Rachel Gogos

Rachel Gogos

Hello dear readers,  today we have a guest post on the topic of the business card.  Is it still important? Do you still carry one? 

If you’re networking to establish lasting work relationships, even a business person with a veritable army of LinkedIn connections will acknowledge that nothing beats a face-to-face meeting. Given that understanding, why would that same skilled networker compromise their ability to be remembered by a potential new work connection?

Technology may simplify life, but used indiscriminately, something seemingly helpful may actually not work in our favor. Take, for example, the app ‘Bump.’ The eighth most popular free app of all time on Apple’s App Store, Bump allows Android and iPhone users to simply tap their phones together to exchange contact information. PhoneBump

Terrific idea, right? Yes, mostly. In plenty of situations, Bump is a terrific timesaver. Just met a girl at a bar? Bump her and see where it takes the conversation. Need to get an old friend’s new telephone number? Bump away.

But what about the attorney you just met via a mutual friend at dinner? He offered to call you next month and look over your business’ incorporation papers. It sounded like he could save you a bundle, so you’ll want to make sure he remembers you. 

Unfortunately, you ‘Bumped’ him. Sure, he’s got all of your contact information compactly stored in his phone — along with thousands of others. Hopefully you made a truly memorable first impression and he’s a man-of-his-word, because you’ve passed up the invaluable moment when he’s quietly at home and pulls your business card out of his pocket, or the ‘Oh yeah, I need to call that guy’ recollection when he finds it in his wallet a week later. All for the ease of a Bump.

Bang-For-Your-Buck Marketing

There’s a reason paper’s stock has grown for 22 consecutive centuries. When you need to convey information that will be shared and remembered, there’s still no better medium. 

Let’s think for a moment in marketing terms. Why do you think that businesses still hire people to stand on street corners and pass out flyers, despite all of the digital displays surrounding them? 

You’ve got something to sell, and you need to get the word out to as many people as possible for the cheapest price. Perhaps a billboard (electronic or print) costs $1,000 a day, and 20,000 people are expected to view it in that time. That’s a cost of .05 cents per person. Alternatively, a bulk flyer might cost as little as .03 cents a copy and be cut into four copies. For less than a penny per person, you’re guaranteed to be directly reaching any customer who takes the flyer. 

The traditional business card does even better. You’re not blindly handing out your card on street corners are you? Chances are, each person that received your card at a cocktail hour or trade show looked you in the eye, gave you a warm smile, and shook your hand.

Whether you’re simply promoting yourself or representing your business, that’s irreplaceable marketing that won’t soon be replaced by a digital bump. 

Standing the Test of Time

Marketing trends shift faster than the gears on a rusty bicycle chain, and are equally hard to keep up with when they’re rolling. 

Just a decade ago, a prime time television spot was the best (and most expensive) method to promote a product. Print media, from newspapers to magazines, still held major clout as well. Although those mediums are still viable, the most successful ad campaigns spread themselves online. Remember last year’s Old Spice ‘Smell Like a Man’ campaign? With millions of hits for each of its videos, it generated buzz that even a 30-second Super Bowl spot would drool over.

Social media allows smart marketing to travel on its own legs, and there’s no reason your business card shouldn’t do the same. Cards now include Twitter handles, Facebook links, and even QR codes. Ideas for incorporating myriad social media contact info are abundant, and why not? Before the advent of the ‘bump,’ being memorable had as much to do with what was on your card as the fact that you had one at all.

The point is to stay up-to-date with emerging technology while keeping a firm foothold in what’s tried-and-true. ‘Traditional’ business cards haven’t lost their pound-for-pound marketing power just because digital alternatives have arrived. Keep them up-to-date with the latest social media, and a print card still carries more weight (both literally and figuratively) than its cyber-substitute. 

Looking for a real one-two punch? Follow your ‘bump’ with a paper chaser, and you’re bound to remembered. 

Do you disagree and think that paper’s days are numbered? What other ways do you ensure that you’ll make a lasting impression when networking? 

Senior executive Anita Brady is the President of 123Print.com, a leading provider of high quality customizable items like business cards, letterhead and other materials for small businesses and solo practitioners.

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Have you ever noticed how differently people text?  Or, how they respond to texts?

