In case you missed it, LinkedIn sold Slideshare, the once-popular slide deck social sharing site, to Scribd a few weeks ago.
That thud you hear is the sound of the news landing in social media circles.
Few people cared. And, for good reason. Since buying Slideshare in 2013 (it’s been SEVEN YEARS since they bought Slideshare?!?!?!), LinkedIn did absolutely nothing with its investment. Nothing.
And that is a big missed opportunity.
Not that Slideshare was a social media darling. Or, destined to overtake Facebook. No, Slideshare was a niche network. On par with FlickR, Quora and Reddit.
But, it had a loyal and strong following. And, it met an online need–a place to house our slide decks and share them across the social web.
When LinkedIn acquired Slideshare in 2013, I remember thinking: I can’t wait to see what they do with this! Big possibilities on integrations with LinkedIn, right? Considering LinkedIn is THE professional social network and most decks came from professional types like marketers, HR folks and consultants.
But, LinkedIn dropped the ball–for whatever reason. Nothing happened. Slideshare floundered. And, eventually, people stopped using it.
And man, a big opportunity was wasted.
Here’s just a short list of the ways LinkedIn could have bolstered Slideshare via its platform over the years, and made it a more useful platform:
- Build out a “Presentations” tab in LinkedIn. I know some people insert their prezos in the “Featured” tab, but given the relevance of PPTs in everyday professional life, why not build out an entire tab devoted to presentations for LinkedIn users? Not everyone would use it, obviously, but I’d be willing to be a lot of people would.
- Featured prezos in the feed. Why not insert “featured presentations” in the content feeds of users? This would be based on your industry and interests, of course. But, what a great way to get more useful and informative content in the hands of users?
- Top 10 prezos of the day/week/month. Why couldn’t LinkedIn have curated the top 10 prezos of the day/week/month by industry/sector? That would have been a relatively easy way to unearth and showcase the very best content from Slideshare to an entirely new audience who wouldn’t normally see it (but, who would most likely appreciate it based on relevance).
- Making Slideshares into Webinars. What I was secretly hoping for once a big company like LinkedIn bought Slideshare is that they would develop some kind of easy tech that would allow us to make each deck into a webinar–effectively, giving us the opportunity to add our audio presentation to our PPT deck.
Those are a just a few ideas that came to mind. If you’ve been a Slideshare user over the years, I’m sure you probably have many more!
For now, I guess I’m just disappointed in the lost opportunity.
Does the name ring a bell?
For many in 2020, you probably know him as that guy on Twitter who shares mostly awesome (and funny) stuff in your feeds.
For a smaller number of people, the name Rex Chapman conjures up images of dunks wearing a University of Kentucky uniform in the early 90s.
Yet others remember him as the guy who was addicted to opioids.
But, from a marketing and communications perspective, you should remember and acknowledge him in a singular way in 2020: As the single-best example of the power of content curation on the web today.
Because that’s how Rex Chapman came to become a household name on the internet.
Just take a look at his feed.
95% of his tweets are retweets of other people’s stuff (with his own commentary).
Most of the stuff he’s sharing he’s finding from across the web/Twitter (with many suggestions, I’m guessing).
He’s creating very little content on his own (especially visual content–almost none!).
Yep, Rex Chapman is THE case study in 2020 of what great content curation looks like.
Let’s just look at his feed for a few examples from JUST YESTERDAY!
More than 100 Beirut residents have been reunited with their pets after a blast that rocked the city a few weeks ago.
Here’s one of those reunions.
I’m here for all of this.🌎❤️pic.twitter.com/hexRORlIPU
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) August 31, 2020
This is probably the content Rex is most well-known for–the emotional, uplifting and inspirational content. He typically ends it with some derivation of “This is the content I’m here for.”
John Thompson passed away last night.
He was the first Black coach to win a NCAA title.
He won two as a player w the Celtics.
He had a 97% graduation rate for his players at Georgetown.
Here is Allen Iverson thanking John for saving his life.🌎🏀💔 pic.twitter.com/QY88pOWeHC
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) August 31, 2020
Like I said, Rex is a former college star and NBA player, so it’s no surprise he curates content from around the league–especially this year as the NBA has taken center stage in the fight against racism. These types of emotional videos are pretty typical for Rex to find and share.
