Category Archives: SocialNetworking

ILTA According to Twitter

I was not able to attend this years ILTA conference, but thanks to the power of Twitter, I was able to follow along in my own, small, way. No, it’s not the same as being there, but seeing some of the information being presented, and the ideas flowing around social media definitely gave me some things to think about.

Natalie Alesi was kind enough to tweet out hashtag reports and transcripts throughout the conference, so if you want to see what was being talked about, I’d take a look at these while they are available!

Day 1 –

Day 2 –

Day 3 –

Day 4 –


Social Media Responsibility and Suicide Contagion

In the wake of Robin Williams death earlier this week, I’ve been thinking a lot about how different people reacted, what they said on social media and this Freakonomics podcast about suicide.

The question I keep coming back to is this. If there is a demonstrable increase in the number of suicides after one well-publicized suicide, and that increase can be tied back to how that suicide is portrayed in the media, what kind of responsibility do we have when it comes to social media? Should we all be keeping the standards put together by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for safe reporting?

Truthfully, I don’t see why we shouldn’t be. You don’t know how many people are going to see something you put out there on Twitter or Facebook. I wrote a few things on my child abuse survivor site, that I know were only seen by maybe a few hundred people, but how many of them could be on the verge of being suicidal themselves? I simply have no way of knowing, and I hate to think that something I said about Williams death made suicide seem glamorous or like a good idea. But what if one of those posts had gove viral, and was seen by millions of people? Could I deal with the fact that, like the Academy, I was potentially sending the exact wrong message about suicide to millions of people?

The tweet was a sweet message, but it was also the last thing anyone with suicidal tendencies needs to see. What responsibility do I have to the people who follow me on social media? After all, I’m not a professional journalist, why should I pay attention to media ethics and stuff like that, I’m just a guy posting on a blog? Technology, and social media have made journalists of all of us. I may not have the audience of the New York Times, and I don’t have a codified code of ethics, but surely I have some responsibility to the small audience that I do have. In a situation like this, I think we’d all do well to stop and consider what we are saying about suicide, and who we are saying it to.

You never know who’s reading, and where their head might be.

Tags: ,

We’re not Anti-Social, Quite the Opposite In Fact

We’re still social, technology just changes how we socialize

Amen! I still hear from lots of people about how those people on Facebook or Twitter just walk around looking at their phones all day, the world has become so unsocial and unfriendly.


A couple of weeks back I got to spend some time back in Ohio for a long weekend. I spent over 20 years of my life living there, and some of the people that I still consider my closest friends live there. For the first time in 2, or more, years I got to actually be with those close friends and enjoy their company. No, social media could never replace that, but I don’t live there anymore, and I don’t get the chance to interact in person nearly as often as I would like.

But, you know what made the in-person interaction even better? The fact that over those 2 years, I haven’t lost touch with them mostly thanks to social media! It’s all that new-fangled technology that allows those relationships to continue to flourish and remain tight. When I finally did get to see these folks, we just picked up right where we left off, because over the last two years, we’ve been able to share what’s happening on Facebook, see photos on Instagram, text, and share all sorts of things with each other. We haven’t drifted apart the way we would have had this been 10-15 years ago. I freaking love that!

So yeah, when I’m traveling for work, or even during this time when I’m in transition to Oregon while my wife is already there, and I’m eating dinner out, I’m looking at my phone most of the time. Because that’s where my friends are when they can’t be at dinner with me. How does interacting with my friends using the tech available to me make me anything but social? What am I missing out on other than listening in on other people’s conversations at dinner?

Although, the little girl who was at the pizza place the other night telling her grandfather all about the movie The Tooth Fairy, who apparently does not posses an “inside voice”, was quite entertaining, I must say. Her mom didn’t seem to find it as entertaining, she turned bright red when she realized that half the place was now listening to her daughter… ;-)

See, I didn’t miss out as that was happening around me, I saw it, enjoyed it, and continued to check out what my friends were up to, wherever they were at that moment. I was multitasking socially! Now excuse me, I’ve been teaching today and I need to catch up with what’s happening in my friends lives.

Tags: , , ,

Early Impressions of LinkedIn Publishing

linkedinAs you may know, I decided to give LinkedIn’s publishing platform a try after it was opened up to me, and many others.

