Book Review for “Crush It!” by Gary Vaynerchuck (Rough Draft)

Summary

In his book, Crush It!, Gary Vaynerchuk aims to give his readers advice on how to make the most money by living your passion. Vaynerchuk gives his readers three rules to live by: 1) Love your family 2) Work superhard and 3) Live your passion. While the first two rules appear throughout the book, the third rule drives the message Vaynerchuk sends to his readers. Vaynerchuk uses his own life story as a framework for the book. His story begins when family immigrated to the U.S. from the U.S.S.R. when he was a small child and follows his rise to internet celebrity through his work as a vlogger for his father’s wine shop in Springfield, NJ. He weaves his golden rules for modern internet success with his career. First and foremost, Vaynerchuk urges readers to live their passion. If they don’t plan on doing that, they shouldn’t bother reading the rest of the book. He stresses that anyone can be successful, no matter how weird or obscure their passion is, especially with today’s easy access to so many various social media platforms. According to Vaynerchuk, people simply need to define their passion, create their brand, and get to work spreading their message around the social media sphere. Vaynerchuk wants his readers to live their passion, and help spread their message through the social media tools available to them. As long as they love what they’re doing, anyone can be successful.

Audience

Gary Vaynerchuk writes to a very broad audience. His audience consists of anyone who has a passion that they are not pursuing, and are looking to fulfill their dream of doing what they love for a living. Because Vaynerchuk stresses passion over everything else, it seems as though his ideal audience could be of almost any age range. However, his ideal audience members must have passions and ideas about those passions yet think they can’t be successful by pursuing those passsions. The book was written for the average joe. The language is simple, making it a very easy read. Anyone can read Vaynerchuk’s book and have an idea of whether or not they have what it takes to pursue their passion. In addition, this is a very American story, told by someone who has truly lived the American dream. Because of this, American readers would connect more deeply with the story that Vaynerchuk tells in comparison to readers from other countries.

Group Points

Vaynerchuk takes a social constructionist approach in this book.

  • we do the same things as before, just via a different method (social media)
  • social media hasn’t changed what we do, but helped us do things more efficiently
  • the technology is useless if we don’t use it effectively (or at all for that matter)

Ethical implications of social media marketing

  • Authenticity:
  • Vaynerchuk emphasizes authenticity as key to your online/professional brand
  • Authenticity MUST be maintained when marketing your brand and dealing with advertisers
  • Issues of privacy settings can lead to personal and professional brand discrepencies

Create a community

  • have to have passion to keep readers
  • have to create an identity that users trust (authenticity) and be someone that they want to revisit again and again

Critiques

  • I wouldn’t categorize this as a social media marketing book, more of a motivational book. This seems like a book that someone would read, be motivated to pursue their dreams, and then go search out other how-to books on social media marketing to realize their dreams.
  • I would have liked to see more on how to apply social media marketing strategies
  • All about passion. While I understand that passion is necessary to be truly successful, there are a number of other important factors and actions that need to be taken. What does Vaynerchuk think those are?

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.

Book Review Draft: “Crush it” by Gary Vaynerchuck

Summary: 

Gary Vaynerchuck, in his book, Crush It, has three simple rules. One, “Love your Family.” Two, “Work Superhard.” Three, “Live your Passion.” The book itself is a how-to manual for the third rule. How to live your passion and also make a living off of it. His mission? To convince his readers that they should start thinking of themselves as a “brand.” Like he says, “your DNA dictates your brand.”  You can have a passion for anything in this world, even something as small as stickers, and still succeed growing a business around it because of the ubiquity of social media. Social Media has made it possible for anyone to reach out to thousands of people, in very limited time. So there is really no reason not to use it as the most powerful tool at your disposal to start living your passion.

