The Social Media Conversationalist

Social Media at the OlympicsI remember when I first got Facebook in high school. It was an entirely separate thing from my non-digital life. Talking about writing on someone’s wall, or something funny someone posted was just plain awkward.

Oh, how times have changed.

Last summer during the London Olympics (which I am slightly obsessed with), I was following the Games online and telling my family funny tweets. Finally, someone remarked something like, “Kristina, stop interrupting us with what other people are saying. We’re talking right here.”

He didn’t understand that social media has become a part of our conversation.

Earlier this fall, I attended a Twins game with the express purpose of being apart of a social media gathering. Two years ago, the Guthrie  assigned a section of its theater as Tweet Seats. These theater go-ers were allowed to tweet during the show, and when the actresses and actors were backstage they would tweet, too. Social media became part of the production as screens featured the tweet from both attendees and performers.

There’s even an award for campaigns that use social media to interact with real-time events. Large events, in my opinion, are more fun when you have the whole world to talk about it with. I’m not watching the Super Bowl for the football.

Real-time marketing with social media is getting attention in the agency world, too. Edelman, a public relations powerhouse, recently developed the Creative Newsroom to help its clients engage consumers with responses to real world events. With a slogan of  “storytelling at the speed of now,” Edelman’s clients can now easily be a part of conversations. Their team draws from a wide range of disciplines, including “former reporters, media specialists, and trend spotters,” in order to do this.

I am kind of in love with this.

It’s amazing to me how social media has evolved into being such a conversationalist. With millions around the world joining in, including brands backed by “Creative Newsrooms,” I don’t think I’ll ever have to worry about running out of things to say.

Learn more about the creative newsroom:

Does Social Media Make Us Better?

kristina1My junior year of college I flew to Phoenix, Ariz., my first attempt at flying since 9/11. I was incredibly nervous but what kept me going, beyond the personal satisfaction, was being able to post my personal triumph on Facebook. My fear was no secret to my friends and family and I wanted to share this big moment.

This past weekend was another big moment. I flew on a plane by myself. Again, as I became nervous, I would imagine how excited I would be to post this on Facebook, Twitter, or wherever to let others know of my personal accomplishment.

This got me thinking. Social media was really powering my ability to conquer this fear. But people don’t just post about getting over their fear of flying or whatever phobia they are inflicted with.

They post about getting into graduate school, graduating with honors, getting engaged or married, being selected for a prestigious honor, or getting a new job.

They post about big moments in their lives. So does social media help us aspire to do big things in order to be more interesting online?

Will you study harder for the LSAT knowing, that by getting into a good law school you can post your achievement online? Will you forgo calling your friends to tell them of your engagement wanting to save the news in exchange for more likes on Facebook?

According to a Psychology Today article, “Facebook users… make conscious decisions about what they post and share in order to achieve certain goals. Researchers call this selective self-presentation. For many, these goals are to make themselves look as good as possible: attractive, popular, successful, enviable. Thus the content of Facebook profiles is more of a compilation of our greatest hits than an honest track listing.”

That’s really not surprising. We all want to look good. But a sociologist interviewed in a New York Times article supports my thoughts that social media can affect our offline behavior (although this article details its negative influence).

“The fact that the world is going to see you increases the risks you are willing to take,” said Zeynep Tufekci.

According to the NYT, the satisfaction from getting a lot of online attention encourages thinking about what you post.

“The feedback loop of positive reinforcement is the most addictive element of social media,” writes Jenna Wortham.

I’m certainly not immune to this. I know what posts get the most kinds of positive feedback in the form of retweets, likes, favorites and shares. We all do.

Social learning theory comes into play here. We scroll through our news feeds and notice which posts have the most feedback. If the post has a baby, engagement ring, new job announcement and the post doesn’t have feedback in the double digits your ring is too small or your baby not  cute enough. Kidding.

But social learning theory teaches us what to post. We know what kinds of things get the most positive feedback, and thus, strive to post that type of content. Social media certainly influenced my ability to conquer my fear. I have someone in my social circle who blogged what they ate to lose weight.

Social media influences our lives. With some research, we could learn to what degree.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Top

AveraThis summer I had the opportunity to work with two great organizations filled with amazing, creative people. The three months I spent with them absolutely flew by.

I was a marketing intern at Augustana College with Kelly Sprecher and a communications intern at Avera McKennan with Lindsey Meyers.

AugustanaCollegeI can not say enough good things about either position and the people I was fortunate enough to work with. The two women I primarily worked with shared several traits, but the one that stood out most was their sense of humor. It would be fair to say that a good portion of my summer was spent laughing.

Both women could be serious when need be, but they weren’t afraid to crack jokes. I loved that they didn’t take themselves too seriously and as they were both leaders in their organization, I was interested in finding out if humor is positively correlated with success in the workplace. According to this  Forbes’ article, it might!

