Category Archives: Phil Grech

All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Brand

Make Me Social’s Phil Grech named his blog The Social Media Mullet because, like the hairstyle, it will discuss the fusion of “business” and “casual” under the banner of online communications.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Guess what I’m going to write about?

That’s right: not Thanksgiving. Even better, I’m going to write about why we should not be afraid to be ourselves – even online – even if you are a business.

Defining and refining the voice of the brand begins in the onboarding process. The onboarding process involves a lot of information, but one of the more critical parts is defining the voice. Every brand should have their own unique voice. Depending on the client, we suggest a possible position on the sliding scale of how our tone should come across when writing content.

Let’s say that one side of the scale is professional and the opposite side is personal. You never want to be completely on one side or the other. Rather, you want to adjust to be somewhere in the middle, perhaps leaning more strongly on one side or the other. A financial corporation would do better leaning on the professional side, while a fun, hip restaurant would do better leaning on the personal side. In both situations however, neither lose touch with one side or the other.

This is what works. This is what we have seen work. This is what we have tried, tested, and proven to work. But sometimes, people feel that their voice should be “all professional, no personal.”

I understand the hesitation to relax and loosen up a bit. It’s your company in someone else’s hands.  And the people who want “all professional, no personal” have great intentions. But it doesn’t work. As an example, take a look at this clip from The Office.

Funny, right? But it also makes a point.

Social media is an ongoing conversation. Social media directly reflects how we communicate in person, as human beings. In fact, the success of a social media site will partially depend on how well it can best replicate the process of human interaction. Replicating this process online is a difficult endeavor considering scientists are still studying and trying to figure out the experience in and of itself.

There is one thing we can easily extract from human interaction however. It’s that we want to know that the people we are talking to are people. We want to know that the people we are interacting with have a voice. No one wants to communicate with talking heads (except for The Talking Heads). We want personality. We want charm. We want a little style and flavor.

The people are asking for it, so don’t be afraid. Give it to them. If you’re going to have a brand, you’re going to have a voice. Let that voice be heard.

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Phil Grech is a Content Manager for Make Me Social. He published his first book, “Don’t Waste Your Hands”, in 2009. He studied English and Philosophy at Flagler College. In his spare time, he reads, works out, drinks an unhealthy amount of coffee, and searches for good conversation.

The Social Media Mullet: What Would Philosophers Think of Social Media? Part 3

Make Me Social’s Phil Grech named his blog The Social Media Mullet because, like the hairstyle, it will discuss the fusion of “business” and “casual” under the banner of online communications.

My last post discussed why Bentham would have made a horrible and invasive Social Media network CEO. Before that, I discussed Social Media and Existentialism. Continuing my roll of incredibly interesting topics, I am going to talk about the 20th century philosopher Theodor Adorno.

I like Adorno. Why? Because he is the first person I have read to ever put in very intellectual terms why mass-produced art hanging up in your house makes you dumber. For me, it was always a feeling, but Adorno solidified it for me after I read “The Culture Industry,” part of a book entitled “Dialectic of Enlightenment.”

This German-born philosopher believed that after the Industrial Revolution, the allowance of art to be mass produced was a bad thing (in simplest terms). Adorno argued that the art that comes out of easily accessible and mass-produced means is formulaic and meaningless and, subsequently, it dumbed people down.

With Social Media, the production of art is virtually limitless. Post a picture, it gets liked and then it spreads even further to that person’s friends. While it is certainly beneficial to make art more accessible, and companies greatly benefit from it in the form of advertising and campaigns, Adorno would have argued that Social Media, or at least certain aspects of it, dumb people down. Don’t get mad at me; take this matter up with Adorno. I’m just the one explaining his claims.

What else would Adorno have commented on regarding social media? What about QR Codes? QR Codes deal less with aesthetic appeal than they do with access to information, so I think he would have not have had much to criticize there.

What about tumblr? Considering the amount of time people spend on tumblr and the amount of sharing that goes on there, I am sure we can easily presume what Adorno would say about that popular network.

With that in mind, don’t ask Adorno to like your last status. He wouldn’t even have a Facebook account.

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Phil Grech is a Content Manager for Make Me Social. He published his first book, “Don’t Waste Your Hands”, in 2009. He studied English and Philosophy at Flagler College. In his spare time, he reads, works out, gardens and searches for good conversation.

The Social Media Mullet: What Would Philosophers Think of Social Media? Part 2

Make Me Social’s Phil Grech named his blog The Social Media Mullet because, like the hairstyle, it will discuss the fusion of “business” and “casual” under the banner of online communications.

