Social media in 2013: a crutch or a strategy?
The rise of twitter has brought about opportunities never before available to the masses: the ability to attack others without consequence. “Celebrities get bombarded with hundreds of insults a day,” Jimmy Kimmel tells us. To prove it, he has released a series of ‘mean tweet examples’ read by the stars who received them. A few of my favorites:
- “Selena Gomez is on the radio now. Is there a volume lower than mute?”
- “I saw Larry King at dinner, but it might have been just a run of the mill goblin.”
- “Dear God, give us Tupac back, and we’ll give you Justin Bieber.”
Celebrity hecklers aren’t the only cowards who lurch across the bowels of twitter. Social media is filled with businesses that fit the same bill, and it’s time to be honest about whether yours is one of them.
Here’s what I mean… I recently got married. Anyone who doesn’t understand just how much better off I am because of this decision clearly forgets one key aspect unique to being single: dating.
Dating sucks. More precisely, asking someone out sucks. I spent years trying to figure out ways I could get a girl to date me without actually having to include this step in the process. Get her number from a mutual friend? Check. Group hangout? Check. Facebook poke? Check. Have my friend ask her friend? Check (7th grade).
Yet, despite all of my attempts to circumvent it, no strategy matched the results of the few times I swallowed my pride, looked her in the eye, and said, “I would like to take you to dinner. Can I have your number?”
The challenge of social media today
Asking someone out in person requires courage. It requires overcoming fears of rejection, of the unknown, and of being exposed. We’d never choose it if we could be convinced the results could be attained any other way. But they can’t.
The superiority of in person communication isn’t limited to dating. It’s true in virtually every scenario. The reason is because of the way we receive messages. We are emotional beings who, despite our best efforts, determine how we respond to people largely on the basis of how we feel about them.
When we communicate feelings and emotions, only 7% comes from the words we use. 38% comes from the tone of our voice. A whopping 55% is revealed through our body language – from our facial expressions and eye contact to the way we stand and the amount of space we use.
And with each percentage point, there’s an increase in the opportunity for rejection – which we still worry about just as much as we did in middle school.
Enter social media. It is a place where you can gain all the influence, relationships, sales, and clout without an ounce of the butterflies that would accompany it IRL (in real life). So we flock there. We learn strategies. We send out messages. We friend people. We reference. We connect. We reply.
Top 5 ways to tell if Twitter is your crutch
All the while, we keep our head down to ensure we don’t make eye contact with an actual human. How do you know if you are guilty? Let me give you five scenarios:
- You dodge a phone call so you can email them.
- You are tweeting when you could be meeting.
- You save the hard conversations for email.
- You will approach a prospect on twitter, but won’t in real life.
- You keep your eyes on your phone instead of introducing yourself to the person next to you (on the plane, in the restaurant, at the bar).
Using technology to communicate has made us far more efficient. We can reach more people, gain more insight, and receive better feedback than ever before. But it also allows us to hide – from real people that surround us, that might buy from us, that might introduce us to others, and that might just like us. Perhaps its time to spend less energy learning effective social media strategy, and more learning how to create rapport, build trust, and engage real live human beings.
There’s a subreddit that is literally moving the stock market
(SOCIAL MEDIA) “You can’t change the world on Reddit all day.” Hm. Wanna bet? Some people do bet on whether a stock will rise or fall on Reddit.
I don’t gamble. RIP to Mister Kenny Rogers, but this whole folding, holding, walking, running business is bad for my heart.
So playing the stock market is out for me, but apparently, you don’t even need an accountant to place your bets? The good, if foul mouthed, people of r/WSB aren’t just proving that, their playing and paying outside the traditional trading room is actually moving markets!
The subreddit, full name r/wallstreetbets, is 900,000 users strong, and boasts members that have been involved for years. They show off their stock market wins, losses, jokes, and opinions with varying levels of insight on all contributions.
Ordinarily, this’d just be an interesting collection of folks talking stock, but some of their threads have been shown to have an effect on share prices!
Users don’t just share what and how they’ve traded, they also gamble on what stock prices will do, without actually purchasing or selling any. Options contracts allow users to cast lots for less cash, while retaining the power to show actual purchases as hotter or colder and literally moving the temperature dial on them by word of mouth (and possibly pure conjecture) alone.
So I could hop in, put a marginal amount of money down, and say ‘Stock in Pressure Valve Company X is going to go up since more people are buying bidets in the wake of the Corona-based toilet paper hoarders, and they’re a key component’, then pepper in some off-color jokes about personal hygiene and everyone’s moms to blend in, and potentially wait to collect!
