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Tweets I Hate - Politics Edition

An election happened in America yesterday. I’m glad the election is over, so I can go back to my normal stable of commercials for fiber supplements and prescription medications I need to ask my doctor about.

However, politics brings out the absolute worst in human beings.  Whether it’s outright lies, blatant attacks, or pure corruption, there’s something that absolutely disgusts me as a voter about how we have our civic discourse and allow our politicians and media outlets to talk to us.  We’re smarter and better than that.

Still, some people use Twitter and other social media to spread divisive crap.  I’ve written before how I think politics divides people online easily.  This is the crap I noticed, over, and over again this past cycle.  Let’s put this to an end, sit down nicely, and make real changes.

  1. Anything about Sarah Palin - Sarah Palin divides people.  Period. I wanted to start this with the sentence, “Wherever you stand on Sarah Palin,” but that just proved my point that she does not bring people together. Let Sarah Palin do her own politicking.
  2. Characters Tweets about Politics - I don’t care what Drunk Hulk or General Grievous think of American politics. They aren’t real. Give me real information.
  3. What the F*@# has Obama Done? - Democrats, if you want to spread online campaign materials, try to do so BEFORE the day of the election.
  4. Witchcraft and Masturbation - I’m glad that as Americans, our politics are based entirely on someone’s religion and their stance on what people do in the bedroom. I’m also glad that people can’t fuck up as kids and change for the better.  EVER.

I have to admit, there were some tweets I loved this election cycle.

  1. The encouragement to vote - Regardless of people’s personal politics and who they would vote for, I saw a lot of people encouraging others to get out and vote. This is awesome. Peer pressuring people to vote is the best thing we can do.

What did you see that you hated? Surely something got under your skin.  I want to know about it.

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80 Fully-Engaged Followers vs. 800 Partially Engaged Followers

The other day, I was reading another person boast about how many followers they had on Twitter, and I wondered:

Would you choose to have 80 followers who are completely engaged with what you do online, or 800 followers who are only partially engaged?

I’d go with the 80 people who are fully engaged.  These are the people who will come back for more content and who will share your content that kicks ass. They’re the people who will write a comment or send you a nice e-mail.  Sure, they may not be as big or diverse of a crowd, but with them you’re guaranteed they are paying attention to the stuff you’re publishing, rather than praying that a pair of those 800 eyeballs will stop and click that one time.

Unfortunately, you can’t guarantee any fan or follower will ever pay attention to your content all the time.  There is too much information, and you’ll never know which of them actually logged in that day to see the content.  You can improve your chances though:

  • Make Awesome Content - If you don’t have this, you’ll never really engage your audience.  I have blogs that I wait all day until I see them update. Make your blog the next blog that does that.
  • Make the Audience feel special - Take a moment and thank someone for a retweet.  Offer to help with a problem. Do something awesome just for them. Treat people awesome, and they will remember.

I’ll take the 80 followers for now.  I build my empire one meaningful connection at a time.

Still, would you rather have those 800 partially engaged followers or 80 fully-engaged followers?

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Social Media Policies Suck

Corporate social media policies suck. Corporate suits don’t understand how to communicate with average human beings and average humans don’t know how to keep their mouths shut on social media sites.  This leads to a bunch of very awkward social media policies.

For example: One company’s social media policy is to have all the employees put on their Twitter bio that their opinions are their own and don’t represent their employer.

Before I read their bio, I have no idea who was employing that person. To me, whatever opinions they gave came from them and them alone. It destroys their personal account because it ties it into their work.

Outside of LinkedIn, social media is supposed to be fun.  People aren’t marketers who get on Twitter or Facebook to sell products.  We go to connect with other people and have a good time be stalking celebrities. We don’t need or want to know everyone’s single life detail, who they work for, in what capacity, and their professional opinion on everything.

Social media policies shouldn’t interfere with people’s personal lives.  Let them be normal humans, and don’t brand them as corporate drones just to protect your business.

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What the Hell is Your Favorite Social Network

I want to know what your favorite social network is.  Do you live for Facebook?  Is Twitter the bomb dot com?  Can you Orkut it?  It’s not me, it’s YouTube?  It’s well-documented that I hate Facebook, but I know I get a lot of readers here from a bunch of strange places, and I want to know what social network they value more than their right thumb.

Even though my heart is cold and bitter with social media rage, my favorite social network by far is Twitter.  I’m a writer, and I’m a writer who loves concision.  I was the kid in college who was always driven nuts by the professors with lengthy page limits because I always struggled to add relevant information.  Now, I get to thrive in an environment where every letter counts.  The pressure is so worth it.

My other favorites, in no particular order, are tumblr (even though I am leaving it as a blog platform), flickr (because a picture is worth a thousand words), and LinkedIn (even though I come across as completely unprofessional here).

I want to know where you’re spending your time online.  What’s giving you decent relationships and value?  Angry social media users want to know.

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I’m Caving in and Being a Hypocrite

Editor’s Note: When I was publishing the post for tomorrow, tumblr somehow managed to overwrite today’s post.  I am sorry to those who commented on this post that their words are now lost in cyber space.  I cannot express how frustrated I am with tumblr beyond saying I plan to move this blog off of it soon, and I am sorry I lost those comments.

A while back, I posted that I hate sharing buttons.  I still do, but I recently added Twitter’s new tweet button to my site.  Why?

