Stalk Yourself

I’ve written about the need to type your name into a search engine every once in a while, since, you know, they’re talking about you and all. I’ve also talked about ways that some people use the web for evil. Recently, I had an interesting thought collision: am I stalkable? I don’t mean to be creepy in this post, but it’s a question that has previously only occurred to me as a completely ludicrous thought in passing, usually incited by an article about how people were checking in at locations every hour and ended up getting robbed. I don’t check in, so I must not be findable, unless, of course, you know my full name, occupation, and other personal details that I personally give to you.

My husband occasionally travels for business, and though I lived alone for several years before we got married, I’ve gotten used to having someone at home at night. Thus, when he’s traveling, I’m a bit unnerved to be home alone when it’s time for bed. This basically translates into locking both deadbolts before I go to sleep, so nothing terribly drastic. While he was gone on a business trip, I went to the gym. A young fellow stepped onto the elliptical next to me and apologized for stinking after a sweaty workout. My reply, “No worries, it’s a gym, you’re supposed to sweat!” opened the door to a nice chat about work and education. During the conversation, I mentioned that I’m in marketing, in the aviation industry, I’m working on an MBA at UT Dallas, and I previously lived in California. He shared his occupation, industry, undergraduate alma mater, and the rent he pays at his current apartment (we were talking about the difference in housing prices between CA and TX, a topic that comes up pretty frequently when people find out I lived in CA). He finished his cardio before me, and as he walked off, he threw his first name out there, so I replied with my first name, and that was that.

On the way home, it occurred to me that I’d given out quite a bit of information about myself to a complete stranger. Then I realized, I do that all the time. I’m a social person, so if you decide to talk to me on the elevator, in the grocery line, or at the gym, I’ll probably engage you if I have a few minutes. With the details I’d given (and regularly give), could you find me?

That’s when I decided to stalk myself. I used good ‘ole boolean logic to string together some searches on the information that I frequently spill about myself to random strangers. The good news is, it takes quite a bit of detail to actually find me. The bad news is, I usually give you enough detail to do it. The good news is, a lot of other people come up in the search results well before I do. The bad news is, I eventually came up as the #3 search result. I had to search on 5 details for my LinkedIn profile to show up.

I suppose I should freak out a little bit, since my impetus for stalking myself was brought on by the thought of someone else stalking me, but I really don’t feel any more worry about it than I do about being home alone. I guess I just feel that if someone is really out to get me, they’ll find a way to do it, whether I put myself out there or not. I mean, that guy at the gym could’ve followed me to my car and followed me home… much simpler than trying to find me online, deduce where I live, catch me home alone, and do me harm. Then again, maybe I’M the ax murderer that’s going to stalk him and do harm to him, even though I seem like a friendly person at the local gym.

This is all just food for thought. How much do we really know or trust anyone we meet? How has the internet changed how we interact with strangers? What’s REALLY so unique to you that you can’t put it out into the world, for fear of it being used against you? Is it worth closing yourself off to all social media, just in case?

Evolution or Big Bang?

No, no, I’m not about to re-hash the debate on how we all got here, but I am going to talk about the best choice for a brand roll-out. I’m working on a couple of projects that involve creating a brand from scratch, and I just switched to the new Microsoft Outlook email system, so I’ve been following their roll-out of the re-brand. So, which is better: the brand evolution or the big bang roll-out?

Honestly, I think both have merit, depending on the situation. The brand evolution is a piecemeal roll-out, where you implement new product lines, logos, campaigns, and platforms as you create them. The big bang roll-out goes all in from day one, with a content-rich website, booming Twitter presence, snazzy ad campaign, and forums with a ton of information. Can you guess which company chose the big bang? Microsoft, of course! One of my projects is for a musician, and I’m advising the piecemeal roll-out for him. So, why do some projects need evolution, and some need a big bang?

The Big Bang:

– Ideal for companies with an established brand identity

– Companies with the time, money, and manpower to create, distribute, and manage content across multiple platforms

– Companies that need to make a splash in the press – nothing says “big news” like the buzz of something big, and then flipping the switch on a new brand identity!

– Products with a broad market appeal – you need to make a splash in the press to get their attention, remember?

 

The Evolution:

– Ideal for brands that are new to the marketplace

– Roll-outs of each new aspect of the brand creates more customer touch-points by offering new reasons to invite your customers to view your content

– Small companies/individuals will NEVER release a brand if they have to wait until it’s completely finished because they’ll be wrestling with themselves forever! (Trust me, I’m struggling to kick a project out of the nest right now, even though I know it will fly!)

