Why not listening to good music while reading? My inspiration for this article is Around the World – Daft Punk. Play it now!
What would you do if you had to look for a job right now? You would probably work on your CV, subscribe to specific job-searching websites to create an online version and make the most of social networks, especially LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a professional social network created in 2003 which has over 546 million members in more than 200 countries. It plays such a key role in people’s professional life that some people do not bother with creating a classic CV anymore. Taking this into account, one can easily wonder: has LinkedIn become the CV of the world?
The power of LinkedIn
Evolution of LinkedIn
One of the main reasons we can consider LinkedIn as “the CV of the world” is its evolution. Five years after its creation, it launched a global strategy by introducing Spanish and French versions of the website. In 2010, it counted 90 million members. In 2013, 2 new members subscribed per second and more than 225 million people were active on the network. Today, with its 546 million members and availability in 24 languages, it is the biggest professional network in the world. People around the world can exchange and look for professional opportunities worldwide – even in China where other social media such as Facebook are prohibited.
Evolution of the number of LinkedIn’s members – Author: J.C. – Source: Statista 2019
With LinkedIn, people are not only judged on their competencies anymore. With LinkedIn, social abilities are now integrated into the CV and become crucial to show who you really are. With LinkedIn, you are not limited by one page, the tone used can be informal, you can present your information as you wish and you can add content, links and media (photos and videos). It is the perfect professional tool for someone who needs to demonstrate her/his creativity and for those who want to present an authentic persona.
In 2016, Microsoft bought out LinkedIn. Together, they launched Resume Assistant, a new tool in Word that helps people conceive better CVs thanks to similar LinkedIn profiles. It can either suggest work experience descriptions or skills and competencies to match a particular job offer.
Why is it a strength for LinkedIn? To use Resume Assistant, people do not need a LinkedIn profile but simply a Microsoft 365 subscription. In other words, the social network found a way to reach the few who decided not to use its platform. It found a way to collect their data and connect it to others’. So far it is only available in a few select countries but if the concept works, the entire world may be concerned very soon.
Learn more about the partnership by watching this video:
Still a long way to go
LinkedIn might be powerful but it seems to be evolving without taking into consideration some important facts.
Do not forget the discrimination debate
To be successful on LinkedIn, it is mandatory to put a picture of yourself and give your real name; the exact opposite of what is recommended to avoid discrimination. Other criteria to remove are nationality and birth date. A study conducted by O. Aslund and O. Skans in 2017 named Do anonymous job application procedures level the playing field?, reached the following conclusion: “women and ethnic minorities, who are disadvantaged elsewhere in the economy, do not experience a penalty in the interview selection stage when applying to jobs using AAP (Anonymous Application Procedure)”. Knowing this, it makes perfect sense that some people may choose to not be part of the LinkedIn mania. The social network will have to consider the discrimination debate if it does not want it to become an obstacle to its growth.
Access to the Internet is still a dilemma
As explained before, LinkedIn wishes to gather all universities, workers, companies of the world on its platform thanks to the economic graph. But how does the company expect to achieve this when many countries are still very far from having a complete access to the Internet? The last digital report by We Are Social and Hootsuite reveals that 57% of the world population are Internet users and 45% are social media users. Reading the numbers the other way round: 43% of the world population do not have access to the Internet and 55% are not on social networks. It is clearly not enough for LinkedIn to reach its economic graph objective.
South Africa – Author: J.C.
South Africa – Author: J.C.
LinkedIn is a powerful professional network. Spread worldwide, it is definitely becoming the first tool used by people around the globe to find their next professional network. Nevertheless, it has to be aware of the world’s reality and take it into consideration to be sure to meet its expectations.
So, has LinkedIn become the CV of the world? Hard to say yes for now even though it seems quite right to say that LinkedIn is becomingthe CV of the world.
If you are interested in the subject, here is another article (in French!) you might like, published by Visionary Marketing: https://bit.ly/2XuNprH
Twitter is often the battleground of choice for activist campaigns. Its character limit encourages the use of brief, poignant messages. The format allows them to be understandable and potentially highly shared. Anyone can easily follow a movement’s twitter stream and decide how actively they want to engage with it.