In my last post, I talked about Social Media and existentialism (boring? Never). Existentialism is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot, so if you aren’t too sure, read this article that provides a good background on it, or just watch I Heart Huckabees. In this post, I want to take another shot at exploring philosophers’ possible views of Social Media.

Social Media Transparency and Bentham’s Panopticon –or- Why Jeremy Bentham Would Be a Horrible Social Media CEO

In 1787, English philosopher, Jeremy Bentham, designed the panopticon. No, it’s not a Transformer (though with a little imagination, it could be built). The panopticon is a prison model where a central tower filled with guards can, at all times, look at the prisoners whose prison cells form a circle around the tower.

The design is a good one because the prisoners cannot see inside the tower (thanks to whatever available technology there is: e.g. light system, two-way mirrors, etc.). The idea is that prisoners would be reformed by having to always be in good behavior, something that would become a habit after their lengthy prison sentence.

Online, we experience something quite similar. Despite Facebook privacy settings, our lives are still very much exposed. We never know who is watching us, who is looking us up, or what they are going to do with the information they find. That’s not much of a concern for a non-paranoid type like me, but if you’re a particular New York Congressman, you might want to be a little cautious.

If you think Mark Zuckerberg violates privacy rights on Facebook, imagine what Bentham would be like.

Foreshadowing my next post, I will discuss what Theodor Adorno’s perspective might be on things like the QR Code.

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Phil Grech is a Content Manager for Make Me Social. He published his first book, “Don’t Waste Your Hands”, in 2009. He studied English and Philosophy at Flagler College. In his spare time, he reads, works out, gardens and searches for good conversation.

The Social Media Mullet: What Would Philosophers Think of Social Media? Part 2

Make Me Social’s Phil Grech named his blog The Social Media Mullet because, like the hairstyle, it will discuss the fusion of “business” and “casual” under the banner of online communications.

In my last post, I talked about Social Media and existentialism (boring? Never). Existentialism is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot, so if you aren’t too sure, read this article that provides a good background on it, or just watch I Heart Huckabees. In this post, I want to take another shot at exploring philosophers’ possible views of Social Media.

Social Media Transparency and Bentham’s Panopticon –or- Why Jeremy Bentham Would Be a Horrible Social Media CEO

In 1787, English philosopher, Jeremy Bentham, designed the panopticon. No, it’s not a Transformer (though with a little imagination, it could be built). The panopticon is a prison model where a central tower filled with guards can, at all times, look at the prisoners whose prison cells form a circle around the tower.

The design is a good one because the prisoners cannot see inside the tower (thanks to whatever available technology there is: e.g. light system, two-way mirrors, etc.). The idea is that prisoners would be reformed by having to always be in good behavior, something that would become a habit after their lengthy prison sentence.

Online, we experience something quite similar. Despite Facebook privacy settings, our lives are still very much exposed. We never know who is watching us, who is looking us up, or what they are going to do with the information they find. That’s not much of a concern for a non-paranoid type like me, but if you’re a particular New York Congressman, you might want to be a little cautious.

If you think Mark Zuckerberg violates privacy rights on Facebook, imagine what Bentham would be like.

Foreshadowing my next post, I will discuss what Theodor Adorno’s perspective might be on things like the QR Code.

——–

Phil Grech is a Content Manager for Make Me Social. He published his first book, “Don’t Waste Your Hands”, in 2009. He studied English and Philosophy at Flagler College. In his spare time, he reads, works out, gardens and searches for good conversation.

The Social Media Mullet: What Would Philosophers Think of Social Media?

Make Me Social’s Phil Grech named his blog The Social Media Mullet because, like the hairstyle, it will discuss the fusion of “business” and “casual” under the banner of online communications.

So, what would Sartre, Bentham, Adorno and Hegel really think of Social Media?

That’s a good question, but first, I want to explain something else.

As a philosophy major (and ahem, president of the philosophy club) at Flagler College, I’m often asked, “Why did you choose to major in philosophy?”

I get it. “What can you do with a philosophy degree” is the thought behind that question. My typical answer is that studying philosophy helps you understand yourself and others better, and helps you make better decisions in life. Since life is short and inherently ephemeral, making beneficial, well-informed decisions should be a priority. I’ve been wrong a lot in life, so critical thinking helps me avoid that in the future. Plus, it helps me appeal to nobler, more virtuous acts.

