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Social Media For Business: The Kodak Moment

God love my Father. His cable TV system is like something from the Dark Ages; he still uses VCR and still watches a videotaped TV version of Zulu, just because he can’t find a VHS version anywhere, and hasn’t migrated to full-on DVD mode yet.

He is about as HD un-ready as is humanly possible, thinks BluRay is a fish, and hasn’t had the internet for seven years since I moved out – taking the dial-up connection with me, leaving him trailing when broadband reared its ugly head. He thinks Twitter is something only birds do. He hasn’t ever even seen a Facebook page, despite being all over Facebook himself courtesy of family photos on both mine, my brother’s and our cousins’ profiles.

But the fact is, in every other way, shape and form, my Father is pretty young, trendy, funny and cool: he is adored by all my friends (and by me), and if only he’d let me sit down with him and actually talk him through the wonderful world of social media, digital TV and smartphones, he’d probably find that he was a dab hand at it all.

However, there are plus sides to having a Father who, by and large, lives in a house that resembles a war museum: one massive plus being that my Father’s house is literally littered with photo albums (well, not littered, they’re all kept neatly away in a cupboard somewhere – but the point is: they exist).

Photo albums do not exist in my house. I don’t have one. In fact I barely have any photos in my place. At all. The point is: all my photos, all my memories of nights out with my friends, of weddings, Christmases, birthdays, graduations, trips to the theatre, concerts, festivals, holidays… they all exist in digital form only. Online. I don’t actually remember the last time I got a single photograph or roll of film processed. And that, dear reader, disappoints me.

The Kodak Moment

After all, there is a certain, unmatched pleasure to be derived from opening a heavily bound photo album and slowly turning the pages: pouring yourself over the each photograph that has lovingly been placed there, one-by-one. On my last visit to my Father’s place we pulled out eight different photo albums and spent hours looking at pictures.

We laughed about the memories they brought back to us and the anecdotes they reminded us of; I wonder whether we would have gotten the same pleasure from sitting down in front of a PC (or my Android), clicking through one Facebook photo after another – digitally avoiding those pictures we took at the time but then erased (too ugly) or that we have since de-tagged (too many). Hardly that Kodak moment is it?

Perhaps it’s just my by-candlelight-Dad’s attitude rubbing off on me. Or perhaps it’s just a sign of the times. After all, there are many obvious benefits to having all your photos online (and in one place). And as a huge advocate for social media sites, I’m not going start denouncing them here – least of all for that. To quote Bob Dylan, “Times They Are A-Changin’”, and one needs to get with the programme (yes, that means you Dad).

Kodak got with that years ago, and they make bloody cameras. So maybe I should just stop harping on about the past. After all, while most people still think of Kodak they immediately think of cameras and film processing, the company has actually been at the forefront of business and science ever since its creation in 1892. After all, how many non-studio companies do you know that have nine Academy Awards to their name?

It’s all quite impressive stuff, and in this age of social media, Kodak has also been proactive in creating a formidable presence within the online arena too. In fact, in our recent interview with Kodak’s (now former) Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Hayzlett, really learnt a thing or two about the power of social media.

“Our social media activity is very, very heavy for us. We do a lot of education. We have market mover programmes inside of our B2B space. We spend a lot of time with our channel partners. Everything that we make internally for all of our videos, training videos, goes to all of our partners,” he explains. “I describe Twitter very much like a fax machine. It’s [just] like any other marketing tool that’s out there.”

So I’ve already embraced Twitter, and, whether I’ve realised it or not, I’ve already long waved goodbye to ever really owning a photo album again. Ever. Just my Dad to convert then, it seems. Maybe I should just sign him up to Facebook without even telling him. Uh-oh…

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