Social Media & Vampires

Usually when somebody mentions vampires, people picture an undead bloodsucking creature, who can’t be exposed to sunlight.  I’m talking about real vampires, not the ones from Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series who sparkle in sunlight and survive by sucking the blood out of animals.   Something more like this:

Real vampire.  This one will burn in sunlight, NOT sparkle.

Real vampire. This one will burn in sunlight, NOT sparkle.

When I think of modern day vampires, my definition includes anybody with whom I have an interaction that leaves me feeling drained, tired, or lifeless.  This includes electronic interactions. Social media has given rise to a whole new subspecies of vampires, the digital bloodsuckers. Social vamps subsist on the social media life force.  And thanks to mobile devices, it can happen anytime, anywhere.

The #YOLO Vampire

This type of vampire lives for doing silly, reckless actions that can later be posted onto any number of social media sites with the ubiquitous #yolo.  That way everybody knows it’s the kind of thing you do because well, “you only live once,” and somehow that makes it ok.

Performing the actions requires the vampire to put endless amounts of social pressure onto his peers to do something cool, zany, silly or outrageous in the hopes of getting a few likes and retweets for the post.  The kind of pressure that ends up draining people because deep down it’s really about trying to connect with other humans, rather than getting noticed for doing something outrageous.


Give me your energy!

Give me your energy!

The #FOMO Vampire*

This vamp sits around every night trolling various social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Google+) just to make sure he’s not missing out on anything cool posted by his connections. Consequently, because so much of his time is spent reading about other people instead of actually living, he makes asinine posts that clog up other people’s feeds.  Postings about how good almonds are, the weird cornflake shaped like Jesus, and his various mood swings.

The reach of the #FOMO Vampire might not be via a personal, human interaction, but it’s still about feeding off of your energy.

Sucking your life force, one bad post at a time.

Sucking your life force, one bad post at a time.

Do you encounter vampires in your social media interactions?  Cast your vote!

Note: The drawings are part of The Anger Management Deck.  To find out more about this unique product click here.  You can also check out my first Flex Slider!

*FOMO = Fear Of Missing Out


Social Media…& Zombies

A lot of people like zombies.  I think zombies are disgusting, so I’m curious to understand the fascination people have with them. They’re the walking dead with decaying flesh that falls off in rotted chunks.  They eat brains. Gross. They also have some unfair advantages compared to other super-naturals like vampires and lycanthropes (i.e. werewolves):

  1. They’re challenging to kill – you need to destroy the brain, or what’s left of it.  
  2. They can infect you easily.  Just one tiny bite or scratch is all it takes.  

One friend likes zombies because, as a human, she can relate to how easy it is to become one in our daily life. This is reflected in our language when we use “zombie” to describe somebody who is disengaged, unaware of his/her surroundings and/or blindly follows orders without thinking.  Sound familiar?  

I felt inspired by an infographic on the social media zombie apocalypse and identified a couple zombies I’ve encountered.

1.  The Candy Crush Saga Zombie

The game involves sliding pieces of candy around until you get three in a row.

The game involves sliding pieces of candy around until you get three in a row.

I’ve observed people mindlessly playing games that require them to do little more than slide pieces around.  Aside from killing time, there are no obvious benefits, yet these types of games are highly addictive and popular.  A recent article on Candy Crush quotes a woman vacationing in Cancun who would leave the pool to play the game in her hotel room.

2.  The MTMM Zombie (Multi-Task Multi-Media)

muti-task multi-media zombie - does everything but absorbs nothing

“Just let me finish this text!”  The MTMM Zombie does everything but absorbs nothing.

Beware of conversing with the MTMM Zombie, who will be glued to his/her headphones, texting and emailing on the smartphone while listening to you.  They’re completely engaged with everything, but not focusing on or absorbing anything.

We are connected to everything all the time, but we don’t have to do much or think about anything.  Like a rat in a maze, we just need to know how to get to the cheese. Is this what the zombie apocalypse looks like?

I, personally, have always loved vampires.  Perhaps it’s because they’re everything I’m not: fast, agile, stunning… and deadly.  Real life vampires exist around us sucking our energy. It’s not blood, but it’s still draining life.  Read about it in next week’s post: Social Media & Vampires.

Do you prefer zombies, vampires or lycanthropes?  Cast your vote in this week’s poll.


