The Social Media Trap

My beef with social media is simple: I follow people I know, people I like, people I look up to, and people I aspire to inspire across social media platforms. I then become frustrated to see the same posts across all social sites.

A picture of a sunset or a product or a person that is perfect for one market is not perfect across the board.

A picture of a sunset or a product or a person that is modified in hopes that it will be perfect across the board still is not.

I will un-follow someone very quickly if everything they post is a mirror of all I’ve seen from them on every other social media platform, and every time I un-follow someone for this reason it actually pains me. I want so badly for them to post unique, site-specific content that gives me a full picture of the person, product, company.

If I’m following a juice company, I’d love to laugh as someone chugs the juice down as quickly as possible on Snapchat. Meanwhile, on Pinterest I’m reading great smoothie recipes with one of their juices as the base. Instagram would present their juice in an ice-cold glass sitting beachside, and Facebook presents an informative yet still visually pleasing picture of the product in full display with the health benefits of this particular kind of juice and this particular brand. Twitter would share news and retweets of folks enjoying this juice all over the world, and YouTube might show a range of professional and amateur videos of people living and loving this brand of juice. This would be a company I would follow across all platforms, and as new platforms presented themselves, I would seek this company out every single time.

This same rationale applies to people, too. Every Snap is not meant for Facebook. Every blog post is not meant for LinkedIn. Every Insta pic is not meant for Twitter.

If you are interesting, followers will seek you out. We don’t have to try so hard for people to like us, they like us because we’re us. Maximize each social media platform for what it is, and enjoy the long term benefits of retention and presenting a broader picture of your life, your brand, and your world.

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

Downsize Redundancy

REDUNDANT

re·dun·dant
adjective
not or no longer needed or useful; superfluous.
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Do you know what I’m finding especially redundant these days? Social media marketing on every scale. The ones who are doing it right post unique, true-to-the platform content across each media outlet. The ones who are doing it wrong put out one piece of content and then replicate it across the board. The Snapchat picture saved and posted to Facebook, and Twitter and Instagram. The Periscope video loses so much when not viewed on its native platform. The Instagram photo is lovely, but friends on Facebook or Tumblr are likely also your friends on Insta, so they’ve seen it.
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So, with so many social media options, how do you choose where to really focus? Marketing experts will tell you that you need to be putting out that social media content, specific to each family or theme that encompasses the platform. However, that means keeping in the middle of the constant stream that is Twitter; taking and editing lovely photos of joy and beauty for Instagram; writing great long-form content on Medium, as well as your personal or business site; streaming worthwhile and polished-but-not-too-polished videos on Periscope and Meerkat; and constantly disconnecting from real-world events in order to capture them (or yourself experiencing them) on Snapchat. Vine, Musical.ly, Tumblr, LinkedIn…the list goes on and, meanwhile, every single hour someone is attempting to build the next great social media platform that will take the world (and your time) by storm.
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When I find, as an example, a YouTuber I really enjoy watching, I then look them up and follow them on every platform I am currently into; pretty typical social behavior. The problem, then, is that I end up seeing the same image, the same funny quip, the same political rant, the same socially aware statement, the same everything across every single platform. So, really, I would have only had to have kept up with ONE of these platforms to have known what was going on.
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Personally, Facebook has become the “necessary evil” lately. I have so many friends on FB and am following so many people, businesses and organizations there that I check it pseudo-frequently. When I do, I usually click off more annoyed than fulfilled because instead of seeing real content, real news of how my friends are doing, real family pictures and goings and doings, I see that XYZ Friend went on a “sharing” binge and all I see are regurgitated posts with some strong social or political opinion for miles of newsfeed.
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Twitter is so packed with info, and is constantly moving (yes, even while I am scrolling and it resets and starts me right back at the beginning…), complete with the actual people I follow AND the people who pay Twitter to suggest that I follow, or the constant ads meant to look like normal Twitter feed items.
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Instagram, in my opinion and even with the latest update, has remained truest to its origin, and generally if I get an ad pop up on my feed, it legitimately applies to me, my interests, and the things I enjoy following on Instagram. In fact, it is so finely tuned, there are many times which those Insta-ads pay off as I follow the paid ad person or business or state or organization.
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Snapchat…snapchat, snapchat, snapchat. Listen, I know Snapchat is the biggest thing going right now, I know it’s fun and I love the filters (especially when Snap isn’t trying to make me pay for the filters, which I absolutely will not do). However, Snaps are meant to be 24-hour, snap-it and forget-it shares that aren’t meant for all social media sites. I understand that since Snapchat doesn’t have an explore option to find others you would like to follow (outside of your current address book), so there’s a certain level of HAVING to seek out and share your snaps or your code to get more followers and share with more people. But, every time you take the moments to snap a pic or a video, caption it, draw on it, apply the filters, or whatever…then, share that same picture or video across other outlets, it equals redundancy. Share your snap code…if others want to follow you, they will. If you share every snap you take across every media outlet, there’s no point in following you on Snapchat, also.
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All of this being said, what I would like to see in my utopian social media world are:
1) unique posts shared only on the social platform that best fits that particular post,
2) focusing on the platform you excel most at or that your style best fits into and own it, and then
3) don’t water down that great message by sharing everything everywhere.
Additionally, 4) that when we are introduced to someone we would enjoy following, take the moment to decide which platform we get the most out of, and follow that person, business, organization, etc. only on that platform.
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I am working on following my own set of suggestions, as well. {What good would it do to not practice what I preach, after all?} Until next time, my friends…
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Make it a great day,
Mari!yn