Some people write so much you wonder how they can crank out all that copy on a little phone.   Others simply reply with a curt note.  Yet others, use such a modified version of the English language you wonder what all their acronyms mean.

I personally wonder about those who “simply reply,” are they having a bad day, are they upset about something, or, why are they being so cold?

A New Lexicon

Those that over acronymize (acronym + economize) really aren’t making our text convo anymore efficient when I have to ask them what MIL (mother-in-law) might mean. Phone_Text_Msg

When I discuss this with my husband he thinks I’m reading into things too much but it came up the other day with my girlfriends and the conversation was very different, so I got to thinking about text etiquette.

There is actually a website entirely on the topic of text etiquette and it has an exceptional lexicon of abbreviations entirely alphabetized.  One of my new favorites is BBQ meaning “be back quickly.” I would have definitely confused that with food and grilling.  I also found this one WDALYIC  “who died and left you in charge” which is clearly used by the disgruntled, experienced texter.

What Would Emily Post Say?

Marie Claire has an article called, “5 Rules of Text Etiquette,” dedicated to the topic  of texting at the beginning of a romantic relationship or involved in a relationship.  How great that text etiquette niches exist too! For those of you who don’t click through all the links in a blog post here’s the most important nugget, “If you like a girl, ALWAYS text the day after the first date.” Along with don’t text before ever meeting in person unless it’s too arrange the details of a date.

For deeply detailed and even more niched information on post-dating etiquette a must read can be found on How About We on a post appropriately called “Post First Date Text Etiquette.” Unfortunately dear readers, one of their first rules counters Marie Clair’s, Under no circumstances should a man plan his second date with a woman through text.” So read up on the rules young lovers.

Who can write a post on etiquette without mentioning Emily Post, who by the way, loves texting! For those of us that feel that a text requires an immediate reply Emily says to reply either by phone or text as soon as you have a chance.

What's Your Text Personality?

When I think of my own texting habits and those of my fellow textees’ it becomes really clear that there are various personalities of texters.  You can really tell a lot about a person based on how they text.

I have one friend whom I can never reach for a live call. She only texts.  Sometimes I call her when she’s texting me but still no pick up.  To her defense she’s a mother of 4 less than 7 years of age so how could she have time to actually talk?

Girl_Texting_BicycleAnother friend will just randomly talk about her intimate feelings, physical conditions and any other thought or drama of the day via text.  The funny thing is she is just like that in person too.

Then there are those who use Siri (Apple concierge) to help them text and their messages may not exactly come out they way they intended.

I have relatives who randomly send me a single word text as reply to something I asked, emailed or sent days earlier.  The text “Thanks” on my phone 3 days after something I’ve done always leaves me thinking “huh?, for what?”

So keep one thing in mind when texting – keep it simple, but provide some context.  That’s how to keep it efficient for you and your texting friend. BBQ!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sizzling Hot Internet Trends

Friday, 09 March 2012 22:48

Each day the web is becoming more information packed.  Social media is crowded, contents in all shapes, colors and sizes exist, websites are a dime a dozen (maybe even cheaper) and YouTube has enough video content for some unfathomable calculation (ie: enough video footage to circle the globe 10 times).

So, how can you stand out on the web? How can you make a lasting impression?  I recently returned from an amazing Internet marketing conference run by Yanik Silver and learned about the latest and greatest ways to build your brand online.

Gamification – It’s all the rage. Millions and millions of games are downloaded daily.  Think of ways to make things fun and entertaining – it makes things more memorable.  Think about your day – those customer loyalty cards you’re using at your local coffee shop – gamifying your latte!

Video – Video is the new "black" on the web. YouTube (owned by Google) is the second largest search engine inthe world.  What does that mean for you? It means that your video will rank high in Google search results, and it's yet another great space to start building your content and credibility. Use video people – it's the best way to build your brand online because it’s as holistic as you can communicate on the web.

Mobile – The iPad 3 was released yesterday.  Sales for iPads are through the roof, and Android devices too.  Tablets andmobile_phone phones of all kinds are outselling computers already.  Make sure your online content is “mobile friendly.”

