Archive | February, 2011
Fat, Bloated Monster Facebook - The Anti-Social Media

6 Facebook Features that are F*&#@d

Fat, Bloated Monster Facebook - The Anti-Social MediaFacebook is bloated.

Over the past few years, Facebook has been adding more and more features that make no sense in regards to how people actually use the social network. Additionally, while it keeps adding things, it doesn’t adjust or take away anything that isn’t being used or fix the crap that’s busted.

Here are 6 features that I think need to be heavily tweaked or just need to go. I’d rather be spending time talking about my friend’s cat than dealing with these useless features.

  1. Events - Events are like the appendix of Facebook. They’ve hung on from the early college days of Facebook, but now we all get so many invites from people who have no filters in place that Events are completely useless. Read Scott Stratten’s How We Are Killing Facebook to understand how useless this feature has become, and stop inviting me to see your crappy band playing halfway across the US.
  2. Notes - I’ve only seen notes used successfully by one person - Sarah Palin. I don’t know about you, but I typically don’t measure the success of a Facebook feature on the use of  half-term governor who was a failed vice-presidential candidate and now a reality TV star. Normal people aren’t using notes except for the occaissional meme every blue moon, and they just need to go away before I get another quiz asking what my top 25 albums are.
  3. New Photos Interface - The new Facebook photos effect is the most jarring effect I’ve ever seen on the site. Changing instantly from the cold and clinical white and blue to the black-like-my-soul interface, who thought this would be a good way to browse photos? Don’t they want us to actually be distracted by all the other things on Facebook?
  4. Groups - These things have been launched for months, and I’m only part of one that is actually posted to regularly, and that’s because it’s basically a place where people post jobs. Groups are another feature that sounds good, but no one actually uses because they don’t benefit people on a daily basis.
  5. Questions - Facebook Questions are like Yahoo! Answers and Quora got even dumber, and someone allowed brands to throw their stupid questions into the mix. I don’t know who was asking for this feature, but it is completely useless, and I don’t need AMC’s The Walking Dead asking me how I’d survive the Zombie Apocalypse.
  6. Posting as Pages - Last week, with the switch to the new Facebook Pages gave page admins the ability to post as a page on another public page. This is going to make Facebook marketing spam and badvertising central. I haven’t seen this happen yet, but I know it will be coming once the full switch to the new pages is turned on and some idiot realizes he can go post as Coca-Cola in a desperate attempt to get more fans.  On the bright side though, we’ll hopefully see more weird and crazy fuck ups as more pages start #gettingslizzerd.

What Facebook feature drives you nuts the most? Do you think they’ll drop any of these? Or will they linger on like the walking dead until we get another pointless, opt-out feature added on?

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What Blogging Really Looks Like - The Anti-Social Media

There is Nothing Glamorous About Professional Blogging

The idea of professional blogging sounds like the coolest thing ever. You get paid to write your ideas and put them online every day. You’re paid to interact with readers in the comments and, sometimes you get a side of Facebook and Twitter. What could be more awesome?

Unfortunately, professional blogging actually looks something like this:

What Blogging Really Looks Like - The Anti-Social Media

Blogging is a lonely job with long hours. You might be stuck with your laptop more than you’d like to admit. In what could be best termed as an unhealthy obsession, you’ll check your smart phone more than you make eye contact with other people in a day.

Most of us aren’t idea factories, and we have to work to pull out the true gems of wisdom and shine them into a polish. On a daily basis, this can be maddening.

Bloggers aren’t super stars. The baristas still fuck up our orders at Starbucks. We don’t make enough cash to swim in it. We upset people with one thing we write, and people upset us with their reactions.

Still, for all the crap, the long hours, and the crazy people, we’re given the honor and privilege to be able to write nearly anything we want online, any day of the week, at any time for anyone to read. In what other time and place could that happen?

So be grateful, blogger.  For all the madness you endure, your ideas, whether grand or small, have the potential to change the world in an instant.

Comments { 27 }
Leave Me Alone - The Anti-Social Media

You Are in Charge of Your Online Relationships

Leave Me Alone - The Anti-Social Media

It’s the day after Valentine’s Day, so now it’s OK to unfollow, defriend, and break up with some of your online followers.

