Social Media

Google My Activity

30 June 2016

The recent announcement of a new service – Google My Activity – has enlightened many internet users about the information they leave behind as they bounce around the online world.

If you click through to Google will show you what it remembers about you. For most people, this information will continue for page after page after page.


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6 in 10 of you will share this link without reading it, a new, depressing study says

17 June 2016

From The Washington Post:

On June 4, the satirical news site the Science Post published a block of “lorem ipsum” text under a frightening headline: “Study: 70% of Facebook users only read the headline of science stories before commenting.”

Nearly 46,000 people shared the post, some of them quite earnestly — an inadvertent example, perhaps, of life imitating comedy.

Now, as if it needed further proof, the satirical headline’s been validated once again: According to a new study by computer scientists at Columbia University and the French National Institute, 59 percent of links shared on social media have never actually been clicked: In other words, most people appear to retweet news without ever reading it.

. . . .

Worse, the study finds that these sort of blind peer-to-peer shares are really important in determining what news gets circulated and what just fades off the public radar. So your thoughtless retweets, and those of your friends, are actually shaping our shared political and cultural agendas.

“People are more willing to share an article than read it,” study co-author Arnaud Legout said in a statement. “This is typical of modern information consumption. People form an opinion based on a summary, or a summary of summaries, without making the effort to go deeper.”

Link to the rest at The Washington Post

How Yahoo derailed Tumblr

16 June 2016

From Mashable:

Marissa Mayer was running late. This time, it wasn’t for a dinner with skeptical advertisers nor a conference call with her inner circle of Yahoo executives. She was late for a rare meeting with much of the team at Tumblr, nearly two years after acquiring the startup for $1.1 billion.

The biggest acquisition of Mayer’s tenure as Yahoo CEO, Tumblr was supposed to revive Yahoo by broadening its audience and bolstering its long declining advertising business. In a Tumblr post announcing the deal (complete with a flashing GIF urging people to “keep calm”), Mayer famously promised “not to screw it up” for users. She tried to make good on that pledge by staying mostly hands off for the first year. By early 2015, however, Tumblr was at risk of being dragged down by Mayer and Yahoo.

That January, Mayer broke the clear barrier between the companies by merging Tumblr’s ad sales team with Yahoo’s and putting them under a new executive who insiders say had little experience with Tumblr and even less rapport with its core employees. Soon after, Tumblr’s ad sales department was on the verge of a mass exodus.

The sales turmoil came at the worst possible time. Tumblr was fighting to hit a$100 million sales goal set very publicly by Mayer — a lofty target that surprised members of the media almost as much as it surprised employees at Tumblr.

. . . .

“That was Marissa just picking a number,” says a former Yahoo executive.

. . . .

Tumblr launched in 2007 to make it easier for people to write, share and discover blogs about anything. Literally anything. You want to post pictures of hungover owls, or judge people for taking selfies at funerals, or get all existential looking at Garfield comics without Garfield present? Knock yourself out.

Tumblr built strong communities, launched Internet memes, led to countless book deals and helped shape the culture, online and offline.

. . . .

But the team behind Tumblr was derailed for a year by mass staff departures, internal politics with its parent company, Mayer’s questionable executive appointments and a flawed attempt to integrate Tumblr’s ad sales team with Yahoo’s.

. . . .

Top Yahoo executives clashed with Tumblr, or just flat out confused employees. On one occasion, an executive overseeing Karp and his division perplexed employees by saying he thought Tumblr had the potential to “create the next generation PDF,” according to multiple sources. At other times, a top Yahoo sales exec spoke down to Tumblr’s advertising team and pushed aside a beloved leader, according to multiple employees. Tumblr staffers fled by the dozens, cutting into the company’s momentum and morale.

. . . .

Tumblr has fallen out of the top 100 list of free iOS apps in the U.S. as of the beginning of June, according to data from AppAnnie, an app analytics service. Research firm eMarketer projects that “the gap [in users] between Tumblr and its competitors will widen through 2020.”

In short, Tumblr is no longer the hot new thing for consumers — or marketers.