The Issue of Audience:

Vaynerchuck speaks firstly to individuals who want to grow their own businesses and marketers looking for more ways to extend their reach. But this book was written with the average person in mind. Everyone, literally everyone, can start becoming their own personal brand through social media and Vaynerchuck made sure to stress this point. All it takes is to “first discover the passion, and then the medium.”

Groupmates Points:

My groupmates had plenty to say about Gary Vaynerchuck’s book. It was unanimously liked by everyone even though we all thought that it was more of a motivational tool than an actual how-to. The concepts he laid out seemed a tad simplistic and a little obvious but nonetheless, he introduced an amazing method of where to start. My groupmates outlined the type of approach Vaynerchuck took.

1. Social Construction of Technology

Social media encourages people to bring out there tendencies. According to Vaynerchuck, “Social Media=Business” since we all are somewhat of a personal brand already with our social media profiles.

2. Social Shaping

Vaynerchuck was all about exploring the possibilities of how social media and personal brand building can interact successfully with each other.

3. Authenticity

In the book, Vaynerchuck reveals himself in an intimate autobiographical chapter. Authenticity was a word he mentioned several times. Its one of the most powerful forces behind your brand.

 

 

 

Crush It Review Rough Draft

In his book Crush It: Why Now is the Time to Cash in On Your Passion, Gary Vaynerchuk gives a strong pep talk about why your job should have something to do with what you truly love, and why you should leave that job if it doesn’t. His main argument is that in the current state of the online world, if you make content about anything you are strongly passionate about, it will attract other people, and therefore money. To prove this point, he shares his own story of how he went from working in his immigrant father’s liquor store to running a multi-million dollar business, and how social media and adaptability helped this happen. In other words, then, he explains that with passion and a willingness to adapt to change, social media has created an environment where almost anyone could make money.

Given the subject matter of ‘anyone can be successful,’ this book seems to be written for a general audience of people who may not be happy with their jobs, or even if they are, are looking for some kind of change in their life. Because of this, Crush It never goes into any specifics of a social media plan, and even mentions that you should not “…put on an act to try to imitate me or anyone else who’s had some success with social marketing. You will lose because people can sniff out a poser from a mile away” (42). This single sentence, in fact, is the basis for everything else that Vaynerchuk talks about in the book. Aside from your passion and the business need for adaptability, authenticity is the most important quality in the social media space, he says.

Part of being successful at promoting whatever kind of brand you may have on social media, he says, is understanding that sites like Twitter and Facebook are more about establishing relationships with your customers, fans, and followers than selling anything in particular. He points to his own use of Twitter, where he says, “Can you imagine how obnoxious I’d look if I sent out tweets every day urging that call to action? Instead, I use the other tools in my toolbox to bring viewers back to my blog, where I knock their socks off with my content, which inspires them to hit the “Buy My Book” call-to-action button and convert a blog visit into a chance to further build my brand and my revenue” (68). In other words, there is a time and a place to make a hard sell for things, but if you do this all the time on social media, people will feel the ‘phoniness’ of it, and most likely be less inclined to buy something from you, or even worse, might stop following you in the first place.

Vaynerchuk is not alone in discussing this issue of online authenticity. Because of the virtual nature of the online world, authenticity is a factor that cannot be ignored in any discussion of social media. In fact, Marwick and boyd mention a similar balance to what Vaynerchuk is explaining, as they write, “For Twitter users trying to build audience, personal authenticity and audience expectations must be balanced. To appeal to broad audiences, some popular Twitter users maintained that they had to continually monitor and meet the expectations of their followers.” (126). In other words, the rules of balancing different types of messages online is not only a business concern, but holds true for social media use in general.

While Vaynerchuck’s messages certainly do hold true in many degrees, I think the idea that simply being authentic on social network sites and creating content about something you love will not necessarily lead you to success. Someone could be extremely passionate about cooking and film themselves baking cakes in an authentic, unedited way, but if they do not offer anything particularly interesting, people are not going to be drawn to them. Vaynerchuck mentions that you have to offer something unique and different from everyone else, but I think with that comes both the fact that it must be interesting and you have to have some knowledge of how to promote it aside from just setting up a Twitter account and tweeting.

