Social Media Top 5: New Google Plus, Oxford Strikes Again & Noms-d’Imbécile

Image Credit: "Brainbitch" on Flickr

Meet the New Google Plus, Same as the- Hey, Wait a Minute…

Google has made changes to Google Plus. This might be great, it might be a “so what;” I’m not sure, but I have some impressions. Google Plus seems to be focusing on interests and categories rather than status and social posting, as evidenced by the chicletized . This makes sense for Google, which at its core is about finding what you want on the web. Why not make Google Plus more about interests than conversations? Why not feed into the trend of the social web being more about content and consumption than replies and “engagement?” I see nothing wrong with the new iteration of G+, just as I saw not much wrong with the old one. The same question remains: “So what?” The better question is also a sticky one: “How will you get me to use this, Google?” As with Twitter’s Moments feature, I need not only a reason to use it, but a push to go ahead and do so regularly; that I do not yet see.

Google’s Introduction of the New G+

First the Oxford Comma, Now This:

The Oxford English Dictionary has named an emoji its word of the year. This proves that the Oxford University Press, also behind the dastardly and usually extraneous “Oxford comma” (or serial comma), is an evil organi(s)ation bent on corrupting the English language and destroying it forever. They could be a good bad guy in the next James bond movie.
Nifty Customer Service Trick- Everybody is a Content Creator

As a lessee the last several years, I have not had as much need to take my car in to the shop as I had in years past. Last week was my chance to see an advance in customer service that my neighbors (not social media gurus, btw) assured me is not unusual, and in fact has been going on for a bit: the video update.

If you had any doubts that the task of “content creator” has escaped the boundaries of traditional editorial and marketing work, this is it. Note it is not a public video, but a 1:1 communication, but as vital as and far more engaging than any “viral” video. Throw a cat in there and I’ll break my car every few weeks just to get more of these.

That’s Only Three – So Here’s Some Utter Nonsense to Pad Out the Post

Image Credit: "Brainbitch" on Flickr

Image Credit: “Brainbitch” on Flickr

Some words and phrases I would be happy never to hear again:

  • Growth Hacking: Maybe we give “hacking” a rest to cut this one off at the source
  • “X is Dead”: Notice I didn’t declare growth hacking dead. Also not dead: PR, content marketing, search engine optimization, and Andy Kaufman (the last one is more of a hunch)
  • Any buzzword or phrase indicating there is too much content for us to process: Content shock, attention crash, this made-up idea has had nearly as many noms-d’imbécile as web-enabled computing and software. More content than any one person can consume, and the need to stand out by making better content, is a centuries problem, not one that arrived with blogging.
  • Redefining old problems with buzzwords and pretending they are new: That’s just a broader way of reframing the last point. Catchy phrases are great, but do not give them more import or novelty than they deserve. Perhaps I undercut my intention to call out specific words and phrases, but then I point you to the “Utter Nonsense” designation of this entry.

Social Media Top 5: Safety vs Moments, Tsu(me), Trolling for Dullards


Image Credit: takomabibelot on Flickr

Facebook Safety Check Gets it Right: Twitter Moments Might Have Gotten it Right But Who Would Know?

As the story of the horrific terror attacks in Paris unfolded over the evening of November 13, I noticed two things on social media. To be honest, I only noticed one of them.  Facebook activated its Safety Check feature that evening, and I immediately saw the effects when I logged in to Facebook arriving home that evening. A friend and neighbor happened to be in Paris visiting family, and I saw her “Checked in Safe” prominent among my notifications. People near the attacks were prompted to check in safe, making this a push notification on both ends, and a good one.* Certainly, it’s a much better feature than the temporary profile picture app, the result of which is that I can’t tell from profile pictures who is commenting on what thread on Facebook’s pages and groups.

Twitter Moments, on the other hand, had some great curated content from media partners and other Twitter users. However, I had to be reminded to go check it. On further examination, I found no intuitive way to be signed up for Moments notifications- if breaking news or other categories appeared in my mobile Twitter notifications, I would definitely sign up for that. I feel like it’s a missed opportunity, unless anyone can show me otherwise.

