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Song a day Mann.

6 Apr

Have you heard about the song-a-day guy yet?  I love this guy.  He’s unemployed and to pass the time he started writing a song a day.  This is a great example of Generation Y’s creativity and ability to create media like it is second nature…probably because it is.  Between Twitter, Yelp, Facebook, You Tube, MySpace, blogs and everything else we use to create content my generation is creating exponentially more content than previous generations. This scares our parents and family members because they still worry about McCarthy-era big brothering.  This is going to be a ‘learn the hard way’ situation for most of us.  Although I recognize the dangers of broadcasting myself I refuse to let that scare me into completely censoring myself.  I hope that other Gen Y’rs do the same.  This guy is clearly, putting himself out there and most of his videos have a political edge.  Props Mann. 


I don’t know any of my friends.

2 Apr

facebookFacebook is no longer enjoyable for me.  At its present, it’s just another calendar of events, another contact list, another photo album — another set of social responsibilities.  I honestly wish I wasn’t an early adopter of Facebook.  My college was one of the first few added and now I feel like I don’t even know half my friends — or more like 95% of them.  I hate status updates and even new pics because I’m unaware of my audience.  At least on I know that I don’t know who’s reading this.  On Facebook I should feel like I have some control over my friends but I don’t really know who they are anymore and it really irks me.

I think everyone will come to this point.  There needs to be some way that friends drop off into the netherworld.  Just like they do in real life.  The recent article in the NYT hits many of my feelings about the current Facebook.  I like separation between my groups.  It isn’t about hiding anything, it is about directing communication effectively.

Uniting disparate groups on a single Internet service runs counter to 50 years of research by sociologists into what is known as “homophily” — the tendency of individuals to associate only with like-minded people of similar age and ethnicity.

Mark my words, this is going to happen to everyone.  Connectivity is like a big circle.  Being connected to no one is the same as being connected to everyone.  There is a happy medium and once you exceed that, Facebook is more like ‘random people I met once’ book or ‘person I used to be friends with’ book.  Not really a group I want to keep in contact with.

Facebook thinks privacy factors are the solve all, well they are not.  I don’t want any of my ‘friends’ to know I’m censoring them.  So I don’t censor any one, I censor everyone.  To be a professional, it is a necessity.

Facebook is trying to teach members to use privacy settings to manage their network so they can speak discreetly only to certain friends, like co-workers or family members, as opposed to other “friends” like bosses or professional colleagues. But most Facebook users haven’t taken advantage of the privacy settings; the company estimates that only 20 percent of its members use them.

If you’re anti web communication, grow up or lose out.

2 Apr

dentyneIf you were hoping that internet communication was just a phase, and that us crazy young people would realize that face-to-face communication is far superior and back track…think again.  The advent of the netbook is going to make sure we keep walking down the path of emails, IM’s and text communication.  Netbooks are as cheap as 50 bucks right now says the NYT.  This means that instead of typing a couple sentences on your phone when you’re away from your home base, you’ll be able to conduct full scale personal and professional communication — from anywhere.

AT&T announced on Tuesday that customers in Atlanta could get a type of compact PC called a netbook for just $50 if they signed up for an Internet service plan — an offer the phone company may introduce elsewhere after a test period. This year, at least one wireless phone company in the United States will probably offer netbooks free with paid data plans, copying similar programs in Japan, according to industry experts.

Another cool techy way to stay in touch is the new Verizon Hub.  This seems perfect for the family on the go.  The reviews are mixed but there is obvious potential.  This product looks ideal for a family on the go with a big family plan.  Nothing is as evolved as it should be for proper functionality so far but they are planning on adding a ton of other widgets and features.  Another big issue at present is that non-verizon users can not partake.  Supposedly all of these issues are on Verizon’s radar.  Check out a video of it here.   It appears as if the release was a bit premature.  But I think Verizon just wanted to put the idea in the mainstream arena so they could pretend to be leading the techy battle over AT&T right now.  But they aren’t quite there as PC Magazine reports.

The “Hub 2.0” software looks so good, it’s frustrating that Verizon didn’t have a clear timeline for when it’s releasing it. They’re showing it off now mostly to prove that the Hub is a platform which can grow, and not a device with functionality set in stone, Naggar said.

Is Twitter this, is Twitter that?

1 Apr

twitterificTwitter is (insert other social media site here).  

Everyone and their mom are trying to fit Twitter into a box because they don’t know what it is.  I have seen articles that Twitter is the new Facebook, Twitter is the new MySpace, Twitter is the new LinkedIn…you get the point.  I think the media should stop trying to define.  When they focus on a singular definition for something that can be used in such unique ways, they end up missing the point.  Twitter is something different to everyone.  Twitter for me is about keeping up with my friends, meeting new ones, seeing how crazy people are and learning more about my interests (politics, social media etc).  For friends it is purely a networking tool to meet people in the industry, others do it like texting – as if their life is validated if it is broadcast, other people use it purely to broadcast their blogs or articles. Bottom Line:  there are infinite other ways to use Twitter so if you want to know what it is, you’re going to have to use it.

Fun social networking stats

9 Mar

Thanks Adam Ostrow, interesting stuff.

