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4 ways to use social media to advance your career



As a business community, we’ve tried to shame execs into being on social media for at least 10 years, and the results are decidedly mixed. Despite the expectations from employees and consumers, only half of the CEOs in the S&P 500 are on social media. Probably less than half that number contributes with any regularity to social communities online. Why is that?

We’re living in a moment when social media is widely acknowledged as a burden as much as a pastime. Even the most successful influencers feel it. Of the myriad reasons it’s turned out that way, the weight of expectation—to perform, post constantly, be a “thought leader,” sound smart, and be inspirational—is one. It can be crippling. No wonder some don’t even bother. You can’t fail if you don’t try.

Except that there are benefits to engaging people online, as some who’ve quit social media, only to return later, have realized. The lesson?? Do it on your terms.

If you want to make social media part of your career marketing plan but have doubts, here are four ways to trick your brain into getting it done.


Don’t treat it like an obligation

Execs are busy with full-time responsibilities of running their teams, making hundreds of decisions, traveling, and driving revenue (to say nothing of their hopes for a personal life). Treated as one in a dozen daily chores, contributing to social media will fall to the bottom of the list every time.

You don’t have an obligation to contribute to social media. Your marketing team or sales team might want you to, but the internet is doing just fine without your content. Hell, you’ve made it this far with minimal investment. And while your business might benefit from more social value vis a vis your personal brand, its survival in no way hinges on it.

This thinking leaves you free to pursue a more fun mentality—one where social media is a reprieve from your other chores.

Andrew Yang said something instructive in his book Forward about this. He struggled from not using Twitter to using it as his primary communication tool during his presidential campaign. He had a whole team of communications professionals telling him what he should post and when. But none of that motivated him to start building a brand and audience on Twitter. He had to motivate himself. He had to, in his words, “resolve to enjoy it.”

We tend to prioritize the activities we enjoy and bring our best selves to them. So it is with social media. If you don’t find a way to enjoy it, you won’t be posting for very long anyway.

Think about consistency loosely, on your terms

They say you get what you put into your social media presence; if you post sporadically, you limit growth, so most social media advice includes a mandate to be consistent.

Great advice, though framing it that way hews close to the chore territory that’s so debilitating. No need to put hard and fast rules around it, and you don’t need a calendar of posts and tweets for the whole year (sorry, marketing team) because part of the job is being responsive to what’s happening in your world, the wider world, and the lives of your audience. That’s where the best, most genuine content comes from, not boilerplates and rehearsed takes.

For the same reasons, you don’t want to be willy-nilly, either. You’ll get busy, stressed, and forgetful, and then weeks and months go by since your last post, and any momentum you had is gone. Some structure is useful, but only if it works for your life. You know your schedule, habits, and propensity for chaos better than anyone, but here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • If the news is your muse for social content, try posting in content-consumption mode. It could be first thing in the morning or evenings on the couch with a glass of wine.
  • If Fridays are a little lighter for you, make that your Social Media Friday.
  • If you travel a lot, make downtime at the hotel your photo dump on Instagram.
  • Find out which days and times on your chosen channel(s) give your content the best chance of reaching people and try to do a little more during those times.

Produce for an audience of one

We tend to think of digital audiences in anonymous, abstract terms. “We should educate ‘the industry’ on this issue” if you’re in B2B or maybe “fans of the brand” if you’re in B2C. When we produce for no one in particular, it tends to show up in the content. The writing is staid and corporate, the photos are stock, and the engagement is paltry.

If you’re giving a consumer product update, think of a cousin or niece who’s firmly in the target audience and what would get them excited to engage. If you’re a B2B exec and want to get something off your chest, think of a colleague or friend in your network who will totally get your point, vehemently disagree, and challenge you to a duel on social media.

I once worked for a startup CEO who was pulling his hair out over recruitment. I just couldn’t get enough quality marketing candidates in the pipeline or couldn’t tell who was just an excellent self-marketer and who was for real. He published a candid missive, and 24 hours later, the post had gone viral, and all kinds of people in his network had reached out directly to either commiserate or offer advice.

Why? Before he wrote it, we discussed whether or not it was a good idea, and he concluded, “this can’t just be happening to us. There have to be other people in our growth stage struggling with this. And if they aren’t, I’d love to know what they’re doing.” He didn’t care if the post made him look like an exec who didn’t know how to hire people. He had a person or persons in mind—execs who’d been in a similar position—and he wanted to start a conversation with them. That’s why it was effective.

