Being serious in a world that doesn’t want to be

More and more I am seeing a world where people online (especially on social media) want to be the cool, funny one, putting up gifs and memes to point fun at serious situations or people who take things seriously. This to me has been highlighted by the recent EU referendum in the UK.

It seems caring or being passionate about something is some how wrong to the Internet community. It is like playschool all over again. Serious matter or serious people seem to be easy fodder to be ridiculed. I wish more people took things seriously and were supported by others. When a situation is a serious one like the EU Referendum, with so much importance to the future of this country it just shows how unimportant it is to some people when there is a reaction like this. It was like winning the vote was all that mattered to many people and now that it is done, nothing else matters but making fun of those that didn’t and twisting the knife.

Being told to shut up

On my Facebook after the vote I did not see anyone from the leave side of the vote discuss what positives it meant for the country in their eyes, all I saw were memes and people complaining about the vote being told to shut up or being called sore losers.

Just because we lost we don’t all want a second referendum like the Internet seems to make you think. The vote happened and I respect the majority, but that has happened, that is now the past and all I care about is the future of this country. I think caring about this country and the future is something we all need to do and something we should be encouraging others to do, not belittling them for it.

A world of instant communication

Lets be less quick to jump to humour. Lets read, listen and reflect, lets sense the tone and respond appropriately. It is so easy and quick to type something and send it before you have even had time to read something properly or think about what you are saying. This instant communication world we are in can be so good for so many things but in these instances I think it contributes to the more divided society we currently live in.

I love a good joke, good comedy and funny banter but I think timing and place is everything. Being comical to be the cool kid is not the way to go to, I think being comical should be about making people happy, not just to annoy others.

Not being glued to the phone

This weekend saw the start of the Formula 1 season, a sport my wife and I follow closely. Sadly this year without Satellite TV we can’t watch all the races live, instead we have to wait for the highlights of most races on Channel 4. Because we were busy yesterday we decided to record the highlights and watch them in the evening. We didn’t want anything from the race getting spoiled so my wife and I both turned the Internet and mobile data off on our phones, so that we avoided spoilers.

Making my phone boring

So much of our days seem to be spent glued to our phones, checking social media and trawling the Internet. Going on your phone seems to be a hard impulse to break but by not having Internet or data switched on, it made my phone boring and made me not want to go on it. I still found myself forgetting at times during the day that I had everything on my phone switched off, so I did have moments of getting it out of my pocket but for the majority of the day I spent it without my phone in my hand.

Without the phone I found myself engaging more with the world around me, listening more and just enjoying quiet time. The little things in life just got amplified like just staring at our gorgeous daughter. I found myself thinking more and daydreaming more. No conversations started with – did you see this on Facebook? It was a great day.

Do you miss out?

After we finished catching up with the F1 we turned the Internet and mobile data back on. Had the world changed? Probably for someone but had I missed out on anything important to me – no. Did I find out much interesting by going back on my phone – no. I think sometimes we are so worried about missing something that it keeps us on our phones but when you take time out you realise more often than not, you don’t miss anything at all.

I would rather miss out on anything happening on the Internet or social media than miss out on anything happening in the world around me. Phones and social media are hard things to avoid but I know that in the future I am going to try and take more days where I switch the Internet and mobile data off on my phone and enjoy the world around me.

The thing that annoys me about Facebook

The ‘Trending’ section of Facebook really sums up what is wrong with society, media and news. I never really give it much notice when I am on Facebook but will normally give the column a customary glance, whilst very rarely clicking on any of the stories. Over the last few weeks though I have noticed an ever-increasing tide of irrelevancy popping up in that section.

Like one the other day, I went on and one of the trending items was a famous person whose name I can’t remember wears bikini on a beach that I can’t (again) remember what beach it was. When did these things become a) news and b) worthy of our attention?

Not news

Stop press – someone wears bikini on beach – shocking! Where somebody is and what they are wearing isn’t news! Don’t get me wrong I am not looking for thought provoking, deep or investigative news on Facebook but this, really? If you want social irrelevancy, isn’t that what your timeline and newsfeed are for?