Weekly Wrap-Up: April 30, 2016

I am super digging this new weekly wrap-up thing! It’s so fun to got through my week and see something cool and wonder if it’d be worthy to share here. Hmmmm….now the pressure is really on for awesome content!

I would also like to encourage each of YOU to begin your own weekly wrap-up, of sorts, as a way to put that fun exclamation point at the end of your week!

LET’S BEGIN WITH A QUOTE

A signature line from an email I received this week:

“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The realist adjusts the sails.” (Unknown)

AHHHH, THE SWEET MUSKY SMELL OF THE PHYSICAL BOOK

If you haven’t already, I have created a page here on my website devoted to what I’ve read, what I’m currently reading, and what I want to read next. This week, I had a surprise from my local library to the effect of 18 of my “next” books that I’ve had on library request all came in at the same time!!! My first selection from this stack was Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek. If you follow me on Twitter, you know I’ve already been struck by this book, as I have shared some great tidbits of information, already, and will certainly continue to do so as I continue reading. Not yet finished, but definitely recommending this one!

ARE YOU GETTING SKIMMED?

I’m so intrigued by the Daily Skimm, that I just have to share it with you. I’m not a big newspaper reader, I don’t watch the daily news, however I do get a handy dandy little email each morning from the Daily Skimm telling me the highlights of what’s going on in the world. It’s informative, tongue-in-cheek, and super well-written. I rarely skip this email, so good!

I’m sending you good vibes for your weekend. May it be perfectly productive, yet rejuvenating! Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

Eliminating the Six Degrees of Separation

wpid-wp-1438663468454.jpegRemember back in the “old days” when the closest you could get to your favorite celebrity was to pay $15 to be a member of his or her official fan club, which may get you a signed poster and a whole lotta wishful thinking?

The days of having Six Degrees of Separation between you and virtually anyone are long gone! Social media sources like Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram have taken us waayyy beyond the National Enquirer level connectivity.

It’s really amazing how small social media has made this great big world!

Now, I will get the occasional response to a  tweet or comment I’ve made on some big-time person’s post or video or photo…and it will thrill me like it’s the 80’s and I’m in line to see a glimpse of Michael Jackson or Madonna!

This handy new rule-of-thumb applies to so much more than celebrities, too! Job hunting. Getting your news out about a new product. Sharing your thoughts on current events. Getting connected to the people you most need to hear you message is literally finger strikes away.

