I’m the anti fan of these bullshit pop-up “like us/join our/get this/download our app” modal boxes that stand in between me and the content that I came from as much as the next visitor…but this takes the cake:
AdWeek features this ditty of a Mommy Marketing fail: Mom I’d Like to Fit. :/ Remember what we learned about emphasis and attention? “MILF” is combating for focus with the face of puckering lip Mom and the adorable little boy pointing phallicy lip gloss applicator…and then in small print they decide to correct the viewer. Silly viewer, get your head out of the gutter that we just threw it in for you. “Kid, I’m going to ream you mom”…hah, just being silly. We’re gonna sell her a bra.
Just when I thought I was creeped out enough when my shopping cart contents from Nordstorm.com found it’s way to my Facebook Newsfeed combined with their crazy ex-boyfriend style begging and pleading for me to return for more, THIS creepo shows up in the sidebar:
If I only needed one more reason to abandon the social network where people can post cat pictures and pimp their new blog posts on how to cook eggs in the middle of a national tragedy…it would be their new relationship with this company and it’s creepy Big Brother style adverts. I can assure you, I never imagined the ‘embodiment of the party’ to look like the hoodie wearing creepster I use to plan my jaunts across the quad in college to avoid. Creepy 1984 style advert? STFU Marketer.
^ See what I did right there? Played the “?“!
LA Times recent article paints social media as the new antchrist:
“Armed with little more than grainy surveillance camera videos, cellphone photos and live tweets from police scanners, they have flooded the Web with clues, tips and speculation about what happened in Boston and who might have been behind it.”
Could this be the death cries of the media giants who are intimidated by viewers jumping ship to embrace sources that deliver it uncurated, faster and less tainted by buzzwords than they can?
Because really, pot, aren’t you the ones who fill up the endless hours/pages of coverage in between the officially sanctioned FBI releases with your own speculations and reports from the internet underground? Are you an officially sanctioned FBI image purist, LA Times, or are your galleries full of the “grainy surveillance camera videos and cellphone photos” that you bash above? Oh, they are. Could it be that you are just angry that your advertisers are angry that we don’t find a comprehensive coverage of other newspaper’s coverage that fraking newsworthy?
I admit, I was following this closely, not in the spirit of morbid curiosity but in how the story was carried through the different medias. Here are some things I observed:
Traditional media covered press events, they speculated then handed off the responsibility of their actions to social media instead of manning up. There was even reports of one news crew knowingly crossing the police perimeter, which not only compromises the scene but puts the lives of the police officers in jeopardy as well. They acted like fraking idiots. On the other end of the socially acceptable prism I watched the conspiracy/counter culture sites, like InfoWars which was set up on a similar business model. The results were the same: speculative and wrong. Reporters talking AT their audience.
Online, Twitter pretty much followed the trend set by the major news organizations: retweets compiled mainly of reporter’s updates. There was a backlash on TMZ for suggesting that Hip Hop had anything to do with it.
Facebook: people posted photos of kittens, someecards and that they just updated their blog with another overdone topic as normal. It was as if there was no unofficial $333 Million martial-law event happening, a major metro wasn’t locked down under house arrest, property wasn’t being seized and Miranda Rights weren’t being revoked. They had their kittens and their bloggity blogs, life. was. good.
I don’t instagram or G+ as much as I should, choosing sleep over a comprehensive coverage of all things digital. I do remember seeing that the Chechnen President used Instagram to announce his official position. No doubt the Obama Admin will be amping up their use of it soon. Was anyone else following on these or other sites/apps? What did you see?
Reddit was a train wreck. The major medias used the word “pandemonium” a lot in their coverage. I would say this would adequately describe the situation on Reddit. Servers were crashing against the waves of new viewers (sent to the site and joining the community thanks to articles covering the Bag Man fiasco), moderators and Redditors reminding people of the rules: no Identities, no locations, nothing that could give the suspect any assistance in case he was sitting on his phone trying to navigate the torrential avalanche of comments on the site that were reaching beyond 200+ per minute. When a Reddit thread get’s to long thanks to comments, it get’s put into read only mode. Thanks to this the Boston Marathon coverage spanned 17 separate threads and the manhunt 9. Original Posters were frantically updating as news came in. One finally passing the torch after giving it in on his 32nd hour of updating. But it was beautiful chaos, but it was organized.
Reddit works on an upvote/downvote system. Comments can be upvoted based on importance and downvoted if they are of little value to the voter. What value system that is based on is subjective, but for the most part the values of the day were praise and support of members of the community who were busting their ass to keep people informed and information: pure, unadultered first source information. You know that first source information, the “grainy surveillance camera videos, cellphone photos and live tweets from police scanners” the media reports as having little value. Yeah, that stuff.
There were three things that stood out:
- The rules were enforced by majority vote. If you share personal information, you were downvoted into oblivion. There were no rouge reports putting other’s lives in danger for ratings. Information was curated by the crowd.