Another benefit of studying philosophy is having a better understanding of Social Media. I know, it sounds ludicrous, but any way a person can understand Social Media can help me better determine the overall purpose and predict the future of where Social Media is heading. We’re experts in Social Media here at Make Me Social, and somehow, understanding self-differentiating unity and the principium individuations greatly assist me in that.

That being said, over the next several posts, I would like to talk about how different philosophers would view Social Media based on their published perspectives and ideas (I understand philosophy isn’t most people’s idea of leisure reading, so before you languish in fear of death by boredom, I promise to make this fun).

Social Media and Sartre’s Existentialism

Let’s start with existentialism. Does social networking have an existential existence? I’m saying yes. But wait – what is existentialism anyway? I’ve always been fond of Sartre’s simple definition: “Existentialism means that existence precedes essence.” So what does that mean? Here’s an example:

A fork’s essence precedes its existence. When the fork was created, it had a design and purpose in mind, but as humans, our existence precedes our essence. First we are created, and then we have to define ourselves and give ourselves purpose and identity. Fun stuff, huh?

Social networking was created and then we gave it meaning. In other words, existence precedes status updates. We give sites like Facebook and Twitter purpose and identity and continue to redefine those purposes. A perfect example is the revolts in Egypt who used them to gain worldwide attention and support in their efforts.

Sartre was noted for saying, “We are condemned to be free,” but if he was still alive, his next sentence may have been, “We are also condemned to make status updates.”

In our next post, we will talk about Social Media Transparency and Bentham’s Panopticon (or, “Why Jeremy Bentham Would Be a Horrible Social Media CEO”)

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Phil Grech is a Content Manager for Make Me Social. He published his first book, “Don’t Waste Your Hands”, in 2009. He studied English and Philosophy at Flagler College. In his spare time, he reads, works out, gardens and searches for good conversation.

The Social Media Mullet: The Importance of Being Earnest…on Facebook

Make Me Social’s Phil Grech named his blog The Social Media Mullet because, like the hairstyle, it will discuss the fusion of “business” and “casual” under the banner of online communications.

Before we start, the title of this post comes from being an Oscar Wilde fan, not a Reese Witherspoon fan, but above all, I am a fan of “earnest” conversation.

I have a lot of interests. It’s an extensive list, but at the very top – in the number one spot – is conversation. Conversations take place everywhere: homes, offices, airplanes, cars, elevators and cafes. The only thing that matters to me, regardless of the setting, is that the conversation is interesting, so I even enjoy the idea of conversation in places like Facebook.

As an avid user of social media sites for both personal and business use, the differences in conversation-style is among the most important aspects to get right, and it comes from understanding that a proper balance of personableness and professionalism needs to be maintained, and in most circumstances, the two elements  lean in opposite directions.

Consider a “scale-of-justice” – type scale, with the weights being personableness and professionalism. Depending on which brand I am building (my own or my client’s), I will use a different mixture of the two.

When I post content on my personal Facebook page, I’m not afraid to get personal. After all, it is my PERSONAL page, and the people I have befriended on my page are my friends, meaning that they know my personality, my likes, my dislikes, etc. in which case, it should not come across as any surprise when I post a link to a site or news story regarding a seemingly controversial religious or political topic (two subjects we are taught to avoid discussing with most clients) . When I make a post on my personal page, it might be a link to an interesting research study, it might be a witty joke or where my book is being sold (one thing it will NOT be is about my lunch). Professionalism comes the accuracy of the information I am basing my commentary on, and my goal is to incite chatter and communication among the people I know.

Posting content for a client, in most cases, is different. Posting a controversial news story regarding religion or politics is generally bad practice. A much stronger emphasis is placed on maintaining professionalism, and while personableness is still relevant, it is not the main driving force. Updates for clients often involve company or industry news, product promotions, deals and specials, etc., and while some of this news may be personal or controversial to competitors, the mainstream should, at the minimum, feel educated after reading it, and hopefully respond positively (and, unless I am writing for a restaurant, I still do not post about lunch).

Content for clients is meant to be insightful and intriguing. The conversation-style revolves around people staying informed and hitting the “like” button, so it is common sense why professionalism is the base. From there, infusing the proper bit of personableness is what takes the post from average to earnest.

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Phil Grech is a Content Manager for Make Me Social. He published his first book Don’t Waste Your Hands in 2009. He studied English and Philosophy at Flagler College. In his spare time, he reads, works out, gardens and searches for good conversation.