Your Online Presence

Well, we recently had a class on Social Media and marketing, it seems that the school gods as some form of punishment for wanting to have an income when I turn 23 or 24 have demanded that I sink to the deplorable act of learning how to sell people things they don’t need. As you can well imagine, at some point along the line, you will get to the discussion of how modern day marketing has changed what it is that they do in the field, and how out of date methods like print media are simply going out of style.

The presenter was a Turkish woman who braved the ignorance of American and decided to set up marketing shop here. Why anyone would be compelled to come into the corn field known as Lafayette and present their business from there is certainly beyond me, but I have since learned to accept that people make odd choices about where they settle and remain happy. She has a website over at http://www.sollecoaching.com/ which goes into some degree of detail on various tips and tricks that one could use to market themselves.

I bring her up, because the Krannert school of Management around here decided to call her in and give a speech on the class [okay the marketing professor did, but you know, why not lump in the individual with the organization they belong to right?]. The Basics of the speech were over how the evolution of the internet and social media has added something to the 4 p’s paradigm that has essentially defined marketing for the past 50 or so years [I’m sure there are more, but I am by no means a history major, and even if I was I’m not sure how well off I would feel studying the evolution of marketing]. The speech encompassed polishing your online image, realizing that the world has changed significantly and as much as you would like to get by continuing to take traditional approaches to marketing, you won’t get by.

The part of the story I of course was interested in was the place of the actual social media. I mean honestly I could care less for marketing and many of its aspects, it’s not that its a field of study with no money, it just seems incredibly unethical to sell people things they don’t need purely for the sake of propagating an abstract society. Sadly, by the time she had gotten the chance to stumble into the nature of Facebook, Twitter, and the likes the class suddenly remembered that they had all posted drunken photos of themselves and that businesses actually tend to look for these things.

This of course resulted in the standard “Then what do you actually show on a facebook page”, the answer of course to which is a polite “If the company you are working for feels it is their responsibility to judge your personal life than you are probably better off not working for them anyway”. Sadly with the economic downturn and the shifting paradigm where you now need a bachelors to get a job to pay off your bachelors degree, it has become an issue of increasing concern to bow down to your corporate masters and make yourself a shiny profile so that they may give you their phat lootz. This of course includes turning the idea of facebook on its head, in that you will do yourself more good by slimming it down, removing tags of yourself, and trimming your privacy levels to that outsiders can’t peer in.

And I think it brought up something that concerned me, she was right of course in the idea that if you want a job you are going to have to capitulate at some point and change what it is you have posted about yourself so that you have a better public view. Just like the 30 minute interview, even in your personal life you are going to have to put on a show with some degree of falsified information in order to make it past yet another barrier to an already complex job market. This includes removing friends which have a habit of posting things that would otherwise make you look of poorer quality work ethic for the business as well as shifting your profile so that it isn’t filled with things that you’ll regret at the age of 25.

I know that if the place of business were looking to hire me, it would take them 1 30 second browsing of my twitter account to create a judgmental attitude [what I have posted here probably doesn’t help either, but I am far less concerned with members of HR bothering to pile through 800 word articles, I’ve met their graduates and I’m really concerned that 140 characters may be too much for them]. But the truth of the matter is that as part of the digital age we are set to this strange double standard socially. We are asked to be professional in our personal lives lest it bleeds over into a possible job interview in the future, and then we are asked by our peers not to be such a stick in the mud. This nifty little balancing act has a great deal of hypocrisy attached to; because, I guarantee you that short of getting arrested the people who currently compose the work force certainly didn’t have to deal with things if they were a party animal in college because the resources during the time wouldn’t have allowed someone to look you up and start making as assessment of your life. And I guess it’s this hypocrisy by the older generations judging the younger as if they didn’t do the exact same thing with their life.

The problem with that of course is that again this is the reality we live in, there is no changing the corporate view because let’s face it they control the whole situation. But I’m curious if as our personal lives are more and more forced into our business lives especially in the American “Work Till you Die” dynamic [unless of course you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth in which case it’s perfectly okay to sit in middle management]. Every day you see more and more where people are expected to keep a life line to their place of business, so that in the event something terrible should happen [god forbid the Chinese can’t buy our terrible movies at 3am EST] you have to call someone in to deal with it, especially in the IT field.

I suppose it’s part of the growing issue of globalization as a whole, that more and more we are simply dealing with more human beings in the business place, and as a consequence rather than hiring more people, they just threaten their current workers with unemployment and demand they take up the slack. It is truly a wonder you don’t have more murdering sprees in a day. Of course our suicide rates have changed, it used to be that adults off’ed themselves, now and days it is our children.

One Study that while our overall suicide rate has decreased, the suicide rate among children has shot up by enough of a volume to be mildly concerned. It appears to have tapered off in the late 90’s but people my age have doubled from 6.2 to 12.1 in just fewer than 50 years time. I’m not going to pretend that there aren’t other factors, but I would like to think that things perhaps are a bit tougher on people growing up. We’re given more global responsibility and continually told that the world is on our shoulders, that the generation before us fucked up completely and that we would be held to account for the mess. Though I don’t pretend such assertions weren’t made during any other era, with the incredible amount of media in the air it’s certainly a more straightforward message. We are told again and again that we are the only hope for this planet, and oh by the way the generation before you still controls virtually every aspect of your lives good luck trying to disassemble the old guard because they won’t go out without a fight. You can see it in the political system easily, with the Republican and Tea party movements leaning heavily on the older voting population with little to no younger involvement on the part of the more conservative view point.

There are those that would like to chock this up to some kind of theory that with wisdom comes the intense racism, greed, and hatred for your fellow man [I say this in jest of course, we all know those of the extreme conservative population are good god  fearing Christians]. But I honestly think that these social media applications [see that, I’m getting back to the topic] and the creation of the internet has finally allowed my generation to actually research and find out what the hell our parents did a terrible job of hiding. We have become globally connected, working with Russia, China, India, Great Britain, and so many other nations youth to start fighting back against the old guard. While the idea of racism and classicism has not been destroyed, I think that they have taken a severe blow. Though one can hide in the bowels of the internet having their ideology thrown at them again and again assuring them that they are right, you also have the unique occurrence where those islands of ideological solitude are broken into and their core values challenged.

We are living in a changing world, a world where ideas like education, economics, and political systems are no longer held by the University and Education systems as the definition of what does and does not work. More and more as human knowledge is expunged to an open forum like the internet my generation is getting smarter. Sure, when I look at YouTube I can only hang my head in shame, but for every terrible YouTube comment there is out there, there is also a redeeming comment somewhere else on the internet, or in depth research into how the system works. People are now beginning to realize that the ways established during the peak of the industrial revolution aren’t going to hold strong into the late 21st century. And much like marketing is being forced to adapt [and hopefully this evil purchasing squid will die or morph into something useful like public health campaigns] so too is my generation, changing into something more intelligent and more well rounded than those before us.

In Light of it all I say this, you can keep to your hopes that at the age of 25 we will suddenly become like the rest of you, bowing down to notions you hold so dear, but don’t be too surprised if in say the 2012 elections, or the 2016 that we aren’t as disheartened by what is happening. We will keep fighting the old ways as long as we have the media to do it.

In the meantime, have this bullshit generator.

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