Tapping into the Valentine’s Day trend on social media

Taking Advantage

As business owners who want to stay relevant with current trends, you plan ahead of time to take advantage of holidays. But maybe you struggle with Valentine’s Day because you don’t see how it fits in with your business. Further, you see the advantage in using social media, but don’t know where to start in contributing and drawing attention to your brand.

First of all, have something to say. We always want to add value to the consumer’s life. This is what gets us shares. Especially on Valentine’s Day when we are competing against hundreds of other companies for consumer attention, we have to come up with something unusual, creative, and completely shareable.

Whether or not you personally want to “buy in” to all the Valentine’s Day hoopla, it’s smart business to encourage what consumers see as a day of hope for humanity.

  • Set up a series of inspiring quotes with trendy graphics relevant to your business. For example, if you own a computer store, your quote could be a cute quote on love or a corny romantic-themed joke, but your graphic should be of something like two computers running off together holding hands. Check fiverr.com to get something drawn up quick. Post your graphics on social media throughout the day. These should be completely shareable and only include your website in a discreet way down at the bottom somewhere, if at all. Selling your business to the consumer is only the remote goal of what you’re trying to do here. The proximate goal is getting them to agree and love whatever it is you’re sharing.
  • Highlight your business’ support for couples and participation in Valentine’s Day festivities by offering couples-centric discounts. Or offer freebies for those who stop by your business between certain hours. Your participation in Valentine’s Day with a discount for the public is the bare minimum of what the consumer expects. Graphics are cute, and you’ll get clicks for something shareable, but you need to cement people spending money for your product, not just have them like your page.
  • In all social media posts, include appropriate hashtags. #ValentinesDay and #Valentine are obvious ones, but other hashtags, like #WhatIsLoveInFourWords, are starting to show up. Check out hashtags.org to see what is trending from hour to hour. Appropriate hashtags would also refer to hashtags common to your target market. This post will be shared with the Valentine’s Day tags and #SmallBiz.
  • It’s probably too late for your small business to get a short video together, but if you have that kind of ability, don’t underestimate the power of the video. With Facebook, if you promote a short video – something humorous, something moving – your traffic can increase a ton because users will now see your content streaming in their feed, regardless of whether or not they click. Seeing a bit of what they are getting provides incentive for them to engage.
  • Instagram, a picture sharing site, is more heavily used by the younger crowd, so if you’re wanting to tap into this market more and use Valentine’s Day to do it, try ramping up your editorial style pics and making a social commentary on love with photos. Even if this only means taking your camera and randomly taking shots of occasions that remind you of love, romance, etc.  If it’s inspiring to you, it will probably be inspiring to others. It doesn’t matter whether it’s connected to your business specifically. The point is that your company believes in and encourages love, commitment, and hope for the future. Best of all, Instagram is free.
  • Use Valentine’s Day as a way to encourage people to engage with your business. You could ask users to post a pic from their journey to love and offer a discount code to anyone who does. You could participate in the trending hashtag #WhatIsLoveInFourWords and host a contest with a “basket” or gift card as a prize for the best one. Or do the same thing with a romantic haiku.
  • Make use of the personal story. Whether it’s an inspiring personal love story, your grandparents’ story, or your love story with whatever product or service your company produces, sharing something concise and inspiring can up your traffic. Video is the ideal vehicle for such a story, but this late in the day, a slideshare.com presentation is your next best thing. Failing that, use an article. Just make sure that the update announcing your story is pithy and will create curiosity in the consumer.
  • Service or product, have something crafted specifically for Valentine’s Day weekend. Limited edition items sold for a limited time create urgency in the user to take advantage of the moment. Use the obvious themes – hearts, flowers, romance. Even if your product or service isn’t romantic per se, having it wrapped in Valentine’s Day packaging (literally or figuratively, depending on what you are offering) or giving it a Valentine’s Day inspired name, is enough.

Valentine’s Day is coming up fast so you might not have time implement as many marketing strategies as you’d like. If coming up with content for your business isn’t doable, the least you can do is engage and participate with the existing content on the day of. Promote the business of other small businesses like your own and retweet and share the Valentine’s Day quotes, pics, and vids that put a smile on your face or in your heart.

You might not think your business has anything to do with Valentine’s Day, but that’s no reason your business can’t support love and romance.

