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Alex from Target

AKRON (Nov. 24, 2014) — If you have been following this social media blog series throughout the almost two years it’s been running, you know I am a big fan of social media. I live and breathe the platform, and it is hard to surprise me. I love watching different trends pick up and calm down.

I love watching how businesses are utilizing new and alternative forms of social media and I love sharing this with tire and automotive aftermarket dealers. But once in a blue moon, even I need to sit back and process what just happened. Enter: Alex from Target.

 If you haven’t heard about Alex from Target yet, check out this New York Times article that details both the positive and negatives sides of a random high school Target Brands Inc. employee turned Internet sensation.

The New York Times article explains that Alex Lee, a 16-year-old Target employee was minding his own business, working at a Target store in Frisco, Texas, when an image of him working starting making its way across the Internet. Throughout his shift, he noticed his checkout line started to get longer than others. Young girls started to come through the line, giggling.

Eventually his manager showed him the picture of him on her phone that had been traveling online. He had to be transferred to the backroom because it was getting out of hand. When he completed his shift, he looked at his phone and saw that he had more than 100,000 followers. He tweeted, “Am I famous now?” and that message was retweeted more than 42,000 times and favorited by 86,000 users.

What is the point here? We have come a long, long way from letter carriers being the way we communicate. We have come farther than email. There is no better example at how younger generations are communicating and how fast they are communicating than Alex from Target.

Maybe you read this story and have no clue why this happened or what about this kid is news of any importance. Maybe it’s the same way you feel when you, yourself are standing in the Target line, looking at the tabloids, not understanding who these reality stars are or why they are famous. That's fine. You don’t have to understand it, but as a business owner, you should understand the culture behind it.

Social media is a great platform to reach younger demographics, and even more technologically advanced demographics. Because it’s not just about #AlexfromTarget. It’s about #SarahfromGiant, #MatthewfromAbercrombie, #HarryFromMandevilleBakery, etc. It’s about trending topics. It's about people on social media getting to deem what they think is important rather than just reading what is available.

Karpus- social media blog

Social media can be fun. It can be all about engaging with your audience online. Why can’t there be a #JoefromTireShop or #BillatAuto? There can be. Jumping on trending hashtags — if done correctly for fun initiatives and not for serious news items inappropriately — can help you get your business name out there. And who is to say that some awesome social media campaign your business puts on can’t go viral like Alex from Target? No one. Anything can go viral, especially if it is fun and something that people want to share.

Personally, I think one of the most remarkable parts of the whole story is that Alex from Target is taking this unexpected publicity and making it positive. So often we look at others who have done really nothing to be famous, and all they are doing is trying to keep their fame for the sole purpose of being famous.

This teenager showed up at work and walked out an Internet superstar. Something happened to him that so many other people try to do, and he took it in style. Alex said as a younger child he was bullied, so he is taking the online hecklers in stride and wants to help other kids who experience being bullied online. I applaud you Alex from Target. 

Maybe in general you think that technology and the pace at which information can be spread is just too much; too fast. Negative words can spread quickly too, but for me at least, it is great to see when technology is being used for good. And if Alex can help people who previously may have been unreachable, then I think this whole thing is a positive.

Thanksgiving is just a few days away and I want to express my gratitude for those who have followed this blog series. I hope that I have given you assistance on tackling the ever-changing platform of social media. At the very least, if there is a lull in the post-turkey conversation, you can bring up Alex from Target. Happy Thanksgiving!

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