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Tribes- The Anti-Social Media

F*&k You Friday! Tribes

Tribes- The Anti-Social MediaIf there is one noun that I hate to see used with online communities, it’s tribes.

All I know is that this got started somewhere with Seth Godin, and other people latched on. By mentioning a real book, they looked smart and like they read a real book by an author who had books before a blog.

Ugh. Good for them. Suck ups.

When I think of a tribe, I don’t think of a sophisticated group of people in an online setting working towards shared goals and values. Instead, I think of a bunch of sophisticated individuals who are behind the technology curve and are going to get smashed by a bunch of idiotic settlers who crave more crap.

Also, because I’m a terrible person who stereotypes, I also think of a bunch of people in traditional Native American outfits. I know, I suck.

I don’t think of my Twitter followers as a tribe. I don’t think of Facebook fans as a tribe. I respect them and realize I am not leading them into war with another tribe or asking them for a blood sacrifice.I’ve got better things to do, like watch cat videos.

So fuck tribes. Online, we act like stupid, uncivilized and unenlightened jerks. But we’re at least better than the word “tribes.” Sheesh.

What are you hating on this week? What aspect of online life do you want to give a “Fuck you!” to?

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What You Actually Look Like Video blogging - The Anti-Social Media

How you Look Video Blogging

Video blogging also requires a completely different skill set that what most of us learn in school. I don’t know about you, but they didn’t teach me proper lighting, sound capture, film makeup, and video editing in school to the amount they taught me how to write.

I see this as another failure of the education system to support social media. Don’t they know we have crappy video clips to make with our cats?

Still, what drives me most is how people look on camera when video blogging. It’s like they never even watch their own video of themselves after they spout off  into their web cam.

This is how you think you look on your video blog:

What you think you look like video blogging - The Anti-Social Media

This is how you actually look video blogging:

What You Actually Look Like Video blogging - The Anti-Social Media

See the difference?

Please, for the love of all that’s holy, look at yourself objectively on camera. If you look like a hobo in poorly lit room, I don’t care how good your content is. At that point, I’m worried that you have a body hidden somewhere in the shadows where you’re filming. You need to look presentable (not good, presentable), if you want people to pay attention.

Otherwise, you’ll start building a personal brand as an ax murderer.

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Butt Features - The Anti-Social Media

It’s Like, But(t)

Butt Features - The Anti-Social MediaBecause I write a social media blog, every crappy PR “professional” who covers the technology beat sends me press releases. These are things that are usually not even halfway related to social media, but I guess they figure, “Hey! He’s a blogger and people tweet him! Maybe he can make our client money!”


It’s annoying at best and a sad state of affairs for PR professionals who actually know what the hell they are doing. But this post isn’t about that.

This post is about new social networks. I often read about new social networks through pitch emails like those and on social media news sites. People make new social networks all the time, because for one reason or another, they think they’ve made something new just because you can have a profile, post updates, and see what your friends have posted.

And 99% of the time, they describe the new network as “It’s like this, but that.”

Guess what, if the best way to describe your service is “It’s like this, but that.” I don’t give a shit. I’ll probably keep using whatever this is. Why?

  • I’ve already established a network on this.
  • I don’t want to learn the nuances of that.
  • Why do I even care about that?
  • Won’t this implement that anyways?

You need to give me a compelling reason to build a new profile and new network. Adding one “but” feature will not be enough. Any competitor can come along and create something similar. Google’s recent success with Google+ adoption is not because their social network is particularly impressive yet, but rather because they’re Google and no one wants to get screwed in their search results.

Social media developers - think about what you can do differently. Think past a news feed, or one killer feature you wish another social network had. If you want to make a new network I will pay attention to, it needs to have something truly new and compelling, not just “but” features.

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The News Feed - The Anti-Social Media

What’s After the News Feed?

The News Feed - The Anti-Social MediaSince the dawn of social media, what do you think is the single biggest change?

I’d argue the biggest change in social media came in 2006, with the debut of Twitter and its stream of updates. This format was adopted by Facebook soon after, and the news feed was born. The news feed, that ever updating scroll of text, photos and videos has been the biggest revolution in social networks since someone decided you could make a profile and connect that profile with other profiles and list yourself as single.

Five years later, every other copycat social network has their own crappy version of the news feed. LinkedIn has a news feed. Tumblr has the dashboard. Google+ has the stream. These are all the same thing with a different name to avoid trademark infringement.Every one presents the latest updates in a reverse-chronological order so the most recent update is first.

But does the newsfeed provide the most relevant information? Sure, it can be useful to have the latest information and updates, but information is useless without analysis. You can tell me that my cat smells, but does she smell like flowers or shit? There’s a huge difference in what action I’d take based on how she smells.

Additionally, even with systems such as Facebook’s Edgerank, how do we know what is relevant? Can we really trust a computer to determine what is relevant to individuals based on browser cookies and the actions of other people?

Worse - systems such as Edgerank can be gamed. Facebook marketers now spend their time creating updates that will reach the most potential people based on the posts Edgerank. Who cares about making meaningful updates and impacts when you can just manipulate an algorithm for the max results for your business?

The next great social network will be the one that figures out what comes after the news feed.  There has to be a way of presenting relevant, timely updates from users in a different way that is even more addictive and will make more money off of users than what we have now. I don’t know what that is yet, but I’m excited to spend even more time alone in front of my computer and smartphone.

