Tag Archives: technology

What’s ‘Likes’ Got to Do, Got to Do with It?

You just moved into a new neighborhood, and really want to get to know your neighbors. Suddenly, you get a brilliant idea! Sprinting downstairs, to the entrance of your building, you tack a sign on the community bulletin board, “Party in 3D, Saturday at 8pm”.

Come Saturday, people start pouring in at 8pm– by 10pm, 200 people are jam-packed into your sardine box of an abode, overflowing out the balcony. They’re talking, drinking, dancing– really, really enjoying themselves. It couldn’t be going any better. As you wind through the crowd, making sure everyone’s cup runneth over, random guests cheer you on,

“Great party!”

“Really happening!”

“Wicked music!”

Come Sunday, your apartment looks like Katrina ran into King Kong throwing a hissy fit. But, hey, you don’t care, cause you just threw the party of the century. Mission accomplished…

YOUR NEIGHBORS KNOW YOU… and LIKE YOU.

Monday morning, as you sing to yourself in the most un-Mercury voice possible, “We Are the Champions”, you set off to work. As the elevator doors slide open, you meet a few of the party goers, who begin raving about your shindig.

“That was epic, Mike!”

“It was totally insane, John!”

“DUUUUUDE, it was fierce!”

By now, you should be stoked– and you would be, if…

Your name was Mike or John, or it wasn’t so obvious that ‘DUUUUUDE’ was an eponym for ‘I don’t know your name’.

See, the problem is, though it was a kick ass party, and everyone who was anyone was there…

No one knows you. They ‘liked’ your party, but who doesn’t like a party?

If you really wanted them to know you, remember you and actually interact with you again, you’d probably have fared better throwing a small dinner party for a few people in 3C and 3E. The week after, you’d invite Mrs. O’Mally and the Browns, whom you met at the mail boxes s a few days ago, over for tea.

Replace yourself with a brand, and the party guest with social media followers. Social media is more social than it is media– you can have 1,000,000 people love your page, but that doesn’t mean those 1,000,000 people really know you or care about you.

News flash: People are humans, and humans form relationships through one-on-one interactions. Those interactions are predominantly based on you getting to know them too– ie, seeking their presence in your life necessitates you giving a damn about theirs.

Brands today deal with social media as if it was a billboard space. They think its enough to boost a post, and get more ‘likes’. But in the end, those ‘likes’ are a faceless number of clicks. And as much as ‘numbers’ are the mantra of marketeers, quantity is the LAST thing social media is about.

Because social media’s greatest advantage, is it allows brands to get up close and personal. It takes brands from talking TO a consumer, to conversing WITH a person– having 100 people you know and speak with is infinitely more valuable than having a whole sea of followers who, you aren’t even sure, are really people with whom you want to engage.

The biggest culprit of this massive catastrophe, ironically, is the inventor of social media; to be social, a brand MUST be on Facebook, but…

The way Facebook taught brands to be social, has them acting more like immature frat brothers, than grown-up adult holding a mature conversation. Which, shouldn’t be a shocking surprise, given its founder just graduated a few years ago, and, like his other 20-something Silicon Valley compadres, deals with social and the business of it, as such.

But, for you marketeers out there who still love your numbers, let’s talk fact: on average, less than 1% of your followers are ‘talking about’ you. Worse, if you scroll through people who ‘like’ posts you’ve boosted, you’ll find more than a couple of Juanitas from Guatamala and Marias from Mexico– which would be so bloody brilliant if you weren’t a hunting store selling fishing lines in Cardiff.

The problem is compounded by brands rambling on with posts that offer no significant value to social media followers– in the pre-digital era of media, we called that ‘filling dead air’. Brands think by keeping up these posts, they are being socially ‘active’ and ‘engaging’ their followers.

But engagement is a two-way activity… and it’s the brand’s job to listen more than speak. The incentive to keep your followers in that engagement is recognizing and sharing the content and insights they provide you.

Because a successfully social brand doesn’t have an audience of millions; it has a front row seat in the audience of 100 people— and it is listens to each one of those 100 everytime they speak. Further, a brand that really capitalizes on social media uses its own pages to post content from each of those one hundred.