How to Share Your Content in Social Media Updates

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Your window of opportunity to garner the interest of the consumer is small. With attention spans shortening due to social media induced comprehension issues, that window has shrunk even further. What you say to the public has to grab them from the first phrase. And any excess wordage or concepts results in attention drift. Once that happens, you’ve lost them. They are already moving on to the next update in their feed.

Consumers don’t want their social media pages to be overburdened with posts they aren’t interested in. ‘What will interest consumers?’ is the question which every marketer has foremost in his mind. Not every post you make will produce a like or a share. But knowing what to say and how to say it has a direct correlative impact on whether or not consumers will find your posts interesting and worth sharing. Below is a short guide on how to share your content in social media posts.

  • Have great content. It doesn’t matter how much your update garners consumer attention and interest if the content you send them to is subpar. They’ll soon stop bothering to read your posts altogether, much less share them, if they’re disappointed on the follow through. What makes great content? The marketing rule is that it must teach, entertain, or inspire. If your post rambles, is a mere narrative about your day, or otherwise fails to teach, entertain, or inspire, consider writing or hiring experienced content writers who can start filling your website or blog with content worth reading.
  • What posts you share are important. Don’t take for granted the content you have that can remind consumers of your company’s existence. Share your about page, your testimonials page, your most clicked on posts (see what those are via analytics), and the posts that consumers found the most useful.
  • Keep posts short. Twitter length is a good rule of thumb. Consumers skim through their social media feed, which means they spend about two seconds reading a post before the decide whether it interests them.
  • Post updates with a link attached, but draw them in with your words. Don’t rely only on content you’re linking to. Even if the content is important, consumers need to have a reason to click on your link.
  •  Ask a question you think your target audience will agree with. Ego is an important part of the sales process because consumers have to feel good about the product they buy. If the audience can give a resounding Yes or No to your question, odds are, you will be getting more clicks.
  • Make a statement that will surprise your target audience. ‘Surprise statements’ cause curiosity, and curiosity equals clicks. Get familiar with presenting the unexpected, but don’t mislead the consumer as to the nature and slant of the subject matter.
  • Keep your updates clear and easy to understand. Pick a single point to emphasize rather than multiple points that leave your reader confused about why they should click on the link. Use the simplest word and the shortest sentences. Simple and clear beats out elaborate and confusing any day of the week.THAT MOMENTWhen your updates start
  • Use hashtags. Not all social media has ease of use with hashtags (Pinterest is a noticeable hashtag exception to the hashtag rule). Research which hashtags are the most used and visited hashtags in your industry. Add a minimum of two of hashtags to each update and make sure they are appropriate to your content.
  • Know your business. And not just your business. Check out the updates of competitors and peers with a high number of followers. Pay attention to which of their tweets are retweeted, which of their FB updates receive a high number of likes or shares. Figure out why. Are there good ideas you can implement there?
  • Share updates that link to content similar to your own. Part of having a social media page for your business is not just about linking to your own content, making announcements, or offering discounts, it’s proving to the consumer that your business page is worth perusing more in depth for other articles they might find relevant or of interest. And it helps to sell your brand by creating a mental association of your business with a specific industry as a whole.

Knowing what to share and how to share it can take some finesse and a good sales sense. If you don’t think you have those kinds of chops, stop by our page. We can help with that!

Has LinkedIn figured out what it is yet?

Confused Felipe

Photo attribuation: By FelipeIbazeta (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

LinkedIn has been around for quite a while now. You never noticed? Well, it’s been here since 2002, ready to replace Facebook for professional people. Yet another social media site, to fill with photos and information about oneself. But, it wasn’t fun and… cool… so, it’s kind of a nobody in the social media world. Maybe more of a somebody than Google+, but still pretty low down on the totem pole.

Part of the reason LinkedIn isn’t a businessman’s “right hand social media man” is because LinkedIn hasn’t really seemed to know what it should be. Mix business with pleasure? Strictly Business? Hiring and firing site? Resume showcase site? All of the above? None of the above? Hundreds of people have been sent to this site by their bosses with instructions to get themselves a profile, only to find themselves pounding their heads on their desks, plaintively asking, “How are we supposed to use you, LinkedIn? What are you actually designed for and how can you help me?”

