Tag Archives: Internet

Clickbait is Killing the Internet

theattentionmerchants_coverDid that headline get your attention?
Did you click a link to get here? Why? What did you expect to see? Okay, sorry, that title was “clickbait”. I want you to read my blog. I want you to stop whatever you were doing and visit the TechWite site, so I created a sensational title. That was my motivation. What was yours? It’s worth thinking about…


ClickbaitDo we really need to define this? It is what it sounds like: A title, heading, or image designed to DISTRACT the web user from whatever s/he is doing, click a link, and “go” somewhere else.


Clickbait is often about advertising, the end result to get you to BUY something. But it’s also about EYEBALLS, to get you to look at an ad, push up the “readership” of a page, a video, or person, or site. It’s not just in Facebook and gawdawful “news” web sites like nj.com. It’s on LinkedIN.

HINT: If an article has “Steve Jobs” in the title, especially if it’s about “Tim Cook is NOT Steve Jobs” it’s clickbait. If it’s about Apple or some other company being doomed or “beleaguered” it’s clickbait.

Dishonest clickbait is infuriating.
Let’s say just because it sounds interesting, you click on one of those links, “The Five Worst Plastic Surgeries of Playboy Bunnies”. That GRABS your attention. But gosh, now you’re on a page with an article about lawnmowers! Where are the bunnies? Nope, not even the kind with long ears. You’ve been had. And somewhere, somebody gets to claim your click and say their link got you to look at a web page. This is getting so bad that on YouTube you’ll click on a link for one thing, and end up watching a video for something completely different. And before you know it, minutes, maybe hours, have gone by. Where? Can you remember what you watched? Do you know what a “black out” is? I’m inventing a new term today: “the CBO“- Clickbait Black Out. If you’ve experienced this, it’s time to take a look at your digital life.

Think before you click!
Internet people, TechWite—newly committed to spending less time in a browser—is not going to write a long essay about this. Not today. But TechWite will offer you some sage advice: Think before you click. It could save your life, a few minutes at a time. Think before you click. Take a couple of seconds before you take the bait. TRY to remember WHAT you were planning to do today. Be aware. Right here. Right now. And may you go for a walk, outside, in nature.

—TW

Want to know more? These links open in new windows, think before you click!!:

Partly covered as a topic in this book by Tim Wu, “The Attention Merchants“.

Or read or listen about it here:  How Free Web Content Traps People In An Abyss Of Ads And Clickbait : All Tech Considered : NPR

Want a Private Facebook? Try #Slack

NYTimes: A Charming Alternative Universe of You, Your Friends and No News

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/18/technology/a-charming-alternative-universe-of-you-your-friends-and-no-news.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share

imageThe Times article (above) tempts with the idea of an alternative to the competitive, super-public, extrovert dominated world of fake friends and insincere “likes”. But, the NYT never seems to escape from that social norm, suggesting instead the candy sweet illusion of Instagram “Stories”.

Really?

TechWite says: Try Slack
Do you want a place online where you can share photos, web links, movies, and all that other stuff but not have it smeared with ads, streams of articles and media curated by robots, comments from people you don’t know, don’t remember, or want to forget? Do you want an app where you can have a private conversation (the “DM”—Direct Message—in Twitter becomes a “Private Channel” in Slack) with someone you already know, who is already participating in this place, and where you don’t have to use email to do it? And your team only has members that you want in it. Period.

Not “The Next Big Thing”—Better!
Yea, yea, yea, everyone tells you to use Slack for business, for software development projects, to integrate your two diverse companies that now have to merge their email systems and don’t have a common platform to work on, blah, blah. Blech!! I’m suggesting you, and a small group of real friends who want to plan your next bike trip, group vacation, backpacking adventure, etc. etc., create a Slack Team. Spend a little time and effort figuring out how Slack works. Yes, there are apps for iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, and POWB (plain old web browsers). And sure, there are tons of plug-ins and commercial upgrades and corporate tie-ins, but only if you want them. This is not “The Next Big Thing”—this is the thing you want to use to communicate and stay in touch with your REAL Friends and Family. The basic version is free.

Life is short. Create a team! Have fun!
These links open in a new window:
Create your own Slack Team:  https://slack.com
Join the public SlackBITS Team run by our friends at TidBITS: http://slackbits.herokuapp.com

Tell them TechWite sent you!

BTW: No, I have no commercial, financial, or stock interest in #Slack. But I am open to the possibility!

—Peace Out

Followers, Friends, and Likes. Oh My!! Engagement is a Social Lie.

via And Now, I Unfollow Thee – The New York Times

Take it all “with a grain of salt…”

More help for the Nverts. TechWite dashes another social myth!

The brilliant analysts of Wall Street, looking for better ways to blow more air into the bubble of Social media believe that “engagement” is everything. But what is it?