Jenna Goudreau interviewed a psychologist on how laughing at stressful situations can actually make one less stressed. Goudreau writes, “because we can only feel one emotion at a time, humor creates an emotional lift by displacing frustration with the joy of the joke and a physiological reduction of stress hormones.”

Some other interesting facts from the article:

  • People in a good mood can actually get more done and find solutions for difficult situations
  •  Cracking jokes can actually make you fit in better with a group

According to the psychologist Goudreau interviewed, people with a good sense of humor “will be perceived as more enjoyable and as better employees because they are in fact more successful.”

The article made clear to point out that humor type has different effects. It also noted that several companies, including Google, have included humor in their company culture statements.

So there you have it. Joke on. Laugh your way to the top.

Social Media Cinderella Story

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The deck we were on at the Twins Game.

Saturday night, I attended the Deckstravaganza at Target Field, a meet-up for social media users to enjoy the Twins game and share their experience via different social outlets. I was invited by Hannah Kuelbs, who won the contest.

After arriving on Deck 3 (the HootSuite, TweetDeck… so many pun possibilities here), Hannah and I were informed that the night would also include a retweet contest, with the winner receiving a signed baseball hat.

I should clarify that we were among those with accounts who have thousands more followers than we do. But Hannah accepted the retweet challenge and I was determined to help her win.

She went with the home state angle. Amongst many Minnesotans, Hannah thought she could rally the South Dakota troops (and some people who mistook “SD” for San Diego) behind her tweet:
“Help a SD girl out! I’m at #deckstravaganza at Target field – most RTs gets this signed J. Mauer hat!”

deckstravaganza

Deckstravaganza attendees staring at our phones, of course.

Hannah also had the brilliant idea of snap chatting everyone in her contact list to help her in the contest. Her retweet count started to rise, but the other social media attendees had far more influence.

So we turned to another strategy: personal selling.

My little spiel went something like this: “Do you remember the titans? How about the mighty ducks? Well this is the Hannah Kuelbs story. And she needs your retweet.”

We asked the other members on Deck 3 (and some unwillingly Canadians) for their help and they actually came through. Hannah ended up with over 100 retweets and she won the hat! It was pretty exciting to have someone with so few followers (relative to the other attendees) and not as influential within the Twins network win the contest.

Hannah after winning.

Hannah after winning.

It was also ironic that winning the contest took person-to-person interaction rather than purely relying on online influence. An important reminder that social may not always be as influential as a real conversation. Apparently begging for retweets in-person really does the trick.

We had a great time at the game, although we only caught a few minutes of the on-field action. We were much more interested in networking with the other deckstravaganza attendees and tracking retweets.

Hannah’s winning tweet, featured below:

A Full-Circle Summer

On a Friday in kindergarten, my teacher told the class we would begin journaling the following Monday. I went home terror struck. I didn’t know how to write and I was absolutely certain I would be expected to.

My mom was forced to call my teacher and let her know, as I’m sure she already did, that I did not know how to write. Of course my teacher assured my mother that she did not expect any of her five-year-old students to write but that journaling would help develop the skill.

Fast forward 17 years. I spent the summer writing for two of the largest and most prominent organizations in my hometown, Avera McKennan and Augustana College. I was able to participate in all sorts of communications, from news releases and stories to blog posts.

Writing is now one of my favorite things to do. I don’t know all the answers to grammatical questions, but I love putting words together in a creative way to tell a story.

Life has a very funny way of coming full circle.

 

Make a Statement

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As a new college grad, I don’t have a huge budget for clothes. One way that I’ve found to reduce the need for more clothes is to make the outfits look different by using statement necklaces. Take a look above. Same shirt, four different styles of necklaces that can transform the look I’m going for. Whether it’s a more edgy or classic style, the statement necklace will get ‘er done for (usually) a lower cost!

Tweet Más.

tacobellA couple of weeks ago, my cousin Janelle tweeted, “I don’t need replies or retweets from organizations I mention positively, but a ‘favorite’ is like a read receipt and it takes seconds.”

I totally agree. I love connecting with organizations via Twitter and for large companies, who undoubtedly have a large team managing their social media sites, to not even recognize when a fan takes time to try to connect is unfortunate.

The other day I noticed an account that does a really good job at this. Taco Bell.

With over 26,000 tweets they are doing more than promoting their Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Taco Supreme; they respond to quite a few of their mentions and favorite even more. The responses usually aren’t more than a couple words long, but they are witty and cute.

I should also note that I was writing this blog post on a Sunday night and their Twitter feed was positively blowing up with responses! So cool that their social media isn’t dictated by a normal 9-5, Monday through Friday schedule.

Some of my favorites:

I don’t ever eat at Taco Bell but I might have to try it out simply because their social media team is so responsive. And don’t worry, I’ll definitely tweet about it!

What companies have you seen to be really good at communicating with fans on Twitter?