– Limited resources necessitate making a little money before spending a long of money, and the steady roll-out allows you to get a little business before you invest in the next piece. You won’t get in over your head by trying to manage a web site, an ad campaign, a Twitter presence, and… oh yeah, actually making and selling your product or providing your services!

– Ability to test, try and fail. You might not need every tool in the marketing tool box, so start with the most effective tool, and work your way down. It’s easier to add it on later than to watch your whole brand crumble because you took on too many ineffective tools.

I think there’s a strong case for each option, but it depends on your goal and your resources. Microsoft is a well-oiled machine when it comes to re-brands or brand roll-outs, and you expect to hit a fully formed marketing effort when they flip the switch. My musician, on the other hand, will be well-served by a slower release of his content. He’s excited to jump in with a website, blog, YouTube channel, and Twitter presence, but I’m advising him to slow down the releases. Instead of posting all 6 videos on launch day, just post one. That way, you already have a bank of content to draw from, and you can release the videos over several weeks to keep people coming back. Don’t commit to blogging every day, start with once a week. Again, you can always build up to multiple posts each week, but posting weekly will give you a reason to talk to your customers in the beginning.

Do you prefer evolution or a big bang? Do you think one method is truly better than the other, or does it depend on your business?

They’re Talking About YOU!

We’ve established that my privacy threshold is pretty low online, but this article on Forbes re-affirms my comments that people are, in fact, talking about you. The article takes a slightly different angle on your personal web presence, but I think many of the points transcend into the corporate brand as well.

Transparency. The author tells an anecdote about her friend that’s interning at a recruiting firm. The friend has become a gatekeeper in the hiring process, and her job is to check out candidates’ online life. The thing is, squeaky clean profiles actually throw up a red flag! If there’s absolutely no negative coverage, her friend starts assuming that the person must be hiding something, because nobody is that perfect. Ever felt that way about brands? If there’s no drawbacks to their product, no bad experiences noted in the reviews, doesn’t it make you wonder if the company has scrubbed the forums or written company-sponsored Yelp reviews? Even the best corporate brands have a bad incident in their past! A completely flawless online profile might actually make you seem more suspicious, and these days, companies want transparency.

Consistency. So your resume says you went to Harvard, but your Facebook profile doesn’t list a school. Your Twitter location shows Dallas, but your LinkedIn profile shows New York. Hmm…. that’s odd. Some of these inconsistencies could be easily explained, but in this economy, companies probably won’t take the time to hear you out. And, it’s not just companies that don’t have time, it’s customers of your corporate brand. When I’m shopping for a product or service, I want your marketing jargon to match up with customer reviews and my own personal experience. Every piece of your personal and corporate message should fit together, and inconsistent online evidence will hurt you in the long-run.

Compatibility. The article mentions that safe profiles make you pretty boring, and companies want to know that you’ll fit in with the culture around the office. If all your status updates show that you simply go to work, simply come home, and simply go to bed, you sound like a drag. Sure, you don’t need to be posting about raging parties every night, but show some personality! Do you kick butt at the gym every Friday night? Do you love taking pictures and scrapbooking them? These characteristics might be crucial in your ability to fit in with your future co-workers. This definitely does not stop at your personal brand! The movement toward green products and ethical sourcing is growing rapidly, and many companies are trying to differentiate themselves to customers with CSR programs. It’s not enough to just put the cliche “made from 50% recycled products” in tiny print on a label, you have to show that you really care about this movement! Are you trying to get in with the artists, the cool kids, the business people, or the sports addicts? You need to show that you understand your demographic, and that your products or services are compatible with their lifestyles, values, and needs.

Control the conversation. I’ve said it before, but I truly believe that the conversation is going to happen. Do you want to have a voice in the conversation, or do you want to let others talk about you behind your back? My name is fairly unique, so most of the content you find when you Bing me is most likely created by me. I did this on purpose! I don’t have enemies or competitors trying to ruin my personal brand, but many people and corporations do. Do you really want your competitors making the only comments in the conversation? Get involved, talk about your awesome product (for your personal brand, your product is YOU!), contribute to the online information about your services, and exert some control over your web presence. You can stay silent, but the internet will keep talking.