I’m greedy and I want more traffic.  That’s it.  Nothing more.

The vast majority (about 40%) of my monthly traffic comes from Twitter.  I’d love to enhance that percentage.  This button makes it easy to do so.

One of my biggest complaints with most websites is sharing buttons do not look integrated with the site.  I’ve been able to get it in a way I like it.  Also, Twitter makes it pretty easy to customize that look of that button, and I may go ahead and do that to make it even more integrated with jagged lines and angry red numbers.

Does this mean everyone needs a tweet button?  No.  Does this mean you should still have a crap ton of sharing buttons on your website?  Hell no.  My decision is a calculated risk to draw more traffic and I hope my audience doesn’t hate me for it.  I still think many sites are littered with too many of those buttons.

It’s better to figure out where your website’s traffic is coming from and get more of those people than to cast the net wide and pray you get who you want.  I may be selling out some, but I’m doing it in a cold and calculated way.

Now, when start putting banner ads all over my site and every other word is an affiliate link, then you can start raising hell.

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Twitter’s Fundamental Change for the Worse

Twitter plans to introduce media into the Tweet Stream. This is the worst idea in the history of Twitter.

For now, let’s ignore the fail whale problem. Even though we know the server load will only increase exponentially as the stream has to distribute hundreds of images and videos along with text, let’s ignore this for the greater issue at hand.

Twitter loses its fundamental purity of form by inserting media into the stream.  It becomes a gimped version of Tumblr.

On Twitter, all people are equal.  Everyone gets the same one hundred and forty characters to work with.  Whether you want to write a funny tweet or get people to click a link, you have to write something good.  You have to make your words work.  Videos and Pictures integrated into the stream annihilate the need to make your words relevant.

 With 100 million users, there is no way Twitter can control who is sharing what image regardless of if it is copyrighted by someone else.  While this isn’t entirely a bad thing, it doesn’t sit right.  Users go to Twitter to see a person’s unique words and images.  The last thing Twitter needs is to become a realtime version of 4chan.

Part of what makes Twitter so addictive is you are able to check it very quickly.  Loading images and videos into the stream will increase the amount of time it takes for the stream to load.  Without that quick load ability, Twitter could lose some of the potential addiction it has on mobile devices.

Moreover, this just seems to aim at destroying a huge amount of the ecosystem built around Twitter.  Should Twitter choose to host images itself, image services such asTwitPic and yfrog will be decimated.  Video services like Qik and Twitvid could also be thrown aside if Twitter chooses to host video.  This will build a more bad blood between developers and Twitter.  There is already a rift growing between them, and media has the potential to push it over the edge if Twitter shows it doesn’t care for those services that have helped it grow to this point.

The worst aspect of this is that Twitter loses its fundamental equality.  Nothing can compare to seeing that one tweet that makes you laugh out loud, or really think.  The marvel in this is that each tweet is sort of like poetry; grand ideas crammed into as short of a form as possible.  Images, video, and other media take that away.

And once that purity is lost, it can never be reclaimed.

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More Tweets that Drive me Insane.

It’s been a while since I’ve discussed the huge number of tweets that drive me up the wall.  I’d say the internet got better at tweeting, but if it really did I wouldn’t have to write this post, now would I?

Here’s what’s been grinding my gears recently:

  • The Epic Retweeter - I follow several people who have no original thoughts. They only retweet articles, and could never draft an original sentence even if their very lives depended on it.  Retweets are great, but as with all great things, use moderation, or I will unfollow your uncreative self.
  • YouTube Pollution - YouTube lets users link their Twitter account so people can see when they upload a video, favorite a video or comment on something.  This sounds nice, but all of the tweets are boring garbage.  Stop linking these accounts, and selectively share the things that are really important.
  • What you’re eating - Is what you’re putting in your mouth going to affect me? No? Then don’t write about it. Give your readers something that has real entertainment or informational value.  ”Mmm, Waffles!” doesn’t quite do that.
  • @ replies to celebrities - Talking to celebrities on Twitter is like talking to a wall.  If you expect a reply, I worry about you.  And if you drag me into the conversation, I will back away very, very slowly.
  • Anything about your bathroom habits - Can’t we all agree that the general public doesn’t need to know about your bodily excrement?  Unless you’re under the age of four, you don’t run out of the bathroom screaming “I POOPED!”  Please, save us all the horror and disgust and keep it to yourself.

What tweets are you all seeing that drive you nuts? Take the moment to vent and let me know what’s giving you grief.

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    Sometimes you have to let a connection go.  They might start…

    Sometimes you have to let a connection go.  They might start dragging you down with crazy remarks.  They could fill your feed with a bunch of crazy crap that barely interests you.   They could just be boring.  Whatever the reason, it’s ok to drop them.

    This is why I think my cat Chibi would be better at online relationships than most of us. When she wants to be adorable and wants to have fun, she lets me know.  When she needs something from me, she lets me know that too (occasionally by pooping on the rug). And when she isn’t interested in me or anything, when she leaves me alone and doesn’t bother me.

    If she was on Twitter, she’d be the perfect person to follow, and having her follow you would be an honor.  She’d only tweet relevant stuff, like how to be cute or what bugs she ate that day and which tasted the best.  She’d only follow the things that interested her, and as soon as they stopped interesting her she’d drop them.

    And if they tried to hang on too long, well, you can see what would happen…

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