To further the experiment, I also pushed out links to just about every social network I could, pointing to the LinkedIn piece. I pimped it more than I usually pimp a post from this site, though I will admit there have been a couple of posts that I pimped just as hard.

The results were pretty mixed. The number of people who saw the link on the LinkedIn site is a bit higher than the number who would see it just through the RSS feed, but about the same as the number who see it on Twitter, and Facebook, though I can’t know how many people actually see it on Twitter. The engagement level, based on the counts from the share buttons on the site, was about the same as one of those posts I feel really strongly about here and share widely.

All in all, I’d say, in terms of reaching a large number of people, it’s about running even to having a blog for most people. Obviously, your well-connected influencers (as defined by LinkedIn) see much, much more traffic to their LinkedIn posts. For the rest of us, I think it probably helps reach some folks who don’t use Facebook, Twitter or RSS feeds, but it’s hardly a world-changer.

As far as a publishing platform, my opinion is a bit of a mixed bag as well.
Continue reading

Tags: , ,

Social Media Mob Fail, Twits Target SCOTUSblog over SCOTUS decision

Yes it’s sadly true. A blog that covers the Supreme Court has spent the entire day responding, in a most humorous way, to tweets blasting them as if they were the Supreme Court itself.

Dear Internet, SCOTUSblog Is Not the Supreme Court

I’m generally not a big fan of social media mobs, they tend to not actually accomplish much and degrade into personal insults rather quickly, because well, some people just can’t have an actual disagreement about anything without declaring people they disagree with as something less than human. But when the mob actually targets the wrong account, well now you they look kind of ignorant, and that is no way to get your message out!


Trying Out LinkedIn Publishing

You know me, I can’t resist trying out new tools. So, naturally, when I got the invite to start publishing on LinkedIn, you know I had to try it. My curiosity about LinkedIn’s new tool got the better of me!

Anyway, I wrote up a piece about career advice I read a long, long time ago, called the Appreciation File. I’d appreciate it if you went and checked it out, and shared it with your own LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook followers as well! (See what I did there?)


Tags: , ,

Flipboard Magazines as Google Reader Replacement

Since I’ve been playing around a bit with creating a Flipboard magazine, I’ve been giving this some thought. Now, don’t get me wrong, at it’s core Google Reader was an RSS reader, and there’s no way I could replace the simplicity of following 200+ feeds in Reader with following 200+ magazines on Flipboard. Reader also had a very popular feature, well back before Google killed it off in order to get everyone to start using Plus, called Shared Items.

Shared Items were a great way to follow a handful of people, who had similar interests to you, and see what kinds of things they were sharing. I could see Flipboard magazines being a similar way to follow a handful of magazines, and see what those folks are sharing.

I’ve been creating a few of my own to match up with my own websites. The thought process, again, is that if mobile users won’t come to the website, because they don’t browse the web, we’ve got to share content with them in the apps they use. Flipboard is one of those apps. So I can share, not only my own blog posts, but lots of other content as well, all within the app or from the web, and you, as a Flipboard user, can “follow” the magazine and get a glimpse at what I’m sharing.

View my Flipboard Magazine.View my Flipboard Magazine.View my Flipboard Magazine.

What about you, have you started “flipping” items to your own magazine in Flipboard? Share a link so we can check it out!

Tags: , , ,

Smartphones Are Changing How People See The Internet

Reading this latest article about the future of the mobile web, Smartphones: The silent killer of the Web as you know it, I’m struck by the difference between how young people interact with the web, and how us old veterans do it.

Young people don’t use tablets because they don’t see them as necessary for accessing the internet, since their perception is that apps are what makes up the internet. They’ve grown up primarily using their phones, not using laptops with Web browsers. To this generation, it seems slow, purposeless even to go from website to website in a single, sub-par Web browser environment when they can get rich app experiences right from their home screen.

