Social Media

Facebook Thinks I’m 12 and I’m OK With That.

Back in late August or early September, Facebook for whatever reason decided that I was 12 years old and no longer eligible for a Facebook account. To resolve this issue Facebook asked me to take a photo of my driver’s license, or passport with my birthday visible and email it to Facebook support. This was never going to happen. Based on previous data breaches that Facebook has experienced in the past, I said “nope” and decided to wait until my birthday in January thinking that Facebook would simply reset the clock and realize I was now 13.

The thinking was my birthday would roll around, Facebook would think I’m a year older and wham bam I’d be back in business. Turns out this was not the case. Instead, Facebook said I had waited too long to reactivate my account or send in proof of my age and my account had been permanently disabled. OK, so I no longer have an account. What are the options? I can contact support and supply a photo of my ID and ask to be reinstated. I can open a new account and rising from the ashes like a phoenix make friend requests and start the Facebook journey again, or I could simply walk away and be done with it. I chose to walk away.

I have now been off of Facebook for more than 6 months, and I couldn’t be happier. While I still have an Instagram account, my posts get deleted after 7 days, so nothing lives longer than a week. Something I’m perfectly fine with. I was never a Twitter user to speak of. Same with LinkedIn. This blog automatically posts to both, but I’m lucky if I get more than a dozen engagements on Twitter, probably because I don’t retweet, comment, lie, share, or anything else on the platform. LinkedIn fairs a bit better with each blog post averaging about 100 views. Once again it could be better, but I don’t spend enough time engaging with others on the platform to extend my audience and reach and I’m OK with that.

At this point, I have absolutely no desire to become a Facebook member again. I have no plans to increase my social media presence on other platforms and have decided to go back to an old-school way of communicating with people. I’ve decided to start writing letters. Actual physical correspondences that I send out in the mail with an envelope and a stamp, that take days to arrive and may never get a response.

I used to be good about writing them. Finding clever and unique ways to craft and send a letter to someone. Once I wrote a letter on the individual cigarettes in a Marlboro pack. Each one was numbered, and each cigarette contained one sentence. There was a note that slipped into the cellophane wrapper telling the recipient to smoke the cigarettes when they were finished reading to destroy the evidence. I hope they did.

There is something about having to slow down and take the time to think about the words you use. The sentence structure. How to embellish with illustrations, photographs, or design work that once again I’m finding quite appealing. Maybe it’s an outcome of a year-long pandemic and the isolation that so many of us have experienced. Either way, I’ve been slowly receding from social media for some time starting a few years back. Here’s to something slower and hopefully more engaging for whoever receives a letter from me.

If I have your address, consider yourself warned.

Miller Lite The Original Social Media

During the height of the internet boom of the late 1990s and early 2000s one of my favorite TV commercials was the Miller Lite spot “Evil Beaver” produced by Traktor. Like so many ads at that time the commercial was completely insane and unlike any beer commercial being run at the time. The thing is though, it did its job. It was fun, memorable, associated the product with the brand and got people talking. And it was part of a larger campaign that tied everything together with a single tagline “Art Directed by Dick”. All of the Miller Lite spots were well-produced, clever, and really thought out, but “Evil Beaver is the one that stuck with me. (probably because it’s so off the wall)

FAst forward to 2019/2020 and Miller lite has scored another home run as far as I’m concerned. Working with DDB Chicago. they are playing into the current zeitgeist of people pulling away from social media and the backlash of fake followers, likes, and the overwhelming need for continuous engagement in these spaces.

Building on its campaign positioning of Miller Time as the ‘original social media,’ Miller Lite is bringing a limited number of its dark-coloured Offline Cans to bars across the country to inspire more drinkers to take a break from social media and spend time with friends over a beer. The limited-edition matte black cans will be available in more than 500 bars and taverns in 27 states starting this week. Miller Lite’s Offline Can will be supported by two new TV ads, social media (ironically) and a point-of-sale marketing campaign that aims to inspire drinkers to invite friends for a night out over Miller Lite.