Overall, I’d say the book is a good jumping point for anyone who is just getting started with what could be the scary land of social media, as it certainly points out some good pro-tips that people just starting out might not realize. This, along with the amount of excitement the book instills, could definitely get someone who hates their current job motivated to try something new, but I think a little more detail about what to do once you’re online would make a great supplement to Crush It.

Rough Draft for Crush It

Apologies in advanced for how rough this is:  There is method in my madness.

Blog 4

Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuck

-Structured as social construction – points out what you can do on social media sites, but it already exists offline.  Uses technology to enhance what already exists

“Social media tools—Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and all the rest—are modern-day galleons that will carry you to the new world, allowing you to share your passion, differentiate yourself from your competitors, and deliver your brand to the broadest possible audience.”

-Speaks about authenticity:  “don’t lie to yourself

Do you have any idea how many people introduce themselves to me with, “Hi, I’m going to be the next Oprah”? I’m all about being confident, and I respect anyone who’s got big ambition. But let’s face it, not everyone is going to be Oprah. Everyone has the ability to achieve great self-awareness, but we all occasionally lie to ourselves. Some of us, however, lie to ourselves more than others.”

“Whether you’re delivering your content by video, podcast, or blog, it’s the authentic you, the one thing that is guaranteed to differentiate you from everybody else, including those who share your niche or business model. “

 

Boyd
1) Construct a profile
2) Articulate a network
3) View networks

Public display of connections you have

Ties are bidirectional or unidirectional

Unidirectional ties:

“Now, if she’s got a Twitter account, she can tell five thousand people that she just read your hilarious blog post about breeding Siamese cats. And since those aren’t just five thousand random people, they’re five thousand people who have deliberately told your Twitter reader they want to hear what she thinks, chances are superb that a good percentage of them are going to be curious enough to check out your blog for themselves. And like in a brick-and-mortar business, half the battle is getting them in the door. If they like you, many will turn right around and repost your reader’s comment to all of the people following them.”

differentiate yourself:

“These social networking sites have only changed the game by giving entrepreneurs a reason to ditch the sinking traditional media and advertising platforms in favor of a communication method that opens them up to markets that would have been inaccessible until just a few short years ago.

The thing is, just having a presence on these platforms doesn’t get you any further ahead of the competition because most entrepreneurs are getting wise to the need of having a Twitter and Facebook account, not to mention all the other platforms we’ve discussed. So how are you going to differentiate yourself from all the other clowns? You’re going to do your content better, and you’re going to do it your way using the tools we just discussed.”

^ Boyd/Donaf:  Performance dimension; trying to present an image of yourself to others  (Front stage/back stage).

Front stage: you are what the author speaks about; you’re going to act better than the rest

Back stage: it’s possible that you know very little but confidence will trick the “audience”

Audience of book: anyone with a passion or an idea or drive.  He constantly claims anyone can be successful using social media as long as the passion is there.

Liu Taste Statements:

Prestige statements:  communicating that I fit in to (This culture) mainstream, subculture, etc  (His example, cooking blogs where you are like everyone else)

Authenticity:  Subtle cues through taste that you are authentic (Showing honesty in your cooking blogs; posting cooking disasters and lack of knowledge)

Theatrical persona:  exaggerated to the point where it’s self evidently false.Trying to be funny  (Ex: Perez Hilton is an extreme persona that is trying to be funny)

boyd: Performances of self with audience in mind; who is in our audience doesnt matter; who we constructed in our heads as audience that matters

“Your DNA dictates your passion—whatever it is you were born to do; being authentic, and being perceived as such by your audience, relies on your ability to ensure that every decision you make when it comes to your business is rooted in being true to yourself.”