*Many people have pointed out that Facebook has been inconsistent in its use of Safety Check, with an attack in Beirut the previous evening held up as an example, and that’s a fair criticism, but beside my point here.

Perhaps They Should Change the Name to

In more conventional business competition news, some folks (“Some” = “those who have actually heard of have noticed that Facebook has been blocking all links to, an apparently competitive social network. As this post in Boingboing points out, even their own post that contained links to the site was getting blocked.

I found one way around that, but it wasn’t pretty (see below). Is there a real value to blocking these links? The reasoning seems to do with Tsu paying users to post links on Facebook, violating the latter’s Terms of Service. Will Facebook continue to do it? I don’t really know but will be interested to hear if this happens with other sites that might be seen as competitive.





REI recently announced that they would close their stores on Black Friday, a move that generated much goodwill, even if people like me suspected that they didn’t stand to sacrifice as much as other big stores by doing so. The PR machine got CEO Jerry Stritzke to do a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything), which went predictably awry. Well, predictable only if you knew there were disgruntled employees out there (hence the hyperbolic healdine to this section, though the chat as a whole probably wasn’t that definitively off the rails). Does that mean one should avoid these things at all cost to prevent embarrassment? No- Stritzke posted a belated acknowledgment of the negative discussion; in my opinion that was late and could have been handled better live, but at least someone thought better of things to get him to write the note.

Good Trolls are Good 

I know, I know, we should be relentlessly positive and non-critical at all times on social media, right?

OK, actually I don’t know that. I’ll distribute warm fuzzies if they are earned, but I will also secretly (or not) cheer Internet trolls who use their powers for good. I am particularly impressed with Buzzfeed Canada writer Scaachi Koul, who resorted to Absurdist performance art when targeted by  “Men’s Rights” activists due to the anti-sexist and anti-racist nature of many of her posts (and the added crime of being a woman). Responded with out-of-context-but-maybe-creating-their-own-context quotes from the film Good Will Hunting? Childish, brilliant, and most likely Fair Use; I approve (not that she needs it).

There, I wrote something nice about Buzzfeed (Bonus!).

Excellent Advice for SEO Professionals

This is the only response to those who might want to post “SEO/Marketing/Social Media Leassons from X” posts, when “X” is little plausible relevance. SEO lessons from Taylor Swift? None. Zero.

Make your clickbait count, folks.


Social Media Top 5: Twitter Has Heart; Spotify Not So Evil? LinkedIn Mod Changes


Image Credit: “John” on Flickr

Twitter? Hearts? Have you no…um, Heart?

People like to accuse Twitter of having “Facebook Envy,” adding features to its idiotically simple core service (some better than others). Now that Twitter has changed Favorite” to “Like,” complete with heart icon, people are going nuts.

I really could care less about this change but it is fun watching the reactions. I guess Twitter used to watch Facebook have all the fun, seeing people kvetch loudly every time they tweaked the interface, and decided that was a great model to copy.

I saw one comment from a user that he/she once used Favorites as a bookmark, as did I. With the onset of “Notifications” though, Favorites were included, making them more of a Like than a stealth cataloging anyway, so it’s really not a big change now. But it was noticed. The screaming has probably died down even by the time I started writing this, however. Enjoy the hearts. Gotta have ’em, right? Maybe Twitter can go Facebook one better by introducing a “Dislike” button?

Nah, let’s keep it positive. Here is how the hearts make me feel:

LinkedIn Groups Moderation Changes- Worst Nightmare or Slight Migraine?

LinkedIn made changes to the way Groups moderation works, and some marketers are mad about it. I suspect there are more masters for LinkedIn to serve here than professionals, and that one of the major changes – making comment moderation retroactive rather than prior to posting – will help some lightly-managed groups move along their conversations better. But community managers who want to actively manage their accounts – and to be honest, most LinkedIn Groups I have seen are spammy wastelands –  now have to be more vigilant and put out fires rather than prevent them.

