Category Archives: Social Media

Facebook, where it’s hard to keep a conversation going and find it again later

I have taken to using Facebook as a place where I put a second copy
of something I’ve already written and published somewhere else.
That ensures that in some way I’ll be able to find it, probably by
googling my blog posts. Things written on Facebook disappear into
the ether too quickly (including this thread which will die quietly
when we are all done with it).

Facebook Communities suffer from the problem that they don’t really
provide an equal forum for all people to share jointly in a topic
discussion. Rather, they bias towards the moderator’s interests,
because only the posts from the moderator are visible for long
enough to get any traffic.

The problem of how to build forum software is old and solved. The
MTS Confer system and others that followed it like Picospan and Caucus
lived in a world where you could create a long-running discussion
that focused on one topic and where you could keep that topic mostly
on-topic over an extended period of time. Facebook, in contrast,
feels more like a big chat room, where yesterday’s posts scroll off
into nothingness and where you can’t get back to any discussion you
once had – no matter how good it was.

Twitter doesn’t give you the paragraph-sized chunks of discussion that
you need to actually have an intelligent conversation, but it does
have long-lived hashtags that enable a community of interest to form
and (with scheduled chats) thrive. It’s possible to find people who
you don’t know who share an interest and to communicate with them in
such a way that a simple enough search brings back something useful.
Nothing on Facebook behaves that way.

Further reading –

See this thread on Facebook which prompted this post, started by
Jim Benson and contributed to by Howard Rheingold and others.


My somewhat internet-free vacation to the Upper Peninsula

It wasn’t completely internet-free, because there was wifi at my Mom’s place and wifi at McDonald’s for the occasional stops and wifi at the very nice Dead River Cafe in Marquette. But for the most part the net was kept at bay, since T-Mobile data service ended at Pinconning and I was with a phone that didn’t have internet-everywhere coverage for the better part of a week.

There are a couple of places I would have liked to have captured in the moment while I was there with a camera and with Twitter to share them. For example, there’s the cutest little gazebo-like structure on the Iron Ore Heritage Trail underneath the LS&I railroad trestle. It’s cute until you realize that it’s there to deflect the ore pellets off the trail and off of the heads of passing bicyclists as they go under an active set of tracks.

I also missed there being a local wiki to look things up in (and to add my own commentary to) for the Upper Peninsula, along the lines of Ann Arbor’s Arborwiki. There’s a lot of history in the area that’s still relatively unwritten, and it would have been fantastic to have a place to store bits of commentary and observations without necessarily broadcasting a stream of social media to my long-suffering friends.

I’m back, not having missed Facebook much at all, and not having been tethered to a Twitter update stream, and only 100 messages behind in my inbox.

Taking a vow of silence on Facebook

I’m still reading the darned thing, and sometimes I click on the links. But for now, at least, I’m taking a vow of silence on Facebook. No poking people, no one-click birthday wishes, and no back-and-forth banter punctuated by screen refreshes hoping that there’s something else of interest to look at.

I like you all out there in Facebook land, but something has to give, and I’d rather be an old-school blogger that still puts out a post or two a week than an ace Facebook user with little to show for it after years of work except calluses on my fingers.

Ironically you will read this on Facebook, some of you at least, because I haven’t yet figured out how or whether to disconnnect the automated Typepad-to-Facebook posting.

Twitter analytics via Twitter Ads account

Twitter has built-in analytics, which you can reach through the login. From it, you can see the following items. Note that this is intended as ways of tracking your promoted tweets, where you can pay moneys in order to have individual tweets show up for people who don't follow you and where you can have your name featured prominently in suggested users.

