Social Media is Scary? | Status Updates and De-friending

I hear it a lot. “I just removed my Facebook profile.” “I de-friended like 20 people that had statuses I didn’t like seeing.” “Everyone is being mean about my status update.” Here’s the thing; Social media is SOCIAL. Don’t get your panties in a bunch let me explain some things about these ‘major’ complaints.

Stop being upset about Status Updates

 

People are going to post things on Facebook and Twitter that are sometimes viewed as whiny, soapboxing, or a variety of other understandably annoying things. Something to remember is that most people are doing these things not do get a critique or suggestions on solutions. People use social media as an outlet for communicating their feelings and opinions. It isn’t wrong and it isn’t the end of the world. Remember this, if you don’t like it don’t read it, don’t respond to it. I get caught in the whirlwind of social media sometimes and comment on those soapboxing status updates. Most importantly, don’t feel like you have to continue following people if they upset you online. If you don’t want it in your news feed block them or unfriend them.

You know what is even worse then a status complaining about your job? A status complaining about everyone else complaining about their job. People can say and do whatever they please but try to be less judgmental about people using it as an outlet.

Unfriending Fall-outs and Protocol

You can’t expect everyone to like you and you can’t expect to like everyone. I feel like this is one of the things that stress people out the most about social media. They create anxiety surrounding losing and gaining followers as well as unfriending people themselves. When it comes down to it, social media is an extension of communication and socialization, if you don’t want to be socializing with someone then don’t. I hear a lot of fights that ensue with people not following people or unfriending people. Some people seem to use it as a passive aggressive play at power, which is just wrong, don’t get in a fight with someone on-line and instantly block them. Like real life this passive aggressive gesture will just make things worse. Unfriend people that you aren’t actively communicating with sure, but don’t use this as a power play.

Also, if someone messages you about unfriending them, don’t just ignore it. Be honest with them, as in life, honesty is often the best policy.

Edit yourself on-line

One of the most important things you should do on any site, not just social media is to edit yourself. I am not talking about correct spelling and grammar (though it is important), I am talking about editing in terms of personal censorship. If you read something you are about to post and you think it will piss someone off, then reconsider. Something you will notice that is making the news a lot recently is people that aren’t editing themselves on-line. There is this sense of freedom on-line that isn’t limited by typical social morality. It seems like people are letting it all out on-line because they don’t think there will be repercussions. There are almost always repercussions and the media onslaught surrounding people posting racist or sexist comments on-line is proof of this. Not all backlash from an offensive post will be as obvious as this, that is why editing yourself is important.

Final Thoughts

Social Media is meant to increase your connects and social activity with others. It also functions as great conduit to fans, consumers and colleagues. Remember that interaction is public and can easily be read into and misconstrued. It is easy to forget this, you can become emotional and upset be comments and opinions. Just remember one thing, these are just comments and opinions!

Butter London | Website Review and Crit

Butter London is a makeup company start-up in Washington State founded in 2005. Their original line focused mainly on nail polish and they have since branched out from just polish into other cosmetics.

The Homepage

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 7.28.47 PM

Firstly, the light-boxed pop-up you get upon visiting there homepage is unpleasant. Mostly because it is essentially an ad for a website/brand you are already visiting. As a consumer I click right through these, if I wanted to sign up to win something I would seek it out on my own. This pop-up is giving your consumers a click through, you already have one click you have to administer as visitor to their site and you aren’t even shopping yet.

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 7.28.54 PM

As with most e-commerce sites you fall upon a wall of promotions and new products. Its basic, maybe a bit too basic. They have selected Georgia as the typeface for their body copy, which is bland, I think a sans serif would have suited them better, but that is more of a design choice than a critique of their website functionality.

Commerce Pages

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 7.56.53 PM

Clicking on any of the selections at the top primary menu you get to another menu selection screen. Instead of seeing all the inventory of their cosmetics you see a left side menu selection to go further into the site and a visual menu breakdown. This is a click that is separating me from the actual purchasing page, sort of a mild annoyance. When you get to to the actual inventory pages it is very old school. It actually kind of feels like the site was built in 2005 and they never bothered to change it.

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 7.29.51 PM

Clicking on any other products name will get you to an additional page with very little information about the product, a list of ingredients, and below the “fold” you can add it to your cart. You also will find a review section that they recently launched and only the ability to “Pin It” as your social sharing options.

Upon further review it looks like the site is super confused. The nail polish page looks like it is trying to catch up with the times. With hover selections and tabled products this is a little more 2013. The treatment page gets to you the full inventory of the treatment selections.

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 7.51.17 PM

Important Info (FAQ’s and Returns)

The help page isn’t super helpful. Essentially their help page is a contact list, nothing more. The FAQ’s page houses two questions and answers. One is about returns, one is about placing international orders.

