Monthly Archives: April 2013

What is a “meme”? | Trends in Social Media

What is a "Meme"? [New Trends in Social Media]I’ve just spent the last several hours scouring the Internet for silly images, but unlike the rest of you who have a passion for digital culture, I get to claim this time spent in the name of research.

Most of you know what a “meme” (pronounced like team) is, you’ve been bombarded with them online, and even though you may not recognize the term—you’ve seen the phenomenon. A “meme” is a socially transmitted cultural symbol or idea. It can appear as an image, phrase, video, or some combination of those—they criticize, highlight, or generally represent an element of our culture that is passed from one individual to another by means of imitation. With the success of the web and social networking as an information dissemination tool over the last twenty years, memes have become a commonality on the Internet, but they’ve existed for decades even without the help of Willy Wonka, the Grumpy Cat, or Ryan Gosling.

A meme behaves kind of like a virus; it travels quickly from person to person but transmits an idea or an opinion rather than a living organism. That is where we arrive at the term “viral” when describing a video, image, or story that receives a lot of attention online, in a short amount of time.
What is a "Meme"? [New Trends in Social Media]Memes can either create new trends in social media, or highlight existing trends in order to mock them. Historically, memes were more discrete. Usually traveling by word of mouth, a meme could manifest as a mesmerizing story, an anecdote, a joke, or an expression of speech. With the aid of email, instant messaging, link sharing, Facebook, Twitter,Pinterest, etc. memes now travel instantly via social networking. The Internet, by sheer virtue of its instant communication, has brought new life to the way we spread modern memes.

Generally, the concept behind a meme is either really deep, or ridiculously clear. They function to make us think, make us laugh, to help voice our sarcasms, our concerns, our judgments, beliefs, and fears in a popular, accessible, and safe way. Tracking the development, distribution, and transformation of memes, it is obvious that they directly influence modern society and recreate the way Internet users view their lives; memes affect everyone who interacts with social media.

I can send a link to a YouTube video of the “Harlem Shake” to my boss, and the next day, we are in production to create our own version of the wacky dance. If I’m assigned an article with no time to prepare, and look across my office and shout, “Ain’t Nobody got Time for that” everyone in earshot will understand to which video I’m referring. And if I were to show you an image of the Dos Equis “Most Interesting Man in the World,” you would read the words surrounding his head using his accent, his inflections, and it would make perfect sense that, “I don’t always write articles explaining the significance of memes, but when I do, they’re fascinating.”

Memes have become so ubiquitous that they no longer simply exist on the web– they follow us through our daily interactions. It is hard to be a part of mass culture and not encounter a meme. Any given situation can evoke a preexisting image or video—take this Willy Wonka meme, or the Monday Blues as expressed by this grumpy looking cat.

What is a "Meme"? [New Trends in Social Media]

Humorous memes yield the most reach, they are hilarious, and they transmit sentiments that are familiar to most of us. But other memes exist to shed light on cultural feelings that are deep; these memes function as social commentary, and can quickly become controversial which only helps their distribution time.

What is a "Meme"? [New Trends in Social Media]On November 18, 2011 during an Occupy movement demonstration at the University of California, Davis, campus police officers asked students to leave the school and when they refused, Lieutenant John Pike began to pepper spray the peaceful protesters. A photograph of the UC Davis officer in the act of spraying students in the face spread like wild fire across news channels, social media networks, blogs, and websites. Within the week students, protesters, Internet trolls, and people around the world inserted the pepper spray photo into famous works of art and images of popular culture—and just like that, in a matter of days Lt. Pike became one of the most well known memes in 2011.

Following the incident, and the subsequent attention his actions received online, the police
What is a "Meme"? [New Trends in Social Media]chief and two officers were placed on administrative leave. Had there been no one present to take the picture, or had the idea to alter images, like the version of the Creation of Man painting modified to show Pike spraying God in the eyes, never surfaced—would these men have been properly chastised for their extreme abuse of power?

