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Archive | July, 2011

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How I Organize My Google+ Circles

Since Google+ launched, people have been asking me how I organize my Google+ circles.

Unfortunately, I have no grand ideas about how to organize the people in my online life. I use a number of descriptors to create some buckets, and from there I organize everyone as neatly as possible.

This is what it sort of looks like right now:

Google Plus Circles - The Anti-Social Media

I really think I need to add circles for “Crazy Friends,” “Crazy Assholes,” and “Crazy Parents.” Of course, I’d probably get rid of “My parents” at that point.

How do you organize your circles? Does anyone else organize them by order of nuttiness? I’m gonna get to work adding some more people to circles so they don’t know how crazy I think they really are.

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You Are Not Heartless for Tweeting “RIP Amy Winehouse”

I'm Better Than You - The Anti-Social MediaTwo major news events unfolded this weekend that involved death. One was a terrible tragedy in Norway that involved over 93 people dead in a senseless terrorist attack. Another was that Amy Winehouse, well-known singer and celebrity, died. Naturally, people shared both items of news across social networks.

Then, I saw people whining, moaning, and bitching about the number of tweets and Facebook updates they saw about the Amy Winehouse rather than those who shared the news about the tragedy in Norway.

Social networks are personal, narcissistic platforms. People share what is important to them. That could be how delicious a sandwich is, or how cute their dog is. Sometimes they share news that going on in the world. Other times, they share the death of a celebrity.

The people who compare the two events are smug assholes who want to shame you into feeling guilty and heartless. They want to be better than you. They want to prove through a hastily written update that they have more empathy than you.

There is no grade of what makes a good tweet or Facebook update. Sharing news, what ever the topic, does not make you an asshole. Heartless and cruel thoughts attached to the news you share do.

Don’t feel guilty because someone’s music touched your life and the least you wanted to do was share a passing message into the void of the internet. Personally, I cannot begin to comprehend the pain the people of Norway went through this weekend. While I know I have a few regular readers from Norway, I question what impact, if any, my written condolences would offer offered through the medium of this blog or any of the social networks I use. The best thing I can do is continue to do what I do best, call out the jerks and slime balls while making people laugh.

To people who would use a tragedy to guilt, shame, and deride other people in their moment of sadness about someone whose work touched them: How dare you be so heartless and selfish. Shame on you. You are everything that is wrong with the internet. 

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F*%k You Friday! Humanization

Humanize the Kill Bot - The Anti-Social Media

Unless you are a mad scientist from a 1930s Universal Horror Film, you cannot humanize something that is inhuman.

Companies cannot become human. Products do not become friends with people. People do not relate to faceless logos.

People relate to other human beings. Their smiling avatar gives a face to the faceless. Their text gives a voice to the monolith. Their mistakes  make them human and relatable.

Only crazy people talk to logos and faceless avatars.

No one wants to be known as a crazy person online. If you want to humanize, show some actual people. Your logo, and customers, will thank you.

 

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You Can’t Fix Your Relationship Online

Broken Heart 2 - The Anti-Social MediaThe other day I got an email that began like this:

“Jay, What the fuck? You and I both know I am not guilty of what you are accusing me of.”

Wait, what? I know I’m a terrible person who makes fun of social networks, but I haven’t accused anyone of being anything but slimy recently.

I doubled checked to make sure this wasn’t coming coming from one of my mortal enemies, and finished reading the email. Without getting into too many of the details, I was the recipient of an email that wasn’t meant for me. A woman was having issues with her new boyfriend, and things had pretty much broken down. Angry texts and phone calls were exchanged, and I was seeing the very end of it; a last ditch email to try and defend what few actions she had done.

Still, after reading it, I wondered why? Why did she feel the need to explain herself? Why did she send such a long email and not even make sure she had the right email address?

Relationships weren’t meant to be built in the online realm. Too much can go wrong. Words can be misinterpreted. Statuses can be misconstrued. Friends can leave misleading information. A heartfelt message comes across as obsessive. And a message can end up in the hands of a crazy blogger.

The biggest danger of social networks is information without context. There are all things you may have some control over, but you may never have full control of online. Without full control, you have to rely on trust, which you can’t build that the online realm alone. You can plant some of the seeds,but the real thing needs to be built in the real world.

And something does go wrong, don’t send an email, tweet, or Facebook message. Your written words can eventually come back to bite you in the ass.

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Google+ For Business is a Scam

Google Plus Marketers - The Anti-Social MediaGoogle+ is brand spanking new. It’s not even a month old. If it was a human, it would be weak, feeble, and dependent upon a loving family to take care of it.

However, because this is the tech world, it’s in beta. Apparently 18 million people are using it, so I have no idea how that even counts as a beta anymore. It also means people are already abusing it into a tool of internet marketing to make a quick buck off of chumps and idiots who don’t know better.

The only profiles on Google+ right now are personal profiles so people can connect with other people and share crap they like but are too embarrassed to share anywhere else. There may be a few pets in there too, but that’s it. People only. No businesses or fan pages.

So people who are telling you how to use Google for your business right now are crazy. They aren’t experts. They aren’t geniuses with new ideas. They’re greedy assholes who are looking to make a quick buck on a brand new tool that may not have staying power or an audience that’s even relevant to you. Whatever business you’re conducting on Google+ can be done over Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, and you and your audience are probably better suited for those networks anyways because they have established tools for businesses.

