Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Technology Handicap or the Socially Awkward Social Media Apps Are They Better than Old Fashioned Posters?

I used to write murder mysteries, I had a talented group of entertainers who worked with me. We printed posters, we submitted press releases. We entertained.

Fifteen years later, the world has changed. No calling friends or hanging posters. Posters? When was the last time you read a poster you walked by? Think about the faded words just begging for a reader to notice them. Never speaking, never able to say "THIS INFORMATION IS HERE FOR YOU and IT'S WORTH READING!" Not all of it is, but some of it warrants a look or a browse. There are fewer posters. Fewer concrete communications of events.

Everything flows from data, seeded through social media applications. Maybe you match an eye catching photo to the information or perhaps a short video; you pay for an ad to tantalize online, you use tags to catch random internet surfers. Tweet. Pin. Tumblr. Blog. YouTube. Angie's List. Craigslist, Facebook, Etsy, Ebay. Do you have all the apps you need yet to communicate?

Part of my mind sees a cartoon of each application as a different type of communication. Say Craigslist is like a blind date.It  could be a prank or sales pitch but you won't necessarily know until you give it time and focus. It could be a great evening... You never know.

Etsy, handmade unless it is "vintage," think of one of those craft circle groups that gets together weekly and the people you meet there spread the word about products hopefully the same way that old women gossip.

Facebook is like the child who constantly talks too loud and has to be looked at for no meaningful reason. You talk at them, wondering if they ever hear a word you say or if they're tuning you out to stare at a mind numbing game about candy.

Twitter is like the party down the hall. Whoever's drunk and shouting has the lines you hear loudest whether you want to or not.

Pinterest is a hobbyist, so passionate that they constantly tell you all about their favorite topics. Probably seven million different times and ways, to the point where you either have it memorized or you've tuned out.

Youtube is like that person who always has the video running. You tell them to stop, saying not funny or not entertaining. They post it anyways. Sometimes it is interesting, other times it is painful to watch.

With all of these characters in mind, which ones would you want promoting your events or interests? It used to be as simple as printing or writing posters and taking a walk. It used to be face to face invites or postal mailings. It used to be personal. Now it is the choice "share" and which engine do you want to use?

I keep thinking I want a communication tool that doesn't have quirks like socially awkward people sharing an elevator.

I keep sharing on the different engines, listening to their cacophany and wondering what will come next? They have apps designed so that if you want to shout over the proverbial hurricane of internet chatter you have to pay for advertising, to raise and promote the rank of your chosen jewel you want shared or you have to hope that you choose a good enough hook- whether it is a picture or a video or even a catchy phrase that gets everyone sharing and commenting on your post. Probably why the most shared posts are controversial political and religious posts.

Perhaps we could retrain the system. Use it as a tool rather than let it sweep us under. We could tune in and tune out. We could comment on shared posts on small businesses, local businesses, events- even if it's just a "great work" we can also share each other's events and items to encourage others to share as well- to increase awareness and promotion of each other.

Remember, we each can make the choice to promote each other; to give artisans a livelihood by buying the art they love to make. We can watch live shows, we can share pictures and videos to show our friends and beyond why we loved the shows. Since we're stuck with the awkward communication club of applications, why not begin to use them rather than have them continue to use us?

How many apps do you adjust your schedule for? Do you just have to get on at a certain time to access another level in a game or to do another silly survey?

Sitting here wondering if this coming Monday night's Storytelling and Magic at Cup O Karma will have a larger crowd. They are promoting the event. I am promoting the event. It will be an excellent evening, and a correlational study of the impact of social media apps on small venue attendance. My new phone shines in a silver metal sheath, waiting to send out word on what comes next.