SEO – Here’s a little bonus for you. It was discussed at the conference and then again yesterday on a webinar with Chris Brogan and Lewis Howes – get on Google+ - it’s a fantastic way to build your SEO (search engine optimization) and build your brand in a very smart way.

If you would like to know more about any of these tools and trends drop me a note via email at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or send me a tweet @RachelGogos.

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After the Kardashian's and Mitt Romney, Facebook is probably the most written about topic lately.  But there is just so much going on there! For starters, they have filed for an IPO (Initial Public Offering), which, in my humble opinion is only going to make them stronger - not because they will be flush with even more cash (it helps) but because they will be under closer scrutiny and held more accountable.

Mobile Ads?

In more recent news Facebook will be launching ads on its mobile apps, which will be annoying for some but even more lucrative for them since half their users are mobile users.

But this article isn’t about their valuation or how an IPO will impact Facebook’s culture, it’s about a fairly new feature that you may have already heard about or noticed called Timeline.

Take Advantage of Your Facebook Real-Estate

Timeline gives you lots of space on your profile page – it’s a super banner the entire width of your page and about 3 inches high.  It’s a lot of real estate so use it wisely.  You can upload a jpeg of a photo collage, one large image or design but whatever you do take this opportunity to communicate more about you and what you stand for.

It doesn’t have to be overt – subtle and subliminal work too. Just like a logo on your website or your clothing during a job interview the Timeline banner gives you an opportunity to communicate with your audience. Timeline_on_FB

It also tells “your story” in a more visual way.  You can learn all about it here. 

What will happen on February 29th?

As of February 29th Timeline will roll out to pages.   Solopreneurs, entrepreneurs and business owners take note and be ready to use this real estate to tell the world about your business, your products or your passion depending on the purpose of your page.

You can read more about Facebook Timeline for Brand Pages in this article on SimplyZesty.com.

Add an Image to Timeline

If you want to upload a new image to your Facebook “super banner” simply place your mouse over the area at the top of your page where your banner will appear and you will notice a button that says “change image.”  Click on the “change image” or “upload image” if you don’t have one there yet and follow the simple steps.

Some examples of great personal branding on Timelines can be found here:

How can you personalize your Timeline to reflect who you are?  Have questions?

 

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Web Censorship in the USA?

Wednesday, 18 January 2012 09:54

Is it possible that the United States government can start censoring the web similarly to the Chinese government? It is!  Two bills exist in the US Congress that are gaining lots of support.

The first bill is in the Senate and is called the Protect IP Act, the second, in the House is Stop Online Piracy Act.

Learn more about these bills by clicking the below links or viewing the following infographic (courtesy of  (provided by Stop American Censorship) and a video, by Fight for the Future. Also, take action by clicking on this link.

Many US based companies are taking action today by participating in an Internet blackout.  Companies like Wikipedia, Google, WordPress and many others listed at SOPA Strike.

Courtesy of Kikolani.com, this extremely informative infographic; learn more by clicking on her site link. Here’s a partial view of the Infographic.

SOPA_Internet_Blacklist_Bill

I urge you to take action by filling out this form – it will take you 5 seconds or less!

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Planning Tools for Your Digital Business

Tuesday, 10 January 2012 00:43

It’s that time of year again where people set their goals, their resolutions and their strategies for the year ahead.  Some might be personal and others professional.

Over the last few weeks I have found some excellent resources to help you goal set, meet your resolutions and work on your various strategies.  Below I’m going to share links to some of the best resources I’ve seen on the web (no affiliate links are listed below – just sharing some worthwhile resources):

Help_with_a_Mouse

Goal Setting & Planning

An unusual approach that I really like is Chris Brogan’s three words.  Ever since I read about the “three words approach” a few years ago I try and do it myself.  The concept is pick three words to guide your goals and actions vs. making one or two lofty resolutions. My three words for this year or Laser, Heart and Write.

Marie Forleo has put together some easy to use tools to help you plan out your goals for the upcoming year and to help you focus on accomplishing your most important thing as well as a nifty yearlong action-planning tool.  I love the simple planning template because you can use it for various aspects of your company – editorial calendar, marketing tactic calendar, networking check-ins and much more.