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Different Facebook - The Anti-Social Media

You Can’t Do Facebook “Differently”

Different Facebook - The Anti-Social MediaIn my day job, where I get paid to be nice and talk with people on Facebook, I look at a lot of Facebook pages. Pages for brands, pages for local businesses, pages for your cat. Eventually, they all start to blend in to the same nonsense of likes, wall posts, and apps.

That’s why it drives me nuts when people say they are going to do Facebook in a different way.

What is there to do differently?

Let’s face it, the news feed is the core of the Facebook experience, and it only allows text, images, and video to reach users. While you have complete freedom over the content in that news feed, there is little to do things differently.  You can’t add in a game there. You can’t even drop in a podcast. That’s just the way Facebook is.

The biggest area to do something different is with creativity. The information offered, the apps you promote, and the images you share, which hobo from the street you let be your admin and community manager. While those actions are the start of doing something, whether that something is different, who knows.

Can we really use social networks “differently” than how they were intended? Or are we limited but he functionalities that the creators have built for us?

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The Perfect Tweet - The Anti-Social Media

How Much Time Does It Take to Write A Tweet?

The Perfect Tweet - The Anti-Social MediaSocial media marketers often claim one of the benefits of social media is that it is up to the minute and instantaneous, but is it really?

When we write tweets, compose Facebook updates, or post videos, we can revise and edit them endlessly. I may have started writing this blog post a month ago, or maybe I cranked it out an hour before I posted it. It will never be clear to anyone but me what went into this blog post. (Hint: not much)

Lately, I’ve been paying close attention to exactly what time I’m spending as I write and revise tweets, blog posts, and updates. It surprises me how many times I go back to change a word, a phase, or just completely delete  and start over. It’s hard to keep up a brand and identity with out revision and rethinking. It takes years of talents and practice to be able to perform an identity, and a written one at that, perfectly.

How much time do you take to write tweets? Do you slave over your updates? Or do you just write them and post them as soon as you’re done typing? Am I the only one playing this crazy game of revision?

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Perfect Personal Brand - The Anti-Social Media

Do We Really Need Personal Brands?

Perfect Personal Brand - The Anti-Social MediaWith the addition of Google+ to my daily social media torture-fest, I’ve been wondering why I actually need a personal brand across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and my blog. Don’t I have better things to do with my time?

What is a personal brand actually doing for me?

From what I can tell, the only thing a personal brand does is set expectations of what people can hope to get out of me online. While that is useful for people who are trying to sponge and leech information from me, for everyone else, I just don’t see the value anymore.

The last time I looked at anything to do with personal branding, some chump was trying to sell me tips on things I could do to brand myself better. As if being an award winning blogging asshole wasn’t enough, I’ve already written the most comprehensive list ever on personal branding. I don’t need to pay money to find out I need to pay more money to build a shrine to myself online with glossy head shots and a slick WordPress theme.

What is personal branding doing for you?

Personal branding is great when you’re trying to promote yourself as a job candidate or some other venture that deals all about you, but why else do we need it? Do we want people to stalk us? Do we have to be the exact same person everywhere? Is there no room for experimenting with your personality, or showcasing different aspects of yourself online?

The biggest downside I can see to using multiple sides of your personality in different places would be keeping up multiple “performances” of identity. But at the same time, we’re all human. We present different aspects of ourselves to other people all day, every day of our lives. The difference on the internet is that it is permanent and will last forever.

So, with that in mind, we create an identity built upon two or three of the best aspects of ourselves. We focus on our careers because we want to be known as good worker bees. We show off ourselves as parents so we can look like good people.  And we highlight one or two hobbies so we can look well-rounded and interesting. The personal brand then becomes stripped of the personality that make it personal to begin with. All the while, we focus on building the identity, rather than building ourselves in the three categories we try to show off.

So what is your personal brand actually doing for you, if anything? The benefits aren’t for you at all. They’re for every other person on the internet who wants to stalk you and every person with the same name as you.  They categorize you in a way that forgoes your humanity for a few interesting tidbits and features that sound good.

The brand puts you in a box that you can’t escape. Is that limited persona what you want people to know about you online?

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Good Morning On Twitter - The Anti-Social Media

Top Five Tweets I Hate - Part Two

Good Morning On Twitter - The Anti-Social MediaI’m on vacation this week. This post was originally published April 19, 2010.

So, last Monday I had a lot of fun with the Top Five Tweets I Hate to See, so I figured, let’s beat a dead horse until it’s glue.  This is my list of common tweets I saw this past week and what drove me nuts:

  1. Good Morning - Sometimes it’s just those two words. Sometimes it’s “Good morning and have a great amazing awesome day!”  Rarely it’s “Good Morning.  Today is going to suck.”  Either way, it’s morning and we remember you are here even if you didn’t tweet good morning.  So stop it.
  2. Coffee - Another frequent morning tweet.  We’re all zombies before 9 am and we have caffeine.  But being a zombie doesn’t mean we all tweet the same thing in the same tone, as if we’re craving the delicious flesh of the living.
  3. Foursquare without any Information - I see a lot of “I’m at CVS.” or “I’m at Wal-Mart.” tweets.  Are you asking for the entire internet to try and find you?  Is there something we need to know about why you are at these places?  I want relevant information or entertainment, not random locations.
  4. iPhone Rumors - Most people on Twitter have some obsession with gadgets and gizmos, and the iPhone is king of them all.  However, we need to accept that Apple will let us know about it’s products are ready.  Blasting every rumor or hypothesis will drive people to think you are a lunatic with nothing else to do.
  5. Anything with Justin Bieber - The boy has a lock on being a trending topic.  Don’t give him any more publicity, and please don’t give him any more musical credibility.

What tweets are you all hating this week?

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