Archive | September, 2010


Facebook Friends - Yes or Maybe

Facebook added another feature nobody asked for.  Now, instead of adding or ignoring a friend request, it, You have the choice of Add or Not Now.

What was once a simple, one click process is now a four click process.  People you choose to add later go to the Hidden Requests area.  You have to go there, then click once more to remove them completely. Apparently as users, we just don’t know how to add people correctly into our virtual lives and need to wait before we add them.

What’s worse is this option has a hidden feature. If you leave someone in your hidden area, they follow your public information.  Forget to turn off Places from the public eye? They can see. Forget to privatize those status updates? They can see.

This isn’t any different from someone just pulling up your profile and seeing what you have public, but it makes it easier for them to see whats happening in realtime, as opposed to having to refresh the page over and over. As always, check your privacy settings and make sure you’re comfortable with people stalking you from the hidden folder.

Still, what was wrong with the old option?  Why did a yes or no question have to become a yes or maybe question?

If Facebook ever adds a useful feature, someone let me know.


Facebook Crap I hate

I’m great at bitching about all the tweets I hate, but I never harped on the weird crap people put on Facebook all the time.  And trust me, for all the mundane madness about coffee that drives me crazy on Twitter, there’s even more weird stuff that occurs on Facebook just because there are so many more functions and people.

So, without ado, the five things people do on Facebook I hate most.

  1. Suggest Friends - I know who my friends are.  I know who I want in my online life. I don’t need anyone to tell me who I need to connect with.  If you’re suggesting friends for me, not only will I ignore them, I’ll probably unfriend you.
  2. Suggest Pages - I’ve never had someone suggest something I actually like or that I am a fan of.  I will support friends in their new endeavors, whether that’s a new website or a band, but I’ve never had someone suggest something to me that I actually enjoyed.  I attribute this failure to the fact that they are Facebook friends and not real friends.
  3. Invite me to Events I can’t Reasonably Attend - I stated using Facebook back when it was The Facebook and was for college students only.  Six years later, all of my “friends” graduated and moved on in the world, yet they keep inviting me to events in the places they now inhabit.  I’d love to come see your community theater play in Nebraska, if I lived anywhere near there.  Facebook tells you where I am.  Use that information.
  4. Facebook Places Posts - I’ve yet to see anyone do anything useful or entertaining with this feature.  I live in a pretty tech savvy area with some very tech savvy friends, and I still haven’t seen any of them do anything cool.  Still, I know know exactly where home is for a good chunk of my friends who don’t care about their security.
  5. Farmville, Frontierville, and anything else by Zynga - I don’t care that you’ve unlocked a new cow, or your barn needs raising, or that you’ve sold your soul for ten more Farmville dollars.  Application spam is not fun for anyone.

I’m sure there’s a lot more stuff that our “friends” do.  What don’t you “like?”  What do you hate that people do on Facebook most?


    80 Fully-Engaged Followers vs. 800 Partially Engaged Followers

    The other day, I was reading another person boast about how many followers they had on Twitter, and I wondered:

    Would you choose to have 80 followers who are completely engaged with what you do online, or 800 followers who are only partially engaged?

    I’d go with the 80 people who are fully engaged.  These are the people who will come back for more content and who will share your content that kicks ass. They’re the people who will write a comment or send you a nice e-mail.  Sure, they may not be as big or diverse of a crowd, but with them you’re guaranteed they are paying attention to the stuff you’re publishing, rather than praying that a pair of those 800 eyeballs will stop and click that one time.

    Unfortunately, you can’t guarantee any fan or follower will ever pay attention to your content all the time.  There is too much information, and you’ll never know which of them actually logged in that day to see the content.  You can improve your chances though:

    • Make Awesome Content - If you don’t have this, you’ll never really engage your audience.  I have blogs that I wait all day until I see them update. Make your blog the next blog that does that.
    • Make the Audience feel special - Take a moment and thank someone for a retweet.  Offer to help with a problem. Do something awesome just for them. Treat people awesome, and they will remember.

    I’ll take the 80 followers for now.  I build my empire one meaningful connection at a time.

    Still, would you rather have those 800 partially engaged followers or 80 fully-engaged followers?


    Facebook is Evil

    There, I’ve said it.

    Any questions?


    Content Creation Burnout

    How much do you blog a week?   How many times do you tweet or update Facebook in a day?

