Great Facebook and Instagram Idea: Earth Day, With a Twist

Hello friends. (Said in my very best Jim Nantz voice.)

I'm, what, three weeks into this blog now? And I'm already slowing down? Sheesh. I suck.

Truth be told, my day job hasn't been much of a day job lately... lots of late nights and weekends. But enough indolence defense: I suffer for you, dear readers, and so I write on. (Side note: If the lyrics to Dennis and Lois, aka the very best Happy Mondays song ever so help me God, were "Wriiiiiiiite... Write on, write on!" instead of "Riiiiiiiiight... right on, right on!" it would be the theme song for bloggers everywhere. Sigh... Yes, I'm stalling. And tired.)

Today was Earth Day. And let me tell you, just about every college and their alma mater (get it?!? Yeah... I pun when I'm punky. Ha!) was posting stuff about Earth Day. SO. MUCH. EARTH DAY. And while Earth Day is all well and good (I do live in Portland, after all... we recycle more than we shower), there was a noticeable uptick in the slapping-of-the-own-back/self-satisfaction variety of posts. Which means I found myself gravitating toward the Earth Day posts that felt like counter-programming to the monotony of "Look how green we are!" 

Which is why I liked this so much from the University of Arizona:

Why so serious, Earth Day?

Why so serious, Earth Day?

Yes, I'm well aware that the text of the post is a bit back-slappy. But the humor in the photo downplays it very well, and that's what I enjoy most about it. Maybe it's my sleep deprivation, but damn it if I didn't find myself chuckling like an idiot when I imagined someone hugging a big old saguaro. (Is that even a saguaro? Like I'm supposed to be an expert on social media AND succulents. So what if I edited gardening books for nearly two years?) Believe me, this Earth Day post was an absolute breath of fresh air.

I always try to remind myself that people are on social media - and this is especially true for Facebook and Instagram - to take a break and have some fun for a few minutes. Social media is a job for us, but it's not a job for 99.9% of the people using it. We take it seriously because we have to, but most people are on there for something light, fun, and easily digestible. Mix in your marketing and messaging, of course!, but try not to fall too much into the "The internet is serious business" routine. George Takei is pretty much the beginning and ending of this argument - this simplifies things, but he uses internet humor as a vehicle to help get a play about Japanese internment camps onto Broadway and spread support for gay marriange - and while of course we can't be as irreverent and meme-y as Sulu, it's OK to not take yourself seriously, crack a joke, and show some personality. Even on a "This Day is Important" holiday that reminds us of our world being in peril from our own rapacity and avarice. Which, true, isn't the cheeriest of thoughts.

So give it up to University of Arizona - it won Earth Day!

Another good takeaway from this: The square photo is a dead giveaway that it's meant for Instagram as well, and if you go to Arizona's Facebook page you'll see that they post lots of great photo/text combos that are specifically designed for cross-platform use. Wily little Wildcats! Just another reminder that basic graphic design skills are more and more becoming a must for us SM hacks, especially as visual platforms like Pinterest and Instagram (and, Facebook, if we're being honest) keep growing.

Writer, photographer, film maker, designer... we wear many hats, my friends.

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