Did the Integration of Google Plus Make YouTube Comments Worse?
On November 6th, 2013 YouTube announced that it had begun implementing their new comment system: all users were now required to integrate their YouTube accounts with Google+. Their reasoning for this drastic change was to diminish spam and help personalize the YouTube experience by showcasing comments from those you care about (friends in your circle). It’s a change that some say was a step in the right direction, but actually it seems that Google Plus made YouTube comments worse.
“No Anonymity” Hurts Regular Users Too
The veil of anonymity is a strong one; certain individuals use that veil to leave spam messages full of mockery and hurtful speech. It’s turned YouTube into a negative space, so much so that certain social media profiles are dedicated to reminding their followers to not read the comments.
Yet, they’re not the only ones who favor using usernames on the Internet. Regular users who prefer to keep their viewing habits separate from their identity make up the majority of people on YouTube; those who visit their favorite channels to view a multitude of videos a day for their fix of entertainment.
This also applies to popular YouTube creators like PewDiePie; YouTube creators who prefer to go with pseudonyms versus their full name. Some may prefer pseudonyms for security reasons, while others are trying to maintain a unified brand. Whatever the case, not everyone who posts on YouTube wants to showcase their real name. YouTube does provide the option to use your username over your full name, but only if you create a second Google+ account separately, an unnecessarily confusing process.
Not Being Able to Comment on Your Own Videos
Even after creating this second account, users found issues where they weren’t able to reply to their own video comments. Either the platform wasn’t recognizing their particular Google+ account to verify them to comment, or there was no reply link for them to click on. YouTube has bolstered that a key element to the integration has been to reduce spam, but if it’s stopping regular users from participating in conversation altogether, the change may have missed its mark.
No Limit on Number of Characters
Twitter has a limit on the amount of characters you can tweet, 140, while Facebook’s limit ranks all the way to 63,206. For Google+ there were no issues as long as the post was under 100,000 characters. This fact was abused tremendously in the first week of YouTube’s new comment system, where one comment could take up half the page—and most of the time this feature was abused, it was to actually users warning YouTube about the exploit. Eventually Google addressed this problem.
Approving Comments is Cumbersome
For brands, having the ability to approve incoming comments is fantastic to bolster positive communication versus the usual negative fueled landmine that usually accompanies very popular videos. However, when that review system is difficult to navigate, it makes users want to avoid it altogether. Then there’s the issue with top comments no longer being voted up; instead the top comments are those from your circles, ones from the Google+ profile belonging to the channel, and, most importantly, comments that are attracting the most attention. And on YouTube, “popular” comments are usually the comments that are the most unconstructive.
Even so, YouTube creators have noticed a steep decline in fan participation in the comments, and some have opted to avoid participating in their own comments altogether. This begs the question if the merger between Google’s social platform, which is still fighting to get more participation, and it’s striving video sharing site (a social platform in its own right) was worth it.
New Year, New Inbox: Tips for Better Email Management
Email is a fundamental aspect of our jobs in today’s technologically driven age. So much so that we spend 28% of our workweek focused on reading and answering emails, which doesn’t sound like much until you realize that equals roughly 11 hours of a 40-hour workweek—and that doesn’t account for jobs that focus solely on email interaction like customer service!
Yet despite how important emails are to most occupations, the majority of individuals dread looking at their inbox, let alone addressing all the unopened messages. But there is a method to taming the madness; there is a way to manage your email to make it work for you instead of against your free time. Following these tips guarantees a lighter inbox and peaceful state of mind.
Folders/Labels Are Your Friend
Folders (or labels if you use Gmail) are an excellent starting point for organizing your inbox. Classifying the types of emails you receive and sorting your current messages under specific topics will begin emptying your inbox and help with future searches for specific emails.
If you’re the type of person who has over 3,000 emails in your inbox right now, going through each one and classifying what folder they belong to isn’t a good idea. Best bet is to make one folder titled “2013 to the Beginning” and file all your emails from that time frame in there right now. That act alone should be a big sigh of relief.
