Crush It! Book Review Rough Draft

In Crush It! Why Now Is The Time To Cash In On Your Passion, Gary Vaynerchuck encourages his readers to cash in on their passion and transform your “real interests into real business.” He uses his personal experiences as a model and creates a “how-to” guide for creating a personal brand using the tools of social media. Vaynerchuck claims that if you’re passionate about something, you can monetize that passion if you have the drive.

[MAIN POINTS OF THE BOOK]

Internet has completely changed how we do business:

– Ability to connect with consumers
– Publicize your passion and find others with the same passion
– Attract advertisers
– Advertisers and companies need to spend money to stay alive, why not spend it on you?
– Create a blog that will voice your passion. Build a following, then the big companies will find you and invest in you.
– Social media = business. Period.

Follow Your Passion

– Make sure you’re doing what you love more than anything in the world
– DNA = the path to your success
– Do not conform to what your family or society expects of you. Follow your DNA
– The internet makes it possible for anyone to be 100% true to themselves and make serious cash by turning what they love most into their personal brand (17).
– Follow your bliss, but also you must work harder than you’ve ever worked before
– But if you’re following your passion, it shouldn’t be considered work. You should be looking forward to it.
– People want to be told what’s good and valuable, and that they enjoy feeling like they’ve been turned on to something not everyone can appreciate (24). How he started his wine company.
– Be sure your content is the best in its category.
– Someone with less passion and talent and poorer content can totally beat you if they’re willing to work longer and harder than you are. Hustle is it. Without it, you should just pack up your toys and go home. The only differentiator in the game is your passion and your hustle. Don’t ever look at someone else who has more capital or cred than you and think you shouldn’t bother to compete.
– Many are probably just sick of the killer hours and inflexible schedules and demanding bosses often found in the corporate world and think entrepreneurship will somehow be less taxing. Not true. If anything, more work.
– If you’re living your passion, you’re going to want to be consumed by your work.
– Patience: money won’t come overnight.
– Don’t indulge yourself in your successes right away. Your profits should funnel right back into your research, your content, and your staff should you have any. The sooner you start cashing in, the shorter window you have in which to cement your success.

Personal Branding

– Used Youtube and video blogs not to sell wine, but to build a whole new world for wine (26).
– Wine Library TV was never about selling wine on the internet. It was always about building brand equity (27).
– Your business and your personal brand need to be one and the same (28). People have built empires out of being who they are and never backing down from it (ie: Oprah, Howard Stern)

Authenticity

– Authenticity is key.
– Your authenticity will be at the root of your appeal and is what will keep people coming to your site and spread the word about your personal brand, service, or whatever you are offering.
– Doesn’t clean up office, Doesn’t do additional takes, Sometimes sound and lighting is bad. Doesn’t matter—as long as he’s getting his message across and coming across as authentic.
– Celebrity images used to be carefully constructed that it was difficult to get a sense of their real personalities.
– Now they make a great effort to connect with their fans.
–  If you live your passion and work the social networking tools to the max, opportunities to monetize will present themselves.

Use Social Media/Internet to Promote Personal Brand

– Create a community by leaving comments on other people’s blogs and forums and replying to comments to your own comments
– Use twitter to find as many people as possible talking about your topic and communicate with them
– Use blogsearch.google.com to find more blogs that are relevant to your subject.
– When you feel your personal brand has gained sufficient attention and stickiness, start reaching out to advertisers and begin monetizing.

[APPLYING CONCEPTS FROM CLASS TO THE BOOK]

Social Network Profiles as Taste Performances – Hugo Liu

Prestige statements vs Authenticity statements:

Prestige

  •  presenting a coherent sense of taste that shows your belong squarely in a certain place. (ex: I fit in mainstream culture or I fit in this subculture)
  • Put person in a “culture box” They are elite within their group. Strongly identify
  • Ex in book: wine connoisseurs using esoteric language. turns some people who aren’t experts off.

Authenticity

  • Trying to communicate that you are an authentic person. Everything you say is true about you.
  • Not perfectly crafted. (ex: list all indie bands as favorites but also throwing in some guilty pleasures)
  • Showing a little crack in the façade: self-deprecating.
  • Ex in book: shoot vlogs once, doesn’t clean up room. explains things in plain english.

