Monday, June 21, 2010

Social Media - The Clash, The Pimps and The Consumers

So myself and a few others have managed to wrap ourselves up in discussions lately regarding social media, its dress code, interest groups, uses, and the people that use, create, innovate and otherwise shape how we'll all digest the random rambling of our closest group a few million friends and loved ones on Twitter, Facebook and others.

If you're just jumping into the conversation let me start with a quick over of the homework you'll need to read to prepare for today's lesson. It all started with a friend of mine @allusagirl re-tweeting a link to a blog from @mikeschaffer entitled "Social Media, Put Some Damn Pants On". (read here first) It was this blog that stirred my semi-pigheaded and slightly over the top ranting reply which I antagonistically entitled "Social Media, Take Your Damn Pants Off!". Finally, we're arrived at this morning when Mike wrote another blog called "A Social Media Culture Clash?" in which he discusses the differing aspects of social media for 2 groups he calls the "Techies" and the "Marketers" and poses a few questions:

Do you see a split in social media? How can we unite all sides of the industry?  Can we all work together…or are the philosophical differences just too great to overcome?
 Here's where it starts to get difficult for me. As much as I'd love to respond to the people encouraging me to give my opinion on his questions; I just don't think its possible. Instead, I pose a separate question and I'll even arrogantly answer myself! :-P

Do we even WANT to unite both sides? and "both" is that the right term, are there only 2 sides? I tend to thing there's a lot more. Make no mistake, I 100% completely agree with Mike that there is a bit of an online battle going on and its transitioned from online country to country slowly eating up and marring the shiny pure finish of every new technology and platform that's out there. Hell, even social media's reason for being is a debate depending solely on perspective.


Social media sites and their owners want to sell ad space, users want to post 2,482 pictures of their friends, vendors and businesses want us to buy their products...... there are artists looking to become stars, single people looking for love (in all the wrong places), employers looking for their next million dollar baby.... and of course, the newest addition to the fight marketing and PR firms... the "pimps" of the whorish social media world. The group that's always trying to see you something, trying to get you to look their way... they've tried direct marketing, telemarketing, pop up adds, e-mail campaigns, buying Google listing, and now social media is simply the new battleground for them to wage war on consumers.

We started throwing out your junk mail, not listing our phone numbers, we added pop-up blockers to just about every web browers written or used by anyone with over a 5th grade education, we labeled your Google listing as "Sponsored", we invented "SPAM filtering" to catch your e-mails, and of course.... we've even come up with web browser extensions like adblock plus to hide you silly little ad boxes on just about any site we visit.

What's left, well.... looks like Twitter is still neutral uncontrolled ground! Have you ever tweeted about how much you hate All State, or how much you REALLY love M&M's and next thing you know you're being followed by @esurance or being invited to vote on color choices by @mmsgreen?! That's them, the jackals of the social media animal planet.... wait for you to show your weakness, and pounce!

So I guess for now, the battle wages on..... we create new ways to share our lives and keep in touch, and they keep finding ways to jump in and try to sell us something with it!

To answer the most important question from Mike's blog "Can we all work together?"..... No. Its always been us against them, and as long as we have money to spend, and they have things to sell us..... the suit wearing pimps of the marketing world will always find ways to put it in front of us.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Social Media, Take Your Damn Pants Off!

Ranting
And that overpriced Macy's tie, your wanna-be french cuffed Hugo Boss button down shirt, and while you're at it... you can probably ditch the sunglasses, stop dangling the keys to your BMW M3 with the personalized plates "PR DBAG" and go back to your ineffective marketing firm.

(P.S. dress pants with pleats make you're ass look fat! everyone knows that! To quote the amazing George Carlin "fat ass docker pants)

Explanation
You might be wondering what exactly would cause a normally reserved, laid back, and fun loving guy like me to go on such a rant? hahahaha Well, this time it was in response to a blog post by Mike Schaffer entitled "Social Media, Put Some Damn Pants On!" I suggest reading it if you have the time, but I'll paraphrase myself. He's basically saying that at a conference here in DC basically about Twitter being used for marketing purposes that he was "embarrassed" by what he explained as a few of the presenter being "dress[ed] like slovenly slobs" and urged them to join the ranks of the appropriately dressed "marketing professionals" who had on suits, ties, and professional attire. He went on to say that he "had trouble taking them seriously" because of it. Also, he asked a few questions at the end of his post:

"Am I overreacting?  Is dress code really all that important in our industry?  And if so, what should the standard be?"

You guys ready for this one? ..... YES, you're overreacting..... here's a tip: TWITTER AND FACEBOOK AREN'T FOR YOU! THEY'RE FOR 'US' THAT'S WHY YOU'RE USING THEM GENIUS!!!**

(**Note pointed out by a friend.... "us" means the entire user base of twitter, facebook and other social media sites... not "us - the nerds" not "us - the marketing people" and sure not "us - the vendors")

As for a dress code being important in your industry.... I don't have a damn clue, and really I'd say most of the general population doesn't give a shit if you'd like to wear expensive clothes, spend too much time getting ready in the morning and waste more money on dry cleaning and experimenting with new hair products!

Have you ever heard that phrase "When in Rome"? I means when in Rome, does as the Romans do.... if you're in someone elses house and they take their shoes off when they're on the new carpet... well guess what, I'm a wage earning, Audi driving, vacation taking, college drop-out, DMB fan with a solid salary and a taste for nice cars, new toys, fine furniture, good food and obscenely expensive watches....... you know what I don't like.... Suits, ties, fancy pants, ridiculous shoes, bullshit handshaking, ivy league grads and d-bag's with a bullshit smile on their face trying to sell me something.