Now that your inbox has (hopefully) less than 100 emails, you can begin to tackle sorting messages into their designated category: personal emails, client A, project X, receipts, etc. This will take some time, so schedule at least a one-hour block one day to complete this task. Here’s a how to create labels for Gmail, folders for Yahoo mail and for Hotmail. Archiving is an alternative to all this, but using folders makes it a better searchable strategy.
Keep the Emails that Require your Attention Front and Center
By sifting emails into folders, your inbox should now ONLY have the important emails that require a response. Once you reply to the emails you can respond to, move that email into a folder—this way, you know you’ve taken care of your side of the correspondence and now all you can do is wait on the recipient’s reply.
If an email is very urgent and time sensitive of the recipient’s response, then it might be best to leave the email in your inbox so you don’t forget about it, but that also doesn’t mean your inbox should return to its old state.
Better yet, you can even create a folder titled “FOLLOW-UP” that you train yourself to look at before the end of every workday. Another option is keeping emails that call for a response marked as unread, making it a good visual reminder to attend to that email when you can.
Filtering is a fantastic tool for forwarding emails you know you’ll never read but continue to receive, such as company newsletters or press releases. If you’d rather not unsubscribe (or simply can’t) then filtering is the way to go.
Gmail, for example, gives you the option to pinpoint email addresses, subject headings, and specific words to create a filter from, to then either forward to a specific folder, mark as read, or automatically delete.
Use the Vacation Responder for More than Just Vacation
The vacation responder is the lovely tool that notifies everyone who emails you that you’re out of the office, enjoying a martini on a beach somewhere during the holidays. But it can be more than that. Using the vacation responder on those days your inbox is just overflowing, a tip I picked up from writing consultant Alexandra Franzen, is a way to let your clients and fellow employees know that you’re just really busy, not ignoring their email. It’s a personal, even if automated, touch to making the entire email process simpler.
And if you’re the type of person who receives the same questions over and over again, you can write up a small FAQ (or link to one) that goes in your vacation responder to automatically answer a majority of your emails without lifting a finger.
If your name was email@example.com, you could receive mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and use that address when signing up for company lists. Then, you can setup a filter to have those emails automatically go to a folder to not clog your inbox!
Have you ever received a newsletter only to wonder how they even got your email in the first place? Well it can be easy using this tip. If you use email@example.com to sign up for Starbucks emails, and the message from a third-party stranger is using that address, then that means Starbucks provided them with your email. Someone has some explaining to do!
What about the dot (“.”)? For Gmail in particular, that dot doesn’t matter! If your email is ilovemovies originally, you can tell people it’s i.love.movies or ilove.movies or i.lovemovies@gmail! Possibilities are endless.
Ignoring Emails Is Not a Solution
It’s quite discouraging when you take the time to send a very important and detailed email, only to never hear a peep from the recipient. The usual complaint is, “Well we’re busy! Our inboxes are flooded so we don’t have the time to respond to every inquiry.” But that can change; you can be THAT person who responds to every inquest who in turn will acquire a reputation for being quick and responsive—believe me, it’s such a rarity that others DO take notice and appreciate you for it.
In general, ignoring emails just creates more clutter because people usually follow-up on their inquiry, frustrating both parties. Avoid making those emails haunting reminders of the state your inbox was formerly in. Once you begin to organize your emails with these tips, you’ll find yourself with more time on your hands to answer people’s individual requests. Overall, the time saved will not only allow you to respond to emails at lightning speed, you’ll be able to focus on other projects and change the way you see your inbox forever.
Dog Bowls, One Example of Effective Local Marketing
It’s no secret that dog is man’s best friend, but nowhere is that more evident than on the streets of West Hollywood in Los Angeles. You’re guaranteed to see one dog every five minutes, accompanied by their loving owner. Thanks to their abundance, every few stores has a water bowl outside their entrance to quench the animals’ thirst, a cute gesture that actually has an additional purpose to their presence.
It’s an effective local marketing tactic.
Sounds silly, but by placing a water bowl outside the store entrance the pet owner gets to look at the storefront while their furry friend takes a sip. This makes sense; after all, for local businesses Yelp and Google searches are not always enough to bring in potential customers. What better way to attract business than by effectively “forcing” passers-by to stop and stare at what they offer. It’s convenient for the pet seeking sustenance and doesn’t really disturb the owner’s regular routine.