Networking at it’s most efficient.

So, my question for you is this: How are YOU going to close that gap between you and the people who can help take your ideas to the next level?

**Hustle makes it happen, so let’s dance!**

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

SUPER LAUNCH! #GettingYoungerEveryDay

Today is a GREAT day in my little corner of the universe as I launch #gettingyoungereveryday!!! 1,000 posts between today and my 40th birthday ALL focused on living life with more youthful enthusiasm, better health, and more overall spring in your step!!! I’m going to be sharing this fun mission across ALL of my social media platforms, so I hope you’ll come along for the ride and get younger right along with ME!

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Click to view on my MarilynHortonDotCom YouTube channel!

Make it a great day,
Mari!yn

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And…on my personal website: MarilynHorton.com

My Relationship with Social

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I’m going to kick off with a few grand generalizations, and see if they stick. Ready? Here it goes:

The majority of people who are on social media check their various outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc., etc.) incessantly throughout the day and night.

And, to piggyback onto that, here’s numero dos:

Oftentimes as we peruse, we thumb through our news feeds, liking here and favoriting there, but primarily acting as voyeurs into our social media worlds.

This is what we do. If you were standing outside my house on in the darkness, watching my family and I through my window it would be creepy, but we think nothing of social media voyeurism.

There is a problem, though. And it sucks. This social media voyeurism habit sucks time right out of your life.

Great news, though!

When you consider that we each likely (another generalization) spend more time with Facebook than we do with our best friend, you can see that we’ve come to treat social media outlets in such a personal way as to actually have earned a spot at meetings, at sporting events, at the dinner table, and in bed with us. Rarely are any of us EVER without at least one device that is socially connected and oftentimes in use.

Being a voyeur on our social world is like being in a one sided friendship with someone who only takes, complains, requires time and energy, and is never there when you need that attention reciprocated.

If, however, you treat this social media relationship as you would one with the other most important people in your life, then Social (now a person, and therefore using a proper name) deserves you to give back a little instead of just take, take, taking.

For this reason, I suggest we all make a commitment to check in on Social only when we also have something worthwhile to share. Don’t just use Social to soak in the latest gossip, but give something of meaning, or hilarity, or depth, or intrigue back.

Itching to check your Twitter feed? Share a line of your favorite song lyrics that have been rolling through your head all morning…in 140 characters, or less, that is.

Looking through Facebook at everyone’s latest family pics from Easter or spring break or winter blues turning to spring blooms? Remember to share your own pictures and stories from the season.

Read an interesting article in the latest copy of Forbes Magazine? Maybe one of your LinkedIn connections would also gain something from reading the article.

As our world continues to become more and more digitized, we have to actively seek ways to stay truly connected. Keeping up our end of a two-way relationship is a great step to take!

Make it a great day,
Marilyn

Connect with Marilyn…ALL OVER THE WEB!

Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tumblr…it’s ALL here!!! TEN ways to connect with ME so that no second of your life can avoid me 😉

MUSIC: “Sunflower” by Topher Mohr and Alex Elena; YouTube Audio Library

Make it a great day,
Mari!yn

Keep up with Marilyn Horton and all of the Chronicles of life all over the interweb:wpid-20131210_155445.jpg

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I Don’t Get “Selfies”

This series of pictures was awkward even as a joke for this post.

These pictures were awkward even as a joke for this post.

SELFIE: A photograph taken of yourself with plans to share it either via a social media website, email, text, or otherwise.

Apparently, there are two kinds of people in the world: Those who take selfies and those who do not. I fall into the “does not” category…because I just don’t get it.

As a dedicated Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest contributor, I see a LOT of selfies. I see serious selfies that are made to look as if someone else actually took the picture (“Oh, I didn’t see you there…”). I see fashion-forward selfies of full outfits in the reflection of bedroom or bathroom mirrors (“OMG–look at these super sexy jeans I bought today…do they make my butt look big?”). I see serious selfies that are meant to be sexy and sultry (“I spent two hours putting my makeup on and fixing my hair just to take this picture.”). And, I see selfies that are just meant to be beautiful photos of beautiful YOU. My first thought when I see these selfies come through  various news feeds is simple: I wonder how many pictures they had to take of themselves to get just the right ones to share with the internet world.

