Archive | June, 2011


A Club By Yourself

Google Plus No Users - The Anti-Social Media

I wanted to write an obligatory reactive post to Google+, but without having actual access to the service yet, I have a limited idea of what it looks like and how useful it will be.

Instead, I want to talk about my friend who did get a preview from Google because of her sweet connections. She’s on there, and tried to invite some of her friends, but it won’t let her invite anyone. So, she’s on a social network with no way to be social. It’s like being in the coolest club all by yourself.

I get why Google needs to role out this software slowly. It’s new. It probably has unforeseen bugs. Because it’s release is limited, people put insane expectations on it, like it will cure cancer and bring Facebook to its knees.

But it’s just a social network. Google already has a billion unique users, so they need to be prepared for a billion people to log on and use this thing. Google needs to make sure they will scale this network appropriately so users can actually use and enjoy it.

Thus we get stuck in an awkward role out, like we have before for Google Wave.

Time will tell when the doors open to everyone if the club is really that cool. Until then, we can just stand outside the door while we wait and complain that we can’t get in. Meanwhile, inside, a few lonely people dance by themselves.


Influence Games

I love fake money - The Anti-Social MediaThe other day someone invested in me on Empire Avenue. If you have sold off your shares yet, I’m sorry I don’t care enough about building my influence to help a stranger succeed in an online game.

Someone else used Klout’s +K button to declare I am an influencer in social media. I’m glad I’m recognized as the crazed cartoonist I am, but influential? I worry about that.

These games have no real bearing on influence, which can only be measured by the actions that people take based on the words and actions of another. So if I tell everyone to  jump off a cliff, and no one does it, it doesn’t matter how many times you give me  a +K in cliff jumping. I’m not influential that way.

Don’t worry about playing some mad game for influence or trying to mindlessly push a button. These don’t build influence. Your relationships with the people behind the avatars are what will get you ahead, not meaningless virtual currency.

Now excuse me while I go play World of Warcraft to earn some serious gold to pay off some newbies.


F*%k You Friday! Reading the Same Blogs

Blogs I Can't Read - the anti-social mediaI’ve been reading the same blogs for months and years now because I’m picky and can never find anything I like to read long term.

Also, there’s only so much of Mashable I can take before it jumps the fail whale.

What’s good out there these days? What am I missing in my tunnel vision? Does anyone else have original thoughts? Anything inspire you or give you ideas?

I want to read something that doesn’t suck and won’t make me want to tear my intestines out and jump rope with them. Give me something good to read people.


On Being Prolific

Blog Years - The Anti-Social MediaThis is the 399th blog post I’ve written in the span of about a year and a half here at The Anti-Social Media. That’s 399 blog posts in 548 days, or about 7 tenths of a blog post a day (I like to keep the other 3 tenths saved in my nest egg for a rainy day). It also includes 200 unique comics, not counting the ones I create for speeches and presentations.

That’s more swearing, bitching, and whining than most people do in their entire lifetime.

Long-term blogging is hard, even for experts. There’s only so much we can write about, and only so many ways we can say it. We’re human. We lose interest. We have other obligations off of the internet, like survival and feeding our cats.

Thankfully, I blog about social media, where everything changes every two weeks and Facebook keeps shooting itself in the foot. I’ll never run out of material.

Bloggers, both old and new, is it hard for you to blog frequently? Is it worth it? Do you even care? I want to know what the other people who spend their time writing on the internet think of the madness we put ourselves through.


Google +1 is F*%king with my Search Results

Google +1 Stinks - The Anti-Social MediaGoogle’s +1 is a terrible, terrible idea that’s already messing with my search results. And I am pissed about that.

This weekend I wanted to find reviews of Super 8. I wanted to see what qualified people who get paid to write about movies said and see if it was worth spending $15 to see it on a big shiny screen.

So, I plug “Super 8 reviews” into Google, and all of a sudden I’m flooded with the crap all of my friends have +1’ed or shared on Twitter.

Seriously? Did I need to see every link my friends shared about a movie in the past three months? Was any of this relevant to my search just to find a review?

No it wasn’t. It was like having to read everyone else’s stupid thoughts, which I’ve already seen and dismissed. Why did I have to deal with this? Does Google think this is an effective search to have information polluted and diluted by what other people pushed a button on?

Search shouldn’t be dictated by what my friends are sharing. My online friends are too selfish with their own searches to know what I want to search on, and if I want their opinion, I can ask them on a social network.

Google, get rid of this crap that doesn’t have the information people want. Give us a search that brings qualified, relevant information that isn’t based on people mindlessly clicking a button.

And please don’t make me use Bing. I don’t want to tell anyone that “I binged something” or to “Just bing it.” Both of those sound like a sex act that shouldn’t see the light of day.


