It’s a #New World!

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Written by Walter Boomsma, instructor. See his blog.

Every day is a new day; every day the world remakes itself in a myriad of ways–one of those truths that is both remarkable and at the same time stressful. Technology advances in leaps and bounds. Even how we view that new world changes. It seems the one thing you can be certain of is change. As a writer, I’ve always tried to stay very aware of how our language changes. An incident last week reminded me it’s tough to keep up.

A little background… as program director for Valley Grange, I get to work with third and fourth graders on an annual “Newspapers in Education” project. The short explanation is the kids design newspaper ads promoting Valley Grange. In an effort to make sure their ads contain the required information, we provide a “cheat sheet” that includes our official designation: Valley Grange #144. (The number indicates we were the one hundred forty fourth Grange to be chartered in Maine.)

The third graders had been designing and drawing intently with occasional requests for help when one called out, “Mr. Boomsma, do we have to include the hashtag?” I confess I suffered a moment or two of confusion regarding what she was talking about. (For those who don’t know, hashtags are words or phrases preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic.) That symbol used to be the pound sign and somewhere along the way it became the number sign. But to this young lady it’s a hashtag.

I was in a meeting a while back during which a self-appointed expert took over the marketing discussion by assuring us all social media was the answer to every one of our marketing challenges. Those who disagreed were informed we “didn’t get it.” Contrast that with the person who proclaimed that there was no way she would ever have a computer in her home. I resisted the temptation to prove her wrong–she probably has several–a television and remote, maybe? I also haven’t told her she “doesn’t get it.”

Personally, I do have a love/hate relationship with social media and the talking heads assure me that I’m not an exception. There’s some data suggesting that people are becoming increasingly frustrated with Facebook. I do, however, accept the reality that it’s part of the new world order. I also believe that whether we love it or hate it, we really should be using it mindfully. To that point, I’d like to offer you some examples of “mindfulness” as applies to social media.

Do you know what (according to one survey) the biggest Facebook dislike is? Find out here! But don’t just read the biggest one, read the list. Even more importantly, ask yourself what you’re doing on Facebook? If you think you are using to build your business, are you also doing things people dislike?

At the other end of the spectrum, you’re eyes may glaze over at the detail included in this article about the seven biggest social media mistakes you may be making.  There’s even lots of information about hashtags.

Mindfulness and curiosity go hand-in-hand. After you read those two articles, why not google (a word that is a relatively recent addition to our vocabulary) “Common Social Media Mistakes.” And to be truly mindful, remember the age old wisdom not to put all your eggs in one basket. If you spend all day on Facebook, you won’t reach the woman who thinks she doesn’t have a computer in her home. The problem with marketing is it’s easy to forget markets don’t hire real estate agents and markets don’t buy things.

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