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Archive | October, 2011

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There is no such thing as privacy on social networks

The Four Headed Monster - The Anti-Social MediaI’m so sick of arguing about privacy online and what social network has the best privacy features.

It doesn’t matter how much you lock things down. It doesn’t matter how many privacy settings you and your social network of choice have.

There is no such thing as online privacy.

At the end of the day, you’re agreeing to sign up to use a website and agree to what they say. As long as they own that website and its features, they are in control. When you create that profile on Google+ or Facebook, you’re giving them information about you. No matter how much of a stink your raise, until you delete your account and close your contract, it’s their information to use.

We live in the information age. Information is the new currency. Information is power. The ability to create, consume, manipulate and remix information defines the skills of our age. And the networks, brands, and people with information are the ones who will rule this age.

This is why Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube are so powerful. The sheer amount of information and data contained in their servers are what will make the kings and queens of this decade.

So whatever you post, regardless of the privacy settings, if it’s in a circle, or locked on a website with no visitors, has power. Someone out these is figuring out a way to mine that data into your next purchasing decision. Their trying to figure out how to influence you or your friends.

And they don’t care if something is private. They’ll use it against you to make a quick dollar.

So social networks may be free, but we give up our precious information. That’s the price we pay to be social.

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Guys and Blog Headers

Bad Blog Headers - The Anti-Social MediaGuys, we need to have a talk about your blog headers.

How many blog headers need to have a white guy with his arms folded across his chest? Aren’t you original? Aren’t you more fun? And why are you closing up your body language like that?

Look, I’m totally ok with you having a nice slick photo of yourself up at the top of your blog. I have mine over in the sidebar. The way the internet works these days, we need to sell ourselves to clients, readers, and potential employers. Like all forms of internet prostitution, a good photo helps with that.

But if I have look at another blog with a white guy with his arms folded across is chest, I’m going to scream.

How many times do we stand and smile with our arms folded? Not many I suspect. Usually when I have my arms folded, I’m grumpy, frowning, and getting extremely snarky about whatever the hell I’m listening to. It’s a closed, defensive body language.

It’s also really generic body language. Isn’t there a more open, inviting, and exciting gesture you could be making? Something that doesn’t say, “I”m a smug, self-centered white guy?”

For the guys who don’t have a blog header like this, thanks for being ahead of the curve. For the rest of you, pull your head out of your ass, open up photoshop, and touch up your header. You’ve got a nice smile. Show me what you look like when you aren’t closing down your body language.

Don’t worry, you won’t look any less professional than the guy who has a cartoon for half of his photo.

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How Boring Is Google+?

Google is Awkward - The Anti-Social MediaI’m bored with Google+. Seriously, what’s happening with it? What is supposed to compel me, the user, to spend a minute and load up the website and then go through all the crap my “friends” posted?

I’m already doing that all day long on Facebook and Twitter. Now you want me to add another place to do that? Sheesh.

As far as I can tell, Google is now focusing on bringing Google+ features to gmail and Google Reader, which I guess is ok enough. And at some point they’ll be bringing business pages, and then most likely, advertisements because barely anyone cares about Google+ and will never be able to find those pages without ads.

But here’s the thing.

My friends don’t hang out there. Many of them likely never will. They’re happy enough with Facebook and Twitter.

And as long as the people I care about are staying somewhere else, that’s where I’ll be too.

What would make Google+ compelling for you? Free money? Hot babes? Or are you happy int he knowledge that you’re giving your precious information to Google instead of Facebook?

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Like This Status

Facebook Political Ads - The Anti-Social MediaYou want a cheap, effective engagement tactic for Facebook? Fine.

Post “Like this status if _____.” Fill in the blank with something fundamental related to your brand. For example:

  • Smart phones: “Like this status if you love texting!”
  • Cars: “Like this status if you love to drive!”
  • Cat food: “Like this status if you have a cat!”

See how boring that is?

The sad thing is that it works and it works extremely well. It’s easy for anyone to read that, think “I have a cat!” click the like button, and keep moving onto other half-assed Facebook statuses. Your page quickly builds up huge Edgerank score as more and more people quickly hit that like button.

This is what happens when you’re forced to game an algorithm to reach people. You stop creating interesting, compelling content that tells stories, and instead you just tell people to mindlessly click a button to stay relevant so you can sell people crap they don’t need.

Ugh. It’s a wicked game. But that’s the world we live in.

Just go like my status so more people will read this post.

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Songs About Social Media

Social Media is ruining our culture. Case in point: Pop Music.

Music is a direct reflection of our culture. The words and instruments we use rely on our technology and how we see the world. These days, any chump with a computer can lay down a crappy track with auto-tuned vocals, a drum machine, and shoddy lyrics.  And because it’s that easy, we get crap like this:

“Unfriend You?” Seriously?

