Today I welcome to the show Todd Lohenry from toddlohenry.com. Todd is a former director of marketing and technology for a major employee wellness brand and former college instructor of content and search engine marketing and social media. His passion is…
In the 2000 remake of Invisible Man pointedly titled Hollow Man (https://goo.gl/qR0SRF) director Paul Verhoeven, makes the interesting point that morality is a thing only as long as someone can see us. Render us invisible and pretty much anything goes.
The cheesy trailer (which does the film injustice) manages to also miss the point by mentioning that “power is in the wrong hands” and suggesting that moral lapses are possible when you “don’t have to look at yourself in the mirror” - https://goo.gl/pjQVdF. I mention this here because, of course, at the turn of the century, social media was not a thing, semantic search did not even exist as a notion and radical transparency (http://goo.gl/x3G2dn), back then, lay firmly in the future.
Ashley Madison got hacked (http://goo.gl/HMu7fE0) and the possibility that all the stolen data may be leaked to the public web must be making some people uncomfortable. But the greater point here is not really about the loss of privacy that those who used the service, reasonably, expected to enjoy as they went about their business, but the fact that we are now in the age where embarrassment, itself an emotion felt in relation to other people (https://goo.gl/1iy28v) may be a thing of the past.
It’s not that nothing matters any more. Quite the opposite actually. In the pre-social media world of silos and closed doors, while we all knew that everyone is human and therefore fallible, capable of behavior that is not always to our personal interests, we all took a perverse sense of pleasure, reveling in the opprobrium of the fallibility of a fellow being. The subtext then was that our own failings were better hidden, less likely to be exposed, more difficult to discover and we could therefore rejoice with a sense of relief and display the moral outrage that would deflect attention from ourselves by publicly vilifying, someone else.
In the transparent world of today, that emotion may be vanishing fast: http://goo.gl/p0Os2N. Rather than worrying about the ‘fall of civilization’ when suddenly it becomes OK to be less than perfect: http://goo.gl/kVoiav in public, we should feel elated because it cuts through the protection of the old boy network (https://goo.gl/iRNfVa) where special interests looked out for their own, and reveals, even retrospectively a world where not only where human failings covered up but way more serious behavior was overlooked: http://goo.gl/3DarWC and tacitly accepted: http://goo.gl/XOWpL0.
By bringing morality (itself a social construct) into the public gaze of a social media connected world the debate of what is of real value to us can finally begin to take on a more reasonable, reaoned tone: http://goo.gl/ovZujT.
There is a problem with this and unsurprisingly it harks back to the past: https://goo.gl/kqTiLq. Tar and feathering was very selective. Visited by the strong and powerful upon the weak and helpless as an abject lesson to their peers. As social media empowers us all, it also makes us all capable of such behavior. In the ever shifting dynamic that makes us each in turn, powerful and weak, oppressor and victim we find that navigating the 21st century eddies of an always-on, transparent world, requires knowledge of an etiquette we have yet to form: http://goo.gl/SbbM5s. The results, predictably, are mixed: http://goo.gl/YlutFc. As likely to be bad as they are to be good: http://goo.gl/0NEdF9.
Social media can give us a voice, where we had none. It gives us power when in the past we were powerless. It can help us see things we would not have ever seen before: http://goo.gl/2ZT8v4. It can turn us into mobs when once we were isolated and alone. It can give us temporary status when we are not used to having any. As Jon Ronson says, this is a strange world where we fail to grasp the subtleties of content and context and are too easily swayed by the trend of the moment: https://goo.gl/4ILEam.
In the 21st century we clearly all have power even if we have not quite learnt the Spidey lesson regarding its usage: https://goo.gl/K5Y1xG, or a little more prosaically, in the age where we all live in glass houses, we still have not given up the habit of throwing stones.
I am not suggesting for an instant we stop using social media. I am not even saying that we should stop questing, questioning, examining, asking why has something happened and what is its impact. In The Social Media Mind (http://goo.gl/qHOKQV) I wrote that: “ Social media is addictive precisely because it gives us something which the real world lacks: it gives us immediacy, direction, a sense of clarity and value as an individual.” As the ‘real world’ and the digital converge, as the world becomes an always-on, single place of learning, communicating and interacting, as the notion of a global village (https://goo.gl/MtIG4C) comes ever closer to being realized it’s important to remember that beneath the momentary sense of empowerment, status, importance and power what really makes everything work, what truly should always matter, is our humanity. Our ability to work as people, with people. Our capability of understanding context and intent before we react to content. If we get that right, there is nothing we shan’t be able to set right. But we must get it right, first.
