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The Tentacle


March 10, 2014

Amplifying on the social media phenomenon

Steven R. Berryman

Social media is many things to many people. When a friend recently asked me why I invested so much time delving into it, (and essentially, didn’t I have anything better to do!) I decided to finally pen the explanation of my methods and motives.

 

I’ve been considering how to explain this for years now; and this is strange coming from me, the worst kind of television junkie up to age 15. But then, being a bit strange, I thought that books were cool, too… Today I don’t watch any TV except for social sports, and get my news on the Net.

 

And time is where you carve it out; making a difference in this wildly upset world is critical to my life.

 

This is a bit of an uncomfortable column to write, as the risk of being seen as self-promotional is exposed; having been fully online for over eight years qualifies me to explain how being naked to strangers has been essential to gain the trust of the like-minded. To be out in the open is essential to activist strategy. Sometimes the “self” has to be sacrificed for the cause…. Just ask Andrew Breitbart!.....(You can’t!)

 

Today, I feel somewhat validated in my efforts by the fact that America’s best companies are fully marrying up “social media strategy” with what had been just a “marketing department.” All media is experimenting with ways to tie-in.

 

My process of getting into the social media stream started in a linear fashion, but by the time my network was fully built, it required virtually a 3-d ability to “get” the implications.

 

How it started for me

 

Back when WMAL Radio fired talk radio show host Michael Graham for comments linking Muslims with terrorism (now an accepted narrative) I supported his efforts to be reinstated on a custom blog. We failed, but made a big splash for a month, and I learned about “the power of one” to get something done online. For a time, we had the most powerful radio station in the D.C. market on the run, as well as parent companies going all the way up to Disney. [It turned out that DarCars Toyota threatened to pull advertising dollars.]

 

This experience placed me in an important position to help the Town of Walkersville deal with the unwanted encroachment of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and their attempts to essentially take over the small town. We formed a site and consolidated efforts as “Citizens for Walkersville.” We won that one, and settled out of court, in part via writing stories for TheTentacle.com online and cross-blogging them to a blog site I developed then called InfoServesMe, now called MediaHooker.

 

….both courtesy of Google’s Blogger.

 

This further evolved into my association by invitation to Help Save Maryland, the anti-illegals group and also to a regular column for The Frederick News-Post and stints on WFMD, the local news-talk radio in Frederick.

 

All along, while developing the causes and subsequent “fire in the belly,” I was looking to amplify the passion and work harder faster…..and first discovered MySpace.

 

This experience allowed me to share a portable platform to post and share hundreds of pictures. It even allowed for discovery and connection with old flames…listing names on a web page allows for easy search.

 

Then the children were the first to get into something called Facebook. Fascinating potential said I, and joining took about a minute and was free. My excuse (partially exonerated as it was truth) was that having an account was the only way to monitor the online activity of my three children. It soon became the most active of communication platforms!

 

Facebook (as opposed to Google +, Instagram, The Chive, LinkedIn, etc,) seems to be where many have settled to do their perusing. Their real reach is close to a billion people. It’s a bulletin board; a place to put articles you’ve virtually cut out from newspapers; it’s a place to vent and to journal; a destination for pictures to share; a way to notice and be noticed; a post to tack one’s political agenda, and the best place to opine when it is pushback and debate you seek….troll for the like-minded, and run your thoughts up the flagpole.

 

The sharing button, like button, and notices that track your “reach” provide the amplification and feedback loop. Making a topic or thought “go viral” is always the Holy Grail with activists, advertisers, and politicians alike!

 

Blog pages I had produced for political satire, Help Save Maryland, Firearms enthusiasm, and cross posting my News-Post columns now had a better way to get out; an interactive way! Facebook was not a download as is TV or a newspaper, but “interactive" being the operative reason. People wanted to be heard and feed back!

 

My original Facebook profile page exploded into 5,400 friends, based upon adding like-minded friends that had self-identified with various causes, and then I just added content to push the brand and encourage the networking. In the process I added and others added for my specialized group pages.

 

I created a journalist page, especially for columns and set that up to automatically feed to Twitter out a duplicate with any post. My old page became unmanageable due to size, but had a great reach, so I started out again with just 250 core friends that I communicated with most often...this page is my name with my middle initial “R” (coincidence!) included.

 

Separate specialized group pages I mentioned above included:

 

·       Racking the Slide, which is all about firearms enthusiasm and the Second Amendment.

 

·       The Frederick News-Post Ombudsmen, which I created to document the slide of the paper after I separated from it, and to document left leaning slant and mistakes.

 

·       Anger Management Needed – Please report directly to HR, which is on any topic causing anger; easy to fill this space.

 

·       Help Save Maryland, which became a focusing tool for Maryland’s best known and most successful anti-illegals group.

 

·       The Apathetic Club of Frederick, which is a fun group dedicated to those who get it done in the county; humor involved.

 

·       Disingenuous at best, which catalogs lies that get propagated by the mainstream media.

 

·       2 Clever by Half, which is purely for fun!

 

Once set up, there is nothing to maintain, and I just cross post opinions and items from news-aggregator websites, and sit back and interact….on my own time.

 

Social networking: Why so many vie for the exposure now?

 

Because:

 

Today, homebound singles and unhappy housewives thrive on it. The successful brag on it. Dad’s post triumphs in public on it (quite a departure). Linked matchup sights are exploding on it. The unemployed research jobs on it. The bored play games on it. The socially active cast their lures upon it. Businesses advertise their wares – in a most targeted fashion – on it. Politicians pontificate on it, and the miserable commiserate on it. Administrations seek to propagandize by it, and activists hold feet to fires by it. Cartoonists have never had it better...and more people form relationships online now than in bars or churches!

 

And the conversion of the above is indeed marvelous to behold!

 

Now, time for some Words with Friends. LOL.

 

srbmgr@gmail.com

 



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