Digital Native, Digitally Naive?

Say, for a moment, that you need to hire someone to lead your company’s nascent social media effort. Quick — picture what that individual looks like. Did an image of a young digital dude (or dudette) come to mind? If so, you’re likely making a mistake.

digital native vs digital immigrantYou’re not alone, the majority of the hiring decision-makers (HR talent recruiters and hiring managers alike) whom I’ve come across, with little personal understanding of social media themselves, believe that this type of job is best filled by a digital native — one for whom the Web and social media have been a part of their lives from early on.

Now, consider these job requirements that I read today on an actual position listing (identifying details altered):

  • Develop a comprehensive social media and community management strategy leveraging your background, experience and knowledge of social media trends and emerging technologies
  • Partner with individuals across the company (management, development and research) to strategize and educate the team on relevant social media techniques to drive adoption and increase thought leadership
  • Manage the day-to-day activities for Facebook, Twitter, Company Blog, LinkedIn and other social media sites
  • Research and write content for social media channels
  • Track and analyze performance of social media programs and activities to drive continuous improvement
  • Manage web and Facebook advertisements
  • Help direct a grassroots street team to promote the [product]
  • Interact with our PR team
  • Monitor trends in social media tools and applications and appropriately apply that knowledge to increasing the use of social media at the company

Did that change your thinking? Sounds like a great job with plenty of opportunity to create strategy, implement tactics and lead the social media initiative for this company for years to come, right?

In fact, this is a great spot for someone like me, a social media professional paid to curate communities, engage with customers, build brands,  develop brand ambassadors and promote products via social media as a career (in my case since 1997).  So why didn’t I immediately submit my application and resume? Because of this next line: Career Level: Early Career (1+ yrs experience) 

Whoa, you want to trust this job — and the reputation of your company, its brand and products (the success of which is essential for the future survival of the company itself) — in the hands of an entry-level individual? Really?

The disconnect comes when companies fail to understand that digital natives lack the necessary business acumen and experience to actually get the job done. They instead believe they need to hire young because, you know, when it comes to social media ‘young people get it’.

That’s a fatal flaw that sets up both the individual hired and the company for failure. There is no substitute for experience when it comes to developing a digital roadmap or building consensus among varied internal stakeholders to insinuate social media throughout the enterprise (the long-term goal for success). And do not for a minute discount the institutional knowledge an experienced person brings to the table regarding what’s worked (and failed) in the past to better be able to recognize the next big thing.

If you want a leader; if you use  phrases like “create strategy”; “implement tactics”; “develop policy” or “lead the organization” as part of the job description, set yourself up for success: hire the digital immigrant —  a social media professional. 

Very Pinteresting, Why Facebook Paid $1 Billion For Instagram

Facebook InstagramIn advance of its much ballyhooed IPO, Facebook, which historically made acquisitions of $100 million or less, bought Instagram for cash and stock approximating $1 billion. The photo sharing mobile app, launched less than two years ago, was valued at $20 million in February 2011 and $500 million as recently as last week (based upon investor funding).

So, why pay $1 billion for it and why now? Five reasons:

  1. Platform. Instagram is a mobile app, and mobile represents the biggest upside for future marketing and commerce. Facebook needs more mobile features.
  2. Graphics. Pictures and images rule the day online. They’re compelling content that conveys the you-are-there experience with one-click satisfaction, and then love to share.
  3. Category killer. In two short years, it is by far the best known and most widely used mobile photo app. Go ahead, name two others (I’ll wait).
  4. Accelerated growth — and poised for more. Instagram launched on October 6, 2010.  Two months later in December it had 1 million users. By September 2011 it grew to 10 million users, and now boasts 30 million users. And that’s with it being an iPhone only app until a few weeks ago. When its Android operating system version was finally released April 3rd of this year, it was downloaded over 1 million times in the first 12 hours. Android users effectively doubles the potential user pool. And all of this was before the hype and buzz associated with its acquisition.
  5. Pinterest — or, why Instagram was worth a billion bucks to Facebook. Also launched two years ago, Pinterest is likewise driven by graphics, allowing users to pin their favorites to collection boards with sharing via social nets. Like Facebook, Pinterest has a “like” function and users can comment on content. True, Instagram features user-generated photos while Pinterest links to graphics linked to the Web, but here’s why that will change. Read more of this post

Ten Free Marketing White Papers

There’s a lot of information out there regarding social media marketing. So much so that half the battle of keeping up to date is just finding where they are hiding on the Web. And so, when I come across a compilation that looks promising I’m compelled to do that most basic social media action: share.