    On an average week, I author 5 posts for this blog, as well as 10-30 tweets, and one or two Facebook status updates. This is just the stuff I do for fun, it doesn’t include anything I might create for work or the organizations I volunteer with.

    Keeping up a schedule like that makes it easy for anyone to burn out.  We’re not meant to be content creating machines.  Masterpieces take time, they don’t just spring into your head when you are furiously typing out tomorrow’s blog post at midnight. 

    Your creative ability sucks when you have no passion. I don’t care if you’re telling a funny story or writing a how to post.  It’s going to suck if your batteries are drained and you’d rather be doing anything other than creating.

    We all have families, friends, and jobs that draw our attention.  Few of us are lucky enough to be paid to blog or create online in any sort of capacity, let alone to make a living off of it.  The only thing holding us to our blogs and social media is ourselves.

    It’s ok to take some time away from it all.  Do what you need to do.  Don’t apologize when you come back.  Just get back to being amazing.  Your audience doesn’t want apologies, they just want amazing stuff.  The quality of your content will prove that your break was worth it.


    I contribute pieces over at Brazen Careerist pretty regularly,…

    I contribute pieces over at Brazen Careerist pretty regularly, but I was really flattered that Ryan Paugh wanted me to make a video with my best advice about work and careers.  It seemed an odd position to be in, seeing as I’m just at the start of what is sure to be a long and unfulfilling work life, but I gave it my best shot.

    My advice?  Work sucks.  Find something else that makes you happy.

    I’ll be appearing today on WUNC’s The State of Things to talk about my upcoming speech at ideaSPARK about why mega communities such as Facebook are terrible. That’s right, I’m moving off the internet and into the realm of the mass media.  Next stop will be Hollywood, where they’ll make a movie about how awesome my website is.


    Zynga’s Cash Cow

    If one company is truly evil in the social media world, it is Zynga. The maker of Farmville, Mafia Wars, and a bunch of other similarly mindless Facebook games, Zynga has mastered the art of the casual game that turns into a cultural time and cash suck.

     Zynga and Farmville have power.  85 million users of power.  Don’t believe me as to what those people can do?  Mozilla had to update Firefox because an earlier update broke Farmville.  Estimates say Zynga makes about $50 million per month off the small percentage of people who pay for their virtual cow manure.

    That’s why Gawker’s article about Zynga’s Platinum Program makes me so sad and angry.

    At best, you can describe it as a way to allow international players to spend more with less credit card issues. At worst, you’re giving a gaming company direct access to your bank account to feed an addiction. It reminds me of the phishing e-mails from “African princes and princesses,” except this company actually exists. 

    Zynga and other social games companies call the people who pay vast sums of money whales.  Whales make up a very tiny percentage of players, but bring in a huge amount of money to these companies.  It disgusts me that such an option for throwing money away exists and that Zynga feeds people’s addiction with no regard to their financial or mental health.

    As a society, we’re supposed to protect and help the people who cannot help themselves. That includes people who are addicts, whether it is from substances or otherwise. We shouldn’t help Zynga get rich because people are addicted to their game and have the ability to spend thousands of dollars on crap that doesn’t exist beyond an electrical charge. Are Farmville and its brethren different than any other computer game?  Maybe not, but the ability to throw endless amounts of real money at the company for a few more ones and zeroes of virtual goods isn’t right. 


    Social Media Policies Suck

    Corporate social media policies suck. Corporate suits don’t understand how to communicate with average human beings and average humans don’t know how to keep their mouths shut on social media sites.  This leads to a bunch of very awkward social media policies.

    For example: One company’s social media policy is to have all the employees put on their Twitter bio that their opinions are their own and don’t represent their employer.

    Before I read their bio, I have no idea who was employing that person. To me, whatever opinions they gave came from them and them alone. It destroys their personal account because it ties it into their work.

    Outside of LinkedIn, social media is supposed to be fun.  People aren’t marketers who get on Twitter or Facebook to sell products.  We go to connect with other people and have a good time be stalking celebrities. We don’t need or want to know everyone’s single life detail, who they work for, in what capacity, and their professional opinion on everything.

    Social media policies shouldn’t interfere with people’s personal lives.  Let them be normal humans, and don’t brand them as corporate drones just to protect your business.