I’m all about breaking down connections and taking control of your digital relationships, but did we need a crappy teen pop song about it? You know our culture is shifting fundamentally for the worse when our music is in terms of Facebook and our digital relationships. God help me if I find a serious song about tweeting or, wait for it, “Uncircling.”

I’m not so stuck up to believe that music has to be one way and only about certain things, but I wonder how relevant these songs will be in ten, twenty, and fifty years as our social networks and relationships with technology and each other evolve. Will we still be talking about unfriending the girl who wronged us, or will we just drop the F-bomb?

All I know is that I can’t take any song about “unfriending” seriously.

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Unfriending

Broken Heart - The Anti-Social MediaWhen was the last time you unfollowed or unfriended someone?

If you’re like most people, it’s been a while since you’ve sat down and evaluated what your online relationships are doing for you.

It’s easy to just keep following people and adding friends. If it were up to the social networks, that’s all you’d do. You’d end up drowning in so much information you’d never be able to take your eyes off the news feed.

But that’s not how people live their lives.

We make choices about which relationships we build and which ones we neglect. We choose to communicate with some people on certain channels and keep the everyone else for if and when we need them. We decide to sit on Facebook and Twitter all night rather than getting coffee or dinner with someone we haven’t seen in a while.

The joy of modern life is that even when we are alone, we continue to be together, building the weakest of relationships.

But if those relationships aren’t doing anything for you, drop them. Do you know why you follow that person on Twitter? Can you remember  where you actually met all 647 of your Facebook friends, and what they do for you? If you can’t give one valid reason, and you have no idea where a person is from, it’s time to unfriend them.

I know. It sucks. But sometimes, that’s what we have to do. Relationships change. People move on.

Some relationships end with a bang. Others end with a whimper. And in the age of social networks, we end ours when we click “Unfriend.”

Unfollow someone who isn’t entertaining or informing you anymore. Your time and relationships are precious. Don’t waste them.

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Whatever happened to Quora?

Quora VS Yahoo Answers - a Venn DiagramRemember Quora?

Yeah, that Quora. I know. It’s been a while.

Quora was a social media hype darling earlier this year because it was basically a cleaner version of Yahoo Answers that Robert Scoble wouldn’t stop answering questions on. Everyone thought it was the next big thing, and every other “social media expert” was on there trying to make the other “experts” look stupider then they were.

That’s what I call thought leadership.

Quora is now a barren wasteland. The content that appears at the top of my feed is from December and January, almost a full year ago. The topics are no longer relative or timely, and I doubt anyone is still pointing to answers from AOL’s Steve Case as a reason to go hangout on Quora.

We can only relive the 1990s and 56k modems for so long.

I feel bad for Quora. It’s likely going to die a slow and painful death, failing to monetize and keep users interested. The fact is we don’t need a social network to ask random questions and pray that we get “expert” answers. Google does a pretty good job of finding the information you need, or we can use our existing social networks to ask the same questions of the same people.

Yes, you can use your social networks to ask questions. Isn’t that charming and novel?

So, goodbye, Quora. It was good while the hype lasted, but we’ve all got better things to do. My aunt just posted some cute photos of her new puppies on Facebook. That’s way more interesting than self-promoting “experts” trying to trump one another on a social network no one cares about.

Are you still using Quora? Is anyone? And what are you wearing to the funeral? I don’t want to be caught wearing the same thing as anyone else.

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Who Still Cares About Daily Deals?

Today! 50% off crap at CrapMart! - The Anti-Social Media

In the past few months, I’ve stopped caring about Groupon, Living Social, Google Deals, Facebook deals, and every other daily deal site that blew up in 2010.

Let’s just say I’ve got better ways to spend my $10.

But apparently a few of you out there love daily deals. Enough so that even though Groupon is screwing itself royally, it still makes $800 million dollars in revenue.

I wish I could mess up hard and still bring home $800 million. That would make Chibi and her need to destroy expensive furniture very happy.

The only thing I’ve ever bought from Groupon is ice cream. The fat kid inside of me in the only one I allow to pay for such indulgences. 60% off hot naked yoga just doesn’t sound that appealing to me. Neither does 50% off my first visit at a new dentist, because I choose my dentist not on quality of care, but who can discount my vanity whitening until it’s an unsustainable business model.

Ugh, I just don’t get it.

Do you use Groupon or one of it’s clones? Is it worth it? Or is it just another gimmick to get us to spend money on crap we don’t need? Leave a comment and tell me what you think of all these discounts.

Also, while we’re talking about cheap stuff – Congrats to Phil H for winning a free pass to BlogWorld Expo. Don’t stalk me too much Phil.