Apple Hates Social Media

[picappgallerysingle id=”9195352″]I wasn’t a good Facebooker until I got an iPhone. I would forget about my accounts and not look at them for weeks. I think that part of the reason that Friendster and Myspace died is because you had to be chained to your computer to update them. Once you could effectively manage your online profiles on the run as you were being social and not after the fact, social networks became relevant to me. You could make an argument that the iPhone helped take social media to the next level. It brought elegant Internet surfing, faster connections, and a camera to everyone who would stomach AT&T. All of this was a boon to social networks.

So for their role in creating a space that made sites like Facebook and Twitter possible, how can Apple suck so bad at social media?

  • Customer Service – Your iPhone 4 is having problems. The signal strength and proximity sensor issues are all over Twitter, Facebook, an the blogosphere. Yet you say nothing. Of course you really don’t have a Facebook page of any value or your Twitter account is worth even less. You do have forums that you don’t answer. It’s like it’s 1998 at 1 Infinite Loop. In 2010, customers expect interaction online – not waiting in line at your stores or on the phone.
  • Social media integration – Why can’t I submit photos or videos directly to Facebook from outside of their app? As I mentioned before, the connected camera was one of the things that made these sites relevant.

As smart as Apple is about some things, they’re incredibly dumb about this. It’s not as if their employees don’t talk to customers millions of times every day. I was at an Apple store recently and saw customers hug their Apple rep on two separate occasions. Your employees are good at what they do, customers like them, and they seem to be able to communicate well, something it’s apparent that you can’t do.

I hate to say this, but one of the best companies at this is Apple’s ugly stepsister, AT&T. On AT&T’s Facebook page, they answer questions, post helpful videos and work to allay concerns before they go viral. You can also look at Verizon’s or Comcast’s Twitter accounts for other tech companies that get it.

Do you have any examples of good customer service online or companies that use social networks well? Share them in the comments section.

SlyMiser is coming soon

6460_116235288020_110577403020_2329193_3798532_nIn this economy…

A few months ago some friends and I decided there needed to be a place for people who wanted to live their lives in the fashion they were accustomed to without breaking the bank. We couldn’t find one that we liked, so we decided to create one.

Coming this fall our new website, SlyMiser.com will offer tips, reviews, and articles on how to live your life in style without breaking the bank.

Visit our site and become our fan on Facebook – we’ll be offering tips and breaking news there until the site is up and running this fall.

Fired by your Facebook “friend”

I worry about having co-workers as Facebook friends. In this stream of  consciousness, voyeuristic world – I don’t know that I want people I don’t know all that well to hear my inner most thoughts. I try and convince myself that I’m not embarrassed about my beliefs and my thoughts, but honestly a passing status change or Tweet are not enough for someone to determine who I am as a person, and I may be embarrassed at how they interpreted my thoughts.

I say all that because yesterday a Eagles game day worker was fired for posting the following on his Facebook page:

Dan is [expletive] devastated about Dawkins signing with Denver. . .Dam Eagles R Retarted!!”

I believe Dan deserved punishment, but the punishment seems out of line with the crime. I remind you that on Facebook, only those people who are your friends can see you posts (assuming that Dan didn’t have his page visible to everyone). The few people that could have seen what Dan wrote would have been limited if the Eagles had handled this with a little more deftness. Because they fired him, his comments have become much more read than if they had addressed them more appropriately. But again, he deserved to be punished – and if he hadn’t have done something so stupid, he wouldn’t be where he is.

Stupid…

Why? Apparently Dan had Eagles’ management as friends. At then end they’re not your friends – they’re your managers.

I decided to make some edits to my Facebook account a few weeks ago. I want to use it the way it’s supposed to be use – I vent there – I rant there – I say things meant for the eyes of people who know me well enough to have a filter. But I know there are people there who are barely  acquaintances and don’t know me well enough to understand and empathize. At the end of the day we all say things to get a reaction. What you don’t want is for the people listening to have any power over you and be able to react by exerting their control over your life.

At the very least here’s my recommendation to you – manage who your friends are very carefully.  Facebook is a great place to keep up and find friends from the past, but it’s also a place where many people share quite a bit of personal detail. A few thoughts:

  • It makes sense to draw a line between your personal life and work life.  If you’re going to allow co-workers to be your friend, then watch what you say.
  • It’s probably a good idea to keep management out
  • You can delete friends – it’s simple and they don’t know you did it (until they try and access your profile – and who has time for that)
  • If someone does notice – blame it on Facebook
  • Try and direct co-workers to  LinkedIn – that’s what it’s meant for

Facebook is only cool until it costs you a job. So be careful.