Thinking creatively about what your local city (and more specifically your block) deeply cares about and how to attract customers using that interest is a key and effective way to bring in more walk-ins. Does your town cherish football, but you’re a dog toy store? Well how about posting a flyer on your window front detailing how your brand will be livetweeting the Puppy Bowl, an event that combines the excitement of the Super Bowl with adorable puppies! It may be a long shot, but taking these types of local marketing initiatives is helpful in developing unique approaches to increase interest in your product. Not to mention it’s fun!
The dreaded pile of shame: a culmination of all the games you set aside when life got too busy. We all have one, and it’s a haunting reminder that greatness awaits if only we had more time to sit down and relax, controller in hand. But fret not, for there is a light at the end of the tunnel: there are ways to sift through the madness! “I don’t need tips,” you say! Well if it were so easy, you wouldn’t have a large shame pile to begin with.
Make a list
It sounds unnecessary, but having a tangible list of all the games you’ve put on the back burner would make things a bit easier to manage. Separating the games into categories is even more helpful: games not started, games 50% completed, etc. You don’t realize how easy it is to forget all the games you set aside when they’re mixed in with the rest of your collection, not including digital downloads you have stored on Steam.
Set a schedule
Creating an agenda for your work week (and if possible, weekends) is essential for everyday life, really, as it helps pinpoint where there’s room for improvement to make the most of your time. Having a calendar helps keep track of upcoming events and appointments so you can then plan your free time more wisely (and don’t accidentally forget a friend’s birthday). Taking the time to organize yourself a bit will allow you to see where you can fit in reading/writing/gaming—after you take care of the more important tasks, of course!
Setting a schedule also prevents you from wasting free time: How often have you found yourself with two straight hours of nothing to do that just cropped up out of nowhere? They may be rare, but I’m sure they happen, and it’s during these moments that you can tackle that copy of Ni no Kuniyou left for later. Only, I’ve often found myself just watching whatever’s on television when these hours spring up, and I always kick myself later for not doing something more productive fun with my time. Don’t be me.
Know when Achievements and Trophies are worth it
Personally I love the sound of that achievement ding when I’ve completed an objective, and seeing that platinum trophy icon appear on the upper-right hand side of my screen is an amazing feeling. BUT when you have a shame list that just keeps growing, sometimes 100% every game is not feasible. You have to choose what brings you more joy: achievements or the variety and completion of multiple games. Knowing how long a game can take to complete is also good knowledge to have, but I wouldn’t recommend rushing through a game just to get to the next item on your list either. Don’t deprive yourself of the pleasure these games bring, it defeats the entire purpose of the activity you’re trying to make time for.
It’s dangerous to go alone!
Friends are great for many things, such as tackling those games you have neglected for awhile. Having a good co-op buddy (online or taking turns on the couch) will help you run through games quicker and more efficiently. The best part? It’ll be more fun regardless, so it’s a win-win!
Ditch the games you’ll never get back to… Seriously
It may be hard to accept but you won’t finish all those games; if you’re too busy now, your life is just going to continue to get more occupied. Which is why it’s time to accept the inevitable: there are simply some games you will never go back to—games you’ll never finish. Maybe you lost a save file worth twenty hours of hard work, and just the thought of redoing all those missions is enough to put the game off for another day. Or maybe you know Final Fantasy XIIIgets better at the thirty-five hour mark but getting to that point sounds grueling. No matter how many times you convince yourself you’ll eventually find the time for every single game in that pile, when you factor in all the future games you’re going to get, it’s a lost cause.
Ultimately sell the game or gift it to a friend, because something that may just be gathering dust in your home may bring great joy to another. That’s rewarding enough!
The internet is a wondrous place! It’s full of facts and funny memes that quickly become a rabbit hole of information you never thought you’d care to know: Ladybugs are carnivorous poisonous bugs; you didn’t need to know that but now it’s in your memory bank!
Because of this endless stream of data I often find myself landing on random websites, and it saddens me when I find great websites that fail to follow proper protocol to ensure a frequent visitor.
A few months ago I saw The Conjuring, a disturbing movie that detailed a family haunted by a dark presence in their home, and the paranormal investigators that came to rid the evil. This premise has been used time and time again, but it was based off true events so of course I wanted to know what really happened!
