A year ago today I was super frustrated trying to get a job in Social Media. I had a pretty good track record. Just about every place I was allowed to be free saw a giant uptick in all of the metrics any boss cared about.
But for some reason I couldn’t get a job interview to save my life.
Was it because I was 2x the age of the others who were applying for the job?
Were these hiring managers fearful that I would demand a giant salary? Were they nervous that I would quickly demand my boss’s job?
One guy said, “Tony, hiring the Social Media Person is the one chance men have a great excuse to get a smoking hot recent college grad into the office. You lost them at Tony.”
Could that be true? Who knows. But it was depressing.
When did being experienced, thinking outside the box, using creativity, being courageous, and learning how to adjust in an ever-changing career raise so many red flags?
And when will companies and organizations realize that giving the most junior staffers the biggest microphones is borderline crazy? And worse: sending out messages through social via a committee of senior managers with zero experience in social media almost always comes across as soulless and stale?Thus useless.
Fortunately Sophia Kercher a fellow graduate of the Robyn Bell school of Fuck Yeah invited me to a Los Angeleno party at a former strip club where I was introduced to the incredible staff and publisher, and things so far have been a smashing success.
Not only do I get to write what I want but I handle our Twitter and Facebook.
Last week I posted something on Facebook that reached 8 million people, tripled our followers, and boosted our newsletter subscribers.
While at the Academy I increased followers by 4,000% but I only had 2 or 3 FB posts that did over 5 million. One was about Titanic, and one was the Genie Yr Free. I think the whole time I was there just two Oscar night items ever got 5 million reach and that was when Leo finally won and the final video of Moonlight winning.
But we had the advantage of having 1-2 million followers at the Oscars.
8 million reach from an audience of a couple thousand, during a pandemic when allegedly no one is in front of their computers like they typically are, is a damn miracle.
Age means nothing in social media.
I’ve seen high schoolers do incredible things and hopefully I’ve shown that 50somethings can still run circles around recent college grads with all of their theories.
We should all be so lucky to be blessed with bosses who will allow us the freedom to succeed in bigger ways than we could ever imagine.
I’m very grateful to Lauren, the publisher of Los Angeleno, for letting me do my thing when others wouldn’t even pick up the phone.
A pinned tweet is one that you want to stay up top so that every visitor sees it first when they click your username.
A Ratio is when you get fewer likes than comments. This typically happens when the audience is ripping you a new one in disagreement with your tweet.
Therefore, should you pin a tweet you’re getting hammered on? Isn’t that defeating the purpose of your “nah bro, everything’s cool” message… because the Ratio is proving that everything is clearly not cool and you didn’t put out the fire – you enflamed it?
The reason, by the way, that this tweet is getting demolished is bc it’s being accused as being untrue.
The billionaire hosting the Trump2020 fundraiser is not a “a passive investor,” according to NYT columnist and CNBC Squawk Box co-host.
If the gentleman is incorrect, set it straight in a new tweet and pin That.
As the great Doc Searls said years ago in Cluetrain Manifesto, “markets are a conversation.” A pinned tweet acts like a mic drop – the end of a conversation. The ratio begs to differ. Soul Cycle should address the ratio, and clarify its clarification if it can.
Some say there’s no place for a social media professional once he hits a certain age.
Some say it’s a job for millennials, an entry-level gig that once you turn, say, 35, you’ve worn out your welcome.
While that may be the case in regards to some brands, when it comes to news, especially entertainment news – with all its rich history – I say it’s good to have someone around who knows that D.A. Pennebaker’s classic Dylan doc doesn’t have an apostrophe in its first word.
I think it’s good to have someone around who knows that N.W.A dropped the last period in their name.
I think it’s helpful to have someone in the social media department who knows that Donna Summer had been dead for years before posting on FB that she had just passed.
What’s the value of ensuring that an organizations tweets are as solid as its copy? Pennies? Dollars? Tens of thousands of dollars?
Serious people who realize social media posts are capable of flying around the world in a split-second might say that it’s priceless to give off the perception that you actually know what you’re tweeting about.
And unfortunately 25 year olds, talented as they may be, can’t know everything.
.. and sometimes they skip the factchecking part where you go to IMDb to double-check spelling.
When I was hired to do the lowly task of editing the closed captions for the E! Networks, I had a boss who told me “look up every single name, even if you love that person.”
I’ll never forget that direction. For in even a fleeting caption, our job was to be accurate.