Final Impression

The site is bare bones and like previously stated it feels like it was created in 2005 and they never updated it. The recent offering of housing consumer reviews is a good one but… it will not make up for their site lacking important and helpful content. As a consumer I think they need:

  • A better more detailed FAQ’s page. Answer questions about products, shipping times, shipping methods, etc.
  • A Help Page that is actually helpful. Separate your contact page from your help page, link the help page to the FAQ’s as most people visiting the help page of the site really should be visiting FAQ’s as well.
  • A better menu system with drop downs, only being able to access further selections of the menu by clicking through is kind of frustrating.
  • Less patchy in terms of the site layout, make ever “fall page” upon menu selection laid out the same to mitigate any consumer confusion or fatigue.

 

 

Blog Updates – New Blog

Hello readers and curious internet browsers. I am working on making some changes around here. Don’t be scared! They are for the best!

All my food related posting is moving to a new blog

I am working on splitting up my writing to be more focused. I still love writing about food and I will still be writing about it, it will just be better for my sanity and for this blog to start another one and write about food there. All of the food related posts will be pulled from this blog by the beginning of May.

You can find my new food blog here: http://aliciathefoodie.wordpress.com/

Social Media 101 and Tips

By popular demand I am going to continue the “Scary Social Media” series as well as start a few others. I will be writing about personal branding and marketing yourself as well as small businesses.

Website Reviews – Reviewing the Usability and “Click Ratings” of popular e-commerce sites

I am going to start reviewing the usability of popular e-commerce sites to see how functional it is for the consumer as well as reviewing their social media presence. If you have an idea or suggestion for a site or company I should review please let me know!

See nothing scary…

 

 

Tumblr is Teaching People How to Curate

Okay, okay I know that I am going to make some people grumpy with this one, but hear me out. Curation is the practice of the collecting and caring for a collection. Traditionally the word actually comes from the person who is invested in the care of the souls of a parish. Often the word Curator is used to define a person who is the keeper of a cultural heritage institution. They are responsible for overseeing the growth and care of the collection as well as the interpretation of the materials in their care. Curators a revered in the arts industry, their practices are sort of shrouded in secrecy. Things are changing though, in the past 10 years the Digital Curation Centre has opened, while their practices are more linked to higher learning institutions their policies are still interesting. It means that digital curation is being taken seriously by more then just the people that consider themselves to be only curators.

image credit – freeadmission.com

Let’s talk more about the practice of curation. There are plenty of differing opinions on what makes someone a curator. In my opinion you are curating everything in your life all the time, you are always creating collections of things and overseeing the care of those collections. That is a broad idea though, and not one I expect everyone to understand or agree with. To narrow things down a little I think you are curating online whenever you share images, take instagram photos, or have a blog/twitter. You are making those choices; what is seen, what is brought together, etc. Tumblr more than another other platform is a good example of online curation.

I have noticed that people who have a Tumblr or frequent Tumblr are very opinionated about which ones are good and which ones are bad. There seems to be a very distinct measure for greatness on Tumblr. If you share unique interesting images, or you share great groups of images together. It is also influenced by the theme you use and if that theme goes well with the motif you have chosen for Tumblr. If you want the pictures to really shine your theme has to go well with those pictures. It is much like the layout and exhibition design of a good gallery or museum.

Then we get to the content, everything is so carefully selected on some of these tumblrs. One of my favorites in particular was suggested by a friend; http://fuckyeahurbantribes.tumblr.com/. This tumblr utilize a clean theme and features pictures of “urban tribes”, focusing on subcultures that possess a knack for remarkable fashion. Its selections are editorial in nature a good 90% of the time, you can just imagine some of these photos inspiring a Vouge or W magazine shoot. Its this kind of selectiveness that really makes this blog curated well and sets it apart from others with a similar focus.

image credit – nylonmedia.co.kr

Focused posting and the selective nature that most excellent tumblrs exhibit really set them apart from other blogging platforms. Tumblr seems to have naturally begun a fixation on photo/visual based communication. Most of the tumblrs I frequent are almost all visual, very little is written on tumblr. Due to its nature of bring visually driven in lends itself to becoming a mecca of experimental curation. What is even better about it is that it doesn’t have rules. Something that has a tendency to limit people in their abilities and creative goals in curation is these unspoken limitations that they placed upon themselves. It seems like most people view online galleries and brick and morter locations as well to have a set of “rules” they must curate by. Most of these limitations have been imposed due to this need to make money and get great reviews/critique. This stigma really limits curation sometimes and the fact that tumblr is not only free but doesn’t limit its creators is really motivating.

Social Media is Scary? – Part One: Facebook Privacy

I recently met a couple woman that despite their careers benefiting social media platform use they are still fearful of it. I don’t blame them, but I also don’t see how.