Crickets chirping…

Facebook is popular because it creates all types of varied communities, and allows you to set up groups and network about anything, be it higher things like philosophy, history and math, or more mundane things like the latest celebrity news. It’s also pretty self-explanatory, so much so that a child below the legal age of 13 can get on, fill out a profile and start friending people. In the middle of a serious discussion about whether or not to fire an employee, one can be entertained by a video of a cute kitty that just happened to pop up on your feed. LinkedIn, however, is largely, though not exclusively, a business community. It is not designed for Tweets and Re-Tweets, or discussion of the latest YouTube viral video. It IS a way for businessmen to network their skills, easily share their resumes, and solve business problems in a way that is largely drama free and professional. Now, if you think about it from a businessman’s point of view… isn’t that kinda nice?

The basics of LinkedIn are that you can list your work experience, your profile picture and add a personal touch to your business life. Unlike with Facebook, where you can willy-nilly friend any Tom, Dick or Harry without knowing them at all, this is not a good strategy to follow with your LinkedIn account. This is a SERIOUS networking site, folks. You only link in with people that you are working with or could be valuable to you business-wise. You won’t find any cats or dogs with people’s names either.

LinkedIn additionally allows one to create groups and network with professionals based on their areas of expertise. So if you are a professional historian, you can join a group on ancient Chinese history and network with professionals in that field, sharing information and details. Or, if you are an IT professional, you can network about PhP and C++ with other professionals in that area, without having to do some grueling searching.

This does sound intriguing…

Since being founded by Reid Hoffman in 2002, LinkedIn slowly grew and grew until it recently exploded in its number of users as well as its profit and revenue. In 2011, LinkedIn grossed more income from advertising revenue than Twitter. (Source) The number of users of LinkedIn has grown to 200 million members in 200 countries (Source). As it continues to grow, businesses have begun utilizing LinkedIn’s professional orientation to establish tools to apply for jobs through LinkedIn on their listings. Employees can search for jobs through LinkedIn, having fast access to thousands of companies and even meeting future employers directly. LinkedIn also serves job recruiters by sorting the talents and abilities of members who might fit the positions that businesses are looking for. Businesses can advertise on LinkedIn, listing products and services with descriptions on their company pages, and users can write reviews for them. All in all, there are endless opportunities for all types of economic activity. So, it’s not Facebook, it’s not meant to compete with Facebook; it’s meant to market you, and market businesses. Aren’t you glad we had this discussion and figured this out? Now, on to save the world.

What does the future hold for LinkedIn? LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner announced at the end of 2012 that the company’s plans in the coming decade are to establish an “economic graph,” which kinda/sorta pillages Facebook’s social graph concept. LinkedIn presents its economic graph (when finalized) as an all encompassing chart of the global economy and all of the connections therein. The terminus ad quem of the “economic graph” is to make the connections of the global economy thorough and universal, in order that LinkedIn might possess not simply all the job recruitment in the world, but furthermore the skills required to acquire those jobs, the total number of professionals who might work them, and the businesses (whether nonprofit or for-profit) in which they work. Weiner aims at nothing less than making the global economy mapped, charted and transparent. This sounds Googlish to me!

There are signs that LinkedIn could achieve this grand vision. Not only is it growing in the US and Europe, but even in markets which are not always friendly to Internet movements, such as China. (Source) Comprising 1/5th of the world’s population, the Chinese expansion could make LinkedIn to the business world what Facebook is to the social world, further linking the global community via their phones, tablets and laptops.

Is the world ready for this level of centralization? The growth, marketability, and versatility of LinkedIn would suggest that its heading in that direction, ready or not. Best to get on the bandwagon then…

Google+, the walking dead?

800px-Forest_in_CantabriaOriginally created in June 2011, Google+ was supposed to take Google to the next level. Combining all of Google’s services into one place, it was hailed as the next social media powerhouse, allowing you to network with friends, family, employers, employees, sharing everything under the sun. Its rise to 50 million users in three months exceeded the growth of Myspace, Twitter and Facebook in the same period, and led to speculation that Google+ could even replace Facebook as the most used Social Networking site. As nuts as that seems now, it wasn’t so nuts in 2013. Google was the only company in the world that had a popular mobile OS, namely Android, which could be merged with its own social network as well as the rest of its products. It showed a great deal of promise. When one considers the wide range of Google’s reach, from Picasa photo sharing, to Youtube, Jetpack, Blogger, etc., it seemed that everything might become Google. But then, it didn’t.