Weber/Mitchell:  – We’re seeking questions about our identity. Figuring out who we are and what we’re trying to tell other people

-We look at ourselves through new eyes (Youtube comments on our videos; maybe we modify ourselves based on feedback).  We discipline ourselves in response.

“brand yourself in the public eye with an identity that is separate from that of the corporation”

 

-Simon Higgins

 

Crush It! Rough Draft

           Crush It! Why Now Is The Time To Cash In On Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuck is “meant” to discuss different strategies and secrets to turn your “real interests into real businesses.”  But in all actuality, this novel is more in the realm of motivational self-help books.

Gary Vaynerchuck transformed his family’s small wine store into a national industry.  He talks about how from a young age he was a businessman through buying and selling baseball cards to make a profit.  He has now built his own brand through developing a video blog called Wine Library TV.  Taking off from this small childhood pastime, Gary realized the steps he needed to take to make a name for himself in the business world…and that was through social media.  He states that the three rules to live by when creating your own business are to “love your family”, “work superhard”, and “live your passion”.  He measures his success by how happy he is, which in essence everyone should do.

There is no real format or structure to this book.  Ninety percent of this book is discussing how you need to be passionate if you want to be successful.  Besides this, Gary goes into the various social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and WordPress, among others.  He discusses the different affordances of each network and how to decide which one is right for you to create your business.  Next, Gary goes into the importance of developing your personal brand.  Through building you brand, Gary discusses how authenticity is paramount.  It is important to be yourself and voice your opinions.  He says “You’ll crush it as long as you concentrate on being yourself” (Vaynerchuck, 34).   He feels that your brand will be unique because you are unique.  This relates to our own class reading and discussion about how Liu identifies four different taste statements, authenticity being one of them.  In Liu’s reading we learn that authenticity is when the user is trying to communicate who they really are, everything that is said is true.  I tend to agree with Gary, especially if you are trying to start your own business (personally I feel this was the best piece of advice he gave).  If I were the consumer, I would want to purchase something from a person who is telling me the truth.  It is important to trust the business; otherwise the company would be reaping the benefits while you are left unsatisfied.  Through word of mouth, your business receives the reputation of being dishonest, therefore making people not want to buy whatever service or good you are offering.

Throughout the semester, we have talked about how community is formed through the various social media networks.  Baym discusses in her book the difference qualities of communities in social media: sense of space, shared practice, shared resources and support, shared identities, and interpersonal relationships.  Gary talks about how to form a community in order for your business to benefit.  He says “Creating community—that’s where the bulk of your hustle is going to go and where the bulk of your success will be determined” (Vaynerchuck, 96).  In order to do this, he stresses the need to communicate with others through social media.  According to Gary, you need to read hundreds of blog posts, leave many comments, tweet, email, share links, post your own blog posts, record videos, and much more.  By doing this, you are creating awareness amongst the community of social media, which will create publicity for your business.

He takes a very social constructionist approach when writing this book.  I do feel Gary does give some insights as to how to communicate and build your brand.  However, he does not provide as much information on how to actually monetize your business.  Yes, he does talk about building awareness, which leads to attracting advertisers…but he doesn’t going into that much detail of how to get in contact with these advertisers or what normal protocol is.  Gary gives very broad generalizations of how to build your own business, and how to be passionate (PASSION, PASSION, PASSION), but there are no solid technical instructions of how to market your brand on social media.

Crush It! rough draft

Gary Vaynerchuk speaks from his experiences throughout his how-to guide on creating your own personal brand in Crush It!. Gary’s purpose throughout this book is to guide everyday social media users on how to take the creative concepts they have and turn them into successful and very realistic business entrepreneurships. The audience he’s speaking to is thus not necessarily very tech-savvy individuals, but more so average people interacting with the media around them. However, he makes it clear that the only type of people who will attain successful results from Crush It! are those who have a passion to turn their dreams into their real lives, even if they have some reservations about how to get there. Without passion, he says, you have nothing (Vaynerchuk 8).

