Archive | March, 2011
The Blog You Love - The Anti-Social Media

What Blogging Platform Should I Use?

The Blog You Love - The Anti-Social Media

Use the blogging platform that you will actually use to blog.

With all of today’s blogging platforms, ranging from the level of “So simple my dog could use it,” to “For advanced Linux users only,” there’s a blog platform for everyone. I don’t really judge what blog platform you use, but I will judge you if you don’t blog with any sense of regularity. I want to read awesome content regularly, regardless of the medium.

So try lots of different blog software. Find which platforms you like and which ones you hate. Compare features. See which software you can use to get the blog looking nice and which ones make you want to stab your computer with a pitchfork.

When you find the blog software you love, or the one that causes the least amount of physical pain, and use it. Love it. Make awesome content.

If you’re writing well, your readers won’t care what’s behind the scenes.

Comments { 18 }
Buy Crap Here - The Anti-Social Media

How to Use _____ For Marketing

Buy Crap Here - The Anti-Social MediaHave you heard of _____? It’s a hot new social media tool that allows people to connect with their friends like never before. Since launching in January, _____ has already seen a 1000% increase in user sign ups, and is on track to be one of the hot new social networks of the year.

So you’re probably thinking, “Gosh Jay, I’m connected to so many of my friends on so many different networks already. Why do I need one more?” That’s a great question, and the answer is simple:

To market to these users.

The users of _____ expect to make connections with their friends and other users without any interference from advertisements,  so if you get your business on there, you’ll be the first person to sell them useless crap. You’ll be featured in case studies, have white papers written about you,  and be known for your thought leadership and creativity. It’s the type of internet celebrity that means nothing and won’t boost your paycheck past the annual 3% raise, but you’ll be an innovator.

So, how do you turn _____ into a marketing powerhouse? It’s as simple as five steps.

  1. Set up a profile for your business - Ignore the warning on _____ that says “Marketers will be shot on sight.” It’s the internet! They can’t shoot you for real! Besides, you can just claim to be a user evangelist, preaching the gospel of consumerism to the unwashed masses of the internet.
  2. Tell other people to use _____ - Because _____ is new, there aren’t as many users on it compared to a proven and tested network like Facebook or Twitter. Start telling people you’ll offer your best deals through _____, even if it is a blatant lie to earn connections on the network. Users don’t care about duplicative networks and useless new features, they just want deals!
  3. Sell Crap Through Your Profile - Now this is the fun part where you get to sell people things they don’t need, like apps, gizmos and junk food. Just go crazy. Do anything for a sale. “Delight” users with competent customer service. Soon users will be talking about nothing but you and you alone.
  4. Doctor the Results - Look, no one wants to read another boring white paper with above average results to slowly and sustainably build your business. We can read those all the time. Tell everyone how _____ changed your perception on customer service. Doctor your sales numbers so they sounds awesome. Make it read like you accomplished something that could never be done before or since.

Once you’ve accomplished that, you can now be assured you will be remembered for the next 6 weeks among the pantheon of internet marketing gods. We shall bow down to you who had the great insight to corrupt a place that was awesome to connect with friends and family, into a platform to sell us more things we don’t need.

Of course, these are just the basics to turn _____ into your marketing home base. Do you have any tips on how to use ____ for marketing? I want to see us all become the next generation of panel moderators at conferences.

Comments { 16 }
F#*k You Friday - The Quickbar- The Anti-Social Media

F#*k You Friday! Twitter for iPhone

F#*k You Friday - The Quickbar- The Anti-Social MediaThere is nothing more dangerous online than coming between a Twitter addict and his drug.

Do you know why I likeTwitter so much? It barely changes. Sure, the conversations and the people using it change all the time, but the service itself rarely adds bloated, useless features unlike some other social network.

So when they make dumb changes, I get real angry, real quick.

Yesterday, Twitter released a new version of their Twitter app for iPhone that sucks so hard I’m surprised it hasn’t imploded on itself. The Twitter app added something they called a “quickbar,” which shoves trending topics, both promoted and not, on top of the tweets. So when you’re trying to read tweets, this little bar shows up and covers up what you’re trying to read.

I get that Twitter is free and that they need to pay the bills for themselves and their investors. With the service the way it is, they need to use advertisements. But this is the worst way to do it. Having the ads Promoted Topics sit on top of the tweets I’m trying to read make the app unusable. Everytime I stop to read whatever is at the top of my screen, the damn bar rolls and throws up trending topics like “#winning” and “McLobster” on top of what I’m reading.

I don’t give a fuck about what’s trending. I want to know what my friends and contacts are talking about and sharing. That’s the value of Twitter. The quickbar is a terrible way to implement ads, and it’s an awful user experience.

