Danny Brown and Hallowe'enIt’s Hallowe’en weekend. Time to spend with the family and act like kids in a candy store again, with dress-up, neighbourhood wanderings and scary movies.

But did you know that Hallowe’en is one of the earliest pointers for social media as well?

Check it out.

Good Versus Bad

One of the earliest origins of the Hallowe’en celebration is a festival to ward off evil spirits. Before pumpkins became the symbol of Hallowe’en, turnips were carved instead.

This related back to “magic masks” being carved in olden times, to be worn to scare away evil spirits.

Compare that to social media and business practices. Social media allows us to connect with businesses that are doing things well (good spirits), and avoid those that are treating their customers like crap (evil spirits). We can also block people we don’t want to connect with – or, banish evil spirits.

Apple Bobbing for Business

While there are a ton of party games for Hallowe’en, one of the most popular is bobbing for apples. You place a bunch of apples in a tub of water on the floor, kneel on a chair above them with a fork in your mouth, then aim and release the fork. The goal is to pierce a bobbing apple, which is your prize to keep.

Now. Think of social media. Think of the tools available to help you laser target your customers. Think of the information available to let you target your marketing message. Think of how your aim can be true every time. Think of how your business can be the fork and every apple a potential customer.

Community Spirit

If there’s one thing that I love about Hallowe’en (apart from the cool costumes and the pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks), it’s the way the local community tends to come together. Kids mingle with other kids, parents from different streets get to know each other, and whole neighbourhoods open up to one another (if only for a night).

Now look at blogging. Look at the communities that can build up around that. Look at Facebook groups, and Twitter chats. Look at the way YouTube brings viewers from across the world to a single page to enjoy the same media. Look at how businesses and customers are connecting. Look at how social media lives up to its first word.

We may think social media is this cool new thing that’s going to change the way we communicate forever.

But haven’t we already been doing that for hundreds of years anyway?

Happy Hallowe’en, everyone!

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