Archive | March, 2011


4 Things I Learned About Social Media from Dating Sites

Broken Heart - The Anti-Social MediaI’ve been single for about half a year now, and I decided I should try going on dates by putting myself on a dating site. I figure maybe if I can find someone else who is just as petty and hateful of social media as I am, we can both enjoy sitting in a room complaining about how the kids don’t understand Twitter. At that point, I like to imagine we both sit at home and and watch YouTube videos all night while drinking margaritas and have a grand old time.

Even my ideas of romance are soaked with social media.

However, after spending a few months on dating sites, meeting people that seem like the cast from the Simpsons, I’ve realize people are the same everywhere online. Whether they are reaching out to their friends on Facebook or making new connections on LinkedIn, people will behave in the same stupid ways online no matter what site they are on. Looking for romance is just another way to be stupid while connecting with people.

This is what I’ve learned about social media from dating sites so far:

  1. Everyone hides something online - We all want to appear a certain way. Whether that is we are nicer than we are in real life, or we just want to hide those ten extra pounds, we have something to gain by showing ourselves in  a certain light or keeping our personal brand a certain way.
  2. There will always be haters - You know what’s worse than trolls on a blog? Trolls on a dating site. I once got a 5 paragraph message from a potential suitor telling me that I was wrong about something. The message ended with “I’m not judging you harshly, and I’d love to meet you.” Why yes, I’d love to meet for coffee and be criticized for an hour by a stranger!
  3. Some people will never get it - Just like someone will message you daily trying to win your heart even though you told them to “BACK THE HELL OFF,” someone will read your blog daily and not understand any of it.  You can’t please everyone, and some people will never learn you just aren’t into them.
  4. We all want to be loved - Whether we want to meet the love of our life, or meet our favorite blogger, we all want some affection and caring to justify our measy online presence. True love is just a retweet away.

If I keep going on dates, who knows what other crazy things I’ll learn. Maybe I’ll finally understand why we keep talking about Quora.

Have you ever used a dating site, and did you actually meet someone sane from the site? What did you learn from using the site? I need some inspiration here, otherwise I’m going to start using LinkedIn as a dating tool. I’m sure the professionals in my network are looking forward to those e-mails.


How NOT to Ask for a LinkedIn Recommendation

Everyone wants to be complete. That’s why that little bar telling you you haven’t completed your LinkedIn profile to 100% is terrible. It compels and taunts you until you have completed your profile. Getting the bar to 85% is easy because you can do all that stuff on your own. It’s the other 15% that comes from other people’s recommendations that’s hard to do.

So, how do you ask for a recommendation? Pretty much in any way other than this:

LinkedIn Recommendations - The Anti-Social Media

The best LinkedIn recommendations will come from people who are so impressed by your work that they have to tell the world. When you have to ask for one, do it, but don’t offer your left thumb just for an online recommendation.

So, has anyone gotten an awkward LinkedIn recommendation request? Ever get one from a stranger? What depths will people sink to in their attempt to be known as “the best professional ever?”


LinkedIn is Hard, Boring Work

Party On LinkedIn - The Anti-Social MediaYou know why you don’t like using LinkedIn and all of its crazy features?

Because LinkedIn takes work.

It’s not as fast and fleeting as Twitter, and it’s not fun like Facebook. You can’t just hop on, leave a snarky comment on someone’s latest photos of their cats, and log back off. You have to talk to people and connect strategically to enhance your network. LinkedIn is a tool for business rather than pleasure, and that alone makes most roll their eyes roll far back into their head. I only use LinkedIn when someone wants to connect with me, and even then I’d rather be stabbed repeatedly with a dull fork.

So how do we make it more fun?

We don’t. But we can pretend LinkedIn is much more fun! Next time you get an invitation to connect, think of it as a “friend request.” When you update your status, imagine your sharing the most amazing thing ever with your closest friends. Talking with a group? Think of it as a an exclusive clique that you’re a part of.

LinkedIn won’t become more fun immediately, but we can imagine it is much more than it is.

What do you do to make LinkedIn bearable? Do you imagine it’s more fun, do you just put up with it, or do you avoid it all together? I want to know what you do to make LinkedIn a party.


Sex, Facebook, and Social Media Diversity

True Colors - The Anti-Social MediaLast week I read two great blog posts about diversity in social media thought leadership by Jay Baer and Danny Brown. Both are great posts and raise some really great questions about issues social media marketers and business leaders need to keep in mind. However,  they made me think of my own experiences with diversity.

I am as privileged as any white male in American society. However, I am gay, which is an entirely different kind of minority status. When I read about diversity, I think about the subject in broader terms than just race alone.

