Tag Archives: Social media

The Facebook experiment

Facebook.Given the open-ness and superior sharing controls of Google+ I’ve started the process of thinning down my Facebook friends list – this is partially an attempt to regain some sense of personal freedom for my "private" space on FB, and partially out of consideration for the contacts on my friends list inundated with my endless blog posts and photos of my daughter on their news feeds.

I’ve ‘unfriended’ about 20% of my list (I’d considered just moving them to a ‘limited view’ friend status but didn’t really see the point – the people I’ve unsubscribed have had very little interaction or conversation with me for some considerable time now), and we’ll see if anyone notices. I am hoping others fed up with me will unfriend me themselves – as my friends list crept upward I had a sneaking suspicion – which I’m sure will be justified by minimal re-adds – that I wasn’t as popular as Facebook was intimating.

Anyway, I sincerely hope I haven’t caused any offence and will happily get back in contact with people who so desire it!

Charlie Stross on ‘true naming’ – and Google+

I hadn’t really considered the full implications of Google+’s “true naming” policy, but Charlie has the issues mapped out perfectly here.

To start with, as Patrick McKenzie pointed out in his blog last year (before all this blew up), programmers almost always get name handling wrong because there is no universal format for a human name.

Charlie goes on to point out a whole bunch of other reasons why this is a problem for Google and it’ll be interesting to see how they resolve it. The anti-cultural bias of the ‘True Name’ policy is very unlike Google, despite the (admirable?) goal of keeping the social network honest. But as Charlie points out:

Google are wrong about the root cause of online trolling and other forms of sociopathic behaviour. It’s nothing to do with anonymity. Rather, it’s to do with the evanescence of online identity. People who have long term online identities (regardless of whether they’re pseudonymous or not) tend to protect their reputations. Trolls, in contrast, use throw-away identities because it’s not a real identity to them: it’s a sock puppet they wave in the face of their victim to torment them.

It’ll be interesting to see how this pans out… although of course, I’m still not quite using Google+ yet. It needs events, and more people I actually know, as opposed to randoms with no profile adding me, possibly expecting reciprocity.

As an aside, I’m still reading Charlie’s Rule 34 – took a break from novels to catch up on some DCU comics – and it continues to be awesome. Charlie’s mentioned a few AR overlays, a lot of tablets, a few 3D ‘fabbers’,  but no social networks yet – maybe, in the near future, we all forget our logins…

Taunting the SEO and social media people with the undead

Black Lantern Captain AmericaWorking at a PR agency and consulting on how people can interact with bloggers and their ilk has always given me a bit more patience, and occasionally respect for the people that pitch me for one product or another. Because I am a bit interested in most things, more often than not I do write about the stuff that people send me or write to me about, from yoghurt to clothing to technology and back again, on the basis that the pitch demonstrates evidence that they’re targeting me on the basis of anything I’ve actually written in the past.

I’m also more than open to offering people a guest blog spot, for what its worth, if they want to write about something that aligns in more or less anything I’m interested in, and as long as its not totally shameless self-promotion.

However, I have virtually no patience with people that don’t even slightly think through why they’re in touch with me, and, like the old Silicon.com/419 scam of old (h/t to Will S on that one) I’ve taking to taunting them.

Personal details redacted, but here’s this week’s fun:

@division6 morning :) was wondering if you’re still accepting guest posts on your blog at all?
@[redacted] depends who from, what for and what about!
@division6 it’ll be from me (my employer), on whatever you’d like it on. What for, you tell me :)
@[redacted] how about a comparative analysis between the undead universes of DC and Marvel comics? Marvel Zombies vs DCU ‘Black Lanterns’?
@division6 lol
@[redacted] No? Ok then.
@division6 don’t think I’ve ever, ever read a comic, nor seen a movie based on a comic.. Maybe The Crow, if that’s classed as one..

I’m hoping someone does take me up on that blog post request. I think a DCU/Marvel undead crossover (maybe with some Walking Dead zombies thrown in for good measure) could be ftw.

