Daddy, What is Social Media?

Daddy What is Social MediaMy blog posts are typically about the how-to and why-to of using social media marketing for personal branding and job search (PB&J).

However, I oft times see things in a humorous way, as illustrated with my most popular blog post to date: A Social Media Enthusiast Walked into a Bar.

This blog post presents a tongue-in-cheek imaginary conversation with my 4 year old daughter about what I do at work.

The Conversation About Social Media.

“Daddy, put down that iPhone and play with me,” said 4 year old Lilyann as she rushed up to her dad who was sitting on the sofa at their home.

“Yes, Lily.  I will, in one minute. Just let me finish this one thing for work,” said her dad.

“Daddy, what do you do at work?” she asked.

“Honey, I teach others how to use social media marketing and personal branding,” he replied as he quickly looked up from his iPhone.

“Does it hurt?” asked Lilyann.

“Does what hurt?”

“Does branding hurt?”

“No it doesn’t hurt. Not unless you don’t do it and leave it to a Google search to control your personal brand image. Why do you ask that?”

“On television they were branding cows and it looked like it hurts and gives an ow-ee.” she said seriously.

“Oh no, I teach people about using social media for personal branding and personal brand identity, not cow branding,” replied the dad.

“Daddy, what is social media? That sounds so silly,” Lilyann exclaimed as she spun around like a ballerina.

“Well, yes.  Sometimes it is. There is a lot shared on the social web about cats and bacon and silly stuff like that. And, true, it is not always social. Too many use it without engagement or attempts at being social.  And, it is a bit silly to miss such a great opportunity to interact with customers,” said dad using his more serious professor’s voice.

“What else do you do?”

“Sweetie, I teach others how to use Twitter.”

“Oh, is it that bluebird I see on your iPhone?  Do you teach about birds?” she asked and then spun around and clapped her hands.

“No, I don’t teach about birds.  Though I suppose some people on Twitter do share content about birds and animals and other things.  And, they curate content and teach others about birds. It’s called content marketing.”

“What else do you do?” she said as she sat on the floor in front of her dad on the sofa.

“I teach others about Facebook.”

“Ah, can you teach me about my face?”

“Well, your face is lovely, thanks to your mom’s lovely face.  However, Facebook is not really about faces. Though, most people do have pictures of their faces in their profiles.”

“Daddy, can you read a Facebook to me? Talking about your work really makes me sleepy,” she said slowly with a rub of her eyes.

“Facebook is not really a book. No, I can’t . . .”

“What else do you do at work?” she interrupted.

“I teach others how to blog.”

“Daddy, what is a blog?” she quickly asked as she jumped up showing a greater interest.

“A blog is sort of like a diary.  Remember when I told you about a diary where you write personal things in a book. With blogging it is better to share more helpful or entertaining content.  Unfortunately, some bloggers are narcissistic and mostly blog about themselves,” said the dad.

“Daddy, I have an idea. I could blog about myself,” said Lilyann.

“Yes, but details and personal things about yourself is better shared with your friends and family on your more private Facebook. And, private stuff should not be shared to the people who don’t know you on a public blog or on Twitter.”

“Daddy, can I look at your Facebook. Does it have any cool pictures of birds?”

“No it doesn’t.  I share pictures of you with my friends and family on Facebook. I don’t have any pictures of birds to share there.”

“Oh, you only share pictures of birds on Twitter.  Right, daddy? You don’t hurt the birds by branding them do you?” she added with a quickly saddening face.

“No. No. I don’t hurt any birds. I don’t try to brand them. I guess I am not explaining this very well,” he said with a furrowed brow.

“Daddy, what else do you do at work?”

“I also teach others about metrics, I mean measurement.”

“Yeah, like you and mommy are always measuring my tallness and heaviness and telling grandma and grandpa about how much I have grown up.”

“You are right.  That is measurement.  And, sometimes we measure social media results and see how much we have grown with followers, comments, retweets, and social shares. And . . .”

“Daddy! Daddy! That’s enough about work. If you are not showing me pictures of birds or books about faces, then I would rather go play with my dolls.  Sorry, but your work sounds so boring.”

“Okay, pretty girl. Go play with your dolls. But first, how about giving me a great big smile for an Instagram photo I can post on Facebook?” he said while pulling up his iPhone.

“Oh yes, but only if you will get me some Insta-graham crackers.  All this silly talk about social media makes me very hungry, and sleepy.”

The Take-Away.

Social media is complicated and easily misunderstood, especially with its use for marketing or personal branding.

If you can learn and understand social media enough to explain to a 4 year old, then perhaps you could more easily explain social media to family, friends, clients, coworkers, and bosses.

How would you explain social media (or the work you do in social media) to a 4 year old?


Image credit: by Denny McCorkle. Thanks @Canva and @GuyKawasaki.

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Denny McCorkle @DennyMcCorkle

Professor of Marketing, Monfort College of Business at University of Northern Colorado
As a nationally recognized and award winning Marketing Professor in the Monfort College of Business at the University of Northern Colorado, I help students, professors, and professionals to gain a Digital Self Marketing Advantage through the use of social media marketing for personal branding, job search, skills development, career advancement, and life-long learning.