Of course, this sort of information intrigues me in two ways. One, is that part of the reasoning behind using apps instead of a web browser has to be because using a web browser on a phone sucks. Partially that is because sites don’t look good at all at that size even with a mobile theme like the WordPress option I use for this site. It’s better, but not great. Another reason it sucks is because we’ve become so good at redirecting people using phones to an app instead of the website. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to click a link in a blog post on my phone to a news story, and have that site take me to the iTunes store to download their app, or redirect me to the mobile home page of their site instead of the link I wanted to read. It degrades the experience of using my phone to browse the web, so it’s no wonder people are much more likely to use an app instead.

This leads me to the second reason this intrigues me. If it’s true that more and more of the internet “audience” is using mobile devices, and only accessing the web through apps, what’s a website owner to do? As an independent, and unpaid, site owner I can’t pay to have someone develop an app for me. I’ve looked at some of the free “create your own app” services, and frankly, between very limiting licensing and very limited features, they didn’t really provide much of a resource. Not to mention that you still have to pay to be an Apple developer or Google Play developer if you want your app to be available in either of those places.

So it would seem that the only way to get your content in front of this growing mobile audience who doesn’t use a web browser, is to get your content into the apps they do use. This is why I’ve been toying around with various social networks, trying to get my content, and the other content I want to share, in front of this audience. I’ve been using the more traditional routes, posting to Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus, but recently I’ve also started to dabble on Tumblr and Flipboard, which seem to be a bit more popular among that younger, smartphone-using, audience. Over at my child abuse blog, I’ve already added a Flipboard magazine, and a tumblr blog. Both are an effort to get that content in front of smartphone users, and hopefully to get them to likewise share it. Over the next few weeks, I suspect I will be doing similar types of things here and on my other sites.

The bottom line is that I have my website in order to share ideas and information with other people, whatever the topic might be. If they won’t come to the site, I should try and get that same information to them another way. Developing my own app isn’t really an option, but getting the content into the apps they already use, is.

The trick is being able to also interact with people in those apps as well so that you don’t appear to just be auto-posting to a social network and dropping out like some spammer, which takes some time and effort, but ultimately that is the goal of all this sharing isn’t it, to spark conversations? So what if they happen in Tumblr instead of in the comments.

As I develop other tools for this site and others, I will be sharing that information, so if you want to use those services to get the content I’m sharing on your smartphone, or know someone who does, they’ll be able to do that.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Is Google Killing Off Plus?

If this report is true, this is huge news on the social networking front.

It sounds pretty similar to the beginning of the end of Reader, and would actually make those who considered Plus destined to turn out just like Google Wave.

We’ll see if it turns out to be true but it would be a pretty abrupt change in direction for Google, and I’m not sure where they’d be headed in the aftermath.

What do you think?

Tags: ,

If They Sell Advertising We Aren’t Their Customers

I found much of what Doc Searls wrote about Mozilla to be true of just about all of the services we use online these days.

By becoming an advertising company (in addition to everything else it is), Mozilla now experiences a problem that has plagued ad-supported media for the duration: its customers and consumers are different populations. I saw it in when I worked in commercial broadcasting, and I see it today in the online world with Google, Facebook, Twitter… and Mozilla. The customers (or at least the main ones) are either advertisers or proxies for them (Google in Mozilla’s case). The consumers are you and me.

This is what we’ve been seeing with Google’s pushing their users toward their social network, Facebook pushing business pages towards becoming customers and buying advertising, and we will continue to see it more and more. These companies, much like broadcast radio and the old days of broadcast television, only create products that will assist in selling advertising.

So, yes, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Mozilla, etc. have an interest in creating popular products that people like to use. After all, without the users, there’s no advertising market. But it’s not quite that straightforward. Because there’s always that third party involvement, the relationship between the user and the company is never a direct relationship. The company has another master to satisfy and sometimes, that master’s interests will be in direct contrast to the user’s interest. When two master’s interests are in competition, it’s usually going to be the one who signs the checks who wins.

You might not think that’s fair, and maybe it isn’t. There’s definitely a line that companies probably can’t cross with their users before they lose them and thus lose the advertisers as well, but we’ve gotten pretty entrenched with these products. It will hurt to walk away from using Facebook, probably more than it costs to continue using it, but there’s always a line in the sand, or at least a point where the law of the land and government agencies would step in and protect consumers.

Then again, with Google taking up lobbying the government as an arm of their business, I wouldn’t count on that.

Tags: ,