Timeliness is definitely an issue; moderation queues only work if the moderator is active. That may work for an active, professional community manager like Lauren at Search Engine Land, but for many people looking at groups that are less formalized, queues mean it can be forever before a comment gets posted, and that kills conversation. Yes, spam is worse – but it appears LinkedIn is erring on the side of free conversation. Preferable would be a more flexible approach offering moderators the choice of how to pursue comment moderation. It will be interesting to see if there are more changes.

Spotify not Killing Music?

I found this article interesting, as I have been following the Spotify music industry debates. I am a happy Spotify user, but am concerned when some artists start pulling out, whether it be Taylor Swift pulling her music in seeming (I wonder about true motivations) solidarity with independent artists who are not getting paid so much, and other artists pulling streaming music because of supposed sound quality issues, generally espoused by septuagenarian rockers with septuagenarian hearing who spent their early years hawking us their music on 8-track tapes. The bottom line for me at this point is if you’re not on Spotify I’m not listening to you, Neil Young/Robert Plant/Black Keys (Taylor Swift hadn’t made her way into my playlist in any case- imagine that).

The article focused on David Lowery of the bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, who explained that Spotify exposure exposed Cracker to larger audiences and more sales, while he supposes the effect on Camper Van Beethoven’s fortunes is probably less rosy. So? A mixed bag. Meanwhile, the FiveThirtyEight article goes on to provide highlights of a not-yet peer-reviewed study of Spotify’s effects on the music business. This will continue to be interesting stuff- and I am continuing to put my money into Spotify as it allows me to mine my owned collection and combine it with a wider collection for discovery (new “Discovery” playlists are excellent and worth trying, by the way).

Star Trek Streaming? Future of Media Consumption? Too Soon?

Star Trek is getting a new TV series, and its delivery will not be on regular TV or cable, but over streaming for the Next Generation (ugh!) of media consumers. CBS is placing its bets and boldly go…ah, forget it

Comedy is Hard

The Merseyside Police in Liverpool, England – or to be specific, whoever was running their Twitter account – provided the latest example of why comedy is best left to the professionals (see below), or at least those who aren’t performing a serious public service. Rape jokes are never funny, and the (most certainly reprimanded and possibly now on the job hunt) social media manager was reminded of that the hard way after trying to be chummy online with local soccer (ok, football) fans.

Doing Twitter for a police department? Let’s be careful out there.






Social Media Top 5: Yelp Abuse, Grantland’s Tomb, Snapchat Owns You, and More…


Image Credit: Kelly Garbato on Flickr

Fighting Fraud with Fraud. And Threats. and Stupidity.
It looks like  a restaurateur got fed up with some entitled vegans (no, not all vegans act that way , don’t assume I think that way just because I think bacon is awesome) making unreasonable order requests. It also looks like the restaurateur lost it on social media, and it turned into the usual war of fraudulent negative Yelp reviews and ill-tempered responses. That way, everybody loses. There are nice ways to ask people to be reasonable. I’m not sure the best way to fight Yelp-stuffing, but making violent threats (even if you don’t mean it) might not be the best way. Still, what’s the best way to deal with that, regardless of how you got into the mess?

Grantland’s Tomb: Should Brands Get into Long-Form Journalism?

One content marketing pundit, Joe Pulizzi, thinks Nike (or some other sports-oriented brand) “missed an opportunity” to take over Grantland after ESPN shut it down. Forgetting for a moment the theory (mine) that the site shutdown may be a vengeful act aimed at scrubbing all evidence of Grantland founder Bill Simmons’ existence from their web-waves – why would a brand want to do that? It’s an interesting question as Grantland has a positive brand association with high-quality long-form writing. It’s also worth asking: why would any brand make an investment in thoughtful, long-form content? Why would a brand dive this far into journalism? Grantland worked as a respite from headlines and “hot takes.” Is it worth throwing marketing budget – and do not underestimate the significant outlay for top-shelf writers making lots of words – at a stand-alone long-form content play? At some point someone will ask if it sells sneakers, and the answer better be “Yes.”   So, I say Nike should pass on this, but the general idea of sponsoring a journalistic content site is worth pondering.

