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Archive | November, 2010

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How not to Tweet with the TSA

TSAblogteam Tweets about Pilgrims.May I present the worst tweets I have seen this month.  These three come from the Travel Security Agency’s blog team. The team represents the agency that is supposed to be protecting the American public from the threat of terrorism in the airlines.

I can’t believe a social media team that should be focused on explaining travel procedures and security resorted to making lame Thanksgiving jokes on the busiest day of travel the during a time when they are under extreme scrutiny by the American public.

TSA Tweets About Themselves, I mean Turkeys.To me, these tweets say, “We don’t care about security. We’d rather crack lame jokes. We don’t want to explain how we keep the American public safe.

Thanksgiving may be over, but the holiday travel rush is just getting started. Instead of using social media to gauge what people are saying and engaging them on how it’s necessary, TSA is using its Twitter account and blog to explain how and why they delete comments from their blog.

Tofu Turkey may not be real, but this TSA Tweet is.It’s no wonder why some American’s can’t take security seriously. I’m all for having fun on social networks, but that’s for individuals, not government agencies. If the TSA can’t treat their social media communication seriously, why should we take anything else they do seriously?

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You Are a Social Media Product

You Are a Social Media Product, Sucker

Facebook, Twitter, or any social network isn’t something that can sell itself. It needs you, and preferably every single one of your friends, ever.

I recently joined a new social network, Path, and I cannot find a single person I know. I like the idea of Path. I like the limit of 50 friends and its simplicity, but if I cannot find a soul on it, then what’s the point of using Path? I want to share moments with people, not with myself. I do that all day long, and trust me, I get sick of my crazy self.

The goal of any social network is to connect people. If a social network can’t do that, then what’s the point?

So, what do you market to get people to join your network? Sure, features are one thing, but really, what else can network offer beyond sharing text, pictures and videos? People.

That’s why you see your friends and possible acquaintances constantly popping up in the sidebar on Facebook. That’s why Twitter tells you “Who to Follow.” It’s why LinkedIn shows people you may know. Because these people and what they offer to the network are the product. Everything else is secondary to providing access and information on the people.

Social networks are only fun when they are social. That’s why Path looks like a barren wasteland of ones and zeroes to me. It needs humanity. Without people, social networks are just networks.

And who wants to be a part of that?

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New Social Networks that No One Cared About

Path - 50 Friends away from AngerDo you want to know what week is the absolute worst week to announce anything about your brand new or improved social network?  The week of American Thanksgiving. You basically get two days, Monday and Tuesday, to attract people’s attention, because after Tuesday all people care about is turkey and getting a 40 inch Plasma TV at dirt cheap prices while trampling their competition.

So, here are two cool social networks that have a marketing and press team that has no sense of timing.

Path is a social network that limits you to 50 friends.  I’m on Path with zero friends.  The only thing more depressing than social network with a 50 friend limit is a social network with zero friends and a 50 friend limit.

Diaspora is the open source alternative alternative to Facebook made by a small group of NYU Students. Like most open source projects, they didn’t realize that real people may want to use Diaspora, so you need your own server to run Diaspora. Yeah, you all can call me when you start doing that.

Did any other social networks launch? Did anyone care? Can someone come up with a better idea than sharing, text, pictures and video with people you connect with?

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Facebook Trademarks the Word “Face”

Facebook Owns Your FaceFacebook doesn’t know the meaning of enough. Their obsession to rule everything on the internet has resulted in Notice of Allowance on the word “Face” for electronic communications like bulletin boards and chat rooms

This is fucking ridiculous.

What am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to refer to it as my visage or countenance so I don’t infringe upon their trademark? Or is referring to my body considered fair use? What if I were to make an actual book of people’s faces? Can I call it a face book, or does it need to be some type of “Mug Journal?”

Protecting your brand is an understandable aspect of running a business. Stealing the name’s of body parts is ludicrous.

If I ever see Mark Zuckerberg, I am going to spit in his face®.

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What I’m Ungrateful For this Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving - Suckers.I hate Thanksgiving. Call me ungrateful or call me a grinch, but I hate everything about it. The food, the family, the football, the gluttony. It all disgusts me. Nothing says being grateful for what you have by watching Football on the couch all day and then enjoying a huge feast.

