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Social Scoring Is Not Obsolete

ImageIt’s just getting better.

People don’t like Klout. That’s fair. Klout contains an unknown algorithm that no one outside of the company has truly figured out, making Klout’s credibility that much more uncertain.

People don’t like uncertainty.

That said, measuring influence online has to contain some uncertainty, lest we are left with scammers who manipulate the system. I like the fact that my social score can’t be measured against someone who achieved theirs unfairly.

In the meantime, competition is rising with Klout, forcing the brand to innovate and make our social scoring something we love not just because we’re addicted to it (and we definitely are), but because sites like Klout constantly make us better at being influential. Who doesn’t love that?

If you want to beef up your Klout score the fair way, use timely.is. This nifty site schedules post by when your audience is at peak interest and gives pretty awesome statistics on the performance of your tweets or posts.

My gift to you!

-Jon

Image courtesy of wired.com

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A Different Way to Approach Feedback and Criticism

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Too often we fall into the trap of measuring the value of what we create based on others’ perceptions. I do this when I write a blog post and eagerly wait to read the feedback and see what people think. I consider it success when something I create is popular and accepted.

That’s doing it backwards.

If I am creating content that is inherently mine, then I shouldn’t be terribly disappointed if someone else doesn’t value something that isn’t inherently theirs. That means I can celebrate doubly when something I write or create has been accepted and shared by someone else.

It means that I’m becoming more insightful, gaining more empathy, and learning from what I’ve done correctly.

Once you’ve made something to the best of your ability, you’ve created good content. Use feedback  to measure how influential and insightful you are, not how good you are at what you love to do. That’s what criticism is for.

Of course, your content connecting with someone else is a huge indicator of how valuable it is, but at the same time, something superficial and soulless can do the exact same thing.

Like what you read? Connect with me further via twitter @JonNegroni. I’ll follow back if you seem like a real person. You can also subscribe to this blog by clicking the “follow” button in the top-left corner.

Don’t forget to check out THE JON REPORT every day, updated at 8am for a list of today’s main headlines as selected by my editorial team (me) 

New Infographic Highlights The Strengths of Hiring Millennials

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A new infographic courtesy of UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School has given employers another reason to take a close look at what millennials can contribute to the workforce. As Forbes puts it, this new research data gives us a reason to shed previous stereotypes of millennials that focus on them being apathetic.

The research gives us new light into just how large the millennial demographic is, how many will be in the workforce and just how ambitious and diverse these young professionals are.

Gen Y In the Workplace Via MBA@UNC

Jon Negroni is the Director of Public Relations, Promotion, and Marketing at Richter10.2 Media Group. For more information regarding Richter10.2, check out our introduction video here.

Are Too Many People Going to College?

There are several different opinions that vary on this issue.

Yes: too many people are going to college and racking up debt for themselves while the government is subsidizing their expenses.

No: college is an essential aspect of someone’s life and a gateway to a meaningful career. To keep it affordable, we need government intervention to increase and for tuition rates to go down.

My opinion is a less callous “yes.” I’ve seen time and again that people are going to college with no goals or idea what they’re going to do. While plenty figure out what they want to do halfway through college, a stunning amount wait until their senior year to finalize their major, adding more student loans to finance their extra years.

We then have college students graduating with degrees that have no clout in today’s marketplace, which in turn make them unemployable. They either get a job they didn’t need a degree for, get a job in something entirely different from what they got a degree for, don’t get a job, or try to get a master’s, hoping that will improve their chances (but may just add up their debt.)

We have a major problem here. Education has shifted from being a privilege to a right. While education should be had by all, there are too many instances where we take it for granted and are thus spoiled into thinking that college or grad school is job security. It isn’t.

Job security is a personal responsibility. The person with the ambition to excel will find a way to get a job, even if that’s not what they expected. I’ve never met an extremely ambitious person who couldn’t get a job. While there are plenty of exceptions (especially when it comes to age as a factor), I hold that we are trying to fix a very complex problem with simplistic solutions that cause even more problems.

There is absolutely a place for programs that help underprivileged young adults find a way into college. Anyone who has the ambition and drive to go out and make a career deserves the privilege of education. That’s not what I’m nitpicking.

The issue is culture. We treat college like it’s just more high school. What I mean is that we have a substantial amount of young adults that view college as something they’re  “supposed” to do. That is so wrong. College should be wanted, craved, and desired. Instead, we use it as a way to prolong adolescence, and we’re seeing the results of that across the board.

Is there a solution? I don’t really know, and it’s important for me to keep in mind that this is my own observation based on my own experiences, conversations, and what I’ve read. Obviously, many other people will disagree based on their own observations. When it comes down to it, we’ll see who’s right eventually.

JN

10 Qualities of a Good Writer

Keep in mind that there’s always exceptions to the rule, but these are qualities found in most good writers.

