Why Use These Outlier Social Media Tools?

Why should you bother using tools like Vine and Instagram, and the like? Instagram Stuff

That question was asked to me by Pam Vitaz, and she asked it somewhat in this context (my words not hers): Vine’s interesting, but you basically just shot a funny video. Why do that?

Here’s the video she meant:

Can’t see the video? Click Here. Can’t hear sound? Hover over it and click the little sound thingy.

On the surface, it’s the kind of question you can answer with “why not?” But that’s not good enough.

Why Use These Outlier Social Media Tools?

First, it’s your call which of the social networks or tools you think of as an outlier. I was just crapping on SnapChat in a conversation with Noah Kagan and he told me that he thought it was a great way to share something that’s meant to exist only “in the moment.” (My argument was that it’s a great way to share pictures of boobies, which is evidently how folks seem to use it, according to 5,080,911 blog posts to that effect.)

Second, realize that sometimes the answer really is “why not?”

But my answer is different:

  1. It’s fun.
  2. It’s simple.
  3. It lets me express myself in a “liner notes”/unplugged kind of way.
  4. It’s yet another way to augment what you’re doing, if you want it to be (see my early thoughts on Vine).
  5. It’s a bite sized way to participate, especially if you’re getting your toes in the water.


A gazillion years ago, super smart Deb Schultz wrote about SnackBytes, as she called them. Snackable content. The idea being that we’re too busy for a meal, so let’s just have a content snack.

I’d even argue that long before Deb, USAToday had snackable content long before every US newspaper started copying their format of tiny bite-sized info.

What’s Pinterest or (my favorite) Gentlemint but a nod towards snackbytes?

Should YOU Use These Networks?

I get that kind of question a lot. The answer is: you don’t have to do anything. I have recommendations, of course.

But here’s what I believe: if you’re working on building your media empire, and communicating about that around the outposts (all language covered in this course), you’ll find that you might enjoy having a way to talk “off-message,” as well. Now, you can choose anywhere to do that, but I think places like Vine or Instagram or Pinterest, etc, are a great way to allow us to be more human, while not getting in the way of the larger tapestry of our efforts.

I could be wrong. What do YOU think?

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  • http://www.purplestripe.com/ LynetteRadio

    I think it’s a tool to enhance expression and communication. Some people write with a pencil, some write with ink, some type. In the end they all have a story to tell – it’s up to each person to determine how they tell it.

    And Vine is hella fun!

  • http://twitter.com/PamVitaz Pam Vitaz

    Thanks for the mention Chris! You inspired me to have more FUN online and not to try to maintain separate personalities !

  • http://stevegarfield.com Steve Garfield

    You can talk on these outlier outposts, and also listen. And then talk. And then listen. You know, a conversation. ;-)

    I saw GaryVee tweet about Vine now supporting selfies, so I watched his video, then made one as a reply to him, and tweeted it out and facebooked it too, and Gary favorited it.

    We connected in a fun way.

    • http://twitter.com/PamVitaz Pam Vitaz

      can you share a link to that Steve? It is public? what is a selfie? A self generated monolog?

  • http://twitter.com/PreventionGeek Raye Shilen

    I will probably re-read and recommend this post a gazillion times. Social media is part of my job, but it’s also a big part of my life. Recently, someone on Twitter laughed at me when I asked them about that professional/personal line. One source says create a brand, another source says sprinkle in personality, yet another source says be yourself 100%. Fact is, I’m not a marketer or a professional all the time. I want to be respected in my field, but I also want to take a picture of my ultra-rad sushi platter every now and again. I guess the balance should be something that’s proven successful but also be something that feels natural to the user.

