feature business related content, set a schedule,  be consistent . Essentially, you need a Marketing Plan / Strategy.

Think of all these Social Media sites as tools, and your business is your ‘project’ or what needs fixing. Do you just reach in the tool box and start grabbing various tools hoping to find the right one, or do you look for and get the right tool based on the job? The problem of course is knowing which “tool” to use, so you better take some time to learn about the various Social Media sites you sign up with, or hire someone who does. For example: Yelp and Google have greater value for professional services or retail; Instagram or Pinterest if you model, cut hair, in the food or travel industry, Youtube for music & film, Facebook for branding and product launches, etc. Before long you may wind up with a full Social Media “toolbox” but not just because “it’s the latest thing out there.”

Bottom line, Social Media Marketing can be extremely effective but you need to:

  1. Consider your business needs first.
  2. Evaluate and really understand the differences between Social Media sites
  3. Develop and implement an overall Marketing Plan.

Still not convinced you need social media for your business ? Here’s an article on Seven Reasons Your Small Business Should Use Social Media.

Now, what did social media take over as the Number One activity on the Web?