In select bars where the cans are available, Miller Lite will reward some drinkers for going offline with their own Miller Lite Offline Can, where permitted and while supplies last. Using Facebook’s new ‘SideFlix’ technology, bar-goers can invite their friends to join them in putting down their phones and ‘going offline’. If the group collectively puts their phones down for 30 minutes, they could be eligible to receive a Miller Lite Offline Can. SideFlix is a digital experience using Facebook Instant Games and Facebook Messenger that offers friends the opportunity to share in a connected experience across their devices when they’re together in real life (IRL).

Both DDB and Miller Lite saw the potential to leverage this technology to encourage and reward ‘device-down’ connection when friends spend time together over beers. Miller Lite is one of the first brands globally to utilize Facebook’s SideFlix and this is a first-of-its-kind experience for Molson Coors Beverage Company. Created by DDB Chicago, Miller Lite’s new 15-second spots, meanwhile, focus on missed connections — people staring at their phones instead of interacting with friends. Like the first ‘It’s Miller Time’ spot, ‘Followers’ that began airing in fall, the new ads finish with the tagline: ‘Here’s to the original social media.’

How Many Social Media Ads Do You Remember?

I use social media, but I’m not addicted to it. I post maybe once a day to Facebook ar twitter on average. Sometimes a bit more but not hourly. I also use both desktop and mobile versions of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. On the desktop though, I’m running things like AdBlock Pro, and Facebook Purity so I don’t see all of the ads that are being pushed via social media to me. Mobile, however, is a different story, with 15 plus ads being pushed to me with each Facebook or Twitter session. Now before I go on, I want to qualify what I consider a session. It is every time I log into Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram, after at least a one hour pause, so a minimum of 1 hour between my last visit and current visit. This is important because it relates directly to the actual effectiveness of the ads.

The point of any advertisement is for you the viewer to remember the brand and the product after you have seen it, and hopefully click through and convert to a sale. If any of these fail to get you to engage, the effectiveness of the ad is a failure as well. I’m going to ask everyone reading this to try something. Open Facebook or Twitter, go to your feed and block or hide every ad you see. This includes sponsored videos, sponsored posts, tweets from companies you do not follow, retweets by someone you might follow for a specific product or service you don’t care about, etc. If it looks like an ad kill it. Don’t engage with the ad, just get rid of it and move on. This is important because digital advertising has less than 2 seconds to hook you and get you to engage.  Now close out of the social media feed, wait five minutes, and try and recall any of the brands, products or services that were sponsored.

Chances are most people can’t remember 90 to 95 percent of the ads that were crammed into their feed disrupting the experience with things they care very little about. And because of that, I say most current social media advertising is a big old fail. Sure they tell you that the ads are targeted to a specific audience, and the data shows great levels of engagement because big data never lies. I’m not seeing it, however. The traditional social media campaigns I have worked on don’t perform much better than an email with about a two to four percent engagement and conversion rate. The ads aren’t bad, people simply ignore them because they have become white noise in the social media users feed.

In the last 24 hours, I have blocked, hidden or deleted 167 ads in Facebook, and Twitter on my iPhone. I couldn’t tell you what any of them were for. At the same time though, I have engaged with posts created by influencers that were ultimately promoting a product or service because I perceive them as a trusted source, and frankly I think this holds true for most people. So why then are you being bombarded with so much advertising in your social media feeds? The bottom line… Money. Social media advertising is a huge business that promises better engagement, a better value, and higher conversion rates, yet it has become the spam of this decade which makes me say that the effectiveness is an oversell.

When readers/viewers become numb to your advertising, your advertising is no longer effective. So, think back to all of those ads you hid and ask yourself how many of them you actually remember. Now think about someone you follow that recently posted something you found interesting, that ultimately was about a product or service that they liked. Did you engage with it? Did you share it? Was there a link in the post that you clicked on?  I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that you not only remember one, but probably two or even three which shows that influencer marketing in social media is more effective than traditional sponsored advertising. I know what all of the big social media powerhouses will say, they are going to continue to tell you that the current form of social media advertising is the most effective, has the greatest reach, and better conversion rates. And for now, it does because there is no alternative. The thing is though as they continue to oversaturate the effectiveness breaks down, and people become numb to the ads, or they do what I did on my Mac and block everything in the browser hiding the advertisements on the page neutralizing them all together.

