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Your social media obsession won’t make an enduring mark on the world

By Claudio Gandelman, Sunday, 13 Oct ’13, The Next Web

writing

Claudio Gandelman is the CEO and founder of Teckler. His career began in 1992 when he worked in the financial market at Banco Nacional in Brazil. Since then, Gandelman has served as the CEO of Match.com Latin America, founder of Keero.com, and has held strategic positions in companies in South America.

Roughly 40,000 years ago, our ancestors made the earliest known cave painting in northern Spain. Their dots and stenciled handprints eventually gave way to fancier forms of communication like writing, which arose in ancient Mesopotamia around 3,200 BC. Paper, first invented by the Chinese in 105 AD, combined with writing, became the king of content storage for roughly 1,900 years. Today, digital repositories of knowledge replace the physical.

But here is irony: That 40,000 year old cave painting in Spain has survived and probably will survive for much longer than anything you write on Facebook, Twitter, and the majority of other social media sites. As far as technology has come, it may in fact be worse at preserving content in a way that matters.

Yes, the Library of Congress is archiving all Twitter feeds and a few select Facebook pages, and yes, your writings are going onto servers.

However, if you have written or created any content of an enduring nature, will it still be talked about years from now?

If today you wrote something so important that it will matter in 20 years as much as it mattered today, if you put your heart and mind into the written word … but you put it on Facebook or Twitter, who is going to find it days, weeks, months, years, decades or centuries later, when it does still matter?

Probably no one, and here’s why.

The cycle of story telling

Historically, written works of importance were hand-copied by scribes, monks, and intellectuals who were willing to commit countless hours of grunt work to insure that future generations could benefit from that wisdom and knowledge. After the invention of printing in China in the eleventh century, and later Germany in the fifteenth century, suddenly content could be preserved more effectively because the same devotees could create thousands of copies of a single work in the time it took to hand-copy one manuscript.

We have a similar mechanism on Facebook and Twitter. When you post something of interest, and people share or retweet it, they essentially reprint this information.

But unlike books, which are methodically categorized and stored within libraries, Facebook posts and tweets will not be curated and probably cannot be curate to that extent. Unless your Facebook page is one of the lucky few chosen for the Library of Congress, whatever you post on Facebook is going to be virtually impossible to recall or retrieve years down the road. Whatever you write in 140 characters is probably not going to be worth finding anyway, unless you’re writing haikus.

In other words, the immense efforts you make to document your life, share your opinions, stand up for your values, or create written art ultimately have no more permanence than the wave a pebble makes upon dropping into the river.

That does not mean that your Facebook post and tweets don’t count. We know from the Syrian civil war, Occupy Wall Street, and the Egyptian revolution that a tweet or Facebook post can change the world. Though if we have healthy egos, we shouldn’t feel compelled to preserve our posts and tweets simply because they are ours. Like a dictator who commissions his own statue, we do not need to erect little digital statues of ourselves.

However, like the monks, scribes, and intellectuals of old, we do have a responsibility to pass on our collective memory, knowledge, stories, and wisdom. And each time we create great content and place it somewhere like Facebook, we fail in that responsibility.

Death of digital content

My aim is not to bash Facebook or Twitter – they are incredible tools for social connectivity and the distribution of news. My aim is to make it clear that they are not the proper place for meaningful content. We owe the richness of our literature, art, science, philosophy, and history to people who created content before us and transmitted it to others in long lasting forms. We owe future generations that richness too.

As much as this is a warning about the impermanence of most social media content, this is also a call to remember that just because digital content can be deleted, copied, pasted, emailed, or linked to, that does not make it inherently less valuable than the content that appears in a 1,900-year-old manuscript or 40,000 year old cave painting.

The danger of purely putting content on Facebook and Twitter is that we come to devalue our own word. We post in comfort because we know our words may – or may not – pop up on a newsfeed before they quickly flow downstream to a vast and infinite digital ocean.

Perhaps content goes to die on Facebook and Twitter. However, I believe that content really goes to die wherever we write it or create it under the assumption that it is going to disappear on a server and ultimately not matter.

When the monk, scribe or intellectual sat down to pen something, they probably did so in hopes that someone would read it, find it worthwhile, and add it to the collective stream of knowledge.

So next time you write something, write like it matters. Keep your own blog, write a guest post for a blog that has steady readership, self-publish an e-book, or put your thoughts in social media sites that actually make content permanent and searchable rather than ephemeral. Publish somewhere your words can matter today and hopefully matter 40,000 years from now.

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Posted by on October 19, 2013 in History, Social Media, Technology

 

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Social Networks Aim to Land More …

Twitter, Facebook Try to Win Larger Paid-ad Outlays as They Assume Bigger Role In Big Game

Now that they’ve become an established part of the Super Bowl marketing playbook, social networks are looking to command more of fans’ attention and maybe a bigger share of TV ad dollars.

There are already examples pointing to Facebook and Twitter having a more central role, which can begin at the inception of a TV spot.

Lincoln hired Jimmy Fallon to help produce its first Super Bowl ad based on tweeted script submissions. (Contributors to the finished product will have their Twitter handles displayed in the spot.) Pepsi is taking to social media to ask fans for pictures of themselves to be part of a commercial to run just before the halftime show; Toyota is asking fans on Twitter to submit a photo to be included in its ad. And for the seventh year, Doritos is holding its “Crash the Super Bowl” contest in which fans vote on spots created by amateur filmmakers. But this year the voting will occur on Facebook.

As marketers guide eyeballs to social-media content in the weeks leading up to the game to gin up buzz for their spots, ads on those platforms may start to look more valuable. According to Frito-Lay VP-marketing Ram Krishnan, Facebook is the biggest digital-ad partner for this year’s instalment of “Crash the Super Bowl,” which includes a substantial investment in sponsored stories. “Our investment in Facebook was very minimal last year, but … our media mix has changed considerably.”

Pepsi Co Beverages’ global head of digital Shiv Singh expects advertisers to spend liberally on Twitter on game day based on the massive user engagement the platform saw last year (10,000 Super Bowl-related tweets every second in the final three minutes of the game) which is bound to rise this year. “As a brand and as a social network, Twitter is going to win the Super Bowl even without having an ad,” he said.

Twitter’s head of brand strategy, Josh Grau, has high expectations for this Super Bowl based on the availability of ad products that weren’t in the market a year ago, like promoted tweets in mobile app users’ tweet streams and interest-level targeting. (Facebook declined to comment on its Super Bowl strategy.)

Last year the focus among Bowl advertisers on Twitter was bidding on keywords likely to be searched for during the game and promoting tweets in searches of those terms. While Mr. Grau expects that brands will continue to have “a hardcore arm wrestle” over hot keywords this year, he expects interest to shift to promoted tweets that can appear in the streams of segments of Twitter users, such as football fans.

Not every brand is intent on making a deep investment in social ads. Lincoln’s Global Director Matt VanDyke noted that while promoted tweets were used to help draw attention to Mr. Fallon’s campaign, the automaker went into it with the belief that his celebrity was their most powerful marketing tool. “That was one of the key selection criteria with Jimmy: We wanted to do it as organically as we could,” he said.

Lincoln decided to focus less on game-time to capture attention as early as possible, starting with the announcement of Mr. Fallon’s involvement, so as to grab people’s attention when fewer marketers were vying for it. “Everybody’s got the second screen going on, and [the game] is going to be a really crowded space, ” Mr. VanDyke said. “People [watching] are going to be overwhelmed.”

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2013 in Management Fundas, Social Media

 

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