Whatchamacallit – May 18, 2012
What do you call this symbol: # ? For most of my life the people in my world referred to it as the “number sign“, until the rise of digital voicemail systems, at which point that symbol on the phone keybad was called the “pound sign”. In social media it’s referred to as the “hash” symbol (which apparently has British origins). Whatever. If you dip your toes at all into the world of Twitter, you’ll discover the so-called “hash tag” is used to filter searches so that you can follow any topic that is preceded by the # sign. For example, people at a conference I attended this week added #HCSMNY to their posts, which allowed anyone to listen in on the conversation without having to first find out the names of everyone there. Someday it will seem dumb that I had to explain this. But for now, I thought you might want to know!
It’s Perfectly Outrageous
At least, that’s my opinion of this week’s Facebook “IPO”. There were at least two really good pieces on NPR last week that pointed out potential problems with the efficacy of advertising on Facebook (which is, I think, it’s only source of revenue). Since Facebook’s business model is built on having its members voluntarily fork over vast volumes of personal information about themselves, and then selling that information to others, this is a tricky business. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Facebook and use it frequently throughout the day for both work and personal reasons. But it looks like a bubble to me. (See: AOL, Yahoo, et al)
A Conference Saved My Job
Do you feel that you know absolutely everything you need to in order to do your job well? If not, where do you learn new skills? In most of the jobs I’ve had, I’ve been the only one doing what I’m doing, and so I need to reach out externally to colleagues in other organizations. In my current line of work this has been especially true, since they never covered social media marketing in any of my college courses or on the job training. Ironically, what helped me deal with two huge online marketing challenges at work was attending a conference of my peers this week where I could simply walk up to people, introduce myself, and say “…listen, could you help me figure out something …”
Chronology and Digits
My 65 year-old aunt recently explained to me how to download an e-book from the public library, and my 86 year-old Mother just finished self-publishing a book on family history which she developed on her computer at home. But neither of these ladies finds social media useful. Oddly, the youngest segment of the adult population doesn’t have much time for social media either (if you define it as Facebook and Twitter). So what the heck does the future hold for us in terms of communications, entertainment, shopping, etc? Anecdotally, based on observing my 15 years-younger husband and others, I think it has to do with texting and a mobile online experience that’s not defined by anyone other than themselves. And what that will look like, I have no idea.