Personally, if I’m feeling really cute or spunky or silly and really want to document it for friends to see and there’s no one around to take the picture for me (so it can be a picture of more than just my neck, up), then I have a lot of trouble just smiling for my own camera. I feel the need to make a funny face, strike a silly pose, or usually include my hands in some way (shooting the peace sign or my rendition of “jazz hand”–not hands–as shown here).  In the world of modern technology, I may very well be in the minority here, but following are my personal opinions on the appropriateness of selfies.

There are exceptions to my dislike of “selfies,” however, so here they are in no particular order:

  • If you are experiencing a true once-in-a-lifetime event and you’re the only one there to document it…selfies are OK. For example, if you’re running in New York City’s Central Park and it’s the first time ever and your travelling companion would rather watch pay per view in the hotel room than run, then take a selfie and be proud of this cool milestone!
  • If your loved one is serving in the military and hasn’t seen you in months or years…selfies are OK. Just keep ’em classy 😉
  • If you have an odd rash or mole or otherwise concerning mark on or near your face that you want to document and share with others in order to get an opinion…selfies are OK. For example, “Hey Facebook friends, this spot on the side of my neck wasn’t there a year ago and I can’t really see it very well. What do you think? Is a doctor’s visit in order?”

Times when “selfies” aren’t truly selfies and are actually acceptable in my book:

  • Couples who take pictures of themselves as a couple are often cute. Many times those photos are documenting a fun time together, and although they may not be the highest quality picture (often much too close, usually an extended arm makes the shot, etc.), they’re not meant to hang over the mantle…they’re meant to be fun, so have fun with it!
  • If you want to take a picture of a fun moment with one or more of your kids, that can also be cute…in moderation. I’d personally much rather snap a hundred kids of my kids doing fun things than insert my own head into the picture, but apparently that’s just me. However, if my kids and I are in a seriously goofy mood and are playing around and making faces, that’s when parent/kid selfies are pretty OK with me.

If you must take “selfies,” PLEASE take some of these considerations to heart:

  • If you take a selfie in your bathroom (or in someone else’s bathroom, or in a *gasp* public bathroom) PLEASE put away the feminine products and lower the toilet seat.
  • If you take a selfie in your bedroom, PLEASE think about straightening up a little first.
  • If you take a selfie into a mirror, PLEASE think about 1) what else is being reflected in that mirror besides your super cute outfit, 2) what visible mess can be seen around, behind, along side of the mirror in which you are shooting said look, and 3) first cleaning the mirror!
  • Also, if you must take a selfie into a mirror, PLEASE at least smile at the camera. If your look is so cute or your weight loss is so great that you want to share it–awesome–but get the camera or phone into position, then LOOK UP, SMILE and CLICK 🙂

If you are a selfie photographer, I’d love to understand your thought processes behind your own personal selfies. If you’re not, I’d love to hear some favorite funnies that you’ve seen in selfies. Until then, happy picture taking…either of yourself or others!

Make it a great day,

Marilyn

“Normal” to my kids–New phrases for a new generation

303503_4527650153588_1450516286_nMy youngest three kids (ages kindergarten through junior high) have day-to-day conversations about things and technology that I never could have fathomed when I was their age. With this in mind, I’ve put together the following list of things that are the “norm” of this generation, that were obsolete twenty years ago (or–if they WERE in existence, they certainly weren’t part of normal speech like they are today…and they were only known by the geekiest of the tech geeks):

“I don’t have wi-fi here.” Doesn’t that phrase sound like something out of one of those old, goofy, futuristic, B Movies? And, now it’s here! WiFi is everywhere!!! Thankfully, now it’s also generally free everywhere, too. I can remember having to pay $12 an hour at the local Starbucks in order to log onto their WiFi with my laptop. Now, even McDonalds has WiFi…probably so you can sit and eat even more luscious greasiness while you compute.