Yamtastic – investigating Yammer

yammericonI persuaded some colleagues to try Yammer a few years ago and it didn’t really go anywhere. The enterprise collaboration tool that works like the corporate lovechild of Facebook and Twitter, however, seems to have grown up; a more polished Facebook-esque interface, excellent private group collaboration and other features lends it great potential – which I’m only just beginning to scratch, a week in to a new wave of testing.

The real challenge is in driving adoption and the strategy this time around is to define where in the business it’d be useful before we roll it out. I’m exploring lots of different options, as well as working up a dev wish list of the nice people at Yammer (it’s not perfect; what tool is?). Oddly, having told people that its just in testing and not to worry about signing up, I’ve got half the company on there – which is a significantly greater impact than I had when I was trying to get a group of testers together three years go…

A few specific bugbears are beginning to emerge – "open" groups cannot be made private (I can understand why the reverse might be true, but no this), there’s no Tweetdeck integration, the Chrome extension is OK but made by a third party and requires you use a browser to actually view updates, and there’s limited built-in collaboration- you have to spin out to Google Apps or some other third party cloud collaboration tool… And it probably needs a bit more M’sft integrations (vcards, calendar invites).

Still, definitely having fun yammering away. See where it goes.

On refining my Facebook circles

Facebook friend wheelThe advent of Google+ has had me thinking about my Facebook friends list – I have over 500 people on there and anyone who knows me well will tell you that I’m not that popular. But years of adding everyone I’ve gained more than a passing familiarity with and accepting friendship requests from the like has left me – perhaps – oversharing slightly. So a process of Spring cleaning must begin, and some criteria must be applied.

But rather than wholesale defriending people, I think I’ll go through a more Google-esque process, trying to align friends by how I know them (for the most part), restricting access to my updates to the people less likely to be interested in family pics, blog posts and the like. It’ll be a fairly tedious exercise but hopefully better for all involved.

If you’ve not been in regular contact but want to remain in an ‘open’ circle and see all my updates, do let me know…

Random adds on Google+

I’m not really sure what’s going on with Google+ at the moment. Whilst I like the interface, my inability to simply syndicate posts to it (via Tweetdeck or anything else), the limited number of "Real Life Friends" on it and the growing number of randoms adding me on there (at the present rate I’ll have more followers on my largely ignored Google+ account than I do on my reasonably active Twitter account in a few months) makes it all a bit confusing.

New features keep launching though, so we’ll have to see.

I can’t help but think that this is where the closed nature of Facebook is quite nice – the option to ‘decline’ friend requests gives you a nice kind of control over who you share with. I suspect Google will have to give you an option to view the posts from a selection of circles so you can selectively ignore posts from circles like "Internet Randoms," and/or we’ll end up creating ‘supercircles’ for one click sharing – i.e. I want to share with everyone except the Internet Randoms.

And to the Internet Randoms that are following me (and everyone else) – stick a decent bio / about page in. If I have no way of knowing who you are and you have thousands of people in your circles, I will block you. Sad but true… I just don’t have the time to be interested in people’s thoughts when I have no way of establishing who they are.

Mano a mano in el bano

A brief interlude for some marketing japery – Old Spice Guy was challenged to an Internet Duel by New Old Spice Guy, Fabio. He accepted and the Duel took place yesterday at the Interwebs Stadium.

Brilliantly executed campaign. Hundreds of thousands views in a few short hours, thousands of tweets, hundreds of blog posts. Simply awesome.

p.s. I’m backing Old Old Spice Guy. Fabio is creepy.

On Google+ and Facebook

Google+å’ŒfacebookSo I love the concept of Circles, but Google+ isn’t quite there for me yet.

Here’s why not:

1) No APIs yet, so no limited extensibility and hard to work into my social media syndication strategy – I can’t get my blog to cross post to G+, for example. The xhtml / rel=me thing should work but between my ineptitude at HTML and bugginess in Buzz, I can’t make it work.