The below message was sent out by Mike Crosson a fellow member of the Social Media Marketing group on LinkedIn. He encouraged all to share, and so here it is (Thanks Mike!):

  • Group: Social Media Marketing
  • Subject: 10 complimentary White Papers… whaHOOO!

Hello, everyone –
Here are 10 free White Papers that are really helpful. Feel free to pass this email along to your colleagues and friends that you think might be interested as well.

1.) Pinterest – Learn how to increase traffic, leads and sales by reaching more than 11 million people
http://bit.ly/GGdZQe
The fastest-growing social media site ever has become a huge traffic referral (arguably, more powerful than Google+) for all businesses. An increasing number of companies are leveraging the platform to reach a new audience, increase visits to their websites, and generate leads or retail sales. And guess what? It’s working.

2.) Learning LinkedIn From the Experts: How to Build a Powerful Business Presence on LinkedIn
http://bit.ly/GElwgy
In Learning LinkedIn from the Experts, five LinkedIn specialists provide key insight into how you can use LinkedIn to successfully grow your network and business.

3.) How to Create Epic Facebook Ads
http://bit.ly/GExOvB
Placing ads on Facebook provides one of the most targeted advertising opportunities today. The social network knows the demographics and interests of more than 800 million people who are active online. Written by Andrea Vahl, co-author of Facebook Marketing All-in-One For Dummies, this ebook will walk you step-by-step through the nuances of Facebook ads.

4.) How to Use Google+ For Business
http://bit.ly/GFqmPU
Google+ is the new social network on the block. With more than 90 million users and a growing influence on search, Google+ has definitely emerged as a key player in online marketing.

5.) The Ultimate How-to Marketing Guide 
http://bit.ly/GFAELr
How do you get a comprehensive view of the important ones and prioritize accordingly? To ensure your proficiency in Internet marketing, we’ve designed this multimedia ebook which, as David Meerman Scott says, “identifies nuggets of inspiration to drive success at your business.”

The next five after the jump:  Read more of this post

Happy 6th Birthday Twitter, But Who’s On First?

It’s Twitter‘s 6th birthday today (seems like we’ve been talking about it forever) and as it passes its 500 millionth user it’s a good time to think about who was on Twitter first. Now, the recognized first public tweet is from Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, who at 4:50 PM tweeted “just setting up my twttr“. Short and sweet, right, with the trendy Web style of the day: no vowels. Very cool, Jack, very cool.

But, some have confused it with a tweet from co-founder Biz Stone or one by the third member of the Twitter triumvirate  Evan Williams  and no wonder — they tweeted the exact same thing.

The first tweets of @BIZ and @EV

OK, so the three founders got together and in a show of solidarity coordinated their “first” tweets. But it doesn’t stop there. That same day six years ago it seems like everyone working on the Twitter product sent their first tweets, and at least 45 of them tweeted identically as the founders.

So, while Jack gets credit for being first, he loses points in my mind for originality (as if that matters to him) but he does get points for one first: he started the first “trending topic” in Twitter history.

They say you never forget your  “first“, so here’s mine:

ron casalotti's first tweet

I know, hardly Shakespearean. So tell us, what was your first tweet?

Another Great Infographic on Social Media Use

Sixty seconds in social media smallYou hear it all the time. “Social media has arrived”, Social media is not going away”. “Social media must be a part of everyone’s (individual and businesses) online live” but what does that mean. Last August I commented on social media use at that time. So just how much has it grown?

