August is starting to wind down, which means that the fall semester will be starting soon for those starting or going back to college. If you’re packing up to live at college for the first time, then you might want to really look at what you’re bringing before you pile it all into your dorm/apartment.
Want to tell an embarrassing story or admit something you don’t want following you? Then you are the exact audience apps like Whisper and Secret, which allow you to post anonymously, while also letting you chat with other users, thrive on. This kind of social media platform is almost the exact opposite of Facebook and Twitter, where everything is linked back to your personal profile, and yet is growing in popularity. So what does that mean for social media marketing? And what does it mean for social media as a whole?
Unlike other social media platforms, apps like these are not good for marketing. Promoting businesses and services isn’t as easy or acceptable on such an app, because not only can you not follow other users, but sponsored content is easily ignored and overlooked. Not only that, but targeting users is almost impossible–there aren’t any filters and although Whisper does tag and categorize posts, the app does that on its own and can be very hit or miss.
But this is also a large part of the allure. There isn’t any sponsored content to dig through, ads on the sidebar, or marketing to affect your social media experience. It’s also pretty close to anonymous, where you don’t have to maintain a profile to stay relevant on the app. You can passively enjoy secrets and whispers, or you can actively post. Unlike Facebook, where some people feel pressure to consistently update their profiles and show off in their personal lives, these apps don’t produce the same pressure to perform.
Does this mean social media as we know it is dying? Certainly not. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more are still thriving, and they still rely on the idea of an updated profile that allows you to follow other users and target your content. Unlike Whisper or Secret, these platforms still help people to cultivate their online personas, and thus will never entirely go away. If anything, the novelty of the “anonymous” apps is what is driving the increase in usage, and although social media will continue to evolve and change, this is not the future.
Social media is important. You can’t discount that. Although some will try to argue that it’s still just a fad, or that it’s just a distraction or means to brag, but totally ignoring your online presence is not only putting you behind your coworkers, but can be directly hurting your business and making yourself look less trustworthy.
“Wait,” you ask. “How am I hurting myself by not updating my Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn account?”
Let’s say you’re looking for a new restaurant to try out, and one of your friends brings up a restaurant they heard about. Now, you don’t know much about that restaurant, so instead of just driving there on a Friday night for dinner, you Google search the name and get your information from there first. You find reviews of the place, photos of the food, and a well designed website that piques your interest and you decide to set up a reservation. But if there isn’t much information about the place online, are you still as willing to try it out?
A fleshed out LinkedIn account helps show off your professional prowess and ability. Your Facebook is a good way to show another side of you–pictures of your pets or family, things you’re interested in–and makes you more personable. And a well maintained Twitter account keeps you up to date on important news stories, and is a good, free way to advertise your work. Don’t let these free means of advertising and getting your brand out there fall to the wayside because you don’t want to play into the “fad” of social media.
- Go out and truly experience nature. “So here’s the deal: Take a bunch of your closest friends, get into your cars and go out on a trip to a forest or a national park. Spend your day hiking, climbing, diving into pools or whatever you want to do. At the end of the day when you are worn out completely, take your cars to a clearing, spread out a blanket, lie down and look up at the sky. It ll take a fraction of a second to silence everyone around you and another half a minute to transport you beyond this world.”
- Help a stranger. “Help someone random. Someone who isn’t your relative, isn’t your friend or the friend of a friend, isn’t your coworker, isn’t your neighbor — some random person you probably never would have encountered in your life. And I don’t mean giving a buck to a panhandler as you walk by, or donating to a worthy charity. I mean actually putting in significant time and effort to do something nice for somebody you had absolutely no social, moral, or legal obligation to help. Now watch that person’s face.”
- Live alone, somewhere other than your childhood hometown. “When you live with yourself, you become more self-reliant and self-aware. Also, you realize what is important in your life. I don’t mean that just in the grand philosophical sense – but in the everyday sense, as well. When is your peak productivity? Do you like externally imposed structure, or one that is self-imposed and flexible? Do you like to work hard and then play hard, or work less intensely but consistently every single day, including weekends, while taking breaks for your interests? What do you like to eat for each meal? How do you like to organize your space? What minimum level of material comfort do you need besides basic amounts of food, clothing and shelter? (For me, they are a coffee maker and a hairdryer.)”
- Get lost! “Even if only for once, get lost. The thought of being lost is scary I know, both physically as well as mentally. We fear the uncertain more than anything else on earth. To step on the path no one ever tread earlier, to explore the territory uncharted. If you’re always certain about everything you do, you’ll always know what to expect, and if you always know what to expect, how can you ever find something new, something undiscovered? No, you won’t.”
- Working a service job, or doing something for someone else. “Wait tables, clean houses, work at your local shelter, become a taxi driver (knowing every little turn in your hometown is an added bonus), courier for a packaging company, work the front desk at a government agency. Whatever. It has to have lots of interaction with the customer/solicitor/client, and require you to act politely and try to deliver the best results to them, as efficiently as possible. You will expand your self-imposed world bubble to at least twice its current size. The lessons gained from serving and giving to someone else, even if its for a profit, will last a lifetime, and really change the outlook you have on life.”