I thought this article had an interesting perspective on the advice about your social media presence. They’re talking about you… but are YOU talking about you?

Coleman Campaign

As I mentioned in a previous post, I starting coming up ad campaigns for the products we used during our trip! This is the first campaign that struck me, and it has a great social media strategy tie-in as well. Note that I haven’t done any customer or strategic research to see if this would actually fit into Coleman’s marketing plan, it’s just what popped into my head while I was waiting for our fajitas to finish cooking. 🙂

The Campaign: “With a View”

The Concept: Coleman products let you enjoy life with a view. You can cook great food on a Coleman stove while enjoying the mountains. You can drink coffee from a Coleman cantina while kayaking down the river. You can watch the stars while snuggling in a Coleman sleeping bag, inside a Coleman tent. In short, if you want a view, Coleman can get you there!

The Tagline: “How do you________? With A View!”

The Ads: I shot these photos in Big Bend and Seminole Canyon.

How do you take your lunch? With a View!

 
How do you fall asleep? With a View!

 

The Customer Engagement: We would release one or two inspirational pictures in Q1, and hold a contest for customers to submit photos of themselves using Coleman products in cool, extreme environments. We’d ask them to show us what kind of views Coleman helped them enjoy. After 4 months, 3 winners would be chosen, and their photos would be featured in the ad campaign throughout Q2. Their photos would be shown in retailers like Academy and REI, and magazines that cater to outdoor enthusiasts.

There’s also Sweepstakes possibilities, where you win a trip, or Coleman gear, or some other fabulous prize. But, in this case, I think it works well to have the customer make a purchase first, and then win prestige later. I think this approach affords a win-win situation: Coleman makes money as people purchase products, they engage customers, and they get a new ad campaign. Customers win a feature campaign, just by taking a vacation!

Got an improvement on this campaign idea, or a photo that might work for the ad? I would love to feature your take here on the blog, so contact me with your ideas!

Privacy Thresholds

I was tasked with collecting biographies and head shots for our technicians in the shop. The plan is to send the customer an email at each stage of their engine overhaul with a little bit of information about who is doing what to their engine. We deal with many overseas customers, so it’s hard to put a “face” on the company. As a marketer and a millenial, I think this is a great idea. It keeps the customer apprised of the engine progress, assures them that a real person with real experience is doing real work on their engine, and makes all the technicians, customer service reps, and sales reps seem like one big happy family. We’re a unified company, partnering with you, our valued customer!

Interestingly, some people did not want their picture and a summary of their work experience put out into the world. Again, being a marketer and a millenial, this is very odd to me. I realize that my privacy threshold is lower than most people’s, particularly when it comes to professional information. You can put my name into a search engine and find out my entire work history, picture, and phone number in less than a minute. The crazy part is that this was intentional! I WANT people to find me. How else will I advance my blog, my career, and my success? If no one knows I exist, they can’t offer me an opportunity! In my profession, I’d wager that if a potential employer or client can’t easily find me on the web, they’d be suspicious of my qualifications and education.

This is not the case for prior generations, and particularly those in professions that require hard skills or specific licenses to practice. Marketing skills can be difficult to quantify or assess, so the big picture shown by my online presence is pretty crucial to my ability to prove myself. For technicians in an industry that will soon face a shortage of qualified workers, simply showing their A&P license is enough to get them to a probationary period, if not a full-time job. And, since many of these workers didn’t grow up in the age of the internet, the thought of putting their face and identifying history in print is pretty scary.

While I understand their concerns, it’s just so hard for me to relate. I don’t share every detail of my personal and professional life online, but if I can say it in polite conversation to a random stranger in person, why would I hesitate to put it online? I guess I feel that if someone really wants to steal my identity or cause me harm, I’m going to have to significantly disrupt my entire life to prevent them from doing that. I’d have to forgo all credit card use, online and offline (I mean really, we let 16 year old waiters take our credit cards out of our sight for an unspecified amount of time!), never put my address ANYWHERE, and ditch any phone communications! Is it really so bad for someone to know what I look like? Is it really so bad for someone to know that I attended UNT? Is it really that harmful for someone to know I go to boot camp on a regular basis? Sure, I keep my whereabouts off the internet, my schedule off the internet, and my super secret passwords out of publication, but I have a low privacy threshold. I wonder how this debate will change over the next 5-10 years, as millenials ascend to positions of power, and social networking becomes even more normal and pervasive than it already is. How’s your privacy threshold?

