The Social Network Balancing Act

11 Jan

Currently, there are only three social networks that I find myself frequenting: Google+, Twitter and Facebook. These are the three largest social networks out there, if not by size and population than by mind-share and market awareness. People know these three names, even if they hate them for some individual reason. Twitter is too self-absorbed, Facebook is going to take over the world and Google+ has too many tech-hipsters.

Google+ is so hipster, in fact, that these images already exist... and it's not even that popular yet. Also, I totally was.

The problem that I have had for a long time was figuring out how to use each Social Network, but recently I’ve had a bit of an epiphany on the reason why these three specific social networks can co-exist, and I’ve found a way to make all three work for my own purposes. At least for now.

A Note of Caution:

I’ve noticed a bad habit in a lot of people who defend their specific social networks for various reason, and it is that they are defending their specific social networks for various reasons. I’ll admit that I have been known to do this many times in the past. I’ve quit Twitter because it was distracting, Facebook because it was cluttered, Google+ because it was lonely and even stopped using Email because, in my mind, it was becoming antiquated. The epiphany that came to me, though, and I believe this is only because of my recent separation from the deep trenches of the tech world, is that we don’t have to defend anything to anybody. These are just things, after all.

It goes deeper than that, of course, and before I get to explaining why and how I use each of these networks, let me just point out that I do not expect, nor do I want, you to agree with every action that I have taken recently. We don’t have to defend these networks because they are tools (you defend a man who was accused of murder, you don’t defend the hammer that was used to commit the murder). You can use these networks in absolutely any way that you want, and no one can tell you that you are wrong for doing so. Whatever your goal may be in the long run for using Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Google+ or LinkedIn, use it for that and don’t let anyone else try to convince you to use it a different way (this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t evolve your practices and learn from your experiences, but don’t let a marketing expert take over your personal profile just because they have a different type of relationship with their followers).

It does not really matter how complex social networks are – what matters is that you are using those networks to build a strong rapport and reputation among your friends, family and business associates the way you believe helps you the most.

Does any of this really matter? Not unless you desire to know all of these things.

With that said, allow me to explain how I use each of these networks to connect with the various communities and groups that I have been involved with over the last few years.

Twitter

I have almost no close, personal friends on Twitter that I follow. Twitter is where I read the latest breaking news, check in on the webOS and mobile tech communities (they own that network for me), and send out a few quick thoughts about stuff I’m doing or will be doing soon. If I feel that I have something short to say to my network of tech enthusiasts and nerds, I go to Twitter. I use Twitter to broadcast these blog posts to more of my followers, I post quick thoughts and quotes that have inspired me throughout the day (and I believe will inspire others) and I try to keep tabs on the general activity going on in certain corners of the world.

That last bit is the biggest advantage that I can see for using Twitter. With this social network I am able to do a quick search and instantly know what real, live human beings have said about specific events, places, people or things. People use Twitter to talk about what they’re interested in, and I use Twitter to read what I’m interested in at any moment.

Very rarely now do I use it for conversations or to share a lot of info about something I’m researching. Sure, I’ll retweet a few things from people that I want to support, and I’ll make comments now-and-again to let people know I’m watching them, but other than that I spend most of my time talking about big projects I’m working on or the activities that I believe are important parts of my life (like how I am coming close to finishing my part of Android For Dummies).

I’m trying to stay pretty professional on Twitter while also remaining casual about it all. This is where I get to let my old friends in the webOS and Joomla communities know that I’m still alive, while keeping the personal stuff on the other networks.

Facebook

For a long time, I really fought Facebook. It’s cluttered, way over-hyped for what it is, and is used by smart people in extremely dumb ways.

What I have found, however, is that rather than complaining that none of my friends are using other social networks to talk to me, I should be glad that there is a single social network where everyone is gathering. Rather than hate the fact that people feel comfortable posting stupid statuses or another photo of their new kitten on my stream, I should rejoice that people feel comfortable updating their statuses at all. We could (and we once did) live in a world where when we moved away from our friends, they just vanished from our lives forever. Instead we can keep in touch from thousands of miles away and never skip a beat. That’s valuable to me.

So now, rather than trying to put on a facade of professionalism or pretend that I don’t know people when they share photos from that crazy party they were at the other night, I am trying to embrace it. These are people whom I know, sometimes very well, and at one time may have even loved. We are social creatures, so why can’t I be social and compassionate towards my fellow humans (even when they are acting retarded)?