The internet is so large that as a content creator you’re constantly fighting for people’s attention, and if you don’t take the proper steps to keep visitors on your site, you can lose them as a fan–as is the case here.
The horror of not linking properly is almost as scary as this doll… almost.
So what was their mistake?
The first sentence teases a previous article that’s sure to pique the reader’s interest, but nowhere is the article linked. Having to scour through their website to find the article is a chore, and something most people won’t do because most site search engines are horrible. At the time I was on my phone, which made it nearly impossible to navigate the website itself. This ultimately affects the website’s bounce rate, something everyone managing a website should pay attention to.
A bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave the site, or “bounce,” after landing on one page. A high bounce rate means the site has failed to keep the visitor interested in navigating to another page within the same site. Reducing your bounce rate means more engaged visitors and the potential to convert them to returning fans.
How do you reduce the bounce rate?
The first obvious step is to link to related pages within the website when possible, but be sure to take a few minutes to do it wisely.
Anchor text is the visible text that’s clickable in a hyperlink. How often do you see the words “click here” when told to view a page or download a product? Those are all MISSED opportunities to create great anchor text which can help the site’s SEO!
The best anchor text have keywords. In the above example, it’s as simple as making “true story behind the film The Conjuring,” the hyperlink, versus making it something like, “Yesterday I wrote about… click here to read it.”
Does this really help? YES!
With a reduction in your website’s bounce rate, your website’s ability to retain readers after they visit your website once is reinforced.
If we refer back to the horror-movies.ca website, we can see that most of their articles have around 10 comments each, yet the exclusive family member true story article has over 200 comments! This is because their article it was one of the top results in a “Conjuring true story” Google search, making it one of the most popular pieces on the site itself. If they take the time to spruce up the article they’d be sure to see better conversion and engagement results for other related posts.
Here are some questions to keep in mind that makes the process pretty simple:
Have a review for a movie/book/game you mentioned in your article? Link to it!
Have a feature that connects to a detail mentioned in the article? Add it in.
Are your social buttons to follow the brand on Twitter, like and post the article on Facebook present on the page?
Is the author’s name clickable to see what else he wrote, or another way to find all their articles?
Now go on and meticulously go through every post you’ve ever made and start linking! Just kidding, that’ll drive you insane. Find your most popular posts and fix those up, you’ll thank me later.
Twitter is a fantastic tool to connect with audiences and build relationships, anddespite the business itself having some missteps, it will continue to bring people together to discuss the latest season finale or political blunder. Celebrities, who have some of the most passionate audiences, thus have much to gain from joining this growing social platform. Fans are able to see into their favorite star’s daily life, and the world is able to see what their latest career achievement is.
And this is why it continues to perplex me when celebrities instead use Twitter as another avenue to advertise. It feels insincere, and it’s a disservice—celebrities are preventing themselves from seeing how truly loving their followers can be.
Let’s take a look at one celebrity: Maggie Siff, who plays Tara on the hit show Sons of Anarchy.
Her header and background need some sprucing up, but that’s okay because surprisingly celebrities don’t brand their social profiles very well. But there are other traits that need revamping… Maggie, you’re doing Twitter wrong.
Her username is @MaggieSiffOnlin. Why is that? Is her website branded that way? It doesn’t seem like it because the URL in the description doesn’t lead anywhere. I understand the concept that her Twitter is her online presence, but that’s assumed and doesn’t need to be there. It’s unnecessary, and just makes her Twitter harder to find—because there’s too many characters in her username, the word “online” is cut short so it makes it harder for potential new followers to find her.
The description reads like a Wikipedia page. There’s no need to put her date of birth, especially if her age is already listed. There’s no need to write “Maggie Siff Online : Maggie Siff.” What does that serve? If she wants people to know this is her online presence, please read the “Username” section again… even though I reiterate it’s unnecessary. There’s even more redundancy with “The Bronx, New York City, New York,” given that her location is listed below this description. Put simply, it’s not personal or even professional.
Just scrolling to June garners numerous hashtags, generally all containing “#MaggieSiff.” For searchable purposes it definitely works but for her followers it just looks like spam, especially when it’s jumbled with two to three more hashtags.