Snapchat Retains Rights to Use All User Content. Big Deal…

Snapchat just changed it’s terms of agreement, significantly broadening the content (images, voices, etc) it claims the right to re-use. One take is that it is scary and you are relinquishing your rights. Another is that your rights are limited to the fact that you are using someone else’s service and the rights they claim are fairly common in social media. I lean towards the latter interpretation; assume everything you post on a platform you don’t own or control is not completely yours. On the other hand, all those Snapchat sexts are probably not going to be come part of a mass marketing campaign, as proud as you might be of them.

Hahahahahaha.. I mean, LOL ;)

So, one of the Hillary Clinton emails released recently was a 2012 query about how to make “smiley faces” on her Blackberry. I think it’s adorable when people make fun of people of a certain generation- or a certain environment, like government work- for not being “hip.” I bet the people who laugh at this hardest approve of man-buns.


Wikipedia Has Reached 5,000,000 Articles.

That’s it? There must be something missing. Also interesting: more than 2.5 billion total edits comes to an average of 500 edits per article. That I can believe.


Social Media Top 5: Twitter Loves Developers Again, YouTube Red, & Blame it on Content Shock


Twitter Developments


Credit: Nik Cubrilovic on Flickr

Once upon a time, Twitter closed its legs on third-party developers. I thought that made sense in terms of controlling how people accessed Twitter – and could see ads, but obviously developers, who helped make Twitter what it was in the early days, were put off. The great developments (Tweetdeck et al) were acquired, others were put at arm’s length. All, perhaps, in the name of making Twitter more streamlined, usable, and – oh yes- easier to sell to advertisers.

I have no idea if that was successful, though as a user I found the official apps easier and better to use, so I’m pretty happy. Now, with new CEO (and founder) Jack Dorsey, Twitter is looking to kiss and make up with developers. Hey, why not? Maybe Twitter needs to get more interesting. I don’t know jack. But this is an interesting change.

YouTube Red


YouTube has always been red, as anyone who has seen the mobile app icon knows, but now it has a product called Red. For ten bucks a month, you get ad-free YouTube. Hooray. (?) Hey now,  you can watch cat videos without those pesky ads. That’s all we really need to know, right?

The process is not without its bumps. There are podcasts with embedded advertising that are wondering about what Red means to them; meanwhile, The ESPNLand section of Disneyland* took their channels private, presumably until rights deals for sports clips gets worked out within the terms of the new regime. If some popular video series are locked out because of the way they advertise, that will generate a ton of complaints- I suspect the end result will be simpler than that, even if there is initial confusion.

Meanwhile, I am annoyed by many YouTube ads, but probably not enough so to pay $10 a month.. If I wanted Google Play music, however, that would be another story (spoiler alert: I don’t).

Question: will  there be a YouTube-free ad service? I might check that one out for the right price. Some ads are cool, even if I never remember what products they are pushing.

* I know I used the West Coast Disney reference for east-coast ESPN, but I hear reversing field is good in soccer, so why not?

Instagram Boomerang App: King Migraine in Reverse

So, now you can create 1-second video loops on Instagram that  can run in reverse.  I welcome any creative uses of this, but I think I will sit out the initial shiny object phase. I can’t even bear to seek out a current instance to embed here.

By the way – Instagram’s regular app lets you make 0-second video loops, which I like just fine. #getoffmylawn

Facebook Universal Search

Since Facebook search has been nearly useless to users like me (even searches within groups have been unreliable at best), if this works it could be a chance to leapfrog Twitter in this regard- or at least be as good.

Baseball Fun on Twitter

I love this so much – public libraries in Kansas City and Toronto got to trash-talking on Twitter. Why not? More institutions should have fun online. The key is to knowing the line between fun and offense, but how can you go wrong with showing off book tiles in creative ways?

Content Shocker

This ids #6, which means I can get away with slacking off and doing 4 soon.

Anyway, I saw this post from the Bufferapp folks; an attempt to face up to a loss in referral traffic from social media. Brave talk from a company that is founded on social media content management, so th post brings the promise of some insights on the challenges of social media.