The other shitty part of this update for me was that Twitter now forces all URLs to be shortened with their proprietary shortener,  I get the whole branding thing, but one of my favorite features of Twitter for iPhone was that it allowed you to input a custom URL shortener that wasn’t This allowed me to use Argyle Social, a tool I love, to shorten URLs. I have yet to find another iPhone app with this ability. Why not just make default for millions of masses who don’t give a damn how their URLs are shortened, and give the rest of us the option to use other shorteners?

And it’s not just me being an an angry social media nerd. As of this writing, there are 746 ratings of the current version of the Twitter app in iTunes, and 491 of those are 1 star. That’s in less than 24 hours.

So fuck you Twitter. Fuck you for ruining one of the best apps on the iPhone.


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Facebook Brands with Comments 1 - The Anti-Social Media

Why Commenting as Brands on Facebook Sucks

When Facebook updated fan pages a few weeks ago, they gave brands the ability to go to other public pages and comment on them as the brand. So, if your profile is public, Coca-Cola can come over to your page and invite you to enjoy the refreshing taste of an ice-cold soda.

Creepy? Kind of. Annoying. Definitely?

Facebook even gave this ability to page admins to comment as pages on their new comment system, giving brands the ability to spread their message outside of Facebook. Apparently, Facebook forgot its mission to connect people with people and decided to become a marketing platform with social connections.

This is what I see happening now that brands can enter into conversations:

Facebook Brands with Comments 1 - The Anti-Social Media

Facebook Brands with Comments 2 - The Anti-Social Media

Facebook Brands with Comments 3 - The Anti-Social Media

Inevitably there will be someone at some major brand who makes a big mistake and we all get a big laugh out of it for ten minutes, but the problem with all of these new abilities is bigger than that. People don’t want to interact with logos and branding. People want to interact with people.

Facebook page admins: don’t abuse your new powers or people will leave Facebook faster than Myspace on a slow day.

Who am I kidding though? Facebook page admins who are stupider than the people reading this will ruin it for everyone. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Comments { 41 }
Social Media Stalkers - The Anti-Social Media

On My First Social Media Stalker

Social Media Stalkers - The Anti-Social Media

For whatever reason the universe chose to see fit, I am attractive prey to online stalkers.

My first online stalking incident occurred in 2005. I was a freshman in college, and I was heavily depressed because I’m better at being friendly online than being friendly in the real world. I was also a vocal music major, and my repertoire was all about either being sad, falling out of love, or death.

I set myself up for the path to happiness early.

Back in those days TheFacebook was new and shiny, and profiles on TheFacebook were not nearly as shut down as most people do now. Profiles were pretty much open to everyone at your University. So, that meant any freak with a email address could see my entire profile.

And my profile was epic. For a while, I played a game where every single time I logged into TheFacebook I added an interest, a favorite movie, book or music. Keep in mind this was before the newsfeed, statuses, and the ability to comment on anything. You either made your profile entertaining, or there was no point to it. I also had a blog (that is long gone) that I wrote about all my troubles on, and I linked to it from my profile on TheFacebook.

So I had an open profile with too much information, and a personal blog where I was over-sharing my trivial yet seemingly ALL IMPORTANT problems every day. I was set up for a disaster.

The disaster’s name was Cornelius [Note: Not his real name, obviously].

Cornelius discovered me through some sort of stalking on TheFacebook, and decided I was cute and tragic and he needed to fix manipulate me. So, he sent me an e-mail on a Friday night, probably because he thought I was so depressed I was hanging onto every message sent my way. However, I didn’t open it within minutes on a Friday night. So, within five minutes of sending this e-mail, I get an IM.

Cornelius: Hi Jay!

Jay: Hi, who is this?

Cornelius: Cornelius. I just sent you an e-mail.

Jay: Oh?

Cornelius: Yeah, I wanted to talk to you and see if you want to hang out.

At this point in the conversation, I’m desperately looking for the e-mail as I simultaneously freak out and text my friend who I was thankfully going out with that night. I stall on the IM as long as I can as I read the e-mail Cornelius sent.

Below is the majority of the original e-mail, because I am a psychopath and like to hold onto things like this:

Hey Jay, my name is Cornelius.  I was looking at facebook and come across you.  I went to your website and read some of your articles that you had written.  I think that had to be some of the most  emotional stories that I have ever read.  It means even more since they are true and came from your heart. I’ve been like you for so long. You referred to not breaking down and wanting to retreat. I feel like that a lot too.  It seems that nobody understands what you’re going through and you can’t really talk to anybody about it, but you can express it through the written word just to let your feelings out.  I just want to let you know that you are not alone.  I feel lonely all the time too, especially when you realize who your true friends are. Yet, there are a few occassions when I feel happy and those days are becoming more frequent as I move on with life. However, in my heart, I still feel alone.  So, I understand you completely, and I think that it is wonderful that you are able to express that and want to share it with people.  I’d love to get together some time and talk, because you seem like a great guy to talk to about life in general.  I’m not looking for hookup type stuff, so don’t worry about that. [Emphasis mine]  I would like to be in a relationship with somebody down the line.  Some say that that doesn’t equal happiness but you can’t truly understand that if you are dating somebody; it’s so much easier for them to say and for us to deal with.  I have AOL IM.  My screenname is [redacted] if you wanna chat sometime.  Or, you can email me. Hope to hear from you soon!