How to Use Blogging to Grow Your Career

I’m excited to welcome Angeline Evans back to the blog! She guest posted a while back, and she’s made a few changes since her last feature. Angeline Evans is a freelance writer, nonprofit communications consultant and career and style blogger at The New Professional. She believes that business casual doesn’t have to be boring and strives to help the everywoman find balance and success in the office lifestyle and in their careers. Prior to striking out on her own, Evans spent over five years in magazine publishing and public sector and nonprofit communications. Follow her on Twitter at @angelineevans.

 

There is a blog just about everything out there, from the mainstream to the mundane. Some are well-oiled machines; others obviously haven’t been touched in years. You probably follow a few for fun and a few professionally. But have you considered starting your own blog?

Blogging can be a fun personal hobby, yes, but it can also be a great professional move. This blog (Consciously Corporate) is a great example: Ashley shares great insight that demonstrates her marketing expertise and adds to the online chatter in her field, exposing her to a much greater audience than just those in her office.

There are many ways that a blog can benefit your career: it could open up new opportunities, expand your network, and establish you as an expert in your field. A blog also fills in the gap between resume and results for potential employers—you can demonstrate deeper understanding and showcase your best assets without being limited to one page.

Here are some ideas for how to use a blog to help grow your career.

 

Sound off on timely topics

As consumers of media, we each have our own reaction to new developments or hot button issues. You can sound off in a blog post’s comments, sure, but if you have more than a few sentences to say, why not elaborate in your own post and link to that instead? Try to provide some new information or draw a connection that hasn’t yet been made. It also contributes to the literature on the topic.

 

Share resources

Think about the most valuable people in your network: they’re probably the connectors. They know who to call for anything, where to find reliable information and where to get the best brunch. Online connectors are just as important as blood-and-flesh ones, and a blog that is on the pulse of an industry and connects its readers to valuable information and people is just as crucial as the former coworker who referred you for your job.

 

Build your network

Whether you’re already settled in your “forever” city or you’re looking to pick up your roots and relocate, a widespread network can be extremely valuable. Blogging and social media are a great way to expand beyond the typical workplace, geographic, or educational networks.

 

Engage experts on your way to becoming one

On the surface, an entry-level professional may not have much in common with their industry’s leading voices, but blogging can bridge the gap (though it may still be a slope, rather than a flat bridge). Social media has also made it easier to connect with others we may not run into otherwise. Try tweeting your favorite blog post to an industry expert and asking for their opinion, or contribute to an established industry news sites (use your blog as your resume when pitching).

Certainly there are some precautions to take before you take the plunge. If you’re currently employed and blogging about your work, use discretion in talking about the workplace or clients and be honest and upfront with your employer if the topic comes up (even better: tell them about it from the get go. They might even help come up with ideas). Even though it is relevant professionally, don’t blog on company time or let it interfere with your work.

So where do you start? Blogging consistently will help you most—you don’t have to commit to daily, but once a week is a good start—so think about general topics or “features” you want to include. Hop on Blogger or WordPress to get a feel for the technology (you can always purchase a URL and redirect it later), and jump in! When you’re ready to launch, send your link out to anyone you know in your industry (it won’t help you if no one reads it).

So You Wanna Start a Blog

We  recently discussed personal branding in one of my OB classes, and ways that your online presence can add or detract from your personal brand. There were a lot of questions about blogging, from how to get started, to the benefits or headaches of having a blog. I had one in-depth conversation about starting a blog, and I figured it would be helpful for anyone else that is considering a blog. So, here’s a few questions and tips to consider if you wanna start a blog:

 

What’s your goal? First, what are you trying to accomplish by starting a blog? Are you trying to position yourself as an expert in your field? Catalog your thoughts, phases of a specific project, or stages in life? Are you trying to help people with your expertise? The goal of the blog will drive the content, posting schedule, and tone, so you want the goal to be fairly broad. You also want to make sure it’s adaptable to different platforms and styles. This part of the principle comes from the book, “Built to Last”, which discusses how great companies use a flexible goal to keep pace with changing times. Google’s goal wasn’t “control the internet”, it was “compile and deliver information”, which means that if search engines become obsolete, Google won’t stray from its mission about information by moving to a new platform. Similarly, “position myself as an expert” is a much better goal than “write 800 words per day about the subject of pricing in retail markets”.