…as i clicked on the post, they brought up the notion of “content shock” or “content crush” or whatever meaningless buzzword you would like to apply – which I still think is a silly notion in many aspects. If you are worried about competing with the tons of content out there, you are playing the wrong game and will lose. If you are creating excellent content, and it serves your audience, then “content shock” is irrelevant, and can be left for the vacuous and shallow, where it belongs.

The people with the best content are not complaining about content shock. Still, the alternate solutions in the post, such as paid placement and, well, being more relevant and high-quality, make this a better post than the initial diversionary talk of content shock promises.

Social Media Top 5: Dude Says Twitter’s Dead Because of Online Abuse – Let’s Get Him!


Image Credit: “Mark” on Flickr

Is Abuse Killing Twitter or Should People Who Say So Shut Their Filthy Pieholes?

Of all the reasons one could give for an eventual downfall of Twitter as a business, here is an article that puts much of the blame (for something that hasn’t happened yet) on online abuse. Of course I agree online abuse is a problem, but if it’s a reason for a social media platform business to fail, then the whole Internet should go down; if you want to find abuse, shaming and harassment you don’t have to go far to find it.

I have a hard time seeing the author’s point- first, is Twitter dying? Sure they need to innovate, and change to reflect the current usage model (see Moments), but abuse is everywhere on the net. So- asking people to “be nice” on Twitter isn’t going to save it. That’s not the same as saying we shouldn’t be asking people to be nicer online, so please go support Civilination (tell them Doug threatened you into coming; they’ll love that).

Side note on the article’s ending: I would never buy tickets to a beautiful town square, but I might to a raging mosh pit. I suppose I’m missing the writer’s point, but I’m doing that on purpose because I thought he made the point poorly (oh no! Abuse Alert!).

Our So-Called Online Lives
The idea that we “fake it” a bit in our social media profiles is not a new one.  And the examples here are tragic; people putting up happy fronts online while the truth is far from it. However, they are great reminders to most of us that most people’s online versions of their lives are far from the complete story, and never as completely happy or successful (or smart!) as presented, even if the usual gap is much less stark (and less likely to sell copies of the New York Post). I don’t see this purely as a novel or frightening aspect of the social web, though- we all market the good side of ourselves, and for the most part, why shouldn’t we? We’re trying to get and keep jobs, friends and reputation. Why purposely expose our angst (go ahead and try, maybe you will be shamed and abused for being an “over-sharer,” and Twitter will go out of business as a direct result!).When looking at my social profiles, you should always assume I am leaving out details for privacy and dullness rather than trying to whitewash my life, but that doesn’t mean I don’t do that too. Is it the fault of the platforms or the people that they whitewash? No. We need to be smarter about how we view our friends’ so-called online lives.

New York Post is Officially the Paper of Record for Social Media News

Another New York Post headline says it all: “Meerkat expert in love triangle at zoo attacked monkey-handler rival.” I honestly read that initially to mean she was an expert in the streaming video app Meerkat, which means I pay attention to too many social media gurus for my mental health (and also means as a “former” Meerkat expert, she must now focus on the Periscope app). How disappointed was I to find that a Meerkat expert at a zoo actually focused on animals? Still, I expect that most “social media platform gurus” behave this way.

It’s Over for IHOP’s Twitter

International House of Pancakes got some (mostly) positive attention for being playful on Twitter recently. However, as I write, my desperate plea to them for Twitter attention had gone unanswered. For an hour. AN HOUR.

Sorry, IHOP, game over.

Final Note: Gratuitous Self-Promotion

For about a decade, I have been a happy listener and rare contributor to the For Immediate Release podcast. With the recent “retirement” of founding c-host Neville Hobson, remaining founder Shel Holtz is continuing with a new panel format, and I was lucky to be included in last week’s edition. It’s always fun to chat with smart people in the industry about PR, social media and other communications topics, and I hope this continues. Anyway, please have a listen to last week’s Episode 4, along with the other episodes in the continuing series.

Social Media Top 5: Overvaluing Trump Tweets; Twitter Moments; Prejudging & Justine


Trump Tweets as Valuable as Media Coverage?  


