Friday, January 9, 2015

How to be Popular on Social Media

Whether it's lying your ass off for that next interview on LinkedIn, or even something more important like gaining prestige in the world of Instagram, here are some useful tips to keep in mind:

1. Be happy. All the time.

Studies show that people are attracted to smiling faces, and even more so actually happy people behind those smiling faces. Which is not to be confused with people who simply smile for photographs and are actually quite miserable people in the real world.

2. Have multiple people in your pictures. All the time.

Have other people [hopefully] smiling in said pictures, showing their appreciation for actually being able to surround themselves around you.

3. Never make negative comments. At all.

I don't care how awful your Aunt Jenny looks in that dress or how your sister, well, yes, actually does look fat in that dress. Don't say it.
Don't comment on political links, images or otherwise propaganda. When election season comes around, don't make it clear to anyone which candidate you will be voting for. In fact, don't even make it apparent you are a legal voter, because on social media, only bad can come about.
Political fighting is only spurred on by people who don't know anything about politics, which according to a recent study, 99 percent of social media users are politically illiterate. That means, no matter which fight you pick will end badly. For everyone. That includes your overweight sister.

4. Don't comment about race. (If you're white.)

For every one else (that includes blacks, Asians, Latinos, Pacific Islanders, Swahilis and so on), you can say any imaginable thing that comes to race. Hell, you can rip on any race you want to your heart's content. But, if you're white, you're immediately born without the right to comment on race.
Even if you're not racist, even if you're not a white supremacist, even though you think the Ku Klux Klan is an asinine institution that gives whites a bad name everywhere and even though you simply wish to discuss racial issues for the betterment of American society, you're inherently a racist. No matter what you do. Or at least, it will be perceived that way.

5. Like everything.

In a recent study that I just made up, people love it when you like their content on social media. They feel flattered, they're paid attention, they feel loved. People will then begin to like your content in return.

How do I know all of this?

Well, I know all of this because I follow none of these rules (except #4). I am honest, uncompromising and above all, fall under the category of "not-a-bullshitter" (as *cough* many *cough* LinkedIn *cough* users *cough* are *cough*, man this NyQuil's not working tonight!).
I only like things I actually like because otherwise, liking everything everyone posts could be perceived as fake. Hmm, ya think? In addition, doing so could only guilt-trip your social media friends and followers to like your content in return.
I find the atmosphere on LinkedIn is a disguising one. People manipulate their real-world, natural personalities and say excessively flattering comments at an overwhelming rate so as to please the corporate powers that be.
How fake can you get?
Be a real human being. Not a corporate, cardboard cut-out. Be likable. If you really are likable. Don't be a corporate whore, seeking that extra dollar.
Yes, I want a nice job, but do I really have to be someone I'm not to get it? In the same way, do I have to lie to the girl of my dreams that I'm someone I'm not to get her?
Hopefully, in both scenarios, you answered "no" and throughout this exercise you recognized the awful superficiality that goes into social media.

How to be a Professional and not a Professional Douchebag

Recently, I was offered a writing gig as a result of a 2,100-word blog post I published that netted hundreds of views during its first day (which, may not sound like a whole lot to you, but as an overwhelmed college student running a blog alone on the side, dedicated to an interest really no one cares about [cars], it is a big deal, thank you very much).
Cool, right?
Yes, that would have been cool. That is, if the car shop that offered me a position to help start their blog acted in a professional manner.
If you ever happen to offer a starving college kid a position, keep these tips in mind:

1. Be concrete.

Upon hearing about the offer, the shop owner was just as clueless as I was -- despite he being the one who contacted me in the first place, notifying me of the position.
It was up to me to guide him as to what would best portray the shop in the best light. I suggested, the shop's site to emulate well-established motorsport blogs or internationally-recognized Lake Zurich motorsport shop, IND's site. He agreed and wanted to make the focus of the site dedicated to the latest car builds the shop puts out.
This didn't fill me with all that much confidence. If the shop owner doesn't have all that much clue as to what he's doing, why do I want to work for him? But, because I obviously have thousands of other job offers in this spectacular economy just clamoring for my services, I saw it through.

2. Be reachable.

For the whole month and three days I was strung along, at no point could I ever 1) get a straight answer as to when I would begin writing or 2) contact the faithful owner over the phone, even though I gave out my phone number (that he promised he would call) and I made several attempts at calling him myself.
"Valued employee" doesn't exactly spring to mind, now does it?
The motorsport shop owner would regularly make excuses as to why he would not answer my phone calls or why he could not call me. A few being, "Sorry it's hectic here since we just got back from SEMA I don't know where my head is," "hey buddy, sorry I missed your call. Hit me up when you get a chance," or "Hey man I'm beyond sorry, I didn't get out of the shop until midnight last night and have been working on my dad's semis all morning with the cold weather the fuel is turning into gel."
That's fine. No one wants diesel fuel jelly. Because that sounds gross. But for three days, it was completely impossible to reach him over the phone.

3. Be real.

If you offer someone a position, be able to back it up. Today. Don't just talk the talk, have a real position, for a real company in mind for a real human being who really wants to work for you. Again, today.
The reason I didn't demand real details on the position any sooner (see: today) was because I couldn't start for a Chicagoland-based shop with me studying in Milwaukee. And that's fine.
But Christmas break was the only time I could dedicate to launching the blog as I am headed back north, come January. But as break approached, I tried to make it abundantly clear that I had little to no time other than during the festive time off.
But it made no difference. I was ever-left in the cold and my important questions, ever-ignored. So I had it. I demanded answers.
I asked straight-up, "Do you want my help or is this just a joke?" To which, his massive ego got offended: "If you think it's a joke that's completely fine I'll look around honestly no big deal."
Again, "valued employee," much? I think not.
I argue writers can be some of the most invaluable people a company has. They are the voice of the company, they interact with customers and have the power to make a turd look like a gem. Which, is exactly what some companies might be producing and it's up to its writers and creative minds to provide the company with that creative edge.
If you don't care for my blatant honesty, unnamed Chicagoland motorsports car shop, then so be it. Have fun settling for a middle-of-the-road, bland, unexciting "writer" without any real-world experience, who probably flunked 7th grade English.
Good writers are hard to come by and without getting ahead of myself by casting myself into this exclusive group, if you recognized my writing and sought to recruit me, then my writing can't be so bad, can it?
Don't jerk college kids around. Because they are some of the most ambitious, most motivated people there are. They are desperate and will work their asses off just to make names for themselves. And in a worst-case-scenario, they might even write a nasty blog post about you!
Give them concrete details, be able to be reached and be a real human being, don't dodge questions, but instead, have a real offer on the table if you come knocking on my door.