“Engagement*” – Catch word for ‘user involvement’ –  the popularity of your web site, application, social feed, page, etc. “Engagement” supersedes “eyeballs”: the number of people who looked at a page. Engagement sounds more scientific, and is therefore more useful to analysts, stock brokers, and journalists in declaring the success or failure of an online campaign, and especially in applying a monetary value and potential for advertising revenue. But unfortunately, there is no standard “measure” of engagement. Is it: How many members have signed up? “Daily Views” of a page, or video? **  How many times they ‘click’ from one page to an advertisement? How many “likes” they post for your business on Facebook? How many “friends”, how many “followers”, how many? How many? And how many of those are even real???


Wake up world. This is all vapor. Not even the kind of vapor you can inhale.

Today’s lesson is easy: Whatever anyone tells you about the popularity and massive use of a site, page, or “social network” is probably not (I’m being kind here…) exactly what is going on. Review your own experience with social. You are a VALID user. Your experience is probably not much different than anyone else’s. Think about it:

  • Facebook—In spite of the many ads you can now find all over “your” Facebook, how many times have you ever actually used one of those ads to make a purchase? Have you? Tell me!
  • YouTube, Web Pages, and elsewhere—The pop-up ad on the web page, do you want to see it? Or skip it?
  • Twitter—Poor Twitter. I like Twitter. Do you choose to read Tweets that Twitter inserts in your feed? Do you have any idea where they come from? Can you really keep up with the tweets of the 50 Twitter feeds you follow? 150? 500? Do you think those people who claim to follow over a thousand other Twitter feeds ever even LOOK at the tweets?? How do you feel about being followed by all those robots and porn sites?
  • Instagram – More robots and porn sites. More opportunities to buy followers.
  • Followers – That’s right, you want to have a popular Twitter feed or Instagram?? Buy yourself 10,000 followers. Or more. It doesn’t cost that much.*** We are really talking about a hall of mirrors here.

You can read more about it using the links below. I won’t waste more words. I want to get off my computer now because I have a real book I am reading. One made with paper. Seriously. So, because it means nothing:

  • Don’t follow me on Twitter!
  • Don’t like my Facebook page!
  • Don’t follow me on Instagram!

Peace Out,

—TW 


(Links below open in a new window.)

*Engagement (Rate)
Trackmaven – Engagement Rate is a metric that measures the level of engagement that a piece of created content is receiving from an audience. It shows how much people interact with the content. Factors that influence engagement rate include users’ comments, shares, and likes. <http://trackmaven.com/marketing-dictionary/engagement-rate/>

“4 Instagram Analytics Tools for Your Business”, HootSuite, <https://blog.hootsuite.com/instagram-analytics-tools-business/>

**Daily Views
“Snapchat Video Traffic Has Caught Up With Facebook”, Fortune <http://fortune.com/2016/03/01/snapchat-facebook-video-views-2/>

“Facebook Daily Views get New Metrics”, International Business Times <http://www.ibtimes.com/facebook-inc-fb-daily-video-views-get-new-metrics-publishers-2342825>

***Buy Followers:
“Big Business: Buying Fake Instagram Followers”, Huffington Post,<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shayla-r-price/big-business-buying-fake_b_6322362.html>

That VR is so hot right now.

VR3


VR is HOT right now. Do you know why? You probably see those goofy goggles and imagine some gamer shooting aliens. That is WAY off. The whole VR world has changed. TechWite helps you understand how.


  • “Old VR” – Think of Google Maps “Street View”—flat, boring…
    • 2D – although you can “move”, the images have no depth.
    • Viewed through a porthole – big screen, little screen, it’s still like a submarine.
    • Controlled manually – by a keyboard, joystick, or game controller. It kind of works, but it’s not like being there.
    • Still images create the 360 degree “dead” world
    • No interaction with anything “in” the images
  • “New VR” – Think of Star Trek TNG’s “Holodeck”—mind blowing, you are there!
    • 3D – What you see has depth, you can see “around” objects
    • It Devours your vision – that’s what those goofy headsets are for- everything you see is part of the VR world. Add stereo sound, and that’s why it’s called “immersive”. You are in it!
    • Controlled by your movement – Turn your head to the right, you see what is on your right in the VR world. Look up, look down, ditto. This alone is a bit of a shock the first time you experience it!
    • Content can be 3D 360 degree video – Want to go for a helicopter ride over Manhattan? Be sure to hold on to something before you look down!

That’s just the beginning. Size, gravity, time – they can’t stop you. Examples:

  • RTVR – Like drones? Be one. Experience flying, in Real Time Virtual Reality
  • Remember Fantastic Voyage? You are now a tiny submarine inside a living human body. Explore the arteries and veins and organs. You see this, and experience it.

