Posts Tagged ‘social media’

Out of the circle: I just deleted my Google+ account

July 27th, 2011

I’ve been ambiguous about Google for quite a while now. What started as an amazingly innovative and efficient search engine, grew up to be quite a monster of internet services and advertising tools. That, in itself, isn’t a bad thing. A big company isn’t necessarily a bad company.

Yet, bit by bit, Google services seem less and less appealing. First – the flagship – the almighty Google search engine. Gimmicks like Google Suggest and Google Instant became annoying rather quickly, and didn’t add much to the search efficiency – rather the opposite. Then, there’s the fact that Google seems to think that it knows what are you looking for – even without you asking for it. When you search certain keywords, Google will give you results which include many “related” keywords, but a lot of the time it just interferes with the search process.

To top it off, the amount of data and info Google’s gathering about us is frightening. And finally – the results are useless, still full of spam and too mainstream in many cases (That’s why I use DuckDuckGo in most of my English searches) .

Gmail is still great, but then there’s always that nagging fear that one day you’ll try to login and find that your account have been closed, canceled or hacked into, and no one in Google will lift a finger to help you with that. I have regular pop3 mail and many backups, but that’s not enough for me. I eagerly await a webmail that supports Hebrew in an efficient way – when I find that, I’ll switch immediately.

And then there’s Google+, which so many rave on and on about. Yeah, it’s cool and slick, it’s fast and you can have a nice social media experience with it. Yes. So? That’s also true for Twitter, Facebook and reddit. Oh, and hey – everyone is on Google+, too. Again – so? “Everyone is doing it” has never been a good reason for anything.

I have several websites and blogs, accounts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and reddit – there’s no reason for me to maintain yet another data-sucking account, even if many other people think it’s cool.

So, I deleted my Google+ account. I find that having one less Google service is a good idea. I think it’s time for me to limit my Google exposure. Where there are substitutes – I’ll happily use them. Where there aren’t any – I’ll tread carefully.

 

TL;DR: I deleted my Google+ account. Why? Because FUCK YOU, that’s why.

You Don’t Need a “Social Media Expert”

May 24th, 2011

In a very eloquent article, Peter Shankman explains why No business in the world should want a social media expert on their team.

Not Twitter followers. Not Facebook fans. Not Foursquare check-ins – NO. What’s going to do it is GOOD WRITING, END OF STORY. Good writing is brevity, and brevity is marketing. Want to lose me as a customer, forever, guaranteed? Have a grammar error on any form of outward communication…”, says Shankman.

With all the Facebook/Twitter/Forsquare/Whatever buzz, it’s getting harder and harder to explain to customers that the basics are still the same – you STILL need a good website to represent you and your company; you still need top-quality content; and you still need a good product or a service. Oh, and don’t forget – good old, solid customer service – because most companies (at least here in Israel) still fail at this.

Social media isn’t a magic wand you can wave and get instant customers and  sales. It’s an interesting tool, but it’s mostly a spice and not the main course of the meal. True, amazing campaigns have been created using social media channels, but these are few and far between. Most social media activity is pure junk, mere particles of pollution floating in the net’s atmosphere.

Thanks for a great piece, Mr. Shankman.

Oh, and the next time you think about hiring a social media expert, watch this clip:

Buzz Off, Google!

February 10th, 2010

It’s hard to understand Google’s hysteria when it comes to social media. True, Twitter gives Google a good fight when it comes to real-time search, and people spend more time on Facebook than on any other site. So what do they do on Google? They try to fight back. And it looks ludicrous.

Gmail is one of the net’s most useful services. It’s the best webmail around and it has tons of useful features. My Gmail tab on Firefox is always open. In fact, by far, it’s the site I spend most of my time on. And I am not the only one.

Some of us don’t want many distractions to interrupt our work. I mean, web games, Twitter and porn are distracting enough. But Google doesn’t seem to care. First was the annoying, blipping Google Talk, which you can only disconnect from, but not disable entirely, and now there’s Google Buzz.

Without asking for it, I got the Buzz icon in the left sidebar of my Gmail. The icon looks familiar… Wait a minute… Is that a Microsoft service? Ah, no. Just another Google annoyance. So, I click on the Buzz in order to disable it, and I am horified to see that I already have followers. Worst of all – these aren’t my friends. They are not even my online friends. They are a random bunch of people I once mailed or contacted, mostly in business-related matters. I sure don’t want THEM to follow me anywhere. I also don’t want to follow them, but it appears I am doing just that.

Where’s the Block?!

