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Archive for the ‘What do you think?’ Category

Opinions are like assholes.

Wednesday, May 24th, 2017

Eduardo Salles is a realist illustrator known for creating brutally honest, yet often funny and ironic, comics about modern life. His illustrations bring to light the harsh realities of our society – from brutal truths about social media to the reality of humanism and relationships today. In the illustration below, Salles perfectly summarizes five of today’s popular social media sites on signs with a single sentence. For example, the Twitter sign says, “We are offended by everything.” However, the last sign he includes is not about a social media site; it’s about the “real world”. This real world sign appropriately says, “Your opinion does not matter.”

Everyone with a social media account has a platform to share their opinions with the masses; it doesn’t matter whether those opinions are solicited and/or valuable. And while people have always been vociferous on social media, it seems the forceful sharing of opinions has only increased as a result of the 2016 presidential election. But how does that practice and attitude translate into our “real world” lives?

With people spending an increased amount of time on social media sites, the line between the “real world” and the social media world may be blurring. It seems as though many people have adopted the idea that they should get to express their opinion and have their personal needs met in both worlds. We’re especially seeing this more in the workforce. CEOs, HR executives and company leaders have expressed frustration with younger employees feeling entitled to sharing their opinions and having their demands met, despite their lack of experience and seniority. Companies are experiencing pressure to constantly work collaboratively, solicit employee input, and meet employee demands. While this can be a positive tactic in some cases that increases employee retention rates, there has to be a line drawn at some point. Employees need to understand that an office isn’t equivalent to a Twitter account. The harsh reality is, their opinions don’t always matter. Everyone cannot always have a ‘seat at the table’ and the opportunity to share an opinion – nothing would get accomplished. Everyone disagreeing and sharing opposing viewpoints on social media has certainly not been productive or positive, so why would anyone think it would work well in the real world?

American musician Allan Sherman said it best… “They sit there in committees day after day, And they each put in a color and it comes out gray. And we all have heard the saying, which is true as well as witty, That a camel is a horse that was designed by a committee.”

So while interacting in the world of social media… share away! But if we want to be productive in the real world it’s time to accept that “opinions are like assholes, everyone has one” and sometimes they just don’t matter.

 

A cautionary tale for brands selling social justice.

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

It’s a divisive time in America. There are many emotionally charged social and political issues that are constantly being discussed and debated. As demonstrated by Pepsi’s recent protest ad and almost every 2017 Super Bowl commercial, it can be tempting for brands to jump on the bandwagon and join the conversation and benefit with sales – but should they?

Using a social movement to sell potato chips or soda often is seen as an insincere move by marketers. It tends to trivialize issues that are highly meaningful to people. Saturday Night Live hilariously exemplifies and exaggerates this “absurdity of causes as commerce” in a Cheetos ad-pitch comedy sketch. The comedians or ‘Cheetos ad executives’ discuss potential advertising spots centered on current social issues like immigration and transgender issues. They also poke fun at how disconnected these executives are from the issues they’re discussing. When the executives are questioned about using transgender issues just to sell Cheetos one of them exclaims, “We care about that issue because there is a guy in our office whose son is transgendered!” Then she turns to her colleague and questions, “Or wait, is he trans or adopted?” to which the colleague replies, “Uh, he’s adopted.” She then says, “That’s right, because we don’t know anyone trans, and THAT is the problem.”

And that fake Cheetos executive is exactly right; a lack of understanding and connection to audiences is precisely the problem. Often these brands are not only using important social issues to sell products, but the higher-ups creating the ads are totally out of touch with the issues and target audience. This was clearly the case in the absurdly offensive Pepsi ad, where a can of soda delivered by model and reality TV star Kendall Jenner cheerfully ends a protest that’s reminiscent of recent Black Lives Matter protests. If only the marginalized people of America thought to bring a can of Pepsi to their protest; then all of their issues would be solved and the protest would have turned into a happy moment of unity and cheering – please

Social issues can represent an opportunity to really connect with a target audience if marketers are smart about how they do it… Clearly, Pepsi (and their ad agency) didn’t check in with anyone who was actually at any of those protests before airing the ad and it’s unlikely that there was a diverse team of any kind making these creative decisions. The lesson is simple and should be basic knowledge for any advertising, marketing or PR professional – know your audience.

Is looking for love now more rewarding than finding it ?

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

We all know that social media can be addicting. Most social media users love the little burst of excitement experienced when they receive notification alerts. Subconsciously, notifications serve as validation. No one likes sharing a funny video or cute photo on social media and receiving no feedback or interactions. Ford’s 2014 consumer survey reports that 62 percent of adults felt better about themselves after getting positive reactions to what they shared on social media.

But it’s more than a positive feeling. Science has actually proven that social media is addicting. When people receive notifications their brains release dopamine. Dopamine is the chemical responsible for reward and pleasure and also associated with addiction. And not only is social media itself potentially addictive, those who use it may also be at greater risk for impulse-control issues like substance abuse, according to The Huffington Post.

