“Instagrim”: Why social media makes students miserable

In our classrooms, we urge our students to express a range of opinions, to disagree, to become critical thinkers. Online is a different matter. On their Facebook and Instagram feeds, they are learning to conform and be uniformly agreeable, because opinion and difference can come with a high price.

“People have pressure now, more than ever, to project an image that everything’s peachy and wonderful in their life,” said one student.

Twitter for the Fearful

Let it go.
Let it go.

Twitter is the East Village of social media platforms, a once-cool locale that has been deserted by its hipster denizens and left to the well-heeled wannabes. Which means, of course, that it’s prime ground for business development.

With nearly 300 million active users (Statista 2/2015) who can be segmented by interest, location, and a dozen other criteria, there will never be lower fruit for marketers to pick. Yet, while everyone has some presence on Twitter, practically no one in the corporate world is doing it right.

There are a few good reasons for this. First and foremost, social media is the province of the young, and young people are rarely intentionally strategic. They are the world’s greatest connectors, building enormous and vibrant networks, but these pulsating masses of virtual humanity are often ends in themselves.

Second, older people are afraid of social media. “It can’t be controlled.” “It gets out of hand.” “We don’t have the resources to deal with it.” Sounds like any establishment figure talking about any youth movement, doesn’t it?

Well, get over it. We’re going to have to find a way to exist in this brave new world (which is 20-plus years old already). And that means partnering with younger people, charting a strategic course, and letting the connectors do their stuff.

Next up: Developing a Twitter Strategy, or “Ain’t Nobody Got Time for This”

Follow me @DebGainesAssoc

Bad for morale

The people (you know it was a committee) who dreamed up “morale booster” probably had their employees’ best interests at heart. Yet it’s come to connote “too little, too late,” “PR opportunity for management,” and a whole lot of other negatives.

Other good terms gone bad include:

Creating synergy. One of a “grab-bag of phrases that fill in for actual ideas, goals or know-how,” says reader Alba Brunetti.

Work with me. “Lower your rates to fit my wee budget.” (Jenna Schnuer)

Operational excellence. “Layoffs and massive budget-cutting” (Sarah Maxim). Used to be called streamlining or rightsizing.

Teachable moment. “You fucked up.” (Sophia Dembling)

Please add to the list!

A four-word social media policy

Every organization now has a social media policy, and most of them boil down to the same thing: Don’t be an idiot. For some reason, companies feel compelled to spell out every form that idiocy might take. IBM’s guidelines include items like “don’t pick fights” and “don’t pretend to be someone else;” Kodak suggests you “know what you are talking about.” Coca Cola goes even further, specifying that “it’s not okay to violate other people’s rights.”

It’s as if, instead of saying the dress code is business casual, companies are telling their employees to wear pants. Does the nature of social media somehow lead to corporate overthinking?