Monday, August 15, 2011

On The Map

After three straight posts about social media, I decided to give that dead horse a break.

Yesterday marked two months since this blog was started. Not an exciting anniversary, I know, but considering I figured this blog would get abandoned after the third post, it's a noteworthy occasion.

So, what have I done in 2 months of blogging?

28 posts (29 when you count this one), including: A six pack of book reviews, a post about a crashed B-17, a guest post by N.L. Gervasio to help promote her new book, a look at what the impact of airline deregulation can teach us about the current state of the publishing world.

1706 views. I'm sure most of these are search bots, but I do appreciate my real human viewers. :)

34 different countries I've received views from. This is a number that I am certain of, there maybe more. Blogspot's statistics are a let down here. The stats only list the top 10 most viewed from countries for any time period selected (now/day/week/month/all time). So, I started a notepad document listing any new countries I saw in my stats.

In addition to the list, I started a Google map and pinned each country on the map. Anyone who knows me for very long has found out I have an interest in maps. I've made maps for critique groups before, to plot out who was located where in the metroplex, so we could decide on where to meet in a centralized location.

My viewer map can be found here. If your country isn't already on the map, feel free to leave a comment with your country and I'll be glad to add you to the map.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pandering, or why I don't FB.

I am sick and tired of the pandering and pan-handling that goes on online. I'm not talking about scams by the Nigerian Royal Family, or winning the British Lottery (twice, the Australian Lottery three times last week, and Microsoft paying me for everyone I forward and email to, and for everyone THEY forward it to...). I'm talking about five little words that have become VERY damned annoying.

"Like my page on Facebook".

Facebook (yes I'm talking about you, you evil mountain of corporate snot) is now requiring users to acquire a certain number of 'Likes' to secure personal URLs or other 'perks'. One, this is a dumb-ass idea. Two, Facebook users are now having to pollute OTHER social media sites to beg and pander for 'Likes' on their FB pages.

This is damned annoying, especially for the 5 of us in America who aren't on Facebook.

Watch television. Most commercials for national products end with the Twitter or FB logo and "Follow us on Twitter" or "Like us on FB". It used to be "Connect with us on FB". Connect sounds less intrusive, more friendly - "Hey, let's get together and hang out".

'Like me' and 'Like us' sounds so whiny and needy you just want to spend a Sunday afternoon holding them under water, for 20 minutes at a time.

I know what's going on, and I don't like it. Facebook is pulling the old carrot & stick routine. They dangle a prize out there, like a personalized URL if a user receives enough 'Likes'. Then, they stick advertizing down the throats of everyone who comes to "Like" a user's page. Why? Because Facebook makes their money from paid advertizing.

I know what some of you reading this are going to say - "Then stay off Facebook", and I do. I don't have an FB account. But I know people who do. I've seen enough to know how it works. It's about Facebook making money off of you and everyone who comes to 'Like' your page.
If you're a FB user and you enjoy doing the 'Like' thing, that's fine. More power to you. The whole 'Like me' thing screams of high-school popularity contest stupidity to me. "If you're popular enough, we'll let you into our clique." Barf.

My problem is, this stupidity is spilling over into other social media, with people begging for Likes. If you want/need likes on FB, push it on you FACEBOOK friends. Don't come to Twitter, or Google+ and beg for it. You're just clogging up my stream, and I don't want to see it.

If you like what you see in this or any other of my posts, feel free to spread the word around. No one's going to make money off the traffic that comes into my blog. :D

Thursday, August 11, 2011

You Are What You Tweet

After Tuesday's cautionary tale, Miss X and I were discussing (Yes, she still talks to me after that experience) and she raised an interesting point. Not only did the warning I mentioned about giving out too much personal information in the social media blizzard apply to the sender, but it also applied to how one replied to others.

How you respond can tell as much about you as tweeting personal information can. If you're constantly rude and biting in your tweets, you probably are as well in your real life. That broadcasts clearly. However, humor is a funny thing- funny-odd, not funny-haha. Even when you use 'LOL' or ':D' in a tweet, the reply you intended as funny and humorous doesn't always get interpreted that way by the reader on the other side of the tweet. You can *emphasize* a word for effect, but that doesn't always translate well either. A reader will process your tweet through their own set of filters of funny or appropriate. Not every uses the same set of parameters.

Throw in cultural differences, societal movements, personal beliefs and you've got a recipe for potential disaster. How can you avoid insensitive replies? It's really, really *REALLY* simple.

Think before you type.

In this go-go-gimmie-gimmie-now-now social media age, communication is almost instant and permanent. Insert cliche about one chance at first impressions here. How you present yourself is generally how you will be perceived. Once you hit send, it's out there for everyone to see. Think about that the next time you're sitting in front of Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Social Media Safety

Social Media - A Cautionary Tale.

We all like to talk about ourselves on social media. Twitter, Facebook, and more recently, Google+. If there's a way to let others know "I'm going to the grocery store" or to send a picture of "This guy I just saw at ComicCon!", we are using it. Social media has permeated society on many levels - for good or ill.

But do we really KNOW what we are telling the world when we use Social Media? Do we tweet, ect safely? The reason I ask is, you can tell something innocuous about yourself, but you never know what someone out there knows, and can find out about you from an innocent statement.

Case in point. Several months ago, someone I follow on Twitter who lives in my local area mentioned she was leaving on a trip that afternoon, flying to a location in the Rockies for a working get-away. Later that same day, she mentioned there was a coffee location not far from her gate area.

Now, anyone who's read this blog knows that I'm a fan of aviation. It's in the log line. I've written posts dealing with the subject. When she mentioned where she was going, my mind kicked in and wondered: "Which airline is she flying on? What type of airplane?"

Armed with the scraps of information she'd given, I took to the web and after looking at two sites, I was able to tweet her and ask if she was at gate X on ABC Airlines flight XYZ.

She replied that yes, she was.

Now, I wasn't trying to stalk her, and I told her as much. That it was how my brain worked, and the curiosity she'd peaked. She understood and mentioned that she now had food for thought about what she tweeted to the world.

Was I trying to change what or how she tweeted? Absolutely not. Did I feel bad about that, like it was my fault? Absolutely. For the next month I didn't see her tweet much, and didn't comment on anything she did send out.

Which brings me back around to the point I was making with this blog. You never know what someone out there knows, what specialized knowledge they might have to dig into you. Be cautious what you say in a general broadcast to the world. Even in conversations between people on twitter, I'm always being surprised at which of my followers will pop in, that follow both of us already in the conversation. Don't go and get paranoid that everyone following you is out to get you, to dig into your life, but be careful when mentioning your personal life in social media.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

8-3 Check-in

Well, the Streaks are over. Yesterday was a disaster - I picked up a 4hr temp job at a warehouse, and got too overheated. I felt drained, literally. Like you would after a sunburn, but I didn't have the pain or the heat coming out of me, just that same drained feeling. Very little writing happened. I tried to finish up this morning for yesterday and I'm still ..blah. I think my brain melted yesterday. The second WIP I wanted to write on just isn't coming. Maybe I need a break from word counts.

So, it got me thinking. I think I'm going to adjust my goals, and  focus less on writing and more on editing & revising the first WIP. I really want to get that put together and out for initial reads.

And this is the hidden beauty of ROW80 - it's flexible and can change when you need to.