- Lexicons were defined by the community. The word “terrorists” was put to rest instantly, instead the community decided to the lexicon, choosing “Suspect” and “White Hat/Black Hat” to differentiate once it was seen that “suspect 1/suspect 2″ was causing interpretation problems.
- Reporter motives weren’t business related. Reddit doesn’t have an official karma system in place, posters don’t receive compensation for their work. Their lively hood doesn’t depend on viewer ratings. Those 32 hours that one guy donated to the cause? Exactly.
Was anyone else following on these or other sites/apps? What were your experiences? This isn’t one of those “engage with me b/c I judge my self worth by my comment count” sort of questions. I really want to know how your experience of the news was different or similar. More of a lurker? Send me an email instead.
Client: “I laughed when I read that and thought ‘wow, she must have been burnt out’”. She was referring to the point in my bio where I talked about walking away from my corporate addiction and not looking back. Funny though, because I hadn’t been burnt out. I was just curious.
In corporate life you walk through the same hallways, the doorways, the stairways over and over and over again, day after day. You sit at the same desk, between the same four walls. If you were very unlucky you would answer the same emails and work with the same product and brand over and over again. Eventually you would drink the same coffee, eat the same lunch, go home and watch the same plots on television, read the same facebook updates and maybe go to the same bars…week in, week out.
It began to feel…orchestrated. My choices were already made for me, not just on which stairway to take to work or which coffee to drink but even my lifestyle. I was bound to a certain lifestyle thanks to my paycheck. Most of that paycheck went back into financing a lifestyle that allowed me to get that paycheck. Where I spent my free time was dictated by the numbers on that paycheck. It was less “hamster habitat tunnels” and more “engine piston tunnels.” I was a cog. The best that I could hope for was getting to be a bigger cog.
It got worse: I sold widgets to other cogs who did not necessarily need said widget to be happy, but just to justify their choices and continue obliviously in their own coghood. Curiosity got the better of me. I left the tunnels of my cogdom and adventured onwards. I became afraid of what I found and went back into my cogdom until I acclimated, then tried again.
It’s funny where curiosity will lead you, I thought to myself as I got off skype with my client from Spain. I set down to finish the rest of a strategy that I was working for a client in Norway before looking for a bag for an upcoming trip to England on my lunch break. Curiosity takes you to some pretty neat places, not good, not bad, just neat. :)
Because everyone was all “Happy Pi Day!” and I was all “I will not make pi. I will not make pi. I will not make pi. I will not make pi. I will not make pi. I will not make pi. I will not make pi. I will not make pi. I will not make pi. I will not make pi. I will not make pi. I will not make pi. I will not make pi. I will not make pi. Fine, I’ll make pi.”
Introducing my excuse for being absent for the last year:
I gave birth to a Weighted Companion Cube. True Story.
It originally looked like this around the same time in 2011:
Which turned into this here wedding cake (July 21):
Which apparently was a lie:
But I ate it anyway, which I regretted because it has about a zillion calories and made me put on weight. 60lbs of weight (60 * 3165 = 1,899,000 calories to be exact)
And 10 months later it grew arms and escaped. So in the end the moral of the story is: never, ever, ever eat a Weighted Companion Cube.
A current project of mine has me working out an engagement strategy for a technology based non-profit. I’m sort of appalled at a few things, one of which is how little is researched or written on Technology non-profits and funding for Free and Open Source (FOS) projects, aside for a heated debate whether or not you should click the big, blue donate button and buy a boy (or girl) a coffee.
The majority of the nay-sayer’s arguments revolve around the rantings of one man’s post on how disappointed he was at the use of his $5000 donation to an Open Source project when he found out the money was still sitting around 3 months later. This is where my
bitch rant post focuses on today.
Despite the fact that the man was getting the third degree from his own readers about his viewpoints that money can’t help an FOS project (read the comments, people), his argument is continually being cited as a reason NOT to contribute to the fiscal well being of an FOS project.
“I’m absolutely dumbfounded to learn that contributing money isn’t an effective way to advance an open source project.” ~J. Atwood
I’m kind of dumbfounded that you would learn that, too, Mr. Atwood, because it’s not true. And I’m kind of dumbfounded that the kids who use his experience to defend their reason not to give to FOS projects. Most of us see you are just being cheap and stingy.
When I said the project could do whatever they saw fit with the money, I meant it. Buy liquor and cigarettes, throw a huge party, play it on the ponies. I’m not kidding.
Ok, kids. There are a few problems with this situation. It seems Mr. Atwood would rather have had the team piss his donation away in the first few weeks rather than put it away as an emergency fund or for when they were better able to address how to utilize the funds strategically at a later date.
