Brave New World -Through social media, we all become a voice

Randi Zucherberg

5 minute read

Through social media, we all become a voice and a distribution platform for the causes that we feel passionately about, and for the brands that we love.

I graduated from Harvard in 2003, and I went to kind of find my dream job in advertising and marketing, which, even for Harvard, was very rare. A lot of people at that time were going into consulting or investment banking. It was rare to be a creative person there. But I got a great job at Ogilvy & Mather, and I got staffed on a very new group: interactive and online marketing. At first, I was bummed because it didn't sound very glamorous. But I soon realized it was a blessing in disguise because that was where the entire advertising industry was headed, and when my brother and Facebook needed someone who knew online marketing, he had someone right in his family that he could call that knew what to do. I held out for a little while, but he finally--he was very persistent. He finally won me over.

So, I went out to California and I was blown away by kind of the energy and the passion that they had. It was just very different from anything I had seen in corporate America. A lot of companies in Silicon Valley get big, and they lose that fun culture, and then their employees leave and just go to the next fun start-up. So, if you want to keep the best talent, it's really important that people having fun in their work day, too. It's interesting because at a start-up, no one really only has one job. I started pretty early, and I was one of only a few non-technical people at the company, so I was doing everything: sales, business development, marketing. I mean, I pretty much did every job at the company instead of IT support. I think that was the one job I didn't do. And so, that's the beauty of working in a start-up is you get to see the entire business.

When you're looking at a company that has almost a billion people around the world logging on every day and being extremely engaged, that's incredibly valuable. You don't find that anywhere else. And the brands are going to go where the people are. Game developers, the E-commerce opportunities are all going to go where the people are. I do think that there's just incredible opportunity in mobile that's just starting to get unlocked. We've seen some recent announcements with Apple and Facebook that have been exciting and promising, and I think the ability to instantly access billions of people through mobile is going to be a tremendous opportunity. I think brands are going to have to get a little more creative. Advertising has always moved along with the time. I think that's the wonderful thing about humanity: there's an endless supply of creativity and creative energy, and we're just going to have to look more closely at what people are doing and kind of adapt our messaging to that.

I think a lot of brands are also starting to see philanthropy and kind of adopting a socially conscious attitude as a great way to connect with fans on Facebook. Instead of just putting a banner ad in front of them, now you can help a brand decide where they should allocate their philanthropy. Or watch them as they kind of give back and see where the products that you're buying are coming from. I think the more that you can give fans or customers a peek under the curtain and show them how products are getting made, the better. Keeping it short but kind of packing an emotional punch, either through humor or through just telling a story that really gets people, but you have to do it quickly because you don't have people's attention online very long. Facebook gives you a lot of information on who's viewing your page and what they're doing, and a lot of brands don't even check that very much. There's a lot of great information there.

I'm just excited for a world that brings people closer together. I know before Facebook, I lost touch with a lot of my friends from high school or from early in my life, and just through social media, I've been able to keep in touch and rekindle relationships with so many people. It's been really rewarding. Even when I had my son, social media made it so easy for me to kind of have a support group of other moms who were going through similar things. I imagine that people who are coping with all sorts of issues can lean very heavily on social media, which I think is incredible. And I just think that anything that makes the world a smaller place is really great for culture.

I think it's going to be easier for all of us who are all kind of distribution platforms on our own. Beforehand, you could never speak directly to a brand or to your favorite celebrity. Or you could never really advocate effectively for a non-profit unless you were giving them lots of money. Through social media, and all of us being a voice and a distribution platform, there's so much that all of us can do for the causes that we feel passionately about, and for the brands that we love. I think it'll be really exciting to see how those relationships grow over time.