The 5 challenges I’ve faced with Snapchat for microblogging and personal branding

The 5 challenges I’ve faced with Snapchat for microblogging and personal branding

For more than a week, I have been playing around with my new initiative on Snapchat, and it has been fun, but also challenging.

As I wrote last week, I am sharing my work day every day on Snapchat to show what it is like working in the marketing and communication business. You can read more about my reasons in my first update: A Snapchat adventure. 

I have had a lot of fun trying to share my day: capturing the fun moments, attempting to show some of the less fun tasks, and sharing how I go about my daily tasks, such as using Grammarly to spell check, contextual spelling, and sentence structure among other. And now, I want to share some of the challenges I have identified in the first couple of weeks.

Top 5 challenges of using Snapchat for microblogging and personal branding:

  1. Do people realize my snaps include sound? When I got to work last Monday, my colleague, and partner in this Snapchat adventure, Christian Bennike, said: “Your snap from last night pissed me off, I don’t care you’re working late on a Sunday.” But the thing is, he didn’t know I was speaking and sharing a tip on why I was looking at my mailbox because he had muted his phone. You can follow Christian’s snaps by adding: bennikec
  2. In which situations can you take a snap without seeming completely and utterly unprofessional to your colleagues who aren’t using Snapchat? I try to be conscious of this at all times, only snapchatting when it’s appropriate and slowly adjusting coworkers to this new media. However, one colleague thought it was our official channel and wanted to share something work related: big thumbs up for adapting and embracing new media!
  3. Should I share Snapchats on the weekend? I rarely work on the weekend, but I do keep tabs on our social media channels, write replies, and moderate our community, but it’s low key and nothing exciting: which might be the reason I should share it – it’s a big part of working with social media and community management.
  4. I have been struggling with what and when to share from my daily work: when am I actually doing something that’s shareable? When it happens that something is shareable, I often find myself caught up in the moment and forget about Snapchat, only to realize the missed opportunity when the moment has passed. I have to become more comfortable with using Snapchat as an integral part of my day perhaps.
  5. Right now, I feel like a fool when I share a video of myself speaking English. Yes, I do enjoy speaking and writing in English: it’s been an integral part of my education and work for many years. But, when it comes down to it, I probably don’t have any English speakers following me right now – but what if someone is an English speaker or an English speaker starts following? This video is unfortunately in Danish, but bear with me, I am learning!


Top 3 goals moving forward with Snapchat as a microblogging and personal branding tool:

  1. Share more of everything – and keep in mind that it can be an ecosystem of social media (Thanks, Guilla and Morten for some great questions and useful feedback!).
  2. Figure out how to make it a dialogue: how can it be more than a one-way channel?
  3. How to increase my following?!

As always, I am very keen to hear what you guys thinks, so please do share any and all thoughts in the comment section below: feedback is appreciated!

A Snapchat adventure

A Snapchat adventure

Hi guys,

For a long time, I have wanted to do some kind of blogging, which so far has resulted in a rather sporadic blogging frequency here on LinkedIn.

I wanted to blog to show people like me – students and those who have just graduated – what kind of challenges and tasks you face in the “real world” outside of school. Something that I missed during my studies; I honestly didn’t know what to expect.

I know many have felt/feel like me.

I never got comfortable with personal blogging – which is weird when I think of how much I enjoy writing for work – and breaking through the clutter is at best an uphill battle.

So, what to do? I suck at photography, so Instagram is out of the picture.

Then, my colleague, Christian, introduced me to Gary Vaynerchuk and showed me one of Vaynerchuk’s daily videos. In this video, Vaynerchuk showed what an any given day in his life looks like. And I got really excited about his extensive use of Snapchat: showing people his day and work quickly, authentically, honestly.

I’ve used Snapchat for a long time – and I really enjoy it. So I have decided to show my day and work, as much as possible, on Snapchat: focusing on my work with social media and content marketing. But doing it honestly and not just showing off the great assignments and cool meetings. But how the coffee sucks, how I had to wear the most god awful monkey suit this week: it’s true… (Follow me on Snapchat if you want to see it: clickbait), or if I get chewed out – hopefully not -, and when things are freaking amazing. The whole shebang.

I hope it will give an honest look at what working with social media, and content marketing might look like; what an average day entails; and that every day isn’t about strategy, photo shoots, and other fun things.

If you’re interested then follow me at chriskjaerulff directly from the app or scan the Snapchat logo here:

I’m starting tomorrow, Friday, and I’ll try to keep it in English, so keep an eye out for that My Story!

I hope you like the idea: any and all feedback is appreciated.

Cheers, Christopher

You can download SnapChat for iOS here or Andriod here.

Are we really getting a ‘dislike’ function?

Today, my Facebook newsfeed has been all about the new ‘dislike’ function on Facebook with sites such as Mashable, IFLScience, and TechCrunch chiming in. Well, before we get all worked up – as has been the tendency – I think it’s important to look at what Mr. Zuckerberg actually said:

“We didn’t want to just build a ‘dislike’ button because we don’t want to turn Facebook into a forum where people are voting up or down on people’s posts,” he said. “That doesn’t seem like the kind of community we want to create. You don’t want to go through the process of sharing some moment that’s important to you in your day and then have someone down vote it. That isn’t what we’re here to build in the world.”

Yes, the word ‘dislike’ was used, but from my point of view it seems more likely that we won’t get a ‘dislike’ function, but a feature that allows us to express empathy for others; something similar to a ‘sorry’ button as TechCrunch reports. This is of course as speculative as what others have claimed, but it seems to fit better with what Zuckerberg says above.

