Saturday, November 17, 2012

The New Myspace

If you are getting sick of Facebook, and I imagine many people are becoming at least somewhat bored of it, then maybe the "new" Myspace will be what you are looking for.  It seems that (a)social networking sites are becoming somewhat a flavor of the month thing as of late.  Will Facebook be able to hold on when the site that was once king re-brands itself?  Or will people do what they did with Google Plus and end up pretty much ignoring it?  After all, Google Plus hardly was much of a success in the way it was expected to be, even though Google Plus seems in a variety of ways to be superior to Facebook.  According to
The new Myspace isn't trying to compete with Facebook or Twitter; it's got its sights more firmly trained on Spotify and Rdio – and, to a lesser extent, Flickr. And, sort of, portfolio sites. Plus, kind of, dating sites.
Basically, there's a lot going on and it's difficult to know exactly where to start.

The new site leans heavily on images, music and video; users stamp their mark on a profile with a giant cover photo – minimum resolution is 1024x768 - add a profile song, 'connect' to artists, albums and people and nose through contacts' playlists and music mixes.

An ever-present player at the bottom of the screen shows your now playing and the play queue for songs you're streaming from Myspace's impressively-well-stocked music library.

These 'connections' then populate the users' side-scrolling news feed and profiles.
I must say, that sounds just downright exciting!  I imagine that some people are going to be intrigued when this site comes rolling out in 2013.  Perhaps with the excitement the whole internet will crash for a day or two.  To be honest, the site looks better than Facebook, but then again, so does a rawhide bone that a dog has been chewing at for a month.  With that being said, however, there is one thing that Facebook has that the new Myspace probably won't: the grandma factor.

Around the time that Myspace began its downward spiral, many people who had never signed up for the site, often those who were thought of as less computer savvy, started to show up on Facebook.  Many members of my family who I never would have imagined using Myspace started to create accounts on the site that shall be lovingly called Zuckerburg's Folly.  These people are the kind of people who feel that Facebook is somewhat good for staying in touch (their younger loved ones don't do so well keeping in contact with them off the internet).  I would be very surprised if many of these people made their way to the new Myspace.

I kind of want the new Myspace to succeed.

It may sound strange, but if the new Myspace takes away some of Facebook's market share, we may see the decline of the (a)social giant.  Further, it may be the start of (a)social networks being a thing of the past.  Having one behemoth that controls the entire (a)social network world is not a good thing.  I would rather see a ton of little guys fight for the top spot, in a dog-eat-dog sort of way then see Facebook's name everywhere.  I say, let the new Myspace feed of Facebook for a while.

Another reason why a new Myspace site may do well is due to the fact that Facebook has irked some people in the last couple of years.  Many people are not fans of Facebook's mindless crusade against privacy and the fact that Facebook is hellbent on making the world a more "transparent" place.  Others do not like the constant barrage of security flaws, including the recent one: A security hole that allowed anyone to see the email addresses corresponding to certain Facebook accounts. "Worse yet, some appear to be accessible without even entering a password. However, a Facebook engineer now says that the company has disabled the feature that created the hole." (Source).  Many people don't like the idea that Facebook can and may be selling people's account information.  Others are not happy that Facebook is starting to charge for new features, such as making certain status updates more visible.  Of course, one can not forget that there are some investors that are irked to the bone that they spent a fortune gambling on what was quite possibly the worst IPO of all time ($45 high, $17.55 low).

The new Myspace may appeal to those who yearn for a return back to the "golden age" of (a)social networking, when the idea was new, and people were signing up left and right for their very own Myspace accounts.  Myspace is somewhat retro now and some will no doubt want to rekindle the magic that has been long lost in the world of (a)social networking.  With that being said, there is no magic to rekindle.  The only magic that existed was when Myspace went down and Tom frantically tried to fix it, allowing one to actually go talk to other people in personum.  Now, for me, that was indeed the golden age of (a)social networking.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Twitter: A Failure

I have a dark secret.  For a while I was using Twitter to get the word out about this blog.  Not only do I still fail to see the point of Twitter, but I found myself too upset at the character restriction (140 characters), and in the end, I only saw it as noise.  In the end, I found myself feeling angry at even using the site, and decided that "enough was enough."  "How can this be addicting?" I wondered.  "This is horrible," I concluded

Upon signing up for Twitter, I immediately realized that most of the information posted was irrelevant.  People were overly obsessive about (a)social networking and politics and "news."  Some people perhaps made their way to Twitter in the first place due to media persuasion.  It's no secret that Twitter is everywhere in the media.  Newspapers now routinely publish articles about the tweets of so-called celebrities (and for some reason, people seem to care).  During Hurricane Sandy I was constantly reminded of Twitter and what certain people were saying about the storm, as if that stuff really matters. 