Monetizing Social Networks

Angel Investor - The Anti-Social MediaMonetization is one of the biggest and most awkward issues every social network faces. Why does this happen to every social network, and why does it happen so poorly?

Most social networks start off as something that doesn’t make money. The creators come up with an idea that connects people and does something. This idea is usually something like “You’ll make a profile and then connect with your friends profiles and share messages.” People are amazed and start connecting to one another because it’s free and easy.

Then, the creators realize that the information and sharing take up data, electricity and money that they don’t have. So, they go meet people called angel investors. Angel investors are just rich folks who want to become richer and throw their money into things will provide them with more wealth. That’s only angelic if you’re a diehard capitalist that believes money is your god.

So, the angel investors are now invested, and they want to see their god money grow. They now push the social network  to make money.

This is where things get awkward. The developers and creators, who are really good and coming up with fun ways to communicate, can’t figure out a way to make money. In their desperation, they turn to the time tested ways of the internet to make money: Advertising and subscriptions. Because everyone is already using the service for free and would quit in an instant with subscriptions, they turn to the other remaining option, advertisements.

So, now the social network, which was once heralded for its clean design and aesthetics, starts inserting ads wherever it can. People become blind to the ads because they don’t care about them, they care about connecting with their friends. As desperation increases, the social network makes the ads more prominent and starts featuring people’s own content in an effort to gain their attention.

People get annoyed and bored though, and someone makes a social network that is shinier, so all the users go there. The angel investors hope they’ve made enough money at this point, and they sell off their remaining shares to throw into the new and shinier social network. Thus, the cycle repeats as the angels fly to their new god.

And that’s how the internet is paid for. Not with good ideas that were intended to make money, but awkward money making tactics slapped onto good ideas.


Stop Calling People Out

Why Doesn't Anyone Care - The Anti-Social MediaOne of my rules for this blog is I don’t call individuals out. I may make fun of Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Bloggers, and myself, but I don’t like to make fun of individual people unless I feel like they are a celebrity of such caliber that they don’t care what people write about them on the internet. The only exception to this rule is if someone asks for me to publicly review something and I don’t like it, otherwise, I keep my venom directed at services and anonymous developers that don’t have faces.

I may be snarky, hateful, and cynical, but I don’t think it’s worth using this blog, or any blog, to publicly shame a person or business who may have had a bad day and didn’t deep fry my chicken fingers to perfection. I know, this goes entirely against the rules of the internet to sling mud endlessly, but I have standards. Standards that include blogging about bloggers eating each others excrement, but not blogging about a specific blogger eating another blogger’s excrement.

But, while I don’t call people out,  I know many people who will. People who bitch on Twitter when their restaurant service isn’t up to snuff. People who whine when things just don’t go their way. People who will write a whole blog post about how their trip went terribly wrong and that everything could have been done better.

Seriously people, have you not experienced this thing called life where you don’t always get what you want?

I get that everything could be done better, but when did social media need to become the end all be all for customer service? I have 1,300 followers on Twitter, and do you think any of them really care when my order gets messed up at Starbucks? And if I make a stink about it on Twitter, shouldn’t I have just asked the barista and manager to fix the problem first instead of going nuclear and stopping the internet for a truly meaningless problem that has no outcome on much greater events in the world?

We have better problems to worry about than complaining about the trivial episodes of our lives on the internet. Use that energy to do something useful, like earn more money, or buy me presents. We’ll all be happier if we just shut up and deal with it, and I will certainly be happier when everyone buys me presents.


F*%k You Friday! Centipede Bloggers

Centipede Blogger - The Anti-Social MediaEarlier this week I watched The Human Centipede, which is probably the worst idea for a movie ever. If you haven’t seen it, you’re not missing anything except for terrible imagery which will haunt our society for the next decade and a half.

Still, watching it gave me a terrible idea that I had to share on here because that’s what the internet is for, right? Sharing terrible ideas that should rather be kept quietly to oneself.

It seems there are less original thoughts than ever before. Hollywood makes less original movies. Everything seems to be a remake. Blogs reblog other blogs.

Instead of thinking and brainstorming and coming up with new and original ideas, we are instead like a human centipede. We just take the ideas that someone else has come up with and shit out at the last minute on their blog, digest it, and then shit out something even more terrible for people, who digest it and send it on.

I know great minds sometimes think alike, but they also need to think differently. How useful is your blog if you are just reacting to what everyone else is doing? Retweeting is nice, but don’t you have an original thought to share?

We often talk about curation, but that’s really just a  nice verb to say “I don’t have original thoughts. But these people do.” There are enough “Me toos” and “This is great!” But you’re smarter than that. Write something original. Take a nice photo. Make a cool video. Do something that proves your brain can do more than just share.

But who am I kidding. Most people can’t think beyond a Facebook status.

F*%k it. I’m just gonna go share everything on Mashable.