Category Archives: social

Where Did Saturday Go?

Where Did Saturday Go?It’s been exactly 1-month and 1-day since I last blogged. Where does all the time go? It’s mildly alarming to think time speeds up as we get older, though I’m not so sure how I feel about it —would that be a good thing or a bad thing?

I think about the last time I was completely immersed in some activity for a period of time, 100% focused in the moment—like during an intense workout at the gym—physically pushing my body to the limit. Squeezing out just one more repetition!
It’s a great feeling when you can block out all the competing distractions floating around in your world and just experience a good sweat. Sometimes I’ll look up at the clock at the end of a grueling weight workout and wonder how the time seemed to just zip by so fast.

Claudia Hammond, author of the book: Time Warped: Unlocking the mysteries of Time Perception, suggests if you want the weekend to go slowly (and who doesn’t?!), don’t spend time loafing around on the couch watching TV. Instead go outside and fill your day with new experiences and by Sunday night you’ll look back and the weekend will seem long.

In my case the problem might be social media and, to a larger extent, a lot of time spent on the Web, but not really much television viewing. I’m finally up to date with Breaking Bad and Mad Men won’t be airing any new episodes until spring of 2013 so I’m game to start following another show soon as the winter months carry on.
Even with this void in my television viewing I feel like I’ve been spending less and less time with social media and more time with non-Web related things, despite the fact my Android phone seems to go with me everywhere. Twitter, in particular, sometimes feels like an insidious time-suck, conspiring to steal all my free time and distract me from getting important things done throughout the week —but I keep coming back to get my fix, like a drug addict.

Last week I read an interesting post on Adam Brault’s blog reflecting on why he quit Twitter for a month and how it completely changed his thinking about mostly everything. I’m sure a similar epiphany could be experienced by quitting Facebook, imgur, or what ever else turns your crank on the Web.

As an avid Twitter user for a little over 3-years now, I found Brault’s post strangely familiar in the sense that I’ve shared similar thoughts by recently questioning the amount of time I spend on so-called “social” networks.
Lately I feel like I’d rather spend more time exploring topics I find interesting written at length in full blog posts rather than relegate my thoughts to a few dozen or so 140-character blurbs people will probably regard as forgettable nonsense anyway. No really, Dolph Ziggler, your Tweets are absolutely riveting, that’s why I’m following you dude.

Over the past couple months I’ve gone down to just a few Tweets per week from several per day and probably less than 1-hour per week on Facebook. Overall I’m feeling a little less distracted by the relentless noise of the social Web as Christmas approaches, partially because I’m not constantly checking the endless stream of updates that seem to thwart the remaining fragments of my attention span.

The Big Small Screen

multitasking device

Lately I seem to be spending more time accessing the mobile Web on my Android phone and less time through a conventional desktop browser. In fact, I’m not alone in this behaviour. Last week Google published a very telling infographic on their Mobile Ad Blog illustrating the rise of so-called multi-screen consumer behaviour. That is, people using more than one device (e.g. smartphone, laptop, tablet, TV) to accomplish a goal—be it: shopping, managing their finances, or planning a trip.

The statistics I found most interesting in this report: 38% of daily media interactions are on smartphones; 77% of “television viewers” watch TV on their smartphone or other device.

Shopping too, has become more digitally oriented involving multiple screens with smartphones and other readily connected devices making possible 81% of what Google refers to as “spur-of-the-moment shopping” or spontaneous goal-oriented searches.

With media consumption increasingly occurring through mobile devices it isn’t surprising to hear cable companies talk about the possibility of offering consumers pay-per-channel subscriptions. The current—and much loathed—television packages that typically force us into paying for channels we really don’t want (or watch) may soon be coming to an end, though perhaps too little too late a strategy for luring back disenchanted cord cutters.

While it’s easy to criticize the television industry for clinging to outdated models in light of the range and flexibility of viewing options available online, digital advertising too has its own fair share of hurdles lying ahead, particularly in the mobile space.
The push to monetize popular social networks like Facebook primarily through advertising revenues remains a questionable approach at best considering recent studies suggest 40% of mobile ad clicks are fraud or accidents.
Aside from the percentage of legitimate ad clicks versus those resulting from inadvertent actions (think fat fingers accidentally clicking or sliding across ads on a grimy touch screen—yes, I do it all the time too) the bigger question worth asking is whether or not ads really belong on social networks in the first place.
We don’t go onto Facebook or Twitter looking to research products or buy something new, instead we’re there interacting with friends and family, sharing Clint Eastwood invisible Obama jokes with others, and so on. As Diego Basch candidly points out, these sites shove ads in our faces and tempt us to buy shit we don’t need; “That’s the time-tested TV model. This entails annoying most people who are there simply for entertainment purposes.”

If I want annoying ads shoved in my face I’ll turn on the TV and watch a program on a channel I didn’t want included in my rinky-dink bundled package.

Image source: DorteF

Manufacturing Popularity

A few weeks ago allegations surfaced that 15% of U.S. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s Twitter followers were apparently fake. Oh, whoopee doo! Honestly, whether or not Romney’s 100K spike in followers, which apparently occurred almost overnight, were real or manufactured is beside the point. The real news here is the surging importance among politicians to solidify their social media presence.

Younger voters in particular are arguably more skeptical of a political candidate who is less active or accessible online. A lack of digital engagement—which has never really been an issue in the Obama camp—can be stigmatizing and suggest a candidate is ‘out of touch’ with technology and the pulse of the voting public at large.

At the very least it’s worth considering if Likes and Followers actually bolster political credibility and if the push for digital clout (not klout) in the Obama and Romney campaigns will ultimately translate into votes this coming November.