Branding yourself

  • Personal brand and corporate brand. How you present yourself and the things you have in the video that contributes to your “brand”
  • Commodifying yourself

Community: Baym 

  • Types of community we’ve never seen before
  • Net isn’t just for information, it’s for linking people and connection
  • Shared resources and support: resources shared such as networking, advice, promotional, financial.
Advertisements

To Friend a Predator

In this Saturday Night Live sketch, Andy Samberg conducts a MySpace seminar to show people how to create a MySpace page so they can “communicate with more than six million young people currently on MySpace.” He notes that the people taking his class are slightly older than he expected and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who plays a mother, admits that she’s taking the class because her teenage daughter has been spending all her time on MySpace so she wanted to see what all the fuss was about. When Samberg asks, “And the rest of you?” the camera pans out to a room full of men who are clearly all child predators. The sketch goes through the conventions of making a MySpace profile, such as creating a username, displaying your age, uploading an avatar, etc. The predators ask shady hypothetical questions, such as, “If my, uh, son was 45, he could say he was 15?” create usernames such as “9thgradesk8rboi,” and use pictures of Chad Michael Murray as their avatars.

This sketch humorously conveys the discourse around the cons of anonymity on MySpace. People are able to put whatever age, username or profile picture they want because MySpace doesn’t have a way of policing the accuracy of that information. In Why Youth (Heart) Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Lifedanah boyd notes how this technological affordance can technically give teens a measure of privacy protection. They can–and often are encouraged by their parents to– hide their age and gender so that undesired people cannot find them (Although boyd does note that teens usually do this to block out their parents).  As depicted in this sketch, however, this also means sexual predators can lie about their age/name/appearance to lure teens into talking to and meeting with them.

The sketch represents and pokes fun at the discourse about parents’ fears of their children using social media sites. My parents have brought up the dangers of friending strangers on MySpace or Facebook on more than several occasions. They cite seemingly countless news stories about girls who meet people on SNSs and get coerced into meeting face to face, only to end up getting kidnapped or assaulted by sexual predators. The media has a tendency to latch onto these stories, inciting panic among parents. In Social Steganography: Privacy in Networked Publicsboyd and Alice Marwick discusses the notion of “stranger danger,” used to “justify young people’s exclusion from public places” (25). With the proliferation of “Stranger Danger” messages transmitted from the news and educational campaigns, public parks went from child-friendly spaces to dangerous areas where strangers with deviant intentions prey on children.  boyd and Marwick note how “these same moral panics have been used to explain why teens should not be using social network sites” (25).

Parents who don’t know anything about SNSs other than what they’ve heard from the news get the impression that the majority of kids are on these sites to talk to strangers. That’s exactly what my parents thought when they found out I had a MySpace page. This is certainly not the case. Through her interviews with teens, boyd found that one of the biggest reasons why teens are so compelled to join social network sites is because all their friends are on them. They act as virtual spaces for teens to socialize with existing friends. As boyd and Marwick state, “Teens use social media to get to know people who are more acquaintances than friends or to meet friends-­of-friends. A small minority of teens seek out broader audiences, welcoming strangers who seem to share their world view” (5). I personally only follow people I know on Facebook. If I receive a friend request from a name I don’t recognize, I ignore it. Likewise, in her study, As soon as you get on Bebo you just go mad”: young consumers and the discursive construction of teenagers online, Rebekah Willett found that kids on Bebo were mainly interested in communicating with “immediate friends rather than making contacts in the wider world. By being on Bebo where they only talk with their peers, they are safe inside the home (not on the streets) and safe from online predators.” Being members of the “net generation,” as Willett puts it, they have the skills and knowledge of protecting and self-regulating themselves on the internet.

This also means teens know how to hide themselves not only from predators, but from their parents as well. As boyd and Marwick point out, teens and adults have completely different understandings of privacy on SNSs. Adults want to make sure their kids are safe from predators, but teens want privacy from their parents. Understandably so. No one wants their mother breathing down their neck every time they post on a friend’s wall. It’s not that they’re up to no good, they just want to feel that they have control over the social situation. Opponents of the Patriotic Act use the same rationale to speak out against it. Just because you’ve nothing to hide doesn’t mean it’s not a huge invasion of privacy. Teens desire a sense of agency and when parents snoop around or demand to have access to their children’s SNS profiles, they are denied that.