10. Punctuality: the writer is timely and fulfills commitments.

9. Magnanimity: the writer gives credit where it’s due.

8. Credibility: the writer is persuasive.

7. Industry: the writer never stops writing.

6. Opportunistic: the writer sees value in almost everything.

5. Passion: the writer is a master of emotion.

4. Discernment: the writer understands his/her audience.

3. Receptive: the writer reads.

2. Perception: the writer is always forward-thinking.

1. Obsession: the writer is annoying, even to himself/herself.

Are Soda CSR Campaigns Really Misleading?

I read a disturbing bit of news yesterday. A Policy Forum article from Washington has been released asserting that corporate social responsibility (CSR) campaigns by soda companies such as PepsiCo and Coca-Cola are misleading and don’t face enough regulation from the government in comparison to Tobacco companies.

I strongly disagree.

My main issue with this study is that it blatantly attacks CSR campaigns such as PepsiCo’s Refresh project, which has awarded grants to community causes such as park restorations, for “distracting” against how harmful their products are.

Read this: “For example, CSR campaigns that include the construction and upgrading of parks for youth who are at risk for diet-related illnesses keep the focus on physical activity, rather than on unhealthful foods and drinks. Such tactics redirect the responsibility for health outcomes from corporations onto its consumers, and externalize the negative effects of increased obesity to the public.”

Let me repeat for emphasis: “Such tactics redirect the responsibility for health outcomes from corporations onto its consumers, and externalize the negative effects of increased obesity to the public.”

My issue with this is the premise, which is that people are victims and can’t take care of themselves. We have a situation where people can’t be blamed for not having the common sense to use soda in moderation. The main point argued is that soda companies aren’t transparent enough about how harmful their beverages are, as if having the ingredients and serving sizes listed out aren’t good enough.

“The soda company made me fat. I thought I would be healthy because they give money to charity.” -Apparently people?

When it comes down to it, bad behavior is a product of ignorance. People know soda is bad for them, but they choose to drink it anyways. Why attack the soda company for using CSR campaigns to increase sales? They are trying to make a profit, sure, but that doesn’t make them  “evil” as some people seem to believe. Their product is loved by many people who do drink soda in moderation. What happens to those of us who want to enjoy a can of soda every now and then?

Yes, we should have basic education for people on what is healthy and what isn’t. People should have access to information that lets them now how to take care of their bodies. The solution is not, however, to criminalize soda for having CSR campaigns and then increase regulation as if soda is as harmful as cigarettes.

The result of increasing regulation with soda companies means several things: prices go up, soda companies disappear, jobs disappear, and people are still suffering obesity. I 100% guarantee you that if soda was abolished from the planet, obesity would not end. People are healthy because they exhibit self control and understand that too much of anything is bad for them.

These campaigns would be “misleading” if soda companies were trying to tell us that their products are good for us. Instead of lying, they actually promote campaigns that encourage people to be active in their communities and give to charity, etc.

So, our society is actually likening soda companies, as this article put it, as a “social ill” on par with Tobacco companies and should be reprimanded for trying to position themselves as being “socially acceptable” through CSR. What they’re saying is that a person is wrongfully believing that soda is good for them because a soda company gave some money to charity.

As far as I can see, this is baseless on the fact that soda companies are not in the business of controlling our behavior. They’re selling us a product.

JN

3 Ways We’re Attracted to Brands Like We’re Attracted to People

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What makes a product brandable, or rather, have the ability to be promoted effectively?

I liken the dynamic to relationships. Specifically, how people are attracted to other people. It takes three ingredients:

1. Appearance

Aesthetically, how does a brand and its product appear to the consumer? For most of us, the first thing we notice about a person we inevitably become attracted to is their looks and how beautiful we think they are.

This is a basic human process that translates into how we superficially judge a product we see in the store or on a billboard. If the product doesn’t have that attractive look to it, it will be much harder to make the product attractive to its target audience.

2. Personality

How we interact with a person is a major factor in developing a liking for them. We need to be able to have a chemistry with the person, approve of what they represent and enjoy being associated with them. Much is the same with how we utilize a product or service.

If I have a bad time with a certain brand and hate how the company interacts with me via media, advertising and my actually using the product, I will not start a relationship with that brand.

3. The X Factor

We’ve all had those relationships where we loved the appearance and personality of a person, but we just couldn’t see ourselves spending all of our time with them.

The X factor is an unseen, unexplainable aspect of our attraction to people, as well as brands. This is what truly separates the brandable products from the rest. Unfortunately, it eventually comes down to luck.

We like to think of marketing as a science, and it is to a point. Tragically, the X factor is a product of many variables surrounding a brand that can prevent a company from reaching the global audience they strive for.

Like what you read? Connect with me further via twitter @JonNegroni. I’ll follow back if you seem like a real person. You can also subscribe to this blog by clicking the “follow” button in the top-left corner.

Don’t forget to check out THE JON REPORT every day, updated at 8am for a list of today’s main headlines as selected by my editorial team (me)

 

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