Family Vacation – July 2009
My brother-in-law and myself eating
lunch in Southern California.
This was a mobile phone pic
uploaded to all my networks
as soon as it was taken.
Originally uploaded by Mason Media
Social Media has been a cultural phenomenom in America and throughout the world. It has redefined the expression and process in which we connect and communicate with friends and family. Taking a step back and looking at the evolution and impact of social media, as a whole, is a mind boggling task.
Taking a step back and looking at my personal evolution within the context of social media is mind boggling to me as well. I remember at the beginning of the new millenia hearing about MySpace from my peers. I was in my early twenties at the time, and for the most part it seemed like more of a teenage fad to me at first. I was definitley a “hater.”
I watched my twenty-something friends create their own MySpace one-by-one and eventually I caved-in to social media conformity and created my own MySpace page. I’ll admit, at first it was a little addicting to find my friends and look through their friends and find more of my friends and look through those friends’ friends and find past high school acquaintances that I had long forgotten about. After a while though, I was starting to find myself disinterested. I was very busy as a young man, working hard at my job while starting Mason Media on-the-side and volunteering my time as a football coach along with other community events and projects. I didn’t feel like coming home from a long day and investing my spare time booting up a computer, going online, and logging into MySpace to find out my friend is “eating an egg salad sandwhich.” Often, I would check my MySpace once every month or so only to find messages, comments, and friend requests that were neglected and long overdue. Again, I concluded this Social Media thing was just a fad.
After time though, I found several dynamics in the digital environment, as well as my life, had changed and forced me to take a second look at the Social Media landscape. I was now 27 years old and I was quitting my job to go with Mason Media full-time during one of the worst economic times in American history. I also purchased my first iPhone and was hearing buzz about these popular new sites called Facebook and Twitter. I decided that in order to make good use of every available resource that I would need to once again explore the volatile world of Social Media for the purpose of advertising my business. I say volatile, only because it seemed like everyone was leaving MySpace and going to Facebook and Twitter. What if I invested heavily in these new networks only to have to reset everything with the latest trendy site 2-3 years later?
Despite the unknown I invested heavily into Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Most of my investment was in the area of research and discovery. This time around I wanted to be more active and I didn’t want to fall behind. I registered with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn along with a host of other sites. I made sure my business information was clearly visible on each site and just started off by mostly sharing what was going on in my personal life mixed in with what was going on in my business from time to time. It wasn’t my only source of marketing, but for whatever reason, I really took the time to be strategic with it. I downloaded all of the mobile apps for my social networks so I could post content on them wherever I was at. I learned all of the ways to integrate my networks so I didn’t have to waste time duplicating my content on all of the different sites. Post it “once and for all my networks” was my philosophy.
I’m not going to sit here and paint things out to look like everything in my business exploded once I did this, because it didn’t. The first several months were a lot of hard work with minimal output. I was ok with that because I wasn’t looking to social media as a main source of lead generation and more than anything, I was just enjoying the online experience I was having with friends, family, and clients. I remember some of my friends (mostly guys) making little diggs about how active I was online. Particularly, how I posted a lot of pictures when I traveled. It looked like I was spending a lot time in front of my computer. What they didn’t know is that I had integrated all of my networks together. All I did was take a pic with my mobile phone, hit a button, and immediately I had a pic posted on all of my networks. The whole process from snapping the shot to posting online could take less than 60 seconds (see the photo above for an example). I could do it so fast that when I was glancing at a text or email on my phone, my wife would ask, “You’re not posting a picture of me right now are you?” Looking back on my friends’ diggs really makes me “LOL” considering how many mobile phone pics I see people post online now (the technology has become more user friendly compared to when I was first doing it too). In the Social Media realm, people wonder why you do things a certain way one month and then they’re doing them too the next month (as you can see, I fit into that category as well, i.e. MySpace).
The facts were, I had a new business with little to no client base and Rome wasn’t built in a day. Still, there were a handful of projects I would’ve missed that first year without my social media networks. It’s funny to think about, because my second dive into Social Media was based on promoting my business, yet I found much more personal fulfillment in it. The difference was the tools and applications. Let’s face it, Facebook and Twitter are less “ghetto” than Myspace. Add to that the convenience and speed of integrated networks that I can access on my mobile phone anytime, anywhere, and suddenly I found myself living “The Social Media Lifestyle.”