That’s not to say they shouldn’t be aware of what their children are up to. Obviously they have every right to be concerned about their children’s internet habits and should talk to them about it. When teenagers goes out with friends, it’s the parents’ responsibility to know where they are going and who they are going with. Parents should keep track of their kids, but that doesn’t mean parents should tag along and follow them around. The same goes for social network sites. Parents should have a sense of what their kids are doing on these sites, but not neccessarily feel the need to go through each and every interaction.

Wow, that’s REALLY fascinating. Please tell me more.

Ever have those moments when you log into Facebook to find an endless stream of dumb statuses on your Newsfeed and you just want to rip your hair out and scream, “NO ONE CARES”? Elizabeth Bernstein sure has. In her article called How Facebook Ruins Friendships, Bernstein writes,

Like many people, I’m experiencing Facebook Fatigue. I’m tired of loved ones—you know who you are—who claim they are too busy to pick up the phone, or even write a decent email, yet spend hours on social-media sites, uploading photos of their children or parties, forwarding inane quizzes, posting quirky, sometimes nonsensical one-liners or tweeting their latest whereabouts.

For whatever reason, people often feel encouraged to post the most menial details of their lives on Facebook. For example, in Bernstein’s article, one interviewee has a friend who tweets meal updates. “My question is this: If we didn’t call each other on the phone every time we ate before, why do we need the alerts now?” Another interviewee chalks it up to narcissism. “Why is your life so frickin’ important and entertaining that we need to know?”

Bernstein also points out how people have a tendency to share things online that they wouldn’t necessarily share publicly in the physical world. She gives the example of that one couple who are always bickering on each others walls, or the (admittedly grosser) other couple “so ‘mooshy-gooshy’ they sit in the same room of their house posting love messages to each other for all to see.”

Nancy Baym discusses the practice of oversharing in her book, Personal Connections in the Digital Age. Baym explains that people overshare because they have a tendency to forget who their audience is, or that there even is an audience in the first place. She writes, “When we are disclosing to one person or a group on an SNS, list, or community, our behavior is also available to many other people. We may have known they could see it, yet not considered them part of its audience.” She cites one man she knows as an example, who got so disgusted by his friend’s statuses about his child’s body excretions that he started ignoring all Facebook statuses. These were “messages that grandparents or other new parents might care about,” but clearly not things that should have been shared with everyone.

I know I’m guilty of sometimes forgetting that everything posted on Facebook is public. That’s not to say that I’m not wary of what I post, but when I post on a friend’s wall, I consciously acknowledge that this is a message intended for this specific person. I don’t always consciously register that all of his/her friends and all our mutual friends will see this wallpost. I might not realize it, but every time I write on someone’s wall on Facebook, what I’m really doing is writing for an entire audience.

Then there’s the protective shield of being behind a computer screen. Bernstein notes that Facebook “can be a mecca for passive-aggressive behavior.” People might behave more boldly because they’re not confronting someone face-to-face, and say things online that they might not say in person. This can lead to both heated arguments or cowardly behavior.

The video above, excerpts from the TV show The IT Crowd, touches on several of Bernstein’s points (pardon the Greek subtitles, please).

The characters of the show all get sucked into joining Friendface (a very thinly veiled reference to Facebook, if you didn’t happen to catch that). At 6:59, Moss is distraught by the fact that his mom has friended him on Friendface and disgusted that, “she’s put down her current mood as ‘sensual,'” illustrating the point Bernstein and Baym makes about people feeling compelled to share things online that we just don’t want to know.

At 5:20, Roy freaks out because someone he once went out with found him on Friendface and wanted to meet up again. He tries to evade an awkward confrontation by considering emailing her that he isn’t interested, but his co-worker Jenny says that that’s unfair to the girl and he should tell her the truth face-to-face. This relates back to the shield of being behind a computer screen. You can have an easy way out of breaking bad news by doing it over the internet instead of doing it in person (which is the decent thing to do).

Obviously, both the article and the video were intended to give  negative perspectives on how social media effects relationships. The article focuses on the things on Facebook that we find annoying, as well as the damaging impact Facebook communication has on our friendships. The article is presented in a way in which Bernstein doesn’t place the blame on Facebook as a medium, but rather the actions of Facebook users. I generally agree with all the points Bernstein makes. I, too, experience Facebook fatigue every now and then. Getting updates from all of your friends at once, close ones and aquintances included, in real time can be mentally grueling. I don’t think, however, that these can be considered grounds for terminating a friendship. Squabbles and pet peeves exist in physical relationships as well as virtual ones. They can be annoying sometimes, but we usually learn to get past them.