Today the trades, the experts, and even AP did a great disservice to an award-winning documentarian. In part, I believe, while experienced pros are sitting on the bench… or in my case wasting away on the free agent wire, patiently waiting for the phone to ring.
the one question i feel i really blew in my interview was such a simple one
what Brand do you think is doing a great job on social media?
i hesitated because in the grand scheme of things i dont think there are hardly any brands who are doing anything great on social.
not because they’re dumb and im some genius, but because Brands do a few things that prevent them from being good: they hire people who are way too young, and then they don’t let who they hire have the freedom to succeed and fail. Brands create these unnecessary committees that water the good ideas down and all that ends up seeing the light of day are the most basic, safe, tame and forgettable content items that quickly get scrolled by.
to be great means to stick your head above the pack, and so many are terrified of getting their head chopped off if the wrong person says “what the hell’s that?”
and it’s a double edge sword because Social is the one place where Brands can actually speak for themselves, to their audience, any time they want, for a relatively inexpensive price. but it’s also the place where they can inadvertently make embarrassing news if they have one false move.
so are there Brands who have courageously seized the day and rocked the house on social? yes. but so few. i mentioned Wendys and then i stopped because it was seriously hard to think of any others until after the call, naturally.
also, like Billy Joel, when i am creating things, i try not to be influenced by the people who i like because i dont want to accidentally copy them.
with that said, i find my internet inspiration from people you would never imagine. i mentioned Nardwaur earlier today. he taught me to over-research when heading into an interview. he also taught me to let them talk and talk and talk. he never really challenges his guests. and he often has them leaving with smiles (and gifts) afterward.
i know there are lots of instagram influencers with pretty pages but i think she does it so well. and i bet she could do it for clothes or cars or even cannabis. she has that eye.
i wish i knew more about hockey because i think Hockey Twitter is phenomenal. the LA Kings have an incredible team, but i gotta say, the Philadelphia Flyers introduced a new mascot last year, Gritty, who was dead on arrival. it got so much negative press and online hate. he was weird looking he was ugly … what was he? but they stuck with it and let Gritty be weird. they let him be. who lets people be?
and now Gritty is beloved and downright iconic. Overnight! he might be the most interesting mascot in sports, which is saying something because the Chicago Bulls guy is tough to beat.
i asked my friends to tell me who they thought do a good job on social, and they gave me so many cool examples that im like arggggggh why didnt i think of that.
but it did remind me of the one good thing i said about running Communities: the people have all the answers, and if you have nurtured them correctly and made them feel safe to be honest, they will give you everything.
Their best answers:
Merriam Webster dictionary
And this is why you should always Poll The Audience if you get stuck when you are playing Millionaire
But that doesn’t mean that things are without drama.
There’s two challenges in building communities: making it grow & keeping it cool once it’s large.
To be honest I don’t really know specifically how I was able to grow Any of the communities I was tasked to oversee, be it LAist or Buzznet or the Howard group — I just followed my gut, and tried to be creative, while allowing the members to express themselves freely without being huge jerks.
I also paid attention to what seemed to work with us and what didn’t work with our so-called competitors.
Which brings us to the drama I encountered on the Stern page last week (which remnants still waft). Howard announced that he’s coming out with a new book. Later a staffer told him that Wendy Williams called him “Hollywood” because he has so many famous friends like Jimmy Kimmel. David Letterman, and Billy Joel. Howard took offense because god bless him, he can dish it out but he can’t always take it. He’s human.
So he went on a 30+ minute rant about her, calling her every name in the book including the dreaded c-word.
The community took that word and started using it left and right. But when Howard does it… it’s different. In part because he’s doing it on the radio. Cussing someone out on FB is old hat.
Also calling a black woman the c-word is like two strikes to me.
So I announced the new rule that we wouldn’t be using that word any more and 20-30 people got super uptight and started using the word against me. Which is fine. Everyone has a mountain they wanna die on. Mt Cword is an odd one, but you do you. And I banned them with a click.
But then this guy gets on and starts saying it like two days later.
So I decide to debate him so people can see what I am talking about. Here it is.
Me: Is there something you want to say to me?
Him: How much time do you have? Why do you feel to censor comments in a fan group that loves the Howard Stern Show? Howard went to Sirius in part of censorship and FCC…. When someone says something you don’t like you remove their post, suspend them, or ban them all together. That’s about the least Howardish course of action an Admin could take.
Me: How long have you been in this group?
Him: I would say at least 2 years now…
Me: So you have seen this group grow from 0 to 16k members. Would you say it’s the best Howard group on FB?
Him: I wouldn’t say the best, no. I do find some neat posts here and there but I personally find your censorship as an admin to be over the top and very anti-Howard. I bet if you leave this up even though I doubt you do that others would agree.
Me: What would you say the best is?
Him: I think your intentions in starting a group that discourages people from talking shit about Howard on every other post was cool but you’ve let that get away from you.
Me: I’ll ask again, if this isn’t the best Stern group on FB, what is?
Him: The official page, HSS Universe, Howard Stern Fans……. Is this when you remove and take down my comments, Ms. Turk?
He is referring to the Executive Producer of the show Marci Tuck, who some have inferred has watered down the Stern Show and advised Howard not to have strippers and porn stars on any more, etc. While an interesting theory, something tells me that Howard Stern does only what he wants. His show is the most successful in radio history. If he wanted to have strippers on every day, he would. I think he’s just 60+ and bored with what he did when he was 40.
Me: Howard Stern Show Universe has had 5 posts this month. Very little discussion and nothing original. What makes that page, to you, better than this one?
Him: Lack of censorship from the admin.
