Mark Grimm


Youth: Twitter’s In, Facebook Waning

An impromtu survey of my College of St. Rose class revealed young people felt Facebook was past its prime. Seems the teen research backs it up. A Pew study released in May on social media showed teens feel a “waning enthusiasm for Facebook.” Too many adults are on it, especially their parents, for their liking and they seek to avoid the “stressful drama.” Even Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg admits they are not trying to be cool. Most young people still remain on Facebook, but Twitter and Instagram are viewed as much hotter commodities.

Note the irony. Facebook started out as a hip, new way for college students to communicate. But teen Twitter use jumped 50% from 2011 to 2013, according to the Pew study.

Young people have always wanted their own space so Facebook’s success attracting their parents has been a turnoff. That’s not necessarily a bad thing for Facebook. Their parents have a lot more money than their kids and Facebook advertisers would like to get a chuck of it.

The generation gap is also about habits. Adults may wait to late evening to catch up on Facebook. The young are texting all day long. “Catching up” is measured in minutes.

So while the pace of technology is burning up, take some comfort in knowing some things never change — teens don’t like hanging out with their parents.

The writer is an adjunct media professor and runs a communications and speaking coaching business.




The Hole in Social Media: Video That Makes You Shine

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then what is a video worth?

The use of video in our social media platforms presents enormous opportunities and, so far, too many are not taking full advantage of it.

YouTube essentially offers you your own TV channel at no cost. Unlike Facebook, whose user-friendly credentials are questionable, YouTube does a number of things to make your channel easy to use and effective.

Firstly, you don’t really need to host video on your site. You can place them all on YouTube and embed the links into your own website, into Facebook or LinkedIn, or link to them from Twitter. YouTube also deals well with the complexity of various types of video files by converting them to a format people can view on their computer. Your YouTube videos can also be found in searches offering more exposure at no cost to you. Over 800 million unique users visit YouTube each month. More video is uploaded to YouTube in one month than the three major US networks created in 60 years.(1)

There are special features that are quite helpful. For example, if you find a YouTube video you wish to share, but the really good stuff doesn’t start until 3 minutes and 12 seconds into the video, you can set when you want the video to start when someone opens your link (hit the “share” button and then “options”). You can also add text to the video under annotations.

The fight for people’s attention has never been more challenging. Social media has made nearly everyone a “publisher.” We are consuming information at an unprecedented rate. And so much that is distributed is ignored. Video is a tool to grab and capture attention and to tell a story better.

There are some cautions, however. Your video reflects on you. Blurry video, poor audio, harsh lighting and weak graphics send a message, too. The wrong message. Investing in professional help —- producers, videographers, on-camera/voiceover talent — is money well spent for your signature videos (here’s mine, for one example). However, that’s not realistic for all your videos given the need to produce content on an ongoing basis. Video cameras and software are more affordable than ever before. Take advantage of their use. Remember, though, a video is about telling a story, not communicating a bunch of data. So before you prepare a short video (and be sure to keep them short), ask yourself, “What is my story here?” Be yourself, be conversational, and avoid talking heads. Make it as visual as possible. If you do, a video will be worth more than a thousand words. It will move you one step closer to your dream!

The writer is a former TV anchor/producer who now provides insights and training to dramatically improve how people communicate.







Social Media & the Tech/Communication Marriage

Tech guru Jim Spellos with Mark Grimm at MPI event

You’ve heard the old expression, “Can’t live with him, can’t live without him.” That pretty much sums up where technology and communication are right now when it comes to social media.

Tech guru Jim Spellos gave an Albany presentation February 14th at a Meeting Professionals International forum. Jim rightly said the question is no longer whether you should be using social media, but rather how you use it. Managing the “information overload” is where our focus should be.

All the gadgets in the world won’t help much if you cannot produce good content. In other words, you have to be interesting. That’s a skill. Everyone on Facebook is now a publisher, yet few have been trained well in the art of producing compelling clarity that is relevant to the audience. This “Clarity Gap” presents an enormous communication challenge with the explosion of information we now produce and consume.

On the other hand, great content, and the engaging conversation it can provoke, will be buried under the social media avalanche without an effective plan for its circulation.

What’s the answer? Try not to feel overwhelmed and choose the options that fit your needs. One step at a time. Spellos had dozens of options, one included using hashtags to locate Twitter topics you find most relevant to you, another was to visit to create a personalized magazine for your mobile device. On the content side, ask yourself, “Why would someone care about what I am about to post.” You can find a lot more clarity tips in my book.

Just like any long-term relationship, the technology and communication marriage will require patience, a greater sensitivity to each’s needs, and a willingness to grow together. And yes, the relationship will have something to do with how fulfilling your life is.

What suggestions do you have for the marriage?

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Defining Social Media

Defining “social media” is the first step in truly understanding its impact and potential.

It can be narrowly defined as a “gigantic cocktail party(1)” or the “new coffee house(2)” where hundreds of millions of people are able to engage in interactive mass communication in spontaneous fashion at virtually no cost with no gatekeeper of the information.

This is a big deal in human history which leads us to a broader definition. In the mid-15th century, Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press created mass communication. For the next five and a half centuries, mass communication remained a one-way street.  While the invention of talk radio allowed individuals to interact with the source of the mass communication on an instantaneous basis, the masses were still largely shut out from the process.

Then, the Internet arrived. A British scientist, Tim Berners-Lee, saw the need for scientists to work together by combining their knowledge in a web of hypertext documents. The code they used was too difficult for the average information consumer so a tool was created, the Internet browser, to make the Internet accessible to everyone. With this revolutionary capability, new ways of using it flourished.

Social media became one of the most popular uses. Social media is fundamentally the widespread acceptance of the mass communication revolution from a one-way to interactive process. The consumption of information has exploded as social media has become “the new entertainment(3).” The great challenge is to manage this explosion in a way that works for you.

The social, business, political, and cultural implications of this mass embrace are profound. It has recast how we shape one of our most vital concerns —- our relationships with others. Since these relationships profoundly affect our lives, careers, how we govern, our freedoms, and our causes, it is critical we each understand social media and have a plan to maximize its use. Those that do will have more success and have a greater chance at a happier life. What’s your plan?

1-Dave Maskin, 2- Dick Taylor, 3-Arianna Huffington