5 Things I love/hate: Verizon FIOS

So we’ve had Verizon’s FiOS service for a little over a year (actually it’s a year for their Internet service and about 9 months for TV). So here are 5 things I love and hate about the service:

5 Things I love about Verizon FiOS:

  1. Raw Speed – Verizon’s FiOS Internet is so much faster than Comcast’s service – and the word is that there’ll be a 10% increase in speed soon.
  2. Picture quality – When we got our HD TV last year we were very disappointed in the quality of non-HD  stations on Comcast.  The quality was so degraded, that we missed our old analog set.  Not only are the non-HD channels significantly better, the HD channels look better too.
  3. Price – This is hard to compare because the services aren’t the same, but I’m getting more channels, faster internet, for less money.  Case closed.
  4. Multi-room DVR – with this service, a show you record on one DVR is available on any box in the house.
  5. It works – our Comcast service went down so often, it felt like I was being ripped off.  So far, so good on Verizon.  Aside from my modem dying, the service has been pretty good.
And in the spirit of fair and balanced reporting
5 things I hate about Verizon FiOS:
  1. On Demand – They have it, but Comcast had more network shows (CBS and NBC primarily) on demand.  Hoping that this changes with Verizon soon.
  2. Messages – Comcast would let you know through your box of any free HBO or Cinemax weekends.  If there was a special, that red light was on letting you know.  The message red light has yet to turn on on our FiOS box.
  3. The On Screen Guide – Too much going on.  They recently upgraded the guide – I wish I could go back to the old one.
  4. Multi-room DVR – yes I loved it too – but one thing: if you record an HD show, then you have to watch it on an HD set in another room.  Being as we only have one HD TV, that reduces the usefulness of this service significantly.
  5. No CN8 – I shouldn’t complain because at least FiOS has Comcast Sportsnet, but when both the Sixers and Phillies were in the playoffs, that pushed a lot of the early season Phillies games to CN8.
All in all, I highly recommend the service.  It’s had a great start, and it’s sure to get better. And best of all – you get to call Comcast and cancel – what could be worth more?

Google 411

I love Google.   Every day there is something new from them, and chances are, they’ll do it better.   The old rule of taking something and improving it by 10%.   Yahoo! was firs in search, Google took it and did it better.   There are many RSS readers, but I really like Google Reader.   (I don’t love Gmail, but they’re allowed one pass).

Anyway,   if you keep your eyes on the Google Labs – that’s where you’ll find a lot of the things they’re testing.   One such thing is Google’s Voice Local Search or as we all know it, directory assistance.   Call the Google 411 number 1-800-GOOG-411 (1-800-466-4411), tell the system what you’re looking for, and it will either dial the selected number or offer you other listings.   And it works pretty well.

So what’s the big deal?   It’s free.     My directory assistance on my mobile phone costs about 99 cents per call.   This, you can use all the time and get charged nothing more than your airtime charges.

Try it out.

Maybe Microsoft should just own the web

A news story going around today about Microsoft suing people to stop what’s called typosquatting (this is when a site is spelled on a common typo – such as Yaho.com instead of Yahoo.com).

I guess when you’re a monopoly, the idea of a company making money without you sharing it with them is unfathomable. Microsoft is sort of like the mob that way.

Part of me agrees that the practice of typosquatting is shady, but is it trademark infringement? Isn’t this the same as moving next door to the most popular store on the block in an attempt to increase the sales in your own store? Or positioning lower selling products on a shelf next to more popular products. It’s an attempt to draft off of the popularity of a more popular brand – and this has been around forever. Someone will say “but people accidentally go to the URL because of the typo and this is misleading.” Is it? They typed in the wrong URL and were sent to the site they requested.
If Microsoft wants to prevent this, then buy the URL, but otherwise if the site in question isn’t using the copyrighted material of Microsoft and it’s not doing something illegal, then it’s free game.

BTW – the following is from Wikipedia’s article on typosquatting:

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer automatically redirects users’ mistyped URL queries to their MSN Search page. Though a user can reconfigure their browser to use a different search tool, Google, one of MSN’s biggest rivals, is not in the list. However, on their web site, Google has explained how to make their search engine the IE default for mistyped urls

So in other words, Microsoft uses it’s dominance in the browser world to typosquat themselves.

Generic Snakes on a Plane title

(All the good titles are gone – Snakes on a Blog, taken. Twists on the title are so April.) sjacksonshoot.png

Kristen and I saw the much hyped Snakes on a Plane Saturday night. Expecting huge crowds, we stopped by the theater early to grab tickets, so imagine my surprise when we arrive and the show is not even close to a sellout. The entertainment media is already calling the movie a flop – only taking in $15.2 million dollars – about have the cost to make the movie.

A lot of the stories are claiming that this is an indictment of the blogosphere, buzz marketing, and internet marketing in general. My take is this – New Line Cinema made a mistake in relying soley on the internet and word of mouth marketing to market this movie – yes it’s cheaper, but if they wanted really huge numbers, it would have helped to build on the buzz with a wider broadcast campaign.

That said, this movie is a success because they were able to viably launch a movie without a huge media spend – that really hadn’t been done before. This movie doesn’t even get made without the internet. Media stories stating that SOAP isn’t successful are in part self-serving because they’re the ones that have lost out on ad dollars.

On to the movie – if for some reason you’re expecting this to be an Oscar level film you’ll be dissappointed. SOAP is a summer escapism – think Speed with less IQ. Lot’s of Samuel L., snakes, and laugh out loud lines (intentional and unintentional). Not a good movie, but it lives up to my expectations, and I’m fine with that. If you can’t laugh at yourself, and have an inability to do something totally silly – don’t go.