Tag Archives: writing

Headlines Can Change the World

My wife says I don’t read enough and she’s right. I’m not sure anyone really does.  Even her; book, or Kindle in hand every evening as Storage Wars and Duck Dynasty provide the soundtrack for whatever world she’s been transported to.

[Before I continue, I would just like to take a moment to thank A&E for making my evenings just that much better.]

Then I start to count the number of headlines I consume in a day. It’s startling.

From Fierce feeds to Smart Briefs to the magic of Flipboard [again a pause to say thanks for reinventing my world news experience], the total headlines in a day can top 1,000 easy – discounting for the breaking story that hits me 8 – 10 times depending on the category.

So let’s consider the impact those headlines have on decision-making – not just mine, but anyone’s.

For example, a prospect we’ve been working with in the Financial Services industry is trying to empower their advisors with more education and control of information to best support their end clients.

Consider an advisor that needs to read and understand and interpret financial data, trends, risk tolerances, past, present and future performance of multiple markets and client portfolios, squaring off with a client that just got finished reading their 1,000 headlines, some several times, most likely leaving a stronger impression on them.

Put yourself in the advisor’s seat and think about the questions you could get. Ever hear the phrase “out of left field?”

And, by the way, we’re fighting our own brains when we’re trying to interpret what we’ve just read:

This scenario applies to anyone in an advisory position, whether you’re developing products, helping to bring them to market or closing the sale at the end of the chain.

You can even remove the business aspect of this overload and apply it to parenting, dieting, socializing. We are creating our own disadvantages by generating too much information and ways to consume it.

How do we solve for this?

1) Don’t write to confuse

I’ve had a number of conversations lately where people will listen to me speak and ask, “what does that mean?”

The question isn’t driven from a lack of clarity in words used to express my ideas. It’s because they are looking for  hidden meanings and motivations.

We’re all interpreting instead of being plain. Let’s be plain and let the complexity unfold in dialogue and exchange of ideas.

In other words, do what you say and say what you do.

2) Be more selective in what we write

I can’t fault anyone for trying to make a living. Your top 10 list might just be the next one to get chiseled out on stone and carried forward as commandments.

Just take care that what you’re writing is unique, delivers a different perspective, or adds value to an existing conversation. Parroting doesn’t add real value [leave it alone, search marketers]. Your audience will thank you for it.

3) Write everything like it’s The Pelican Brief

No, I didn’t read the book. Remember, I don’t read enough. But the movie has recently come to mind for me as a great approach to making sure what we get in our newsfeeds is the penultimate of thoughts and words.

Imagine if every headline you read was from an author being chased through New Orleans by trained assassins because their thoughts and words could shift the balance of power as we know it. How cool would that be? Seriously. Let’s say you do have that phenomenal top 10 list that we all need to read. Great. Own it. Shout it from the roof tops. Make sure your audience knows what you’ve uncovered and don’t let them leave until you’re sure they’ve understood it. And be prepared. That could take years. It doesn’t need to be new to be right.

Write like that and we’ll all be better for it.

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JOSH JORDAN is the Founder and President of Make Me Social. Josh has spent the majority of his career blending his passion for people, technology and community development to create real relationships for brands and their message. Josh and his wife Jennifer live in St. Augustine, FL where they volunteer their time and energy to support the local arts and children’s charities and spend endless hours keeping their 19 month old son, George, entertained.

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All Truly Great Thoughts Are Achieved on Twitter

When was the last time you stopped and really thought about social media? I’m not talking about strategy, or metrics, or the most efficient methods of raising the virality of your posts. Stop thinking like a marketer, or a business owner, and start thinking like a philosopher. In short, stop asking ‘how?’ and start asking ‘why.’ Why do consumers visit Facebook? Why do teenagers, industry influencers, and celebrities devote hours a day to watching text scroll by on Twitter? In most cases, we can safely say that they aren’t there to visit you.

Social media is supposed to be fun, funny, entertaining. America’s businessmen aren’t wasting their workday on Facebook reading about B2B sales opportunities. They’re tending virtual farms. They’re chuckling at the latest Memebase post, or making plans with buddies for after-work drinks.

I know, I know, these are things you’ve heard a thousand times before. “You need to be more conversational,” or “we should be altering our tone to match the audience.” Stop it. Stop thinking strategy. You don’t need to enter every social conversation with an agenda. When you enter every conversation as a brand, and not a person, you come off sounding like a machine. Sometimes, it may be OK to engage with your audience without worrying about how “it fits into the broader picture of your brand identity.”