Gary doesn’t specify what types of personal brands users may want to establish because he has the same business model for all types of people. The entire book revolves around this idea of passion – everything he mentions relates back to the importance of individuals taking advantage of the best marketing strategy there is out there: caring (Vaynerchuk 90). He breaks the book up into a number of sections, including the importance of family, utilizing social media, monetizing your brand, maintaining authenticity, and leaving a legacy behind (which is more important that gaining monetary capital). Yet all these bits and pieces tie into one overarching theme: passion can get you anywhere.

While I can’t say I completely agree with Vaynerchuk that passion is all you need for success (I mean come on, this guy is a little too optimistic to think money means nothing!), Crush It! was certainly an interesting take on how the average person can really turn themselves into an entrepreneur with no past business endeavors. This being said, it’s clear that Gary believes in the social construction of technology as a discourse; he believes that the technology users create responds directly to their already existing social influences. The idea and creativity that those trying to create their own brand have didn’t come from the technology, but rather social media is a tool that can be utilized to expand and develop that brand. Your creativity and passion is what gets the ball rolling and the technology is just there to speed things up (Vaynerchuk 21).

Vaynerchuk also makes it clear that it’s important to not only be true to your clientele and brand, but also (and more importantly) to yourself (Vaynerchuk 33). He stresses the importance of maintaining authenticity when monetizing and marketing your brand (Vaynerchuk 73). The worst thing you can do is lose sight of your original goals; that’s when you lose passion and stray away from your true intentions of being happy (Vaynerchuk 10). That is when you let the currency get ahead of you, and it’s clear that Vaynerchuk believes it’s more important to leave a legacy of yourself behind than make money and lose your enthusiasm (Vaynerchuk 110).

This is very reflective of a number of concepts we’ve discussed throughout the course. His ideals about authenticity very accurately reflect different types of taste within social media that Bourdieu analyzes. If you’re the type to have an “authentic” profile on social media, you are presenting your true self to an audience, suggesting you are trustworthy and reliable. These are foundational concepts in Crush It!, as Vaynerchuk believes you can’t maintain a successful brand without being true to yourself and your customers. This might mean that those who identify with other types of taste, such as “prestige” where users feel a need to identify their tastes in relation to a certain type of hierarchy, may not be able to receive the same results from Crush It! as to those who would construct a more “authentic” social media profile like Gary Vaynerchuk.

Somewhat along the same lines, the author discusses the importance of marketing and branding yourself through the creation of a community. He makes note that sometimes creating the content is a lot easier than creating the community because you want to get users hooked and not lose them after one glance (Vaynerchuk 86). This all relates back to having passion and a vision: you need to create an environment, a practice, and an identity that users will trust and build a relationship with despite the fact that this will all be through social media. This very much relates to ideas and problems of community within online spaces in general.

Baym discusses how it was once assumed community would disappear with the coming of the Internet. However, this isn’t true – there are just different ways of communication online. These ways are through a sense of space, shared practice, shared resources and support, shared identities, and interpersonal relationships. These are the exact same types of necessary components of building your own online brand that Vaynerchuk discusses in Crush It! Both authors note the problem with maintaining a sense of community in an online world, but make it clear that while it may be a bit more difficult there is certainly something to gain from this, such as Ellison’s concept of social capital.

So you want to be the next Oprah?

As the “Social Media Sommelier”, Gary Vaynerchuk was able to take his passion for wine and turn it into a trans-media business. He shares some helpful advice, along with clever anecdotes to really get you motivated to Crush It!. Subtitled, “Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion”, Vaynerchuk reveals his three secrets to success: “Love your family. Work superhard. Live your passion”. Throughout his book, he uses his power of motivation and enthusiasm to truly inspire his reader. But where does social media come in? He demonstrates how someone can take their offline interests and convert that into a mediated business all while establishing a personal brand.