Me: How would you know? They don’t even have audio of Howard’s rant.
When Howard got home last week after his rant, it was quietly removed from the archived show on the Sirius App and missing from subsequent replays throughout the week and weekend. But thanks to some Russian YouTube site, it was preserved and posted online, including on our FB group. I let it stand because I don’t like when things are deleted and also, it was interesting. And one thing Howard always complained about other broadcasters who would bristle when a phony phonecaller or a drunk or angry person got on the air was “why would you cut off the one interesting thing that happened on your show all week?” I took that statement to heart.
Him: You ban words from a freaking Howard Stern group.
Me: Yep. Now lets go to what you think is another group better than this one, Howard Stern Fans — today that group celebrates a milestone. A year ago today that group had its last post. Are you serious in saying that a group that hasn’t had a post in a year is better than this one? OH, I’m sorry, they haven’t had a post in TWO years. I’m starting to think that even though you’ve never said the words I’ve banned in here, you just wanted attention from me today and a cool story to tell your friend about being banned for being an idiot.
Him: I think I’ve hurt your feelings, Marci.
Me: I think you complimented me by not being able to show me a Stern group on FB better than this one.
There was silence.
Me: Is there anything else Robin?
Him: That’ll do Marci… Censor away!! The people that have called you out on your power trips before got booted so i’ll be in excellent company.
Me: Once again… your point is that even though this is the best Stern group on FB (in part because of the decisions I have made), I should change that because you want the freedom to say things in this group that you’ve never said… even though you are free to say those things in other groups that are less successful — and in some cases totally dead? Do I have that correct?
Him: Not at all… Do your thing, Tony Turk. I love the show , hate censorship, and I don’t think this is the best unofficial Stern Show fan page on facebook. I enjoy a lot of the posts people share in this group but you aren’t going to make or break my day by booting me or not.
Me: Why would I boot you? You have provided the perfect example of why this group has done well. You can’t name a better group. The groups you name are dead or dying. You seem outraged that you cant type in HOWS THE SLOT or the c-word. So I should doubt myself because you want to call me names? I’ll get right on that bud.
even though i have been doing social media for a long time, i dont fancy myself as an expert.
sure there are some who call themselves Social Media Gurus but i have always thought that was a not-so-subtle way to belittle the profession by not equating it to what other people do in similar jobs.
i prefer Social Media Editor or Social Media Director.
or in my case, Prince of Darkness.
which brings us to the Cincinnati Zoo, who you may know as the establishment that found its way into the news cycle in May of this year when a 3-year-old child ended up in the cage of a giant gorilla named Harambe.
all the photos and videos showed the gorilla being kind to the little kid as he dragged him toward a moat. within minutes, zoo officials shot and killed the gorilla.
the child was found to be unhurt. and the internet erupted in anger and sadness at the zoo for killing the beautiful animal who did nothing wrong. over a half million signatures were gathered in days demanding Justice for Harambe. donations were raised for the family of the child but the family re-directed them to the zoo.
which brings us to the Cincinnati Zoo’s Twitter account which has been the target of Harambe fans, particularly young fans who couldnt give a crap about Clinton or Trump but who care very much about the dead gorilla who was executed because of a curious three year old whose parents looked the other way for a brief second.
over the last few months, any time the Zoo would post something on Twitter, the replies would quickly fly in to make it something about the dead ape.
if the zoo wrote about an Otter, fans would reply by tweeting “Harambe loved otters”.
if the zoo tweeted about a weasel, the Twitterverse would reply by stating how much Harambe fucking adored all of his rodent friends.
at one point the Zoo had enough and pleaded for the madness to end, but you can’t tell the Internet what to do any more than you can tell a gorilla not to eat a banana.
so today the Zoo did the absolute worst thing it could do in this situation,
they decided to delete the troublesome Twitter account.
and the response was predictably brilliant.
“the @CincinnatiZoo killed its Twitter, just like how they killed Harambe,” the kids tweeted.
some are taking it a step further by writing
“the @CincinnatiZoo just Harambed their Twitter just like how they Harambed Harambe.”
because this world is so complex and confusing, it’s hard to really KNOW anything.
but one thing we know for sure is Harambe loved Twitter especially the Cincinnati Zoo’s twitter account because that was the first place to feature him.
and even though i’m no expert, even i know you don’t delete your account because people are interacting with you. Interaction is what it’s all about! if you were a sailor on a sailboat and all of a sudden there’s a lot of wind you don’t stop sailing. You sail faster! You thank the Lord for the wind and you zip around that ocean like crazy.
what the kids were doing was loving one of your animals. Let them do it! Include them! Join in the weird mourning. Make every other post about how much Harambe loved weasels and goats and giraffes and tiger sharks.
not even donald trump quits.
did Harambe quit?!
we were put on this crust to rock. in some cases we were put here to rock out with our cocks out. or in this case we celebrate by saying #DicksOutForHarambe
which is Latin for #WeMissYouBub
(Harambe loved Latin)
so in summary, stop killing zoo animals and stop deleting your social media feeds no matter who tweets at you.