Math Blaster to Marketing Mania

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I am unfortunately old enough to remember when social media wasn’t a thing. I grew up to a boxy computer, fax machine and even a typewriter. (Although by that time, even a typewriter was an old-school piece of equipment.) I remember Math Blaster, Carmen Sandiego and other low-res PC 90’s games that took up a small portion of my childhood activities. While I could not have imagined the technological changes that would take place not far down the road, they inevitably transformed how I grew up and my development towards my career. For the sake of time, I’ll simply focus on how social media affected some of my personal aspects, professional marketing development and a few quirks in-between.

Whether or not people realize it, the first time someone creates a social media profile, it is the start of a digital personality, or a personal brand. For many within my time, Myspace was the beginning. I am thankful I was a bit late and missed that trend, so I started with Facebook. I also had a profile on Deviant Art and it was my first introduction to creative minds, which later on I realized helped craft my skill sets for starting down a marketing path. (Deviant Art was and still is essentially a social media platform designed to help artists connect, develop their talent and reach larger audiences.)

As a personal user of several social media avenues, I would call myself a social media introvert. I interact with small actions frequently with those I am close with, and not so much with others. This didn’t change as other platforms started to roll out either, like Pinterest, Snap Chat, etc. What did change was how I began to separate myself amongst different platforms. Facebook really became an informational hub, which I’ll talk more about in a bit. Instagram became my space, (no pun intended), for understanding what I like, why and expressing my fascinations with others. Snapchat and Voxer were apps I had just because it was the only way to communicate frequently with a few cherished individuals. Pinterest, and apps like Etsy, became outlets for conceptualizing personal home development projects and damn good delicious recipes. While I could keep categorizing other social media apps, I won’t because my point is this: social media became categorized by what I want to be and as tools to help me get there. I have a whole section of apps dedicated to physical health and mental well-being that I use regularly. Keep this in mind marketers. People pick social media platforms based on who they are and what they strive to be.

It allows us to get a little closer, a little more empathetic, a little nearer to who we truly want to be. Brands have the opportunity to connect with us if they’re willing to be human along with us – with all the messiness, anxieties and joys that comes with that.

Courtney Seiter, The Psychology of Social Media: Why We Like, Comment, and Share Online

If your target market doesn’t want to live in that space, we probably shouldn’t either. Being everywhere does not make for a good strategy, because it means the brand is likely not understood and certainly doesn’t understand human-beings.

Now to the professional side. I mentioned earlier that Facebook transformed into an informational hub for me. It still is a platform where I engage people I know, but it became a professional “newspaper”, so to speak. I tailored my news feed to feature many local chambers, non-profits and other organizations so that I would get their regular updates, because part of my marketing role entails community development. In addition, I followed marketing associations and other industry profiles that help me to stay on top of trends or research, and know when events are happening in which I can attend to learn more. How professionals are educating themselves has drastically changed with the advent of social media. LinkedIn is another good example of a space in which colleagues share articles and research to better their perspectives and networks. Professionals in any arena can now learn 24/7 through the use of social media, but it also means there might be an unhealthy connection to work. I believe it’s why the term “work/life balance” has become a regular buzz word amongst corporate culture conversations, because social media is blurring the lines between work and play. While I personally enjoy the aspects of self-growth, it can be a draining. It is important to disconnect from time to time.

Social media evolution was and still is transforming quickly throughout our society. When changes happen this fast, there are obviously pros and cons and much of it has to do with personal decisions, and how one adapts and utilizes new opportunities. How we understand ourselves, our companies and each other within those frameworks are going to be crucial in improving marketing practices and hopefully our societal views as a whole.

2 thoughts on “Math Blaster to Marketing Mania

  1. I am also old enough to remember when social media didn’t exist yet! Funny how the world has changed so much in such a short time. My mom had a typewriter at her work when I was growing up still. Now the world is filled with social media and some people can’t imagine living without it.

    I thought your comment about how people pick their social media platforms based on who they are and who they strive to be was very interesting. I think that is a very true statement and, as you said, every marketing professional should think about that.

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  2. I was in the in-between generation of the low res 90s game and early social media. In middle school and early high school we still were using those 90s platforms but we were also the ones that got into myspace and facebook when they were first coming out. I also agree with you with social media at our fingertips and everything we can learn for ourselves and work that we need to make sure we have a good life/work balance.

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