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Will the Last Person Leaving Facebook Please Turn Off the Lights?

[ Comments Off ]Posted on January 24, 2013 by admin in Technology

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

Is social networking dead? Of course not. It just doesn’t feel good. And the latest Facebook alternatives like Diaspora, SocialNumber, and Identi.ca aren’t exactly thriving. Theorize all you want about social media, but in the end it’s all about US, not the platform.

If you’re a nobody who wants to
meet nobody, SocialNumber may be
just what you’re looking for.

People have been asking for some time now (myself included) if Facebook is dead. A couple of years ago, an article with that title was usually a whiny piece by a socially inept nerd who probably felt just as peeved at every party they attended as they did on Facebook. But the answer to the question “is Facebook dead?” has evolved quite a bit. Some say social media is healthier than ever. But that piece was published as SEO linkbait by a marketing consultancy. Of course social media is alive, if your income is derived from telling people to use it. But the argument used in that article – that Nielsen data indicates that “more people than ever are using social media” – is one of the best arguments that it IS dying. AOL, MySpace, and just about any other previous “big thing” you can name had the largest number of users at exactly the moment they sucked the most and began their decline. If you ask people who are more interested in accurately understanding how social media actually functions rather than how to exploit it, you’ll get a different kind of answer. Like Social Media is Dead and marketers probably killed it.  Or it’s not quite dead, it just needs CPR. And if you ask people who look at the money, you get an equally unenthusiastic response, with observations about Zynga, Facebook, and Groupon’s stock performance. Remember when Groupon was valued at SIX. BILLION. DOLLARS? And while a lot has been written about Google+, that’s about the extent of it. Except for rabid Googlephiles, the place has tumbleweeds blowing through it. So what about other conduits in the social media realm? Twitter and Pinterest are noisy as hell, and provide little in the way of meaningful connection for people who speak in more than 140 characters or don’t like communicating with thumbnailed images. And Instagram, Spotify, and others? They’re fun, they’re shareable, but they’re really just part of the “entertainment system of social”. So what’s next? Who knows. That’s the whole idea behind the concept of disruption in tech or media realms. And are there alternatives to Facebook? Well, the last few options to get any buzz remain a little less-than-populated. We checked out two of them – Diaspora and SocialNumber – and have shared screen shots below to make some points. And a third called Identi.ca actually looks pretty intriguing, but you have to install software to actually participate. We may do a followup piece on it, but you can rest assured you won’t be hearing about it on cable news in the next year. So below are some quick thoughts on Diaspora and SocialNumber, but now I have to get moving and share this piece on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, like a good little social media murderer. Because our boredom isn’t killing Facebook; our marketing, spamming, and “self as brand” behaviors are. Read the rest of this entry »

NextDoor.com – Finally a Way to Meet Those Strange People on the Other Side of the Driveway

[ Comments Off ]Posted on July 11, 2012 by admin in Lifestyle & Culture

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Through the magic of the internet, you can finally meet those people who live all around you, without ever actually having to TALK to them.

Sadly, these seniors don’t use the internet,
so will never meet and get to know each other

You know those strange people living in that building next to yours? And those nameless children riding bikes up and down your street each day, the ones who sometimes arrive or depart on a bright yellow bus? You’ve probably wondered: who ARE these people? Do they speak English? Are they paid extras in a big movie you’re in, like Jim Carrey in The Truman Show? And the kids, are they taking field trips in your area each day? Or do they actually live here? Well finally, there’s a way to find out. Thanks to the marvels of the internet and this innovative human relationship building tool called “social networking”, those people surrounding you on all sides no longer need to be a mystery. If you thought Facebook was cool, with its amazing tools for connecting you with people you already know so you can tell them all about what you ate for lunch today, you’ll LOVE NextDoor.com, where you can get to know the people next door, without ever having to go through the drudgery of actually TALKING to them. Probably one of the most amazing things about NextDoor.com – aside from the fact that it’s real, and not an Onion.com parody – is the fact that is its existence probably IS in fact the only way some people will ever meet those possible hostiles next door. I’m sometimes perceived as a bit of a sociopath, because I say “hi” to strangers and make a point of meeting the neighbor, but the last time I recall people actually talking to neighbors on a large scale was during the Northeast Blackout of 2003. Don’t be surprised if NextDoor.com takes Groupon’s title as the next multibillion-dollar overvalueddotcom within the year. The idea is just ironic enough to work, in the same way Instagram lets you take perfectly good digital photos and make them look crappy, like you shot them twenty years ago on a Kodak Brownie.  Learn more in the introductory video below. Read the rest of this entry »