Did you make it through that? I read that email 6 years later and I still feel dirty. I still wonder what the hell I was thinking about having so much of my life, and my problems, out in the open online.

I took the very proactive step to do absolutely nothing. I proceeded to let Cornelius IM me nearly every single time I got online for the next month, until I finally broke down one day and decided to meet with him for dinner at the university dining hall. Somewhere with lots of people, and somewhere if I started screaming for help someone could bash a tray over his head.

Like all stalkers who lack social skills, it was apparent in his appearance. His haircut looked like a bowl cut left over from 1989, his outfit like a sad collection of ill-fitting items from Wal-Mart, and his teeth were green. I kid you not. They were green. I never believed people in America, the land where every toothpaste has whitener, could have green teeth, but by God it is possible.

I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a meal faster in my life while attempting to have a conversation. Words spilled out of my mouth as I fumbled to shovel more pasta in. I wish I could remember any of the conversation, but I was so traumatized by the whole event I blacked it out. By the time it was over, I was ready to never contact any humanity again.

When I got back to my dorm, I had an IM from Cornelius:

“I should have kissed you goodnight”

My jaw dropped in horror. This man had the social perception of a goldfish, and he wanted to put those terrifying green teeth within millimeters of my presence.

Finally, something inside of me snapped and decided I needed a spine. I said, “No, you won’t.” and immediately blocked him on AIM, Facebook, and any other method I thought he could use to contact me.

I wish I could say I never heard from Cornelius again, but he crossed my path in other surprising, horrifying, and sometimes hilarious ways while I was still in college. Still, I have never been the same with what I share about myself online. I’m much more guarded about what I talk about, when and how I talk about it.

It was a hard way to learn a lesson, but still it is something I am glad I learned when I did. No single event has shaped my blogging as much as that one. It seems so distant, taking place in a world where instant sharing was just a few years away from what we are using now, yet it seems more relevant than ever.

Protect yourself online. You never know when a man with green teeth will fall in love with your online identity.

Comments { 31 }
And You Can Blog - The Anti-Social Media

On College and Blogging

And You Can Blog - The Anti-Social MediaThis past Saturday I spoke on a panel about blogging to students at the UNC SMART Conference. The conference was a short, half day event designed and put on by Career Services, and was quite successful for their first effort to put on a social media focused event for the students.

Blogging while in school is a very conflicting topic. I was told once I should blog about my honors thesis on sexuality in cartoon music. As fun and interesting as that was, I’m sure that all of my past and future employers would love to be reading that document right now and learning about how many cartoons I watched and how I perverted them. Really, I want everyone to think I’m some some kind of kinky, cartoon-obsessed freak in addition to being a social media sociopath.

So, while blogging never worked out for me as a student, there was more I wanted to say though to the students listening to my panel. These are the major highlights I think I or the  panel missed that we should have covered.

  • There are hundreds of reasons to blog - While we may have focused on careers, there are lots of great reasons to start a blog that have nothing to do with being professional. Maybe you just like to tell funny stories. Maybe you want to show off your cool drawings. Or maybe you want to take videos of your cat and then force hundreds of people to watch them. All of these are just as acceptable and qualified a reason to blog as someone who write about business marketing, and sometimes it’s easier to build and connect with an audience around these topics.
  • Emphasize quality over quantity - Given the time, we can all write 100 crappy blog posts. If you’re a student who’s transitioning and looking for a new job, writing posts that are quality is more important than quantity.
  • Nobody is perfect - There are millions of bloggers out there all with different agendas and purposes. Just because one blogger is successful doesn’t mean you will be, and for most blogs there is no straight-forward path to success. We all make mistakes, and we all can do better. Just do your best with your resources and you’ll be fine.
  • Stick to a schedule - Readers hate blogs without any kind of schedule. It makes it hard for them to know when to come by. Figure out what you can do, and start blogging on that schedule. Similarly, if you have a schedule, and you can’t keep up with it, rethink it. There is no right or wrong answer about how much and how often you are supposed to blog. Again, think quality.
  • Have fun -  You’re young. You don’t have to be a boring, stuffy professional. Your blog should reflect you and your awesomeness. That doesn’t mean you can’t be professional, but you can create something that is new and exciting without having all the baggage of a long career with you.

What would you tell today’s college students about blogging? Embrace the medium? Run for your life? Keep a healthy distance from bloggers like me? Let’s get the kids on a better path to success than we are on.

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