Should you ignore Google+? Hell no. It’s free to join. It only takes your precious time. So take the time to play with it. See what others are doing with it. Feel free to spend your money on a class about it if and only if you don’t get it. But trust me when I say that it will change and become more relevant to business later, and it will be more important that you get it then.

You and your business deserve better than internet marketers are trying to sell you on. Figure out where the audience for your business is online, and meet them there. Don’t just hop on every new social network because you can and it looks like it might be cool. You’re just wasting your resources and feeding people who’d sell you meaningless internet snake oil.

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4 Reasons Your Pet Needs to Be on Google+

Cats on Google Plus - The Anti-Social MediaPets are influential social networkers. Recent studies have found that 1 in 10 pets are on a social network. Sharing photos, poop jokes, and poorly veiled commentary is just as important to your fish as it is to your Mother-in-law.

But with a new social network comes the inevitable questions: “Should I let my pet use this?” “Is it safe for Fluffy to sniff new virtual butts?” “Is it important that my pet stay ahead of the curve?”

The answer to all of those questions is unequivocally “Yes.” Your pet absolutely needs to be on every new social network as soon as possible. It is now more important to get your pet set up on Google+ while a fancy profile and new circles. Here’s why:

  • Animals are better at circles – My cat has three circles – Jay, Jay’s parents, and everyone else. She knows exactly what she wants to share with each group. With me for example, she wants to share that it’s 6 am and I haven’t fed her in 8 hours and that she hates me for it. For my parents, she can share how adorable she is without me knowing that she’s actually a nice cat. And for everyone else, she can show that awesome bug she killed and ate while I was at work. That kind of clear delineation is what makes circles work so well.
  • Pets have no shame – Google+ is all about Google combining their multitude of products under one social experience, including search. So while things may be private now, who knows if Google will make everthing public to make the web even more searchable. Thankfully, my cat doesn’t care if this eventually happens, even if it ruins the illusions of her circles. Sshe will use her litter box in front of complete strangers, so why should she care if I know she’s actually nice to two people? Once all of her Google+ crap goes public against her will, she won’t care that everyone sees all eight of her nipples.
  • Pets are trendy – Do you really want to be the person whose goldfish was left out of the Google+ beta? You’re not that kind of loser, are you?
  • Pets need to be marketed to – Just because Google+ doesn’t have ads now doesn’t mean it won’t. And hopefully they’ll be just as creepy as Facebook ads. But if Google+ catches on for business, even though it has no direct business functions besides talking, think of how much stuff could be sold to your pets. Don’t your pets need more cheap crap made in China?
Your pet needs to be on Google+ now more than ever. Not only will they be better at it than you are, but they will be more adorable, and make more money for marketers. The solution is simple. Get your pet on Google+ before everyone jumps over to the meaningless social network.
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Stop Whining About Netflix

Give Up Coffee - The Anti-Social MediaLast week Netflix raised its prices on its plans to have unlimited streaming and one DVD out at a time from $10 a month to $16 a month.

And then the internet went ballistic.

Trust me, I don’t like having the price raised on a service I use daily either. The only TV I watch is Netflix. I’m too cheap to pay $50 a month for cable or satellite service when I barely watch anything to begin with.

Still, it pisses me off to hear people bitch and whine so much about $16 a month for unlimited TV shows and movies with no commercials. If I were to get the basic cable plan for my area, that would cost me $50 a month. And in the $50 a month, I have to watch on a schedule , I have no HD, and I have to sit through commercials, most of which bear no relevance to me.

Even if I went and paid for Hulu Plus, the next best streaming service, in the $8 I’m paying a month I’m also paying for commercials. Granted, they only show one or two commercials per episode, so it’s not terrible, but it’s more than Netflix.

In either case, I get it. Streaming video to millions of people and sending them DVDs costs money. People don’t like their prices raised. But if $16 is too much for you to afford for unlimited content with no commercials, then why don’t you stop whining and take whatever you can afford somewhere else. And once you’re there, don’t start tweeting about how much better it is, because we all know you’re lying to yourself publicly just to get attention.

And if any of this is really that much of an issue for you – get a TV antenna and get over yourself.  I’ve got better things to do than read your petty complaints about how cheap you are.

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On Circles and Circling

On Facebook, you friend someone. On Twitter, you follow them, and they follow you. On Google+ though, you add them to your circle.

You would think Google would understand the importance of having the right verb here. After all, because of how awesome their search engine is we now “Google” things. But saying “I added you to my circle” is awkward, and way to long for the internet. Let’s simplify it like average users will. I imagine as Google+ picks up, people will talk more and more about circling one another.

But what the hell does circling someone look like?

At first, I see it almost like someone would mark a hit list.

Google Plus Circle - The Anti-Social Media

But I can also see it as a satanic ritual.

Google Plus Circle 2 - The Anti-Social Media

Or, we could literally make someone into a circle, which sounds terribly painful.

Google Plus Circle 3 - The Anti-Social Media

Either way, none of these convey a positive image. Who knew I had such a negative relationship with circles? Given this revelation, I might go back to Facebook just because I have “friends” there. And though I’ve argued, fought, and been humiliated in public settings by my friends, I’ve never been abused by them like circles have abused me.

What do you think of Google’s choice of language here? Does it make sense? Does it give you crazy images in your head? Or am I the only one who was traumatized by simple shapes at an early age?