These days we do everything on the internet: work, rest and play. Yes, the internet is a Mars Bar. But like chocolate smothered in caramel, will too much of it make us vomit? Alex Croker, blogger and marketer, explains all.
What’s your favourite social media?
Every morning I get up and there is one thing that excites me more than anything else in the world. I use it in the shower, on the way to work, at work, when I need instructions, for comedy… Tim – dammit, I love YouTube more than anything.
YouTube is so exciting. People use it for entertainment, but I think the power of YouTube lies in education. When you don’t know how to do something you don’t ask a mate to write you instructions it, you ask him to show you. YouTube makes that possible.
I think that it will become one of the primary education sources in the world within 5 years.
And least favourite? Maybe one you can’t get into?
Every year there is a new social media that is a bit of a dud and it burns… but to not avoid the question, I will say that Pinterest is my least favourite. The Pinterest community is not always a friendly place to be – nor is any social media, but Pinterest can be particularly bad. Essentially, it is my least favourite because I don’t have time for cyber-bullying.
I know you’re into memes. Just give us a quick rundown on what a meme is.
A meme (pronounced meem) is essentially an entertaining picture with some funny comment on it. Each meme is slightly different. I’d say my favourite meme of all time is probably Boromir ‘One does not simply’ – it is pretty versatile and I’m a massive Lord of the Rings nerd so I love it even more. But I also appreciate where it all began with ‘I can has cheeseburger’.
Do they have a purpose beyond funny photos of cats?
I think the purpose of a meme is really just to cheer people up and to give them a laugh. They are quick and easy to make as well, so they are always current and topical.
Imagine I’m an alien from outer space who’s just landed on Earth. Explain to me why I should start a Facebook page.
Okay, (muttering to himself) imagine I’m an alien from outer-space… all businesses are like this when they start up. Nobody knows who they are or what they do; they may as well be an alien! This is one reason why Facebook is great. Facebook allows users to interact with people and entities we care about.
This is cool because the way most businesses currently advertise – commercials, competitions, billboards, packaging, word-of-mouth, email, and hundreds more – “push” content at consumers. But if you like a Facebook page you have decided that you want to see their content. You have started a “pull marketing” relationship with them. But let’s not get too formal – just know that Facebook allows businesses to reach more customers, more cheaply, with stronger influence than other forms of marketing.
Is the amount of info companies like Facebook are collecting about us a worry?
It does worry me a little. Essentially the way companies like Facebook make money is by collecting your information and either selling it or allowing external companies to advertise to a chosen market. This is why the ads that I see are different to the ones you see.
If you were blasted backwards in an unpredictable time machine, what time period would you most hate to find yourself in?
That’s a good one. I’ll give you both time and location. I reckon the worst would be – I can’t decide on one! Perhaps the Middle Ages in Europe – it would suck being stuck in Europe’s dark ages when so much cool stuff was happening in the Middle East/North Africa!
You write a great blog about what’s going on in Adelaide. What’s been your most popular post?
My most popular post has been about crabbing in Adelaide. It just went nuts this year when Google started to index my blog Opportunistic Eye higher. My second most highly viewed post is Adelaide’s Zombie walk. However, my favourite is probably back where it all started with Old Adelaide Gaol.
Can you tell when you’re writing it how popular a post will be?
There are a couple ways which you can tell. However, if you are writing a blog just to get big viewer numbers I think you will fail – you have to write because you want to be heard and because you love the topic. That said, there are programs that you can use to monitor what people are searching for. I use Übersuggest a little bit, but I mainly write because I love it.
When it comes to social media, a lot of people call themselves ‘experts’. Is there something else you’d rather be called? (… maybe ‘aficionado’?)
Haha, it is true! I’m not a fan of the title ‘Social Media Expert’. Firstly because there are so many people that claim to be one, and secondly because there are so many different platforms – you cannot be an expert everywhere!
Many social jobs are called social media coordinators or even community managers. But I’d prefer to be called a relationship marketer because that is what I do. I build a community by establishing relationships. I care about the people who are in my community. I don’t just talk to them through social media, I talk to them in person and by email as well. I think it is important not to be a ‘manager’ – the people own the community and it is not my job to manage them, it is my job to keep them interested, build the community, and encourage positive interactions between community members.
What’s next for social media?
Next is further monetisation. Different social media platforms will start to further monetise their business. Currently businesses pay for advertising, however I think that particularly YouTube is moving towards charging customers to access some channels – or give them the option to remove ads by paying.
Plug time. Where can people find your blog? And how can they follow you on social media?