Mr. Atwood probably had little experience in non-profit donations and/or might have had other ideas on his agenda. Donating to FOS projects is not a bad thing. In fact, it’s a very very good thing. Without FOS projects and Technology Non-Profits, we wouldn’t have PHP, jQuery, W3C (think HTML and CSS) and all the other goodies that make the web and mobile what they are today. And see all those big companies supporting them? They weren’t always there, they started off as tiny little projects and organizations too, and grew on the charity of supporters and contributors.
How to Donate
So yes, you should donate, just do it right. Three things to keep in mind:
Check out the legitimacy of the organization or project
The man gave $5,000 to an FOS project, no strings attached…no deductions attached either. $5,000 is a huge chunk of money to just turn over to a stranger without verifying in advance how the project is ran and how responsible the group of people behind it is. Registered non-profits have annual reports and sometimes even file 990′s to prove to donors that their funds are properly being handled. Whether you are donating $5 or $5,000 to an organization or a project, it is best to do some research to make sure it is legitimate.
Do it legally
Now let’s talk about that deduction. “No strings attached” is one thing, if you’re handing over change from your pocket or a few hundred dollars, but we all know that $5,000 isn’t just laying around in the average man’s wallet. There is an area of Fund Raising called “Planned Giving”, which is called that because…it takes planning. And planning is good, because at the end of the year the government is going to come to your door and want to know where that $5k went, and you’ll have to file it as a “gift” (and if you give lots of “gifts” including to relatives and your children’s college funds, you’re going to get hit with a “penalty”…i.e. owe more money) instead of claiming it as a donation (which means “deduction”) and that project that you donated to without the 501c3 status? They are going to have to claim the “donation” as income.
A friend recently told me that it has been over 2 years since the federal government has granted 501c3 status to an Open Source project, but they are granting 501c6s. So a deductible donation might not happen with a 501c6, but:
1. Donations could be filed as a business expense.
2. 501c6s are required to file paperwork documenting their financial allocation, which means that if you aren’t ok with your donation being used to fund a mass kegger, you can make sure they are exercising financial responsibility.
The smart thing here would have been a hybrid donation: $500 goes to the formation of a non-profit and the other $4,500 would be a no-strings donation. And don’t tell me that FOS projects are too small/different/underground to register, there are some really weird 501′s that are legitimately registered organizations, including Naked Clowns, animal rescues for Guinea Pigs and one that protests that children aren’t getting equal rights as adults.
Understand that non-profit doesn’t mean non-systematic
Projects, non-profit organizations and for profit businesses a like all require proper management and goals in order
to progress forward not to fail. Before donating to a charity or project, realize that sometimes the money won’t go towards super amazing things: like system upgrades and launch parties. Nor should they, as these things seem to be counter productive to the greater good of the project’s mission. Sometimes they end up sitting in an account being used to pay server bills or buy coffee supplies for when the coder is pulling an all-nighter between shifts at the job that actually pays the bills.
And the thing is, a lot of legitimate non-profits claim income generated through interest on their 990′s (think 1040s for 501c3/6s) at the end of the year. A lot of for profit businesses do as well. So for a project to put the money on reserve the way the project in the example did is actually a legitimate business move. A project, a business or an organization…it doesn’t matter what form it takes, requires a certain amount of planning to run correctly. Expect that the project will run professionally and use your funds in the best possible way for their project, they are more familiar with it and it’s goals than you are.
The original project that the man donated to back in 2008, ScrewTurn Wiki is still alive and kicking.
Please reject the Internet Blacklist Bills (PROTECT IP Act in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House) in their current form.
Even as someone who has had their intellectual property used without consent by so called “rogue” websites, I can not stand behind these acts in their current form.
I’ve studied Digital Culture theory in college and have watched the net transform over the 10 years since. The only people who stand to be effected by this act are the legitimate, tax paying, employment producing companies who are giving jobs to one of the hardest hit demographics of the recession: 20-somethings. The underground web will not stop trading intellectual property, no matter what filters and laws are imposed. One site will be shut down, another will open. Onion browsers and other technologies will be used to by pass IPS blocks. If they want to they will find a way.
The internet should not be feared. It is an amazing tool that has already contributed to progress at speeds we have not seen in rest of human history. Blocking this and allowing a handful of people to interpret what is appropriate and what is not is dangerous. There is so much potential, please don’t take that from us.
The Internet Blacklist Legislation is dangerous and short-sighted, and I urge you to join Senator Wyden and other members of Congress, such as Representatives Lofgren, Eshoo and Issa, in opposing it.
“You must first engage users…”
There it was. Sitting there in 14pt black and white pixels: one giant statement of hypocrisy. The most un-engaging statement…in the world.
Buzzwords are surprisingly unengaging. They are empty compared to what they should be. They act as stand-ins to a bountiful plethora of rich, meaty ideas that could have been but are instead replaced with a handful of syllables because the author (1.) didn’t care enough to find the more appropriate words that would lead users down an deeply intoxicating adventure of great emotional and spiritual importance or 2.) is a slave to word count.
Using buzzwords is just wasting the audience’s time. Respect the audience, don’t use buzzwords.