It is only in the past several years that memes have been growing at an exponential rate, which makes them an unmistakably relevant piece of our culture.  They are no longer seen as silly images, but rather as templates for creativity. They are easy to create, and even easier to share; they encourage people to consume information and then reproduce it in new and innovative ways. They can work as advertisements, sarcastic musings, or snarky tips on life. Some memes fight to unveil injustices, to open dialogues about sensitive subjects, or simply to make someone smile on a wearisome Wednesday afternoon.

By: Sasha Novikov, Creatine Marketing

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Creatine Marketing | Newsletter April 2013 Issue

Creatine Marketing | Newsletter April 2013 Issue

With my guidance and few creative inspirations, Creatine’s Senior Graphic Designer Allen was able to create a standardized banner for my newsletter. I will continue to use this banner “Creatine Monthly” for most months, but may consider having another one created for major holidays like Christmas.

I didn’t stray far from the March layout on this one, but I did write all of the content and create the picture strip at the bottom. You’ll never guess how I did it…I’m a bit embarrassed to admit how amateurish the process was.

Since I have very little knowledge of various design and editing softwares like Photoshop for example, I have to make due with the skills I do have. I created that strip using Microsoft Word. I sent the images from Instagram, placed them side-by-side in a Word document, sized them accordingly, and then added lines.

By creating thick black lines I was able to connect the photos in that landscape photo strip way, and then I simply took a screen shot. Then I was able to edit the screen shot in Preview. All of those steps to complete something that probably could’ve been accomplished easily in some other software– but hey, it works for me 🙂

For May’s newsletter I hope to use a different program that will allow me more freedom in the layout and the design/editing options.

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I Like You; Therefore, I like your Work. [Building Your Reputation]

I Like You; Therefore, I like your Work. [Building Your Reputation]Do you care about being liked? Most of us do. As an adult you eventually adopt the “you win some, you lose some” mentality− but as a businessperson, it is important that people hold positive associations to you and your company so that when they see you or think of you or your brand, it is with a mental smile.

Your reputation follows you, not only when meeting with clients or customers face-to-face, but also on the Internet. At the end of the day, being liked does matter. The way that you are regarded by others can affect your business the same way it can affect your mental and physical health. People who are liked have larger social networks, which, in their personal lives, provide them with more emotional support− and in their professional lives, provide them with increased levels of success.

We all have friends or coworkers who are quick to praise or condemn a particular experience at a restaurant, store, or other establishment using their social media networks. I can admit that I’ve even left a Yelp review or two. How can you, as an individual, ensure that social media has a positive impact on your business? Confident, honest, and engaging business people tend to notice a steady increase of Facebook fans, Twitter followers, or real-life customers.

If people are keen on you, they are more likely to help when you need a favor, for example− promoting your business through word of mouth, or via the web− both courtesies, which hold immeasurable power. When people like what you represent as a person, they are likely to identify with your brand, your ethical foundations, and your goals− and as your business ideals are often rooted strongly in your character, the people that like you as a human will extend those sentiments to your company and show their appreciation− these days, using social media.

Just like with your personal relationships, in your business affairs, simply getting along with people is not the same as being liked or respected. There is a fine balance that needs to be reached between meeting your needs and making sure they are inline with those of another. Whether you are trying to make new friends or solidify business partnerships, these tips will boost your “like” factor− tangible and digital.