Right off the bat, Google+ was a hard sell. All the things people value about Facebook, privacy (ha ha), the ability to have tiered pages so only friends and family can see them, or even to post anonymously were surprisingly absent from Google+. Google+ required real names, identify verification, and putting all of your details in one place… this made it a hard sell. The social layer to all things Google was not a standalone product, but an embedding of everything into one place.

So, not only were most people uncomfortable with a more realistic book of their face, but few were going to move all of their information off of Facebook and put it on Google+. That was like, secretarial work, not fun social stuff! The momentum cooled quickly, and not too much has happened since.

In April of this year, Google+ developer, Vic Gundrota, resigned unexpectedly. In the aftermath of that everyone involved in Google+ was shifted to other departments. This sparked rumors that Google+ was on its way to death’s door and was to be discontinued, like other Google products. But speculation about Google+’s demise actually predates Gundrota’s resignation. Techwatcher Adam Metz, noted:

“Here’s why I think Google’s high-priority social network is failing, fast. After Amir Efrati’s February article in the Wall Street Journal revealed that, after sign up, Google+ users aren’t really doing anything much with the platform, a pretty stunning info-graphic really jumped out at readers – it was a diagram that showed the average minutes-per-user for all social networks in January 2012.” (Source)

If you click on the link, you’ll find according to Metz’s source, Google+ users spend all of 3 minutes a day on it. Hm. This is compared to the average of 40 minutes a day people spend on Facebook (source).

Yet it’s still there! At least, for the moment. Google has, however, downgraded Google Authorship, by removing profile pictures and Google+ circle counts from searches. This was one of the most notable features of Google+, and without it one wonders what’s next.

What was intended as a grandiose Google takeover of the worlds containing Facebook, Office Online, and even LinkedIn, Google+ is an epic fail. It still maintains over 500 million active users around the world, but many more than half of those account holders also have Facebook pages. Google+ can’t begin to compete with Facebook’s 1.2 billion users. Though Google+ has had a good success rate maintaining its number of account holders, it looks more than likely, to those of us that pay attention to such things, that as Google moves on to other projects, it will simply leave behind Google+ until it fades into irrelevance. And nary a tear was shed.

But wait! Stop the presses… Google+, like chivalry, is not dead! In a recent 2014 interview with David Besbris, Google’s new social media guru, Besbris said:

“We’re actually very happy with the progress of Google+, [CEO Larry Page] said this at the time that Vic transitioned that he’s going to continue working on building this stuff, that he’s very happy with it.” “The company is behind it. I have no idea where these rumors come from to be honest with you.”

The ace the company is holding up their sleeve is that Google+ is ad free and will remain so, unlike Facebook, who’s pro-ad pages are starting to get some serious flack in the Facebookosphere,

“They won’t convert well, they won’t be beneficial, and it kind of just pollutes the space. I think for a social place that tends to be very intimate where you’re having conversations with people, you’re sharing pictures, you’re exploring things you’re really into, you don’t want to be at that point bombarded with noise,” said Besbris.

He went to on to say that Google+ is just misunderstood, and will come into its own someday. And if, IF, they DO decide to put ads in there for our, erm, enjoyment, they will be unique in such a way as only Google can make an ad unique. Oh… joy.

Social Media Takeaway on Recent Events

If you read my last article on The Far-Reaching Effects of Social Media (and I know you did because you’re such a fan), your eyes were opened on how influential social media can be. That being said, what’s the overall social media takeaway for any business?

Have good social media presence. I say “good” as juxtaposed to say, neutral, or bad. You want consumers to think positive about your brand. In our day and age that means not only that they’ve heard of your company (that’s neutral territory) but they’ve been impressed by it on a personal level. Personal. Meaning that they’ve interacted with your company on some positive level or been so impressed by it that they are recommending it to friends.

It used to be extremely difficult for companies to touch base with the everyday consumer. Not anymore. Social media enables companies to interact with customers like never before. Which is great – unless you’re really good at ignoring them, giving them stock answers for grievances, or outright offending them with responses.

The sooner a business knows consumers aren’t happy with them, the sooner they can make adjustments.

QUINOABe prepared to own up to mistakes. Be aware of how your business is perceived and tackle disconcerting issues immediately and head on. The public knows when they are being played, which means businesses have to act with integrity. Always. No amount of owning up will ever look as bad as scrambling to come up with a cover that the public just might swallow. Scrambling never works, so acknowledge what actually happened, make the apologies, address the public’s concerns, state ongoing solutions, and move forward.