Kyle Bunch, a longtime Tumblr user and head of social at ad agency R/GA, says “the rise of Snapchat” has “forced Tumblr down the priority ladder” for brands. “With so many different platforms and new things emerging and clients coming to us asking, ‘How do I do Snapchat better?’ or ‘Should I be thinking about Medium?’ Tumblr has got to find its sweet spot and I just don’t know that it totally has a clear one,” he says.

In the absence of major new product features, younger services like Medium and Giphy are also eating away at it. One former Tumblr employee called it shameful that Giphy has surged to a $300 million valuation when Tumblr was once synonymous with GIFs.

Link to the rest at Mashable

PG is reminded of dozens (hundreds?) of acquisitions by Microsoft. He’s known some founders and managers who worked for the acquired companies.

After the acquisition is complete, three years of silence follow. Then, when their Microsoft employment agreements expire, the most talented people in the acquired companies resurface, much wealthier and vowing to never deal with Microsoft again.

Facebook is predicting the end of the written word

16 June 2016

From Quartz:

Back when humans were first grappling with the impact of a new, global forum for communication, Clay Shirky, a prominent thinker in the digital sphere, made the persuasive argument that the internet made us more creative—even if only in a small way.

Indeed, Facebook has arguably made us all writers, since it has become the medium of choice for millions to share their views and life experiences. But in five years that creativity may look very different. Facebook is predicting the end of the written word on its platform.

In five years time Facebook “will be definitely mobile, it will be probably all video,” said Nicola Mendelsohn, who heads up Facebook’s operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, at a conference in London this morning. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, has already noted that video will be more and more important for the platform. But Mendelsohn went further, suggesting that stats showed the written word becoming all but obsolete, replaced by moving images and speech.

“The best way to tell stories in this world, where so much information is coming at us, actually is video,” Mendelsohn said. “It conveys so much more information in a much quicker period. So actually the trend helps us to digest much more information.”

Link to the rest at Quartz and thanks to Cheryl and others for the tip.

PG says a relatively small proportion of people write well. His observation is that an even smaller proportion make interesting videos.

Period. Full Stop. Point. Whatever It’s Called, It’s Going Out of Style

15 June 2016

From The New York Times:

One of the oldest forms of punctuation may be dying

The period — the full-stop signal we all learn as children, whose use stretches back at least to the Middle Ages — is gradually being felled in the barrage of instant messaging that has become synonymous with the digital age

So says David Crystal, who has written more than 100 books on language and is a former master of original pronunciation at Shakespeare’s Globe theater in London — a man who understands the power of tradition in language

The conspicuous omission of the period in text messages and in instant messaging on social media, he says, is a product of the punctuation-free staccato sentences favored by millennials — and increasingly their elders — a trend fueled by the freewheeling style of Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter

. . . .

“In an instant message, it is pretty obvious a sentence has come to an end, and none will have a full stop,” he added “So why use it?”

In fact, the understated period — the punctuation equivalent of stagehands who dress in black to be less conspicuous — may have suddenly taken on meanings all its own

Increasingly, says Professor Crystal, whose books include “Making a Point: The Persnickety Story of English Punctuation,” the period is being deployed as a weapon to show irony, syntactic snark, insincerity, even aggression

If the love of your life just canceled the candlelit, six-course, home-cooked dinner you have prepared, you are best advised to include a period when you respond “Fine.” to show annoyance

“Fine” or “Fine!,” in contrast, could denote acquiescence or blithe acceptance

“The period now has an emotional charge and has become an emoticon of sorts,” Professor Crystal said “In the 1990s the internet created an ethos of linguistic free love where breaking the rules was encouraged and punctuation was one of the ways this could be done”

. . . .

Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguist who teaches at the University of California, Berkeley, noted that the 140-character limit imposed by Twitter and the reading of messages on a cellphone or hand-held device has repurposed the punctuation mark

“It is not necessary to use a period in a text message, so to make something explicit that is already implicit makes a point of it,” he said “It’s like when you say, ‘I am not going – period’ It’s a mark It can be aggressive It can be emphatic It can mean, ‘I have no more to say’

Can ardent fans of punctuation take heart in any part of the period’s decline? Perhaps.

The shunning of the period, Professor Crystal said, has paradoxically been accompanied by spasms of overpunctuation

“If someone texts, ‘Are you coming to the party?’ the response,” he noted, was increasingly, “Yes, fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!”