Furthermore, there’s rarely any real content to her tweets. She has made an occasionalthank you to her fans, but that was back in May. Even if she sends a nice gesture on a holiday, she replies to herself to thank everyonefor thanking her. From then on it’s just more hashtags and photos of herself. Even her retweets need work; they seem more self-indulging when you have things like:
All her images have the words “MaggieSiffOnline” printed on them. I sound like a broken record but why is that? People are viewing her photos on Twitter, so image ownership is already apparent. Nonetheless, even if someone does save the image and uploads it elsewhere, copyright shouldn’t be something a celebrity worries about it. The images are of her, so it makes sense they’re professional photos associated with her. Not to mention that the font used to write “MaggieSiffOnline” is hard to read and looks like it was done in MS Paint.
Maggie Siff is a good actress, but her social presence definitely needs some work. Twitter is a great place to meet new people all around the globe and embracing that is the key to more dedicated followers and fruitful conversations. Katy PerryandLady Gaga know it; even though it’s apparent that the latter has a Marketing team sending out her more technical tweets, you can still see that personal touch is there.
For anyone—especially a celebrity—understanding and harnessing your online identity helps make you into a powerful influencer, and it converts your followers into strong advocates of your work. If you’re reading this you’re most likely not a celebrity, but if you’re doing any of the blunders above: you’re also doing Twitter wrong.
“How are you?” A powerful question that loses its meaning every day
Here’s a quick experiment: for an entire day, count the amount of times the phrase “how are you?” comes up, either by uttering it yourself or others asking you. Of those times, how often did you actually engage in conversation? Better yet, how often did you give a meaningful response, or cared about what the other person had to say?
“Hi. How are you?”
“Good. How are you?”
Sound familiar? It’s such a simple phrase used repeatedly every day, but the collection of words are so much more meaningful than this.
How are you? No seriously, how are you?
It’s fascinating how the same question can have different interpretations depending on the group of individuals using it. If you ask your co-worker how they are, it’s likely you’re just acknowledging their presence in a friendly manner. If your significant other asks how you are, they’re genuinely interested in what happened in your day, or if anything’s troubling you.
And it’s the second, more profound usage that makes “how are you?” powerful. It opens a small path to meaningful conversations, regardless if there’s anything troublesome or overly positive to talk about. But then if you’re meeting someone for the first time at a networking event, “how are you?” is the most commonly used question spoken among strangers.
Why does it matter?
This started bothering me one day when I was heading back to my desk and a co-worker I hadn’t seen all day passed by. I asked, “How are you?” to which they replied, “fine,” with the most saddened expression I’ve ever seen on their face. Clearly my co-worker wasn’t fine, but casual conversation dictated that’s how they should address my greeting.
It was then I realized how meaningful the words are, but how much value it loses in everyday conversation.
Often times, co-workers ask “how are you?” on their way to meetings or the bathroom, so I sometimes don’t bother answering them back, given that they won’t hear my reply anyway. I’ve been guilty of doing this a few times myself. Then there’s those moments when you have nothing to say to someone, so you end up in a “how are you?” wormhole.
“After realizing what these great words of appreciation, care, and kindness mean in the U.S., one can feel a bit betrayed and resentful of their conversational partners, who suddenly seem superficial and insincere.”
We say “how are you?” as a way to be sincere because for us it’s a greeting of sorts—which is contradictory behavior for foreigners to comprehend. But can you blame them? If I were to respond honestly on a bad day how I’m feeling to an acquaintance, they likely wouldn’t know how to react since an acquaintance usually infers someone you’re not close to.
And that’s perfectly okay, because expecting an emotional investment from everyone is simply asking for too much. But that doesn’t mean we should run the words “how are you?” through the ground, just to ultimately make up for our vernacular laziness 🙂 Let’s bring meaning back to the phrase, and show our foreign friends we’re not “superficial and insincere.”
Instead of resorting to “how are you?” as your standard greeting, why not have some topics at the ready to talk about before approaching others. If you’re at a party with like-minded individuals or at a networking event, immediately inquire about the other’s profession and current projects. Seem interested because you ARE interested! In the process, it’ll make you stand out as a better conversationalist.