What kind of format? Sometimes a traditional “blog” format is not the best way to deliver your content. If you’re looking to help people by sharing your expertise, “how-to” archives might be a better fit than a daily or weekly blog post. If you’re looking to exchange ideas with people in your industry, a forum might best meet the needs. It’s wise to consider whether you intend to post regularly on an ever-changing topic, post static information on standard best practices, or respond to reader questions and comments. Many of these methods co-mingle, so you don’t have to pick just one. However, you need to consider each format and plan your approach for content delivery.

What’s the perspective? Are you planning to post anonymously, under a pseudonym, or under your real name? Do you plan to discuss personal, professional, or mixed topics? These questions are directly linked to the goal and format of the blog, but the answers can change over time. Many bloggers have started out as anonymous posters discussing professional topics, but eventually outed themselves as the owner of the blog. Others started posting professional topics, but later wove in personal stories. There’s no right or wrong answer, but you need to decide on the tone of the blog before you get started.

What’s the posting schedule? One of my biggest mistakes when I started my blog, was not considering a posting schedule. I figured I would just post whenever something popped into my head, and as a result, sometimes I had 1 post per month, and sometimes I had 20 posts per month. Your goal and the type of content you choose will drive your posting schedule. If you’re posting on a subject matter with very little change or new information, it will be pretty difficult to come up with new material for daily or weekly posts. Again, there’s no “correct” posting schedule, but it’s best to set expectations for your readers. Should they plan to stop by every day? Can they ignore you for 3 months and then show up to one new article?

Prepare for launch. I also made the mistake of launching my blog with no material! I hit the “go live” button, and then let it sit for a few days with no articles, no links, nothing besides my “hello world” post. This is a bad idea, particularly if you start publicizing your blog immediately. I highly recommend creating at least a month’s worth of content, and posting a few days’ worth of content before telling the world that you have a blog. Also, how are you planning to tell the world you have a blog? Are you intending to link to on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? Is it going to become a line on your resume? Are you planning to use word-of-mouth for publicity? The amount of content and type of publicity prior to launch will be driven by your goal, format, and posting schedule, as determined above.

 

I jumped into the deep end when I started my blog, and I didn’t really consider ANY of the questions or tips that I presented above. Because I was wandering aimlessly, it took about a year for me to gain any traction in readership and brand-building. There’s no right or wrong way to answer any of these questions, but if you wanna start a blog, I highly recommend taking the time to consider each question in detail!

 

“Reporters”

We had massive hail storms and several tornado touchdowns in Dallas yesterday, and it got me thinking about how different the reporting types of events has changed so drastically. It used to be the you had someone on a horse riding out to the storm to see how big it was, then trying to outrun the storm back to town to warn everyone that the storm was coming. Fast forward quite a bit, and we’ve got the technology to report on a storm in real time, but we still had to send someone out there with a camera and a mic. In times past, you only got a piece of the story: generally, the most juicy piece, which was the size of the storm. A few weeks or a few days later, and you’d get the other juicy piece of the story, the damage.

Yesterday’s “reporters” were real people with smart phones, recording, tweeting, and posting pictures and videos of the storm in real time. It was teachers taking a photo of their third grade class in duck-and-cover position in the hallway. It was high school students tweeting photos of blown out windshields immediately after the storm passed through. It was parents posting Facebook status updates about school closures. It was my husband contacting me on instant message, cell phone, and office phone to make sure I wasn’t in a place where people were live-streaming an approaching twister. These are real people, with real stories, from every angle.

Collusion of Evil Marketers

Do you remember that scene in the movie “Father of the Bride”, where George Banks has a melt-down in the super market over the superfluous buns? Some big shot over at the wiener company got together with some big shot at the bun company, and decided to screw the American public! George just wants to buy 8 hot dogs, and 8 hot dog buns… is that SUCH and UNREASONABLE request? Apparently. This is the type of collusion of evil marketers that my husband references when he wants to make a point. And, unfortunately, today’s post showcases another collusion of evil marketers:

Spokeo aggregates all your data for a complete profile, sold to anyone willing to pay for it.

 

Don't want your data to be accessible on Spokeo? Fear not, for a simple payment, Reputation.com will keep your data safe on the internet! And, they've conveniently placed an ad on Spokeo, making it easy for you to start the clean -up process!

