Why Social Media Isn’t All That New

During World War II, Coke and Pepsi were competing for the hearts, minds, and pocketbooks of every American. (Sounds familiar, doesn’t it.) Coke had already managed to develop a strong following stateside with the promise that every American in uniform could buy a Coke for a nickle no matter how remote the outpost. In response, Pepsi rolled out what I like to call the first social network campaign – “a recorded message from your man in service”.

Pepsi set up several mobile recording stations at training centers around the world where soldiers were preparing for service. Soldiers stepped into a recording booth to read letters, sing songs or just say a few meaningful words to far away family, friends and fiancée. That session was made into 78Rpm thin acetate records and then mailed to the loved one to be played on the family record player. Over and over again, if they wished. You could say it was the very first example of voice mail. (Here’s a YouTube video of one of these records if you are interested.)

Pepsi understood that pairing their product with the emotional connection of a soldier to his loved ones would help sell soft drinks. Even now, it makes you want to go right out and buy a Pepsi for crying out loud!

Many clients are confused with how to use social networks. But the concept is much easier to grasp when you realize the whole purpose of social networks is to make a connection. Sales may be a byproduct of that connection, but it isn’t the first reason to tweet. Before you fire off 140 characters about why people should buy your stuff first, consider a few of these ideas.


Tweet about getting a new client, finishing a big project, meeting a deadline, achieving a milestone, or whatever else merits a bit of festivity. Social networks are a great way for others to learn about your achievements and revel in the feel-good atmosphere.

Emotional Moments

It’s no surprise that the most frequently tweeted item is a picture. A couple of “aww” and a “how cute” doesn’t hurt either. Humor can trigger your connections to share your tweet, too.


Several recent events started their historic news coverage on Twitter. From uprisings in Ukraine, to sporting events, to earthquakes in California, many news outlets captured the updates first through Twitter.

Above all, remember to keep your connections authentic to who you are. If you try to be more, or less, than you are in real life, the consequences of that discovery can be harsh.

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