The following story is completely outlandish – and true.
Its not a joke, although its very funny.
A congregant of a rabbi lost his mother. After the funeral, the man turned to his spiritual leader with a question. “I know that I am now supposed to sit shiva. I’m aware of my religious obligation to stay home and refrain from work for seven days. But this is really my busy season. I’m wondering if it’s possible for me to hire someone to sit shiva for me.”
At first I didn’t believe the story, but after reading the remarkable new book by sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild, The Outsourced Self, I changed my mind. “Mourners for rent” is an outgrowth of the new reality of “personal outsourcing” that is gaining greater popularity and acceptance.
Yes, people today are hard pressed for time and are willing to pay for the privilege of having someone do things for them faster and better instead. I have no problem with people going to an accountant to file their taxes or to a manicurist to file their nails. Outsourcing these onerous tasks are well deserved benefits of being able to afford them.
But in addition to mourners for hire, the following intimate life services are now available: friends for rent, grandmas for rent, holiday gift buyer, photo album assembler, gravesite tenders, dog walkers, personal chefs, closet organizers, interactive motivators at parties, potty trainers, thumb-sucking specialists, dating service checkers, nameologists, wantologists and so much more.
What’s a nameologists? That’s a specialist who will expertly guide you to the right name to give to your newborn child, which will save you from the difficult task of choosing a beloved ancestor whose memory you want to perpetuate. And what’s a wantologist? That’s someone you can hire to help you figure out what you really want! (I’m not making this up.)
The common denominator in all of this outsourcing – from the personal to the commercial realm – is the tragic loss of the emotional component that ought to be the key to our relationships. The gift that I buy for a loved one because I chose it expresses my feelings far better than what my “holiday gift buyer” expert deems perfect because it’s in fashion. The photos I put together in my album may not be the ones chosen by the “professional photo album assembler,” but they will reflect the memories precious to me as I see them, not the ones I’m told to treasure by a stranger.
And the incredible category of “friends for rent” – have we lost all sense of the very meaning of the word friend? According to the ancient proverb, friends are one mind in two bodies. By the friend-for-rent standard, they are no more than a commercial transaction between a payer and a payee.
This post is part of a larger email that I have been told is credited to Aish Hatorah. I received it from a dear friend and thought it was worth sharing.
What do you think? Does outsourcing represent progress?
Overall, I think Timeline provides users with a richer online experience and an extended ability to look into a brand’s personality. While it isn’t as easy for brands to succeed, those with a strong social strategy can see better returns from their Facebook campaigns than they did before Timeline.
-Responses to status updates have fallen as a result of Timeline, but engagement with photos and videos have increased. People are cruising, not reading, and therefore larger visual cues are more important than ever on Facebook. Therefore, Hooplah has revisited our content strategies to see where we can enhance our posts with imagery and videos to increase engagement.
-Facebook’s older interface for business pages featured default landing pages that were used for marketing campaigns and sales promotions. Often, these opportunities were “Like-gated” meaning that a consumer was forced to like a company’s page before seeing its promotional content. Brands used Facebook contests as carrots to increase their fanbase which increased the reach of all of their messaging and communications. As a major change for many brands, the new Facebook Timeline no longer allows directing visitors to custom landing tabs. Companies like Hooplah have to work with our clients to develop a strong content strategy in order to engage its target audience and increase its fanbase organically and through ads.
-Of course there has also been a lot of talk about the 16% of your fans reached for free as opposed to your entire audience. To combat this “throttling” Hooplah plans very targeted media campaigns to increase our reach to a relevant audience. We have also made our posts more engaging by making the post language more participative, and adding photos and video.
-The new option to Pin a Post has also helped brands to keep their important messages above the fold – which has proven effective for Hooplah’s clients. For example, during Earth Month we had a campaign which raised awareness and money for Trees for The Future with LaCoupe. In the month of the promotion the content was shared over and over again as it was pinned to the top of the http://www.facebook.com/pages/LaCoupe/186110168124663 page.
What have you done differently as a result of the shift to Timeline?
It has been a long time since I posted in my blog. This is not because things haven’t been interesting. They have been. It has been an incredible busy year personally and professionally. Most recently I have been working on social strategies and executing campaigns to accomplish a variety of goals. I also joined empireavenue which I am finding an interesting social experiment. Finally, the team I work with updated and relaunched Homecare.com – a site for those who require elder care guidance. It is this last project that is the focus of this blog post.
In addition to owning the Homecare.com domain, the group I work with owns another several hundred related domain names. In considering what the best strategy to employ in order to cost effectively maximize our inbound traffic I learned a lot about multiple domain strategies of yesteryear.
The main thesis underlying a multiple domain strategy is that more domains will equal more visitors, either from type-in traffic or improved rankings. However the post-2010 reality is that these additional domains are unlikely to provide any real benefit and actually have a few drawbacks.
Duplicate Content Issues – When originally setting up each new domain, many business owners will simply copy content from their existing website. This can cause duplicate content issues for search engines which can make your new domains almost invisible in search results. If detected, Google will actually blacklist both domains.
Managing Multiple Content – To avoid duplicate content issues and get any additional domains to rank, the solution is to create unique content for each different site. This means you’ll have to multiply the amount of time spent managing your websites, getting content for these sites, and also multiply your SEO investment for each site.
Additional Costs – The additional cost of purchasing and hosting each new website could be better spent on marketing for your main website. Advertising is more likely to give you a better return than maintaining multiple domains. Where creating a site for a new domain can cost anywhere between $3,000 – $100,000 depending on the kind of site you want to create, it then also costs money to SEO the new site. Using these dollars to support the main domain and to grow web traffic and/or create new web content such as forums and a newsletter will drive SEO far more effectively than another domain would.
Customer Confusion – If customers find your business across a number of different domains, this can create confusion about the true identity of your business. If you are working with and established brand, or looking to establish a trusted brand – you don’t want to be confusing the customer.
Link Juice – If you have multiple domains appearing in search results, each domain may start to build their own incoming links from various different sources. This dilutes the overall benefit of these links as they are spread across many different domains instead of pointing to your main website. Link juice has become increasingly important and requires a backlink strategy for each domain you are trying to build link juice for. Google + is a reason to continue to focus on one domain and get multiple pluses on pages that exist on that domain to improve the rankings of that domain. Using multiple domains reduces the impact Google+ can have.
My mom got a call from an agent claiming he could handle her open enrollment and she would save $500 a year; he just needed her Medicare number and her credit card for a small handling fee of $9.99. My mom hung up. I’m sure this was a scam. Am I right? Is this common?
For the answer please visit: http://homecare.com/financial_and_legal_issues/scams_during_medicare_open_enrollment