my thoughts, social media trends

Where did my walled-garden go?

Here’s a thought

When Facebook dares to change it’s design (not features) but its physical design, millions of people get in a twist about it.

People organize by setting up Facebook Pages dedicated to expressing their disgust and hatred because Facebook dare move a button.  Not to mention the thousands of Status Updates where users publicly threaten to delete their accounts if Facebook doesn’t put the site back to the previous design.

Reality check please

BUT when Facebook fundamentally changes its privacy policy (or what’s left of it) no one cares and worse, no one even knows what the big deal is.

My “Facebook Fail” moment

Note to “unlike” and stay away from the groups with funny names where you get to see the mystery image only if you “Like” the page.  Come on, are you really that naive?

Your personal information and surfing habits are being observed, calculated and quantified AND they are being sold to strangers.

The whole new search-able you

If you don’t put the correct privacy settings on those 900 Facebook photos; you know, those pictures of you drinking and making a fool of yourself at the various parties around campus, well, they are probably being seen by people outside of Facebook and worse; they are (or will become) search-able.

Now I know, that might not mean much right now because you probably have the usual “I don’t care what people think” attitude but remember this post in a few years from now when you suddenly don’t get that “dream job” even though you were completely qualified for it.

Let’s face it, the “Facebook Walled-Garden” is dead.

I know why I need Facebook in my life so I won’t be deactivating my account however, I have made changes to my privacy settings that suit my personal needs.  I do not accept Facebook gifts, game invitations or anything else that needs me to “Like” it in order to see it.

I suggest you do the same.

UPDATE: There are a few posts out there saying that it’s the “older folks” who are having a problem with the new Facebook privacy policy.  I ask you this: What do you think is the average age of today’s Facebook user?  If Facebook looses their trust – then they are history.

More food for thought: Recent stats indicate the Gen Y users are most likely to falsify their personal info on Facebook. What will Facebook do with a bunch of unusable information?

conferences, new media, Portfolio, social media trends, TV

Daisy, a pink logo and NAB

A few weeks ago Daisy Whitney asked me to come up with a logo for her involvement at the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) Expo.  Daisy  is a partner in the Broadband Theater Sessions. This is a brand new exhibit area for the NAB Show:

The newest exhibit area at the NAB Show focuses on broadband-enabled TVs, online video, mobile broadband networks, platforms, set-top boxes, gaming, IP, streaming, advertising, monetization and the mavericks driving today’s media.

Exciting times for new media indeed!

I’m happy to announce that the logo is up and it looks great (although a little small).

new media, social media trends, tech

The Facebook “Unlike” Syndrome

Just last week Facebook started rolling out its latest redesign and for all it’s worth I like it. I think it’s more intuitive and it’s definitely a better and a smarter layout.

However I seem to be in the minority among my non-geek Facebook friends.

As we all know by now; every time (and I mean every time) Facebook releases a new layout or a feature change, a small but very loud minority whine and complain about how they hate it. Let’s be clear, hate is a huge word and I don’t think it applies here.

Over the last two years, Facebook has become a hyper personal experience for most of its users and I believe these users are very attached to it – perhaps too much. Hence all the negative emotional outpouring and haters when something changes.

Here’s what I think. people are reacting in a negative manner to the displacement of “their” buttons and re-arrangement of “their” layout.

“How dare you change my Facebook – Put it back the way it was – Now!”

I believe that most people have trained themselves to use Facebook in a certain way (their way) and now their “work flow” isn’t like it was a week ago. Cue the hater mode. And the whole thing is suddenly turned to crap. It’s as if they shut down and their brain can’t handle the extra pressure of The Unknown. When the reality is that all they’ve got to do is look around and explore. This should be fun and it just isn’t and that’s really too bad.

At the same time we all should realize that life and goodness knows, the internet, goes through constant change everyday and if it didn’t it wouldn’t follow its true organic nature. I use the words “organic nature” here because the Internet is an living and evolving extension of our selves. I like to think we’ve come a long way from Geocities.