I understand a desire for privacy and there are ways to achieve it online. You know what the best way is? Don’t post ANYTHING you don’t want people to know or see. There are other ways to control who sees what and actually if anything Facebook has started giving you more control with this. I left my posting settings on “close friends” for three weeks once by accident and I was wondering why my Klout score was dipping. That was why! Those new posting settings do work… if anyone is fearful that their privacy is still compromised, it is… sort of.

1330-550x517

Yes, there are targeted ads, and yes you really really need to pay attention to allowing an app to access your information. I think this is the big one. Once you allow an app to see your information I highly doubt there is a lot Facebook can do about that. Its like anything else, read the fine print, better yet READ ALL OF THE PRINT.

facebook-privacy (1)

This is something that seems to be plaguing society right now; an inability to read something entirely. I have witnessed people sign agreements with no understanding of what they are signing. Once you do that there is no recovery, that signature relinquishes any power you may have had to protect your privacy, your belongings, you intellectual property, etc. It scares me that people sign things willy-nilly now, even more so when money is involved. You have the power to understand how to protect yourself on-line you just need to read it!  Facebook posts everything that has to do with their privacy agreement, you can access it at anytime here. If you have any questions about allowed access then you should really read this and ask questions! Facebook does have a support, they have a help section that will guide you. There is no gray area here to my knowledge. There are no secret Facebook dark agents that sell your information to the highest bidder, there are no secret government agencies that have access to everything, they can get access… but that just it, they have to get it.

Why I Still Make Lists & Keep Notebooks

It seems like everyday there is a new productivity app, and that I have tried a lot of them, a lot. I really like some of them like Weave, Donna, and ToDoist, and I try to use them, I really do. Something is missing though, something tangible maybe? Something… I am starting to think its because they are not on paper, they aren’t flexible and tangible.

I know that is a weird thing to say but hear me out. When I make lists, jot down notes, brainstorm on paper I feel like there is a lot more going on there. Paper is a blank slate, I doesn’t prompt me to update my profile, it doesn’t make me go through multiple steps to add all the information I deem necessary, it doesn’t require me to delete things I didn’t get done on time. Paper is easy, paper is simple and it can do whatever you want it to do.

I think this goes back to the studying and time management practices I learned in high school and middle school. I can’t remember who taught me all of these things specifically but plenty were learned through creative practices. One of the first things that I remember about the importance of physically writing things down is that it helps you remember things. I do find that lists that I have physically wrote down, ideas or notes; I remember them for significantly longer. I had a teacher in college for my History of Material Culture course that was very old fashioned. He used slides, I am not talking powerpoint, I am talking kodak carousel physical slides. You know what else? He didn’t let us use laptops in class, he required us to keep physical notes in a notebook that was to be turned in at the end of the course. I remember the most about this course out of all of my classes and I attribute a lot of this to putting real pen to real paper.

I did this in school when I was having trouble in a course, I would write down the same passage in a book at least five times. My recall improved exponentially, not only did I absorb the information better, but I feel like I also understood it more. This didn’t just work for developing better recall it also worked for ideas I was developing too. Sketching, writing and brainstorming for projects created a greater understanding of the idea and its development. This is taught in art school as a necessity; if you don’t sketch there is something wrong with you. Its how you work through problems, its how you remind yourself of moments, it is the best way to get to a solution.

Not only would I use my notebooks to brainstorm and sketch, but I would use them to formulate to do lists and manage my time. There was a better understanding of splitting up a day when I was just thinking about that day. A notebook aloud me to do that, it gave me flexibility. It didn’t have the rigidity of dates, it didn’t tell me I had to set an exact deadline unless I wanted to.

There is something pure and beautiful about a notebook too, something you can’t get from your iPhone. If I make a physical to do list for something I am far more likely to complete things on it. While my moleskin doesn’t make me conform to details I don’t find important it also is there, on my desk, open to my current to dos. I have to physically check things off, I feel even worse when at the end of the day I haven’t completed enough. I feel like I can ignore my phone’s apps as much as I can ignore a phone call from someone. There is something about writing something down with pen that makes it concrete, you can change your mind for sure, but you know you wrote it. You know you set that goal. Better yet I do my to-do lists in pen, it doesn’t allow for many changes. Any changes, if at all, require a big black mark on my otherwise perfect list. Who wants that?

You know what is also great about notebooks. You can go back, it doesn’t require three extra steps or remembering where you wrote it down. I just keep three notebooks at any given time: marketing work/blog, work-work, creative. I know what is kept where and I can keep all my lists and ideas separate, I can better organize things. This is another problem I have had with apps, I can’t find one that does everything I need it to do, I have to keep several different ones just to get some sibilance of how I organize with my notebooks.

That is why I keep notebooks, that it is why I make physical to do lists and until technology catches up with paper… I will still do it. Call me old fashioned but I don’t have the lag time of having to open and use my app, I just put pen to paper.