After all, not only are surges of humans looking at these bets, web algorithms and cookie crawlers are staring too. It’s chatrooms of the dotcom boom all over again, except more chaotic, more gif-laden, and more monitored by outside forces.
It’d be sinister if the vibe of the sub wasn’t ‘Take literally nothing seriously’. Try discussing ‘chicken tendies’ in a boardroom sometime and see what I mean…although the tide on that might be shifting as well.
The one forbidden thing here is actually using the forum for insider trading. Directly profiting from the rumors gets users exiled, and gets users interacting with them booted too.
Serious business actually DOES occur, who would have thought? I wouldn’t have. Which is why I don’t gamble.
It’s easy to write Reddit off as just an online echo chamber slash cesspool, but when it comes down to it, the American Psychos of the world are on the same internet as the basement-dwellers, and the gap in financial literacy between the two ends of the spectrum is pulling a reverse Pangea.
We need to start recognizing that.
I’m still staying away from 4Chan though.
Facebook messenger gets a major facelift for speed
(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook messenger has been around a loooooong time and has started to suffer from build bloat. So the new project lightspeed has redesigned it.
If you’ve ever spent time in an old-school, family-built home, then you have an idea of what the inner workings of the Facebook Messenger app look like. It began with just a few rooms, but as the needs of the family grew, they kept adding on rooms wherever they fit until the layout no longer made sense and the home became a bloated maze.
Facebook Messenger has been suffering growing pains ever since it branched off into its own app in 2011. As the app became more popular developers worked to make it more engaging by adding new features like stickers, GIFS, and video calls.
At some point, they realized that the app had gotten away from them. The Facebook Messenger currently on your device has move 1.7 million lines of code. An app that big is slow and takes up a ton of valuable space on users devices, so the team knew it was time for a change. The project became internally as Project LightSpeed.
Facebook Messenger is a valuable app for connecting with friends, family, and business connections across the globe. You don’t even need to be Facebook friends with someone to message them making it an invaluable tool for long-distance teams or new business connections. In recent years, the app has begun to slow down making it vulnerable to competitors like WhatsApp.
The development team’s goal for the new app was to make it small, fast, and simple. In order to achieve this Facebook’s team of engineers has reduced the core code by 84%, taking the original 1.7 million lines of code down to 360,000. The new app will be about a quarter of the size of the current app.
A smaller app will load quicker and be more responsive, even if you’re using an older device or you’re in an area with lower connectivity. Current tests put the new app as being twice as fast as the current version, while keeping all the features that users have come to expect. Don’t worry, you will still be able to send your friends stickers, pictures, and obnoxious amounts of GIFs.
Facebook wants to hear from you. Literally. For innocent reasons
(SOCIAL MEDIA) As if Facebook didn’t already own everything that is you, they are asking to hear you say a specific phrase for their new voice services.
Good news, Facebook is now offering to pay you to let strangers listen to you! Well, kind of.
Users connect to Viewpoints – a different app under the Facebook umbrella – which allows them to participate in market research. In this case, participants repeat the phrase “Hey Portal, call,” followed by the name of a Facebook friend, and submit the recording. The whole ordeal is about five minutes, tops.
By finishing this and other tasks, participants can expect to make a grand total of…$5. It’s not much, but at least that’s a fancy cup of coffee for work you can do while waiting for the ads to finish on your TV show.
So, why is Facebook shelling out $5 for people to make voice recordings? Surprisingly, it’s because AI is not nearly as smart as we sometimes assume – especially when it comes to voice commands. There’s a whole host of things that go into how we communicate, like posture, tone and even slang, which can make understanding vocal commands a much bigger ordeal.
In order to make improvements to the system, it often requires teams of humans putting in the leg-work. This means studying the disconnect between humans and machines, as well as creating solutions. Unfortunately, this human touch is also the excuse companies like Amazon use to justify listening in on your conversations. (Sure, users can ‘opt out’ but come on. That’s not exactly something Amazon advertises.)
As more people grow aware of the potential breach of privacy that tech like Alexa or Portal can bring, however, it’s put pressure on companies to scale back. Which is where Facebook’s new paid survey comes in. Unlike an anonymous employee listening in on a random Portal conversation, this way participants opt in, rather than out, of having their information shared.
The academic in me is slightly skeptical. There’s only so far a paid study like this can get, especially when it comes to the nuances of voice command. The conspiracy theorist in me is also skeptical, mostly because although Facebook promises they won’t sell your information or publicly share it, there’s still plenty of nefarious things to be done. That said, at the end of the day, at least Facebook isn’t just swiping information off your Portal…and you even get some pocket change in exchange.
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