A Final Paper

Human existence can be explained by stating that it is made up of one part communication and one part community. Humans require several basic needs but it is most apparent that, besides the necessary food and water, a human needs to have a sense of belonging to a community and to be able to communicate with that community.  Throughout the history of the modern world, countless societies have formed and toppled, all developing their own way of life and form of communication. With each century, even every year, we invent a new way of communication.
From written and spoken language we created books. From writing and speaking we created telegraphs, and in turn the American Pony Express delivery service. Each generation craves a deeper knowledge of their surroundings and the news of the world, and it is the job of computer developers worldwide to deliver these new and easier means of communication to the world.
The last 20 years alone have seen the development of cellular telephones from bulky bricks to slim slivers. Not only can you call internationally from a telephone now, but you also use them to text, email, or leave a voicemail for a friend. The commercialization of the Internet in the 1990s also gave way to a new age of cyber-communication in the 21st century.
Social media as we know it has changed form with the introduction of the internet and can now be used to spread the word of organizations and personalities worldwide. The Internet introduced the public to social media outlets like Facebook, Myspace, YouTube, etc. The ease of access to the internet has revolutionized the way that society, especially commercialism, now represents and distributes itself. The rise in the use of the internet to about 1/3 of the Earth’s population now having access to some form of the network has made companies change the way that they think about advertising. 

FOLK Magazine was started with small business and small-town America at the forefront of our minds. FOLK is not just a magazine to us, but it's our way of life and our way of sharing our lives and lives of others with our readers. One of the principal components of that life is an involvement and commitment to small business and artisanal goods. After years of working with small businesses I felt it was my duty to build a new platform for these business owners to exhibit their products and their work as something bigger and more involved than big box mercantilism. I wanted the businesses to be able to compete with big business again. Just showing the businesses wasn't enough for FOLK and our staff, though. We wanted something different and more involved.

This was the start of FOLK Label, our non-profit organization. FOLK Label is a non-profit organization designed to promote, advertise, and sell the products of those American artisans that we talk about in our magazine. It wasn't enough to give them a few pages in a magazine, but properly getting their names out to the public through social media could really help and give growth to these small businesses. Through Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, and the like we have designed a campaign that publicizes the heart of America's last heritage businesses.

Facebook was the first and immediate way that FOLK Label was promoted. With a user number of nearing 800 million, Facebook is the most widely used social media site currently. It makes it the obvious choice to promote any kind of event or organization for a quick response. For FOLK Label we used our FOLK Magazine Facebook page to advertise the businesses and business owners throughout the second half of 2011 and also displayed their products in our photography. We posted several posts about these businesses as a way of introducing the numerous Facebook fans that we currently have to quality American goods.

Throughout the holiday season we also promoted the businesses that we work with, such as Woodland Primitives, as potential gift ideas. The posts promote businesses, their owners, and their products. This allows those 800 million viewers to view the small Ohio business and the quality handmade primitive products made by Carol Woodard. This campaign was utilized to also promote the products designed by our FOLK Label artisans that we carried in our FOLK Store in Beaver Dam, KY. Using Facebook also allowed us to advertise special holiday events for the sell of these products in store through Facebook's Events option.

Twitter and Tumblr were utilized in much the same way as Facebook, though Twitter's 140 characters rule made summarizing our promotions interesting. Twitter and Tumblr were outlets to get those users that may not have Facebook into the promotion of FOLK Label.

Pinterest is a new addition to our social media outfit. It is used as a collection of "pins" that show the inspiration of the user in a very organized and visual way. Using interest we "pin" pictures of our artists creations and allow the Pinterest community to see the products made by our artisans to inspire the public and to advertise our non-profit businesses.

Youtube has been implemented in our FOLK business in recent months when we have updates for our readers on YouTube, Blogger, Twitter, and Facebook. Using YouTube my staff and I post updates for FOLK readers with important deadlines, but also with information that we think they may find interesting. We have talked about FOLK Label numerous times on YouTube, and subsequently posted it to our other social media sites, and have showcased our artisans in the videos. We use products from our artists in our videos when we are advertising the businesses and when we are promoting the non-profit organization itself.

Our final major social media resource has been Blogger. Blogger has a huge viewing audience not counting its immense user-base. Using Blogger we are able to link our FOLK Magazine blog to those of our artists and businesses in the FOLK Label. We are also able to blog about upcoming events, products, stores, and artists that revolve around the FOLK Label.

Social media is an industry with continuing growth, and it is an industry that will always have relevance in our society. Our society has become so media-centric that we've discovered thousands of ways to make sure that we know every detail of any current event immediately. Social media through internet use is the brick-and-mortar of that business, the foundation. Without Facebook or Twitter how would we know that Chase is "finally getting his phone back today"? Or more importantly how would we know that Southern Proper has teamed up with Red Clay Soul to give back this Christmas season? If it is as simple as clicking an icon to get these kind of updates, why can't these kinds of exposure bring back small business America? It has proven useful for FOLK Magazine, and even for FOLK Label. This is why I chose not only to pick a non-profit for use in this paper, but to invent a real tangible cause that I was driven to support. One that I can advertise and promote to help the nation I love, and the people who keep it's heritage, history, and market alive one quilt stitch at a time?


  1. Thank you for your commitment to encouraging and promoting small businesses. You are a magazine with a heart and soul! ~Roberta

  2. Thank you so much. As an American artisan I can't tell you how this is appreciated! I hope you can continue to hold off the mass produced masses and stay true to your first desires! Bravo! My SIL's Santa is in your window right now and every time I see it I am bustin' proud of her!!

  3. Dear Ben...Great paper! I'm giving you an A+ and thanking you for mentioning me. I truly appreciate what you are doing and it's catching on. We can take back the American craft industry and take pride in ourselves again. We do not have to buy from other countries, but we do have to take the time to seek out the American made. And... that is where you have come in to help the buying public. Please keep up your work and we will follow.

    Smiles, Carol / Woodland Primitives


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