Will Facebook E-Mail Be A G-Mail Killer? Who Cares?

[ 2 Comments ]Posted on November 12, 2010 by admin in Technology

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Why anyone would use either as their primary e-mail service escapes me. And using a Microsoft Office product through a web browser, via a Facebook account is sort of like pouring gasoline down your horse’s throat, poking his eye with a cattle prod, and yelling at it to get on the freeway

You’ve probably heard by now that Facebook will be announcing a full-fledged web e-mail service with POP access and Microsoft Office Web Apps integration on Monday. Unless – ironically – you’ve been on Facebook all day, because they themselves are saying nothing about it on the site as of this writing. So, with the tech press being as predictable as it is (apologies to Mr. Arrington, at least he breaks the stories), everyone is of course debating whether the new Facebook service is a “Google Killer”. Which is an absurdly framed question, in my opinion. Yes, Facebook and Google are in a battle to dominate the internet in various ways, but I will eat poop on the day that Facebook gets search right or Google gets social networking right. Of course everyone with a Facebook account will activate an available username@facebook.com option. And of course this will siphon in millions in ad revenue and put a big ding in Hotmail, Yahoo, and Google e-mail ad placement dollars. But will that mean that Facebook e-mail will “kill” G-Mail? I personally doubt it, for several reasons. First of all, because I know an astounding number of otherwise intelligent people who still use Hotmail or Yahoo as their primary e-mail accounts. And secondly, of the larger group of people that I know who use G-Mail – especially if they use Google Docs – the last thing in the world they’re going to do is give up the reliable functionality of Google’s cloud services to use a Microsoft Office product through a web browser, via a Facebook account. Forgive me, but in my opinion that’s like pouring gasoline down your horse’s throat, poking his eye with a cattle prod, and yelling at it to get on the freeway. But ultimately, I remain befuddled as to why people would use G-Mail or Facebook as a primary e-mail provider in the first place. Facebook is the company that helps you build a trusted network of friends and then tells you the reason you can’t export their contact info is to protect them from you. Unless THEY are giving them to another service, which then lets you export them. And Google? Aside from the fact that from day one they’ve indexed your e-mails so they can place ads next to them, they are in many ways Facebook’s strongest competitor not so much in terms of services offered, as in the realm of corporate deceipt. In their founding documents they saidwe expect that advertising funded search engines will be inherently biased towards the advertisers and away from the needs of the consumers“. Two years later they introduced advertising to their results, and now derive the vast majority of their revenue from ad services. In terms of how to access e-mail, I still use a mail client and my own mail-server accounts. I guess I have the advantage of owning domains and offering reseller hosting, but this is remarkably easy to set up if you need web-based communication, and your hosting company doesn’t scour your files as a prerequisite to storing them for you. Ah well. To each their own I guess. One thing I must admit I am looking forward to though, is the first friends that get lost in FB’s interface and post an excruciatingly private e-mail on someone’s wall. You know it will be happening in the first week.

Rockmelt – A Social Web Browser, Not A Death Ray

[ Comments Off ]Posted on November 8, 2010 by admin in Technology

Monday, November 8th, 2010

The new social network-oriented web browser Rockmelt could easily be pitched as a “Flock Killer”. If anybody knew what the heck Flock was.

We would have been SO much more excited
if it were a planet vaporizing death ray.

