By VICKI MCLEOD, THE TIMES JUNE 20-2013 Ask Steve Robinson what he thinks about the impact of social media on business and culture, then sit back and prepare to be dazzled. Robinson is the creative mastermind behind Pitt Meadows based SocioVisual Communications and he offers unique insights into the application and integration of social media into our lives and work.
Describing himself as a creative digital technologist, he discusses the impact of the digital age on marketing. Says Robinson, “One thing everybody should fully understand is that we essentially have our own media and branding companies at our fingertips. We have become our own broadcasting stations.”
Add to this the conversational nature of social media – the social context – and it completely shifts the landscape from traditional notions of broadcasting to something more collective and co-creative.
“Are you ready to be a broadcaster?” is a question Robinson poses, emphasizing that current technology and the wide-open nature of social platforms means we can do anything we want, using whatever technology is available to create a personal or professional brand.
Robinson points out that just because we can, one approach is to “mindlessly toss stuff out there, hoping people give a damn” whereas he advocates a more mindful method: developing a framework or blueprint based on the authentic nature of the individual or business.
“I like to think of this in terms of building the architecture that supports and integrates the brand into social media platforms including all the elements available such as video, audio, images, pictures and other content.” In Steve’s world, each element tells a consistent story and forms part of a unified whole.
Coming from a decades-long background in advertising agency work, Robinson understands that social media is more about psychology and sociology than it is about technology. Using that knowledge, he offers a full suite of digital services that help create a cohesive digital presence and provides robust support to assess, develop, monitor and sustain a comprehensive online strategy.
First and foremost though, he is an artist who designs Internet memes that combine beautiful high-end digital artwork with meaningful text. Because we ‘see’ before we read, people connect with powerful online visuals. Platforms like Facebook, Google Plus, Interest, and Instagram appeal to our senses and stimulate us in the same way that glossy magazines, window-shopping and viewscapes do.
An Internet meme, as defined by Wikipedia, is a concept that spreads from person to person via the Internet. The word meme is an attempt to explain the way cultural information spreads. An Internet meme may take the form of an image, hyperlink, video, picture, website, or hashtag. Memes are widely circulated via social networks and have become a form of viral marketing known as memetic marketing.
Why is this important?
One of the intriguing terms Robinson uses is “conscious broadcasting”. Going beyond the circulation of pretty pictures and words to amuse, entertain, or even possibly enlighten us, the skillful use of memetic marketing has the potential to influence culture, trends and fads and to create a buzz about businesses or causes. This transcends the simple transactional nature of traditional marketing. It converts customers into fans and brand ambassadors, and also influences how and what we think.
Robinson will appear as a panelist at the upcoming Social Media Day Forum, co-sponsored by the TIMES newspaper, to be held at the Maple Ridge Council Chambers on June 30 from 1 PM to 3 PM. Hosted by Social Chicks Vicki McLeod and Rebecca Vaughan, Robinson will be joined by Fred Armstrong, the social media team leader for the District of Maple Ridge, and the inimitable Steve Dotto of Dotto Tech– Canada’s favourite geek.
Sponsored by the TIMES, Main Street Communications Ltd, SocioVisual Communications, Dotto Tech and the District of Maple Ridge, the free forum is an informal opportunity for people to drop by and get their questions answered regarding social media and technology and how we can use it in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows to connect our community, businesses, and organizations.
Social Chick Vicki McLeod is a coach, consultant, writer and trainer and can be found online at www.mainstreetcommunications.ca. She offers practical wisdom for a happy life on her lifestyle blog: www.dishinginthekitchen.com
Like her on Facebook here.