What Would Someone Say About You In 140 Characters Or Less?

This isn’t an ordinary question. No one asks you this when they first meet you they’re more likely to say “tell me more about yourself” but they’ll never limit to how much they want to hear about you. Or so I thought. But this question was actually on an application for a marketing position that I was applying for a couple of weeks ago.

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My first instinct when I saw this question on the application was to smile. This isreally a question? It seemed silly and then it didn’t. What I mean by this is, it sounds like a silly question to ask to those who neither use Twitter to their full advantage nor understand the power of it. But in reality, this may be one of the smartest things employers can ask students applying for jobs now.

Twitter is a great site for its users. Let me explain. 

Yes, it allows people to share tidbits of their likes, dislikes, and interests to the world. But Twitter is mainly a strategic game. People try to market their brand efficiently using Twitter because they can use hashtags that can filter their content, they know people read their TwitterFeed,and they know that if they produce interesting content, more people will be inclined to follow the brand; on twitter and in the real world.

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Marketing strategists try to get a lot of “favorites” or “retweets” on their content. And let’s face it, we’re all trying to market something out there to people. But when someone retweets something you post, it’s a great feeling. But are they retweeting because they’re familiar with the article you provided a link to, or because of the crafty way you presented it.

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Either way, it shows that you have produced something that others find interesting or even humorous. It not only shows the way you think, but how you think the way you do.  To retweet, you have to produce something “tweetable,” such as “be interesting and be interested if you want a second date.” And that’s what the employer was looking for in asking that question. Something worthy to retweet.

Since we’re in the digital age now, it’s important to produce content online. But after reading Growing Up Digital with Distractions, where many people in the digital world are being distracted by all the things the Internet has to offer, it’s not only important to learn to produce content, but to produce short, eye-catching content.

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That’s why when an employer asks, “what would someone say about you in 140 characters or less?” they do not want a short description of your bio. They want to see how well you can produce content that can be etched in their memory.

That is why communication and conversations are becoming short amongst most people. Whenspeaking, should we be speaking in our Twitter lingo? When giving speeches should we say catchy phrases in 140 characters or less?

I attended a conference where there were speakers talking about whatever topic they chose to present. At the end, I followed some keynote speakers on Twitter and apparently people who attended the conference tweeted key phrases that these speakers said since it was short, catchy, and something that they will never forget.

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This is the importance of Twitter and communication in general. Whatever you say has to basically become tweetable.

Great Marketing or Great Manipulation?

America is a country where advertisements rule our life. We see them everywhere, in every possible way. It’s something that says a lot about the culture we live in as well. Most foreigners come to America and look at billboards, ads on television, or even websites and see that two concepts like status and beauty are considered very important in America.

A lot of these ads, though are photoshopped and present an idea rather than an actual reality. However, most of the public can’t tell the difference because of how surreptitious it is. For instance, pictures of women in magazines are constantly altered to look a certain way. This causes “ordinary” people to then wonder why they don’t look that way, the photoshop way.

Although ads themselves may have their fair share of manipulation in them, I am more focused on the way ads are being presented to us as a form of manipulation rather than the content itself.

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The way advertisements are being shown to us is very secretive. For example, on websites, there will be on-screen pop ups that will keep appearing and reappearing to get a viewer to subscribe to their site. Also, there will be advertisements on seats that we sit on at bus stops, or tray tables in airplanes that promote brands.

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But, then there will be ones where a celebrity will be marketing a product to us directly from their Twitter account like they are our friend and not salesmen. This is a way for them to market their brand and the company’s brand that they’re sharing to us. Does this celebrity generally like that product? Or have they been receiving money or other benefits in order to promote someone else’s brand on their twitter profile? The answer is obvious.

Take Kim Kardashian for example. She posts about shoe lines on twitter constantly and tweets to the designer saying phrases like, “thanks for the Christmas present” like she has a friendly relationship with the designer (which she probably does) and sells the hope that we can too… but only if we buy the product.

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Advertisements have been getting clever though. Now we see them in everyday activities like brands that send promotional tweets that show up in our feed on Twitter. Or we see another brand on our Facebook feed because someone liked it on their profile. It’s the methodology that’s been here for years that states we will be more inclined to purchase a product if we see our friends liking it too. We see brands on commercial breaks on websites like Hulu or Youtube that are catered for us. The difference is, companies are starting to actually be curious about our ad preferences, as I learned in this article

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Once they can develop a certain bond with us, by truly showing us everything we like, we’ll be able to come back to their website more often to keep seeing it. It’s a great form of marketing that most of us aren’t even aware of anymore.

There’s never a dull moment with ads since they pop up everywhere. Marketing is getting so advanced in this country that it’s playing hand in hand with manipulation. Everything is being augmented and we are just the audience that sits around not knowing what to believe anymore. I mean, think about it. We listen to songs on the radio that go through auto-tune. We look at photoshopped pictures of fake tans, airbrushed abs, and altered facial features. All of this uncertainty and fakeness is making us not knowing what to believe anymore. Are we really being marketed to or are we being manipulated?

My Experience Deleting Facebook

Recently over winter break, I deleted my Facebook account. Also, I’m not really sure why I did, it was an impulse decision that I didn’t really give a lot of thought to. I was in San Diego when I checked my phone and saw someone’s ridiculous status when I decided right then and there that it was time to stop giving importance to people on Facebook and start giving myself some importance. Two hours later, I deactivated it and haven’t returned since. The interesting part of this story is not why I deleted it. Most people know why I deleted it because most people think about deleting their Facebook accounts quite often. For instance, a lot of people are tired of constantly being bombarded with nonsensical statuses and pictures that force you to ‘like’ it. People are becoming restless reading updates of acquaintance’s lives, opinions that aren’t backed up, and pictures that we don’t really want to see. These things always manage to just pop up on our news feeds though. And somehow, some way, we always refresh the page to see more.