Link to the rest at The New York Times

15 Scheduling Apps to Save You Time

12 June 2016

From Social Media Just for Writers:

Want to Save Time? Schedule Your Posts

You don’t have the time to sit in front of your computer all day and post information at two- to three-hour intervals. You’re busy enough as it is, waking up while it’s still dark outside to squeeze a few hours of writing into your day before heading off to work or fixing breakfast for your kids.

The good news is that social media marketing doesn’t require you to sacrifice large chunks of your time. Once you’ve curated your information using one or more of the applications and websites mentioned earlier, your next step will be to spend five minutes scheduling your posts by using an application designed to release your selected updates at times of the day when your readers are online.

There are two exceptions. (1) While you can use an application to schedule a post to your Facebook author page, Facebook has its own scheduling feature within the status update box that’s easy to use. You can even plan posts as far out as six months. (2) In addition, you can use a few applications (such as Hootsuite and Buffer) to schedule shares to your Google+ page—but not to your Google+ profile.

. . . .

For most other social media networks, you can schedule your tweets, posts, and updates for the day, the entire week, or the rest of the month.

Friends Don’t Let Friends Automate

Some people like to use direct messages to welcome new followers on Twitter. In the process, they often direct their new Tweeps to a blog or to Amazon. Refrain from doing this. Increasingly, Twitter users are ignoring direct messages because they predominantly contain spam (“Buy my book!” “Read my blog!” “Like my Facebook page!”). Second, if you want to acknowledge a new follower, personalize your message. Follow the link to the person’s blog or website and comment about that. Or if you’ve read a book by a new follower, tell the author how much you enjoyed it and while you’re at it, retweet one of his or her messages.

Social Media Dashboards for Indie Authors

Use one or more of the following applications to schedule your updates.

. . . .


Buffer is another popular choice. You can use Buffer for free. If you’d like to schedule images to Pinterest, you’ll need the Awesome plan, which is $102/year. What’s fun about Buffer is its integration with other social media applications, such as its curation app, Daily. Buffer is one of the easiest scheduling programs available.

This application will schedule your most recent blog posts for you, so you don’t have to think about it. Once you write and schedule your blog post, will automatically post it to all of your social media profiles, including your Google+ page. The free plan allows you to post to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. The application also provides data on click-through rates. I’m including this information even though I’m against these types of apps. If you decide to use it, don’t use it on your Facebook account. Facebook downgrades posts that are automatically added by applications like and, therefore, very few of your friends and fans will see your status updates that schedules for you. If you must use it, link Twitter and LinkedIn to this tool.

. . . .


People new to social media tend to start with the free version of Hootsuite. It’s easy to set up and will allow you to post to Facebook, LinkedIn and LinkedIn groups, Twitter, your Google+ page, and Instagram. You can set up your feeds and use Hootsuite to keep in touch with your friends, fans, and followers by aggregating your social media news feeds on this application. What this means is that you can navigate to Hootsuite to see all of your friends’ and followers’ posts in one place. The paid version provides analytics.

Link to the rest at Social Media Just for Writers and thanks to Joel for the tip.

PG has used several of the programs mentioned in the OP for various purposes. PG has his preferences for incoming sources of information based upon the signal/noise ratio he experiences, but realizes others have different preferences, so he has outgoing communication to social media platforms that he seldom uses to receive information.

One other tool bloggers may forget is WordPress itself, which allows individual blog posts to be scheduled for whenever you please. PG uses this tool every day.

PG understands that some people are addicted to Twitter. He is not, but tweets every blog post. On the very occasional visits to his Twitter feeds, he is reminded why, for him, Twitter’s signal/noise ratio is so terrible.

Here’s a direct message he just received:

I’m pleased to announce women around the country are demanding my 31 cities love tour!  Let’s connect if your organization is interested in adding your City to the growing list. You can host or join America’s Love Tour.

Followed by:

Stand Up Comedy is HOT and my customers LOVE what I do. Need a comedy event? Check out the video and testimonials on my website

PG generally looks to Publishers Weekly, The New York Times and the Authors Guild for his comedy needs.