Learning the Language: Anatomy of a Website

I am a huge fan of using google to find answers.  Or watching instructional videos on YouTube to learn how to do something.  They are both great services, but only if you know what question to ask.

Recently I’ve been working on my company website.  I know what I want my website to do, but I don’t know what anything is called. Consequently I spend a lot of time figuring out the name of a certain feature or option so I can ask a question about how to achieve it.  As we become more enmeshed with technology, the expectation is that we automatically come equipped with the right vocabulary to ask the right question at the right time.

For example, googling something like “How do I get the name bigger on my website?”  is pretty useless. First of all, name is a generic term and therefore subject to varied interpretations. Second of all, which name and where?  What kind of website?  What platform is being used?

So while Google can be amazing for searches, if you don’t know how to ask the right questions, finding answers on the internet can turn into an exercise on how to manage frustrations.  If only website templates could provide users with a diagram pointing and naming the different elements, I’m sure it would help users to ask the right questions.

I’m still in the dark:

  • about what to call certain features that I want; and
  • what the features I have do.

Once I figure out the proper terms for what I want to accomplish, then it’s another process to find the answers.

When I installed my website template this ended up in my control panel:

With the exception of Ultimate TinyMCE, I don't actually know what any of these things are.

With the exception of Ultimate TinyMCE, I don’t actually know what any of these things are.

I have a vague understanding of what a slider is, but only because I’ve been working on my website for a couple of weeks.  And I appreciate that at least I know the names of a few things, thanks to options appearing on the backend control panel, even if I don’t yet understand what they do.  This means I will be able to search with the proper vocabulary to ask the right questions.

In short – stay tuned.  The website’s coming!



I have to confess, YOLO used to be my favorite acronym until I read about FOMO.  YOLO stands for “You Only Live Once” and is a pop culture term that signifies having done something indulgent or reckless.  Whenever I see the term, I imagine somebody saying it in a nasally, sing-song way, kind of like a child at a playground.  Once in a while I search on it just because it’s so fascinating to see the wide and varied use of the term.  It’s a popular hashtag on Twitter, Instagram and other places.

So here’s an example of a #YOLO story.  One night 22-year-old Samantha Lynn Goudie, who posted on Twitter under her alias @Vodka_samm, got trashed on vodka, as the name suggests. She was arrested for doing something in her drunken stupor.  Once released she tweeted about the experience.  #YOLO.  She deleted her Twitter account after she sobered up.  So here I get a bit confused, is that another #YOLO moment?  But I suppose after the deletion, poor Vodka_samm couldn’t attach the hashtag to anything.

YOLO is pretty hilarious, but FOMO beats it in every way.  FOMO stands for “Fear of Missing Out.”  I first read about it in an article called “Facebook use ‘makes people feel worse about themselves.'”  Apparently people sitting around on the computer all day following friends who are out doing exciting things and posting them (think #YOLO) suffer from this colloquial affliction.  I even found a subsequent article with strategies to fight FOMO.

The two terms are separate, but they feel related to me.  Obviously all the FOMO people are sitting around looking at all the YOLO postings and getting, well, FOMO over it.  I’m not quite sure what this means, or how it will play out, but it sure is fun to follow. Personally, I think the best strategy to fight FOMO, and any negative consequences to YOLO, is to interact with people in person instead of over social media.  If you have a #YOLO story to post, wait a day.  It could make all the difference.

And if you’re like me with no teenagers around to explain some of these things, I would highly recommend bookmarking this site on Internet Slang.  It’s really come in handy.

There’s an app for that…

Every time I wonder aloud if something is possible, or ruminate on a problem, somebody is quick to jump in with “there’s an app for that!”

  • track expenses 
  • count calories
  • measure your metabolic rate while sleeping
  • perfect your memory

If there isn’t an app yet, there should be one.

A new app, Memoir, is designed to give you a “perfect memory.”  Once installed you grant the app permission to access photos in your accounts (ex. Facebook, Instagram, Foursquare) and devices (ex. smartphone). Then Memoir constructs memories by aggregating photos, captions, and timelines from all your sources by matching geolocation, time stamps and bits of metadata embedded in your objects. Request photos from contacts to enhance the memory.

Basically it’s creating a photo album (aka memory) for you of a certain event based on matching people, places and times regardless of where the information was originally posted.  No need to spend time tagging and organizing the photos, Memoir can do all of that by using metadata.  This is my basic vision of how it works:

Memoir aggregates photos and other bits of information from disparate sources by matching metadata of geolocation, time stamps, people, etc.