Online, it’s easy to think about race in terms of diversity. Everyone is an egomaniac, so their avatar, their Facebook profile, and their blog is filled with their picture. You make a judgement of what race they are based on what you see and then move on from there. Sexuality is something completely different. Unless I am puking rainbows in the pride parade and post a million photos about it, I look like every other geeky white male with a social media blog. My minority is invisible until I start talking about it.

What is most interesting to me about sexual diversity online is how it is treated on Facebook. Facebook doesn’t see racial diversity. You don’t enter your race when you sign up for Facebook.  Facebook doesn’t classify and segregate you by the color of your skin. Only Facebook users classify other users by race.

But, if you choose to enter the information, Facebook classifies you by your sexuality.

I may volunteer this information, but by doing so, the factor that makes me a minority is public knowledge. Even if I don’t enter that information and state I am in a relationship with another man, my status becomes known.

And once this is known by Facebook, it starts targeting you based on your sexuality like a shark that has caught the scent of blood.

Even after being in a domestic partnership with my cat for two months (who is listed as female), I still get ads that are targeted at gay men. Ads for websites like “Bear City.” Ads for “Pants that give you a Great Butt.” Ads for “Cute, sexy underwear.”

This is horrific. As marketers, why do we find it acceptable to target someone on ANY minority status? Why is it OK to target a woman because she is a lesbian, but not because she is black?

Imagine if one of these ads that targets gay men gave me a discount code and I use that discount code. Now that institution knows my minority status. They can’t target you because you are black or white, but they can capitalize on every penny because you are gay, lesbian, bisexual or straight.

We can talk all we want about diversity online and the need to include people of different races and sexualities. Those are always good things to have at the top of mind. Today we can make an immediate difference. Marketers: stop targeting Facebook ads based on sexual identity. Tell Facebook is it unacceptable to target people based on ANY minority status.

Start thinking about diversity beyond just what you can see on the outside of a person, and start thinking about the whole of their life. There’s more to any person than the tiny portrait they present online and the color of their skin in that avatar. As leaders on a new frontier, it is our duty to lead the way on this issue. Stop discriminating, and do a better job.


F*#$ You Friday! Trending Topics on Twitter

Twitter Trends - The Anti-Social MediaI like to think I enjoy Twitter because it isn’t bloated or stupid. Then, I stumble across a trending topic and  I want to gouge out my eyeballs with a blunt spoon.

Trends on Twitter are the worst phenomenon. On one hand, they are a zeitgeist, a sign of the times of how people reacted to world events.  Other times, they are just pure, useless crap. Right now, “Rise and Grind” is trending. Yeah, we’re going to remember that one for all of its insight into how world events unfolded. The trending mechanism isn’t even good. Justin Bieber trended for months before Twitter had to ban him as a trend because his crazy fans gamed the system.

I believe in the need for entertainment and fun. Some of my favorite Twitter accounts use Twitter not to spread information, but make me laugh harder than anyone else. But do I need to be subjected to the fleeting entertainment of #puthoeinthetitle and other trends that aren’t relevant to me?”

Why do I need to be subjected to crap such as #mclobster and #tigerblood? How is this stuff relevant to the user? To society? What value do these trends bring to my Twitter experience? Maybe I’m just being curmudgeonly, but I’ve yet to see a trending topic that provided me with any real information.

Even worse are promoted trends. Promoted trends are such an oxymoron even the morons avoid them. You can’t pay people to make something trendy. You can certainly try, but if people hate it, they don’t care about how promoted that trend it.

So fuck you Twitter. Trends aggregate useless information and low quality entertainment, and they don’t provide any relevant information to users. Trends also helped create the #dickbar. If trends keep getting stupider, I will start the trend #bloodbath.


LinkedIn is not a Glorified Resume

I'm So Professional - The Anti-Social Media100 million members later, and people still don’t know how to use LinkedIn beyond posting their resume.

You think people would be interested in interacting with professionals in their field, raise awareness of their skills, and build relationships with some of the best business people in the world, but no. We just go over there, post our resume, and hope some recruiter stalks our profile wants our skill sets so badly they bend over backwards to hire us.

LinkedIn doesn’t work that way.

Posting your resume with all its typos and a grainy photo your cropped from your Facebook profile doesn’t make you professional. It makes you cheap. Adding widgets with your latest blog posts and your SlideShare presentations can be nice, but if you keep adding stuff it looks like you put your resume on your MySpace page. Some profiles are so bloated, I find myself waiting for the animated .gif backgrounds and for “Little Red Corvette” to play when I load up your profile.

I know we all want to look cool with our widgets and our apps, but seriously, what’s the need broadcast your travels on your LinkedIn profile? Do I really need to know what business book your are reading? You really want me to believe you only read business books? Go ahead and lie publicly to me and your next boss. I’d rather know you read J.K. Rowling along with Seth Godin. That’s at least muggle-izes humanizes you.

