Archive | January, 2011


On Taking Breaks from Blogging

I try to blog every day of the week. Not because I always have good content to share, and not because I always have something to write about, but because I’m a crazy blogger who has given up a real social life in favor of being plugged into the internet.

So, when I take a break from blogging, this is what happens:

What happens when I take breaks from my blog - The Anti-Social Media

I end up alone in the dark, talking to myself like a madman, and trying to reassure myself that yes, it will all be OK.

I won’t ever stop blogging again. I promise. Just don’t leave me alone in the real world. It’s too bright and sunny for a dark, tortured soul like mine.


My Second Analysis of Quora

After my initial encounter with Quora, the question and answer site that is the sudden darling of social media junkies, I figured I need to at least give it a fair try. So, like a helpless Farmville addict, I went back for more.

I resolved to ask questions, read and vote for answers, and find cool stuff. I was going to separate the good and the bad from the hype in what looks like the next big social network.

Instead, I read some questions, read more answers, voted a lot of bad answers down, and came away with this impression of its users:

Second Analysis of Quora, or I'm smarter than you - The Anti-Social Media

I thought I ditched the smart kids who want to show off in high school. Do we need to go through this again, and does it have to be in front of the entire internet?


Do You Facebook and Poop?

Do You Facebook and Poop - The Anti-Social MediaWhile many of my readers would say Facebook is shit, a curious dichotomy would be how many of them shit and use Facebook. According to a survey by AIS Media, 27% of respondents to a recent poll admitted to using Facebook on a mobile device while in the bathroom.

Twenty-seven percent. That’s over 1 in 4 people who are updating their statuses while they relieve themselves. America, what is wrong with you?

Can we talk about how disgusting this is? I don’t know anyone who seriously cleans his or her cellphone. Sure, I might take a Chlorox wipe and gently go over my phone, but that doesn’t count as cleaning it and eliminating the disgusting funk that accumulates on it from being in my pockets and hands all day long. Now picture the nastiness you leave on that phone while you’re answering the call of nature.

Facebook in the bathroom is disgusting and unsanitary. Imagine you gave your phone over to a friend to make a quick call after your visit to the commode. Are you ok with getting your poop on a friend’s face because you needed to “like” some photos? Because I refuse to get my poop on anyone. Ever.

I’ll let you figure out how to deal with the awkward situation where you need to wipe your shit off someone else’s face after you updated your status.

Also, I want to know who the hell the 6.6% of respondents who answered “I don’t know” are. How do you not know if you’ve used Facebook in the bathroom or not? Did someone slip you an iPhone with Facebook open by accident while your pants were down? It’s a simple yes or no question, unless you dragged your laptop in the bathroom with you, which is just as disgusting.

For all the technology and the connectivity we have, we have no common sense. Don’t use your cell phone, whether for Facebook, Twitter, texting or whatever, in the bathroom. It’s gross and unsanitary, and no one likes an iPhone that smells like shit.

This is why we can’t have nice things.


Facebook’s Sponsored Stories are S*#&

Sponsored Stories - The Anti-Social MediaFacebook ads are like serial pedophiles. Just when you think you’ve heard all the horrible stories about how they perverted and abused the people you care about, you find out even more disgusting details.

Earlier this week, Facebook announced a new type of ad they are calling “Sponsored Stories“. Basically, brands will be able to take your content that mentions the brand and pay Facebook to feature it more prominently. So, if you checked into Wal-mart, Wal-mart could then feature your check-in to your friends in hopes of getting more likes or whatever. That’s the most basic way they do it, though there are other ways with apps, statuses, and all the other banal crap we share on Facebook.

Naturally, all the normal rigamarole about privacy setting applies, so these stories should only be seen by your friends who have the proper access. But Facebook is a greasy, used-car salesman, especially when it comes to advertising, so who knows what your embarrassing profile picture will be selling.

“Why yes, my cat does recommend you like Victoria’s Secret!”

Facebook wants these to come across as authentic word of mouth. There is nothing authentic about content that is promoted, whether that content was created by a user or by a copywriter. If it wasn’t for Facebook’s terms of use that steal the rights to anything you post on Facebook, you would have to be paid for someone else using your content.

I can’t wait until sponsored stories hit the mainstream and the really weird and awkward ones start emerging. It’s only a matter of time until it happens. Facebook users defile everything they touch.


Are We a Nation of Google and Facebook?

A nation of Google and Facebook - The Anti-Social MediaYesterday, in President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, he said, “We are a nation of Google and Facebook.”

I don’t know whether that should be cause for pride, or cause for alarm.

Facebook and Google both provide technologies that touch hundreds of millions of lives daily across the globe. We use them to answer questions, keep in touch with friends, and access information that would have been much less accessible a decade ago. These are the technologies that power our collective knowledge and connection to one another. They are the seedlings of what the internet will mature into int he coming century.

Still, I see them as making us a nation of lazy, hyper-connected slobs.

You don’t need to learn any facts because Google will remember them for you. Want to know what happened to your best friend from first grade? Facebook her. Need the answer to a question? Google it. See something funny? ‘Like’ it.

Whatever happened to becoming an expert? To mastering the knowledge of a subject? To caring about something enough to do more than click ‘like?’ To knowing your friends beyond their status update? To not measuring someone’s worth based on the number of “friends” they boast online, but rather the quality of that friendship and what those friends accomplished together? Are these questions how Americans now define themselves?