In August of last year, we pondered whether the mysterious Rockmelt was a new web browser or a planet vaporizing death ray. Well, the answer has been revealed, and frankly, we would have been a little more excited with the death ray option. So why is someone creating yet another browser? Don’t Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, et al give us enough to choose from and argue about? Well, on the “social web”, apparently not. Rockmelt is designed specifically to pull all your social doodads into one place, in a handy tabbed fashion. This is probably why no-one is calling it a “Firefox Killer”; if anything it’s a “Flock Killer”. And that’s not very sexy, ’cause who the heck has heard about Flock, aside from the guys in the IT department and when I mentioned it just now? I for one won’t be rushing to download and install the recently announced beta version of Rockmelt; if they’re trying to build trust and user engagement, they’ve already scored a few negative points with me. I gave them my e-mail over a year ago to stay informed, and heard nothing of them until they popped back into the tech media buzz the other day, asking for you to connect with your Facebook account if you want to try their beta release. No thanks, Rockmelt. They’re obviously on the right track in some ways though; as this Wired piece points out, the web we knew is dead, and apps and social networking define the road ahead. But to define your launch with a Facebook log in seems a little less than forward thinking. Most of the tech savvy and social people I know have been turned off by the MySpace-ization of Facebook, and are using it less, and with less enthusiasm every day. So if you’re an active Twitter/Facebook/FourSquare type, Rockmelt may be just the ticket. Personally, I’m a little connection weary, and LIKE the fact that I have to access different devices, apps, or websites to stay connected. So Rockmelt, drop me a line when you come out with the death ray version. If you can find that e-mail I already gave you. Launch promo video below. Read the rest of this entry »

This Viral Will Fizzle Fo Shizzle

[ 12 Comments ]Posted on September 2, 2010 by admin in Music

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Snoop Dogg’s campizzle with Norton Antivizzle is entertaining but probably won’t sell much software.

You’d have a knowing smirk too, if all
you had to do for this kind of exposure
was give away two concert tickets.

Whoever wins the new Norton Antivirus/Snoop Dogg anti-cybercrime rap contest over at HackIsWack.com is destined to be at least as famous as M. E. Hart. Oh. Sorry. You probably didn’t know he was the “rapper” in the 1994 Don’t Copy That Floppy campaign (video below). You know, the one you don’t remember. This marketing campaign by Norton is so full of fail in so many ways that I don’t know where to start. First, I’ll acknowledge that yes, I’m talking about Norton Antivirus, which is part of their goal. In fact, here. Go buy some if you want. I’ll make something like $1.37 if you use that link. But otherwise, this is full of fail. You can almost hear the aging executive at the board meeting that got this in motion: “We need one of those VIRAL things. Make sure we have one of those Facebooks, and that, whatchacallit? One of those TWITTER things. Oh, and a MySquare or whatever it’s called too“. Well, they’ve got their Facebook and Twitter thing set up (although I’m more impressed with Crack Is Wack, a joke FB page by a couple of youngsters), and they’ve got that “hip” domain HackIsWack.com. And then what? You can view all the hilariously bad whiteboy “nerd up to your motherboard” raps here, but guess what. You can’t SHARE them, so we can only link to our current pick, called Hairetsu Entry. We admire it mostly for the fact that the guy seems so gangsta for shizzlin’ on company time by recording his performance on the security cam in the stock room at his shoe store job. If the decision makers at a company like Norton had half a brain, they’d hire Snoop as a consultant, not a celebrity endorsement. Like so many marketing campaigns involving Snoop, while he brings some attention to the brand that he’s hired to endorse, the REAL brand remains Snoop, and I’d bet he sees more revenue than whoever hires him. Go Snoop. You’re a genius. And in the end, the main reason this campaign fails is that anybody who will talk enough about Snoop and computer security in the same conversation to lead to a conversion are technophiles like me who will say “That’s so funny! But don’t use Norton, use Kaspersky or AVG, or Malwarebytes, really just about anything BUT Norton! Fo’ rizzle. By the way, apologies for my less-than-Snooptastic Slanguistics, but gizoogle.com was down. Read the rest of this entry »

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