Image Credit: Mike Licht on Flickr

I am legitimately impressed that presidential candidate Donald Trump composes his own Tweets. I am also legitimately concerned for the sanity of his communications director. However, the idea that he is getting “free press” in a specific dollar amount for each Tweet is ridiculous to anyone (like me) who has had to talk people down from using the ludicrous, and flat-out-wrong, ad-value-equivalency metric. Call it valuable, even more valuable than ads (meh), but do not equate it with paid media. So can it, losers.

Twitter Moments

I love to look askance at new fancy features of social networks (Facebook video profiles, please die), but I have to say I like Twitter Moments. Why? Twitter has become more of an information discovery tool than a conversation one, so putting together a catchier curation of some of the day’s topics of interest makes sense. Some people say it won’t save Twitter; maybe so, and sure they would do well to figure out revenue opportunities, but I can only think of one of the things I like best about the New York Times app: the morning notification of the day’s top stories. If Twitter can figure out how to get me (and a few million of my close friends) to make a habit of checking out Moments, maybe there is something there.

Side note: I first saw Moments posted as a video in Tweetdeck, which did not support the video playback. Twitter, of course, owns Tweetdeck. Oopsie.

ScreenClip Hijacking Web Sites or Annotating Shared Links?

After all the recent outcry about ad blockers and how they will destroy advertising, now I see complaints about a service called It seems that, a URL-shortening and sharing service,  uses frames to let sharers attach a note over the page they are sharing. This can take the form of a promotion or ad, so the question is: is hijacking your web site’s precious real estate, or is it allowing users (including businesses who might recommend good content as a way of getting attention) to annotate shared links with “post-its” for the friends and customers with whom they share? I’m sympathetic to the hijacking argument, but I am not 100% convinced. Would you be mad if a local merchant recommended you a book and gave you a bookmark with an ad for their services on it? Perhaps that’s an apt analogy. I’ll certainly think more on this, but I have learned (from myself) not to instantly take the jeremiads of a marketing blogger as gospel. Let’s debate this sucker.

Parents, Kids & Social Media: Time to Stop and Be Smart

My buddy Jeff Esposito at Kaspersky wrote a post on how parents should think  about privacy (and dignity) regarding their children and social media. While I argue that making your profile private isn’t a preference for a lot of people, I strongly believe that being private about your kids is crucial. It’s great that people are proud of their children, but who really needs to know? It’s easy to set kid photos to private on Facebook, Flickr and other sites, and everyone should do so for kids under a certain age. I always set photos and videos to private for young kids- and that goes triple for other people’s kids. Now that my son is in high school and his teams’ exploits make the papers (notice I’m not linking here, see “dignity” below), I don’t bother with that anymore, but pre-high school there was never a question. That’s smart privacy.

Dignity comes into play when kids are old enough to have their own social media accounts. Kids don’t want you to play along more than necessary (I know- posting a “cute kid” photo when my son first joined Facebook, and tagging him, did not go over well), so don’t embarrass, shame them or otherwise impinge on their fun. That’s not the same as saying don’t monitor and correct bad behavior, but back off, mom and dad.

Leave Justine Alone!

Remember that communications professional who made a tacky, offensive AIDS joke and got fired while she was flying to Africa? Justine Sacco got excoriated – crucified, really, and worse – on social media, to an extent far beyond the reach of her crime. She was even featured in Jon Ronson’s book So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, which is a worthy read even if it could have gone further in examining the gender differences in online shaming (that is, what women have to endure is generally far more disgusting and threatening than the abuse directed at men online). Now she’s found good work, as PR for the fantasy sports gaming (gambling?) site FanDuel.

Controversial company? Perhaps. Getting some crisis communications chops as FanDuel (with rival Draft Kings) is accused of the gambling equivalent of insider trading? Definitely

Heap scorn because she is doing her job? Get lost, New York Post

Social Media Top 5: Yelp If I’m Bothering You Peeple


Image Credit: redhope on Flickr

Yelp if I’m Bothering You

I am trying to be positive and find a reason this new app “Peeple” should exist. After all, I’m hardly the only person writing about this and it’s hardly original to simply trash it. Their messaging is infused with a relentless positivity, but the immediate assumption across the Internet was that an app used to rate people (rather than services or companies) would be used for negativity, bullying and all sorts of harassment. Why would anyone think that?