The payoff being quite self-evident: if a brand recognizes each of those 100, and they each have at least 500 friends in their social networks, that means genuine brand exposure to and engagement with 50,000 others…think about it, when a brand shares a follower’s content on its own page, that follower will share his or her recognized content with their own networks.

To cut a long and very twisted story short… having the most ‘likes’ might make brands feel secure about their social status in the digital world. But that insecurity should have probably waned their in sophomore year at the University of Grow Up. Punning the words of that ever-so-famous cereal rabbit, “Eh, ‘likes’ are for kids.”

It’s Social, It’s Media, But What’s It Selling and Who’s Buying It?

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and the list goes on and on.

They’re social. They’re media. But what the LOL are they really selling? At valuations that exceed the GDP of most developing countries, what is so valuable about them?

Let’s step back to the stone ages– the 1990s. Remember phone bills? They were wrapped up in an envelop, delivered by someone called the ‘postman’. Millenials, if you watch Seinfeld, you can see footage of one of these highly endangered creatures.

Phone companies had a business because people needed to communicate. Now imagine, if in the middle of your call, an ad message interrupted your conversation– literally just put both parties on hold so they could listen to an ad. Yeah, that would have been the death of them.

Advertisers would have jumped at the idea of course, given that they’d brand my grandma’s oxygen mask or anything else that had at least a centimeter of space to brand. Phone companies didn’t do that because, back then, a business model was built on the business you’re in, not the air you can sell.

Okay, so let’s come back to the future, 2015. Phone conversations are replaced by social media chats, phone cords by WiFi and dialing pads by keyboards. Same business– connecting people… save that the social media companies are under the impression they can sell the air.

Chalk it up to the fact that most of their founders were or are in their 20s, and have been called the Tech ‘Gurus’– their experience in business, let alone life, is about as savvy as ours was at 20, so ‘Guru’ might be an overstretch (and of course a brilliant term only an advertising or PR exec could coin).

Throw in the fact that the old-school financial or investment experts are in a mid-life fret about not really understanding the technology, the age of digital and all the new apps in between– instead of offering their expertise to guide these creative tech geniuses through building a solid business, they’re slipping into their Silicon Valley Crocs and voyeuristically enjoying the ‘Billionaires Under 30″ ride.

Then again, these seasoned venture capitalists are no different than their Neanderthal Wall Street ancestors, who parlayed everyone into the 2008 shits and giggles meltdown.

Let’s step back a bit, shall we? Businesses sell something– something that is tangible, such as a product or service. Ergo, they have a ‘core business’.

Second, the business model is built on that tangible product or service.

Lastly, advertising (marketing) is used to sell THAT product or service.

So, when we use the simplified– oh-so-ever oversimplified, but key checklist– let us look at the social media business:

  • Product/Service: Communication. Call it sharing, posting, status update, poking– in business terms, its communications, people.
  • Business Model: Advertising. Call it ‘Pages You Might Like’, ‘Brand Influencers’, or ‘Brand Advocates’. If it looks like an ad, sounds like an ad and talks like an ad, it’s advertising.
  • Marketing Strategy: PR 20-something ‘Gurus’ in jeans and sneakers, sporting a ‘Geek is Chic’, ‘Techy is Sexy’, image. Big Bang Theory meets (or rather bumps into) GQ.

Will everyone who graduated from Wharton please stand up? What’s wrong with the above picture?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?….Bueller?

Well, then, let’s begin.

Social media is no different than telecom, broadcasting or publishing– they are all media venues that make advertising more possible and place-able. Having said that, the latter 3 create have core businesses, with business models built on their core products/services, and they use marketing to sell them.

Telecom sells phone lines.

Broadcasters sell programing.

Publishing sells information.

Advertising supports these businesses, but these businesses have something to sell– things that they produce or service– things that answer people’s needs and wants.

Social media sells people. Really, that’s about it. It sells people to advertisers.

They know that’s all they have to sell– because it is the easiest way to sell.  They know it so well, that they’ve compromised our personal info and content in hopes that they can close the gap between their ACTUAL profitability and their pie-in-the-sky valuations that they need to keep up in order to get more investors.

The joke is, the big punchline we haven’t seen coming yet– the last time history had businesses selling people was the slave trade; it’s irony at its best, my friends… social media as the altruistic hero carrying us all into the age ‘democratization’.

