I love social media. And, like any healthy relationship, mine with social media has its ups and downs. I care so much about my social media profiles that I put up with some quirks and flaws of character that nearly drive me crazy. But instead of looking for other fish in the sea, I’m going to talk this out therapy-style and see if our dynamic improves.
I really love StumbleUpon. With the site’s new Pinterest-like interface, you can quickly browse through interesting material and, of course, stumble on new stuff. Whenever I find interesting new webpages or post a new article I always look to share it with fellow stumblers—wherein lies the problem. Whenever I try to stumble or submit a new page, a popup opens with a hellishly long dropdown menu of topics. First StumbleUpon prompts you for whether or not the link is safe for work. Then It asks you to identify the language you’re using to write your post, as if the words you just typed didn’t already reveal that. Next StumbleUpon asks you to complete an optional comments section and, if you can still type at this point, to submit optional tags. Worst of all, the autofill tries to save you from having to scroll through a few thousand topics only to jump the gun on your selections. I can’t tell you how many times I started typing in ‘technology,’ only to end up with ‘techno.’ Really, StumbleUpon, you had to slide ‘techno’ in, didn’t you?
Pinterest has capitalized on StumbleUpon’s quirky interface by creating a much more intuitive way for users to bookmark pages. Instead of sifting through every topic ever conceived, you can create and organize your own topic boards. Pinterest has an easy-to-use bookmarklet, and the beautiful visual layout has helped the site become the go-to in social bookmarking with 40 million active users. But with lots of traffic comes more scrupulous characters, aka spammmers. Now the new form of spamming on Pinterest, besides ill-advised status updates, is to include people in collaborative Pinterest boards (most likely without their knowledge); then Pinterest will automatically start sending the unwitting members emails for every update to the group board. I normally turn off all notifications from social networks since they are of negligible value yet add up quickly. But Pinterest makes it really hard to find your group board settings to stop notifications or remove yourself from the group spam board.
I can launch into an hour-long rant about Direct Message spam filled with nonsense and phishing scams, but then that would suggest I’ve actually read a DM in the last few years. Instead, I’m going to focus on what irks me about people’s actual tweets that come across as spam. Countless times a day, someone mentions DashBurst in a tweet with a link to the sender’s spam website or social media profile. When I go look at the profile I see, as suspected, its owner has sent out the same tweet hundreds of times mentioning a new person each time. This isn’t at all effective and looks completely ingenuous. You should never mention someone you don’t know with a link attached; it’s a sure-fire way to get yourself reported and unfollowed.
LinkedIn is the best professional networking community that exists. You can take advantage of having a profile by joining groups and adding a page for your company and products, wherein lies the problem. The LinkedIn sharing button lets you post to you personal page or any group you’re affiliated with but not your business page! To post anything on your company page, you have to grab the link and squeeze it into the hard-to-find link entry form on your business profile. With LinkedIn rolling out a “follow company” button for your website, you would think company integration into the sharing button would come next . There is a workaround for this in IFTTT now, where you can automatically send your blog posts as updates to your company page. I would highly recommend doing this given the current situation.
Google+ is also a major social network with virtually no support for sharing to your company page. The tech giant rolled out access to its API to Hootsuite and a few other major social media dashboard which were all looking to charge you an arm and a leg to use it. I can only remember how hard I laughed when a Hootsuite salesman tried to pitch me this functionality for over $1,000/month. Since then Hootsuite has added this feature to its dashboard as part of the normal pro package.
Also this doesn’t have anything to do with Google+ but while we’re airing out our dirty Google laundry, what’s up with Google Chrome always crashing? Tons of Apple Mac users can’t even use Chrome for 2 minutes before crashing, and lets just say I’m not shocked anymore to see the inevitable Shockwave fail, whatever the hell that is.
Empire Avenue is a great place for small businesses and startups to reach new audiences and gain traction. But with the good comes the bad. The site is also a haven for what I like to call amateur spammers. These are basically the same as pro spammers except, since no one pays any attention to them or clicks on any of their links, they don’t make any money. You know who these people are. Dropping eight links in your new mission or profile board after a purchase of two of your shares. Getting messages on Facebook from people to do their lame missions also irks me. Empire Avenue can be great for your business but you’ll need to dodge a few unsavory characters along the way.
Instagram is a viral social network for photos and hipsters alike with cool vintage filters that can be applied to pictures. As you’ve heard, Instagram is the next big thing and an important site for your brand to be on. The only thing is you can’t actually share article links on the site. So if your business model thrives on virtually no referral traffic, then Instagram might be the place for you. Relax, hipsters, I’m not suggesting Instagram isn’t cool, but businesses need to stop touting it as the next big thing when they’ve never generated one sale or lead from the site. But don’t worry, businesses, since Facebook bought Instagram it’s only a matter of time before the corporation takes over.
When watching a video on YouTube you used to be able to subscribe to the channel of the creator as well as get email updates. You can still subscribe now, but YouTube has buried the option to receive email updates. After you subscribe to the channel, you have to go into your subscription manager options, sift all your subscriptions to find the new one, and then enable the ‘email with new uploads’ option. Being that most people are likely to see their emails vs. checking their activity feed on YouTube, this is a pretty curious move by YouTube. Maybe now that Google is trying to kill RSS, YouTube figures email is next up on the chopping block. But as someone who curates content, it pains me to have to jump through hoops to get updates from a person’s YouTube channel. And what’s up with YouTube videos being unsharedable on Facebook? In our need to compete, have we forgotten the open and connected place the Internet was intended to be? Blocking sharing is, of course, on Facebook, but as a user you experience the annoyance while on YouTube’s site.
Speaking of Facebook, people have plenty of reasons to be tired of social networks, but the biggest source of annoyance has to be the post updates from friends you can’t really stand. I’ve went to great lengths to try and help people immediately stop their trifling Facebook behavior. But it turns out I missed a few key pointers. There is a new fad on Facebook: people are starting to treat the site like their personal business journal and itinerary. It’s awesome that you had a great meeting with some potential new clients or are headed off to Applebees for dinner, but I don’t really care and neither do any of your other friends. I’m not sure if it’s an effort to seem more important, busy or somehow relevant, but it just needs to stop. Also with the new setup for personal profiles, there is a prompt at the top of the ‘About’ section in the left-hand column to add cities people “say you live in” or jobs people “say you work together” in. Look Facebook, we are all perfectly capable of highlighting our own place of living or work if we want too. We don’t need to rely on supposed friends to remind us. What really ends up happening here is spammers basically tag you as working with them via their business pages and Facebook perpetuates the problem because even when you dismiss the popups, they reappear every time you go to your profile page.
Your turn: What other social media fails ruffle your feathers?