The real terrifying thing might be that a headline calling this app “terrifying” actually passed muster in The Washington Post. A new era, indeed. I’m silently judging everything involved in this story.

Oh, and there’s already an app named “Peeple.” I’m beginning to think this is actually an Onion story. It’s almost too good.

Meanwhile, Slate thinks the real problem won’t be the negativity, but “empty positivity,” in a nice attempt at- empty positivity(?). Ok, I’ll stop trying to defend it.

And if I complain about negative comments on Peeple, will there be a Streisand effect? I now have a headache.

But wait a minute – Snopes is casting doubt on the actual launch of the app, based on the lack of any real information.

UPDATE: Since I took my sweet-flippin’ time writing and pressing publish on this post, the below Tweet from one of the (new)Peeple founders  seems to have happened. Deleting negative comments about an app that is designed to host negative (and positive) comments about real people? I am more than ever convinced that this is performance art and not an actual app intended for release. I’m sure there will be more, and better chronicled elsewhere. I’m getting some popcorn.

Facebook Privacy/Facebook Premium/ Facebook Underwear

I can’t even, as the kids say. First, we need to be mad at people for being naive about the reappearance of the ineffective Facebook “I declare my privacy to be sacrosanct” hoax, then we’re supposed to roll our eyes at people posting rants about the people telling off everyone who posts complaints about their naive friends. Then we’re supposed to laugh at parody versions, like the one that says Facebook will steal your underwear or something- I guess I should like the parodies; one friend even was amazed I didn’t write one. I can’t, the whole thing makes me want to take a nap, mostly because the hoax passed with much less fanfare many months ago.

No. Dear God, No

Facebook is starting to let users make video profile photos. I’m not prone to seizures, but this sounds like something I cannot get into. I’ll be happy to see any creative uses, but I’ll be just as happy to see the fun police who shut down Twitter’s animated gif profiles in 2012 to get back to work.

Check Your Ego at the Draft:

I’m not going to link to a post and call anyone out, as I’m not interested in shaming anyone (who won’t care anyway) nor in feeding egos. It’s no news that social media posts are very self reverential–oops, I mean referential–and often that’s necessary to bring a personal point of view, but I have seen a spate of posts recently that give great points, but could use some editing. I think  perhaps a great editorial job for bloggers could be an “ego eraser.” Would that pay? I’m going to keep it passive-aggressive here because sometimes that’s how it should be.

Now I need to re-read my own writing to see how awful I am on this count.

Twitter removing share counts from sharing buttons? 

Many marketers, publishers and egotists love seeing share counts for posts. Heck, I have them on my sharing buttons. I like to know what kind of reaction my posts are getting. So what should we make of the news that Twitter is looking to remove access to counts from its API? How inconvenient is this (a lot, to a few)?

What else does it mean? Control, most likely. Twitter has a recent history of restricting and regulating what third-party apps does with its content and data (see search result below), so this is not out of character. It would be a shame if this means losing Twitter counts to sit alongside numbers of Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Plus shares, but I am also curious to know what they are doing if they are going to withhold this particular piece of information.

twitter shuts third party apps Google Search


Man, that was more negative than positive this week. I’m going out to enjoy the sunshine.

Social Media Top 5: Check Out My Peanutize


Here we go: another popular TV show or movie, another chance to change your social media profile pictures in the style of the characters. The latest is to promote the upcoming “Peanuts” movie, so now you can “Peanutize” yourself.

First of all, kudos for not calling it “Peanutsize” (say “I’m posting  my Peanutsize on Facebook” out loud and tell me that’s not hilarious).

Also, mine didn’t go so well.