Ok so someone has edited Karen videos with zombie sounds.
The internet. Undefeated… pic.twitter.com/SMDQ1BFYiR
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) August 30, 2020
Finally, Rex has an uncanny ability (OK, so it’s probably thousands of people sending him clips to tweet each day–but he still has to sift through all that stuff!) to uncover the best of the internet. Case in point: A video of Karens with zombie sounds.
I could go on and on and on and on. Just look at his feed for ONE DAY–it’s an endless stream of this kind of stuff. And, I find myself always wanting to share it.
That’s a top-flight content curator, folks. Rex Chapman. He’s doing it better in 2020 than any brand (or person, really) out there.
So what can brands learn? I think the big thing is simply the power of curation. Rex could certainly be posting more of his thoughts on certain topics–we know he has them. He’s not someone who’s short on opinions! But instead, he spends what I’m sure are hours curating this content. He could be promoting whatever it is he wants to promote (apparel, new startup he’s invested in, etc.), but he chooses to curate content. The point is, Rex Chapman could do what most people do on Twitter–talk about themselves. But instead, he curates the internet for us.
And, I for one am here to say we’re all better off for it.
News flash: It was my birthday yesterday (8/24). Don’t worry if you didn’t send me a card–I only get 3 anymore (and I love those three!).
I received the usual influx of happy birthday messages on Facebook, LinkedIn, text and email. Side note: Not one person called me on my birthday. Not one!
Anyway, I received all the requisite happy birthday messages from everyone in my life except one notable exception: brands.
I only received ONE happy birthday message from a brand–Stitchfix. And, that email was literally just a happy birthday message.
No special birthday offer.
No free gift.
No birthday code.
Nothing. Thanks for doing business with us for the last 5 years–but we’re not giving you SH*T!
Why is that? Why don’t more brands actively market to people on their birthdays?
Maybe they do, and I’m just following the wrong brands. But, I follow and buy from a lot of brands online, and like I said, I got ONE message!
This is weird, right? I mean, your birthday is possibly the single biggest day of your year–especially for younger people. The older you get, the less “important” it becomes, of course.
But, I will say, if anyone of the golf brands I buy from sent me a note with a, say, 50% off code on my birthday, I would probably use that! (are you listening LinkSoul?!?!?)
Or, another place I shop once in a while: Vinyard Vines. Why couldn’t they send me an email on my birthday with a special message and a one-day “free Vinyard Vines hat with purchase of $50 or more”? I might do that!
Or, what about Golf Galaxy? Couldn’t they use their purchase history data to see that I haven’t bought golf balls in a month? I could probably use some new ones! Why not send me a happy birthday message with a couple for a FREE box of balls? Wouldn’t that build some serious brand loyalty?
Birthdays are such emotionally charged days, I don’t know why more brands aren’t marketing to us as we blow out our candles? I know not every brand collects that data on their customers, but I’ve certainly filled out enough online forms to know MANY retailers and companies have that data on me.
Why not use it?
You missed a big opportunity with this consumer yesterday.
I saw this tweet last week and it made me chuckle (the second tweet made me chuckle even harder!).
Not so much because it was funny (it is)–but because it’s true. Man, is it true.
And, I’m here to say during the last five months, few people in marketing and communications have had a tougher job than that of the community manager.
Let’s lay out the facts:
- Community managers often have an “always-on” job responsibility. Many don’t have backups for evening and weekend hours and find themselves working, literally, 24/7.
- Community managers are seeing the worst of the worst the last five months during this pandemic. They are on the virtual front lines. And, in many ways, the virtual front lines are far, far worse than the actual front lines.
- Community managers are under-paid. There has been an ongoing discussion for years that community managers ought to be more senior-level members of the team.
Yep, community managers have a tough job. And, like I said, over the last five months that job has been made even tougher by a pandemic, social unrest across our country and politics as we’ve never seen them before.
I’ve seen it first-hand. I’ve served as a community manager for some fairly large brands here in the Twin Cities.
