Thursday, 27 November 2014

Why I Hate The Internet: FHRITP

A disturbing trend has picked up steam online.

It all started with a video where prankster John Cain pretended to be a journalist reporting on a missing woman when he accidentally says he'd "f--k her right in the p---y." The video went viral, and now people are harassing female reporters, yelling the phrase while these women are reporting on air.

I'm disgusted. I saw the video a while ago, and while I didn't really think it was funny, I also didn't think anything of it.

Now people (almost always men) are targeting these women in their workplace, ruining their broadcasts and demeaning them in front of their audience. It's scary, it's hurtful, and it's completely disgusting. What kind of person thinks this okay? What kind of person does this?

Sometimes I hate the internet and what it spreads.


And I'm not even linking the video.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

A Man Walks Into Starbucks

"A man walks into Starbucks and before he gets to the counter someone says to him you’ll never guess which eight celebrities used to be baristas and he tries to guess and suddenly he’s drinking coffee in Buzzbucks." - Pete Davies, from here

Online stores get away with a lot of stuff that would never fly in real life.

No, I don't want to do your survey. No, I don't want to hear about other weird things you want to recommend. No, I don't want you to tell me how to shop. No, I don't care about your membership plans. No, I don't want your advertising on my facebook feed.

"A man walks into Starbucks and he has to wait and watch a video but after five seconds he can go in if he starts skipping."

Noise in the real world is everywhere, but it seems like it's so much easier to avoid. You don't get pushy people asking for your email before you're allowed to enter the store. You don't get forced into watching some promotional piece before you can see what's on sale. And if I was just in a store, I don't see ads about what I was looking at all over my life.

If you want to get me to buy things, you have to make it easy for me. Don't make me sign up, don't ask for my personal information unless you need it for something directly related to my purchase. I tried to buy a digital album yesterday and they wouldn't let me buy it unless I gave them my home address and phone number. No, you don't need that, and I'm not trusting you with more data than is necessary.

It's time companies wake up and see why people are leaving their online stores. I love online shopping, but once I get a popup asking me to sign up for something, you can bet I'm running the other way.

The beauty of online shopping is that if I like your product, I can do a quick google search and find it somewhere else. I don't need to get it from you, and you can bet I'm not going to if you make me just through hoops to give you my money.




Check out more "a man walks into Starbucks" here.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

A Quick Note on Correcting People's Spelling

It seems like these days, the most popular way to prove how smart you are online is by correcting other people's grammar and spelling. I see it everyday - someone is always pointing out how another person used the wrong their/there/they're or your/you're. Don't make any mistakes online; there is always someone who can't wait to correct you.

I always ask what purpose they're trying to serve. What does that correction add to the conversation? Could you understand what they meant to say in the first place? Yes? Then what are you trying to accomplish?

The only thing I can come up with is that they're tying to show how smart they are. "Look at me! I noticed you made a mistake and I'm going to show you how smart I am by pointing out how dumb you are!"

It hardly ever adds anything to the conversation, and I'm pretty sure you can almost always tell what they really meant. I would argue that a lot of these mistakes are just that - mistakes. People aren't dumb for mixing up you're and your in their facebook status update. I like to believe that even if it isn't spelled right, you probably knew what they were trying to say and your correction does nothing to further the conversation.

It especially bugs me a lot when someone with more education points out a mistake someone less educated made. It really seems like someone picking on another person who hasn't been as fortunate as them. We get it, you have a university degree. Who are you trying to impress? Why are you still trying to prove how smart you are. Why are you picking on someone who doesn't have the same background? Not everyone learns advanced English in Highschool... Grammar and spelling mistakes are the low hanging fruit. Why not add something useful to the conversation?

A friend of mine misspelled a tweet and had over 20 people tweet back a correction. Not a single one actually responded to what she was actually talking about. It really just came across as "hey look you made a mistake and I'm going to make sure you know all about it."

I just don't get it.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Ben Huh's 3 Lessons

Ben Huh, the  CEO of the infamous I Can Has Cheezburger, posted his story and lessons on Medium today. He detailed his story of the struggles of the business, including multiple rounds of layoffs and falling revenues. He also explained his side of the story, and even owns up to the fact that he lost his focus and vision throughout the way.

Near the end, he discusses the three lessons he learned over the last three years. I found it refreshing and interesting to hear about one CEO's struggles, especially that he is able to see where he went wrong.

The first lesson: "Consumption is learning"
He talks about learning from others, and I think this fits really well with what I am learning these days. Social media moves so quickly that many universities are only just now figuring out how to teach it. Much of what I know about the internet and social media isn't stuff I learned in a classroom. It's stuff I learned by seeing others use it. I learned the little tips and tricks about hashtags from the thought-leaders I follow. When I was hired to help run a facebook page, I had never run a facebook page before. I learned how to properly do it by seeing what other facebook pages were posting. I learned through consuming other people's posts.

The second lesson: "Remixing is cooperation"
He mentions that everyone should be open to criticism and cooperation. By inviting others to comment, modify, and remix your work, you can grow and develop something better than anything imagined. Social media is inherently social (maybe that's why they call it social media!) and it pays to have people suggesting new ideas. Creativity isn't a one-person operation; it comes out of many people working together to create something through cooperation. I'll never understand facebook pages that don't let people comment or twitter accounts that don't read their mentions. Afterall, how can you create anything new without listening directly to your consumers.