Long-Form Content Experiment

BuzzSumo did an extensive study of content types to see which kinds get more links and shares. As someone involved in SEO, I appreciate the distinction, and definitely pay attention. One finding, that long-form content (longer than 1,000 words) tends to get more links AND shares, caught my eye. It syncs with things I have been hearing the last year or so, that long-form content is more engaging and that people will share it because it’s substantive. Perhaps you can also assume that the people who do share it have done so more thoughtfully than they would in sharing or linking to, say, a cat photo.

That said, I wondered; if I put some fake long content, would people share it without reading it?  I published the verbal equivalent of two $100 bills wrapped around plain paper, thanks to a handy lorem ipsum generator. The results? As I write this, the post got about 5-6 times the normal share rate of one of my blog posts; it’s not a definitive finding, as I’m sure several people simply got the joke and passed it along, but I do wonder how many people share longer-form content without actually reading it.

Shocker: Another Hashtag Fail

This is obvious and inevitable, but I just wanted to mark it here so I remember it for reference. Yes, Donald Trump’s presidential campaign had a hashtag to ask him questions, and yes people trolled it. At this point, I’m not sure anymore that these things are such a terrible idea. Someone like Trump will have hecklers anywhere he goes, so trolls are pretty easy to ignore in this setting, and as easy to embrace. Is it any different from any other campaign event, whether he is an active or passive participant? Probably not. It’s time for any brand looking at hashtag campaigns to decide if they are worth it based on the potential return, rather than the predictable risk. One generally outweighs the other.

Universal New Yorker Cartoon Caption

Apparently, there are “universal New Yorker cartoon captions.” Apparently, there’s a new suggestion that you can apply to any New Yorker cartoon, because that’s a thing.

OK, fine, but these might be better.


On the other hand, we might as well just make fetch happen.

Groupon Layoffs

I saw this coming when I got a Groupon for Groupons. It usually is true for restaurants, so maybe that would have been as good a method as any to announce layoffs.

Social Media Top 5: DisLike-sia and Other Facebook Stuff


Image Credit: Rebecca on Flickr


Is Facebook finally implementing the long-discussed Dislike Button? Of course not. It’s a silly idea that makes no sense, not to mention that Facebook has long said it wouldn’t do that.

That did not prevent people from breathlessly reporting that Facebook was doing just that after some comments by founder Mark Zuckerberg last week. Of course, it was bunk; Facebook is looking at ways for people to express empathy or sympathy when acknowledging someone’s bad news on Facebook- times when a “like” feels awkward or inappropriate). Apparently, simply commenting isn’t enough, which I suppose I can understand (or empathize with).

The real story here isn’t the button, but that people rush off to publish in this age of the continuous news cycle without considering to absorb the actual facts. There was some backlash straightening out the facts, but the damage continued through the weekend, for example the incorrect original reporting being the basis for a quiz question on NPR’s “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.”

Reading is easy. Comprehension is hard.

So for now (and forever), haters will have to dislike Facebook content the way they know best – by trolling, bullying and creative hostility.


Signal for Facebook

Meanwhile, in news about products Facebook is actually introducing, the curation (my word) app Signal is being rolled out for media partners. Signal allows media partners to embed Facebook content in stories. I see it as some version of Storify, albeit limited to Facebook, but likely with some better tools for finding and collecting content.

The real news to me is that this product presents the possibility that Facebook is improving its search. If that is true and becomes available as improved search for all users, that would be a huge improvement; and Facebook will have to improve search if they want to become the de facto Web for people.

Strangers in my Facebook Feed

Small bother, but I had recently noticed more unfamiliar names in my Facebook feed. I wouldn’t think too much of it but a few other friends who are power Facebook users definitely noticed the same thing. I haven’t found any confirmation that Facebook has done some tweaks to the main feed to show more friends of friends or something like that, but I’m curious, if anyone knows more than I do.

Crystal- Meh? 

Not a Facebook item, but saw a recommendation for a service called Crystal that analyzes a person’s online social media and recommends how to interact with that person. Not sure of the algorithm or the accuracy, but here’s how you can talk to me, for what that’s worth:


One Last Time – I Repeat: Facebook is Not Introducing a Dislike Button

Please make it stop.