LinkedIn is as robust and bloated as Facebook. It has features beyond connecting with your business contacts and making your dinky little profile. You can ask questions and get answers from people without the exercise in ego masturbation that goes on on Quora. You can stalk a person or company. You can make a group of professionals to interact with so you don’t have to deal with the unwashed masses. Even before you strip the business aspects away, LinkedIn is the most successful Facebook competitor in terms of having lots of ways to interact all based around one profile.

Stop making LinkedIn your online resume holder. If you care about being social at all, you can find something to do on LinkedIn.

Are you doing anything on LinkedIn besides posting your resume? I want to know what people are actually doing on there.


Social Media Breaks are for Wimps

Have you heard of this thing called real life? It consists of what people do when they aren’t plugged into Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Tumblr, Flickr, Instagram, and Quora.

Apparently, it can affect what you do online.

Scary, right?

What is a social media wizard supposed to do? Become a social media muggle? Can that even be done?

Here’s what I’ve learned. If you don’t go take care of things in the real world, they come back to get you online, just when you were about to sit down and watch a video remix of a cat doing something cute and ridiculous that you’ve never seen before.

Must watch lolcats - the anti-social media

So take a social media break. Go handle all the things in the real world. But only if you’re a wimp.

Don’t worry, you won’t miss anything, except my best post ever, your friend’s funniest tweet, and a really lame question about cats on Quora. You might also miss a video of a baby doing something cute and hilarious, and you’ll never be able to go back onto YouTube and watch it and everyone will think you are culturally incompetent for missing that video. And everyone will think you are terrible for replying to an e-mail after 24 hours.

Don’t be a wimp. Stay awake 24 hours, all day, every day. Never miss a tweet. Let no status go without comment. Be the ultimate professional on LinkedIn. The ultimate friend on Facebook. The greatest follower on Twitter.

You don’t need a social media break. Plug in until you collapse. It’s what all the cool kids do.


Why Smart People Use Twitter

Brains On Twitter - The Anti-Social MediaSo I went to Wal-Mart this weekend because I wanted cheap crap at discount prices at 9 pm on a Sunday night.

Now, before I get any further with this story, I want to say, yes, this has everything to do with social media. So shut up.

Anyways, as soon as I parked my car I was greeted by a bright orange car with decals of paw prints on the sides and a huge Garfield sticker. What year is this? 1989? I was really disappointed there was no little suction cup stuffed Garfield hanging in the windows.

Anyways, I go into the store and move quickly to get the few items I need. As I get in line to check out, I’m preceded by a family that looks like they haven’t seen an ounce of culture since 1995, and and another family that has two children, both under the age of 8, out at Wal-Mart after 9 pm on a school night. Both families are buying more non-essential items, like tube tops, Wii remotes and furniture that looks like it was designed by a second grader.

High priorities here at Wal-Mart on Sunday night.

However after witnessing the Garfield car, the families that don’t know how to take care of their children, and the amalgamation of 200,000 square feet of crap in one ridiculously sized building, I realized there’s a reason I like Twitter so much.

You have to be smart and focused to use Twitter.

To create compelling messages over and over in limited format takes brains. Brains most people have, and brains the people shopping at Wal-Mart don’t have. Sure, on Facebook you can put all your crap in one space and attempt to organize it into some semblance of categories, but on Twitter you don’t get that. If you want to tell people about your loves and obsessions, you’ve got to do it in such a way that doesn’t drive the rest of human to tell you to shut up. You’ve also go to do it in space that is cripplingly small, not a 200,000 square foot retail cavern.

You also have to focus on a few topics if you want to build a great audience on Twitter. People have expectations on Twitter. Expectations you can’t control. They’ll expect certain things from you. You don’t always have to play to their expectations, but if you focus on a few topics you’re bound to do better than a crazy cat person who mostly shares his own blog posts and makes sarcastic tweets.

Most of all, if you’re good at Twitter, you’ve got some style to what you’re doing. Sure, that $140 futon may not be the most stylish thing, but the lime green cushion says something more about you than the choice to spend your time shopping at Target in your pajamas. With a limited space, every word counts, and your choices stand out even more.

Facebook, is the Wal-Mart of social media. It’s an 600 million member gorilla that can throw its weight around so much to affect the very nature how we use the web. Twitter is Target. It’s still huge, and there’s definitely crap in there, but there are also a lot of gems. MySpace is K-mart, struggling to hang in there and remain relevant in a land of big-box social networks that are too big for their own good.

The Garfield CarSmart people use Twitter because it’s big enough that most people they want to connect with are on there, and there’s a whole bunch of other great stuff for them to find if they look around hard enough. It’s still a big box social network, but there’s value beyond the huge amount of the masses on there.  Also, they aren’t greeted by the Garfield car when they use Twitter.

Are people smarter on Twitter? Do they actually drive cars that are decorated to look like other cartoon characters? I want to know where you think the smartest people hang out online.