There’s no hard and fast rule that says you have to follow anyone online. You are in charge of what relationships you maintain or neglect online.

Many online relationships are extensions of our real lives, while others are forged entirely in the digital realm, consisting of ones and zeroes without ever having met someone in the real world.

You pick your online friends. There’s no obligation to follow and friend someone if you don’t want to, and if someone isn’t doing it for you, go ahead and unfollow them. Your followers are already treating you the same way.

Save yourself the time and stress of another meaningless online relationship. De-friend that jackass you’ve never really met, and save yourself time and stress you didn’t have to begin with.

Comments { 24 }
The Wonder Bloggers - The Anti-Social Media

8 Reasons You Don’t Need to Read The Now Revolution

The Wonder Bloggers - The Anti-Social MediaThe Now Revolution by Jay Baer and Amber Naslund is a decent book that you don’t need to read. It’s intended audience is not you, a blogger with a dream and a Twitter account, and even then, this book could have been executed much more effectively.

The Now Revolution has a lot going for it. Two awesome bloggers combine their powers to produce something better than than the two of them could alone. It’s got a lot of social media buzz happening, and it seems like it could be a major shift in social media books. Still, I think this is a book most social media people will read once, think about for an hour or so, and then put back on their shelf where it will live until it is sent to their public library as a donation years from now.

It’s not a book about how to do social media, but at the same time, it is. The chapters on listening, crisis management, and measuring return on investment (ROI) are all excellent resources about how to handle those aspects of social media. This book is not meant to be read by bloggers like me, but rather the higher managers and c-suite executives who make big decisions for businesses. Still, the authors are trying to spread the word through bloggers like me. I don’t know about you, but a blog that says F#*k you, Facebook usually isn’t my first thought of a place that has an ear with the CEO every morning.

The last three chapters of The Now Revolution are the best. They’re the least vague and wishy-washy, and tell you how to set up your business to accomplish goals in listening, measuring ROI, and social media crisis management without being too preachy or saying there is only one right way to do it. They give real, practical information that a business can use to improve their social media efforts. Not much of the information was new to me because it’s the type of thing I do for my clients in my day-to-day work, but if you’re new to the game, this is good stuff.

Here are the 8 things I despised about The Now Revolution. These are the things I felt took away from the valuable information, and were the things that made me stop and go “WTF?!”

  1. This Book is 7 Extended Blog Posts - The Now Revolution reads like the longest blogs posts you’ve ever read. To me, the book is 7 very long blog posts that are tied together in a hardcover. At times I felt like I was reading copy that was destined for search engine optimization, rather than a cohesive and coherent narrative.
  2. The Chapter on Hiring - I know nearly every employee now has a Facebook profile, a LinkedIn Profile, and other pieces of an online presence, but that doesn’t give employers the right to stalk them using social networks. It’s extremely easy for anyone to look at one tweet and blow it that information out of proportion. The authors even go so far as to suggest this type of search can supplement a true background check service. We have enough problems getting people to work right now without having to deal with HR managers who are stalking candidates on Twitter.
  3. Bad Grammar - Normally, I don’t read books with pens sitting next to me. Because I knew I’d be reviewing The Now Revolution, I made sure to have my pen next to me to mark things I like and things I disliked. As I did that, I also found myself correcting grammar in places instead of taking notes. If I, a blogger who admittedly has problems with spelling, typos and grammar can find these, someone wasn’t doing his or her job.
  4. Terrible language - “Engineer a New Bedrock.” “Follow the Humanization Highway.” “Emphasize Response-ability.” What the hell are these? Bedrock is formed naturally by geological processes, response-ability is the worst pun I’ve read in years, and I still have no clue what a humanization highway is. There was one chapter where there was a bad simile in every third paragraph. Writing should be fun and it should be able to stir the imagination with images and ideas that didn’t exist previously, but we can do it without confusing the reader and writing down to them.
  5. The Microsoft Tags -  Jay and Amber use Microsoft’s weird version of QR codes so readers can access more information outside of the book with their smartphone. These tags added so little value to the book. With the space they take on the page must have added an additional ten pages alone because they are so big. It would have been much easier for me go to a URL using my computer, because I have a nice big screen to read from and it’s infinitely easier for me to save things for later using my computer. Also, by using these tags without any URLs, the authors presume everyone reading the book has a smartphone. There’s nothing like needing a $200 phone with a $100 monthly bill to get all the value out of a $13 book.
  6. The bad graphics - I’ve seen better graphics designed with the publishing program I had on my first DOS Machine in the late 1980s. The images and charts used in the book are terrible, and I think they actually take away from the stuff of quality in the book. They are that distracting. Jay and Amber - when either of you write another book, I offer my services to illustrate if you so choose.
  7. The blog ads and speaking ad in the back of the book - I don’t know which is worse, the ad to bring Jay and Amber as speakers, or the ads for their blogs. These stink of desperation and gratuitous self-promotion. They make me as a reader think I didn’t get value from the product.
  8. The two pages of testimonials INSIDE the book - Now, for all I know, this could be dictated by the publisher. Still, regardless of whether the sin was committed by the authors or the publisher, I worry about the content of a book when the first two pages I read tell me how good the next 200 pages are going to be.