Social media can crucify a person’s reputation within hours via trending hashtags. But it can also be a means to reach a wider audience quickly. It’s a new way to make sure as many people as possible are hearing your message. Of course, think and rethink what that message is going to be. The claim once existed that any publicity is good publicity. Considering that people have more or less had their careers ended via Twitter, I’m not convinced that’s the case anymore. Don’t assume that just because you are “small potatoes” (either the company itself or your level on the corporate ladder) that you’ll be able to tweet something controversial and have it go unnoticed.

That’s not to say that we shouldn’t stand by our principles. If our principles are controversial, whatever those principles are, we have to be willing to hang our professional lives on them.

Always utilize honest business practices. Transparency is important to the consumer. However, it’s hard to accomplish that with any sort of sincerity if there are shady deals taking place. Furthermore, attempting to portray a straight-laced company after some catastrophe has landed the company on the front page will be seen as too little, too late.

Sometimes businesses are seemingly put in the tough position of having to choose between the continued success of the business or owning up to something that could spell its doom. It’s always better not to have the skeleton in the closet – not only from a moral perspective but from a “you-never-know-when-your-company-will-be-in-the-hot-seat” perspective.

When weighing the pros and cons of making that deal with the devil, if the morality of the situation doesn’t compel you, at the very least ask yourself, what would happen to your career if the action you are contemplating went viral on Twitter?

Even though we know backroom deals go down, we like to remain under the illusion they don’t. Who wants to do business with a company known for dishonesty? At heart, “there is no honor among thieves” holds a lot of sway with where consumers are willing to spend their money.

To conclude, every company has, or should have, a dedicated fireman. Someone whose sole purpose is to deal with problems that arise between the mass consumer and the company. Social media is a huge boon to that fireman.

In the event that your company is thrown a curve ball, use social media to your advantage. Hopefully you’ve already been interacting with your consumers and you’re seen as credible. If that still isn’t garnering their vote of confidence in your business, you might have to weather it and hope for the best.

Be honest, be positive, be dedicated. And use social media to do it.

The Far-reaching Effects of Social Media

The following post is not intended to endorse or support the actions or in-actions of those whom it discusses.

If you ever had any doubts of the power of social media, lay them to rest.

Recent events triggered various social media firestorms which lead to raised conventional media awareness. News agencies, wise to the utility of Twitter and Facebook as an indicator of “the people’s voice,” further fomented discussion by continued coverage and sometimes baiting. This, in turn, resulted in a call for action and authorities becoming more involved than they might have otherwise.

hello!According to the New York Times, #Ferguson is what thrust the Ferguson, MO shooting incident into the national limelight.

It has spurred a new iteration of discussion with the hashtag #iftheygunmedown, which had hundreds of participants posting dual photos of themselves on twitter. One, in which the participants were dressed in clothing and posing in ways that might indicate they were a gang member, and another which indicated they were upstanding, law abiding, and community contributing citizens. All this posing the question, which photo would the media use “#iftheygunmedown”?

Their point to conventional media outlets? One hopes their point was that they now understand the media’s attempts to manipulate the populace and whip them into a frenzied race-based flame war. Because controversy sells. But it’s possible that such techniques on the part of money-hungry news agencies have only confirmed to blacks that white bias exists on a large scale.

A month later, we are still seeing that the incident is fresh on people’s minds as social media and conventional media feed off each other. Protesters attempted a shutdown  of I-70 and Attorney General Eric Holder has promised to launch an investigation. One has to wonder if such efforts would have been expended if news social media discussion of the incident had faded away.

The recent rash of NFL controversies have sparked social media outcry, as well.

As news of Adrian Peterson’s suspension for alleged child abuse broke, the world was still reacting to the interview Reggie Bush gave for WFAN’s Boomer and Carton Show. Social media users have had plenty to say about Reggie’s less than prudent words. (#ReggieBush)

The indefinite suspension of player Ray Rice from the NFL only came about after public pressure via social media was brought to bear on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. The populace is enraged at the thought that the NFL hoped to brush the incident under the rug. Paul George, who tweeted a comment in support of Ray Rice, felt an immediate social media backlash that had him scrambling to apologize.

All of these incidents are cautionary tales for both businesses (of which the NFL is one) and individuals alike.

If business practices are anything but above board, one would do well to view social media with a wary eye.