What we haven’t learned for some reason, though history is sick and tired of teaching us, is that people will only buy air for so long before they realize the air can’t be bought. It happened with the dot.coms, it happened with real estate, its happening with Quantitative Easing.

Valuations in the double-digit billions should make us think it won’t happen with social media businesses– simply put, they don’t have a business.

The question is, who’s going to wake up before all the 20-something Gurus and the financial suits-gone-surfers grow up?

If history is always right, unfortunately, we all will… 10 seconds after the social media bubble bursts, and we find ourselves covered in Guru goo.

Oh Ye, Vagina! Abandon Thy Ville-ainous Farm!

Friends, Ville-ans and countrymen! Drop your virtual potatoes and lend me your ears…

Good man men who plowth not for plants, but points, what is it you reap from such a game? What fruits do you bear when all you sow is virtual?

Honey child, unless your first name is Cruella, it’s time to let go of the Ville… Fish, Pet, City, Frontier, Chef…

but most of all, especially Farm.

Did you really want to be a farmer when you were 10? Then why do you want to be one at 30?

You may not see that it has consumed you- but from the objective view of point of our newsfeeds, it is undeniably evident you spend your entire life on that croppy game (pun intended, poorness of the pun, duly noted)…

Nonetheless, studying how this epidemic has become a pandemic which is now systemic in being utterly pathetic, what is most alarming is that each one of you Ville-ans do not recognize that you are on the verge of becoming…

…a VAGINA.

Otherwise known as a ‘Ville-an Amauroticly Gaming In Need of Aid’.

Unfortunately, a mild case will go undetected before one becomes a full-fledged VAGINA, and anti-social behavior can be observed. As a result, it becomes an extremely painful process for those seeking to get through to a VAGINA, sometimes seeming almost next to impossible.

The only solution at this point is similar to that of a heroin addict, ceasing the gaming and cutting off access to online friends who frequently used to play with the VAGINA. Initially, withdrawal symptoms mirror those of a heroin addict as well, such as a VAGINA appearing to be excessively itchy; however, over time, eventually this does dissipate as a VAGINA’s elasticity of substitution expands and they learn to replace gaming with other activities of interest.

Ironically, online studies show more men are VAGINAs than women, with the predominant number of them Brazilian. These studies come from online advertisers mainly who will throw a lot of money at a VAGINA, as they are a great way to test new versions of their games.

Additionally, because there are no medical studies on them, recognizing a VAGINA only occurs upon becoming exposed by friends, though in Appalachia there have been incidents where a VAGINA has been exposed by various family members as well. Of the ones who game at work, inevitably these VAGINAs are exposed by an office colleague or even their boss.

Sadly, in more conservative parts of the world, exposing a VAGINA is for some reason a cultural taboo. What’s even more tragic, is that these VAGINAs seldom have access to protection.

So, the next time you tell yourself you want to be a Farmer, ask yourself: yes, but do I really want to end up a VAGINA?
It’s time to end the madness, stop the mania.
You’re better than that.

All Blog Myself: An Ode to ‘Older’ of the Freshly Pressed

Sometimes, a routine day inadvertently becomes a very memorable one. Today is one of them for me.

I woke up this morning to find…

I’m no longer Freshly Pressed… well, not on page one of Freshly Pressed… but who are we kidding… no one actually clicks on ‘older’ and reads them…

Hence, in the spirit of Eric Carmen’s ‘All By Myself’, to express what a blog entry cannot, I give you my rendition:

‘All Blog Myself’…

An ode to the end of being on the first page of Freshly Pressed… and it goes out to all you ‘Older’ Freshly Pressed

Here is the instrumental music so you can really get into it and feel my pain:

It’s a crappy version, but it’s good enough to feel the pain and really sing it from the heart. Enjoy…

“All Blog Myself”

When I joined on
I never needed anyone
And writing blogs was just for fun
Those days are gone

Blogging alone
I know my Freshly Pressed is done
Cause it’s no longer on page one
Yes it is gone