The data, which matches up to the screen shot below:

1. What days and times you were mentioned in the Twitter stream, broken into 6 hr intervals.

2. When people followed and unfollowed you, also in 6 hour timeline intervals.

3. Your "best", "good", and "all" tweets, where best and good tweets have more favorites, retweets, or replies.

4. How many people clicked through on any link you have posted to Twitter.

5. Which of your tweets have been retweeted enough times to give you increased reach for those ones.

6. A CSV file with the header as follows; note that it doesn't include click-through information.

status_id,time,faves,retweets,replies,tweet text

Screen shot 2013-06-11 at 4.30.39 PM

More reaction:

Christopher Penn: It's not much and it's hard to find. Penn's article also shows the analytics from the "followers" tab; I don't have enough Twitter followers to draw conclusions from (snif).


Some notes from a lunchtime talk on social media

A few highlights, not the whole talk.

My notes for the talk were the four words: novelty, reciprocity, frequency, mobility.

For novelty I spoke to the notion that people are on a perpetual search for the next new thing, and that any solution to any problem has to be revisited periodically in the light of this.

Reciprocity is the notion that people will respond in kind if you act generously to them, and I spoke to how this plays out in social media with "friends" and "followers" and "likes" as the actions often reciprocated.

Regarding frequency, the notion is that communications media have a natural rhythm, and that you need to be aware of how often you post or comment so that you don't either overrun the medium or be so quiet as to be unnoticed.

Finally mobility is the observation that more and more people are coming to the net primarily through mobile devices and if you want to serve them you need to have a solution for your web and net presence that looks good on the small screen.

I was greeted with a fair degree of skepticism about the value of social media for business, especially from someone who cancelled his Facebook account and never has been on Twitter. There was good discussion of how hard it is to simultaneously be brand-conscious and be aware of a professional persona vs. sharing details of a personal life. I think it's harder for people in an agency role whose job it is to make the client look good but who don't have to have a personal public identity in order to do their work.

Some day when I retire I'll give up on social media entirely and just send postcards to people – they are novel compared to the communciations that people mostly get, they're quite portable and mobile, no one expects a frequency of a postcard more than once in a long while, and if you send postcards you're likely to get postcards in return.

Related articles

How to write for multiple social media channels at once
"Social Media is About Being Social" by Corey Smith
Social Media Winter is Coming – An Infographic
guardian tecnologia: Getting to grips with social media
Quit Holding Social Media To a Different Standard

What to do with Flickr?

Once upon a time, Flickr was just an experimental part of Game Neverending. Then it was a full blown society, full of interesting people who happened to express their interestingness through photography. Digital photography was new then, and special, and there was some first flush of enthusiasm for having a system that "got it".

Time and space happened, and Flickr became part of Yahoo. A piece of the fun drained out, and the Internet got bigger. Digital photography got more ordinary, and the camera I carry around everywhere felt more and more like a crappy camera and not like something I could capture the essence of the world with.

I'm at a point where I could easily take a photograph every day and send it somewhere. Should Flickr be that place? Will the time come not too soon when I will want to be a refugee from it, downloading my photos in the hopes that I can re-upload them somewhere else, tags and annotations intact and some fragment of society reconstructed around them?

I loved Flickr once, in the way that I'm sure that people once loved Compuserve. There is still a Game Neverending to play with photographs, but I don't know yet where to play that game.

note to self, twitter edition

as noted on a late friday night; selected, slightly edited, not credited.

"pick up absentee ballot"
"leave the laptop closed if you don’t want kittens posting on the Internets"
"700 kids + headache – advil = bad"
"go to sleep!"
always write for me,always write for me.I am not a great writer, I am just passionate"
must expand mixed drink repertoire"
"stick to decaf after 5"
remember wallet next time you go gift shopping"
Bring notepad or book"
Turn off Blue-tooth headset when putting in Pocket"
dont wear flip flops to a playground with a mulch ground.  Its annoying when the sticks go between your toes"
"start running again"
if ever in a presidential debate, don’t stick tongue out"

Note to self: if you want to write a twitter to yourself as a private message, you have to have two twitter accounts; it doesn’t let you send a note to yourself (complains that you aren’t following yourself, and you can’t follow yourself).

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