Samantha is a Boston transplant who has been living in Portland for just two short weeks. She recently left her position as a social media account coordinator with PR agency, Kel & Partners, Boston. Samantha moved to Portland for love (awww). What better reason is there? Through this process she’s now become an expert networker. So, now is the time to meet her.
Although she can’t name five Red Sox players, her love of Boston should not be minimized. She’s also a marathon runner, fencer, trapeze artist, and self-proclaimed foodie who consults with small businesses to help them utilize social media to the max.
Parental restrictions, oil pulling, and the “#selfie movement”
What was your first experience with social media?
“My first encounter with social media came in the 6th grade. I remember this day very clearly because it was a devastating day to the 12 year-old mind of Samantha Stern. This was the day I was told I wasn’t allowed to have an AIM screen name because I was “too young.” Looking back I wouldn’t let my 12 year old enter into an unsupervised online chat room either! But back then, it was a different story. You see, to me, AIM was my ticket to the ‘cool kids.’ Every popular kid in my grade had a screen name and this was the first I was hearing about it. I wanted to hop onboard and immerse myself in this new and exciting world immediately, but unfortunately — or maybe fortunately? — I wasn’t allowed to just yet.”
“Eventually, my brother and I swayed our parents into allowing us to join this world of, now 8th grade, ‘screen socializing.’ This was after two years full of contracts, ultimatums, and rules, begging and pleading our parents to allow us to get an AIM screen-name. Shout-out to my parents for harboring our computer-less youthful spirits for an extra two years. Thanks to them, I’m now an expert at fort building and hide-and-seek. Can anyone say resume builder?”
“After that, my next encounter came when I took part in a leadership program that traveled to Israel in 2006. I went with kids from all over New England. To keep in touch after the program was over, they suggested I create a Facebook account. This was a completely foreign concept for me. Yes, I was now an ‘away message’ expert on AIM but the thought of making a profile page all about me, including photos and comments, was a whole new world! Needless to say, I joined and have been hooked ever since. Thanks, Rachel Silverstein.”
What do you like about social media?
“I love that social media allows you to do the obvious. It allows us to be the social creatures we all are. Of course, there are various levels of being social. Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, I think social media is enjoyable for most people.”
“I like that you can easily explore businesses, people, brands, organizations and much more with the click of a button. Social media has made life easier in my eyes. Think about it, before social media you’d have to look something up in the yellow pages or call the operator to get the contact information for a business. Now, you just mosey on over to their business page and all of that info is neatly formatted in the “About” section. Tell me that’s not the best thing since oil pulling.”
“Oh wait, that’s another thing! Speaking of oil pulling … for those of you who don’t know what this is, it was a viciously speedy trend that spread all over Facebook newsfeeds near and far just last month. Social is wonderful for spreading awareness about current trends. This falls under the things I like and don’t like. I like to see what’s new and happening in the world, but do I need 10 articles about how oil pulling can clear up acne, or side by side comparisons of the royal family’s portrait vs. Kimye’s? No, I don’t. The royal family will ALWAYS win in my book, but that’s a conversation for another day.”
What do you dislike about social media?
“Oh boy! Well I definitely dislike the ‘selfie movement,’ if you will. Although, I’m a complete hypocrite because I have been known to post a selfie or two. I probably shouldn’t even mention this here, but I’m going to. I’m waiting for #selfies to stop being acceptable, but until then, I’ll dabble here and there. Plus, searching the hashtag keyword #selfie on Instagram is more entertaining than most things. The things people post!”
“On a serious note, I do really dislike the term ‘social media guru’ or ‘expert.” Yes, I work in social media. Yes, I pride myself on being up to date with the frequently changing Facebook algorithm. However, in my opinion, nobody is an expert. Social media is constantly changing and that’s what makes it such an exciting world to work in. Whenever somebody self-labels as a social media expert, I think to myself, ‘OK, maybe today you read every Mashable, Business Insider, and Social Media Examiner article.’ This means today that person is current on all updates. But, in my eyes, no one is a expert forever because things are always changing and evolving.”
“I also dislike that some use social media as a alternative to face-to-face interactions. Being the social creatures that humans are, physical contact and engaging conversation that takes place in person is a very good thing!”
What would it be like for you to disconnect from social media for six months?
“Professionally: Sooo ahhh, who’s hiring? Serious question, though. I’d be unemployed because social media is my much-loved career of choice.”
“Personally: It would be interesting. I’ve never deactivated my Facebook, or any other social accounts for that matter. I think I would feel left out because I wouldn’t be able to interact with everyone I want to interact with. All my friends, family, and the people I love, would continue to communicate and I wouldn’t be able to. That wouldn’t be fun.”
“Then again, it could be refreshing to live only in the here and now. I would probably pay much closer attention to the world around me instead of having my head in a screen.”
Is there a person or brand that you think uses social media effectively?
“The mind-blowingly creative PR agency I recently worked with, Kel & Partners in Boston, utilizes their social channels very well. Their Twitter and Instagram accounts reflect their professional, yet bad-ass and always fun, work environment very accurately. They’re always tweeting about the latest local, social media/tech events, things that are going on in the office, personal achievements of their employees, new kinds of beer in the keg, big news from their clients, and other guaranteed-to-be-entertaining content.”
“Red Bull (although I don’t drink it) rocks their social media presence. They have over 42 million likes and truly use their social accounts to sell their lifestyle not just their products. Everything from the cover photo, to the logo and brand voice, really embodies the ‘Red Bull lifestyle,’ — full of action and risk. Cover photos are prime real-estate in the world of Facebook. It’s always refreshing to see a brand take full advantage of this front-and-center spot with something customized and not just a repurposed stock photo.”
“Converse is another social media ‘All-Star.’ I love the way they incorporate their fans’ art work into their social content over every platform. It’s somewhat expected today that a consumer will support a brand they love. However, it stands out to see a brand support their consumers right back. Converse does a great job of creating social campaigns that feature their shoes being worn and loved in everyday life.”
I want to thank Samantha for taking the time to talk with me about her opinions on, and experience with, social media.
You can find Samantha on Facebook at: samantha.bayla
You can find Samantha on Instagram at: @samanthabayla
You can find Samantha Twitter at: @samanthabayla
You can find Samantha on LinkedIn at: samantha-stern