There’s so much to learn about this, to think about. Fortunately, the Tech media is all over it. (Links for you, below.) Start reading about it. But no words can do this justice, you must experience it. Get some Google Goggles, get the New York Times app for your iPhone or Android, and download one of the demos. Then take some time to imagine the possibility of experiencing the impossible.

—TW

via TidBits On the iPhone, Virtual Reality Is Unofficially Real

via AirWatch Blog  5 Epic Examples of Business Using Virtual Reality

via Google Filed Patent For Injecting A Device Directly Into Your Eyeball To Improve Vision – Forbes —Yes, another suggestion that we are not that far from “The Matrix”.

via Augmented and Virtual Reality: A New Vision – Deloitte CIO – WSJ

via Virtual Reality Therapy: Treating The Global Mental Health Crisis | TechCrunch.

via Samsung Announces Gear 360, a New Virtual Reality Camera – The New York Times.

 

Call me Ishmael. Call them Nverts.

 

They used to call it the “blog-o-sphere”—the world of bloggers. As blogs became less fashionable and Tweeting became all the rage, “Twitter-sphere” became “Twitter-verse”. (Because a Universe is BIGGER than a sphere, or planet, get it?)

Then it was “Facebook”, the number one tip-top destination, yea, the very Paris of the Internet. What do you call that?  “Facebook” obviously. To many people, Facebook is the Internet. (But, by the way, as India proved recently to Mark Zuckerberg, it’s not.) Are the unwashed Facebook masses the “Facebook-ians”? “Bookees?” “Fakers?” No matter. Today, I want to identify the un-brainwashed masses, the unfettered few, the unsavvy, who don’t know, and maybe don’t care about all that social stuff, and who, in this wacky, world wide web may get misled or tripped up by their blissful ignorance.

You know who “they” are, you might even be one of them. And heavens, “they” represent a whole spectrum of experience: Folks who founded the Internet, who pioneered it using America OnLine or CompuServe, yet they don’t know a Snapchat from a Tinder. Face it, at the speed of tech, even the savviest of ellipticals probably aren’t familiar with the most current and hippest of apps, whatever those may be this weekSo there are plenty of people out there who don’t know one thing or another about “social”, and I want to help.

But first what are “they” called? How to refer to the innocents in this overwhelming and over-rated world of Social Media? The collective mass of humanity not hip to “social”. Is there a name for what Apple’s marketing used to call, “The Rest of Us?”

“Newb” suggests they are “new” to Social, but are joining the herd. Not what we are looking for.

“Social Media Luddite” has been used—way too judgmental.

Call them nverts! First we identify their “place” as “the Nverse”. This is short for “Non-Social Universe”—”Nsphere” sounds pretty good too, but face it, a UNIVERSE is bigger than a SPHERE, and we need a lot of room. (And in this crazy, mixed up world, nothing is original. If you Google, you’ll find #Nverse, meaning, who-knows-what? Some kind of reference to a Math equation? We don’t care.) Oviously the denizens of the Nverse are Nverts—like Non-Social Internet Introverts, they turn away  from the social Internet. It’s not perfect. How many people know what a phub is anyway? A lot of research and effort went into creating that word. Nvert. If you have a better name for Nhabitants of the Nverse, tell me!

But why am I do doing this? What’s my point? Here. I read this on a web site recently:


“Currently, we have about 70,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter.  That’s 70,000 people that we can learn from and service on a daily basis.”*


Uh, no. Seriously. No, you can’t. Nverts, awaken! NO, THEY CAN’T LEARN FROM AND SERVICE Seventy Thousand of them ON A DAILY BASIS.

There is a certain naïveté, a hubris in that statement. The world has not changed that much. A small company, well-staffed by super-smart well-parented and motivated and energetic staff, may “learn from, and service” some of their customers who “follow them” on Facebook and Twitter. But 70,000? Uh uh.

I have a Twitter feed, I use Instagram, I write a blog. It’s “reality check” time for the Nverse.

—TechWite

P.S. Happy Tenth Birthday Twitter!!

*I’m not going to follow good journalistic practice and tell you where I got this quote because I don’t want to drive more traffic to their site. They may implode with information!

A Plague of “C” – Colbert, Comcast, Commercials, and Cord Cutting

Can counting Colbert commercials create cord cutters? In my case it could .

Colbert is not the “Report” any more, but he is still Stephen! I couldn’t catch the live broadcast of his first “The Late Show”—so I caught it on Comcast’s convenient “On Demand”. BUT I didn’t discern that Comcast’s On Demand arrangement with CBS is that you get THE WHOLE SHOW—including all the original commercial content. Whether you want it or not.

I’m saying, THERE IS NO FAST FORWARD OPTION.