“How old were you when you got your first cell phone?” When my teens were kindergarteners, they were already asking me this question! The looks on their faces when I told them–honestly– “I was in college when I got my first cell phone and even then I wasn’t allowed to use it except for dire emergencies because it was so expensive!” was quite funny! Now, of course the teens have their own cell phones, and the kindergartener practically has one with her iPod always in tow.

“Will you S-beam that video to me?” My family is a Samsung/Android market/Google family, and we do love to S-beam! Less steps than email or texting a file or image, less time consuming than Bluetooth, S-beam is instant gratification for the file-sharing world!

“What would Siri say?” As a cute spin on the “What would Jesus do?” question, “What would Siri say?” has become a quick-answer answer to the where’s, what’s, when’s and how’s of Apple searching.

“Do you have that movie on BluRay?” Folks, I was raised with VHS and BETA video tapes. Not quite reel-to-reel, but not a huge step up! Now, it’s all on disc and the discs are getting fancier and fancier. And, actually, we don’t even need the discs anymore, as we can download or stream pretty much anything we could possibly want and enjoy at any moment, in real-time!

“I’ve got no bars here.” Remember the bag phones that had cords and antennas? Then, there was the mobile (pronounced “mo-bile”) phone the size of a military boot? I can remember my father having to stop on the side of the freeway in Dallas, Texas (not some rural, back-woods area) at a high-point just to have a conversation on his “mo-bile” phone. We still have the battle of the bars going on, but for the most part even a weak signal now is better than a good signal was with those old originals!

“I’ll just download it on iTunes.” When I was in junior high, I would spend hours filling cassette tapes with radio playtime JUST to get ONE SONG that I’d been wanting! We lived far enough from a city that I couldn’t just run around the corner and pick the cassette up myself. But, now, when my kids (or I) want the latest, greatest song, it’s literally at our fingertips!

“Do they have that book on Kindle?” As much as I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE good, old, paper books, I must admit that the age of the downloadable book option, as well. My oldest daughter keeps the Kindle app on her iPad FULL of good stuff to read; a luxury this house full of ravenous readers enjoys very much!

“Mom’s new car has hands-free & GPS nav” Let’s face it, when we see people with paper maps anymore we stop and stare. When my father gets his beaten and battered Atlas out, I ask him EVERY TIME why he doesn’t just use his phone’s navigation app, which is awesome (not fool-proof, but certainly worth utilizing)! And, as for the hands-free Bluetooth service in the car: Priceless!

“Yay! I made it to the 57th level on Angry Birds!” Angry Birds? What birds and why are they so angry??? In my day it was all about pixelated Wheel of Fortune, Oregon Trail, and Where in the World is Carmen Santiago! I must admit, though…one round of AG and I was hooked!

“Bluetooth…” This just sounds like something that requires an extensive trip to the Dentist’s office! Eeeek!

“Look what Pink just tweeted about Willow.” Pink is a color. Tweeting is something you hear outside. And Willow is a tree…But actually, I adore P!nk’s music, prefer the simplicity of tweeting over posting endless varieties of Facebook status’, and Willow is Pink’s daughter.

“Junk in the trunk.” Buaaahaaahaaaa! My almost 60-year old father referred recently to the junk in my mother’s (still his wife) trunk. I thought my teenage son was going to have a fit determining whether Dad was going to get clobbered or just laughed at 🙂 Of course, Dad had no idea what he was saying when he was quite literally referring to all the junk my mother carries around in her car trunk…but it was hilarious just the same! Momma’s got some junk in her trunk!!!

“Just Google it.” Let’s face it, the noun “Google” has become a verb. AOL of 15 years ago never overwhelmed the culture enough to be a daily part of speech. No one ever said, “just AOL it.” There was no, “just World Wide Web it” when we wanted to know some quick fact. But, in today’s culture, Google is so all-encompassing and all-knowing that it has become the answer to every question in the book!

