“My favorite part about working in #socialmedia is the opportunity to make moments that have an instant and measurable impact.” @kengibbsjr #GAWGTweet
I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend and was able to virtually or physically celebrate with their loved ones. I’m excited to share my next Going.Ahead.With Gage because it features someone who’s career I greatly admire and has worked at some pretty amazing companies! Please enjoy my interview with Ken Gibbs, previously the VP of Digital Video and Social Content at ViacomCBS.
What’s your favorite part about working in social media?
The opportunity to make moments that have an instant and measurable impact. In every other field you publish and pray that you see a response to your creative in other media or platforms in the form of a review or critique of some sort. But in social you put it out and watch it sink or swim immediately, and some sometimes it swims forever.
“Lots of #socialmedia is about watching people in places you don’t have access to, so will that person still be interesting to follow when they’ve been trapped inside for 30 days? @kengibbsjr #GAWG #COVID19 #influencersTweet
How do you see social media changing after the COVID-19 outbreak?
I think every platform will reexamine their live strategy and capabilities, wondering why they aren’t getting the activity that IG Live is seeing on a nightly basis. I also think people will revisit who they follow and why. Lots of social is about watching people in places that you don’t have access to or can afford to visit. Will that person be as interesting to follow after they’ve been trapped in house for 30 days? There may be a culling of social influencers, as a result.
What do you love most about video content?
The increasing form factors, from 16×9, 9×16, 1×1, etc, and that it can now be so easily upstreamed from social to linear platforms.
What video trends do you see taking off this year?
I think live will be pushed back to the forefront of online video because of social distancing, with platforms adding more communal elements to the toolset that will make the broadcasts more engaging. Sure, Live With on Instagram is great, but what if you could bring even more people into your broadcast just as easily? I’m looking for a platform to make it possible for a game show the likes of HQ to be executed easily, where people can play live from the comfort of their homes in front of a worldwide audience.
What’s your secret passion?
Gaming. I think e-sports will usher in a whole new world of entertainment and competition now that we can play with anyone around the world. I’m really excited about what we might see on the next generation games for the Series X and PS5.
“There is some truth in the old adage of ‘it’s not what you know, but who you know,’ but performance does matter.” @kengibbsjr #GAWG #career #leadershipTweet
What’s something you’ve learned in your career that you’ve held on to inspire you to keep pushing forward?
That performance matters. After twenty years in the business I’ve seen enough to recognize that there is some truth in the old adage of “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” However, consistently performing at a higher level has helped me overcome the hurdles that pedigree can present.
How do you encourage people to keep pushing forward when they feel like they aren’t getting anywhere?
I give them insight into my journey or the journey of others that can help put their struggle in context. We’ve all felt like that. Sometimes it helps for people to know that you once felt the same way, then walk them through what you did to power through to where you are today.
What advice do you have for younger generations that are early in their careers and trying to work their way up?
You must be a master of your craft. Life gets busy real fast as you age, with family, increasing personal and professional responsibilities, etc. The best way to work your way up in these changing times is to be an invaluable knowledge resource. People always need people who know what they don’t have the time to learn at a granular level.
“I had to recognize and value the contribution that I make to any organization.” @kengibbsjr #GAWG #career #leadershipTweet
What is one of the most difficult decisions you’ve made in your career and what did you learn from it?
Leaving Aol. The company had brought me from Boston to DC and ultimately relocated me to New York right out of school. I really didn’t have much of a life and worked around the clock, so it was like a family to me. But as the digital landscape evolved it was clear that l would need to move to evolve, as well. Aol was my first job, so I was nervous about what life would be like at another company. Kevin Liles, who was my mentor at the time, gave me the best advice. He said something to me like, “You’ve already made it happen at Aol, but you gotta go somewhere and do it again to prove you can make it happen.” He helped me realize that I’ve got to recognize and value the contribution that I make to any organization.
I love book recommendations to help me grow in my career and challenge my thinking – What books would you recommend as a must-read for career growth and/or just fictional fun?
Here’s a fun one that’s got nothing to do with careers — Once Upon a Time in Compton! It’s an amazing look at the evolution of life in Compton through the eyes of two police officers.
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