Goodreads Is Finally Cashing in on Its Devoted Community

21 May 2016

From Wired:

The premis of Goodreads is simple, as it has been since the service launched in 2007: Track the books you read, leave ratings and reviews, and network with fellow readers. In practice, though, the platform has grown to be a sprawling literary social network, equal parts Facebook, Yelp, and Reddit. Message boards, recommendations, and listicles have helped created enough space for any bookworm to find their niche.

Not surprisingly, all of that activity has also generated a lot of data on reading habits, and this week, Goodreads began harnessing of that data to sell books. It’s the first time that the platform has directly pushed commerce, and while the move might seem inevitable, it’s proof that Amazon, which owns Goodreads, has wised up to the power of the platform.

. . . .

Goodreads Deals, which launched on Tuesday, emails users when relevant ebooks go on deep discount. (Neil Gaiman’s American Gods for $2.99, for instance.) It’s an opt-in proposition, and isn’t limited to the Kindle; users have their choice of outside e-book retailers, from Google Play to Apple to Barnes and Noble, and even Kobo. The company has worked for years with publishers on giveaways, and the hop from recommendations to promotions is even shorter. Yet, our reading choices are more than a window to our tastes and experiences—they’re an uncommonly honest one, so much so that Goodreads is arguably more honed in to our true selves than any other social-media platform.

The more you read, and the more you track what you read, the more your choices begin to fill in the complex sketch of who you are. There’s a reason why, when we visit people’s homes, we almost always look at their shelves: the spines there are an intimate inventory of their experiences. Yet, before Goodreads, and apps like it, our reading habits were largely private; we put our books inside our purses and bags once we stepped off the subway, kept them close in cafés. For those of us with e-readers, our habits were even more anonymous; book covers are no longer billboards. (You’re welcome, everyone who read Fifty Shades.) That privacy came with a price. Unless you were in a book club, you were likely deprived of discussing your latest read.

Link to the rest at Wired

PG answers a question

19 May 2016

Sometimes tipsters sending post ideas TPV will ask PG if it is OK for them to send PG links to one of their own blog posts or something they’ve written and put on a website.

The answer to this question is . . . Yes.

If you think your post will interest visitors to TPV.

With one qualification: That you won’t become upset with PG if he doesn’t use your suggestion.

On quite a few weekdays, PG receives more tips than he can use (because he strives to have a life outside of the blog plus Mrs. PG appreciates it when he practices a little law and gets paid for doing so). On such days, PG still scans the tips, but passes on almost everything except reports that Jeff Bezos just paid cash for Manhattan.

PG’s hot tip about tips is that all things book biz slow way down on weekends. Items he might ignore on a Wednesday may get posted on Saturday or Sunday. PG tries to keep the quality up at all times, but he believes it’s important for some visitors that he posts every day. He won’t post garbage, but sometimes spreads a wider net on the weekends.

So, send those genius links in, even if you’re self-conscious about being a genius and while you were growing up, a person of authority told you you shouldn’t beat your own drum or blow your own horn.

PG thinks it’s great when indie authors beat their own drums. Or when other people blow their horns for indie authors.

Just promise you won’t feel crushed if PG doesn’t accept everything you send. Just keep on sending.

You can send tips via the Contact Page or email them directly to the address where Contact Page items are sent: PG [[that “at sign” thing]]

How one year of daily blogging changed my life

2 May 2016

From Medium:

A year ago from today, I was creatively dead. Frustrated. Coming off of three years as a freelance copywriter, being the father of an almost two-year-old, and the husband of a wife who was in the throes of starting her own ed consulting business — I was exhausted.

I was taking work as it came in. Hustling, squabbling over rates, and trying to collect on long past-due invoices. I can feel the knots in my stomach to this day.

I had no platform. My personal blog had 30 email subscribers, mostly composed of family and friends. I was burned out. My muchness was gone. I needed to get it back.

. . . .

It was around this time that one of my favorite internet people — Casey Neistat — had started his daily YouTube vlog. On his first episode, he explained how he was tired and busy as ever… Which is why he needed to (wait for it…) create something every day. In his case, a vlog.

I was inspired. Seeing that, combined with years of reading Seth Godin’s prodding to blog daily, I reached a point where something gave way. I had to do it. I had to stop complaining about my lot and start creating.

Every. Single. Day.