Memoir aggregates photos and other bits of information from disparate sources by matching metadata of geolocation, time stamps, people, etc.

I have to admit, when I first heard about Memoir I was fascinated and creeped out all in the same moment. I like the idea of having photos aggregated automatically from different sources/people to create a “memory.”  But what about requesting photos from contacts who don’t edit their photos and share hundreds of blurry, bad ones.  Does this mean I’ll have to clean up somebody else’s mess in my memory?

Memoir’s privacy policy states: “All of the photos and data that you create, edit, share and store is deemed 100% private to you.”  This is amazing, but someone will find a way to release these tender memories into the wild.  After all, nothing remains sacred in the cloud where all the memories are stored.  I should also note that I couldn’t access Memoir’s privacy policy from their website, but found the link for it poking around in their twitter feed.

I’m still on the fence about Memoir.  Admittedly it’s not a good app for nerds like me who turn off GPS to save battery power and limit FB friends to under 50.  I think I’ll hold out for Dream App so I can finally remember what happened when I wake up.  Oh wait, there’s an app for that!

Are you interested in using Memoir?  Cast your vote in this week’s poll.

The Asynchronous Sync and Digital Photos

I’ve noticed that a lot of sync services work beautifully in one direction to save or backup. When deleting something, however, the services are largely asynchronous, meaning objects and services aren’t synced for deletion.  Let’s look at a few examples of what I call the asynchronous sync.

I use an Android smartphone and my photos are stored in a Gallery.  Presently my Gallery uploads automatically to my Dropbox. This is how it works:

Photos taken with smartphone are saved in phone Gallery and automatically backed up to Dropbox.  Gallery = Dropbox = Sync

Photos taken with smartphone are saved in phone Gallery and automatically backed up to Dropbox. Gallery = Dropbox = Sync

It’s important to understand how the sync works to use it effectively. In this instance, Dropbox is designated as my photo backup so it makes sense to save everything synchronously, but not delete it the same way.  If I was able to delete synchronously, meaning if I delete a photo in the Gallery it will automatically delete in Dropbox, it would defeat the purpose of having a backup.  I just need to remember that when I want to delete something, I have to do it in two places to maintain the sync: the Gallery and Dropbox.

Photos now exist in two separate instances: Gallery and Dropbox. Each one must be deleted separately.

Photos now exist in two separate instances: Gallery and Dropbox. Each one must be deleted separately.

My habit is to go through my photos before backing them up.  It gives me an opportunity to delete anything I don’t want and organize the rest into albums.  For the sync to work effectively for me, I must change my setting to backup manually.  This means that after organizing my photos, I will manually select them to upload to Dropbox.  This will save me the headache of having to delete unwanted photos in two places.  Additionally, I can safely delete photos from my Gallery to save space on my phone and know that the ones I want to keep are backed up.

The pre-backup organization also comes with a few synching rules to understand depending on which device and operating system is being used.  My Android smartphone offers options to Move or Copy photos.  Move means photos only live in the album in the Gallery. Copy means the photos live in the Gallery and in the album so they remain accessible in two places.  Similar to backing up in a Dropbox, this means copied photos also have to be deleted in two places: the album and the Gallery. Add in a third place to delete if everything was backed up automatically to Dropbox.

Each choice offers different options for managing photos.

Each choice offers different options for managing photos.

On my iPad, however, organizing photos from the Camera Roll (Apple name for a Gallery) into albums works a bit differently.  Once placed in albums, photos can only be deleted from the Camera Roll.  “Deleting” a photo from an album removes it from the album, but still keeps it in the Camera Roll.  This distinction is clearer now with the new operating system.

Deleting from Camera Roll  = Delete.  Deleting from Album = removal from Album.

Deleting from Camera Roll = Delete. Deleting from Album = removal from Album.

It might seem obvious but I knew somebody once who spent hours organizing her Camera Roll into albums on her iPhone.  Then she deleted the Camera Roll thinking that everything was in her albums and accidentally deleted everything.  Oops.

Having a backup is a great idea, but it’s important to understand how the services work and how to make it work for you. It’s also important to know what data is residing in which place.

Do you backup your photos before or after organizing them?  Cast your vote in this week’s poll.