Tag Archives: Social Media

Reminder! National Comic Sans Day is Friday 10/1

Last year several folks updated the CSS for their blogs to participate in National Comic Sans Day. I’m hoping more will do it this year!

Why? You ask. That easy, we take ourselves too seriously. If folks directed their Anti Comic Sans energy into something productive, we’d probably have cures for Cancer and the Common Cold. And really it’s just a font. And it’s just one day.

We need to lighten up, laugh at ourselves, and take a day to have some fun at our own expense.

Do it, you know you want to! It’s simple, just create a second style sheet  of all comic sans and drop it in on Friday. Take it out Saturday morning.

Be bold!

Social Media – The new ‘Internet’, hello 1998

I’ve been using the internet since just after it was born. Yeah I’m that old… and my highschool was lucky enough to have a NeXT workstation in every classroom, 8 in the library, plus a mathlab, and my personal kingdom, the student government/yearbook office, which had 4, including a color station :)

Anyhoo. history aside, I was struck the other day at a MHSMC meeting that social media is the new ‘internet’. Mainly this relates to my love of all things Cluetrain Manifesto. One of the  of the primary things I took away from Cluetrain in my first reading as a lowly Software developer at a mortgage company where marketing outnumbered IT (as well as my many subsequent readings), was that it’s important, and beneficial for enterprises to let their people be people. Lower the walls, don’t raise them. I thought we were making progress here.

It seems that social media is moving away from that if MHSMC is any indicator. The presentation this month was on Corporate use of Social Media.

One of the panelists, I don’t remember whom I’m afraid, made an example of what to her (and many in the audience it appeared) was a social media gaff. A call center employee somewhere in a state most of us don’t care about commented on a blog post. The post was critical of the complany and this person came to the defense saying not much more than ‘we’re working hard for you in Toledo Ohio’ (I don’t recall the city honestly).

I was in the back row cheering on Timmy from call center X in Toledo. I mean how lucky is that company that an employee at that level stood up for his employer with nothing more than “We’re working hard.” To the best of my recall the panelist didn’t say Timmy made promises or claims, or anything that could in any way be said to hurt his employer, just that he and his fellow employees were working hard. How awesome is that, every company should have passionate people speaking plainly without motive, on their behalf.

The panelists went on to relate similar stories, and reinforce that not just anyone could use twitter. That some people weren’t on the company twitter account, and wouldn’t be. That specific people followed specific guidelines in order to be the ‘voice of the company’. That without rules and regulations on what is and isn’t ok, social media was some sort of no man’s land of ROUSs.

I sat in the back row thinking, “wow, it’s like 1998 again”. Companies are back to being afraid of the internet, this time social media, and rather than embrace it, they’re locking it down, restricting who can say what, how.

it was sobering to see that as much as things change, some things stay the same. I wish I had had time to process what I was seeing then, I might have asked if anyone in that room had ever heard of or read the Cluetrain Manifesto. I wish I still had a box of them I’d bring them to the next meeting.

twitter lists and why I’m not playing

The nonconformist in me hates lists for the simple reason that everyone else is ga ga over them. ditto for google wave.

But for lists there’s a bigger reason, and Chris Brogan hits the nail on the head, They’re exclusionary. They’re the new “hottest kid in school” list posted in the locker bay. Those on it feel more self important, and those not on it, feel like less than people, and in the end, they’re completely meaningless and 100% arbitrary.

There’s few things I hate more than internet popularity contests.

Lists aren’t opt in or opt out, they’re not merit based, or anything like that. They’re lists of people that some one else thinks are worth listing. You must ask to be on the list, you must be “approved”, and if the list maker decides you’re not worthy, that’s that.

Lists are are for clique making. “Hey I’m on 30 lists” as if that somehow indicates importance. I see the number of lists a person is on, being the new “follower count”, a metric few care about, and most deride as a sign of being some sort of twitter spammer, or twitter whore.

Will it become the same bad juju if you’re on 50 lists, and have made none?

Of all the things twitter could of released, it’s sad they chose lists. They’ve already got their “most influential user” list or whatever. I’d rather see twitter add more useful features than popularity contests. To name a few. Polls, photo/video/audio (sorry third parties), maybe a suggestion system like Netflix? “You should look at these guys, because they’re similar to this guy that you follow.” That’d be WAY more valuable than “Here’s my bestest friends, who are cooler than you, but you should follow” list, by someone whom I’m not sure I care about their opinion on such things.

Sorry list makers, and list whores. I won’t be making lists, nor will I care if I’m on yours. There’s more important things out there.

National Comic Sans day October 1

6a00d834515beb69e200e54f2004b38834-800wiSo we have CSS Naked day (apr 9), and talk like a pirate day (Sept 19) and even Zombie Crawl day (Props to Danny!) and just to show that we need to not take ourselves so seriously all the time, I’m starting national Comic Sans day.

Yup, damn straight, National. Comic. Sans. Day.

Why? Because we really do take ourselves too seriously. Just look at this google search. Sure we all have our ‘thing’ but something in those results tells me, that there’s a lot of us that take fonts too seriously. Feel free to try and explain why font face is the single most important thing in marketing and delivers a message without actually saying anything etc, etc, Sorry it’s marketing claptrap, but you’re welcome to try and enlighten me.

Solution? As with any situation where people are taking something too seriously, we’ll go extreme opposite, and just bask in it, and enjoy making fun of ourselves. It’s simple enough to do, simply replace your style sheet font references to all Comic Sans.