I’ve been asked to review the feeds of these brands on a daily basis–to review the vitriol and negativity commenters spew.
I’ve had to engage these folks and try not to step in the land mines left day after day.
For those who have done this job, you know what I’m talking about. I feel your pain. You’ve had a tough run.
I’d like to say it’s going to get better out there. That we’re going to turn a corner. But sadly, I see more of the same in our future.
I see more divisive politics (although, personally I’m hopeful for a change).
I see more challenges ahead with the worldwide pandemic.
I see more hurdles with social justice–or lack thereof.
And, I see the gap between the haves and the have nots increasing–big time. This may be our biggest challenge yet.
All of these things are going to make our jobs tougher in the months and years ahead.
At the same time, this job is also wonderful in many ways.
Being on the front lines means serving as the eyes and ears of your organization–this means, among other things, you hear about new product ideas from customers first.
It means you also get to see the hearts, smiley faces and shouts of support (even though they may get drowned out from time to time).
And, it means you have one of the most highly visible jobs at your company–and you do not take that lightly.
So, I guess the point of this post today isn’t to claim that community managers do, in fact, have the toughest job in marketing/communications in 2020. I think the point may be to recognize that this job is a really, really tough job. An under-rated job. An under-appreciated job.
If you get a chance today, please thank your brand’s community manager. They’ve had a tough run in 2020. And, it’s not going to get a lot better anytime soon. They could use your support. Give them a shout. Give them some praise. And, right now, give them your empathy.
As summer slowly draws to a close here in Minnesota, there’s been increasing chatter about one big topic: Are you thinking about relocating for the winter months?
With the pandemic showing no signs of slowing down and Old Man Winter staring us right in the face, Minnesotans are facing the grim prospect of being locked in our homes for 3-4 months from Dec.-March–with very few things to do out of the home.
My only saving grace this winter will be skiing–a new sport I took up with my wife and daughter last year. I’m actually really looking forward to getting out on the slopes of Welch Village again. But, is that enough to keep me in Minnesota all winter? That’s the million-dollar question.
And it’s a question more folks are asking themselves every day.
Sure, many schools are starting with hybrid or all-in-person models (in Mpls, we’re starting all distance learning). But, it’s virtually inevitable all our kids will be distance learning eventually. At least that’s my view (and the view of one friend who works at the MN Dept. of Public Health).
So again, spending a month or two in southern Arizona in January and February is looking better all the time.
The other big question: Will our employers allow us to do this?
For some, the answer is easy: Yes. Solos like me for example, have long had the opportunity to largely work from wherever they’d like. Now, I probably wouldn’t do that just because I like seeing my clients in person from time to time. But, for most solos, working down south for the winter could be easily achieved.
But, for others, maybe not so much. Some health care workers are going into the office. Some in government positions are in-person some of the time. There are people going into an office.
But, for the lion’s share of comms/PR employees, couldn’t we work from an Airbnb with our families in the winter months? Why would that be a problem? If you had workable wi-fi, I see no reason why this would matter–even a little bit.
I’ll take you one step further–would you even need to TELL your employer you’re working from Arizona instead of Minnesota? In this new COVID era, is that even their business? Their right to know? I’m not 100% sure.
As our family is thinking through this decision, here are a few factors we’re taking into consideration (I know this will be different for each family, but just wanted to share my thought process):
- Will the state we work from have outbreak issues? How will we know that now when we make the reservation? (tip: We won’t; have to take our best guess)
- Would we be able to get good medical care, should we need it, from the state we work from?
- Would we have workable wi-fi in the place we’re staying in?
- Would we also have ample opportunities to get outside and do things in the place we’re staying in (read: I would want a backyard pool)?
- Would the kids miss out on anything being in a different city/place for a month? How would it impact friendships? Will they still be seeing their friends in the winter (we have teens so they have been seeing friends this summer).
Again, every family will have their own questions and issues to address–those are just a few of ours.
So, are you thinking about taking off for the south this winter? Are you considering an Airbnb in the Tucson area in January? What kinds of issues are you thinking through? And, do you think your employer will allow it (and, do you even need to tell them)?
I’d love to hear from you.