M-commerce & Social is Successful! Do We Really Want It?

The country, if not the world, is gleaming with pride as the mash-up of m-commerce with a social aspect is not only succeeding, but thriving. Let’s pull the reins in here just a few minutes and give this some thought. Do we really want it? Can it last?

A quick knee jerk response is – of course we want it, why wouldn’t we! I’ve been doing some insider research on four different sites for the past sixteen months and I’ll disclose my findings. This is my personal opinion based on my personal findings – read that as: I’m not faulting or glorifying any site, this is research!

I’m surrounded by people who invent things. People who are constantly having their visions put into actions, their actions turned into products, their products patented and released. I’m the psych person on the other end reminding them that one fact need always be taken into consideration with any tech invention – think of the very worst case use of this and find a way to keep it from happening BEFORE you release it into the world!

Remember (some of you are probably too young) when everyone was so excited that the iPhone6_34FL_3-Color-Spaced_Homescreen-PRINT_edited-1mobile phone was going cellular? A mobile that would sync automatically into any cell it passed. Fast forward to an increase in auto accidents. Remember the initial concept of texting? Ok, that pays my mortgage, but again an increase in auto accidents and what physical therapists refer to as “texting syndrome” – wrist and hand disorders when used incorrectly! Let’s move on to the built-in camera. Spiffing invention until some morons decided that taking pics of women in changing rooms and gyms (and posting the pics online) without their knowledge or consent was a good idea. The country went crazy, albeit for a short period of time, and demanded that the subject somehow be made aware that the pic was being taken. That never happened! I’ve just skimmed the surface of the mobile industry here, but that’s my focal point. Of course any object used incorrectly, or in the wrong hands, can be damning if not deadly. I’ve got fourteen inch chef’s knives and a .38 that could be used as examples too. Think it through…….always take it to its logical, even absurd conclusion.

Now, we are all extremely excited about the successful mash-up of m-commerce and social. The ability to sell items on our mobile devices and chat with the prospective buyer. Again, spiffing idea. However, it begs the question, “how’s that working for ya?”

In my opinion, anytime social is added to anything virtual you’ve just mixed a Molotov cocktail without knowing it. Social in the virtual world is actually not that “social.” Alter-egos and evil twins emerge since “hey, it’s not personal. I’m never going to even meet you.” Social is a double-edged sword. You get the good, but you must accept the bad too. That mentality eludes me. Normal humans are capable of carrying on complete conversations without any name calling, negative comments about appearances, degrading racial references, or physical threats. However, in a virtual world the very same people develop “on-line courage,” as its called. Courage, it is not. It is common, ill-mannered, bullying behavior normally relegated to the sophomoric behavior of teenagers. How much of this type of behavior will real humans tolerate before giving it up on the social selling concept completely? How many personal (yes, it’s personal when your appearance, gender, or race is attacked) jibes would you take without being allowed to respond? Would you take those jibes in person? No? Then why take them online??
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Of course, in any selling venue there will be snippy comments regarding price. Fine, go somewhere else. If I’m in Neiman’s and I don’t like the price, I’m perfectly free to step down to Nordstrom or Saks. That being said, now imagine you’re selling in a social environment where written comment is highly encouraged and jibes allowed. Now, remember you’re not allowed to respond or delete the rude, sometimes vulgar, comments. There’s the sharp edge of the mash-up – the spinach you must eat in order to get your pudding.

The pudding does exist. People swoon over the items you’re selling; refer their friends; announce engagements, births, adoptions, birthdays; share life lessons and stories. Social brings about the ability to form friendships even off-line. Once you’ve finally met in real life, you’re fast friends since you already know so much about each other. Thankfully, I’ve had much more of this than I’ve had of the spinach.

Back to the original question: it’s a success, but do we really want it? Do we force ourselves to endure the spinach to get our pudding? How long will it last? For me, the answer is yet unknown. There’s only a certain amount of spinach I can handle, without dishing some out too. Everyone has a breaking point. Where is yours? In speaking with others during my research, I’ve discovered that I’m not alone. Many, many, oh so many on-line sellers are backing away from the social aspect for this very reason. I’m not happy to report this, but with the interviews I’ve conducted the facts show that jealousy reigns amongst women. Now, everyone calm down! There are women who enable other women and I’m proud to say I’ve met many. However, there are some, for lack of self confidence or just due to bad breeding, who want nothing more than to attack other women to make themselves feel better. They are not jealous of other women’s looks, but are jealous of the products other women are selling.  Odd concept, that a woman of my generation cannot fathom, but then we are the generation that shattered the glass ceiling of business and education for every young girl behind us.
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Certain phrases, words, or symbols are just never in good taste in any social group – on-line or in real life. As the world is finally discovering, even on-line comments have their place. Their place is to stay in your head if it’s not socially acceptable – don’t type every thought! Even Facebook has announced, rather loudly, that they are censoring content and removing anything inappropriate. Instagram and Pinterest reserve the right to remove any photo which is deemed inappropriate by them or by enough community members. Censorship? That’s a harsh word for me to handle. No, moderating the on-line comment has less to do with censorship and much, much more to do with plain, old fashioned, good manners. If you wouldn’t say it out loud to someone’s face, don’t type it!