  1. Don’t be boastful. Overemphasizing your success comes off as pretentious. No matter how fortunate you are, remember to stay humble. You don’t have to down play every single achievement, but there’s no need to make them overly apparent to everyone, each time you speak. Timing can be very important. If you learn to express your accomplishments in a manor that is nonthreatening, people are less inclined to write you off as arrogant. You can demonstrate that you are a competent person without being a show-off.
  2. Become genuinely interested in others. People can usually recognize someoneI Like You; Therefore, I like your Work. [Building Your Reputation] who is trying too hard to be liked. In fact, the desperation of approval is directly associated with phoniness. Remember, there is no need to put on a false front just to get people to like you. When you show interest in the activities, ambitions, and triumphs of those around you, they will feel appreciated and acknowledged. Not to mention, you may be able to learn something new. Be a good listener, ask plenty of questions, and encourage others to talk about themselves. When they bring up something you find interesting or a mutual passion you should begin a deeper conversation on that topic because it will make the other person feel important. But be sincere, do not interrupt when a person is speaking to you− there will be an appropriate moment for you to share your own stories and experiences, but not at the expense of someone who believes you are listening to what they are saying.
  3. If you are positive, your presence is positive. People can only stand a “Debbie Downer” in moderation. They are difficult to befriend because they make us uneasy. If you are overly critical, even your closest friends will find you unpleasant to be around. It’s fine to offer constructive assessments, but be ready to provide several solutions or ideas to resolve the issues you point out. What good is a cynic with no better cause? Most people do not enjoy reading the status updates of that one friend who is always whining and complaining− and that woe-is-me attitude does not translate well in the business world either.
  4. Smiling, it’s a simple salutation! Maybe my obnoxious alliteration will help you keep this one stored in the memory bank. A smile is like a decorative, “Welcome, I’m friendly” banner− on your face. It’s your first chance to invite someone into an interaction with you. Not only do you seem more open and nice, but you also feel better on the inside, and that is a proven formula for gaining people’s affections.
  5. Leave the judging to the American Idol panel. You don’t need to build your own reputation on the failings of others. Instead, let your own stellar qualities stand for themselves. When you root for the success of your coworkers, friends, or family, they will return the support. As a leader in your community, business, or social circle you need to accept and appreciate those around you− quirks and all.

I Like You; Therefore, I like your Work. [Building Your Reputation]In an age where every single opinion is tweeted and then retweeted, it is crucial to maintain a positive reputation in your personal life because that will echo in your professional decisions. This is especially true if you’re company is using social media in business because your character must remain completely transparent in order for you and your business to be perceived as authentic.

In reality, no matter what you do, what you say or look like, how you behave, dress, or what you believe− some people will like you and others won’t. But as a business leader, you need to increase your odds by following the methods in this article and working even harder to be reachable as well. Connect with others on a one to one basis by allowing them to penetrate your private bubble. Letting people get to know you, being nice, and caring about others− whether about their personal or professional endeavors− will ensure the same feelings from them in return.

By Sasha Novikov, Creatine Marketing

If you liked that article, you might also enjoy this

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Kickstarter [Using Social Media Effectively to Follow Your Dreams]

Kistarter [Using Social Media Effectively to Follow Your Dreams]Kickstarter is the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects. The company was founded in 2009 and through the website, individuals or businesses are able to raise money via crowd funding. Basically, as long as you have a fundraising idea, Kickstarter provides the tools you need to bring your project to fruition.

The website has connected entrepreneurs with financial backers on a diverse array of endeavors including: charities, indie films, music, stage shows and comics, video video games, and food-related projects–among hundreds of others. A person or group of people create an event, product, or service and advertise it on Kickstarter, then regular people can donate money—as little as one dollar, or as high as you can imagine. Once the project reaches its dollar-amount goal, the people who invested will receive thanks, maybe a t-shirt, the initial product their funds helped create, or perhaps even dinner with its inventor.

This community based encouragement system has sparked innovation and creativity worldwide. By helping people gather money from the public, this service offers anyone with a imaginative new idea the opportunity to circumvent traditional avenues of seeking out investment—which can be tedious and time consuming— without struggling to come up with the money needed to kick start a project.

Kistarter [Using Social Media Effectively to Follow Your Dreams]Project creators choose a deadline and a minimum income goal, and if this goal isn’t met by the deadline—no funds are collected. In this way, the system still requires creators to market their idea by producing interesting commercials and speaking about why their idea is necessary, interesting—or worth the $5,000 they’re asking for.

In 2012, over two million people pledged a total of $319,786,629 and successfully funded a little over eighteen thousand projects. That means that, on average, backers were pledging about $606.76 per minute, and seventeen projects raised $1million or more.

In this article, I want to focus on two projects that struck me as particularly remarkable and unique. Neither are tangible products, but both are life changing for their creators. The first venture is called Friend Request: Accepted—by photographer Ty Morin, and the second is called Twinsters (combining the words twin and sisters) started by Samantha Futerman.