Recognizing the domestication of social media, as it has become a “second home for most Americans”, Vaynerchuk teaches us how “to navigate the digital waters of social marketing to build a business and promote a person brand based around what you love most”. Now, he does not provide a technologically in-depth formula for creating and maintaining an online brand, but rather shows the avenues one needs to take and ways in which one can begin to establish an online presence based around their passion. A cross between a motivational speech and a how-to-guide, “Crush It!” gives you the hope as well as a roadmap on how to begin this new journey into your passion.

Vaynerchuk emphasizes the power in genetics. In order to create a successful brand online, one must rely on their own biological make-up and embrace who they are. He stresses being one’s own self. The technological affordances of social media tempt us to create pseudonymous profiles and take on stock characters we think are more marketable. However, Vaynerchuk proclaims, “The most important thing to remember is to be authentic, to be yourself. That authenticity is what will give you your greatest chance of success”. Once authenticity is achieved and maintained viewers are then able to see what you stand for as a marketable individual, thus kindling your personal brand. As Vaynerchuk goes on to write, developing your personal brand is living and breathing your resume. Our online posts become conduits for our personal brand and the spreadability of such posts create a word-of-mouth effect unimaginable without social networking sites. He also says that once our personal brand is authenticated and accepted, it will lure viewers and readers to your site and essentially to you.

But how can you start to get viewers to even pass through your page? Vaynerchuk also goes into the ways of creating communities as well as its importance in having a successful networked brand. After choosing the right medium for your venture, he expresses the two ways to work your content on that medium. “The first is a lure, creating it, posting it, and allowing people to come to you as they discover it. The second is to use it as a lasso through comments on other people’s content that relates to yours, inserting yourself into existing conversations and actively creating reasons for your audience to come to you”. Capitalizing on the asynchronous nature of social media, as well as the inevitability of context collapse, you are given the opportunity to promote your knowledge and your brand on various platforms in hopes of linking new viewers to your own conversation of your passion. By joining pre-existing conversations, you build your credibility and along the way you leave posts that spark readers to click through to your own content. Vaynerchuk, however, stresses the need for your own content to capture. “If your content is smart and interesting and eye-catching and entertaining – and if you’re the best, it should be – most people who come to your [site] will be happy to become regular readers, viewers, or listeners.” This can easily be accomplished when you are living and breathing the content of your passion. He makes it clear that it is necessary to continue to learn about your subject, learn about the tools of the technology, and even learn about your competition. When you talk about your passion non-stop, someone is bound to hear you. But how long will it take?

Vaynerchuk continually keeps his reader grounded and makes us face the reality of the supposed venture we want to embark on. He declared, “Do you have any idea how many people introduce themselves to me with, ‘Hi, I’m going to be the next Oprah’? I’m all about being confident, and I respect anyone who’s got big ambition. But let’s face it, not everyone is going to be Oprah.” Now we may not be able to achieve Oprah Queendom but it is possible to get to the top of a more niche field. With the explosion of free digital and even mobile social media platforms, the everyday individual is able to take advantage and capitalize on their passion, whilst making the previous gatekeepers irrelevant. But now that everyone has access, disregarding the digital divide, how can two rivaling personal brands compete? Care. The “best marketing strategy ever” cannot just be applied as a sympathetic concern but rather with a vigorous devotion.

Gary Vaynerchuk’s life becomes a framework for the dreamer with a hidden passion. From the chapter titles alone, his message of how to get motivated and started can be gleaned. “Passion is Everything”. That passion combined with mediated platforms will help to “Build Your Personal Brand” in “A Whole New World”. When you “Create Great Content” you have to remember to “Keep It Real…Very Real”. If your personal brand and content are enticing you can start to “Create Community” by “Digging Your Internet Trench”. His final paragraph truly conveys his books message: “True success lies above all in loving your family, working hard, and living your passion. In telling your story. In authenticity, hustle, and patience. In caring fiercely about the big and the small stuff. In valuing legacy over currency. Social media is an important part of it for now, but won’t always be.” He understands the reality of our fickle society and rather than leaving us with a blue print for how to use the media of the moment he provides us with the motivation and the reminder that the power is in us to Crush It!.