Much like her, many have taken to the web to grow their networks and make themselves heard. The rapid spread of social platforms has produced a generation keen on sharing and engaging both online and offline. When done positively and in a polite manner, these can be great boosts to your digital footprint… but what about the less savoury comments?
FROM DISCUSSION TO DISRUPTION: ONLINE HARASSMENT
Every good has evil and our use of the internet is no exception. How many times have you seen a nasty comment from a nondescript user with a blank avatar? Just like any positive engagement, negative comments and heated emails also have an impact on our digital footprint.
Comedian John Oliver referred to the internet as a “haven for harassment” in a video he published 4 years ago. Sadly, the concepts he highlights behind a wall of satire and sarcasm are still very relevant today. Oliver points out how we all experience the internet differently, and how women tend to become targets of online harassment. He highlights how the police – a public service meant to enforce the law and keep civilians safe – was unable to guarantee these women’s’ safety in these situations.
I do recommend that people watch John Oliver’s videos, as he makes great points on a variety of subjects. However, I will include a warning for strong language and adult content.
PASSIVE AND ACTIVE DATA
I’ve mentioned the good and I’ve mentioned the bad, but how does this all link to digital footprints? Both examples I’ve given are active elements that shape our unique footprint. So, what makes up the passive part of the footprint? That would be all the browsing and clicking that we do. This information is usually collected without us knowing. It is not publicly available, but it can be valuable to companies for targeted marketing purposes.
But what is relevant to companies can also be relevant to criminals, who can piece together a shockingly comprehensive profile purely based on this footprint we all leave behind. In the most extreme cases, it can lead to fraud and identity theft. In a less extreme case, but just as damaging, it could become your professional undoing.
OUR DIGITAL FOOTPRINT, OUR RESPONSIBILITY
Quoting John Oliver again: the internet is an incredible tool, but like most tools, it can also be used as a weapon. As users, we should be striving to have a positive impact in the world around us and to keep our footprint as clean as possible. We live in a world where anyone who wants it could potentially access our data for a fee. Being mindful of our online behaviours should be common decency and common sense.
There are quite a few areas that I would have loved to expand on, which will have to be covered in later posts. I focused on the more positive aspects of social media and digital activism without touching on the dangers that come along with it. Likewise, I briefly touched on online harassment, when I could say so much more about the topic.
What would you want to read about next? Please do comment below or tweet your thoughts to me at @jokelogic.
Activists, just like anybody else, take advantage of new opportunities brought by the Internet. But is this new form of expression really efficient?
WHEN SOCIAL MEDIA EMPOWER PEOPLE
Social media brings confidence to many people who are not scared anymore to say what they really think. A study by the Pew Research Center demonstratesthat around half of Americans have engaged in some form of political or social-minded activity on social media in 2017. This phenomenon is particularly true when it comes to minorities: social media platforms are very important for half of black social media users in the USA, whether it is to express their political opinion or to engage in situations they feel concerned about.
What could encourage them to rely on social media? Well, let’s say… hashtags. First introduced on Twitter by Chris Messina in 2007, hashtags are now everywhere. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google +… all platforms have incorporated them, allowing users to see what the new trends are and to add importance to their posts. Because here is the true power of hashtags: it gives people the chance to feel united and strong while talking about a specific topic.
One of the most significant examples is the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag. Created in 2013 after the acquittal of George Zimmerman – a policeman who shot to death Trayvon Martin, a 17-years-old black man – this hashtag was used approximatively 30 million times on Twitter with 17,002 mentions per day on average. The reason for this success is the black community’s wish to be seen, listened and understood. It is the desire to show they are numerous even though they are considered as a minority. Behind this hashtag, there is the opportunity for them to prove that strength lies in numbers and that they can act to make things change. Behind this hashtag, there are millions of people doing activism online.