You don’t need to read The Now Revolution. Unless you’re a business owner or an executive, you’re not going to get much out of this book. If you are a business owner and are getting into the social media game, you’ll want to read the last three chapters. Find a sucker friend who has the book and borrow it from them to read it, or fork over the $9.99 to read it on Kindle.

If you’ve read The Now Revolution, I want to know what you think. Am I being a crazy curmudgeon, or is this book really deserving of those two pages of praise?

    Win a Copy of The Now Revolution

    Social Media Bacon CatSo, after all that, do you still want to actually read this book? Sucker.

    I’ll make it easier for you. I’m giving you the chance to win a copy of The Now Revolution. All you have to do is draw a picture of a social media bacon cat, whatever the hell you think that is, and leave a link to it in the comments by February 18. 2011. I don’t care if you use crayons, Photoshop, pencils, or MS Paint. I wanna see what you think a social media bacon cat is. I’ll be picking the winner randomly from all selections and sharing all entries later.

    Disclosure: I won two copies of The Now Revolution, one to review and another to give away, and I wouldn’t otherwise pay to read this book.

    Comments { 63 }
    Fuck You - The Anti-Social Media

    F#*k You Friday! New Facebook Pages

    Fuck You - The Anti-Social MediaI’ve always wanted to start a feature called F#*k You Friday, and I finally got the chance today thanks to my favorite scapegoat, Facebook.

    So yesterday, I’m doing my usual work and having an awesome afternoon, when I have to go to a meeting for a half hour. So, I go to my meeting, and I come back, and within 10 seconds of sitting down I hear, “Jay, does Facebook look different to you?”

    Facebook decided to change how pages looked without warning any of us.

    An hour and 18 minutes later, I got an e-mail from Facebook slightly explaining that pages are changing. A full hour after I’ve been trying to figure out what the heck is going on with my pages. And I’m still not clear on all the new features yet. I guess time and Zuckerberg will tell.

    This is how you toy with the people who run Facebook pages as part of their job. How hard is it to tell people, “On Thursday February 10, we’ll be previewing the new Facebook pages layout. We’ll run the preview until February 28, by which time your page will be switched to the new layout.”  Would that be so hard? Is it that difficult to be helpful to your users and the people who drive people to your site and make you money?  Why did that have to come entirely out of the blue at 3:30 on a Thursday?

    So F#*k you Facebook. F#*k you and your inability to give sufficient warning to the people who run pages and make your site somewhat bearable.

    Comments { 29 }
    Kids and Facebook - The Anti-Social Media

    Michelle Obama, Kids, and Facebook

    Kids and Facebook - The Anti-Social MediaThere’s a lot of chatter about how Michelle Obama doesn’t want her daughters on Facebook.

    The nerve of her! Protecting their security and making independent decisions about the way she raises her own children! How dare she?! Doesn’t she know that Facebook is the only way we communicate online that matters?

    Still, both Obama daughters are under 13, the minimum age to use Facebook.  Can’t the The First Lady of the United States bend the rules just to let her two kids be on a monstrous social network where they will be open to attacks and messages from crazy people? Doesn’t she want to feed them into Facebook’s marketing monster?