I'm a nerd, and I don't wear pants! If you and your marketing buddies don't think your customers want my money, that's fine... there's plenty of people out there who do. Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Google Buzz, etc.... that's MY house, so my not so fellow Roman... TAKE YOUR F'ING PANTS OFF IN MY HOUSE! You want to sell me something, convince me your candidate is the right one, get me to make a donation, log on and give you my credit card number for whatever it is you're "marketing" for.... look like me, talk like me, understand me.... and I'll respect you and ultimately trust you a lot more.

Questions and Followup
I guess I have a set of my own questions to pose..... What do you WANT to wear to work? What are you most comfortable in? Should customers/clients/buyers judge you by what you're wearing, or is it all irrelevant because twitter, facebook, myspace and all other online adds simply don't bear the faces and outfits of the people who wrote, paid for and distributed them?

P.S. Mike, is that a picture of you on your Twitter page wearing a button down shirt top 2 buttons open, jeans and your hands in your pockets? and wait wait wait... is your Twitter icon a red t-shirt with yellow letters that say "Proud to be Awesome"... who's presenting what image now?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Techonology of My Diet

Have you ever wondered how a geek would go on a diet? Well.... I can't say for how they'd all do it, but... I'm surely a geek and this is how I'm going about it! :-P

So for those of you that have known me for a while you'll remember when I was even heavier than I am now... pushing 300 pounds. Long story short, I went to the doc for a physical and she basically told me (after we had become friends and go out drinking together a few times).... "you're fat, its unattractive and its killing you"... DAMN! That's one way to go about it... pretty damn convincing too!

That same night I started my diet, lost a ton of weight, but... ultimately let my diet slide while I was dating The Nightmare. Between the stress of my relationship, all the traveling I was doing and working on getting a new job at work.... I reverted right back to my old ways and started gaining weight back. Add to that my trips for Tuff and Jazz's wedding, some bachelor parties, Dummer's wedding, trips to NYC and visiting other rights.... I had gained almost half the weight back.

So here we are at the present day and I've had enough. New clothes I bought during the last diet don't fit again, I'm back to being overtired, irritable, always hungry and of course.... I'm not lookin to hot either. This past Monday was enough for me, I'm back on my diet. Keeping it pretty simple, I ordered a bunch of food from NutriSystem... all prepackaged, most of it healthy, easy to keep track of my calorie intake and what types of things I'm eating.... and I even found a little calorie counter application from my Droid from FatSecret.com. It keeps a daily log of everything you eat with all the nutrition information, helps track your weight and gives you reports on how you're doing.

So basically between the online order for the food, the app I downloaded for my Droid, and tracking my progress in online graphs and charts.... I'm hoping my geek-ness which love for the bar code scanner built into the FatSecret app, and my desire to fit into all my clothes, be healthier and more attractive... this time I'll stick to it a little better!

Lets see what happens!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Personalized Plate Fail

Ok here we go. I took this picture of a car in front of me on the way to work this morning.... as if personalized plates aren't bad enough (Moon Twinkle, yes I know you love boys with personalized plates).... can you see whats in the picture to right here?! Its not a "MD" plate, or a "VET" plate, not even an "EMS" of "VF" (volunteer fire)..... no no, its an "NHL" plate!!!

That the f'kin f'ck!? Are we to think that Alex Ovechkin is driving an 2005 Accord to work?! Or is it safe to assume that this putz actually thinks being a hockey fan somehow needs to recognized legally by the Virgina Department of Motor Vehicles!?

What's the point here? Do you get special parking somewhere? Maybe your Accord doubles as a Zamboni? Do you hope to get out of ticket because or it? Was a donation made in your name to an organization to help NHL players who suffer from frostbite or extreme splinters from their hockey sticks??

At least actually get personalized plates not just those ridiculous numbers.... maybe something like "CAPSFAN" or maybe "CAPSRUL".... you could even get creative with the whole thing and go with "IBLOALX"..... I'd still make fun of you, but jeez man.... but in some effort!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Welcome to the Revolution

I can't say for sure exactly when it'll be here..... but I have this feeling as time goes on that we're passing the point of no return.

It actually started a little while back while I was dating The Nightmare (who shall remain nameless, as will almost all other mentions of friends, foes, family and ex's! hahaha) and my cousin Piano Man was in town. We had a late night discussion after he was at a conference at Georgetown all morning about social media. We talked about how pure it is right now, how powerful it is, how many people it reaches and of course how accessible it is. Yet, I couldn't help this feeling.... like I knew eventually it would turn on us. We've come to trust it, I've heard stories time and time again from friends in the academic world (which I rejected and run from a long time ago) that students cite wikipedia in papers, find websites that they can't seem to verify, make references to youtube videos.....

Are you ready for it.... as this things occur more and more, as new kids find them, read them, watch them, trust them... we get closer to the horrific phrase all us nerds make fun of.... "It must be true, I read on the Internet!"

There are some many follow ups to this blog, I wish I had started writing about them much earlier when they were actually happening. I will however follow up them up later and fill you in on the conversations I've had since then with Piano Man, Jersey, a few of the members of Club Brown, and of course my own single minded, sometimes not well thought out, but guaranteed to be unedited ideas of my own.