I know there are still people who are experts. Many of them share their genius on their blog, while others throw their potential away blathering aimlessly at a camera. All of us, from the social media mavens to the people starting their Facebook accounts today, have an obligation to use the technologies not as a supplement, but rather a compliment to the lives we lead.

Every time we log on, we choose how to use these tools. We can use them as fluff, or we can use them to find solutions and solve problems beyond their superficial uses.

Are we Americans nothing more than a nation of Google and Facebook, or are we more than the technologies that keep us plugged in?


The Disgusting Nature of the Haul Video

Haul Bloggers - The Anti-Social MediaGiving anyone the ability to publish anything has both its merits and perils. On one hand, we are able to share more information than ever before, whether in the form of videos, podcasts, or the written word. We can learn and laugh together faster than ever before.

It’s also given us such horrible, horrible things as MySpace, AOL, and the code spawned from Satan know as Bonzi Buddy.

Ladies and gentleman, I present to you an abomination from the third circle of internet hell. The haul video.

(If you can’t see the video, you’re really not missing anything. If you want to torture yourself, click here to watch it on YouTube. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

In a haul video, a person shows off his/her purchases in an overly long, mindless ramble. There is no real critique of the product, because typically the person shooting the video bought the product with his or her own money and people buy things they like.

Most haul videos go on for ten minutes. If you’re attempting to watch the video above, notice how fast she talks, and how little is actually said. I watched four of these to research for this post, and I’m really killing myself for losing forty minutes of my life watching these.

I don’t get the appeal of these videos at all. To me, they scream, “I’m a shameless consumer whore.” It’s disgusting. If there was any review of the products at all, I’d get it. If there was even the slightest hint of visual narrative, I’d get it it. But these things don’t exist when someone is just talking to the camera and holding things up.

What’s crazy is how popular these videos are. The YouTuber I’ve featured above, juicystar07, has over a half million subscribers and so far, users watched her videos over one hundred million times. Because of this ridiculous popularity, many of these YouTubers become YouTube partners, which pays them based on the views. That money can go into buying more stuff for hauls, which makes for more videos, which pays them more money, and so on.

Am I the only person disgusted by this cycle of blatant consumerism? Whatever happened to describing the product and telling people if it’s any good? Why do we have to show off everything we’ve purchased from a bottle of contact solution to a tube of lip gloss? I feel like I’m going to be sick.

And next time I go shopping, I’m making a haul video. I’m sure everyone wants to see my next kitty litter haul.


Who the Hell is Still Using Auto DMs?

Stop Auto DMs - The Anti-Social MediaEvery single day, without fail, I see someone tweet about how much they hate auto direct messages on Twitter. “I hate auto DMs.” “Auto DMs are the devil.” “If an Auto DM had the chance, it would kill you and your family.”

Ok, I get it, we all hate auto DMs.

I follow all sorts of people on Twitter. Newbies. Casual users. Marketers. Hardcore Twitterati. I follow all of these crazy people, and I have not received an auto DM since 2009.

I remember the first time I got an auto DM. It was before I was jaded into the angry, anti-social media personality I am now. I went to a tweetup, and I met a guy who thought he was a big shit. Maybe he is, I don’t know, but I was young and optimistic and I followed him.

I was met with a greasy, fat auto DM:

“Thanks for following me. Read my blog, subscribe to everything I do, and throw money at me. Thanks!”

Ok, that quote might not be entirely accurate, but “Subscribe to me” was at least the basis of it. I thought, “Why of course complete stranger who I’m just getting to know and who has yet to prove his worth, that’s was exactly what I want to do! Thank you for assuming that by following you on Twitter, I’m wholly invested in everything you do.”

I ignored that DM,  and continued to follow him, until I realized he didn’t tweet anything original. He republished the same 5 articles from his blog over and over and over.  People looking for engagement strategies, take note this is not an acceptable strategy.

This auto-publishing was a clear example of someone who was doing it wrong. Not only was he faking that he cared about people, he couldn’t give a damn about even creating a unique tweet once in a while. It was a clear attempt to exploit the medium to profit from other people.

I unfollowed him a month later, and I am thankful I haven’t seen another auto DM. I don’t want to imagine what it’s like to get more than one automated direct message. If my experience was an indication of one user’s ineptitude, then the collective user base of idiots must be truly frightening.

So, what morons are still using Auto DMs? Has anyone ever used them well? Let’s eradicate this scourge from the internet.


Sunday Shout Out! Laurie Ruettimann

Sunday Shout Out Laurie Ruettimann - The Anti-Social MediaAs a blogger, I take my inspiration from a lot of people in many different backgrounds. One of my inspirations is Laurie Ruettimann.

Laurie is a self-described “failed Human Resources professional and crazy cat lady.” Laurie blogs at The Cynical Girl. I don’t know how to describe her blog, except that it is awesome and you need to read it. She writes about business, HR, her cats, and whatever she feels is important. She takes on big issues, like why we need resumes, to the smaller things, like why Facebook questions suck so hard.

In every blog post Laurie’s either giving practical advice, making you laugh, or making you think. It takes one hell of a blogger to be able to do all of that successfully, and she sets the bar pretty damn high for the rest of us.

Thanks Laurie for being an inspiration, and making me want to get more cats to replace my Facebook friends.

Whose blog is rocking your world this week? I want some new, quirky things to read.