In honor of my extreme hatred of the holiday, let’s celebrate all the things I’m not thankful for in social media this year:

  • Failed Social Networks – 2010 is the year we said hello and goodbye to Google Buzz and Apple Ping. Both of them have failed miserably beyond adding another layer to something that worked just fine before. I can’t tell you the last time I used either feature in iTunes or in Gmail, both of which I use EVERY DAY. Way to fail Google and Apple.
  • Crappy Tweets – We all do it. We all know better. Seriously though, why doesn’t this stop? You think people would get smarter about all the crap they share with the entire internet, but no. They don’t. Also, to every single person who has tweeted something about “Fisting the turkey,” you disgust me.
  • Facebook’s Quest to rule the Internet – Facebook is on a rampage to rule the internet. With their ubiquitous login, new unified inbox, and their plan to add a social layer to everything (because we didn’t know how to be social before Mark Zuckerberg), Facebook is on a war path. Doesn’t anyone else wish for simpler times when we just connected with our friends?

Am I alone I my hatred of Thanksgiving?  Is there anything you wish you could give back to social media this holiday?

Oh, and before we get there, Black Friday drives me just as nuts too.

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Social Media is like a Cat

Social Media Cat Hard at Work.Last week a lot of my friends went to the Internet summit, which is an event where people get off their computers to hear other people talk about computers. It’s a pretty popular local event, so it was no surprise when I saw a bunch of people start tweeting a quote from Jim Tobin going along the lines

“Social Media is like a puppy.  You have to feed and care for it every day or else it will die”

Apparently, Jim never had my puppy, whose sole purpose in life was not companionship, but rather to take any opportune moment to run away so he could fend for himself in the wilderness of suburbia in a modern day version of The Call of the Wild.

I have to disagree though, somewhat because I’ve owned a dog and don’t think of it like social media, but mostly because I am a crazy cat person. To me, social media is a cat. Yes, you have to feed it and care for it every day every day, just like a puppy.  Sometimes it will have accidents and throw up inches from your face in the middle of the might, just like a puppy. Other times it will be very loving and won’t leave you alone, like a puppy.

But then there’s the life I know my cat has beyond my eyes that I know she doesn’t want me to know. There are things I know she does, like hide under the bed or hunt for bugs, but I don’t know the exact details of what she’s doing.  Sometimes my cat wants to pretend she doesn’t know me because I’ve been a horrible person and left her alone for a minute too long. Unlike my dog, my cat needs people, but she doesn’t always need to be near me.

That’s why social media is like a cat. You have to take care of it, even if it doesn’t think you need it to, and it will have a life you don’t know about. You can’t measure everything it does. That would just be wasteful and the information becomes pointless.

I can leave my social media alone for a day, just like I could with my cat. If I upload a hilarious video, and it catches on, I know there’s a point where it is impossible for me to know exactly how people are sharing it or talking about it. Sure, I can get a sense of what it’s doing, like my cat going out to the garage to hunt bugs or that people find the video really funny, but there comes a point where it’s just not worth it to know that adorable little kitten has had an inch long cockroach in her mouth.

Maybe social media is like any domesticated companionship animal. But I’d like to think it’s my cat, with all her grossness, mood swings, and fierce independence.

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Why Aren’t You Making Me Think?

When was the last time you challenged your audience?  I’m not talking about running a contest to see who can post the most ridiculous YouTube video or how many people will donate to your website. Any greedy moron can challenge people that way.

Writing online comes down to two things, informing  your audience or entertaining them.  The great authors are able to do both at the same time, and the very best are able to add another layer of challenge onto that.  That’s what I want to be reading.

I don’t want to read another half-assed lesson on how to make LinkedIn work better or how some new app works. Tell us stories and give insight into the human condition. Make us think deeply. Give your audience something to talk about.

Think radically. Dream harder. Tell a story that matters to you. These are the ways you get people to stop skimming along the bullshit online and have them start digesting what they are reading.

And if you can’t do that, then why are you writing online?

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How Social Media Will Kill You This Week

Weird news happens every day. Amazing animals save lives, dumb criminals can’t even rob a baby, and towns that enact laws that contradict themselves. The bizarre is what makes us human.

I want to start gathering the freakish and terrible social media news of each week into a single place. A gallery of the horrors and oddities.

So, let’s start this off right. Think social media is safe and fun? Of course it isn’t.  Here’s how social media will kill you:

“We can call out bad tweets, chastise their authors and holding them to a better standard, but if we jailed everyone who tweeted something negative, ever, then what would be the point?”

“Psychological stress causes asthma attacks, and seeing an ex-girlfriend’s activity on Facebook qualifies as a type of trigger,according to a case study published in the Lancet medical journal.”

“In fact,the report found that students with the lowest grades just so happen to be the ones who spend the most time on Facebook and similar social networks. Teachers say obsession over social networking hurts attention spans and concentration while consuming time otherwise spent doing homework.”

Terrified yet? Did I miss something? Is LinkedIn coming to get you? I want to see all the horrors of social media.