 

I mentioned Spokeo in a recent post, as referenced in an article about a woman’s attacker stalking her, and her supposition that he found her through her Spokeo profile. It’s ironic, and quite sad, that Spokeo has an ad for data protection on their site that proudly provides a service to aggregate and display all your data! This is a perfect scenario for the big shots at both companies to get together to screw the American public! Here’s how it would go:

Spokeo evil marketer: “So, Reputation.com, have I got a proposal for you! My company will go to all the websites on the internet and pull everyone’s data into a profile. Then, if people want the data to go away, I’ll send them to you for data clean up! You just pay me a monthly commission fee, and we’ll call it even.”

Reputation.com evil marketer: “This is a great plan. I’ve got another person we should cut in on the deal: private investigators! I’ll have them pay me a monthly fee to find people, and then I’ll use your site to find them, and then I’ll tell the person that I wouldn’t have been able to find them if they’d just used my service to clean up their online presence! It’s PERFECT!!”

Then they hug and watch George Banks-esque melt-downs happen in the super market of the internet. And screw the American public.

In theory, it’s all ok, because George Banks could just buy 3 packs of hot dogs and 2 packs of hot dog buns to make 24 hot dogs, leaving no superfluous buns. And, theoretically, he’s thwarted the evil marketing plan! Except he doesn’t want 24 hot dogs, he wants 8 hot dogs, so now instead of 4 superfluous buns, he’s got 16 superfluous hot dogs. Theoretically, people could keep their data off Spokeo by never going online… ever. Except, anecdotal evidence suggests that Spokeo uses more than just online profiles, they use all sorts of “public” data. Except, “marketing and business lists” are generally sold, not put out for the public, so even if you don’t put any information online, it’s still quite possible that they’ve got something on you, so you’ll have to use Reputation.com anyways!

This is not to say that all online data is scary, damaging, or harmful, or that all sites that make a profile for you are trying to turn the world into a terrible place. I am saying, however, that we should all be aware of what we put out into the world, and the ways in which some of my more devious peers will try to manipulate you. That, and I got really excited when I found a reason to post the scene from “Father of the Bride”, and the Spokeo/Reputation.com relationship was too good to pass up!

Social Media: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Social media connects our society in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago. You can literally stay connected to friends, family, and perfect strangers around the world, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. It’s incredible that we live in a time when people have so much access to information at such a low cost. But, with great power comes great responsibility, and I’ve been thinking about some of the unfortunate side effects of this connectivity.

Social media has a lot of positive aspects for marketers and society at large. We can use it to improve our bottom line via data mining, “engaging in conversation”, and monitoring and measuring the buzz about our brand in the market place. Facebook marketers are working to use information on your profile to display ads tailored specifically for you. The informal days of Gallup Polls are becoming obsolete, since we can just check out the hashtags on Twitter for a quick read on the pulse of politics. You’ve got several social media platforms influencing human rights around the world. In short, we’re connected, informed, and using the vast network to our advantage, and I believe that’s largely a good thing.

However, what happens when our lives online pose risks to our lives in real life? How bad can it get when our most private selves are “outed” online, and our deepest fears realized after “help” from social media? For example, this woman’s attacker showed up on her doorstep… several times. The author questions whether he found her via a profile on Spokeo, a site that aggregates all your online data into an easily accessible profile (note that she states this information is not available online, but the premise of the site is that it uses information from the internet). What happens when governments punish those who criticize them on social media platforms? At what point do we question whether everyone knowing our every move is healthy? What about cyber bullying (the many cases of teen suicide reported as a result of Facebook posts), streaming illicit content to thousands of people (the case of suicide and reputations ruined after being unknowingly taped during a compromising situation), or tweeting unfounded complaints to a million followers (threatening business to give in to your demands or suffer the consequences of a blow to their brand).

Then there’s the ugly, literally. This Forbes article talks about girls posting videos on YouTube to ask if they are fat, ugly, or pretty. Have we really turned into a society that forces us to seek validation from perfect strangers? Do our youth have such low self-esteem that they must take to social media to connect with their “friends”? Is a high Klout score really all there is to achieve in life? There are real concerns that people becoming so obsessed with connecting online, that they’re forgoing or harming connections in real life.

I think all of the benefits and concerns about social media need to be addressed, and I think it’s fascinating how quickly and completely social media has altered our relationships, both professional and personal. How do we go about making laws, relationships, and business plans with all the complex issues that connectivity brings to light? How do we continue to ensure that our progress is doing more good than harm?