It’s one day, and meant to be a fun poke at our selves and take a day off of obsessing over the existance of Comic Sans as a font. Hate it, love it, couldn’t care less about it, on October 1 let’s all enjoy a day of Comic Sans, just a day, it’s not gonna kill ya.

Spread the word! Leave a comment with your blog address so I can make sure to check your site out and enjoy a day not caring if there’s a serif or not.

I thought I’d hate Four Square

I clearly remember when I heard about Four Square (FS). My reaction was ‘meh’

I figured I’d wait it out until the fad wore off. That is until I went to WWDC. I imagine it was much the same at SXSW, the right mix of people to initiate a chain reaction. We were out at one of the too many competing parties, every one had it. I figured I’d join in.

Screen shot 2009-07-21 at 4.07.32 PMI racked up some serious points and badges thanks to the nightlife of WWDC, and as you can see, I’m still mayor of the Intercontinental… guess they don’t get many developer/social media types.

Then I came home, where I work out of my home office… my Four Square awesomeness quickly declined except at my gym and my house (Yeah cheating, but screw you, cubie, going to lunch every day, blah blah) where I reign supreme.

What really keeps me interested in Four Square, and even brightkite is the awesome outside the phone potential. I want my starbucks to give the mayor a free coffee (Frapaccino please). I want my neighborhood bar (where Dave and I are in a cold war for mayorship) half off drinks, or a free drink, something.In the brighkite world, I want to check in and see that where I am is running a Brightkite special, or maybe not where I am, but the place next door.

Where FS excels is that it identifies the losers (cough) people who frequent a place. Rewards them for doing so with points and meaningless badges, that can’t even be printed out! What if they got a burger instead!

This techcrunch article is exactly what I’m talking about. Ideally Brightkite will get there first, sorry FS, I gotta go with the home team. I definitely think whoever can start cementing these relationships first, will be hard to unseat, and FS already has a model. There’s no need to discount to all users, though that’s awesome, just give the mayor something great! Everyone will see, and want to be mayor, and guess how you do that? Be the one to visit a place the most. Win Win.

Ford is down with social media sorta

I had heard of the Fiesta movement (which to me sounds like a bowel movement after Mexican food, but whatever) from Jeremy. While I’m not a fan of Ford vehicles in the slightest I applauded their efforts to do more than just throw TV commercials at us. I think a ‘Mustang Movement’ woulda been cooler. I mean a free Fiesta? Really? I guss if you had no car, that’s a step up, but otherwise….

Then RJ twittered this article

The one piece that really hit home and kinda (in my head) screamed disingenuous, was Scott Monty saying

“As far as mechanical difficulties, let’s let common sense prevail,” he said. “If you were driving one of our cars as part of this program, wouldn’t you call for assistance first, rather than writing a blog post?”

Uh so you hope social media will move Fiestas but hope that people won’t use it when their Fiesta breaks down? It’s 2009 Scott, you as well as anyone should realize that 1. many people will twitter before calling for assistance, and 2. As soon as they’re done with the call for assistance, and waiting for a tow, they’ll use their iPhone to blog from the drivers seat, about their broke down Fiesta.

It just kinda hit me that, as progressive as Ford seems to be, they’re still a big company hoping that “common sense” prevails when it’s time to say something bad about their product. Hoping that the “agents” (People who’ve been given free Fiesta’s (a 47.99 value)) will not bite the hand that feeds them, so to speak.

“We’ve done a lot of war gaming and we’re prepared for a number of scenarios,” Monty told Wired.com. “Again, we’re looking for their feedback and input on the vehicle — they’re testing the vehicle as much as they’re building buzz about it, and we want to know how to make it the best possible car.”

To paraphrase, “We want their feedback publicly via youTube, Facebook and Twitter about how much they love their cars, but if they have problems, we hope they’ll call us for assistance rather than blog about it.”

Mad props to Scott and Ford for the effort, but in my mind still a ways off of being a really truly, first class citizen in social media. But hey, they’re doing it so they’ll get there before Chrysler, and that is worth something. What exactly, I’m not sure.

Defrag Conference ’08 day one thoughts.

I wrote this after lunch on Monday.

Another freakishly awesome day in Denver! I’m sitting in the main hang out area (long foyer along the two break out rooms) with the sun beating on my back, reflecting on my MB Air’s glossy screen right into my face. It’s like those metal tanning things from the 60’s and 70’s

So far Defrag has been an awesome event, as advertised for sure. A few of the sessions have been a bit too lofty for me, but some have really rocked. I’m looking forward to more! What I find interesting so far is I haven’t taken a single note, like I would at a tech conference. It seems for me it’s more about just absorbing information in more general terms, than scribbling notes frantically as a speaker rambles on. It’s quite refreshing. The short form factor (30 Minute sessions) makes it almost like an Ignite, minus the auto advancing slides. It’s weird to have no “passing” period between sessions, so it’s kinda like a race to get your crap together and get to the next room if you’re changing rooms.

Typical conference problems, are typically happening. Wifi is sketchy, though remarkably not crappy. Kudo’s to Eric. I believe it’s impossible to have 100% fail free wireless internet, though at it’s worst, I’ve only lost my connection a few times, for a very short period, and only had laggy-ness (technical term) a few times too.

The topics around social media are very interesting, it’s good to see so much attention being given to SM topics, especially in the enterprise. Those guys definitely need it for the most part. I’m very interested in reducing the barriers between people (community) and things (companies), so seeing Enterprise take more of an interest in social media, is very promising.