What I get from this article (despite it’s title) is that it’s not Facebook that’s ruining friendships, it’s the lack of social etiquette on these platforms. Bernstein could have briefly mentioned the notion of shared practices. I know that personally, I’m seeing less and less stupid/TMI statuses on Facebook because people are becoming aware of how annoying they are. Through shared practices, we are socialized into behaving appropriately by observing others. She does somewhat allude to this in her final paragraph, writing, “To improve our interactions, we need to change our conduct, not just cover it up. First, watch your own behavior, asking yourself before you post anything: ‘Is this something I’d want someone to tell me?'”

Keep your friends close and your Friends closer?

Online friends vs. IRL (in real life) friends.

This is something I see that’s constantly being discussed, especially on community-based sites such as Tumblr.

Some people only use Tumblr as a site to post the occasional pretty picture or inspirational quote on, but there is a huge percentage of Tumblr users that use it as a means to express their inner nerd about their favorite TV shows, movies, music, etc. On Tumblr, people don’t necessarily follow people they know, but rather people who blog about things they like. Instead of spamming their friends’ newsfeeds on Facebook, most of whom will probably not care, people come to Tumblr to gush obsessively about whatever it is they are into to followers they know who will be interested in what they are blogging about. This is why people who belong in various fandoms are drawn to Tumblr. They are able to form bonds with people through things they are passionate about, things that might not resonate with people they know in real life. They form in-jokes and develop particular tastes in humor that only those in the know would understand. You see the same thing on message boards and fan forums. It’s no surprise then, why people feel they connect with their online friends more than their IRL friends.

Danah Boyd and Nicole Ellison discuss social network sites and make a distinction between “Friends” and “friends.” “Friends” are the people you know through social network sites and “friends’ are people you have friendships with in real life. They claim “the term ‘Friends’ can be misleading, because the connection does not necessarily mean friendship in the everyday vernacular sense, and the reasons people connect are varied” (Boyd and Ellison 2007). David Beer disagrees, stating, “The problem is that increasingly, in the context of SNS moving into the cultural mainstream, the ‘everyday sense’ of friend can often be the SNS Friend” (Beer 2008). Beer believes, given the massive influence social network sites have on our lives, it has changed our understanding of friendships. Therefore we shouldn’t make the distinction between “Friends” and “friends” because people are growing up and becoming informed by the connections they make through SNS (Beer 2008).

I have to agree with Beer on that point. The criticism that is often met with making friends online is that they don’t count because you haven’t met face-to-face. These friendships are shallow and you don’t know what the other person is really like and it impedes on your ability to make real friends.

But with the proliferation of online communication, they way we approach friendships is changing. Just because you met someone online doesn’t mean that relationship means any less to you than those you have with people you know in real life. The highlight of your day might be talking to someone you know through the Internet. Does the fact that you have never met that person in real life make that feeling of anticipation any less real?

A lot of people actually feel more inclined to talk to their online friends about personal issues rather than their real friends. Maybe they feel their IRL friends will judge them or they may feel too vulnerable discussing certain things with people they interact with face-to-face. You may not know what a person looks like or where they live, but that doesn’t mean you can’t discuss “real things” and form a meaningful relationship.

Speaking personally, I’ve made an IRL friend out of an online friend. My friend Nora friended me on Last.FM when we were in high school, and we used to discuss our favorite bands and geek out over our mutual taste in music. Through our conversations we learned that we had other things in common (ie: favorite TV shows, movies) and then we started following each other on Tumblr and became Facebook friends. When we both started going to school in Manhattan, we began hanging out in real life, and we’ve been maintaining our online and IRL friendships ever since. Like Beer said, social network sites are changing the way we connect with people and go about starting and maintaining friendships. I initially met Nora online and now we’re “real friends,” but the bulk of interactions still take place online. Am I supposed to classify her as a “friend” or a “Friend?”

The implications of whatever label you put on someone is subjective. I know personally, I have friends on Facebook whom I have met in real life and haven’t talked to in years. Certainly, I feel closer to the people I have shallow conversations with through Tumblr. But then there are people I’ve only met once or twice in person but talk to them constantly via Facebook. Then there are my real friends who I have known all my life that go to other colleges and the majority of our interactions are done via Facebook. Are these people “Friends” or “friends?” I think it’s impossible to separate all of these things into just two categories.  Whether or not there should be a distinction, it should be up to the social network user to decide.