Media, Marketing & Social Media

Derek Helpern’s, How to Get Major Media Coverage with No Connections is excellent! Check out his free Social Triggers Master Class called Social Media Insider – it’s entirely web-based but so far, has some great content.  Derek’s high energy and no-nonsense approach makes him easy to listen to and learn from.

A Strategy for Managing Social Media Proliferation is a pretty hefty report prepared by Jeremiah Owyang of Altimeter Group.   The focus is to help you get control of your social media before you get overwhelmed and oversaturated.  Haven’t read through this in it’s entirety but Altimeter is an excellent group.

If YouTube and video creation is a big part of your marketing this year then definitely check out James Wedmore. He’s making a splash with his YouTube marketing business but he also passes along lots of great advice via his blog posts.  And given that Google owns YouTube – your time with James will be well spent. You’ve probably noticed that Google is indexing video more and more and higher and higher on its search results!

The best all-in-one free marketing course out there is by Copyblogger Media.  These guys have their game down to a science. Sign up for the course and receive it right in your email inbox.

Business Growth

A former client of mine, Ashley Acker, recently launched her terrific new business called Entrepreneur Jungle.  If you’re starting a business or need marketing help check it out.  There are loads of free things that can help you get moving in the right direction. Ashley’s content is extremely well thought out and packaged. You can learn so much just from seeing how she markets her own work.  But start with her Jungle Survival Kit or by enrolling for her free Wednesday webinars.

There is lots of incredible content out there for free. You can learn so much just by investing some time, if you have it!  If you’ve stumbled upon some other great resources, because I’ve merely touched on a few here, share them through the comments section.

Have a wonderfully happy, healthy and prosperous 2012.

 

 

 

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The Future of Internet Marketing Careers

Sunday, 18 December 2011 08:48

According to Miniwatts Marketing group, as of March 31, 2011 there were a whopping 2,095,006,005 Internet users worldwide. With that kind of a number, Internet marketers have plenty of opportunities to make big bucks for themselves and even bigger bucks for their clients. To get some insight into the job opportunities out there for Internet marketers, I interviewed three experts in the field.

Hot Internet marketing jobs

In a telephone interview, Robby Monk, an Internet marketing analyst for Full Media, a leading Internet marketing firm, told me social media is the hottest career field right now. He believes social media increasingly plays a bigger role for many companies and organizations. He also thinks organic optimization skills are in demand.

Regarding hot Internet marketing jobs, Mark Stevens, a popular guest in mainstream media, author of "Your Marketing Sucks," and CEO of MSCO Media, bluntly stated the importance of "Expertise in actually monetizing Internet marketing. Everything else is just window dressing." He believes some of the highest paid people in Internet marketing are "Those who have developed systems that generate revenues/leads from social media."

I also spoke with John McCarthy, the Senior Director of Digital Strategy at WebMetro, a leading digital marketing company. He agreed that social media is a hot area. He believes public relations experience in social media - shaping the message but not controlling it - is a skill in high demand. According to McCarthy, Internet marketing companies seek candidates with good Web analytic skills.

McCarthy believes mobile marketing strategy is without a doubt a hot career right now, and Google seems to support his belief. Recently Google announced its initiative focused on driving innovation on the mobile Web. Jason Spero, Director of Mobile for Americas at Google, stated, "While consumer usage continues to explode on mobile, the quality of the sites on the mobile Web hasn't yet caught up. Web sites that aren't optimized for mobile deliver a bad experience for users and, in turn, lead to missed opportunities for advertisers and businesses across the Web." Become an expert in mobile Web marketing and you might be able to write your own ticket!

Where exactly are these Internet marketing jobs? McCarthy believes there are more of them at Internet marketing firms than at companies with an Internet presence. Regarding salary, he told me e-commerce manager positions are lucrative jobs, typically providing a six-figure income.

Is a bachelor's degree in Internet marketing worth obtaining?

The three experts basically agree on this, although Stevens is the most emphatic. He stated, once again bluntly, "No. Get out, get your hands dirty and find your own way to make it work. All the great tech biz people passed on school for a reason. The marketplace beats professors as teachers every day." Monk stated, "Experience trumps any degree," while McCarthy said, "An Internet marketing degree shows initiative, but experience is more crucial." He also believes the Google AdWords certification is more valuable than an Internet marketing degree.

