Monday, 8 December 2014

Tumblr and Teens

If you haven't heard - Tumblr is the fastest growing social network right now, ahead of Instagram and Pinterest.

I joined Tumblr over 4 years ago, quickly falling in love with the simplicity and design of it. I was easily able to craft my own blog, reblogging content I loved and posting my own pictures and favourite content. Tumblr skews young - it was perfect when I was 19 and super interested in the alternative subcultures that I didn't get to see in the local mall.

I started following queer authors and feminists, social justice leaders and activists. Finally, my eyes were opened to different situations outside my small suburb in Waterloo.

Businesses have finally gotten on board; I now see advertisements for McDonalds and Taco Bell on my dashboard. Bands have Tumblrs, and even Laurier has gotten involved with the platform.

Tumblr skews very young, and I find myself becoming more and more uninterested and more and more out-of-the-loop. So many of the popular jokes are about highschool, and here I am finishing my undergraduate degree.

It's a weird feeling growing out of a social network. It's only been a couple years, but I guess I'm growing out of Tumblr and into LinkedIn.

What a weird feeling.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

On Privacy and the Internet

A while ago, Tim Cook published a statement about privacy and the Apple philosophy. My favourite quote from his statement is this:
"A few years ago, users of Internet services began to realize that when an online service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re the product."

While this is a sentiment I've been repeating for years, I found it interesting to hear it come from Mr. Cook. My first thought was that he's talking about Facebook and Google. I thought "who is he targeting with this? Who is he alluding to?"

Of course Apple is different. They don't make money off ads, they make money off selling overpriced products and services to willing fans. Sure, some of the stuff is free, but they don't make money off services supported by advertising.

 An important thing to remember is who has their hand in the cookie jar. If you're not paying for something, then where is the company getting their money from? Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft.... you can be sure they're not non-profits.

And if you're not paying for it, someone else is. It's important to know who that person is.

Monday, 1 December 2014

My Inbox is Exploding

My inbox is exploding.

It does this every year. I'm apparently on so many mailing lists, and every store is having a Black Friday/ Cyber Monday sale. Stores I don't think I've ever bought anything from. Stores I've never even visited (either in person or online).

How did they get my email? Or more importantly, why do they think I care about their sales?

Some companies do it better. Amazon sent me an email saying the video game I've been looking at is now on sale. Threadless sent me an email saying the t-shirt I voted for is printed and on sale.

Others are very, very bad at it. I got an email about powertools from some company I've never heard of. I got an email about accessories for iPhones (I have a Samsung). I got an email about PS4 games on sale. I have no interest in any of these things. Why am I getting emails about them?

I understand that email marketing is an important form of marketing, especially when you're selling stuff online. I get that. But why are you sending mass emails to people who don't care? All you've done is lost me; I unsubscribed to each one.

Don't send mass emails unless you know I care. If you bought my email from someone and I have no recollection giving it to you, then odds are I don't care. You might get some interest, but you're probably pissing off way more people than you're selling to.

And for the love of God - make sure there's an unsubscribe button on your email so I can get rid of you for good.