Before social media came along, businesses and high profile individuals could afford to anger people to a degree. They could count on the powerless isolation of consumers. But social media allows people to find, interact, and discuss with strangers, like-minded and not. All of a sudden, consumers aren’t so isolated and the people’s voice has more economic and political clout than it ever had before.

Many businesses and bureaucratic powers that be are still trying to play catch up. Some might be mystified at the immense pressure that can be brought to bear via the seemingly innocuous social media platforms.

Will social media change how businesses do business?

If the Goodell case is any indicator, we the people want transparency. It upsets consumers to realize that business owners (or government officials) might be looking at preserving their own interests over preserving their integrity.

To rehash an over-used parallel to ancient Rome, we can say that modern social media has shrunken the nation to such a degree that the star movers and shakers of this world can rise and fall as easily as the politicians of ancient Rome rose and fell by the voice of the mob.

Nevertheless, there is no way to guarantee your business will never experience a stock-shaking scandal. At that point, all you can do is act with integrity and hope that you have built up enough of a relationship with the public that they are willing to believe any apologies made or mistakes owned.

Look for Part II of this article next month: The Social Media Takeaway on Recent Events

The Impact of Social Media on the Ferguson Tragedy

The job of a journalist is an elite and untouchable job, reserved for only the sparkling beautiful people we feel like waking up to every morning to see on TV. Right? Only someone with a paper that says they are allowed to be a journalist can report the news, that’s the only way we can believe what is being said. Really? In the last twenty years this may have been considered true by the majority of Americans, but with semi-pro recording and uploading devices hitting critical mass recently, the tide has been gradually changing. In fact, I think in light of recent events, we can safely say it has turned.

Technology has forever changed the way journalism works. There is no greater evidence of this than in the case of the tragedy in Ferguson, MO. In the past, this mess would have been swept under the bed out of sight, for the predictable narrative of highly trained and well armed cop shoots unarmed black man in self defense. The intrepid media was quick to dismiss the story and move to more salubrious topics like the ice-bucket challenge. But that is not the way it went, and for one reason alone: the tech of today in the form of smartphones capable of taking HD video, broadcasting news reports by audio, making blog posts, Twitter hashtags and Facebook. As the MSM attempted to move on, in a casual “nothing to see here” way, their determination to ignore the over-the-top suppression of protests and arrests of journalists that apparently didn’t get the memo sparked a backlash of the people taking matters into their own hands, er, smartphones. How dare the illustrious media celebrities tell us what is news and what is not news? The public wants to know what happened! Citizen journalists armed with today’s version of the Guttenburg printing press put the story back to our attention, in all its gory glory.

In the not so distant past, we have seen some pretty creative ways in utilizing social media to attract attention to a cause like this. Photoshopped memes, like the “pepper spray” meme, depicting Lt. John Pike, a California police officer who pepper sprayed an innocent, unarmed and peaceful crowd of demonstrators at Occupy on the UC Davis campus, tend to go viral, especially if the meme makes one -LOL- The variations this meme went through wound up depicting the officer pepper spraying the Statue of Liberty, the signers of the Declaration of Independence, pregnant mothers, religious figures, and figures in famous works of art. Someone made up a Twitter account to gather it all in on spot, @PepperSprayCop. It got the message across big time, with no money down, no overpaid, overly made-up talking heads and no (apparent) government involvement.

Memes are to be feared for sure, but what is worse to an evil doer with “cover up” on the mind? Twitter has been by far the best springboard to the way in which the new citizen journalists of the Social Media revolution have influenced recent events, be it in Ferguson or anywhere else. Through the use of Twitter hashtags such as #Ferguson, #blacklivesmatter, #iftheygunnedmedown, as well as countless others, Twitter has majorly been accomplice in creating awareness of new police brutality stories and the marginalization of black communities by the big bad police. Whether or not this is all true, is another subject entirely. Reporting has never been about the truth, however, it’s been about creating a story that will stick and sell. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something.

As data shows that about 44% of Blacks and Latinos use smart-phones (source), the use of Twitter allows for creating a more unified and organized community to rally against police violence, political corruption, as well as the excuses and cover-ups for it. Everyone who has tried to do their duty at the voting booth knows that change does not come by throwing the old bums out and putting new bums in. It comes through real challenges to the ruling class, as well as their allies in the MSM, by organized communities that put the pressure on. This has been fostered, nurtured and turned loose in a large way by social media. Without it, Michael Brown would be but another obituary in the history of police violence, while everyone else, like the President, turns to another round of golf.