If Milano’s aim was to have a vision of the scope of this problem, gender equality supporters began to jump at the chance to voice their beliefs and make the impact even bigger. Suddenly, it was not only about denouncing but acting together to make things change. One year later, many activists feel optimistic about the future such as Rebecca Amsellem, founder of the newsletter Les Glorieuses. In an interview for Francetvinfo, she states that it is the beginning of something bigger such as the coming of a true gender equality. For others, like Aija Mayrock, a bestselling author and activist, the fight is not over, and social media are still a perfect place to talk. For the Day of the Girls, she broadcasted the following video on Youtube and Twitter:
Would these examples of activism have had the same impact without social media as a support? Certainly not. Yet, it is important to highlight that even though social media is a great tool to amplify the impact, no change can be entirely made by staying online.
Trends are only for a time
#BringBackOurGirls – photographer: Julie Compagny
Four years ago, 276 girls were kidnapped in Nigeria by Boko Haram’s armed forces. Various associations and NGOs around the world immediately reacted on the Internet and, with celebrities’ help, the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls appeared. This time, the movement consisted in taking a selfie with a piece of paper on which the hashtag was mentioned. The engagement was high but unfortunately, as trends are short-lived, it lasted only a time before moving to the next subject. Also, online activism engendered a global awareness but did not trigger a military response from other countries worldwide that was strong enough to solve the situation.
Another reality is that some countries impose strong barriers to online activism. China, for instance, punishes all forms of activism and massively regulates online activities. As mentioned by Hervé Fischer, “the Chinese government attempts to maintain control in spite of everything, and in 2000 it proclaimed three laws in quick succession to curtail expression”(1). A real obstacle for activists who cannot fight using digital assets. For those who try, the consequences are serious: people such as Gup Qinghai – a man who spread articles about democracy on the Web – are condemned to prison or even worse, to labour camps.
Today, social media and the Internet are not sufficient yet to create real changes; even though they are crucial for a worldwide movement. Without the protest marches, the intervention of experts on TV sets or during radio shows, and the intervention of other media, there are a few chances that governments finally react.
So, online activism? Yes, please! But do not forget: “Online and on-land activities augment one another; they have to in order for social change to happen” (2).
To go further, watch this TEDxTalk by Zeynep Tufekci about “How the Internet has made social change easy to organize, hard to win”:
(1) Hervé Fischer, Digital Shock: Confronting the New Reality, McGill-Queen’s University Press, Montreal, translated in 2006 by Rhonda Mullins.
(2) Beth Kanter & Allison H. Fine, The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting with Social Media to Drive Change, John Wiley & Sons, USA, 2010.
In a world where advertising pretty much forms part of the landscape and buyers have developed incredibly selective consumption filters, companies are having to devise new strategies to get their products noticed by their target audience.
Sometimes the company’s voice, loud as it may be, falls deaf on the ears of these modern consumers. But what if large corporations were to enlist the help of even louder voices to get their own message across?
With sponsored content becoming more commonplace among our feeds, I pose the following question: are social influencers giving up their artistic integrity for corporate greed, or are brand deals a lucrative business model that we should get used to?
The Power of Stories
The word “storytelling” has become a buzzword in modern vocabulary. A powerful tool for content creators, stories are known to influence people’s emotions and sway their loyalty and consumer habits. (Sarto, 2016)
Digital storytelling is a natural byproduct of the digital revolution; a beautiful merging of narrative and technology which enables creators to express themselves and connect with their audience like never before (M. Rossiter, P.Garcia 2010). Characterised by its accessibility, the power to both create and share stories has never been more readily available to aspiring creators.
Not What, but Who
While it’s true that anyone with internet access can speak online, that doesn’t mean the reach is the same. Online, some speak louder than others (Taylor, 2014). Enter Social Influencers; creators with a particularly large outreach within the digital landscape, with some of them amassing millions of followers who will consume their content daily. These large figures of the internet have successfully grown their channels by building an organic relationship with their audience through sharing snippets of their day-to-day life or by simulating a conversation as they build a table, apply makeup or play a game.