    Parents just don’t understand how to be cool in 2011.

    Comments { 16 }
    Personal Branding - The Anti-Social Media

    11 Crappy Personal Branding Tips

    Personal Branding - The Anti-Social MediaPersonal branding is a bunch of meaningless crap people want you to buy into.

    Instead of doing good work and letting it stand for itself, the personal branding mafia wants you to sell yourself on some vague online presence that may very well have nothing to do with the job you want or the skills you have. They forget there’s this thing called the real world (not the TV show) where things happen, and people’s actions matter more than their ability to set up a WordPress blog.

    So, here are 11 crappy tips you’ll see from personal branding “professionals” who want you to pay more attention to them and their “brand” than actually taking care of yourself.

    1. Buy your name as a domain - Because without a domain, you’re just homepage-less.
    2. Buy every variation of that domain - You don’t want others creeping into your personal brand. Take away all the property before they get their dirty little hands on it.
    3. Claim your name on every available social network - Sure, you’ve already got a Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Quora, Bebo, Google Buzz, Tumblr, Posterous, Vimeo, Plurk, Orkut, Path, Instagram, flickr, Second Life, Friendster, MySpace, Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp, and LiveJournal, but what if those aren’t popular tomorrow? You need to be on the lookout for the next 22 hot social networks.
    4. Use the same photo of yourself all those networks - You want people to recognize you, so use one photo as an avatar. It doesn’t matter that it’s from 5 years ago, that it was the best photo of you ever taken, and that you look nothing like that in real life. Online recognition is more important.
    5. Brand your e-mail address - I don’t care that you already have firstname.lastname on Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail. You need to have it on all those domains you just bought because otherwise you’re unprofessional and technologically inept.
    6. Have an elevator speech - Remember, you’re branding yourself, so you’re no longer human. Be able to sell yourself in 15 seconds or less to complete strangers with no interest into humans.
    7. Have a business card - Because nothing says “I’m a branded professional!” better to people than a poorly printed business card with some vague, meaningless title and some clip art you found on your parent’s computer.
    8. Have your niche - In today’s modern world, you can’t just be good at a skill or two. You’ve got to corner yourself in a niche that may be meaningless in two weeks.
    9. Write a blog - I don’t care that you’re a bad writer, and that you don’t need to write long articles to be a successful waitress. Write a blog, but make sure it’s in your niche and update it every day no matter the cost. Your personal brand is that important.
    10. Interview People - Demonstrating skills is useless, so these interviews aren’t designed to show your ability to question others. They’re designed solely for self-promotion. So find chumps in your niche you can interview before you trample them with your brand.
    11. Don’t be yourself - Some may encourage you to be your normal, boring self, but they’re wrong. This is the internet and we all have the attention span of a hyperventilating chipmunk. Be much more interesting than you actually are.

    Now go! Make yourself into the half-assed virtual identity you always wanted to be.

    Comments { 42 }
    Look At What I Did - The Anti-Social Media

    Facebook’s Sponsored Stories are Insulting to Marketers

    Social media marketers! You pay for advertisements, you pay for research, and you pay for expensive and sophisticated tracking and listening tools. It gets even better now with Facebook’s Sponsored Stories!

    With Facebook’s Sponsored Stories, you now can pay to show off the statuses you’ve worked so hard to achieve! Strut that mention! Highlight that like! Make someone’s friends bask in the glow of their awkward check-in! What do you care how weird it gets? Friends like friends better than other ads they ignore because they can hold those awkward pairings against one another.

    Look At What I Did - The Anti-Social Media

    And Sponsored Stories aren’t creepy  for users at all! Sure, they make take advantage of things users have already put on Facebook to connect with their real friends, but it’s not like they hold users hostage.

    The best part is that users can never elect to opt-out of Sponsored Stories, so you can finally reach that tiny segment of geriatric goths you’ve been trying to reach!

    So, make that organic work inorganic. Commandeer the content users shared for personal use, and turn it into an advertisement! Users are waiting for you to make their Facebook experience more awkward right now!

    Comments { 8 }