All blog myself
Don’t wanna be
All blog myself
Anymore

All blog myself
Don’t wanna be
All blog myself
Anymore

Hard to be sure
Sometimes I feel so insecure
Pressed is so distant and obscure
But it’s the cure

All blog myself
Don’t wanna be
All blog myself
Anymore

All blog myself
Don’t wanna be
All blog myself
Anymore

When I joined on
I never needed anyone
And writing blogs was just for fun
Freshed Pressed is gone

All blog myself
Don’t wanna be
All blog myself
Anymore

All blog myself
Don’t wanna write
Oh
Don’t wanna write
Blog myself
Blog myself
Anymore

Blog myself
Anymore
Oh

Blog myself
Don’t wanna write
I never, never, never
Needed anyone

I will not blog mean things and spam

I am not Sam
I am not Sam

I do not like
blogging mean things and spam!

Do you like
mean things and spam?

I do not like them,
Sam-I-not-am.
I do not like
mean things and spam.

Would you like them
in emails and on Twitter?

I would not like them
on facebook or in pictures on Flickr.

I do not like
mean things and spam.

I will not blog them,
Sam-I-not-am.

Would you like them
on your wall?

Would you like them
on any site at all?

I do not like them
on my wall.
I do not like them
on any site at all.
I do not like them
in emails and on Twitter.
I do not like them
in pictures on Flickr.
I do not like mean things and spam.
I will not blog them, Sam-I-not-am.

Would you let them in an inbox?
Would you let them flood your Firefox?

Not in an inbox
Not on my Firefox.
Not on my wall.
Not on any site at all.
I would not let them in an inbox.
I would not let them flood my Firefox.
I will not blog mean things and spam.
I do not like them, Sam-I-not-am.

Would you? Could you?
On your iPad?

I would not,
could not,
on my iPad.

You may like mean things and spam.
You will see.
You may like them
in a forward CC-ed!

I would not, could not in a CC.
Not on my iPad! You let me be!

A Blackberry! A Blackberry!
Could you, would you,
on a Blackberry?

Not on email. Not on Twitter.
Not on facebook. Not in pictures on Flickr.
I do not like them, Sam-not, you see.
Not on my wall. Not on any site at all.
Not in an inbox. Not on my Firefox.
Not on my iPad. Not on a Blackberry.
I will not let them here or there.
I do not like them anywhere!

I will not blog mean things and spam.
I will not blog them,
Sam-I-not-am!

On the Sexual Orientation Implications of the Poke…

I’m not gay.

Nor is what I am about to ask in any way intended to open a debate, exploring the political/social discussion around sexual orientation.

But there’s been a very perplexing question floating around in my head, which expands every time the ‘Poke’ suggestions on facebook include some of my female friends…

If I poke a girl, and I’m a girl, am I giving her reason to question my sexual orientation?

The ‘Pokes’ I’ve always gotten on facebook have been from the opposite sex (and I’ve never initiated ‘Poke’, but rather responded back, as I’m old-school and diehard in believing the whole ‘the man is the hunter’ theory… so all you little young chickies chuckling at me for believing in that theory and think otherwise, you come see me… Wonderbras don’t get men, nor does collagen… it’s AT-TI-TUDE, ladies, attitude… but let us leave that for another blog entry)…

Yet, I have never been ‘Poked’ by a female. So when that facebook ‘Poke’ suggestion thingy lists women among the potential Pokees, I always wonder, why don’t I Poke them and why don’t they Poke me?

Why does this bother me so much? Because apparently, I do have the time to worry about it.

Nevertheless, I really would like to ‘Poke’ a girl and say that I liked it (hey, I’m 38, so that’s pretty much the extent of humor I can offer via a Kate Perry pun). To do that though, I would first need to define what essentially ‘The Poke’ insinuates.

And since there is no real life social analogy on which the facebook ‘Poke’ was based, one can only start to deduct its overall intention through the ways in which pokes are used in various real life sociological situations.

On the most innocent level, I may poke someone at a table in order to request the passing of a condiment. (Poke) “Mary, please pass the salt.”

On a secondary semi-innocent level, I may poke someone on the shoulder to get their attention. (Poke) “John, remember me?”