Moreover, in the video above it is clearly said that the goal isn’t to turn Facebook into a place where people vote posts up or down:

“You don’t want to go through the process of sharing some moment that’s important to you in your day and then have someone down vote it.”

For businesses, this probably means that Facebook users won’t get the option of down voting content into oblivion either. This would make good sense – which business would want to advertise on a platform where their posts could receive more ‘dislikes’ than ‘likes’? And at the end of the day, Facebook needs to offer an attractive service to businesses to make money.

Not something that could possibly alienate marketers.

How do social media harness structure

How do social media harness structure

So, here is the second post about my master’s thesis. A thesis concerned with the interplay between social media and organizational structure. You can read it here.

When I started writing my thesis, I was heavily influenced by organizational notions such as formalization, integration, and (de)centralization; ideas introduced in many of my previous organizational courses throughout my education.

However, one’s worldview luckily evolves over time, and I have come to realize that there are different ways of viewing organizations, different paradigms if you will.

The rational system perspective

The one introduced in my organizational courses was the rational system perspective. This perspective relies on formalization, goal specificity, specialization in job roles and much more (Scott 1998, pp. 33-37).

It offered a lens through which to view reality and guided much of my work. What’s more, it confirmed my own notions about working with social media. In my experience, a certain degree of formalization is/was required to guide the – some times difficult and complex – workflows connected to community management and content creation. Especially, when you are working with highly technical products and services, and there is an emphasis on providing the most accurate information possible (and I have relied heavily on my very skilled engineer colleagues as I know absolutely nothing about pumps!).

Interestingly, I have found that opinions are rather divided on this matter, speaking with friends, fellow students, and colleagues. Some advocate high levels of formalization to guide and ensure accuracy in the communication across social media channels, whereas others emphasize a need for agility and freedom to reply quickly and create creative content.

The natural system perspective

However, there are other ways of viewing organizations. What if formalization of the structure is important, but not necessarily the most important factor? The natural system perspective asks exactly that question, and it emphasizes the informal structure as having greater importance (Scott 1998, pp. 57-58). What people actually do; the behavioral structure, instead of what they are supposed to do; the normative (formal) structure (Scott 1998, pp. 57-58).

This worldview opened my eyes; the informal structure has been praised for easing communication, increasing trust, and correcting inadequacies of the formal structure (Scott 1998, pp. 59-60). When I revisit my own behavior, I quickly see how much I actually rely on these informal structures for feedback; but perhaps even more important how they can hinder the work of a social media team.

Informal structure is based on personal characteristics and relations of that particular individual (Scott 1998, pp. 59-60), and I quickly came to realize that many of the engineers I rely on for expert input are perhaps only known by myself. I trust them completely and we communicate quickly despite being located miles apart in different departments. But what happens if an employee with that knowledge is out sick? How can the next person pick up?

Does this uncertainty call for a high degree of formalization in social media initiatives, so that you “cut out the individual” and provide a formal structure with clearly defined workflows easily understood by someone not familiar with the initiative? Or does it call for a team made up of a new type of employees that aren’t hired for their ability to quickly adapt to new situations, but for their ability to network inside and outside the organization and work the informal structure?

Please feel free to join the discussion and share your opinion!



Scott: Organizations: rational, natural, and open systems (1998) chapters 1-3.

Social media’s interplay with organizational structure

Social media’s interplay with organizational structure

As most of us are probably aware, social media has increasingly gained prominence. A three year old survey, cited in an article on social media use in organizations, found that 65 per cent of businesses used some sort of social media platform or Web 2.0 based solution (Treem & Leonardi 2012, p. 143).

And it wouldn’t surprise me if that number was even higher today.

This interest has so far manifested in audiences, strategies, platforms and KPIs receiving most of the attention. However, other aspects are equally important (in my mind), if businesses want to truly leverage the power of social media.

One of these aspects is organizational structure (another equally important aspect is organizational culture, which can have a detrimental impact on internal social media (Parry & Solidoro 2013, pp. 133-134)). Any community manager knows how social media permeates the organization and affects more than the department it originated in.

From personal experience working with social media and as a community manager, I can attest that you receive a variety of different requests through social. And it’s this variation that permeates the organization; when requests range from the plain and simple “can I have your contact information” to “I’m experiencing this problem with your product” and the occasional “shitstorm” for some organization (luckily, I have never experienced this).

To deal with this, you have to have a structure (and culture) that allows for quick and agile knowledge sharing and collaboration between departments and business functions to successfully assist the customer at hand. And I would imagine that this is increasingly true the more specialized an organization gets.

Yet, this is precariously under emphasized in both business-related literature and the academic world with Linke & Zerfass (2012, p. 272) noting that: “organizations are still lacking appropriate structures, cultures and strategies for participative modes of online communication” .

I have therefore in my master’s thesis set out to investigate how organizational structure and social media interacts. Throughout this process, I will on a more or less regular basis share my thoughts on social media and organizational structure (once in a while adding the odd comment on culture; despite this not being in the thesis’ scope). So, if you find this interesting, stay turned for more thoughts.

Please feel free to leave a comment and share your thoughts with us (Go ahead and write in Danish as well!)



Linke & Zerfass: Social Media governance: regulatory framework for successful online communication (2012) pp. 270-286

Parry & Solidoro: Social media as a mechanism for engagement? (2013) Chapter 6

Treem & Leonardi: Social media use in organizations: exploring the affordances of visibility, editability, persistence, and association (2012) pp. 143-189