If Facebook didn’t change it would be… MySpace.  Sure there are still many MySpace users (about about 125 million) but it’s no secret users have been leaving the site over the last few years because it just doesn’t change at least it didn’t change enough. Ironic, eh?

Facebook, as I have noticed, is always setting us up for the next development phase. They aren’t dumb. They know that in order not to become the next MySpace, they need to aim ahead (way ahead) and towards their next development plateau.  They, as with all businesses, know they cannot rest on their laurels and remain satisfied with the status quo. They are building and when you build you often reinforce, restructure and rearrange. Facebook equally knows that if they don’t do it – someone else will and better. In fact, that lesson isn’t only reserved for businesses (at least is shouldn’t be), as human beings we should also seek (want to seek) to be better than we are today.

Maybe the bigger question is not why do you hate the new Facebook so much as why do you become a hater when things change and that’s a question I can’t answer.

What are your thoughts on this?

social media trends

Testing testing…

I recently got an iPhone (for Christmas – yay!) and I’ve been playing around with Foursquare and Gowalla.

I’m not quite sure what the difference is right now.  I’ll keep testing it and make sure I can develop a real user-experience opinion.

Do you have any suggestions how I can better improve my very Newbie experience so far for either?  I’d love to hear it!

cause-related, conferences, social media trends

The Twitter effect

I just finished experiencing the Challenge Your World event with Guy Kawasaki in Montreal entirely through Twitter.

What was this event?

Rendez-vous 09 – A featured event of Global Entrepreneurship Week and Challenge Your World

I wasn’t able to attend tonight’s event, but just by reading the live Tweeting (and vigouous ReTweeting), the Twitterverse was able gave me a real sense of the energy in a room filled with over 500 attendees.

All proceeds of the evening benefited CARE Canada and according to the latest Challenge Your World Tweet – $17,000 was raised.  That’s amazing!

Congrats to Martin Lessard (@martinlessard) and the Challenge Your World Team (#CYW & @challengeworld).  Your hard work has definitely paid off tonight!

Although I wasn’t there to witness and experience the magic of Guy Kawasaki myself, it was obvious that the Twitterverse was able to transfer his passion, positivity and his inspiring keynote 140 characters at a time.  Thanks to RT’s from @kimvallee, @jeromeparadis, @emergent007, @zelaurent, @bdescary, @evablue and many more.

Cheers to Guy Kawasaki, Challenge Your World and Twitter tonight!

 

social media trends

Difference between online and offline communites – is there one?l

People (i.e., my non-geeky friends) often ask me why I am so fascinated by social media.  I almost always answer “it’s the sense community that it offers”.   I know… I know  – that’s a lame answer but it’s what everyone says, right?

I needed to come up with a better and more meaningful version of that answer.

Let’s talk about offline communities:

I came across an article on Re-Nest (originally from an article in the New York Times) about a growing new trend – commune living.

Because of tighter economic times, many young urban people have decided to pool their resources and live as a collective which also includes an intention to live sustainably.

Apparently, communes and collectives have been noticeably on the rise in recent years as there’s been an increase on cleaner, lighter and more sustainable living, which includes the desire to find or build a community of people who share your values. Laird Schaub, executive secretary of the Fellowship for Intentional Community, points to “an ever-increasing level of dissatisfaction with traditional lifestyle choices, because there’s too much alienation and lack of connectedness. Humans are inherently social animals, yet we don’t particularly know how to get along with one another.”

A lot has changed since the late 1960’s when communes became a popular way of life, especially within the disillusioned counter-culture movement (i.e., hippies).  It was a way for like-minded people to meet up and develop a community built on trust and respect.  When the world and the governments could not to be trusted, people instinctively found each other.  They nurtured and freely communicated their ideas and their beliefs and everyone within the community benefited as a result.  Perfect or not, it was humans doing what we do best – be human.

Fast-forward to today

Trust in governments and world leaders are at an-all-time low.  Working for one company for 35 years and retiring with a pension fund has been erased from the modern definition of a career.  People are starving in front of a plate full of food.  We were all going through life and feeling empty because real human connections were all but lost in the prosperity (and greed) of ’80s and ’90s.