How to enter the Internet marketing field

Monk told me one of the best ways to enter the field is by reaching out to Internet marketing agencies and asking for an internship or a volunteer position. Some of Full Media's interns have been working for the company for more than a year, acquiring the knowledge and experience they need to make it in the world of Internet marketing.

McCarthy believes obtaining experience through an internship or volunteer time demonstrates to prospective employers you have the skills they need. McCarthy suggests that when seeking an unpaid Internship or a volunteer position, learn a lot about the company and, most importantly, show the employer how you can add value to the company. Besides gaining skills and experience, you have access to valuable networking opportunities and if you dazzle them, you just might land a job with the company.

So here's the bottom line - Internet marketing firms are looking for people who can demonstrate success and provide a good return on a firm's investment. Social media marketing and mobile marketing skills are in demand and with our increasingly Web oriented, mobile world, it's highly likely this demand is going to increase.

 

Guest post was written by Brian Jenkins writes about a variety of different career fields for BrainTrack.comBrainTrack is a higher education and career resource with worldwide reach. It features a directory of the world's universities and colleges with over 10,000 institutions listed from over 190 countries. The site is the oldest (since 1996) and largest directory of universities and colleges on the Web. BrainTrack's goal is to help visitors make better decisions about their education and careers.

 

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Over the weekend I mentioned to you that I’m working with Amy Porterfield on my own Facebook business page.  Good news, If you’re interested in hearing Amy do a webinar on her product, FB Influence, then I would encourage you to sign up for this free one with her. You can sign up here. 

How to Make a Fan a Super Fan

Here's what our guest speaker and Facebook Marketing thought leader, Amy Porterfield, will cover:

• Super Fans: What They Are and Why You Need Them

• Essentials of a Facebook Marketing FoundationFacebookInfluence

• Smart Strategies to Grow a Lucrative Fan Base

• Quick Tips to Get Your Fans Talking and Engaged

• How to Move Your Fans Up the Ranks to Super Fan Status

 

Register Here: http://www2.onlinemeetingnow.com/register/?id=a82b203327

You may already be spending some of your time on Facebook chatting with friends, uploading pictures, and staying in touch, but with Amy’s help you can leverage Facebook the right way so you can reap the benefits of it from a business point of view as well.

Build Your Business Using Facebook

Amy is one of the top Facebook Marketing experts in the world. She has worked with Tony Robbins, Harley Davidson and most recently the SocialMedia Examiner to build out their brands with Facebook.

This webinar will show you exactly what you needto do to create more fans on Facebook and how to turn them into action-taking Super Fans!

Make sure to register for tomorrow’s webinar – seats are limited and you won't want to miss out!

Register Here: http://www2.onlinemeetingnow.com/register/?id=a82b203327

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Facebook Marketing For Business

Sunday, 04 December 2011 09:19

We’re quickly approaching the end of the year.  Are you thinking about setting your business goals for next year? Have you already planned out next year’s digital marketing activities?  Where are you stuck? What do you want to learn more about?

One thing I’m digging into deeper and deeper is Facebook marketing.  With over 800 million users, Facebook is by far the social media platform that is strongest and as a small business owner, where you can get the biggest bang for your buck.

I am in the process of building out my Facebook business page and thought I would share the process and evolution with you, that way you can benefit from my investment. 

A Steady Start: Facebook For Business

Over one year ago I set up my Facebook business page, by myself, you’ll notice it’s not very “designed” or overly informative.  At that time I set it up because I wanted to grab the business vanity URL fast.  You can see it here https://www.facebook.com/ThebrandiD.

I also connected the business page to the corporate website by adding the “Like” box at the top of the site.  See www.thebrandiD.com.  That has actually helped increase my likes quite a bit.

Since then I’ve started working with Rosh Khan of Social Rank Media to help me design my Facebook page (coding on Facebook is different than web coding) and Facebook marketing guru Amy Porterfield who is also the co-author of Facebook Marketing All-In-One for Dummies, who is helping me with my Facebook marketing strategy. Both Rosh and Amy are helping me put the brandiD biz page to work.  My first meeting with Amy is this Wednesday and I’m super excited to start digging into it and using it to build brandiD’s business.  Rosh and I have been discussing digital marketing for a while so I’ll start sharing some of our discussions here.

