Sam Harrelson



Sam Harrelson

A Week Without Twitter (or Facebook)

I made the decision last week to attempt what I previously thought was relatively undoable for my business and/or personal life and pull out of the Twitter stream and Facebook world, and Instagram performance art gallery. Some of that was due to this liturgical season of Lent and some of that was my constant need to try on new “thought technologies” that helps me explore more of this life.

After a week, I can say a few things that have struck me as personal revelations.

First, I am more focused and “get things done” work-wise in a more deliberate and intentional way. It’s not that I was skipping over things a year or a month ago, but the silence that comes from not having a constant TweetDeck tab open in my browser window (or on the large screen that was dedicated just to TweetDeck) has made a marked difference in my workflow as evidenced by my time sheets and my client ticketing system.

Second, I find myself reaching for my phone fewer times during the morning, day, and night. I would constantly be scanning Instagram or Twitter when I had a few spare moments or minutes during the course of a day. Now that I don’t have those time sinks, I find myself scanning Feedly for news or longer form articles or just doodling on paper for 30 seconds.

Third, I’m blogging here more. I feel more “creative” in general to be honest. Being away from the constant stream of short takes on the latest political scandal or presidential tweet or funny meme has made me recognize how much I’ve pushed down my own voice inside of my head (as much as it is an unreliable narrator sometimes!). But I feel like we’re picking back up the conversation after a long 12 years on Twitter and as a heavy user of all things social. I feel more creative and less anxious in general.

Most importantly, I have space to be more mindful about my place here. I already feel a change in my outlook on issues and things I need to give or pay attention to. I’ve found myself turning off notifications on my phone from Slack and Email (heaven forbid!) and even our ticket support system. Could I make do with a flip phone? Who knows. But that mindfulness and a better sense of presence does feel different than it has the last few years.

Coincidence is not causation, so we’ll see how this happens as I keep up with this thought technology of being mindfully and spiritually situated in specific places and times rather than floating through the matrix of performative attention.




The Sublime and Silicon Valley

The sublime—whether a feature of the natural world, or of UFOs, or of religious experience—is a sense of our own vanishing smallness before something impossibly vast: a mountain range, a churning ocean, the universe, God. What we get in return for being so existentially demeaned is freedom from the tyranny of our own personalities, a sort of liberating oblivion. But data-extracting platforms don’t sublimate our personalities; they multiply and magnify them. And the Data Sublime, far from making the internet feel thrillingly big, has conspired to make it feel smaller, claustrophobic, and profoundly boring. As Facebook and Google metastasize, the more interesting destinations on the internet are dying off; recent sweeping media layoffs were also largely the result of Facebook, Google, and Amazon’s stranglehold on advertising revenue. The sublime promises a sort of redemptive immensity, but Silicon Valley strives to compress all of digital experience into a single, monotonous feed, mainlining capital into the pockets of billionaires.

— Read on thebaffler.com/latest/close-encounters-of-the-tech-kind-harnett




The Next Social Network is Private Messaging

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Today we already see that private messaging, ephemeral stories, and small groups are by far the fastest growing areas of online communication. There are a number of reasons for this. Many people prefer the intimacy of communicating one-on-one or with just a few friends. People are more cautious of having a permanent record of what they’ve shared. And we all expect to be able to do things like payments privately and securely.

Not saying I called it, but I called it. Look to WeChat for how we’ll be doing “social networking” here in the US within the next 5 years.

Twitter completely flopped and missed the ball by not shipping a DM app.




Instagram egg is worth “at least $10M”

Some days… I just don’t know… wow.

Marketers, however, are taking the bait. Nik Sharma, the head of DTC at VaynerMedia, told The Atlantic, “being the first brand to crack out of the egg is worth at least $10 million.” He went on to say that businesses, in fact, should “spend on the egg instead of the Super Bowl.” Read that again, because that’s a quote a supposedly human being made about a picture of an egg!

Source: VaynerMedia exec: Instagram egg is worth “at least $10M”




Instagram Party Accounts

Only a matter of time before us 40-year-olds start spinning up Instagram party accounts (just like we took over Facebook)!…

While Facebook event pages make clear who their organizers are, Instagram party accounts frequently don’t divulge that information. The anonymity of a party page allows for plausible deniability if the account gets discovered by a parent. If a party you spent weeks hyping up on Instagram gets out of hand, you can simply “be like, ‘Yeah, I had friends over and more people came,’” says Brown.

