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The Many Faces of Influence

the-many-faces-of-influence

I came across this infographic not too long ago and it was definitely share-worthy. Original source: Traaker (@traackr): http://traackr.com/blog/tag/infographic/.

Workplace Firewall

The firewall at my work is so weird. It does something funky with how it accepts cookies that leads to unpredictable behavior across different sites. I know its the firewall and not the browser because I experience the same issue with Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. I know enough to configure the settings on each browser but nothing does the trick.

Here are some of the problems I’ve come across with some hoops I have to jump:

  • WordPress.com: will log me in but will tell me that I’m not logged in. I can’t access my reader or dashboard. Occasionally it will give me setting before realizing what it did and then lock me out. If I go to someone else’s page though, it have my header bar at the top and it will allow to follow someone.

  • Blogger: will not let me log in if I go straight to the blogger website. If I log into my gmail first though, and then click on Blogger from the menu at the top, then I get in no problem.

  • Tumblr: completely blocked.

  • LinkedIn: cannot log in or access anything.

  • Facebook: will tell me it was unable to log me in, but then I can access limited uses if I jump directly to a page.*

  • Twitter: no issue unless I need to allow a third party permission and then that’s 50/50.**

  • Hootsuite: cannot log in.

  • Amazon.com: will let me log in, but have to input password often because it forgets that I’m logged in.

  • Pinterest: will technically log me in (I can see my avatar) and I can see pins, but I cannot like or pin anything.

  • New York Times: I cannot read a single article from them.

*I rarely, if ever use Facebook at work.

**I always use twitter at work. I like to justify it by saying I follow business/psychology related accounts.

“It’s not you, it’s…my cellphone?”

I was perusing my twitter feed the other day when I came across this little gem:

Do you ever wonder how many couples have never met on public transport since they were both too busy looking at their phones?

I laughed and then almost carried on my merry way, but the deepness of the tweet (which I’m sure was unintended) hit me: this new age of social media and digital connectedness is really harming our face-to-face interactions. This is something that has been slowly building over the years with the greater adoption of cell phones and particularly smartphones.

I remember my days as a Manager at Chick-fil-a. Great company, great job, and wonderful co-workers…but horrid customers. I cannot express to you the utter disdain we had for customers who would come through the drive-thru or walk-in that were talking on their cell phone. We just wanted to slap the thing right out of their hands! If we struck them in the process then all the better. Seriously though, it was a major annoyance and a lack of respect for people trying to serve them. Whenever I got one of these customers I would do one of two things depending on my mood: I would either not say a single word to them the entire time or I would say everything really loud to disrupt their conversation. Sure some people got mad, but what were they going to do? Complain to the manager? That’s me, dufus.

Now that I’m more removed from the customer service business, this has become less of an issue for me personally. But despite all the many conveniences and benefits that accompany the advent of the smartphone, it also has its ugly underbelly that is reaching pandemic levels in our society. Take a look at any break room in the workplace, any theater before the performance starts, a parent at the park, or people riding public transit*. The majority of the people have their eyes glued to their phone. Myself included many times.

One of the Joys of the Digital Age

One of the Joys of the Digital Age

Smartphones give us constant access to the world and what is going on. Want to know the score to the basketball game? Not a problem. Within 30 seconds you can find out how bad Lebron James is whooping up on the other team. Right at our fingertips we can access a near infinite amount of information and news. It also helps us stay connected with distant family and friends via Facebook, twitter, and other social media sites. But while this constant connection helps us keep in touch with those at a distance, what is it doing to our relationships with the person right next to us?

So going back to the tweet at the beginning. This growing concern is not just negatively affecting our current relationships, but it can also be preventing us from establishing new and worthwhile ones.** What opportunities are we missing right there around us because we’re too preoccupied in reading that latest status update or tweet? That post isn’t going anywhere, so why do we feel the almost compulsive need to see it right away? Why don’t we just check it later?

Now I’m not a neuroscientist by any means, but I know enough about how the brain develops and operates to know that this new digital age has to be directly affecting the physical structure and processes of that precious grey matter up there. And not for the better. Something I often say to clients is that our brain is a wonderful thing that is very good at what it does. One of its main underlying purposes to to continually be more effective and efficient. But that doesn’t mean what it does well is something good. An assassin is very effective and efficient at what it does, but that doesn’t mean killing people is a good thing.

The same goes for our brains and this constant connection to the digital world. Just because we can be connected doesn’t mean we should. We need to take time to cultivate the interpersonal relationships we have with those near and dear to us because there is nothing sadder than to see a couple during a romantic dinner out looking at their phones instead of each other. It  makes me want to slap the phones out of their hands.

What grievous infractions have you witnessed with smartphones and our interactions with others?

 

*Personally, unless I know someone on the train/bus with me, I have my headphones in and head down towards my phone screen so any of the crazy people who might be nearby are less likely to talk to me. But that’s just part of living in Atlanta.