Building Your Brand on Facebook

To build your brand on Facebook you have to be crystal clear on your target audience.  Some questions to ask yourself are: who are they? Where do they hang out on Facebook? What do they like to do in their spare time? What industry are they in? How can you reach them on Facebook?

FacebookInfluenceYou can target your market on Facebook more than any other social media platform.  Think of all the information Facebook gathers on you when you set up an account.  Now, think of how much they have gathered on the 799 million plus other users.  All that data is searchable.

I’ll be sharing much more on Facebook through this column but in the meantime, if you’re eager to dive right in you can purchase the FacebookInfluence program with Amy Porterfield right away.

I’m also going to plan a webinar with Amy in the next week or so, so stay tuned.

You can learn more about FacebookInfluence by clicking this link.

In the meantime, let me know what digital marketing activities you’re struggling with.

 

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While many Pennsylvanians and the sports world is realing from the scandal involving Joe Paterno and Jerry Sandusky at Penn State one thing sticks out in my mind - that people were aware of the sexual abuse and didn't protect the innocent victims.  Instead, they only thought about themselves.  Well, there is another REAL issue playing out in the world and that involves depression and those heavily involved in the digital world of onlines businesses.  I recently read an excellent post from my friend Tommy Walker on the topic and how many solo or entrepreneurs who are building their online dreams are living another reality. It's not something often discussed or written about in the online business world but I think it's worth addressing and paying attention to - even if you yourself don't suffer from depression, someone else you may know, in an online kind of way, might.  So pay attention to those around you and take action.  I've invited Tommy to guest post on Digital You and share this topic with us.  

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There is a fine line between being self-employed and unemployed.

If you're one of many "online entrepreneurs" please don't forget that.

Recently I read a post by my friend Margie Clayman entitled "How Social Media Is Broken For Me Now"  and it got me thinking about how that sentiment seems to be shared by many of the people I talk to on a regular basis.

Last week, Shane Ketterman from Rewire Business talked for several hours about how I've been able to grow my business dramatically over the past few months without heavily blasting Twitter, and Facebook, and all that other stuff you're "supposed to do".

But what got me emotional about Margie's article was it's subject; Bruce Serven.

Now I didn't know Bruce personally, and I'm sure we've crossed paths once or twice, but if you're unacquainted with Bruce's story it ends like this;

On October 23rd, 2011 Bruce Serven shot his 22 month old son in the chest, then himself in the head, after an argument with his wife. (link)

Self Deception is tricky.

Like I said, I didn't know Bruce.

But I know plenty of people who were in Bruce's position.

Looking at Bruce's blog, it looks just like any other online entrepreneur type. His last post was on Sept 11 titled "The things people say they'll never forget." and it combines humor with personality to make the point, "Don't say you won't forget, when you probably will." The article had one comment.

Bruce's Facebook Page had at most only 2 comments on recent entries and 267 fans connected to the page. Bruce's Twitter connected to 1,748 followers appeared to have tweets that were automatically pushed out links of influential people via twitterfeed with no real interaction with anyone for at least to the beginning of October.

He had a landing page on Facebook to capture email addresses, the email opt-in on the sidebar on his blog and his description:

I'm an everyday entrepreneur, working hard to build and sustain an empire, create jobs, make a meaningful difference, and capitalize on opportunities, while passionately living a purpose driven life & helping others to find their success in life.

But, according to the local news coverage of his death it said:

On the internet, he portrayed himself as a maverick entrepreneur with his own motivational blog and Facebook fan page, but in real life, he was a man who had been unemployed for months and had recently taken a job as a forklift driver.

Don't lie to yourself.

Of course Bruce is an extreme case, but Trey Pennington is another who committed suicide recently, and I feel like I've heard about more suicides in the "online entrepreneur" space more than ever before.

In Bruce's case, his online persona was that of an entrepreneur, but in reality he was unemployed.

Being an online entrepreneur myself, it's not hard to empathize with someone who feels like they have to maintain the persona of a successful entrepreneur while watching his entire life fall apart (he was going through a divorce at the time of his death).