Why Now is the time to Crush It!

I think most social media marketing books a tell very different story than Gary Vaynerchuk’s Crush It! does. Using personal experiences to educate, influence, and motivate others to brand themselves in the most successful ways in order to achieve total fulfillment in life, Gary Vaynerchuck tells the world how to “cash in on your passion.” This book is in no way academic, and does not provide any thought provoking, deeply insightful business strategies that were unknown before reading it. Instead, Crush It! aims to inspire the creativity and passion in every individual in a very practical and straightforward manner by broadly defining the ropes of the social media environment.

Audience

The audience for Crush It! is very broad and because the book is very personality focused, it serves as more of a motivational piece than an informative piece. Therefore, readers could take away a variety of information concepts that relate to their lives specifically.

Emphasis

I think that Vaynerchuck’s main emphasis in this book is how “everyone knows the internet represents one of the biggest cultural shifts since the printing press, but I think society has been slow to recognize that it represents the biggest shift in history in how we do business” (pg 11). His simple guidelines are meant to serve as inspiration for normal people to get out and make themselves their own business priority. “Personal branding is what gives everyone an unprecedented shot at joining their ranks” (pg 30). Emphasizing how internet presence through social network sites has replaced that of the resume, he says that your latest Tweet, comment on Facebook, and recent blog post are your resume now. “Thats how you are going to announce to the world your ideas and opinions, the very things that make you unique and reveal why a firm- or better yet, a passionate entrepreneur cherry picking top talent to build a whole new kind of investment company- would be dumb not to hire you” (pg 38).

Course Concepts

Vaynerchuck’s ideas directly relate back to authenticity and how that will reflect upon your community and the relationships within that said community. Emphasizing the fact that self fulfillment and the ability to create what you want to create are the most important things in life besides the love from your family. He says that “too many people ignore their DNA, however, to conform to what their families or society expects of them” (pg 20).

Once the content of a person’s desires is decided upon, Vaynerchuck advises to get on the internet and start producing content. “The first generation built their brands on television and movie screens, radio, magazines, and newspapers, and the new one will do the same online at a much lower cost, with no need for a gatekeeper’s approval. The field may be different, but the game is just the same” (pg 31). Important things to take note of when producing content is that the producers need to be avid supporters in their topic, as well as experts in the field, hence creating authenticity with their audiences. “Consumers want you to tell them the truth. Sure, they want quality and service and value and entertainment, but above all they want to know that the person they’re dealing with is being honest” (pg 33).

A user that is inauthentic is easy to spot out. He says, “embrace your DNA, be yourself, put out awesome content, and people will be interested in what you have to say. Believe me, if you’re that good, people are going to find you, and they’re going to follow you, and they’re going to talk. And getting people to talk is the whole point” (pg 36). He uses the terms “lure and lasso” to explain the process of garnering a community. The luring part is the actual creation and posting of the content, and then allowing people to discover your content. The second part of the process is to “use it as a lasso through comments on other people’s content that relates back to yours, inserting yourself into existing conversations and actively creating reasons for your audience to come to you.”

Conclusion

People who read this book may be inspired, but could be stuck in a phase where they never are able to decide exactly what content their DNA was meant to produce for the internet. Vaynerchuck is very enthusiastic about his internet success, but the reality is that even if everyone has unparalleled determinism and enthusiasm for their subject, not everyone can or will be successful with it. His main points about authenticity and community reign true and coincide with many academic pieces from throughout the semester.

Can teens sext without causing a riot?

