Freelove != Free Love

Got an email from Academia.edu saying,

Dear Ezra,

Alessandra Carneiro uploaded a PDF that mentions the name “Ezra Freelove”.

They have a premium service where you can buy access to mentions of your name. I know of only one mention in a VSU paper as a thank you for my work there in IT in helping them. So, I was curious about a second. I wasn’t going to spend $99 for it, so I looked up the name of the author. Only one person with that name has papers uploaded, so it was easy to just browse them.

Searching for “freelove” in all 8 led to no results. Then, I noticed “free love” one title. It was also the most recent. My actual last name is nowhere in the article. This website’s search must be ignoring the spaces in the four mentions.

Not the first nor the last time people conflate my surname with the term.

Pseudo-Following

There are a handful of people who post interesting things, but I cannot stand the 99% of what they post. Is it worth the pain sifting through thousands of crap posts to reach the one gem?

I discovered that I have a strategy for this dilemma. Follow someone who reposts the interesting stuff. Let them do the hard work.

Fake News

There is an article floating around with a title, “Fake news sharing in US is a rightwing thing, says study.” I have not clicked on it because it sounds like fake news. The Guardian typically has clickbait titles.

Also, I am annoyed because if I wanted to do a study on how susceptible liberals are to fake news, then putting out a fake study like this is exactly how I would gauge how much they share because it would go super viral.

On This Day & Friendship

The image that a specific friend failed to like

When I look through Facebook’s On This Day feature, sometimes I am startled to see that someone I expected to like a specific post did not.

This reminded me that what I post often is targeted. There are a handful of people who I know follow my posts and will appreciate them.

Friends are people who have shared experiences and/or interests. Those I target with a post are not usually tagged or named even when I intend for them to see it. The game is for them to see it as an inside joke. So for them to fail to like the post, I feel like I failed the friendship. It is like saying something that is an inside joke and get no smile.

Are we even still friends? (Sorry, just being melodramatic.) Probably. It is just a single data point. There would need to be a consistent pattern of misses.

Do I Use Pinterest

A male friend asked if I use Pinterest. His wife laughed and laughed. She nearly dropped their daughter from all the laughter. It was if there was something humorous about two guys discussing a web site.

Well, I do use Pinterest some. I don’t spend massive amounts of time on it like I hear some of my female friends do. The only somewhat exemplary board I have is Teeshirts I Own. When people ask where I get any or all of my shirts, I can just point to the board. I use a browser bookmarklet to pin the shirts I buy to the board. The bookmarklet ensures a link to the web page source.

Curating a collection of digital stuff is where Pinterest excels. Well, that and sharing the board (aka the collection) with others.

Anyway, rumor is there are not many guys on the site. Before about a year ago, maybe 3 out of a hundred contacts I had were guys. I just did the math and out of 300 people I am following (304 following – 4 non-people), 43 are male. That is about 14 in a hundred male. A sample size of one is not very good, so don’t take that as the real population.

Students Out PR Professionals

As a Valdosta State University student, we nicknamed the student paper the Speculator. Incorrectly reading between the lines were their specialty. Grammatical errors and spelling mistakes were part of their standard. But it was amusing to see them go after the administration. Not so much to be reported on when I made big mistakes.

As university staff, I made the Spectator in information technology articles on viruses, online elections, WebCT upgrade, and the portal. At first they made me nervous because I worried about them finding out about the skeletons. After a couple interviews, it became obvious they had no idea about the skeletons and would only cursory look at the topic without digging very deep. So it would good publicity and exposure.

The Red & Black as a daily published much more that the Speculator. Last year the paper moved to a weekly print but daily web. This week several students (Editor-in-Chief, other editors, photographers, etc) all quit in reaction to a memo placing editorial control in the hands of non-students and hiring professionals to take over more decisions in the creative process. Immediately the students setup a web site, Red and Dead, a Twitter account @redanddead815, a Facebook page. Their Twitter account was suspended for gaining followers too quickly.

At present, the whole story is extremely one-sided. A couple statements from the R&B board against the draft memo, dozens of statements, bloggers, and newspaper articles like the Chronicle of Higher Education, New York Times, and Washington Post critical of the board. It is like the board is not even trying? Or unaware or unable to use the public relations avenues available to them. None of this means they are in the wrong or think they are in the wrong. It just helps the rush to judgment against them.

Maybe these students are in the wrong field? Public relations seems to be their strength.