**Those crazy people on public transit are not worthwhile new relationships we should seek out.

 

The Science of Social Timing

Science of Social Timing

I came across this infographic the other day and thought it would be useful to share with others. Based on this, it would seem best to post your best new material on Mondays and Thursday around 11am and have your schedule open at 9am on Saturdays in order to respond to comments.


Source: KISSmetrics at www.kissmetrics.com; data provided by @danzarrella and @sengineland

Why Can’t I ‘Dislike’ Something on Facebook?

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We’ve all seen one those posts on Facebook before. You know the ones I’m talking about. The ones where someone is complaining about how bad their day is or they’re sharing some other tragic news. There’s an inherent dilemma we face as the reader of those posts: how do we let the person know that we read the post and sympathize without leaving a comment?*

It feels counterintuitive to Like a comment that says, “Today was the worst! Both kids threw up all over the place and then I was in a car accident!” Why would anyone Like a post like that? Wouldn’t it be the same as saying, “Yeah, your day sucks and I think that’s a good thing.” That sounds kind of sadistic, doesn’t it?. Yet we see Likes on those posts all the time (albeit fewer ones than other posts).

The Like button has morphed in meaning to include more than just agreeing or thinking something is good. In the case of these downer posts from the “woe is me” and “alas” people, Liking a post like this is almost a sign of sympathy or understanding. So it’s more like “yeah, your day sucks and I’m sorry…but I’m too lazy to say that in a comment.” Not everyone gets that though or they feel that the Like will be misunderstood so they don’t end up doing anything.

So it begs the question: why doesn’t Facebook have a Dislike button?

Its the same reason that Google+ (for all 5 of you who use it) has a +1 button and not a -1 button. It’s not positive or happy. It would be acknowledging and focusing on the bad in life. That’s too much negativity and they don’t want that on their sites.

This is actually smart on their part. Positive psychology would have us focus on all the great things in life so we can be more motivated to overcome any bad things that may come our way. Its the whole glass half full idea. Now before you go and think that Facebook is out there trying to boost everyone’s mood, they’re not. They are acting out of purely selfish motives. Any positive boost to your mood is a secondary effect to their main objective.

By reducing that negativity on their sites, Facebook and other companies are subtly encouraging you to come back and use their sites more. Your increased frequency and use allows them to extract more advertising dollars and get them to a bigger bottom line. So in the end it comes down to a sound business decision that uses psychological concepts as its basis.

Why else do you think there’s not a Dislike button on Facebook?

*Let’s face it, we prefer not to leave a comment unless we have something important, interesting, witty, or pertinent to say. It’s much easier to hit the Like button and move on which is why we Like more posts than comment on them.**

**Which is way I personally disagree with those posts that say “Like if you agree or leave a comment if you don’t.” There were a lot of these that popped up during the 2012 election where support for that’s person candidate of choice was Liked and the opponent was commented on so as to give the illusion of more popular support.

Storify & Social Media Curation

Clip from the Storify homepage

Clip from the Storify homepage

I remember the first time I heard about Storify and how much of an amazing idea it was. Its a wonderful service that allows the user to pull content from across the Internet (with a focus on social media) and put it all together with your own comments to curate stories. So for example, with the recent events in Boston, there are many different stories on Storify right now where people are piecing together tweets, pictures, videos, and links they’ve found and putting it all together in one place. Pretty cool stuff.

I feel in love with Storify right away. It was fairly simple to use and intuitive with its design. The possibilities were endless…but there was a problem: I didn’t know what stories to curate! There were so many options I didn’t know what to do. I could feel my interest peaking and my flow wanting to come out and play but I couldn’t find the way to focus it.

Slowly I began to figure out different ways to use it though and my flow kicked in. Now I have a few different Storify accounts to go in line with the different twitter accounts I have. One is my personal one, another is associated with my religion and things I do with my church, and the last is an anonymous account I want go too much into for fairly obvious reasons. So within my church I often give lessons in a class or provide a presentation about a given topic. I found that using Storify is a great way to compile my notes and provide it to all the listeners. Very effective and beneficial.

I also use Storify to compile my favorite tweets from the past week and have them all in place. I used it during a conference once too to take notes in conjunction with twitter. I would follow the hashtag associated with the conference and favorite the updates I liked from others. I then used Storify to put all those favorited tweets along with my own during the conference together in one place. Boom! Taking notes like a boss.

Now with my personal Storify account I unfortunately have to report it has fairly minimal use. I curated one story about one of my favorite TV shows right now: Community. I also experimented with using bit.ly and ifttt (more on that later) with Storify to compile all the different articles and news items I read each day. Very easy to do but I ultimately let it slowly die because the response was limited.

In the end, I hope to continue using Storify more and incorporate it into this site. Storify is supposed to work well and play nice with WordPress so that integration is seamless. We shall see. You can find out more about Storify here.

How do you see yourself using Storify?