. . . .

After a month, I decided to write about my month-long daily creative experiment. I hit publish. Went to bed. And woke up to a vibrating phone full of tweets, recommends, and shares. The post went viral (not mega-viral, but viral enough for me).

I was getting tweets and emails from publications like The Daily Dot, The Observer, and Huffington Post.

. . . .

All those years of writing in notebooks, untitled Google docs, and for thankless clients had actually shown a result. My personal brand had started growing. After years of rot, something had taken hold.

And just like that, I was all-in. The momentum was too much to stop. I was a daily blogger.

. . . .

To date, it’s grown to almost 17,000 readers with posts having been translated in 4 languages. I’m the sole writer and editor. I did this on purpose because I wanted it to be a collection of me. A digital footprint of my evolution as a human and creative over the course of time. By doing so, I started a body of work. My body of work.

But the road over a year wasn’t all rainbows and unicorn dumplings. It damn near killed me.

. . . .

But, on planes, trains, and in the passenger seat cruising down the autobahn, I wrote. During the windows of time that my wife and kid slept, I made it my priority to get a post out to the world. I had to get it in during the nooks and crannies. Sometimes it was easy. Often times, it wasn’t.

. . . .

 I woke up after our first night’s stay at sunrise before everyone else (as usual) just to be able to honestly tell my readers, once we’d returned to civilization, that I’d not missed a day — that I’d earnestly written this post, but could not share it with them. I wrote the post on my iPhone ‘note’ app. And somehow, just like that, my phone was graced by the Swiss gods above with two bars of cell reception. Just like that, a beam of telecommunication had shot over the alps and showered my cell phone in its glory. I was able to keep my obligation, stay true to my mission, and post.

Link to the rest at Medium

PG says that sometimes keeping up a daily blog (even one that involves searching and reading more than writing) benefits from a modicum of OCD (or perhaps giant heaps of OCD).

Social networking is over

2 May 2016

From TechConnect:

It was great while it lasted, but social networking is going away.

The idea was that you could sign up for a social network like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr or Reddit and connect with old friends and acquaintances, make new ones or even interact with strangers about your life.

Except that Twitter was really a “micro-blogging” site, LinkedIn was about finding a job, Pinterest was a pinboard site, Instagram and Flickr were photo-sharing sites, Tumblr was a social-blogging platform, Reddit was a social bookmarking site and who knows whatGoogle+ ever was?

Let’s face it: Facebook was the only true major social network.

. . . .

But I’m not talking about the site, but the behavior. Social networking used to dominate all of those platforms.

And the social networking idea existed on all of those sites: conceived broadly, social networking sites were places for people to connect with other people and share their ideas, dreams, opinions, gossip and cat photos.

. . . .

What’s happening is that social networking is being replaced or supplanted by three things.

The first is messaging. Those darn millennials we’re always hearing about increasingly reject social networking on sites like Facebook in favor of messaging via apps like Snapchat.

Unlike social networking, messaging is private, temporary and immediate.

. . . .

The second is the general world of online distractions, including YouTube videos, games, articles, podcasts and more.

And the third is social media.

Confusion about the difference between social networking and social media is why most people haven’t noticed the decline of social networking. People don’t stop to think about the difference.

Social networking is personal content. Social media is professional content.

The sharing of social media — professionally produced videos, articles, podcasts and photos — is gradually replacing the sharing of personal content about one’s life.

For example, as you read my column, this article is being shared on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other so-called “social networking” sites. But that isn’t social networking; it’s social media.

. . . .

Micro-blogging, micro-schmogging. No matter what you call it, Twitter is included in every roundup, comparison or article about social networking. It’s universally included in the “social network” category.

That’s why it’s telling that Twitter last week reportedly recategorized itself in Apple’s App Store. The company removed its app from the “social networking” category and put it into the “news” category.

The move transformed Twitter from the No. 5 social networking app in the App Store to the No. 1 news app. The move also redefines Twitter: It’s no longer a place where people connect with other people to talk about their lives; it’s now a place where people get news.

Twitter is telling us that Twitter is no longer about social networking. Twitter is now about social media. And Twitter probably wouldn’t have made the move if the social networking category was burning with relevance.

Link to the rest at TechConnect

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