Scrambls

Scrambls encrypts social media posts and lets users specify exactly who can see them, across all social media sites. The user can form groups from friends and family, going as broad as everyone with a Gmail account down to a specific colleague or even those who know a certain password. Everyone else (including the social media site itself) will only see a series of random numbers and symbols, keeping content private and secure.

From 7 steps to social media stardom.

The article points out a problem is the readers have to be users. So enough people in each user’s social network needs to join for it to become useful.

Far more serious potential problems…

    1. Should your encryption key(s) get deleted, corrupted, etc. Will you lose access to your posts?
    2. When this service disappears through bankruptcy, buy-out by AOL, or the FBI shuts down their servers because terrorists encrypt their posts, then will every user loses access to their own and friend’s posts?

Follow on Google+ Too…

Nearly two weeks ago, Google+ launched Pages, a version of a person profile for non-people. (Google does know the Supreme Court deemed corporations people too, right? So corporations should have a person profile.)

Companies desiring a social media presence have created a page in addition to their Facebook pages, Tumblr, and Twitter accounts. Over the past couple weeks, I have seen a number of posts on Facebook and Twitter alerting me to the new G+ page. They invariably ask me something like “Make sure to follow <corporate name> on Google+, too.”

Wait.

I am already following you on one of these which is how I saw the message. Following you on two, three, or more social media sites gets me what exactly? The same post multiple times. Maybe I notice something important faster. That might be one in two hundred posts? More likely I will shift the important followings to where I tend to spend most of my time.

This is the same strategy I use for following friends. At least some of them tend to post different things in different places.

TED Talk: After your final status update

The idea of preserving social media after our deaths seems creepy to me. But then I do

“You can imagine what something like this will look like 5, 10, 20 years from now as our technical capabilities improve.” It seems like a ENORMOUS claim that a social media company will last 20 years. Today’s top social media companies were founded in…

  • Facebook: February 2004 (7 years old),
  • Twitter: March 2006 (5 years old),
  • LinkedIn: May 2003 (8 years old),
  • Myspace: August 2003 (8 years old),
  • Ning: October 2005 (6 years old)

The odds of any particular social network existing after a sophomore in high school student today graduates from college is low (chosen because that is about when COPPA starts). This is a fickle market space where users literally vote with their attention. Google is working on their third social network in 6 years. Why would we trust these sites when they seem likely doomed to have limited lifespan? But maybe it is only important to immortalize someone for only a few years?

Introduction from TED site:

Many of us have a social media presence — a virtual personality made up of status updates, tweets and connections, stored in the cloud. Adam Ostrow asks a big question: What happens to that personality after you’ve died? Could it … live on?

Link to Adam Ostrow: After your final status update if embedded video below breaks.

Real Names

Google+ suspends accounts who supposedly violate their real name policy. Google+ then restores accounts of those mistakenly suspended. There are naturally advocates for those seeking to be online under a pseudonym. There do seem to be legitimate reasons to communicate online under a less than real name. Harassment by bullies, stalkers, criminals is just one. Employers are known to fire employees for expressing political opinions, photographs of Macs delivered to Microsoft, and other questionable online expressions. Which is easier? Operate online under a pseudonym or have a good lawyer? Female authors used to publish books under male names because publishers rejected the same manuscript. African-American and Hispanic sounding names on resumes are rejected when the identical one under a Caucasian name is extended an interview.

Then there is the question of brand identity. There were a few years when most people having conversations with me most days in a week knew me as something other than Ezra. Danah describes it nicely…

The thing about the tech crowd is that it has a long history of nicks and handles and pseudonyms. And this crowd got to define the early social norms of the site, rather than being socialized into the norms set up by trusting college students who had joined a site that they thought was college-only. This was not a recipe for “real name” norm setting. Quite the opposite. Worse for Google… Tech folks are VERY happy to speak LOUDLY when they’re pissed off. So while countless black and Latino folks have been using nicks all over Facebook (just like they did on MySpace btw), they never loudly challenged Facebook’s policy. There was more of a “live and let live” approach to this. Not so lucky for Google and its name-bending community.

Of course, there is another side where trolls (people who attack others online), bullies, spammers, and phishers abuse the system. Every web site struggles to deal with these issues. Too large a volume of negativity can kill off a social network. The exodus from Friendster and Myspace started when visitors saw more spam in the Inbox than legitimate messages than friends. Every social network has to figure out how to deal with misuse. Enforcement of aggressive policies are a legitimate strategy when just starting out the idea is not to screw up where the competitor you seek to replace is failing. With enough push back by users, Google+ will figure out what is and is not acceptable. Or… We will find somewhere else.

See! Simple.