    And on a related topic, my clients are sometimes overwhelmed by social media because there are SO MANY THINGS to be a part of. I tell them it’s okay to choose a few, or even one, so long as they use that one channel well. That being said, I can’t wait to jump into Vine…

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Don’t be a part of them all. Pick the ones you like. : )

    • http://www.facebook.com/scottwayres Scott Ayres

      I say just do what feels right for you.. Screw what “experts” say…

  • Anne Stone

    I was skeptical at first with the time warped-ness. was it rushing the moments by too fast? but it is *so* easy (read not intimidating like straight up video) i had to try….just captured an endless loop of my niece and nephew at a campfire with my husband …who had been looking forward to that moment for weeks. a special couple of moments strung together in an endless loop like that is pretty priceless! And there is still some “throwback” vibe. Your ‘spoiler alert’ vine is a great fast way to approach to getting people to the same points of reference and context for what comes next…story telling …from a different starting place…

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      And if you noticed, the REAL magic of the spoiler alert vine is this: “your turn.” : )

  • http://twitter.com/maelenalopezmx elena lopez garcia

    I think instagram, vine, are tools that help you express or issue what you want to say in a moment determined. Is the best way to convey a message entirely spontaneous. By communicating with others using the reception of the message that is perfectly understood whether if there’s is a text supported by writing or not.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      True. Just moments. : )

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  • http://twitter.com/phillyrealty Christopher Somers

    I certainly do not think it can hurt you. And like you said, it is building the media empire, being out those outposts that can (1) help build your brand and (2) build rapport with people (being human) and (3) the more 1 and 2 happen, the more you become a trusted resource

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      I guess it can hurt you if you share really scary things. : )

  • http://twitter.com/TaniaDakka Tania Dakka

    I love being able, as you said at the end, to be just Tania, as aggravating as all the Ronaldo images may be. :) I never really thought about why we should or shouldn’t. It’s fun. It’s communicating. It’s connecting with friends and colleagues around the watercooler:) (well, for me anyway)

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      I love that you do that. It makes me happy. : )

  • http://doingthings.net/ Andrzej Tucholski

    100% agreed – it’s also interesting to observe this trend I see over a lot of blogs lately, that authors even offer pre-set buttons “Tweet this sentence” somewhere within the blogpost to minimize the steps a reader must proceed to “share the snack” further :)

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      I do it all the time. : )

  • http://www.sjfpc.com/home.html Steven J Fromm & Associates

    Hey Chris: Very interesting. Some of these channels I did not even know about. Worth thinking about. Thanks for the information.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Well neat! Give them a peek. : )

  • http://www.responderx.com ChrisDonaldson

    To me it all sounds great. Until I introduce the function of time. Then it all falls apart. Perhaps I lack the discipline/scheduling acumen to make all these channels sing in a Greek Chorus with one another. Perhaps again I’m just lazy or suffer from Shiny Object Syndrome. But I have a hard time going ‘deep’ with meaning w/ these without focus. But dammit I’ll try. Tx Chris.

    PS: my daughter is a Vine Savant.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      It’s because you think too hard about it. Making a vine of stupid spoilers while I wait for YouTube to upload something took no time, technically. Writing this post took about 24 minutes. Snapping a photo of whatever on Instagram takes no “real” time.

      Most people waste their time doing stupid things. Me? I free up enough time that I can choose which stupid things I want to do.

      • http://www.responderx.com ChrisDonaldson

        Chris – you’ve done a really good job of weaving these social tools into your human fabric. I’m working on that so thanks for the push.

        • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

          You can do it, and I *WANT* to see it. : )

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  • laineyd7

    Chris, we can always count on you to provide useful, human, and/or amusing content (sometimes all three). AND you’ve found a way to (spoiler alert!) SELLY SELL SELL gently. It’s why I continue to pay attention…

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      That’s swell! I love to sell. : )

  • Dave Crenshaw

    “These tools are
    a great way to allow us to be more human, while not getting in the way
    of the larger tapestry of our efforts.” Very true, Chris! Thanks for
    sharing your thoughts

  • http://twitter.com/jtpedersen JT Pedersen

    Great tools, fun to use. But also largely an entertainment ‘toy’ for the masses. Want to see how someone’s social media use evolves, watch them land a new job, then how quickly their ‘presence’ disappears.