In the last few years, firms have emerged dedicated exclusively to influencer marketing. They help tie a brand or product to a celebrity, sports figure, pop star etc. for those that aren’t  aware of what Influence marketing is, it is a form of marketing in which focus is placed on specific key individuals (or types of individual) rather than the target market as a whole. It’s not new. TV has been doing this for decades. Think about all those weight loss ads featuring people like Marie Osmond, or Oprah right. The difference is that influence marketing in social media and digital channels has greater potential reach because it isn’t limited to a specific region, it can reach anyone in the world at any given time. In addition, influencers can be anyone from a traditional media celebrity, to some kid that has managed to rack up a few hundred thousand YouTube subscribers.

Like I said, this isn’t new. Nike sold tons of Air Jordan’s not because it was necessarily a better basketball shoe. They sold them because Micheal Jordan’s name was on it. Digital Influence Marketing has been on the rise for the last 5 or more years. I think we are reaching a critical mass where it is poised to become the dominant form of social media marketing for a couple of reasons. First, it’s seamless. Someone you like, like something, therefore it’s cool and I’ll like it or want it too. Second, it’s perceived as a more trusted source. Most people don’t realize that the influencer is being paid to say they like or use something, especially when it is set up as a post in a social media feed. They don’t read like ads, they read with a higher sense of honesty and integrity and that means they will be less ignored, remembered more often, shared, and engaged with at a higher rate.

So, how many of those social media ads you hid earlier can you remember?

This Panda is Dancing

Remember life before your smartphone, tablet, and social media? Yeah I know, it’s kind of hard to imagine not being constantly connected anymore. The video below from Max Stossel & Sander van Dijk is a poetic send up about how we have all become addicted to that piece of tech sitting in your hand right now, or waiting to be retrieved from your pocket as soon as you put down whatever tech you are looking at now.

The video itself is great. A nice live action short with really well thought out graphics that have been motion tracked to specific source points in the frame. Solid editing and post work really help to polish this, but the real meat is in the message. A message with a direct call to action at the timewellspent.io website. The blurb before the video pretty much sums up what they are about.

Today apps and media compete in a race to grab our attention. Join a movement to:

  • Live better with more empowering settings for our media and devices.
  • Change incentives so media competes to improve our lives, not get eyeballs.
  • Invent new interfaces that help us to make room for what matters.

A poetic short film by Max Stossel & Sander van Dijk:

In the Attention Economy, technology and media are designed to maximize our screen-time. But what if they were designed to help us live by our values? timewellspent.io

What if news & media companies were creating content that enriched our lives, vs. catering to our most base instincts for clicks?
What if social platforms were designed to help us create our ideal social lives, instead of to maximize time-on site and “likes”?
What if dating apps measured their success in how well they helped us find what we’re looking for instead of in # of swipes?

As technology gets more and more engaging, and as AI and VR become more and more prevalent in our day-to-day lives we need to take a look at how we’re structuring our future.

Time Well Spent is a movement to align technology with our humanity: timewellspent.io

Director, Co-producer, & Visual Effects: Sander van Dijk: sandervandijk.tv

Writer, Co-producer & Lead Actor: Max Stossel: maxstossel.com

Production Company: Yacht Club Films

Director of Photography: Conor Murphy

Color: RCO

Music & Sound Design: Wesley Slover –

Steadicam Operator: Kyle Fasanella

Graphic Artist: Aaron Kemnitzer

CG Artist: Joseph Pistono

Visual Effects Assistant: Chelsea Galen

Roto Assistant: Regina Morgan-Munoz

Lead Actress: Crystal Lee