When the media pushes something like Twitter as hard as it does, I can't help but push back.  There is no reason for a person to be glued to that site.  Seriously, I just can't get myself to see the point of it.  Maybe that's because I don't use a cell phone (I have one, but don't use the internet on it).  Maybe that's because I don't see the point in sitting in front of the computer and flushing away hours with nothing to show for it.  How one spends time is related to their quality of life.  If you are throwing away your time on sites like Twitter and Facebook, chances are you are going to end up lacking in another department.  In short, your life is going to go down the toilet.

Therefore, I realized that I truly have no place on Twitter.  I will not be using that "service" to advertise this site.  Therefore, it will become a grass roots website where the information gets out via word of mouth.  If you like what you read here, feel free to share it with your family and friends.  Please help get the word out.  There is a great life waiting outside of these websites, but many people are not going to go after it.  Many will be content living their lives on sites like Twitter and Facebook, either waiting for someone to say something so they can reply, or waiting for another to comment on their last status update.  To me that sounds like a horrible way to live.  In fact, I know it is: I have lived it.  I've been there and did not like how I felt after blowing hours on Facebook and more recently Twitter.  To this day, I see people spending an entire class period on Facebook instead of listening to a professor's lecture.  What is the point? 

In sum, a few of the reasons I could not get myself to continue to use Twitter were:
  • I found it to be a pointless waste of time.  
  • Too much "noise" on the site.  In other words, a lot of talking, little to no "listening."
  • The 140 character limit makes it very hard to get anything meaningful across.
  • In sum, the site came across as a waste of time when I looked back on time spent.
  • Most information was "irrelevant."  I could care less about what celebrities say on Twitter.
  • If the cost of advertising a site through Twitter is babysitting a profile for hours, the cost is not worth it.
  • No proof that people actually read other people's "tweets."
  • Twitter seem as the kind of place for those already addicted to (a)social networking.  People locked and loaded with comments about how Twitter is amazing.  Yes, we get it.  You're on Twitter and you love yourself for it.
  • Twitter is a dumbed down Facebook and Facebook already is "dumbed down" enough.
  • Many don't "think before they speak," or "think before they Tweet," which leads to disaster.
  • Reading posts with text-speak such as "ur" "2" "u" "thx" etc. gets annoying really fast. 
  • I find myself not wanting to spend all of my time on the computer or on a cell phone.
  • I felt dirty for using something that I don't believe in.
Perhaps you are considering leaving (a)social networking behind?  It is time.  Purge the urge to use (a)social media

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How much would you pay to be seen by your friends and family?

 I have heard that now Facebook is charging a hefty price of $7 to allow you to promote your posts to your family and friends.  In other words, to get your posts at the top of the heap you can now fork over $7 to Facebook.  Isn't that swell?

The [a]social network started testing a new feature in the U.S. today that lets people buy promoted posts. Facebook will push your selected post to the top of news feeds, increasing the likelihood of your friends and subscribers seeing it.

A Facebook representative said the company is not confirming how much promoting a post will cost, because the feature is still in test mode, but when we took the feature for a spin, it showed a $7 price tag.
 "A fool and his money are soon parted"

What kind of a world do we live in when one has to pay money in order to be seen amongst their friends and family?  While there is obviously a business side to this ridiculous new feature, the reality is that it only makes me happier to have left Facebook behind.

Imagine for a moment that you want to let the world know that you are cooking something special at home tonight.  Perhaps you already have the table set, but last time you shared pictures of the big meal nobody commented (the horror!).  This time you worked so hard on that Kraft macaroni and cheese that you can't bear it to go unnoticed (you even put a drop of olive oil into the water, you chef you!).  You figure that you usually spend about $15.00 to eat out, but the box of macaroni was only $0.77.  Why not splurge a little?  After all, getting it to the top of the heap is a lot cheaper than going out to eat (plus, if you eat at home you'll have more time for late night (a)social networking). 

If you are paying to get your status update to the top, you'd better be smart about it.

Face it, if you are going to be handing money over to the folks at Facebook, you'd better get your money's worth.  Why not throw in something else for good measure?  In other words, don't just share with the world that you cooked your own dinner with a link to the picture.  Throw in something really juicy.  For example, later on you may feel compelled to pay another $7 to tell the world you just broke up with your boyfriend/girlfriend.  Why not throw that in the same status update?  Two messages for $7 is a lot better than blowing $14 for two.

Example:  I just made the most amazing Mac-n-Cheese!  [picture] It lOoKs TaNtALiZiNg, hUh?!  And I dumped Chuck!  That's rite: I'm hella single!


I imagine that some people are going to be having fun with this new feature.  Others will roll their eyes and state how much they hate Facebook for it, but many of these same people will continue to use Facebook!  Sadly, many believe that Facebook is a requirement of being alive. 

Facebook is, contrary to popular belief, NOT a necessity!

Maybe it's time to step away from the computer and/or phone.  Maybe today is the day to get your life back to basics, so to speak.  Why subsist in a world where people are paying money to be seen and heard?  Why feel the need to pay when you want your family and friends to see what you have to say?  (A)social networks are going to continue to nickel and dime you until you are flat out broke.  Isn't the cost of being on these sites, in terms of lost productivity, enough?  Isn't the loss of time that you could spend with family, friends, improving yourself, improving your life, creating, and thriving, a high enough cost?  Perhaps you doubted the message before, but now you may be starting to see that Facebook is on a downward decline.  There is a problem when a site has to resort to charging people a fee to make what one says important.  Everything you say should be important to your family members without the need to pay for it.  Everything you say should mean something to your friends.  Is Facebook now so full of spam posts that there is a need to pay to be seen?