In 2008, users spent 63% more time on member communities than they did in the previous year. However, within member communities, Facebook saw growth of 566% in time spent on it by users worldwide. As has been reported elsewhere, Facebook’s fastest growth demographic is older users – the social network tacked on 12.4 million people between ages 35-49 in 2008 according to Nielsen.

Some other key findings from the report:

– Globally, Facebook reaches 29.9% of global Internet users, versus 22.4% for MySpace.

– MySpace remains the most profitable social network, generating an estimated $1 billion in revenue versus $300 million for Facebook in 2008.

– Facebook is the top social network in all countries except Germany, Brazil, and Japan (Nielsen still has MySpace as tops in US in the report, but as of January ’09, that had changed).

– On Twitter, CNN, The New York Times, and BBC have the greatest reach among mainstream media companies as of late February.

Twitter as a search engine

9 Mar
Twitter Bird

Twitter Bird

As a new generation learns about Twitter it is important to think of Twitter as having a fluid definition.  Gen Y is super aware of the concept of a sexual identity spectrum, well Twitter also has an identity spectrum.  This is what I usually hear from people who don’t “get” Twitter.

‘Why do I care?  Ok, you’re having dinner now.  You’re stuck in traffic now. Boring.’

I understand the sentiment and I think it is kind of lame when my friends Tweet their every moment’s emotion and location.  But, after that stuck in traffic you might find a link to a modern interpretation of Descarte, or a new social media marketing platform idea.  Twitter is everything and nothing.  By choosing who you ‘follow’ you are deciding what kind of content you receive.   Choose just friends and be prepared for a lot of mundane comments.  Choose companies and be blasted by their propaganda…but choose a blogger who has something to say and you’ve got a lot of new original content coming your way.  I’m obviously partial to bloggers, but Twitter is used best when it is eveyrone’s personal search engine.  

I’m not the first to notice this.  Michael Arrington makes some great points,


At a dinner tonight with a friend the conversation turned toTwitter. He just didn’t get it, and he’s certainly not the first person to tell me that. Specifically, my friend didn’t understand the massive valuation ($250 million or more) that Twitter won in its recent funding. I told him why I thought it was more than justified: Twitter is, more than anything, a search engine.

I told him what I thought of Twitter as a micro-blogging service: it’s a collection of emotional grunts. But it’s wonderful nonetheless. And enough people are hooked on it that Twitter has reached critical mass. If something big is going on in the world, you can get information about it from Twitter.

Twitter also gathers other information, like people’s experiences with products and services as they interact with them.

Yelp, attacked again.

9 Mar

yelpAgain, I’m disappointed by the response of Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman.  The Yelp debate has reminded me that life isn’t about actual wrongdoing, it is the shadow of impropriety and then the subsequent full force denial that can get you into more trouble.   In general the only thing I think Yelp is doing inappropriately is failing to communicate what their angorithm process is.  Otherwise, I do not believe that Yelp does anything wrong, but I do believe that they are making some unethical decisions by refusing to explain themselves fully. They should take a play out or Craigslist’s book.  Check out their blog that fully explains what they do in terms of ‘erotic services.’   Case in point, a new group of outcries from business owners comes — this time from the Chicago Tribune.

The owner of More Cupcakes, Patty Rothman, said that last fall a Yelp Chicago staffer walked into her Gold Coast shop and “guaranteed us good reviews on the site if we catered one of their parties for free.” Offended but resigned, Rothman complied. And just as promised, positive reviews bloomed for the business right after the party, Rothman said.

The phenomenon of catering a Yelp Elite event and then getting tons of good reviews does happen.  The sales people know this and obviously use it to their advantage.   I mean, it is pretty hard to not review a place positively after they gave you something for free.  But everything we do in life has an Ayn Rand esque tendency about it — we go because we get free stuff, the restaurant gives us free stuff to show off and hopefully develop some street cred.  Pretty easy quid pro quo and not at all unethical.  I recently went to a wine tasting at a wine store that I wouldn’t normally have checked out last week for a Yelp Elite event, it turned out to be a great store.  The staff was knowledgeable and the alcohol reasonably priced, so ya I’ll write a good review about them.  That is what Yelpers do.  But when you read the above blurb, it sounds like Yelp is being completely unethical.  The CEO really needs to work on his PR.  People don’t know how Yelp works and they just want to know — minus all the algorithm talk.

Another Yelp phenomenon mentioned is this new article is the business owner email.  I personally don’t really want to hear from a business owner and at times am afraid to write a bad review because I assume I’ll be contacted.  But, I am writing in a public forum and therefore don’t complain about it unless a business owner is really rude — then I think that person should be banned from Yelp.  I guess that happened to one such business owner.

But as the Tribune learned during a chefs round table last summer, citizen Internet review sites have proved mixed blessings to many merchants. These sites, they say, can be sources of praise and constructive criticism but also vicious attacks.

Consequently, many, especially restaurateurs, have developed a strained relationship with the site and its Yelpers. Chicago chef Graham Elliot Bowles is one of them. He says he has had his “account removed” for personally contacting those whom he felt posted reviews that were “baseless, lacking in truth or intentionally hurtful.”