It seems that Google Buzz is a Twitter/Facebook wannabe – it encourages you to share thoughts, clips and links. Only here, for some reason, you can’t choose your friends that easily. For example, if you access the list of your followers, you only get an option to follow them back. You can’t block them or prevent them from following you. At least, not that easily. In order to block a person on Google Buzz, you need to click on their icon and block them from there. I hope you don’t have too many followers at this point.

Where’s the Privacy?

If you are concerned about your privacy, Google Buzz is definitely not for you. The message that appears on the Buzz’s main page is: “Your Google Reader shared items, Picasa Web public albums, and Google Chat status messages will automatically appear as posts in Buzz”. This is the default, unless you change it.

Also, activity on the sites listed on your Google Webmaster account will also be made public, unless you prevent Google Buzz from spreading around your every move.

Best Feature of Google Buzz?

Clearly, Google Buzz is a noise-making, privacy-damaging, redundant service. If you have Twitter, Facebook or both, you really don’t need the Buzz. I don’t even want to THINK what this does to the well-known Gmail-Firefox memory leak.

The best feature on Google Buzz is clearly the option to disable it entirely. This option hides as a little, tiny link on the bottom of your Gmail screen.

Google, do us all a favor. Stick to worthwhile services, like Gmail, RSS Readers and, um,  that little thing called “Search Engine”. When I want a bunch of strangers to follow me around, I’ll open a Twitter account and announce that I am Ashton Kutcher.

Social Media in 2009: Twitter, Facebook and MySpace Trends

February 9th, 2010

comScore released its 2009 U.S. Digital Year in Review Report, and it has some interesting data. One of the hottest topics (still) on the net, is social networks. So, what happened in the social media in 2009?

Social Networking Trends 2009

According to comScore, social networking was one of the web’s top activities in 2009. Nearly 4 out of 5 Internet users visited a social networking site in December 2009. The activity now accounts for 11% of all time spent online in the U.S.,
making it one of the most engaging activities across the Web.

Facebook and Twitter Grow

Facebook and Twitter both posted triple-digit growth. Facebook surged to the #1 position among social networks for the first time in May 2009, and continued its strong growth trajectory throughout the year, finishing with 112 million visitors in December 2009 – up 105%  during the year.

Twitter finished the year with nearly 20 million visitors, a huge leap from just 2 million visitors in 2008. Much of Twitter’s extraordinary audience growth occurred during the first few months of 2009.

MySpace has experienced some softening in its audience; however, a new strategic focus on entertainment content is exhibiting signs of success with MySpace Music having grown 92% in the past year.

Facebook has also shown impressive growth in unique visitors, page views, and total time spent – all increased by a factor of two or more. As more people use Facebook more frequently, the site has grown to account for three times as much total time spent online as it did last year.

Demographics of Social Networks

MySpace’s user composition tilted toward younger users in 2009. Users age 24 and younger now comprising 44.4% of the site’s audience. Facebook’s audience was evenly split between those younger and older than 35 years of age.

The initial success of Twitter was largely driven by users in the 25-54 year old age segment, which made up 65%  of all visitors to the site in December 2008. This a different segmentation than the common one in social media networks, where usually the younger audience build the brand’s success. In 2009, with the help of celebrities and media coverage, younger users flooded to the site in large numbers, with those under age 18 (up 6.2 percentage points) and 18-24 year olds (up 7.9 percentage points) representing the fastest growing demographic segments.

Summary

It seems that social networks still need the younger audience in order to grow. Also, it’s clear that social networks can’t stand in one place, and have to keep developing new features and attractions, as the young audience gets bored easily.

Facebook is still the strongest network, by far, and at the moment there doesn’t seem to be a serious competitor for it.

According to comScore, social media marketers must be aware that social networks can deliver substantial reach for ad campaigns and despite low click-through rates there is measurable view-through value from these ads.

66% of US Government Organizations Use Social Media

January 18th, 2010

A study by Human Capital Institute (HCI) and Saba details the use of social networking within local, state, and federal governments. The study also looks at the effectiveness of social networking in conducting government work, how agency type affects the use and perception of social networking and the future expectations and barriers for its use within the public sector.

The study shows that 66% of all government agencies currently use some form of social networking – from blogs and wikis to IM and discussion boards.

Except for municipal governments, all other agencies reported that social networking tools are used most effectively for knowledge sharing and informal learning and development functions.  32% percent of those surveyed within the Department of Defense use social networking tools for these reasons, as well as to create communities of practice.

Security restrictions — chiefly concerns about the loss of confidential information — are the largest barrier to future implementation of social networking tools within governments.

The study recommends encouraging and enhancing the use of social networking within the government, such as the Defense Department’s use of social networking tools for project planning and state government agencies’ use of social networking tools for public communication.

The full report is here.