I always wondered why people were so interested in reality TV and for so long.  I now think it’s a symptom of a larger issue – we just want to connect – or rather re-connect.  However clumsy or in bad taste it takes the form of – people are interested in people again.  Why do you think American Idol and Do You Think You Can Dance or even America’s Got Talent are so popular.  Don’t they remind you of the variety shows from the ’50s?  They do for me!  Families actually watch these shows together because they (like the show in the ’50s) entertain people with people.

Now:  bring this back to online communities.

It’s so obvious to me that the relationship between the offline world of communal living and the rise in social media users in the online world are basically the same.   Whether we use Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook, Youtube or even Twestival to connect with each other – we all basically need to share ideas, values and beliefs and of course, the community benefits as a result.  The technology is different but the human need to belong is stronger than ever.

I’m not sure how to end this post because this revelation is quite moving to me.  It shows me that people (and I’m gonna quote her here) simply need people – and we always will – and that’s beautiful.

new media, social media trends

The future of real time and open collaboration: Google Wave

First of all What is Google Wave?

A wave is equal parts conversation and document. People can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more.

A wave is shared. Any participant can reply anywhere in the message, edit the content and add participants at any point in the process. Then playback lets anyone rewind the wave to see who said what and when.

A wave is live. With live transmission as you type, participants on a wave can have faster conversations, see edits and interact with extensions in real-time.

Why is it important?

google_waveWith the increasing need/demand for real-time news, search, etc. I think that Google Wave correctly pushes this notion even further to include document collaboration and communication.  The co-creativity potential in Wave is enormous.  Imagine co-workers collaborating on a project, a business plan, a software development project or even an internal communication document.  Only time will tell where Wave will lead us; and by us, I mean everyone – because in the end everyone benefits from Google innovations, right?

Although in limited release for right now, the 100,000 invites released yesterday (Sept. 29 30) should provide a good testing base and should reveal the many new and creative ways that Wave can be used.  Can’t wait to see!

Here’s a link to Mashable’s Google Wave: A Complete Guide

Enjoy!

UPDATE: February 9, 2010 >>  I’ve been using Wave at work for web development and some internal collaboration work.  It’s a great tool and we are all enjoying and benefiting from the experience. Yay!

branding, social media trends, stats

Gmailers more engaged according to MailChimp/MarketingCharts

According to a MailChimp survey reported by MarketingCharts, people who use Gmail have an email open rate of 30.94% compared to Hotmail with 23.79%, Yahoo with 25.54% and AOL with 20.09%.

Another interesting survey tid-bit is that Gmailers have a click rate of 7.41% compared to the less than 5% for the others mentioned above.

It clear to me that Gmailers demonstrate a willingness to try something new and this open-mindedness can be reflected right back to Google as a company.

As humans, we tend to be attracted to other like-minded people and somehow Google has managed to do just that but as a brand. That’s very powerful. Google consistently offers alternative online experiences and for those who want come along for the ride and don’t mind the numerous beta products; there are benefits, bonuses and advantages.

In the end, it’s up to you where you click and whatever email client you choose to use, but one thing seems to stand out, Gmail users have drank the Google coolaid – so yeah, it is a “demographic kinda thing”.

mommyness, new media, social media trends

On this Sunday… Mother’s Day

The Montreal Gazette Just a short post for the sake of posterity.

Today I had the honor of being featured in the Montreal Gazette’s Mommy Diaries by Susan SEMENAK.

The article features a few ladies I follow on Twitter:  Kim Vallée (At Home With Kim and On The Web With Kim), fellow South-Shore(er); Lianne Hogan (BabyBurrito) as well as Caroline Allard (Les chroniques d’une mère indigne).

I wanted to thank Kim Vallée again for recommending me for the article.  Un gros merci Kim!

Happy Mothers Day Mom!

P.S. Evan is 12 years old.  He’ll be 13 in November.