The good folks at socialjumpstart.com compiled stats on what happens in social media — every minute.  The numbers are astounding, and of course are constantly in flux.  So take a look at their infographic (and note the updates at the bottom):

Every 60 seconds in social media

Updates:
Foursquare has 2x as many check-ins now ~10K per minute
A Stumbleupon representative told VentureBeat the company now does 25,000 stumbles per minute

Social Media Week 2012: Love, Personalization and the Death of Serendipity


Ah, love. Each February 14 we celebrate all things love in remembrance of St. Valentine, a priest who (literally) lost his head over the emotion.  And so, by the powers of the Roman god Cupid; the Greek god Eros; and the consumer goods god Hallmark, we enjoy love found, curse love lost and are hopeful for love to come.

The logo for Love@AOL

Love@AOL - one of the first online dating sites

For me, it also brings back memories of my first “real” job in social media, as a Community Manager at AOL for one of its largest channels, Love@AOL. Launched as a Valentine;s Day special feature in 1996, it did so well that it became a permanent channel, with (at the time) the largest collection of online dating profiles featuring the newest innovation of the day — photos! Simply put, people — even online —  expressed a need to connect, to be social.

Fast forward to yesterday in New York City at the Third Annual Social Media Week New York. In his keynote speech titled ‘Top 2012 Trends in Social,  JWT CEO David Eastman pointed out that four key operators own almost all of the information about you  online. He called them “GAFA” (pronounced “gaffa”), they are: Read more of this post

Happy Birthday Facebook and an Apology to Mark Zuckerberg

the facebook original welcome screen

Facebook's home screen - 2004

Late afternoon eight years ago today (February 4, 2004), in a small room at Harvard University, Mark Zuckerberg flipped a switch and TheFacebook.com went live. Did he know he created a revolutionary platform that would help define the term social media? Hardly. As reported by The Harvard Crimson five days later, the Mark Zuckerberg of then is not much different from the Mark Zuckerberg of today: talented, impatient and cocky.

Having come off creating Facemash.com, his take on the popular “Hot or Not“site where people submit their photo for public judgment (except that he hacked the photos of Harvard students from the schools records resulting in student backlash), he turned his talents towards a Friendster type site — but one based upon “weak tie” connections like school; dorm residence; subject classes rather than a desire to find a date (or mate).  Perceiving the University’s attempt to create a universal face book as moving too slow, he wrote the code for TheFacebook in his dorm room in one week. Talented; cocky; impatient.

Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg '06 (right) credits his roommates, Dustin A. Moskovitz '06 and Christopher R. Hughes '06 (left and middle) as the site's social directors.Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg '06 (right) credits his roommates, Dustin A. Moskovitz '06 and Christopher R. Hughes '06 (left and middle) as the site's social directors.

Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg '06 (right) credits his roommates, Dustin A. Moskovitz '06 and Christopher R. Hughes '06 (left and middle) as the site's social directors.

After five days TheFacebook had 650 subscribers. Just eight short years later, it counts over 845 million worldwide registrants.  Early on, Zuckerberg rejected an offer from Friendster to sell for $10 Million just a few months after going live. A bold move for a college sophomore.

From the Harvard Crimson 2004 article:
“While Zuckerberg promised that thefacebook.com would boast new features by the end of the week, he said that he did not create the website with the intention of generating revenue. “

In 2008, he resisted Yahoo!‘s offer of $1 Billion (a move many thought foolish). This past week, Facebook filed the paperwork for a $5 Billion public offering that would value the company at between $750 and $100 Billion.

And so I owe Mark Zuckerberg an apology. In 2010, TIME Magazine named him Person of the Year. I wrote an entry at the time stating that it was not the best choice available (see Mark Zuckerberg,TIME Magazine Person of the Year — But Not Mine). But with a 28% ownership stake, Zuckerberg stands to be worth $28 Billion. Yes, that’s billion, with a “B”. Obviously, I was wrong in 2010 and for that I apologize.

I hope he’ll forgive me.

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