Take pride in contributing to one platform

Some execs never get started because they think the job is a lot bigger than it is. Their eyes cloud over as they previsualize posting to LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram and wonder, “am I supposed to be on TikTok now?” and give up altogether.

As an industry, we’ve created a mindset that the more places you show up, the further your message goes. And that mindset has degraded social media feeds over time, where one person or brand posts the same content everywhere and leans back, satisfied that they repurposed content.

You want to be where the people you’re trying to influence are in critical mass, yes, but you also want to be where you’re most at ease with the tools, user experience, conversations, and dynamics (at least to start or ramp up again). It’s also fair to consider your audience’s propensity to pick up and share what you’re putting down. If there’s only one platform that meets all that criteria, then you have your answer on where you need to be.

Brandon Carter is director of strategy at Codeword, an integrated marketing agency.


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Vatican singles out bishops in urging reflective not reactive social media use



VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican on Monday urged the Catholic faithful, and especially bishops, to be “reflective, not reactive” on social media, issuing guidelines to try to tame the toxicity on Catholic Twitter and other social media platforms and encourage users to instead be “loving neighbors.”

The Vatican’s communications office issued a “pastoral reflection” to respond to questions it has fielded for years about a more responsible, Christian use of social media and the risks online that accompany the rise of fake news and artificial intelligence.

For decades the Holy See has offered such thoughts on different aspects of communications technologies, welcoming the chances for encounter they offer but warning of the pitfalls. Pope Francis of late has warned repeatedly about the risk of young people being so attached to their cell phones that they stop face-to-face friendships.

The new document highlights the divisions that can be sown on social media, and the risk of users remaining in their “silos” of like-minded thinkers and rejecting those who hold different opinions. Such tendencies can result in exchanges that “can cause misunderstanding, exacerbate division, incite conflict, and deepen prejudices,” the document said.


It warned that such problematic exchanges are particularly worrisome “when it comes from church leadership: bishops, pastors, and prominent lay leaders. These not only cause division in the community but also give permission and legitimacy for others likewise to promote similar type of communication,” the message said.

The message could be directed at the English-speaking Catholic Twittersphere, where some prominent Catholic figures, including bishops, frequently engage in heated debates or polemical arguments that criticize Francis and his teachings.

The prefect of the communications office, Paolo Ruffini, said it wasn’t for him to rein in divisive bishops and it was up to their own discernment. But he said the general message is one of not feeding the trolls or taking on “behavior that divides rather than unites.”



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Russia says U.S. Senator should say if Ukraine took his words out of context



MOSCOW, May 29 (Reuters) – Russia on Monday said U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham should say publicly if he believes his words were taken out of context by a Ukrainian state video edit of his comments about the war that provoked widespread condemnation in Moscow.

In an edited video released by the Ukrainian president’s office of Graham’s meeting with Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kyiv on Friday, Graham was shown saying “the Russians are dying” and then saying U.S. support was the “best money we’ve ever spent”.

After Russia criticised the remarks, Ukraine released a full video of the meeting on Sunday which showed the two remarks were not directly linked.

Russia’s foreign ministry said Western media had sought to shield the senator from criticism and said that Graham should publicly state if he feels his words were taken out of context by the initial Ukrainian video edit.


“If U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham considers his words were taken out of context by the Ukrainian regime and he doesn’t actually think in the way presented then he can make a statement on video with his phone,” Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a video posted on Telegram.

“Only then will we know: does he think the way that was said or was it a performance by the Kyiv regime?”

Graham’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The initial video of Graham’s remarks triggered criticism from across Moscow, including from the Kremlin, Putin’s powerful Security Council and from the foreign ministry.

Graham said he had simply praised the spirit of Ukrainians in resisting a Russian invasion with assistance provided by Washington.

Graham said he had mentioned to Zelenskiy “that Ukraine has adopted the American mantra, ‘Live Free or Die.’ It has been a good investment by the United States to help liberate Ukraine from Russian war criminals.”

Russia’s interior ministry has put Graham on a wanted list after the Investigative Committee said it was opening a criminal probe into his comments. It did not specify what crime he was suspected of.

In response, Graham said: “I will wear the arrest warrant issued by Putin’s corrupt and immoral government as a Badge of Honor.

“…I will continue to stand with and for Ukraine’s freedom until every Russian soldier is expelled from Ukrainian territory.”

A South Carolina Republican known for his hawkish foreign policy views, Graham has been an outspoken champion of increased military support for Ukraine in its battle against Russia.

Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Nick Macfie

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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Jamie Sarkonak: Liberals bring identity quotas to Canada Media Fund



In 2021, the Liberals said they would dramatically boost funding for the Canada Media Fund. And they did — but that funding came with diversity quotas and a new emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

It’s another bald-faced example of the Liberals infusing identity into public (or publicly-funded-but-government-adjacent) media programs to craft Canada in their image. Now, the program is beholden to diversity-based budgeting (with diversity “targets” in its largest funding branch), an identity tracking system for content producers and a “narrative positioning” policy that guides how stories about certain groups are told.

The Canada Media Fund is supposed to oversee a funding pool that supports the creation of Canadian media projects in the areas of drama, kids’ programming, documentaries and even video games. According to its most recent annual report, about half its revenue ($184 million) comes from the federal government through the Department of Canadian Heritage (another near-half comes from broadcasting companies through the country’s broadcasting regulator, the CRTC). The department also has the power to appoint two of the fund’s board members.

It’s a lot of money, but there’s a good rationale for domestic media production behind it. Canadian producers might not be able to secure funding for homegrown projects without it, which would make Canadians even more dependent on the U.S. for entertainment than we are already.


The Canada Media Fund is doing a lot more than broadly funding content creation, though. With more federal funding brought in after the past election, it is now responsible for greenlighting projects to meet identity quotas set out by the Liberals.

According to the Canada Media Fund’s contract with Canadian Heritage, which has been obtained by the National Post through a previously-completed access to information request, the number of projects funded with government-sourced dollars and led by “people of equity-deserving groups” will have to amount to 45 by 2024. The number of “realized projects” for people of these groups must amount to 25 by 2024. Finally, by 2024, a quarter of funded “key creative positions” must be held by people from designated diversity groups.

These funding quotas are similar to the CBC’s new diversity requirements for budgeting. When the CBC’s broadcasting licence was renewed by the CRTC last year, it was required to dedicate 30 per cent of its independent content production budget to diverse groups, which will rise to 35 per cent in 2026. While the CRTC is arm’s-length from government, a Liberal-appointed CRTC commissioner appeared eager to impose quotas that were on par with the governing party’s agenda on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

The government’s agreement with the Canada Media Fund also sets aside $20 million of the new money explicitly for people considered diverse enough to check a box — anyone from “sovereignty-seeking” and “equity-seeking” groups.

“’Sovereignty- and Equity-Seeking Community’ refers to the individuals who identify as women, First Nations, Métis, Inuit, Racialized, 2SLGBTQ+, Persons with disabilities/Disabled Persons, Regional, and Official Language Minority Community,” reads the Canada Media Fund’s explainer on who gets diversity status.

For the most part, everyone other than straight, white, non-disabled men get special treatment by the fund.

Aside from getting mandatory coverage through the use of quotas, the groups listed above are shielded with “narrative positioning” policies that took effect this year. If the main character, key storyline, or subject matter has anything to do with the above groups, creators must either be from that group or take “comprehensive measures that have and will be undertaken to create the content responsibly, thoughtfully and without harm.” These can include consultations, sharing of ownership rights, and hiring policies from the community. While narrative requirements weren’t mandated by the Liberals in their grant to the fund, they complement the overall DEI strategy.

Storytellers vying for certain grants have to sign an attestation form agreeing with the narrative policy and write a compliance plan if their works have anything to do with the above groups. Plainly, it’s a force of narrative control.

This doesn’t go both ways; women can make documentaries about men consult-free, non-white people can make TV dramas about white people consult-free, and so on.

Statistically, diversity is being tracked on a internal system that logs the identities of key staff and leadership on every Canada Media Fund project. The diversity repository was rolled out this year. Internal documents indicate these stats will be used to monitor program progress and adjust policy going forward.

These changes are all directly linked to a Liberal platform point on media modernization. In the 2021 Liberal platform, the party committed to doubling the government’s contribution to the fund. Since then, the Liberal platform has been cited directly in internal documents outlining the Canada Media Fund’s three-year growth strategy (which explains how the new money will be used, in part, to ramp up DEI efforts).

Together, it looks like both the fund, and the party responsible for doubling its taxpayer support are more concerned about the identities of filmmakers and TV producers than the actual media being produced.

Creators should be able to tell stories about others without the narrative department’s oversight — the more narrative control, the more it starts to sound like propaganda. Good creators wanting to tell an authentic story should conduct research and be respectful of the people they cover — but they shouldn’t be bound to consultations and ownership agreements.

National Post



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