2) Not enough people on there that I actually know – the only circles of mine where people are saying anything are “randoms,” “journalists” and “PRs” – which tells you a bit about the early adopters I know.

3) Too many randoms are adding me for no apparent reason – I can understand why some of the big hitters have stepped off the platform within days of joining

4) I don’t use enough of the other Google apps (Picasa etc) that would make it really useful. Maybe I should.

On Facebook at the moment I have one fundamental complaint:  the newsfeed’s selection of news stories is currently completely borked. I’m getting old stories from a very small set of my friend-network because Facebook is trying to guess which "circles" I want to hear from and excluding many of my friends.

Sort it out, the pair of you!

Google nonplussed

googleplusIt looks good and has some very slick features, but until it opens to the general public and we get a sense if anyone cares, it’s really difficult to tell if Google’s new social network, Google+, is going to be a useful digital platform for me. Right now, it feels a little Google Wave did – slick, pretty, but ultimately without use, and giving me one too many social networks to manage.

That said, the fundamentals are really solid – working around circles of contacts so that privacy controls should be easier to maintain (not that I’ve found those yet).

More to follow, inevitable. Thanks @qwghlm for the invite.

Top social media tools #smday

As today is apparently "social media day" and as I’ve done this meme before, I thought I’d give a quick update on my most indispensable social media resources, with a little bit on how, why and where I use them. Note: not all of them are social media platforms, necessarily, but they all help me connect or interact with the social web in some sense or the other.

My blogging toolkit

Evernote is my ultimate offline note-taker. The fact it syncs back into the web and maintains consistency across my many devices (3x personal PCs, 1x work PC, 1x personal Mac, iPhone & iPad) makes it persistently and pervasively useful. Most of my blog posts are drafted in Evernote on the train commute into the office.

Google Readeris my RSS compendium. I share stories on here (which syndicate out to Twitter and Buzz) and read hundreds of stories a day without spending hundreds of hours a day browsing through multiple websites.

Flickr – for sharing and sourcing images. Enough said – love its embed capabilities.

Windows Live Writerfor editing, polishing and publishing the blog posts. One of the last vital bits of Microsoftware I use.

WordPress – what you see here. Love it – equipped especially with Jetpack, and backed up by Google Analytics, it lets me share, disqus, and keep tabs on what people are reading. Also use it for a number of clients.

I’m still in two minds about Tumblr.

My research tools

Quora is a remarkable resource for finding out expert insights into products, people or brands. There’s a fantastic amount of valuable content on there and its appeared remarkably quickly. I owe a h/t to Tim for pointing me at this earlier this year.

Google Realtime (alongside Google News, Trends, Blogsearch and beyond) are awesome for figuring what’s going on in the world and testing the validity of a perceived trend, finding out what people are talking about etc.

Oh, and Wikipedia, of course.

My comms and productivity portfolio

Google Docs – is my productivity and collaboration powerhouse. I love Apps too.

Chrome – my browsing masterpiece, complete with Tweetdeck (tying together Facebook, Buzz and Twitter)

Skype – the iPhone app is beautifully deployed, although the desktop app has become bloated

Dropboxultimate tool for sharing large files, collaborating on projects

TwitterI struggle to find as much time as I did to keep up with people but dip in every now and then and use it to let people know when I’ve written about them elsewhere

Facebook – for all that people hate it, I do think its boss, and one of the most powerful tools for me to keep in touch with people. Emily’s life is catalogued in pictures on there, and I rely on its ‘closed’ nature to maintain a certain level of privacy (aware of the irony here).  I’m v. curious about Google+ though.

My health check

RunKeeper and DailyBurn are my apps of choice on this front, providing fitness monitoring and tracking and diet monitoring and tracking respectively. Now if only they talked to each other…


Camera+ fits into this thanks to its awesome sharing features. I use mobile apps for Evernote, Tweetdeck, WordPress, Skype and a few others, but this is the stand-out social app.

Right, phew, more than I thought. What do you use that I’m missing? What do I use that you think is rubbish?