Source: What Is an Instagram Party Account? – The Atlantic




NASCAR’s Social Media Leaderboard

Marketing and NASCAR are two of my longtime passions (lots of overlap on that Venn Diagram)… so I couldn’t resist sharing these stats.

Interesting to note that Danica retired from NASCAR after this year’s Daytona 500… that doesn’t say very good things about the health of the sport from a marketing perspective.

Kyle Busch led all drivers in engagements and total video views, with Danica Patrick coming in a close second. Busch and Patrick are both sit near the top in nearly every category.

Source: NASCAR’s Social Leaderboard: How the Top Drivers Stack Up | opendorse




Instagram Stories Maker (for Churches, Nonprofits etc)

Just this past week I was having coffee with a friend who volunteers to manage all the social media and website duties for his church (bless them). They’re savvy and very good about getting their church on Facebook Live each Sunday and creating shareable content throughout the week.

I brought up Instagram Stories during our conversation and remarked at how “hot” Stories are from a marketing point of view compared to the FB Newsfeed or Instagram’s photo feed and how more churches need to be hopping on the bandwagon to increase engagement (if that’s your sort of thing).

I just happened to stumble across this iOS app today to make creating Stories easier… will have to give it a shot this week!

Templates You can choose from 40 templates of many different styles. All are 100% editable. · Text Styles There are 50 different texts styles you can add to your stories. All styles are beautifully animated. You can customize fonts, colors, sizes, positions and alignments. · No Account Required…

Source: ‎Mojo – Create Video Stories




Instagram Stories for Churches and Nonprofits

More and more of my clients on the nonprofit and church side are asking about Instagram Stories and experimenting with them in some form to help with outreach. Like anything on the web or mobile, it’s always fun to dive in and try things out. But there’s no need to reinvent the wheel if you’re looking to make the most of your time (especially given that most nonprofit marketing is done on a volunteer basis!).

Here’s a handy guide that makes some of the same points that I do with clients… shoot vertically, don’t take yourself too seriously, don’t be afraid of stickers, be afraid of hashtags, and (most importantly!) PLAN PLAN PLAN with a calendar that you’ll stick to…

Consider treating your Story like a TV network with scheduled programming for the week, or even recurring “episodes” that happen on certain days. Thinking in advance about what kind of content you’ll be sharing and how your Story will flow will help you craft a more addictive and consistent experience for your viewers.

Source: Instagram Stories: Everything Businesses Need to Know




Instagram is Dead

For starters, this is the end of Instagram as we know it. Systrom and Krieger were deeply involved in day-to-day product decisions, and retained an unusual degree of autonomy over the company. For years, they were careful to the point of being obstinate. Even as they began to expand Instagram’s suite of offerings, they remained deeply cautious. (Features for creating groups of “favorites” and a standalone messaging app have been in testing for 15 months and 10 months, respectively.)

— Read on www.theverge.com/platform/amp/2018/9/25/17903556/instagram-founders-quit-kevin-systrom-mike-krieger-facebook




Do Facebook Ads Really Work?

Within the advertising industry, the debate about whether advertising works on Facebook is not new. A survey last year showed over 60 percent of small business owners felt advertising on Facebook was ineffective. The lawsuit takes it a step further, saying Facebook is misleading advertisers.

Source: Does Facebook Really Work? People Question Effectiveness Of Ads : NPR

Like anything else, you do need some expertise to make Facebook or Instagram or Snap or Google or Pinterest ads work. We are finishing a period where these advertising companies have held that “ANYONE CAN DO IT! IT’S SO EASY! JUST SIGN UP AND TELL US WHO YOU WANT TO TARGET!” with regards to their ads and effectiveness.

But that’s simply not true. I could probably re-roof our home. But I’m not going to spend the time, effort, and money trying to do that job myself. I’m going to hire someone who knows what they are doing.

Same with social media advertising and marketing. That’s how I pay our mortgage (and for our new roof) every month!