Summer = More Facebook and Twitter Updates = Less Blog Posts

Whoa, I haven’t blogged anything in quite a few weeks (ehm months) and I’m feeling a bit neglectful.  It’s not like I’m not online because I am – almost every week night.  I post many links I find interesting on my Facebook and Twitter pages.

I’m trying to figure out why. Maybe it’s just easier to share a link and a short opinion there than it is on a blog – especially in the Summer months.

What do you think?  Do you find yourself stepping back during the busy Summer months?

Advertisements

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?

Are you turning your loved-ones into Social Media haters?

I have a 13 year old boy and I realized something enormous this past Saturday. I’m speaking of a game changing event.

Evan and I planned to spend Saturday in the city (about a 25 minute bus ride from where we live). We would walk and talk and have lunch somewhere.  It was to be a free-form afternoon.

As we were getting ready I naturally packed up my iPhone.  Evan immediately asked me “you’re not going to check in on Twitter and Foursquare every place we go with that all day are you?”

Stunned, I answered no but I suddenly realized that in some part, Evan has indeed been an innocent by-stander when it comes to my Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare ways.  I am not, by any means, a social media addict.  I’ll even prove it.  I am able to leave the house without my iPhone and I sometimes DON’T check in on Foursquare everywhere I go. You should be able to do the same by the way.

Anyways, all this got me thinking.  Here I am; thinking that I am a cool Mom because I am an early adopter when it comes to geeky things like social media and technology.  That should make me awesome right?  It seems not.

Social media participants know, it literally takes a few seconds to check in somewhere but all this paused-attention has a direct effect on the people around us. I think we are unknowingly sending them a message.

What is that message?

Well in my case, I am telling Evan; and very clearly I might add, that every person I follow on Twitter, Foursquare, or Facebook is more important at that moment and that we must pause our conversation, our walk and our moment while I announce to my audience that I am doing, seeing, watching something extraordinary, funny, odd or stupid. Aren’t those things supposed to reserved for our offline lives? Or at least some of it should. Don’t you think?

Make no mistake: this is also an issue for our non-participating Social Media loved-ones.

Let’s say you are out with your non-participating social media life partner and you both have planned to walk, converse and share quality time with each other.  Now, how much of that is actual quality time if and you are clutching your iPhone, Blackberry or Droid with the grip of a young Chuck Norris and are constantly announcing to a bunch of strangers precisely where you are and exactly what you are doing at every possible moment.

In actual fact, if you really think about it, you ARE NOT doing what you say you are doing with your child or life partner because you are are way too busy signing in, tweeting and checking @ statuses every moment you can. And of course, hoping someone will RT your message as you announce every clever word, phrase, action or reaction your child or life partner experiences during what was supposed to be “quality time” together.

I’ve asked Evan a few times if he wanted a Twitter account and his answer has always been “Nah, it’s not for me”.  Of course it’s not. Why would he want to use the one thing that takes my attention away from him.

I think I may be unknowingly creating a social media hater.

How do I (we) change this?  Well, like with every problem knowing you have a problem is a good start.

A case for moderation

I think we all need to monitor ourselves and gauge our Social Media usage to the more appropriate moments in life.

Don’t Use Case – You are the only person at the family reunion with a smart phone and the inclination to Tweet or self-geo locate.  Answer: Your best bet is to send an offline-for-awhile Tweet and put the mobile away and enjoy your family.  They love you and want *and deserve* your complete attention. (update) Okay, maybe you can take pics with your mobile but wait until you get home to upload them to Flickr.

Ideal Usage Case – It’s Twestival and the place is filled with like-minded tech-savvy peeps and you want to share your minute by minute experiences as well as share your pics and want to pick up lots of info for your next blog post.

Share your story about the non-participating Social Media people in your life.  Do they understand what you do? Are they frustrated? Has it affected their view of Social Media?

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?

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.

A look ahead and some reflection back

I like to look back on a year; as we all do I imagine, and closely review the lessons 2008 offered me. Hopefully, I was paying attention and learned something! I hate learning something twice.

2008 brought personal and professional challenges for me but one thing remained constant – my passion for the web.

Being able to reach out to my Twitter and Facebook communities and connect with people; special people (@pbaileymtl, @tanmcg and @daisywhitney), was invaluable to me in 2008.

2009 holds many secrets (personally, I’m hoping all good) and probably even more challenges (again, good ones!).  Economic volatility will undoubtedly force social media to the forefront of necessary tools in everyone’s arsenal. Being connected and staying connected will become key in 2009. Relying on your Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, and FriendFeed communities will become a lifeline to keeping up with this fast moving world. Content will be key, as it will distinguish you from the rest. So consider it to be open season on creativity!

All I can say is Thank You for your eyes during the year and for your comments especially. It proves to me that my WordPress stats have human beings behind them. I need to know you are out there and you need to know that I appreciate the time spent with me.

Happy Holidays!

Cheers for 2009!!

Jamie Oliver…Say What You Will

www.jamieoliver.com
http://www.jamieoliver.com

I think Jamie Oliver understands the internet and the need to use it to propel his content.

He’s not only created a beautiful site, he also understands that you need to provide people with quality just like the food he prepares.

He’s on Youtube, iTunes, MySpace, Facebook are all places that lead you to his website which includes a well maintained blog, recipes, video podcasts, and a very popular forum.

Jamie has also (in addition to his School Dinners initiative) started the Unsigned Band Competition (in its second year) where, you guessed it, unsigned bands send in their audio or video demos.  Then the Jamie listeners can vote for their favorite band among the talented entries.  This year he’s teamed up with Universal Music *UK* which means the winning band will get a deal with Universal Music (still not sure if that’s a deal anymore but that’s whole other post for the future).  Last years winner was Tim Kay and for those unfamiliar with him, he sings the Jamie At Home theme song.  For those who listened to Jamie’s audio podcast on iTunes also know that he was often featured playing some of his songs on the podcast.

Here’s a commercial I came across a few months ago.  I think it’s great and sums up Jamie’s sense of humor bang on – Enjoy!