I am guessing to become trending it means that a lot of people on Facebook are talking about it but surely the reason people are talking about it is because Facebook pages with lots of likes are posting about it and spreading it round the world that way? I could be wrong but it seems the trending section is not organic and is just giving more publicity to what news and media companies want us to be talking about.

Substance

I know celebrity stories are always going to be popular and be a part of news, I just wish the stories had more substance. News headlines shouldn’t be made purely on what a famous person is wearing and where they are when they were wearing it. Today I am wearing jeans and a hoodie, which isn’t newsworthy, but if a celebrity was caught out of the house wearing jeans and a hoodie someone would be reporting about it somewhere in the world, it would then be put on Facebook and everyone would know that vitally important update.

I think Facebook would be better served to have an editorial that gives a range of the subjects that matter to people on Facebook, not just what the most talked about or read post is. Don’t like starting my week with a rant but I have wanted to write about this for a little while now and am glad to have it off my chest.

Marketing and publicity

As we are now a month away from Christmas I am starting to try and ramp up the marketing and publicity of my book “unbreakable Bond”, to try and benefit from the extra retail spending that is going on.

I have a very small marketing budget and no marketing team for my book, so it’s just about me working hard and using the money wisely. I want to make sure that I get the most out of the fund that I have and get a great return on investment.

Free publicity

The first thing I am trying to do is get free publicity. This involves me emailing countless media outlets in the hope that one will pick it up and feature a piece on my book. After every piece of media there has been about my book, I have noticed a rise in sales so I feel it is worth investing my time in writing countless emails. I know most will come to nothing but that time investment is worth it for the one that does.

Next thing I am trying to do is to get dementia websites and member organisations to feature and talk about my book. This involves a lot of speculative emailing again, as well as sending copies of my book to these organisations in the hope they feature something on the book. This has worked quite well so far with a handful of dementia websites featuring the book. The brilliant thing about doing this is that it gives the book more credence when a respected dementia organisation talks about it, as it is like an endorsement.

Promotion

I try as much as I can to promote it for free online, posting links to buy the book on websites and posting about it on social media as often as I can. The great thing about this method is you never know who is reading what on social media and with the right people liking, commenting on or sharing something I post, it can help expand my audience greatly and get in front of people I wouldn’t have been able to reach without it.

The next plunge this month is to do paid for advertising on Facebook. I haven’t done this before, so I am bit cautious about how much to invest and how to tailor the advertising but I am excited to see how it goes. I think social media is such an important an accessible market now, that I need to have a good presence to get the book noticed.

My mission through all of this is just to get the book in as many hands as possible. For all those out there plugging away promoting something they have created, I salute you and for anyone with some money in their account I would ask you kindly to follow this link and buy the book.

http://www.unbreakablebond.co.uk/#!grab-a-copy/cqh1

 

 

A world of love

On Saturday morning my wife brought me breakfast in bed and shared what she had just seen on the news. Paris for so many years has been known to most around the world as the city of love and as one of the countries most romantic places to visit. Sadly over the weekend this was disrupted by widespread terror attacks and loss of life.

Now I know many terrorist attacks, wars and deaths go unreported in the widespread media and there is more going on than just Paris, but I wanted to talk about it because I am a consumer of media and like to talk on this blog about its effect.

Numb

When my wife shared the news with me I felt numb. The feeling that caught me was if that this can happen in Paris it could happen anywhere. After Paris which major city will be next? The UK could quite easily be targeted; terrorism has never felt quite so close to home as it did this weekend.

An interview I heard on the radio with someone living in Paris really struck me. In the interview the lady said, “the only way we win is by keeping on living as we were and not in fear, as if we stop living they have won.” On that night in Paris friends, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, grand parents, sons and daughters all lost their ability to keep on living. If people stop living as they were, the terrorists have caused more lives to end than their weapons ever will.

Facebook

Over the weekend many people turned their profile photos blue, white and red in support of France after being asked if they wanted to by Facebook. My urge to everyone that chose to do it, is to not let the day you turn your profile photo back be the day you stop caring or thinking of them. Don’t judge people that didn’t change their profile photos and don’t judge people when they turn them back. My hope is that this Facebook activity hope promotes awareness and encourages people to action, I hope it isn’t just something to do for a weekend and to forget about.

