The Battle Between Our Hearts and Our Cameras

There’s this gorgeous little red cardinal that hangs out in my back yard.  I always try to get a picture of it but it’s the most elusive fricken thing ever. It’ll stay perfectly still until I point my lens in its direction, then it darts off right before I get a clear shot.

I get so frustrated because I want to record it’s beauty to be shared with the people around me…but I can’t damnit.  Only I got to see it.

I’m more concerned with documenting its beauty than I am in experiencing it for myself.

I watched Ricky Van Veen speak at the Mashable Media Summit where he spoke about this trend.  He showed a picture (seen above), from the Youth Ball on inauguration night, of President Obama and the first lady on stage. All the young people in the crowd, instead of looking at the president, looked at the back of their phones and cameras as they were taking pictures and recording video.

He said:

“We have a new generation that places documentation above experience”

It’s amazing how true this is, and it doesn’t stop there…

Because of the increased focus on sharing, and documenting experiences, there’s now this trend where we might even plan our experiences around the value of their documentation.

Could the ability to check in to foursquare and document your night determine which bar you go to?  Would my twitter followers be more interested in my thoughts on tonight’s movie premier, or my pictures from tonight’s concert?  Would a college student skip a frat party because of the possible negative facebook documentation that could occur?

Ricky gave the example of a girl deciding whether or not to go to a dance based on the potential pictures that she could take and share at the event.  Documentation is actually impacting our what we do and how we act.

We’re starting to think about the value of documenting our experiences, before the experience itself.

What happens when we can no longer sit back and enjoy something beautiful or fascinating simply for the experience? When the things that usually excite us are only exciting when documented?

The questions for you:

The point of Ricky’s talk was about content and regardless of your opinion on this trend, it’s a trend nevertheless.  So from a business perspective, is your content providing an experience worth documenting? And are you making it easy to document that experience?

Where else can you apply this trend?

Photo cred: Todd Ryburn

I Used Sponsored Tweets!

I know I know…OFF WITH HIS HEAD!  But wait, read, you might learn something.

NOTE: I AM TESTING THIS AS AN ADVERTISER PAYING TWEETERS TO SHARE MY MESSAGE, NOT AS A PAID TWEETER. This was confusing for some people.  I have not posted any sponsored tweets, I’ve just sponsored tweets with the credits Ted gave me.

When Ted Murphy offered me some “credits” to trial the site, I was actually very excited after the great conversation we had on my post “Will Sponsored Tweets Survive?” opened my eyes a bit and made me really wonder, will this thing work?

The moral implications of a service like this are still unsettling for many, but I’m more concerned with whether or not it will work, because that will determine whether or not it sticks around.

SO…I signed up and had $100 in credit to mess around with.

First thing you do is “create an opp” and so I created this…

Spostwts step 1Notice…you can click the box over the instructions which means that YOU will choose what the tweet will say.  I can see a lot of people having a problem with this.

Next, I had to fill this out…

spns twts step 2

Which did pretty much nothing, since there aren’t enough “tweeters” using the site yet, so no one fit my criteria, and I had to choose from “premium” tweeters.  I’m sure this will get better as more tweeters sign up.  In the “targeting” step I got to choose what audience I’m looking to reach.

I was then brought to this page where I could check off the people to whom I’d like to make an offer, which looked like this…

Picture 10Sponsored Tweeters

I chose a few people (the only ones I could afford…notice most are well above $100/tweet!) and sent out 5 offers.

Within minutes I had an offer, then over the next day or so I received two more, and the other two declined.  I am then shown the proposed tweet, and can approve it, deny it, or request an edit.  I didn’t request an edit on any of the tweets…I just approved them since we are here to learn and I wanted to see how well they’ll work.

Here are the tweets: YoungMommy(Worst) OhGizmo(Better) Magical_Trevor(Best)

And here are the results… spns twts results

There were 0 retweets, one (angry) comment, and 0 twitter conversations started. This is probably because of who tweeted out the message.  I would have chosen a better audience, but I could only choose from the “premium tweeters” and none of the ones I could afford really fit my target audience.  Still, this could be indicative of the actual value of a sponsored tweet.  It got me some hits, but nothing of any real value.

Note, I didn’t try to force my message anywhere, and I didn’t tell the tweeter what to say, I just told them to post their opinion of my blog, which gave it more eyes from an audience that I did not have access to in a manner that wouldn’t seem intrusive. My offer required that the person actually reads my blog first, so that they can develop an opinion.

You can still find bias results in this method though, as if there was a response that was overly negative, I probably wouldn’t have approved it, and so you’re only getting to see the more positive results.

So what do you think?  Do you see a legitimate use for Sponsored Tweets that won’t upset people?  Do you see the system working?  If you had a chance to test the site, how would you use it?

Don’t Pass the Torch, Just Share the Light

Photo cred: Mark "the trial"
Photo cred: Mark "the trial"

I really appreciated and related to Patrick Evans‘ latest blog post on his mentor program titled Why You Should Be a Mentor.

He writes, “I hear so many generational experts and business professionals criticize millennials. We don’t work as hard as Gen X folks, we expect things that past generations didn’t and overall, we could be the opposite of the greatest generation. We need your help! He goes on to provide 5 reasons why professionals should consider acting as a mentor for our generation.

I’ve seen many Millenials / Gen Y bloggers that are proud and confident in their belief that they will succeed.  I have also seen seasoned professionals respond by describing the overconfidence and inevitable disappointment of our generation. A good example of this is Teresa Wu’s guest post on Chris Brogans blog and her follow up response on her own blog.

I really enjoyed Teresa’s post and felt that her intentions, to shed some light on the mindset and views of the future Gen Y professionals, was accurate and useful.  The discussions afterward, ehhh not so much.  Whether either viewpoint is right or wrong, I feel is irrelevant and I am always disappointed to find such unproductive discussions taking place.

The important thing is that we all have something to contribute to the community as Patrick described very well.  Seasoned experts and professionals have learned a great deal from their experiences.  They understand what works and what doesn’t. They have been put in real situations that have required them to use critical thinking and problem solving to perform their jobs efficiently given unfamiliar situations.  With such talents, they can truly be great mentors to younger generations who strive to find the same experience and hopefully, success.

In a time of great change, especially in terms of technology and communications, the millenials have a great deal to contribute in return.  While the great amount of experience that many seasoned professionals have developed provides them with knowledge and understanding in their field, it also instills in them a sense of routine to the traditional methods of practice. Of course, these professionals are still very capable of innovation and creativity but they must also acknowledge and incorporate the millenials’ young, FRESH set of eyes and ideas on an evolving industry.  Technologically savvy, communicating on the internet as early as elementary school, they are able and willing to contribute to the future of what the experienced professionals have worked so hard to build.

Instead of arguing about which generation is better, and why the millennial mindset is unreasonable, we should all be working together.  Through collaboration we will find true growth and success as a community, young and old.

If you’d like to mentor a young PR pro, send Patrick an e-mail at He is setting up an e-mail mentoring program to connect young pros with seasoned public relations and social media professionals.

Edit: There’s a very lengthy but good example of the view of Millenials on the WSJ here.

-David Spinks

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