But what do you say when you just want to casually say hello to someone walking down the hall?! That’s it: hello, hi, hey, yo! It gets the same point across, you use less words, and you’re able to reserve your interesting conversations for a more appropriate time.
When you genuinely want to know what’s going in someone’s life, then “how are you?” is a perfect way to start.
How often do you take a moment to stop and think how fascinating society is and how it’s evolved? There are some behaviors once the norm that are no longer so publicly accepted (e.g., smoking in bars)—in that same token, there are habits people have now that would be superfluous just a few years ago.
One of the new habits is society’s ever-growing use and dependence on social media, and with that the frequency comes by-the-minute updates for new shows and films.
At this very moment, the brilliant and addicting show Breaking Bad is debuting its season finale, bringing to a close a 5-year run of surprises, heartaches, and a whole lot of meth. Proving to be one of the most groundbreaking shows on television, even dubbed “the greatest television drama of all time” by quite a few outlets, it’s easy to understand why the show has the fans that it does, and why today is a very important day for AMC.
But with it brings to light a behavior that has cropped its ugly head on social media: SPOILERS.
Spoilers, for those somehow unaware of its term and therefore probably not using social media (making this rant unimportant to them, but hey, thanks for reading) is the practice of revealing important plot elements of any form of media. If something’s popular, you can be sure there are spoilers abundant on the internet. But spoilers themselves aren’t all that bad: we share because we want discussion, we want to others to partake in the same feelings we’re having, we want to see if the theory we spent 5 monthson actually panned out.
It’s how social media uses spoilers that makes it problematic.
Here are some extremes:
One group posts spoilers and doesn’t care who reads them, because they’re excited or frustrated about what they just witnessed and need human interaction, even if that means some friends will read the end of Lost and hate you for it.
The other group is agitated by the smallest spoiler, and lash out and the spoilee… spoiled? Spoiler? Whatever.
Then you have those that don’t care either way. <– I want to be one of these people.
Whichever side you may be on, I’d like to propose a middle ground, because unlike most internet arguments, there is one! This may end up saving your friendship, because yes, these type of things happen now. It’s petty, but do you really want to see if your friendship is strong enough to withstand The WalkingDead challenge?
I don’t think taking these details into account will ruin anything for you, because remember, social media is about being… social… and that sometimes means abiding by some ground rules to make sure everyone’s happy:
If you’re the type to want human interaction IMMEDIATELY when an episode blows your mind, just add a small *SPOILER WARNING* before your post. Those who aren’t quite caught up yet will simply scroll pass your spoilerific tweet and suppress their Hulk-like nature.
Understanding why people are not watching the show at the same time as the rest of the world is important too, there’s so many personal factors.
There’s also the possibility that they DID try to catch up but 24-hours a day was just not enough. In fact, that’s what happened with a coworker; he really wanted to watch the Breaking Bad finale with everyone but he was starting season 1 when everyone else was on the second half of season 5. There was no way he’d make it.
Consider this scenario: A friend overheard everyone talking about how great Sons of Anarchy was, and they see the first few seasons are finally up on Netflix. They binge watch through every episode, but now have to wait until the next seasons are available. Is it really their fault? Maybe, but every time they came over your house, you closed the door in their face. Rude.
Don’t post vague messages about the episode you just saw, those can be just as bad as detail-filled statuses. Someone who’s as big of a fan as you will understand your coding without meaning to.
Don’t post images with a clear spoiler on it, instead just show the link so those who have seen the newest film/TV episode/finished the game can choose to take a look.
The internet will continue to be the internet folks, so if you’re like me and know that someone might accidentally retweet something spoiler-prone, just avoid social media for a few hours: when the episode begins showing on the East cost until a few hours after it’s finished its Pacific viewing. This is a bit of a gap, but you can take the time to acknowledge that boy/girlfriend you’ve been neglecting.
The same consideration should be taken in the real world—you know, when we actually interact face-to-face with other human beings, because there are always innocent bystanders around that may hear a spoiler to a show they just started.
Honestly, it boils down to being considerate and respecting someone else’s schedule and viewing habits, that’s all.
Yes, this is all way too serious for a TV show, but I was really upset when someone spoiled the Red Wedding for me 🙁