The Duality of maintaining a fictional personality can become extremely stressful, and incredibly dangerous, if the fictitious personality doesn't have roots in reality. In one world, you're a successful entrepreneur, in another you can't pay your bills.

The pressure builds until eventually only one personality can win, and it's usually the one who's lights are about to get shut off.

What about addiction?

Bruce eventually took a job as a fork truck operator, his local news tells us that. But they didn't mention whether or not he was addicted to social media. Really, if he was or wasn't is irrelevant, because so many of us are addicted to our virtual communication methods and probably don't even realize it.

When talking to my wife about this today, she gently pointed out that I check my email more frequently than I smoked, which was roughly 20 times a day. Right now, I have a second monitor dedicated strictly to email so I can quickly glance over instead of switching tabs. Before that, it was bought with the sole purpose of being dedicated to Tweetdeck.

Being in this space, and having times where I poured countless hours into my computer wishing with everything that something would pay off, I can certainly empathize with the incredible amount of personal failure and frustration that Bruce must have felt.

Then having to keep that pain away from the virtual people you spend the most time with, then sacrificing time with those people to drive a forklift to make ends meet.

It must have gotten very lonely.

We live in public.

For Bruce and Trey (and the rest of us) you must also factor in the stress of living a splintered life in the spotlight. As digital citizens we've deemed it necessary to live out a considerable portion of our lives in public, without recognizing the potential consequences to the human condition.

In 2009, a documentary titled We Live In Public (available on Netflix, iTunes, and Youtube) showed the journey of web entrepreneur Josh Harris.

In 1999, Josh started the Quiet Experiment which asked 100 artists to live in a bunker and have every moment of their lives recorded and streamed live over the internet.

The purpose of the experiment was to document the effects of  "living in public" 24/7 would do to the human psyche.

Josh says of the project "Everything is free except the video we capture of you, that we own."

By the end of the Quiet Experiment, participants appeared to simultaneously detest and crave the spotlight, doing virtually anything to get their 15 minutes of fame on a daily basis.

Josh later turned the experiment on himself. For 6 months, he and his wife would broadcast every moment of their lives, documenting and being the catalyst for the break down of their relationship eventually leading to their divorce, and Josh's mental collapse.

Watch the trailer below.

Is it possible that the constant need to perform was a contributing factor for these social media suicides?

The price of fame.

Celebrity suicides and mental breakdowns are something we've become accustomed to in traditional media.

Social media has for many of us dictated we build our own version of celebrity to showcase our businesses or talents to the world and achieve widespread success.

The reality is, famous or not, we're all subject to the same exact rules and pressures of fame. According to a study in 2007, the price of fame for successful rock and pop stars is that they're twice as likely to die an early death.

Yet, we crave a similar high octane lifestyle. To be a well known "business celebrity". The problem is, we're not as well equipped as the traditional celebrity. If we have an addiction, we can't just check ourselves into rehab and get treatment from Dr. Drew.

Mental breakdowns don't afford us merchandising opportunities like Charlie Sheen.  Instead, we deal with mental breakdowns and our personal lives privately, while pretending everything is ok online.

No, social media didn't kill Bruce or Trey, depression did.

My friend Chris Brogan says Depression is an Offline Event and requires real offline help.

I very much agree with this, reaching out to anyone who will listen will usually end poorly. After talking with my wife about this article, she suggested something brilliant, which is an "online buddy system." An online friend who you share with in a very real way.

Yes, if you're feeling depressed, seek offline help, but also have just one person online who you know you can talk to and share anything with.

Because let's face it, people in the real world just don't understand what it's like to be a digital citizen.

I can only imagine the incredible pressure Bruce and Trey must have feeling leading up their final moments.

I urge you, please, if you're in a place where you're calling yourself self employed when your reality is something different, please stop the insanity and get real with yourself.

If you've been banging your head against a wall wondering why nothing's working for you, take a step back and reevaluate your methods.

Working for yourself  is meant to bring joy and freedom to your life, not take it from you.

Thank you so much for reading this, if you agree with it's message I ask that you share it because this is a very real issue that is affecting very real people.

 
Tommy Walker is the principal at Tommy.ismy.name and is currently educating freelancers and entrepreneurs on how to sell in higher paying markets.

 

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