And why is this content successful? Because it is an authentic story, one that comes from a voice that it is easily relatable. It is in our nature to enjoy stories as they appeal to our curiosity and our nosiness. There is a thrill in listening to similar experiences to the ones you have had, to delve into someone else’s dirty laundry, to see love stories unfold, etc. Captivating stories are entertaining for everyone, even asocial people. (Sarto, 2016)
A More Selective Audience
With unlimited Information at our fingertips thanks to technological advancements, a new audience has developed; one that is much more selective in what it consumes and is well informed, actively seeking and clicking and not allowing corporate executives to dictate their media consumption (Taylor, 2014). They want more than just data or basic promotion, and it is this particular mindset that makes story-based marketing more appealing to them.
YouTube lifts the barrier between the content creator and the viewer giving an impression of authenticity and providing a more direct platform for creators to connect with their audiences (Ellis, 2018). Scan the comment section of any medium-to-large YouTuber and it will not be difficult to find comments where the fans refer to them as friends, even though they have never met in real life.
This is an active, reactive audience that is used to interaction and to having a degree of input in the content that they are consuming, much more so since the rise of Patreon where they can actively support the creators they idolise directly.
A New Medium
Keeping in mind that the goal of a business is to sell their product and that they are contending with a very tough audience, how can companies go about building trusting relationships with their potential clientele? (Sarto, 2016) Knowing that audiences tend to react positively to stories and campaigns with a more human touch to them, companies have started turning to social influencers in order to promote their products using their voice and pre-established relationship with their audience.
YouTubers who have shared their lives with their subscribers for several years and hundreds or in some case, thousands of videos can feel more familiar to some audiences than real life (Ellis, 2018). Having a social influencer interweave a promotion into their content and share their opinion of the product with their audience can easily come across as a friend’s recommendation to try something out when executed properly.
Some creators will organically include the brand deal into their usual content, a much more effective strategy as soon the products becomes a staple of their everyday story. Others take a moment out of the video to actively talk about the sponsor, an interlude in the usual flow of the content that is not always as well received.
Sponsorship works much like the YouTube Partnership Program in 2007: uploaders who work with YouTube are remunerated through the splitting of ad revenue; YouTube, in turn, boosts the popularity of partnered videos through its systems (van Dijck, 2013). Only here, companies pay the creator to promote the product and, should the sales be done by using their promo code or their custom link, then the creator gets a portion of the profit.
Hit and Miss
The occasional sponsored videos are well received by the viewers or shrugged off as part of the influencers income strategy. If the promotion is aligned with the theme of the channel, it is better received, but it is also common to find comments from audience members saying they will be unsubscribing and accusing the creator of ‘selling out’, particularly on channels where the brand-deals have been out of character or where there have been too many sponsored videos.
Much like how the original release of the Partnership Program was met with scepticism and critics about whether it was commercialising the content rather than promoting creativity (van Dijck, 2013), sponsored videos are met with unhappiness and accusations of selling out to bigger brands.
To be continued…
I focused mainly on YouTube for this article, but many of the points mentioned apply to other social media platforms. I am interested in your opinion. Do you think social influencers are giving up their artistic integrity for corporate greed?
Nowadays, Statistica estimates that Facebook monthly active users are approximately 2,2 billion around the world. Other social networks are following the same exponential rise.
As a consequence, social networking platforms are gathering a huge amount of data by making connections between people and reaching them through generated content.
The role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) takes place when all the collected unstructured information has to be managed.
The rise of machine learning and its impact of brands strategies and user experience
Machine learning has definitely been a key trend of the past decade. It has had a tremendous impact on social media and companies are starting to understand what is at stake in using AI in their social media strategies.
According to Mia Tawilé, Freelance Digital Consultant,
the most interesting thing of observing these trends is understanding the way businesses and brands can use them to build stronger relationships – and even loyalty – with their clients.
Thanks to machine learning, brands can easily identify their target. This type of AI allows to extract information from social media and make it highly valuable for companies. Thanks to the data they collect, a brand can convert prospects into customers by pushing the right product to the right person at the right time.