My wife and I visited Paris a few years back and had the most amazing time in a lovely city. I would love to go back one day and nothing like this would ever stop me, just as the lady in the interview said we must keep on living.

The only thing that conquers all is love and we’ve got to be a more loving world if we want to make positive change and make a better world to live in.

Think before you share

One thing I have noticed a lot recently online and in social media, is how quickly and easily people share things, without giving it much thought. People will stumble across a post, photo or video, then quickly decide they like it and hit the share button. Without much knowledge of where the post came from or who was behind it, they are happy to associate it with their name and their feed, showing friends that they either like or support it.

A not very discerning audience

This isn’t a revelation by any means and this means that many organisations are cashing in on it. People and companies know the social media audience isn’t very discerning, so with a well thought out idea they can promote themselves easily to millions by people sharing it on their feeds. People my have compelling and interesting arguments to promote, but if you don’t research it you won’t know how true, how real or how valid what you are sharing actually is.

The way social media seems to work these days is that someone posts something, people start sharing it, the news starts reacting to it and then a day later people report on social media and the news on how fake or invalid it is. Myself personally I would prefer to wait before sharing something I liked, to let this timeline play out and to do my own research.

Popularity doesn’t equal quality

Just because millions of others have shared or liked something it doesn’t mean the item is quality, it might just mean that millions of people have fallen in to the trap of not checking the back story.

One thing I don’t like is when companies or organisations with a bad reputation or that do horrendous things, then post images that they know people will share, like patriotic things for instance, which in themselves are harmless just to get people to share. They know that when people share, people don’t first click on their page to find out what they are about and when you have already hit the share button it’s too late.

An instant world

Social media is an instant medium but it doesn’t mean we have to turn in to instant and impulsive people. There are many people out there who prey on the fact that the audience is sadly like that and take advantage of it, so the only way not to be taken advantage of online is to take your time and think things through.

By sharing things you run the risk of promoting something you would never promote in real life and promoting something at the expense of your reputation and standing. Social media also has such an impact on the way we think about the world around us and view the stories we read about in the news, so by sharing something you could be influencing the way people think about something, so use that power wisely.

Getting the world talking

In today’s social media age it has never been easier to get the world talking about something. Sadly we don’t call it getting the world talking any more, we call it trending. The question I want to pose today though is this: Do companies know the difference between trending and engagement?

Having millions of people posting at the same time about something, is really cool, but if no one is talking about it 12 hours later, what did it matter and what did it change? The real gauge of interest isn’t how many people post online using the right hashtag or click a link; the real gauge of interest is what action people take about something that is trending.

What to believe

The other problem we have in social media land now, is not knowing what to believe. When you see a post online you don’t know whether someone has been paid to put it up, has paid to make it more visible compared to other posts or if the person posting is a real account and not a robot or a fake alias. On social media, popularity is for sale and anyone can pay to make a topic, an event or a company trend.

When I log on to Facebook I always look at what is trending and it is a function that has made me aware of things that I hadn’t picked up on in the news. It is sad though that I think one day, what is trending will be the news and we will be more interested in what is trending, than we are traditional news. I think more and more that trending is how we find out about the stories of the world around us and I too am guilty of that, but that just shows how much of a powerful tool it can be.

Importance of Trending

Because of the importance put on getting things to trend, it ramps up the pressure. There seems to be a badge of honour that comes with getting something to trend and when it does trend, people then can’t wait to let people know that their stories trend.

The longer we digest social media in this way continues, the more competition there will be to be trending and all I can see that doing, is meaning on average that items will trend for even shorter periods than they do now, so it will turn in to a case of blink and you will miss it.

Slow down

Just because the online world moves fast, it doesn’t mean that it is always a good thing. If you are involved in putting content online you should want longevity in your content. When I look at stats for this blog, how many people view an article on the day it publishes doesn’t bother me, what I am interested in is how my posts from last year are doing, as that is the test of timeless content. The other stats I am interested in are – how many people comment, follow, like and click through to other articles after reading their first one.

My advice to the online community is – let’s stop worrying about the moment and think about the lifetime.