Sometimes, isn’t it OK to talk like people? Isn’t it OK to drop the brand-speak and interact on a basic, human level? Obviously, I’m not suggesting you drop everything and abandon your brand. However, once in a great while, let some humanity slip in. This Media Minion blog says it perfectly:

“Humor in a big brand’s social media marketing has pretty much the same effect as seeing a teacher outside of school; “Woah, they’re real people?”

Ambrose Bierce once said “Wit- the salt with which the American humorist spoils his intellectual cookery by leaving it out.” Humor is the essential seasoning for an engagement casserole, so feel free to sprinkle a little bit onto your next post.”

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Tim Howell

Tim Howell is a community manager and data analyst for Make Me Social. He studied fine art, psychology, and international pop culture at Bowling Green State University. In his spare time, he is a novelist and social activist.

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Sources and Content Creation

“Don’t think so hard. You might hurt yourself.”

I can’t remember the name of the teacher who interrupted me during an exam with that message, but I’ve never forgotten their words.

Each month we host an internal training for all members of our content team. This month we focused on ways to find inspiration for content curation and creation, and the presentation was heavily inspired by the sentiment behind those words.

In the interest of sharing and all that is social, we’ve decided to make portions of that training available to the public. Enjoy!

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When she’s not working as a marketing manager for Make Me Social, Mandi Frishman enjoys finding that her degree is relevant to her life. During her time studying at The University of Florida, Mandi became convinced in the power of learning through play. She has since committed herself to playing (and learning) all day, every day.

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The Social Media Mullet: What Would Philosophers Think of Social Media?

Make Me Social’s Phil Grech named his blog The Social Media Mullet because, like the hairstyle, it will discuss the fusion of “business” and “casual” under the banner of online communications.

So, what would Sartre, Bentham, Adorno and Hegel really think of Social Media?

That’s a good question, but first, I want to explain something else.

As a philosophy major (and ahem, president of the philosophy club) at Flagler College, I’m often asked, “Why did you choose to major in philosophy?”

I get it. “What can you do with a philosophy degree” is the thought behind that question. My typical answer is that studying philosophy helps you understand yourself and others better, and helps you make better decisions in life. Since life is short and inherently ephemeral, making beneficial, well-informed decisions should be a priority. I’ve been wrong a lot in life, so critical thinking helps me avoid that in the future. Plus, it helps me appeal to nobler, more virtuous acts.

Another benefit of studying philosophy is having a better understanding of Social Media. I know, it sounds ludicrous, but any way a person can understand Social Media can help me better determine the overall purpose and predict the future of where Social Media is heading. We’re experts in Social Media here at Make Me Social, and somehow, understanding self-differentiating unity and the principium individuations greatly assist me in that.

That being said, over the next several posts, I would like to talk about how different philosophers would view Social Media based on their published perspectives and ideas (I understand philosophy isn’t most people’s idea of leisure reading, so before you languish in fear of death by boredom, I promise to make this fun).

Social Media and Sartre’s Existentialism

Let’s start with existentialism. Does social networking have an existential existence? I’m saying yes. But wait – what is existentialism anyway? I’ve always been fond of Sartre’s simple definition: “Existentialism means that existence precedes essence.” So what does that mean? Here’s an example:

A fork’s essence precedes its existence. When the fork was created, it had a design and purpose in mind, but as humans, our existence precedes our essence. First we are created, and then we have to define ourselves and give ourselves purpose and identity. Fun stuff, huh?

Social networking was created and then we gave it meaning. In other words, existence precedes status updates. We give sites like Facebook and Twitter purpose and identity and continue to redefine those purposes. A perfect example is the revolts in Egypt who used them to gain worldwide attention and support in their efforts.

Sartre was noted for saying, “We are condemned to be free,” but if he was still alive, his next sentence may have been, “We are also condemned to make status updates.”

In our next post, we will talk about Social Media Transparency and Bentham’s Panopticon (or, “Why Jeremy Bentham Would Be a Horrible Social Media CEO”)

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Phil Grech is a Content Manager for Make Me Social. He published his first book, “Don’t Waste Your Hands”, in 2009. He studied English and Philosophy at Flagler College. In his spare time, he reads, works out, gardens and searches for good conversation.

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