Friend Request: Accepted

Kistarter [Using Social Media Effectively to Follow Your Dreams]

Ty Morin, a Connecticut based photographer, is setting out to locate and get to know every single one of his Facebook friends… all 788 of them. He will spend the next few years traveling all over the world, seeking out his “friends” and photographing them doing something they are passionate about—while filming the entire process.

Morin states that at least half of those 788 people, he’s never even spoken to, so this project will give him the chance to connect and reconnect with people. Rather than hiding behind the computer screens, he will be using social media effectively to make genuine real-life, human connections.

His idea isn’t to just gather people together for a group photo—rather he wants to sit down with each individual person and be witness to his or her passion, whether that is a project, piece of music, artistic endeavor, or new baby. He will be using a vintage 8×10 camera so each portrait will take about an hour to complete. This method will be frustrating Morin admits, but it will give him a chance to spend time with the people he’s meeting.

Morin initially set a $5,000 goal to be used towards film, darkroom chemicals, travel expenses, transportation, and fuel. He enticed big spenders to pledge $5,000 or more by stating that he will personally add the backer on Facebook, and show up to take his or her portrait with his camera—so this backer would appear in the film, receive a copy of it, and have their name in the credits. Someone took the bait. Two people pledged $500 or more—another two pledged $250 or more, and so on.

The deadline to pledge came and went. By March 26, when people were no longer able to contribute, Morin had raised $14,166—almost ten thousand dollars more than he had planned to receive. Morin promises each backer his or her name in his film, which will be completed sometime within the next 5 years.

Twinsters

On February 21, 2013, Samantha Futerman, an actor living in LA, received a private message via Facebook from a random stranger, Anais Bordier. Little did Samantha know that reading the message would dramatically change her life.

Anais, a French fashion design student living in London, noticed a very familiar face starting back at her from a YouTube video she had watched featuring Samantha. Her friends pestered her about the resemblance, but without access to a name or any other information, Anais left it to coincidence and lived her life, but with a lingering curiously always there in the back of her mind.

Earlier this year, however, when the film 21 and Over hit theaters, featuring Samantha again, Anais could no longer leave the phenomenon unexplored. This actress shared an identical, carbon copy or her face—and after a few late night social media stalking sessions, the young French girl—born on November 19, 1987 and adopted shortly after—read the same exact story on Samantha’s Facebook page. Both girls were born in Seoul, South Korea—on the same day in the same year—and both adopted out to different families. Once Anais realized that it was possible that Samantha was her biological twin sister, she reached out to her via Twitter and Facebook.  Kistarter [Using Social Media Effectively to Follow Your Dreams]

The girls have been communicating via Skype, Facebook,Twitter, etc. for months now, and their goal is to create a full-length documentary that follows both girls as they prepare to meet in person for the first time. They will document their unique experiences through a series of blogs, video journal posts, and digital conversations. They hope to hire a film and production crew to follow them as they travel through Europe and the United States learning about each other’s different countries and meeting one another’s families.

They also hope to raise enough money to conduct a DNA test in order to officially confirm their relationship—although both girls say they already know the truth in their hearts and have created a bond unlike any other they’ve ever had.

With 854 backers, the girls have surpassed their initial request for $30,000 by over five thousand dollars—and they still have 13 days in their campaign. Some incentives the girls are offering their supporters include digital downloads of the completed film, t-shirts designed by Anais, tickets to the premiere in either LA or London followed by dinner with the twins, and even executive producer credits!

Once again, I am amazed and astounded by social media’s ability to bring communities and individuals together. Whether you are starting a project using Kickstarter, or helping someone’s dreams come true—this service is one of the most innovative tools ever designed.

As an individual or businessperson, you can take an idea from its infancy and watch it become a reality. Kickstarter is the best friend of entrepreneurs and creative souls all over the world.

Let this link lead you to more amazing Kickstarter projects, inspiring stories, and fun marketing ideas.

By Sasha Novikov

Also Check out:

Social Media Fast: Unplug Without Feeling Disconnected

or

Engage Your Classroom | Social Media and Education

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