So, thinking of entering into a mash-up of m-commerce and social? Give this report some thought. Love it or hate it – it’s based on facts! How “social” do you actually want to be with “virtual humans” – the ones who can have your home address with the click of a “buy” button??

Poshmark Meet & Greet Wine Tour Live Party

As most of my followers know, I sell consignment, and some new, as well as vintage clothing through an app called Poshmark (I’m called @vacat). If you don’t know, there will be a blog post on that later. If you’re a fellow posher, I hope you’ll enjoy this. For the sake of this blog, let’s assume you are!

So, you’re a Poshmark fanatic and you’ve decided you want to finally meet some local poshers. A live Meet & Greet is your answer. I highly recommend this for every posher. There’s NO better way to actually get to know each other, put a face with a name when you’re chatting on Poshmark, find all the poshers in your area, and perchance even make new real life friends.

Last Saturday, October 25, I hosted a Meet & Greet wine tour in the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains. Yes, Virginia there is beautiful autumn foliage and yes there is award winning vineyards in them thar hills!!!

Posh Party 7First, it’s important to note that this was an intimate (read that as small) get together, but it was a huge success. Lesson 1) keep the gathering intimate so you can REALLY talk. Over various wine pairings, breads and cheeses, we shared stories of our birthplaces, families, marriages, locations we had lived, and of course poshing. No loud music, no games, no inebriated men to hit on us. Ok, maybe we are old, but it does still happen! See, you’re laughing already and you weren’t even there.

How did we accomplish this? Glad you asked because I learned it’s not as easy as it seems to teleport “virtual” people into “real” people in one location. So, there are other lessons embedded here. This is not a PowerPoint bulleted presentation – stay awake! To determine if there was any interest, I put out feelers last Autumn about a wine tour. When I had determined that there were actually dozens of poshers interested, I posted an invite on Poshmark. Lesson 2) find out if anyone is interested in attending and don’t just assume that because you like the location everyone else will. Everyone loves you on-line, but maybe not enough to endure a mariachi band in real life.

Posh Party 1Since the states are so small up here (sorry, but I’m a Texan and I haven’t gotten used to being in three states in less than hour!), I added the surrounding states in the title. Lesson 3) include abbreviations for the surrounding states. You never know if someone from another state might see the invite and be willing to make the drive. I posted the invite eight weeks in advance. Lesson 4) give everyone plenty of time to arrange their hectic schedules, find babysitters, etc. Of course, if you live in a very urban area, you can probably just call poshers you already know and pull together an impromptu meeting anytime – this is not for you! This is how to get to that stage.

Since the vineyards are a ninety minute drive from DC, I arranged for everyone to call in and book their seats on a tour bus. Three ladies actually bought their tour bus tickets in time before the bus was filled with wide-eyed tourists. The others decided to drive so they could enjoy the scenery and make stops (shopping perhaps?) along the route. Lesson 5) clearly post time frames for RSVP and advise everyone of transportation, then pray they heed your advice. (Note: if you’re an attendee, be courteous to your host and make certain you can afford the bus ticket or taxi fare to the destination! Everyone loves you, but not enough to be your chauffeur).

About two weeks in advance, I emailed Poshmark and requested swag for the event. They provided pins, shipping cards, stickers, and pencils. Posh Party 5 Nice touches for the parting gift bags, but it needed a personal touch. I added a silver wine glass charm (fashion themed of course), homemade pumpkin cookies, and brochures of the wine country all in my signature paw print bags and tissue. Posh Party 6My lovely fellow posher Virginia (yes, that’s her real name – coincidence, hmm), who is @cody7150 on Poshmark, hand painted wine glasses for the bags. Lesson 6) get the swag and put together themed parting gift bags with added personal touches. Let others contribute, if they ask. Your guests will be treated to something they can cherish long after the event is over.

Truth be told, we had a few issues. About half of the committed attendees had a change in plan, the pairings at the first vineyard were not enough to substitute for lunch (my bad – as I believed them without seeing it first for myself and they wouldn’t let me cater the event). Lesson 7) do a test run by yourself to make sure everything is actually as described by the provider. Still, we had so much fun and I am now blessed with new real life friends. As you can see from these pictures, we started the day very proper. By the time we reached the second vineyard, everyone was much more relaxed. Strangers no more – friends always!

Posh Party 3The best lesson: post the invite, stick to the RSVP date, show up, don’t worry about the cancellations (be prepared to just absorb those lost dollars), relax, and HAVE FUN!! It’s a party, not a ninja special op! Oh wait, that’s me!!!!