At a tertiary questionably innocent level, I may poke a friend to draw her attention to someone of interest to us having entered the room or interacting with a viable contender seeking his courtship. (Poke) “Lisa, look who Mike is talking to.” (Simultaneous catty response to evident female threat by me and Lisa) “BITCH.”

Leaving the last level, at the pre-hook up or already hooked up phase outside the realm of friendship, in which poking may be considered as the indication to begin the foreplay that leads to… well… the playing.

Upon analyzing these poking situations, if I attempt to surmise how they are analogous to the purpose of the facebook ‘Poke’, I can surely omit:

Pass me the salt.

The facebook ‘Poke’ could indeed be a ‘remember me’, but when the Pokee pokes the Poker back, and the Poker pokes the Pokee again, that negates this option.

What if the ‘Poke’ is meant to draw our attention to something? But since it there’s no subsequent explanation in terms of to what our attention is being drawn, I fail to see the success in creating the ‘Poke’ for that purpose.

However, since we are not within physical proximity of many people we would otherwise be attracted to and approach when given an opportunity outside the virtual world, it would seem logical that a ‘Poke’ does indeed serve to initiate pre-foreplay foreplay in the absence of physical proximity.

So, if I ‘Poke’ a girl, I may well be passing on a message that I’d like to take a cruise on the relationship rather than the friendship. Then again, if I do ‘Poke’ a girl who knows me well enough, she may take it as nothing at all and chalk it up to silliness…

You know, Mark Zuckerberg, with all the ridiculous changes you make to facebook, you could at least resolve this dilemma for me and for all other people out there who have the time to worry about this.

End it already. Just make a Platonic Poke button and be done with it. Really.

When Did Cookie Stop Being a Monster

Fitting millions of bits of information onto chips the size of a needle head; intricately connecting the world through satellites and air; building virtual lives that sometimes are so close to reality, they become many’s reality; creating a global nation founded on 1s and 0s. The historical icons behind the Internet have awed us with their feats and ingeniousness. Then outta nowhere, logging into their world, awaiting to be mesmerized by their software and applications, these technological gods ask us…

‘Want my Cookie?’

When Goldman Sachs, Lehman’s and J.P. Morgan launched the mammoth banking system, integrating the trade of capital, stocks, commodities, establishing a new era of finance that changed the international business and economic landscape forever, how awkward would it have been had you walked into one of their institutions and a Harvard graduated banker asked…

‘Want my cookie?’

We all love cookies. We all love Cookie Monster. But, being asked on the Internet to accept a cookie is…

SUSPECT.

It’s like Godzilla leaning over you, extending his claw in front of you and then patting you on the head gently.

You want to believe he’s being nice, but in reality, you know he’s just baiting you and about to go all evil on your derrier.

To my understanding, a ‘cookie’ on the Internet is bytes of data from a website stored on a user’s web browser in order to remember user history on the respective website.

That sounds as innocent enough as an oatmeal cookie- but then again, oatmeal cookies only track through your ass… they don’t track your ass.

Tracking cookies basically follow you on the Internet… like the once controversial SUPERCOOKIE which could impersonate user’s profiles. And what’s the biggest advantage to tracking cookies for websites?

Ego. They get to know how many people visit there site.

Money. Those numbers are how they pull out dollars from advertisers.

Believe it or not, there are also cookies that come back from the dead. They’re called Zombie Cookies and recreate themselves even after being deleted.

There are also spy cookies- cookies you have to accept on certain websites FOR LIFE. Kinda of a Godfather cookie… once you accept it, you can’t give it back.

The whole cookie scandal came to light in 1996 when the Financial Times reported on it. Before then, cookies had a default status, and sort of automatically ran in a user’s browser. Initially, one would think maybe we’re a bit paranoid for being afraid of a little thing like a cookie, especially one that is calorie-free; but that paranoia was dispelled in 2006 when AOL posted 20 million search queries of 650,000 AOL users and subscribers were tracked down from their search queries:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/09/technology/09aol.html?ex=1312776000&en=f6f61949c6da4d38&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&_r=0

Considering the functions of a ‘cookie’, to coin it a ‘cookie’ is quite ironic. It not only patronizes people, it’s the equivalent of Mr. Rogers distracting us from the colossal rectal exam about to take place.

Except this time, the proctologist doesn’t plan to remove his hand again.