It’s hard to believe that all of this excitement, validation, and potential for addiction are brought about by simple Facebook notifications. Someone in the community is simply saying, “That video of your dog is funny,” or “I like your pretty picture of the beach!” Now just imagine how much more addicting and validating it must be when someone says, “I like YOU and find you attractive enough to go out on a date, or ‘hook up’ with you.”

The social media app Tinder is specifically designed to facilitate those types of interactions. People review photos along with a very small amount of information about a nearby person and then either ‘swipe right’ to say, “Let’s meet up, I’m romantically interested in you,” or ‘swipe left’ to say they’re not interested. If people experience an addictive dose of dopamine from a Facebook photo ‘like’ how addicting is the experience of someone looking at their photos and ‘swiping right’?

Could Tinder, or any dating apps like it, really foster or even allow for the development of an actual relationship? Let’s say someone ‘swipes right’ and meets their ‘soul mate’ or a highly compatible partner. Would they recognize it? Would they delete the app and pursue a health relationship, or would they be too addicted to the ‘high’ experienced when the next person ‘swipes right’ to meet them? Considering that 42 percent of Tinder users aren’t even single, it’s likely the latter. Sure there are always exceptions, but overall it seems that if someone is looking for love on apps like Tinder, they’re looking in all the wrong places.

Innovation isn’t a new idea.

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Not long ago, a person could make a decent living by simply having a strong work ethic, good skills and the willingness to put in the time. People who showed up and completed their regular daily tasks were valued; strength and a willingness to get dirty didn’t hurt either. But today, everyone is expected to be a creative thinker; an innovator. And why shouldn’t they be?

Technology has overtaken many of the jobs centered on labor and basic production, and almost anything we could ever possibly need is at our fingertips – information, ideas, home-delivered groceries and products (soon to be delivered by drones). According to Brown University’s Mark Blyth, we live in a world where everything we need could be easily supplied by 10% of the world’s population. Those odds aren’t great for average-Joes who are just looking to get by.

Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella recently wrote, “our industry does not respect tradition — it only respects innovation.” Although Satya is specifically referring to the technology industry, this statement applies to almost any category of business today. Consumer packaged goods companies are constantly looking for innovative new products to meet consumer desires; health professionals are working on innovative new cures and technologies; gas and oil companies are looking for new innovative fuel sources; and on it goes.

Innovation is simply a different way of looking at things. Anyone can be innovative. It’s a mindset. It also helps if you know how to use data to your advantage. It doesn’t matter if you are just trying to get ahead at work or if your aim is to develop the latest “bright and shiny thing”. Never be satisfied with the status quo and always engage your brain in the world around you. You’ll be amazed at what you see.

We’re not all about that bass.

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

We’ve seen an inspiring and monumental movement in our culture encouraging the acceptance and promotion of realistic body images and beauty standards. Dove and American Eagle launched campaigns with only real women featured, instead of models. Dozens of celebrities have spoken out against Photoshop or unrealistically altered images, and who could forget Meghan Trainor’s music chart topper, All About That Bass? The lyrics are so catchy; it’s hard not to sing along…

‘Yeah it’s pretty clear, I ain’t no size two

But I can shake it, shake it like I’m supposed to do

‘Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase

All the right junk in all the right places…

…You know I won’t be no stick-figure, silicone Barbie doll

So, if that’s what’s you’re into, then go ahead and move along…

I’m bringing booty back. Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that…’

A catchy and motivating message encouraging women to love themselves, unless of course they’re one of those ‘size two, skinny bitches’.

Somewhere along the way, the body acceptance movement derailed from ‘curves are beautiful’ to ‘only curves are beautiful’ or ‘real women have curves’. Pop culture has started to villainize skinny women. The truth is, this skinny shamming can be just as damaging as fat shamming. Putting one body type down in favor of another is a direct contradiction of the entire movement.

Some women are naturally thin with a high-metabolism that they can’t change, but wish desperately they had curves. It’s not because they don’t eat, or obsess over achieving a skinny figure, it’s just the body type they were born with and they should be allowed to love it. Some women exercise, eat healthy, and work hard to maintain a body that makes them feel healthy and beautiful. We should celebrate their hard work, and they should be allowed to love their body.

Some women have natural curves and love them, and they should be allowed to love their body and feel beautiful just the way they are. Some women have natural curves that they wish they could change, but can’t. It’s not because they eat too much, or they’re unhealthy, it’s just their natural body type, and they should be encouraged to love their bodies, too! All women, no matter what their body type, should be encouraged to love themselves, just they way they are.

So instead of calling skinny girls the ‘bitches’, let’s agree that the only real ‘bitches’ are those who shame others for their appearance, regardless of their body type.