“Do you have a fantasy football team?” I think that if someone would have talked about fantasy football when I was a kid, it would have been the kids who wished they’d get picked first in the lineup instead of last. They fanaticized about playing on the team…instead, it’s this whole culture of building and recruiting that has now spread into other professional sports, as well.

“I’ll have a grande mocha chip frappuchino with extra whip.” Granted, Starbucks was around and growing rapidly when I was younger, but then it was still seen as more of a ritzy luxury item. Ooooooo, $5 coffee! Now, it’s spurred an entire espresso-chugging phenomenon, complete with copy-cats in every town across the country and around the world. Now, placing an order at Starbucks is like speaking a whole language that my generation never knew before.

“Save it on a zip stick.” I swear by zip sticks, SD and MicroSD cards, and any other sort of miniature storage devices that can really pack on the files! I’m so thankful to have said “Adios!” to the days of those giant 5 1/2″ floppy discs, or even the 3″ hard discs that followed. They hardly held anything, they had to be stored, and filed, and sorted. Now, I can hold 50GB of memory on my key ring and access any number of files any time I want!

“How many pixels is it?” Pixels were around back in the day, but it is my personal opinion that back then the only people who thought about them were computer guru’s or professional photographers. Today, with each of us toting our own fancy camera around with us to kiddo events and other memory-making outings, AND with such impressive smartphone (ANOTHER phrase/word that was unheard of twenty years ago) cameras, we’re a culture obsessed with pixels!

“I need some new earbuds.” This one is particularly funny to me. Remember, back when we were kids, when all head phones were huge, uncomfortable, and imposing? As we got older, the headphones became earphones, as they got smaller and smaller, until they became earbuds which just slip into our ears. NOW, I see kids with ginormous, yet fashionable, head phones plugged into their iPods (instead of the Walkman of yesteryear). Who says history doesn’t repeat itself? 🙂

“You checked my grades online?” Oh yeah! Unlike when my kids were raising me, and waiting 6-9 weeks at a stretch to find out how my grades were, today I can check my kids grades in real-time at any hour of the day or night. VERY handy tool!!!

“Post it on YouTube!” My kindergartener even has her own (private!) YouTube account! She loves to post videos and watch other’s videos (on strict watch, of course). Of course, back when I was their age, I was hauling around this HUGE video recorder, taping (yes, taping…since my machine used the huge, finicky, VHS tapes!) my friends and family members whether they liked it or not! I still have a box of old VHS home videos…not that there’s much I can do with them, but oh the fun I would have had as a teenager if I could have instantly uploaded my videos to YouTube!!!

I’m sure you guys can think of some other gems! Hope you enjoyed this list. Catch you next time.

Make it a great day,

Mari!yn

YouTube: The News of NOW!

super bowl blackoutWhen there was a blackout during this year’s Super Bowl, I wasn’t watching the football game, but I was watching YouTube and found out about it instantly!

I’ve never been much of a news buff–primarily because in my Pollyanna-like existence I prefer to avoid some of the gloom and doom that surrounds both world and local news. However, keeping my head buried in the sand isn’t all that smart, either.

So, I like to get my news in highlight-version…through YouTube! IF it’s critical, it’ll be posted on YouTube. IF it’s newsworthy, it’ll be posted on YouTube. IF it’s the newest, funniest trend and people are going to be talking about it, tweeting about it, making t-shirts and Pinterest pics out of it, it’ll be posted on YouTube!  IF it’s not all that important…it will likely still be posted on YouTube, but that doesn’t mean I have to click and watch the video. All my news, usually in 90 second blurbs–AWESOMENESS!!!

I can pick and choose what I want to see. I can catch 80% of the news just by scrolling through the headlines without even having to watch every video. And, I can watch a handful of my favorite newscasters and stations all from one source without also battling remote-control-wars with the family. All On YouTube!

YouTube: Like Twitter through Videos!