    Only a very privileged few have the time to truly explore all the new social media networks that pop up. After all, work has to be done. To that end, articles like yours Chris provide value–your thoughts alleviate the need to form the initial impressions ourselves.

    As to which networks are important for any one individual or business? I think, regardless your personal preference, it is important to be–where your customers are. Where ‘customer’ is any suitable consumer of your content.

  • http://www.rizzotees.com/ Chris @ Rizzo Tees

    I greatly enjoy your work on Instagram and Vine

  • http://www.facebook.com/scottwayres Scott Ayres

    Just wait until Google Glass gets apps like Vine.. oh geez..

    • http://twitter.com/CrackMarketing Crack Marketing

      That would be perfect!

  • http://www.bizsugar.com/ Heather Stone

    I like both these tools though I admit I haven’t really used either one very much. They’re both pretty awesome compliments to a personal brand. That short information really stays with you.

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  • Tim Bonner

    You got to have some fun while you work, huh? I downloaded Vine this morning and Instagram yesterday. Let’s see where this takes me… The possibilities are exciting!

  • bloggerpalooza

    My friends always use Instagram and they love it. but I haven’t use Vine yet. Does Vine really awesome? Where can I download that?

  • http://twitter.com/socialzeme socialzeme

    Social Media is the better expression of the hedonic society where we are living. Most part of what we do in Social Media is just for fun. Yes, we, humans, do crazy things even before social media….Bungee Jumping?

    However, there will be always someone being incredible smart/imaginative, that will find a way to monetize things like Vine or Instagram.

    Then I outposts are two kind of things: A way to express human creativity but also a way for business to be innovative and attract more customers.

  • http://twitter.com/eernoult Emeric Ernoult

    I wish I did not have a business to run 15 hours a day and could dive into new fun tools :-( I still did not really explore Instagram nor Pinterest… Shame on me…
    So Vine, maybe in 2014 ;-)

  • http://www.agencyplatform.com/ Dave Thompson

    One should always consider trying out outlier social media tools but only when they are already present on the most recommended social media platforms. Having a presence everywhere is good but creating an account and not being active on it is not advisable.

  • http://www.facebook.com/carol.josefiak Carol Josefiak

    Thank you, I am getting so many good ideas from your blog.

  • Jennifer

    Great post and I completely agree. The key thing is it’s fun. These kinds of social media tools are all accessible and reachable for everyone, really.

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  • Salmajane

    In the past I’ve wondered the same thing. I haven’t really used Instagram or vine, but I’m beginning to think that at the very least it might be fun and a bit more colorful to share in that way. I like what you say here, Chris, that it can show a bit more of our humanity, and in an interesting and positive way of we choose. For example, I like to follow 30 Second’s to Mars lead singer, Jared Leto, on Twitter because he sometimes posts Instagram pictures of him and his friends doing ordinary things like hiking or making funny faces. He also, however, posts more artistic pictures of artifacts that he has come across and I really appreciate that because I feel like somehow I am getting to know a little bit more about him as a person, rather than just seeing a polished commercial icon, which I would never follow. So, video makes him seem more personable, and Instagram and vine allow him to show how interesting he is. So, guess what, now I am considering purchasing his new CD, not because it’s my favorite music or I love the band, but because, he has shown them to be human and interesting. That’s great marketing, the soft sell.

  • Dean Lodge

    Personality and human-izing the web are very important! Thanks for the great (and witty) post. I truly believe that many people going online are there for a quick moment and need to get what they need and go and making it personal creates a memory for them to take with them

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  • http://www.adviceinteractivegroup.com/ Bernadette Coleman

    Vine is now available for us android users! Time to let the creative juices flow…Thanks Chris for the article.

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