The third lesson: "Friction kills. Speed wins"
His take on this is that you need to get out of the way of the users to allow them to do whatever they want. His take on speed is that people don't want to wait, and that you need to get the product to the consumers as fast as possible. This applies in every aspect of life I think; I can't be the only one who hates waiting around for the newest product or innovation. Social media is about speed. If I take a good picture on my phone, you can bet I'm posting it to instagram right away. I think the biggest annoyance is waiting for content. For example, last week Laurier SOS took a picture of me holding one of their signs for a contest. They told me that once it was posted, if I tagged myself in it, I'd be entered to win. I went home and looked for the picture to no avail. I quickly forgot about it. Today, the pictures were posted and someone mentioned it to me. I couldn't believe that - a whole week to post some pictures?! Of course I completely forgot about the contest and the picture. Speed wins, and in this case their lack of speed killed.

It's interesting to hear his version of these lessons, and I liked that they're coming from a place where he was failing the company. So much of the advice we get is from people who are doing well and have always done well. I really liked reading the perspective of someone who struggled so much, and not in that "rags-to-riches" way but "here's how I almost destroyed everything" way.

Monday, 17 November 2014

StageIt: The Online Concert Venue

About 11 months ago, one of my favourite bands Anberlin aired an acoustic performance on StageIt. If you've never heard of StageIt, they call themselves the "online venue where artists perform live, interactive, monetized shows for their fans directly from a laptop, offering fans unique experiences that are never archived."

So in a nutshell: I paid $20 to watch a live performance of my favourite band online.

Last week, I watched a live performance of my favourite band online for free.

The difference? The experience. Last week, my twitter feed was blowing up and it was hard to keep up with all the different fan interaction. The StageIt performance was inherently exclusive - you had to pay for it and only about 50 fans actually paid for it. This meant that the comments went slow enough that the band could actually read them. They directly interacted with the fans, they answered our questions and they played the songs we wanted to hear.

I noticed that a lot of bands are now doing StageIt. It seems like the secret is a super dedicated fanbase who don't mind paying for something that tends to end up on youtube. Bands include Korn, Plain White T's, Bowling for Soup, and Jimmy Buffett. I wonder how successful they've been for the other bands.

It seems like this might be another way to communicate with your favourite band, but something about the fact that you have to pay for it just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Anberlin, for example, does live shows pretty frequently, and they'll play acoustic shows a lot for free. However, at the same time, I love that it's another way for the band get the much needed funds in order to keep doing what they're doing.

Would I pay for the experience again? Maybe not. But it's really neat that for that hour or so, I knew my favourite band was reading my comments and even played the songs I requested.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Anberlin: The YahooLive Stream

Last night, one of my favourite bands Anberlin, livestreamed their concert in New York City. While watching bands live is always my favourite, watching them live in my living room is a close second.

I curled up on the couch, and hooked my computer up to my tv to watch the whole thing on the big screen. The band played a whole bunch of hits, mixing it up from their previous shows. This is their final tour - they only have 11 concerts left as a band before calling it quits. That might be why it's so powerful, and it might be why so many people tuned it to watch.

The livestream was well done; they only started 2 minutes late. At first, you could tell the cameras weren't sure what to look at, but they quickly got it together. It was a fun show, with some crowd shots and you could hear the crowd singing along (my favourite part). The cameras focused so much on Stephen though, it was kind of disheartening. I wanted to see more of the whole band, not just the lead singer - despite the fact that he's so amazing. I love the band as a whole, and I would have liked more than one or two shots of Nate.


The biggest complaint of everyone (we have a little Anberlin community - #fangirl) was that they cut the livestream before the encore. Anberlin always does an encore of *Fin, and it's one of the most powerful songs they've ever written. It's a fan favourite, and it might be one of the best parts of the concert.

Yahoo stopped filming and cut the stream the moment the band stepped off the stage. They didn't turn the cameras back on when the band inevitably came back for one last song. It ruined my night, and what I was looking forward to the most was that final ending song.

The livestream was great. But it says a lot about Yahoo and the fact that they didn't know enough about the band to know that they always do an encore. It was disappointing, and I really feel like we didn't get the full experience. They probably should have asked the band for a setlist or something so it wouldn't have happened.

I still love the internet, and I love that I got to see my favourite band live in my living room before I see them live for real next week.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

What We Can Learn From Jian Ghomeshi

Originally posted October 27, 2014.

 Looks like Canada got it's biggest sex scandal in a loooong time. Over the weekend, I watched Twitter like a hawk for everything that was happening surrounded the Jian Ghomeshi scandal. Long story short: CBC fired the Q host, and an hour later Jian posted his own statement about his sex life. In a nutshell, he claims CBC fired him because of his sex life and preference for BDSM (think 50 Shades of Grey). He claims that everything he has done has been with consent. However, four women have come forward stating that the sexual acts were not consensual. Whether the acts were done with or without consent is one thing. However, it has been very interesting watching the uproar and backlash. And with every good scandal, a lot of celebrities and personalities have been showing their ass through social media.
Case in point, Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party. Tweets began pouring in about how she supported a potential rapist. She has since backtracked and apologized, but the damage was done, and she looked like quite the idiot. It seems obvious, but you should always always ALWAYS read the whole story before commenting about it. And even if this is your friend you're defending, you probably should avoid defending someone who has these types of allegations levelled against them. #TeamJian was trending on Twitter earlier. People are still tweeting their support for the host, despite the front page article in the Star today. As far as I'm concerned, the allegations didn't come from nothing, and this is far from the first time Ghomeshi has had rumours surrounding him. Regardless of whether he did assault these women or not, supporting a potential rapist never looks good - and your best bet is to probably remain silent until you know the facts (as much as you can). And I never liked him anyway.