Sexting became a hot topic in December 2008 “when a national survey titled Sex and Tech was released reporting that 20% of teenagers had sexted.” Sexting has only persisted, if not escalated in use among teens. Defined as “the practice of sending sexually explicit images or text through cell phones or via internet applications,” modern technological affordances are more of an aide than deterrent when it comes to the sexting trend among teens. Apps like “Text Free” and “Text Plus” allow kids and teens to hide their sexting practices from parents who read through their texts so as to prevent it (ABC7 News).

More and more, adults are trying to find a way to combat the teen sexting epidemic. Though no one really knows why exactly it has become so popular among teens, many cultural “commentators assume that it is the result of an
overly sexualized culture combined with access to technology.” In most instances, convicted teen sexters (victims, perpetrators, and consensual texters alike) are charged as child pornography producers, possessors and distributors.

In Amy Adele Hasinoff‘s article Sexting as media production: Re-thinking dominant ideas about teen girls and sexuality online, she challenges the common notion that girls’ use of media is often irresponsible, dangerous, and
out-of-control because it involves sexual content. In addition, Hasinoff argues that the media, educators, researchers, parents and lawmakers should not view consensual teen sexting “as a technological, sexual, and moral crisis,” but rather as a harmless act of self-expression and pleasure.

A few days ago, an article in the Bradenton Herald revealed a University of Michigan poll that says that 81% of adults believe that an educational program, not criminal prosecution, is an appropriate consequence for teens who sext. Only 18% of adults believe that criminal prosecution is an appropriate consequence for teen sexting. In addition, most adults don’t think that minors who sext with other minors should face legal consequences. Many journalists and legislators have openly addressed this problem, but this poll really shows what the public thinks about the issue. While adults acknowledge with the fact that sexting is an issue that must be dealt with, they believe in education, counseling, and community service serve as more effective and appropriate punishments.

This study aligns with Hasinoff’s argument that teen sexting should not be viewed as a criminal action. Hasinoff argues that sexting enables teen girls to be more expressive, especially in regards to safer sex practices and sexual needs. With regard to safer sex practices, it only makes sense to encourage a media forum in which girls feel comfortable expressing themselves. Punishing teen girls with criminal charges for doing something that ultimately lets them express themselves is a counter-productive practice. Because of this, it makes sense that the majority of the public agree that there should be a less severe punishment for teen sexting.

Through education about sexting, teens can learn about the possible negative effects which include public humiliation and unwanted sexual attention. It is a practice that is often encouraged among adults to promote an active sex life, though more through text than pictures. Teens are getting mixed messages when they hear that it’s a criminal activity for them to partake in sexting, but adults are openly encouraged to do it by a number of publications and media outlets.

In our society, teen girls are told to abstain from sex and all things related. Because of this, many are afraid to express themselves when it comes down to it. Luckily, “some media researchers maintain that digital media offer potential benefits–for women and girls in particular–for navigating sexual relationships.” Hasinoff notes that “a study of teenage cell phone use in dating relationships suggests that girls can be more assertive when communicating through texting than speaking face-to-face.” Assuming that this is true, teen girls should not be criminals for something that gives them a voice. Thanks to this study, it appears that the general public agrees with Hasinoff’s assertion.

While sexting can have extremely negative consequences for anyone who takes part in the practice, effective sexting education and appropriate consequences for deviating from “normal” sexting practices such as sending nude photos or forwarding such photos without permission can help teen girls find their voice while still providing them a non-criminal way to do so. Though satirical, the sexting guidelines that Eddie mentioned in his blog post provide a good outline for both teens and adults alike in regards to sexting protocol. There is a right (or more right) and wrong way to consensual sexting, whether between two minors or two adults. Hasinoff provides some very good examples of why consensual texting between minors should not be punished severely, as it serves very much the same purpose as it does for adults. The University of Michigan study alludes to the fact that many adults in the US feel the same way as Hasinoff. Whether or not teen sexting will be completely de-criminalized remains to be seen. However, strides are being made in order to take a rational, educational approach to the teen epidemic that so many are worried about.