It’s Sunday. You know the drill. Chocolate ice-cream (because it’s summer in at least half the world), cookies, croissants and chocolate cake should be on offer. You’ll need lakes of good quality coffee to wash it all down with. Have an awesome Sunday wherever you are.
Perhaps I’m just getting old or it could be my passion for simplification, however, I see a lot of experts that chase the latest fads while neglecting the simple tools that Google offers like the Google Webmaster Guide, Google Webmaster Tools and Google Plus. Einstein himself said “things must be made as simple as possible but no simpler” and in this book, does just that he make it as simple as possible! There’s real magic in simple things done well over and over again. If you’re looking to ‘get found’ do yourself a favor and read the book [or work with someone who has]! #seo #semanticsearch
It’s been a little more than a quarter since I took on leadership of a newly formed team, which we’ve christened SPS: Streams, Photos, and Sharing.
In that short time, I’ve had some time to reflect on the products we’ve built over the last few years, and also the opportunity to oversee the launch of our new Google Photos product. I’ve concluded that it’s time for a “pivot”... or more precisely time to talk more openly about a pivot that’s been underway for some time (and in fact is reflected in the name of the new team). We're going to continue focusing Google+ on helping users connect around the interest they love, and retire it as the mechanism by which people share and engage within other Google products.
Four years ago when we conceived of the “Google+ Project”, we made it clear that our goals were always two-fold: Google+ aspired to be both a “platform layer that unified Google’s sharing models”, and a product / stream / app in its own right.
This was a well-intentioned goal, but as realized it led to some product experiences that users sometimes found confusing. For instance, and perhaps most controversially, integration with YouTube implied that leaving a comment on YouTube (something users had obviously been doing successfully for years) suddenly and unexpectedly required “joining Google+.”
We decided it’s time to fix this, not only in YouTube, but across a user’s entire experience at Google. We want to formally retire the notion that a Google+ membership is required for anything at Google… other than using Google+ itself.
Some of the consequences of this shift in thinking have already been deployed. Others we’re rolling out as fast as possible (e.g. the changes to YouTube we referenced today). And many more will roll out over the rest of the year.
What does this mean for Google+ the product? Relieved of the notion of integrating with every other product at Google, Google+ can now focus on doing what it’s already doing quite well: helping millions of users around the world connect around the interest they love. Aspects of the product that don’t serve this agenda have been, or will be, retired. But you’ll also see a slew of improvements that make this use case shine (like the recent launch of Collections - https://plus.google.com/collections/featured).
It’s been incredibly gratifying to see how this strategy has played out as realized in the recent Google Photos launch, a product which in many ways embodies and telegraphs the changes discussed above. Google Photos not only doesn’t require a Google+ account, but as much of the functionality as possible doesn’t even require an account at all. It was important to me that when we launched Google Photos, we stressed the product implements sharing by any means a user prefers… without compromise or agenda. This is the right thing for users and the feedback and usage has been extremely validating.
I’m excited to share this strategy with the world, excited about what it means for Google+, and most of all for all of Google’s users.
- University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignGerman, 1983 - 1983PhD. Program
- Illinois State UniversityGerman, 1981 - 1982Master of Arts Degree
- Illinois State UniversityGerman, 1976 - 1981Bachelors Degree
- Todd Lohenry, LLCOwner, 2015 - presentInternet Plumber. I developed websites and consult on internet marketing issues including WordPress optimization, Search Engine Marketing and Social Engagement Optimization. I help people get found on the internet!
- VITAL WorkLifeDirector, Marketing & Technology, 2014 - 2015Managed the website development, content marketing, social media, search engine optimization, search engine marketing and corporate network.
- Kestrel AircraftManager, Digital and Social Media, 2014 - 2014Kestrel Aircraft is the leader in single-engine turboprop innovation and I managed their website development, content marketing, social media, search engine optimization, search engine marketing and handled the internet plumbing.
- Northeast Wisconsin Technical CollegeAdjunct Professor, 2010 - 2014Developed and taught classes in the areas of Content Management, Content Marketing, Search Engine Marketing, Social Media and Analytics...
- Apple Inc.Account Executive, 1996 - 1999B2B sales rep for the State of Wisconsin.
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