In today's dumbed down world of cell phone addiction and quick, awkward doses of human interaction, many people have forgot just how to interact with other human beings.  Sadly, as a result, one finds them-self paying to be seen.  There is no need for you to pay money so you can be seen on a virtual world of make believe.  Why not pick up the phone and call someone instead if you have something that you find worth paying for?  Why literally throw money in the trash instead of either saving it for your future, putting it to work for you, or donating it to a good cause?  Heck, put it toward a Wii U.  There comes a time to spend money, and there comes a time to say "enough is enough."  This is one of the latter times.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Do the approaching holidays make you miss (a)social networking?

So, you recently left Facebook, but the urge to go back is too great.  Perhaps you really feel that you are missing out on something.  Maybe with the holidays approaching you feel left out?  Maybe you are wondering what all your old friends are doing for Christmas?  Is Auntie K still making that pot pie she always makes around Thanksgiving?  What did Little John dress up as for Halloween?  Did Uncle Mike finally bite the dust?  These are the kinds of questions that you may be wanting to find an answer for.  And you feel if you just reactivate that Facebook account everything will be wonderful.  Maybe you already have.  Maybe you reactivated it for a few minutes to sneak a peek at everyone before deactivating it all over again.  Perhaps you feel dirty for this.  There's many different possibilities, but no matter what, you may start to think that if there is a time to go back to Facebook, now is the time.

I am offering a contrary view.  Of all times to go back to Facebook and other (a)social media sites, this is the worst time of year.  Why?  Because the holidays are often seen as prime time to compete with one another.  Whose tree is the biggest and brightest?  Whose kids are getting the best gifts?  Whose going where for Christmas?  What grades did so-in-so get last semester?  If any time of the year is a brag fest, it's the holidays.  And where do people do most of their bragging?  Let me give you some time to think about it.  Answer: Facebook.

It seems that more people are spread out now a days than ever before.  A weak economy has made it so people have to often relocate in order to find a job.  Further, many people are going off to college.  Others are scattered across the country and the world due to war.  We may think that Facebook is the de facto way to get in contact with our friends and families who we miss so bad.  We crave their presence more than ever as the holiday season approaches.

Don't give in!  Other than the incessant bragging that Facebook is known for, there are other reasons to not go back.  Spending hours on the internet, on sites like Facebook is not going to do anything for your bodily figure.  I noticed once I gave up Facebook, my time on the internet as a whole went down.  Once I gave it up I found that I was more focused on losing weight, improving my body image, and being active.  The truth is, if you are sitting on Facebook all day, you are probably not engaged in healthy activities.  Newsflash: being online for hours on end is not healthy.  Not only does the body suffer, but the mind does as well.  Sites like Facebook are mental sludge.  You think that by sharing your life with everyone you are getting ahead in the world.  But once you turn off the computer and make your way to bed you realize that you were just living a lie.  And if there is a time to be truthful to yourself, it's around the holidays. 

Many people make New Years resolutions.  They figure that they can be naughty during the holiday season.  There is nothing naughtier than wasting your life.  And it is your life that you will be wasting if you drown yourself in the vile sludge that is Facebook.  Why not get a head start on New Years?  Why not be primed to start the year far ahead of your "Facebook competition?"  While they are fighting over the presidential election and telling the world how much they love/hate Obama/Romney, why not put your efforts into improving your own life.  Why spend the holiday season engaged in the petty squabbles that are imminent when using Facebook and instead free yourself from the shackles of (a)social networking?  Let me make it clear to you right now, you are not missing anything by not being on Facebook.  You are a better person for not being involved in that.  Why destroy yourself.  Why wake up feeling that you have to sign on to Facebook?  Do you really need to know what others are doing, or do you want to improve your own life? 

I am not saying ignore your family and friends.  By all means, being connected around the holidays is not a bad thing.  The truth is, family members would probably appreciate a phone call or a letter or e-mail far more than a comment on their Facebook accounts.  Further, not everyone has Facebook.  Many people feel left out around the holidays because they opted to improve their life and get rid of their accounts.  They should not be punished for making the wise choice of eschewing an addictive website.  Visiting around the holidays is real meaningful human interaction that can not be duplicated on the internet.  A Christmas card is worth far more than poking someone on Facebook.  If you want to really involve your family in your life and show them you love them, there are plenty of "good old fashioned" ways in which you can do just that. 

This Christmas, give yourself the ULTIMATE Christmas present.  Deactivate your Facebook account and NEVER look back.  When your family and friends ask where you went (if they even notice you left -- and they may not), you can point them to this website and tell them that you are improving your life and your future is looking bright - because it's a future free from Facebook.