Which might be okay if it were just Colbert’s funny product placement commercials. But no, nation, there are many, many more advertisements than that.

In fact, the show starts with just a few ads during “breaks”, and then piles them on without mercy later, as you anticipate the main event (this show featured an appearance by Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush).

Remember, FAST FORWARD IS DISABLED.

“On Demand” in this case gives you “Time Shifting”, but you still have to figure out how to deal with all those time-wasting, loud, obnoxious, and sometimes very strange commercials.

Those Commercials: CBS thinks Colbert has a big following of “Snake People” (the generation formerly known as “Millennials”). I guess. Because there are ads for Xbox games, and ads featuring YouTube celebrities, and references that only a YouTube celebrity or YouTube celebrity fan would understand. I don’t know, is that even what they were? Maybe I got it all wrong. But that’s the point. What is the ad selling? I don’t know. Who’s on first? YaHoo. No, YouTube. I don’t so much care if they’re short, or weird, or appeal to millennials, but nineteen-in-a-row? In the pre-Bush break, I counted nineteen different ads in a row—before I crawled out of the room on my hands and knees to get away. Nineteen!! It’s the death of a thousand cuts, or nineteen, and it is torture!.

Cord Cutting “Colbert” – No, Comcast. No, CBS, being forced to watch all the commercials at a later date, is not this customer’s idea of “time shifting”. I demand “On Demand” with Fast Forward. Please. I want my commercial free TV. Or I will seriously time shift myself to some alternative. And thank you for the INTERNET, Al Gore, because I still have some choices. I can watch it on iTunes, right? Hm no. HULU? Well no. NetFlix…not there. Okay, heck!  How about on the CBS.com web site? Sort of. Five Free Episodes! With commercials. And whoops, click on the ad and you end up on the SPONSOR’S web page. That may be innovation, but I don’t call it an improvement. HELP! Thanks Al Gore, that was NOT what I wanted from the Internet.

Cord Cutting “Mr. Robot” – how it should work. The strange, dark, and somewhat popular show, “Mr. Robot” from USA Network is also available on Comcast “On Demand”, also with restrictions on the show. Just like those with CBS. You get The WHOLE SHOW, and all the commercials, and there is NO FAST FORWARD, and the longer you watch the show, the longer and more full of ads are the commercial breaks. Again we say, “Comcast, I demand ‘On Demand’ with Fast Forward!” Again I go to iTunes. And there is “Mr. Robot”! HOORAY. I will now PAY to see “Mr. Robot” when I want, on the device I want, in HD (if I want), with NO COMMERCIALS, and I can even Fast Forward. Thank you Al Gore; thank you Apple.

Oh please @StephenAtHome can I have The Late Show this way? Without the ads?? I’ll pay, I’ll PAY!!

PS: Mr. Robot is on Amazon too.

Why shouldn’t Comcast merge?

Evernote_Snapshot_20140901_170640Comcast Recruits Its Beneficiaries to Lobby for Time Warner Deal – NYTimes.com.

It’s capitalism. It’s America. Comcast is a successful creative company. Why shouldn’t Comcast be allowed to merge with Time-Warner Cable?

TechWite tells you why.

One of Comcast’s arguments for the merger is that the two companies operate in different geographies and so the merger will not harm competition. But as many consumers know, in the regions dominated by Comcast or Time-Warner Cable, satellite or DSL may be available, but these are not comparable to broadband in terms of speed, convenience, or reliability—and there are few or no other choices for high speed Internet. The unspoken part of this statement is, “…it won’t hurt competition, because there already is no competition.” Merging two regional monopolies creates one bigger monopoly, not competition.

Globally, Americans pay more for slower Internet access than most other developed countries because cable company investment in infrastructure has declined since its peak in 2001. If the two companies consolidate their captive customer bases, will they have any more motivation to improve performance, or lower prices?

Then there’s the list of Comcast customer objections based on first-hand experiences:

  • A history of terrible customer service.
  • Deceptive (if not downright dishonest) advertising.
  • A history of “throttling” Internet usage, for users with supposed “unlimited” access.
  • Pricing that requires re-negotiation and aggravating conversations every 3-6-12 months to prevent your rate from automatically going up,up, up.
  • “Packages” that prevent you from getting what you want – such as high speed internet, only, at a reasonable monthly price, and insist on selling you what you don’t want: an HBO or Starz package, telephone service, cable channels.
  • Using the WiFi router in your home, that you “rent”, as an “Xfinity WiFi” hotspot with access for other Xfinity subscribers, and advertising this as a benefit provided by Comcast (below). (And inserting advertisements into your browser when you use “Xfinity WiFi”.)

XfinityWiFiFAQ

Why shouldn’t Comcast merge with Time-Warner Cable? This is easy. This is simple. This is awesome. Do you want this company to have more control of your Internet?

– TW