Archive | November, 2010
The Tweet that landed Cheng Jianping in Jail

One Year of Hard Labor for a Tweet

For all the time I complain about someone putting something terrible on Twitter, like how their latest trip into the bathroom went, I forget how lucky I have it that I can make fun of that and not get hurt by anyone.

The Tweet that landed Cheng Jianping in Jail

That’s a retweet from Chinese activist Cheng Jianpang. Because of that tweet she was detained and sentenced for a year of “Re-education through labor.”


I whine a lot about how terrible people’s tweets are (because they are), but I can’t imagine ever putting someone in jail for a retweet. Actually, I can imagine doing that if I were the supreme dictator of Twitter and because I’m evil, but that’s not the point.

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?

It’s news like this that makes me glad I live in a society when I can be a twitter shitter and not be jailed for it.

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One Reason Mashable Needs a Copy Editor

One Reason Mashable Needs a Copy Editor

One Reason Mashable Needs a Copy Editor

Whoever is editing over at Mashable tonight does not understand agreement in plural nouns.

Edit: 12:54 am They fixed it.  There goes my sweet dreams for the night.

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National Unfriend Day

According to Jimmy Kimmel, today is National Unfriend Day.

So, who the hell did you unfriend? Or is this something we should even listen to Jimmy Kimmel about?

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Anti-Social Media Version 3

After months of complaining, whining, and toiling, the third, more improved version of The Anti-Social Media is finally alive!

Besides the new design being totally sweet, the biggest difference is all on the insides. I’m now using WordPress, which is big boy blogging software, instead of Tumblr.

Tumblr is great blogging software if you ever want to have fun, share cool stuff with your friends, and all that, but WordPress is where we make serious blogs. Blogs where we can make fun of how terrible Mashable is and complain about how disgusting people are on Twitter. Also, there shouldn’t be any more of those Tumblr error messages. So if something goes wrong, the blame is all on me.

The one thing I have to note, and which is sad, is that all of the comments from the Tumblr-based version of The Anti-Social Media are lost to Disqus. I’ve never found Disqus to be a particularly good comment system, but I used it because it’s the only system that Tumblr allows for comments. I will miss your comments, but I encourage you to leave new and better comments. Don’t waste their sacrifice.

Anyways, enough of me talking about myself (that’s so social media of me). Welcome to the new site, and wipe your nasty feet before you come in here.

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Online Popularity Means Nothing

My friend Laurie once said, “I have 10,000 followers on Twitter, and they still screw up my order at Starbucks.”

If that doesn’t explain that online popularity means nothing, I don’t know what does. This past week my post Foursquare is F#*&ed was read over 13,000 times. In any other time if you had your article read 13,000 times you’d have some type of popularity and minor cult following.

I go out and most people have no idea who the hell I am. Don’t they know I can tweet about them snidely? That I can blast them in a Facebook status update? If they really bug me, I can go out of my way and blog about them and 13,000 people will read it?

That’ll show em. Nothing like an angry blog post to make someone feel really guilty about how they’ve wronged me. My followers will totally back me up.

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Protecting the Stupid from Themselves

Earlier this week, the US National Labor Relations Board declared Facebook part of protected speech. Not being a lawyer of any kind, much less one focusing on employent law, the precise details make my brain ooze. Basically, if you say something negative about your boss on Facebook, and you are doing so with cworkers, you can’t get fired for that reason.

I want to protect people, but some people shouldn’t be protected from themselves.

There was a time when Facebook was a closed social network.  That was 2004.  Now we’re in 2010, when we have no shame in hiding anything because we all know the internet never forgets anything.  Even that time you wore MC Hammer pants.  You think we forgot, but Google remembers.

In the world of open online identity, ranting, whining, and bitching about real people is a disaster waiting to happen. I don’t care if you use code names or even just pronouns, it’s bound to bite you in the ass.

The best way to protect yourself is to use common sense. If you think someone can construe what you write as being negative about your work situation, don’t write it on the internet. Write it in a private journal. Talk to a friend. Complain to your cat. The internet can survive without your negativity for one day.  We already have YouTube comments.

And if you have to do something online, start searching for a new job.  It’s a much healthier way of dealing with the situation than just venting to all of us who’d rather share pictures of puppies and double rainbows.

So yeah, you may think you’re being protected, but it’s easer and better to just protect yourself by stopping and not venting online.  You’re career will thank me.

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Stop Listening. Start Reading

I see posts every week about how it’s more important to listen in social media than it is to talk. Apparently, these authors also missed the point that it’s more important to say something unique rather than to regurgitate the same message endlessly.

I get it though. When we’re online, we often think too much about who, where, when, why and how we will say something rather than absorbing and reacting to the words of others. It’s one thing to share cool content on some campaign.  It’s another to obtain the wealth of information out there and use it.

But there’s a slight problem with all of this listening.

Unless the medium is a song, podcast, or video, you aren’t listening at all.  You’re reading, and reading is fundamentally different than listening.

Reading is terribly interpretive. This is why we have attorneys and English professors. They make their living deciphering meaning from coherent strings of words that often have multiple definitions and connotations based on their usage and the author’s background.

Reading really is as complex as that sentence. While we may think the words behind a sentence mean one thing and one thing only, they don’t necessarily. The trouble is we simply it, especially in the online context. People don’t read, they skim. See, you’re doing it now, you’re skimming ahead to the bolded part.

Listening, on the other hand, is much less subjective. Sure, the words still carry those multiple definitions, but the language is more nuanced by the subtleties of the human voice.  What was once flat rises to life with pitch, intonation, and tone beyond the words on the screen. It all becomes much less subjective.

Recognize the fallacies of reading.  We’re all imperfect when we read. You’re social media will be much happier when you realize this.

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Why I’m joining Capstrat

A year ago I made few decisions that culminated into a blog called the Anti-Social Media. What a ride it’s been. In 11 months of blogging, I’ve written over 250 posts, had three speaking engagements, met lots of amazing people, and become a snarkier happier person.

That’s why I am humbled and honored to announce I’ll be joining Capstrat as a Social Media Associate.

At Capstrat, I’ll be able to put all of the stuff I’ve written about, and all of the stuff I haven’t written about, to work. I’m excited to be joining Angela Connor, Cord Silverstein, and the entire interactive team.

I wouldn’t be able to make this announcement without you, my readers. All of your comments, tweets, messages, and feedback are essential to keeping this blog alive. I value the time you take to read this blog, comment, and share it with your friends. It takes time and effort to do those things. Time you could be spending with your real friends who aren’t snarky and don’t make fun of websites. Your readership and dedication is an inspiration every day. Thank you.

You may be wondering if I am starting as a social media professional, if this is the end of the Anti-Social Media. Can someone who researches and develops strategies and campaigns go around saying “Foursquare is F#8&ed?”

I can safely say this is not the end of the Anti-Social Media.  As long as Facebook continues to try and have you make more meaningless friends and people tweet while using the toilet, there will be an Anti-Social Media. The need for meaningful online relationships is greater than ever, and I’m excited to get to work on that.

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