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I did not delete my account with any intention of what my future would be like without Facebook. But the more I go on not checking updates on Facebook, the more interesting the story gets on what happens after I deleted it. The first thing I got was questions. A lot of questions like, “did you delete me?” from friends and family as if I deleted them from life. People took it really personally and figured that I did not value our relationship anymore. Others didn’t understand why I did it. And a few don’t think I exist anymore. After all, I stopped posting pictures and other tidbits of my everyday activities for them to see. All of this really helped me to understand a true bond in a relationship. Now I just communicate with friends and family the old fashion way, by texting.
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After reading Attention versus Distraction?, Vishal is better equipped with doing work digitally because he has a passion for it and was brought up in the digital world. However, he and his peers get distracted by all the digital media just like most students do. After deleting my account, I realized how much of a distraction Facebook was for me on a whole different level. When classes started, I was bombarded with readings to read so quickly. Without Facebook, I noticed that I could read articles, essays, and even books for fun in peace. No distractions. When I don’t know a definition word, I open up the Internet page, look up the word, and go back to reading. While having a Facebook account, this would never happen for me. I would open up the Internet, subconsciously go on Facebook, scroll through the news feed, see repetitive posts, and then go back to the reading while forgetting that I had to define a word.

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Another thing is that I’m more productive with my time. I read more than I did last semester, or even last year. I enjoy reading the articles I have to read for class, books that I brought from home, the news, and other blog sites. I do all of these while having school work to do but I get it all done. The more I’m able to be surrounded by “digital silence” from Facebook, the more I’m able to connect with my thoughts, reality, my career path, interesting political topics, and opinions. Instead of checking the lives other people are living on my Facebook app when I am on the bus, I read the news, or listen to music. And my phone has been less of a bad distraction and more of a good distraction. What I mean by this is that I use my phone more to educate myself by watching videos, reading the news, or reading articles while I use it less for things that won’t educate me.

ImageNow I don’t have to read what people think is important. I just ask myself what’s important and focus on that. I used to give people a bigger importance than they really are. For example, I wanted to read my friend’s opinions rather than formulate my own. I focused on what other people were doing rather than putting an importance to what I was doing. And after deleting Facebook, I truly believe that I can focus on myself more. I’m not distracted by other people nor I let myself get distracted by people. I’m not sure if I will bring my Facebook back, it’s a great way to keep in contact with old friends but for right now, I like being in my mind thinking with my own thoughts and no one else’s.

Art is Innovation

It’s a known fact that defining the term “art” is nearly impossible. This is because everyone has different perspectives of what constitutes to be art.  What some see to have artistic value in, others may not see it at all. This then leads to many definitions of the term art itself. Most people find that only classic paintings hung up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to be art since that seems to be our foundation of artistic value. Others, are accepting the new wave of digital media art with open arms. However, the classical pieces of art seems to define art, actually. When a person walks in a building that contains paintings of The Starry Night by van Gogh or The Last Supper by da Vinci, it seems to represent something. The preconceived notion seems to be that they are in an elegant and proper place where intellectual people must be. The classics seem to define what constitutes art. However, one theme they all have in common is innovation. We’re always bringing innovation into art.images (1)

Art has always been a form of expression and forming that expression comes from experimenting and taking risks. Salvador Dali was a famous innovator. He essentially moved away from contemporary art and started creating surreal art. In order for him to do this, he had to point out a difference that no one else had seen and create something new and different. Dali is not the only one though. Many artists did, and still continue to bring innovation to their pieces. Art has always been seeing something different that no one else sees and being able to produce it.

That’s what we have in our world today. Because of digital media, people are striving to be the next art innovator. Except it’s not one person making a movement. It’s everybody. Because of mass media and greater innovation in technology, everybody has complete access to create or capture an image, sound, film, etc. just by using our phones. The idea is similar to blogging. Before, a person was considered an author if he or she had published a book. Now, because of the new media forms, we call can be authors just by typing our opinions on webpages, or blogging just like how we can all be artists. We’re all the innovators of our world.

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Here’s the big question though: Is there value in this digital media art? Yes. There’s value in the art we’re producing, but it is a different value than we’re used to. We can’t recreate the classics, nor do we want to since they’re called classics for a reason, so why can’t we create something different? We have apps on our phones that allow us to share and transmit pictures that we take and present to world so that maybe they can see the world like how we do. Also, we have programs on our computers that allow us to make movies and show the world that turning nothing into something is possible for the average person.

Recently, I just visited the Smithsonian American Art Museum in DC since a new exhibit opened up and my cousins and I were interested to see what it was. The new exhibit was the “art of video games” exhibit. Personally, I don’t even like video games. I never played them when I was young and never was interested. But when I went to this museum, I went in with an open mind. At the exhibit, there were a lot of screens with video games playing on them. They even had stations to play at. The more I checked out this exhibit, the more I could see the art involved with making something like this. A person had to come up with the scenery, layout, and concepts of a game. Also including computer graphics, sound effects and music that would allow a player to feel as though they have been taken out of their reality and put in a new world. Until the game is over anyways.

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A key takeaway we can get from the new digital media art process is that people are creating new and different things than we are used to. This can ultimately be a inspiration for the people who want to be the next innovators in our society today. Digital media won’t dumb us down unless we allow it to. If we use our digital media tools as a way to think outside the box, we will see what others may not see and give them the pleasure of it by sharing it with them.We should take this as an opportunity to become innovators, and to keep creating and producing art that will shape the world.

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