I also really like having a place where I can post retarded photos of myself and not feel bad about it. Facebook is perfect for that. Essentially, I use this network to show what I’m doing with my life in the real world right now. I try not to talk about tech or business or books or anything else – I talk about activities and friendships and concepts that I believe are valuable for the real world and therefore, real life.

Google+

On the opposite end of that spectrum I have Google+. This is where I choose to show my interests with like-minded people without really talking about the details of what my real life brings. I share links to interesting articles I’ve read that aren’t relevant to my global networks (like the webOS Community on Twitter) or close personal friends (like Brian Hill, who is teaching English in Japan). On Facebook I make things personal about real life so that people know what I’m going through (I take this directly from the new Timeline feature), on Twitter I talk about what my networks are interested in, but on Google+ I share the random things in the world that just look cool to me.

Like this giant close-up photo of an eyeball.

The great thing about Google+ is that through using Circles, I can quickly share certain posts with people that I believe will be more interested in those topics. Sure, I can do that with Facebook too, but on Google+ it is so extremely easy that I hardly even have to think about it, and that’s the key. On Facebook I want people to see me for me, but on Google+ I’d like to share stuff that I find interesting (but may never actually act upon) with other people that might find those same things interesting.

Anyway

You should connect with me to see for yourself, though (if you aren’t already). Friend me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter and add me to your circles on Google+. I like the way I’m using these networks right now, and hopefully these methods work out on your end, too.

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The huge economic problem with the movie “In Time”

9 Jan

It sucks, but not for reasons most movies suck.

It sucks because the entire premise of the movie is that people use different lengths of time to buy/sell/pay rent/live (either by shaking hands – yes, really – or by touching their left forearm to an electronic scanner). If they run out of time (either by spending it all, having it stolen or letting it run out), they die instantly and horrifically.  If chance has it that they are rich and have a lot of years saved up, the intro to the movie claims that these futuristic tycoons could possibly “live forever”. One of the first rich people we run across in the film is said to be worth “hundreds of thousands of years”. Meaning he could live for that long even if he just sat in a chair and ate cheetos all day.

If you haven’t seen the movie and don’t understand what I’m talking about, go look for it online; there are a million-and-one places to stream it illegally, if that’s something you’re into. To be honest, I don’t feel like taking the time to explain it all here.

The problem with the movie and its use of time as the basis of the world’s monetary system is really, really huge (and makes the entire story completely unbelievable). By using time as money, the creator’s of this film have invented the largest economic sink that can be imagined, and it lies within the flowing of time itself.

Want an example of what I mean?

Let’s say, for the sake of simplicity, that the movie’s universe has the exact same population that we do today, even though it takes place roughly 150 years in the future. That gives us around 7 Billion people that are all genetically enhanced to use time to buy/sell everything from toys and TVs to sex and drugs.

With every second that ticks off of the combined arm-powered bank accounts for all 7 billion of these people, the movie-verse loses 222 years from their collective monetary system. I like to think that is equivalent to $222 million dollars just vanishing every single second of every day for the entire world… without any way of actually making new money to replenish the bunch that just “went away”.

222 years lost every single second equates to 7,005,637,572 years lost every single year (in the economy) simply by letting the clock tick. This doesn’t include deaths of people who still have time saved up in their “clock” (which also goes away entirely to never be used again), doesn’t include people who spend their days stealing money and hoarding it all for themselves so that they can attain immortality, and doesn’t include the costs of running a government (which, if our current economy is any sign, is pretty costly). Basically, this whole thing really sucks.

A friend offered an argument which the movie throws in early on – new babies are given a free 25 years to get started with their lives before their clock starts ticking down, at which point they are given another free year to use for buying/selling with. The “solution” that I have heard to the problem with this huge money sink is that these newly created consumers bring a lot of time/money back into the pot to overcome the loss that every single second brings.

Sadly, this argument doesn’t hold up, since only 134,050,000 people are born every year – far short of the 7,005,637,572 years that are lost in that same time frame (if you’re not good at math, that means that even with that many people adding another free year into the economy, the movie-verse still loses 6,871,587,572 years, every year, just by existing).

Is it possible that there is a government system that is pumping massive amounts of time/money back into the economy through various programs and charities? Sure, anything is possible in a made-up Universe. Unfortunately, I can’t really see that happening, what with how history has shown that governments are terrible with managing money and all that.

What I’m trying to say is that this movie-verse simply could not work, would never exist, and is not even slightly believable. If you include the fact that the characters in the movie are still using pay phones, then you can see why I think this movie is dumb. Which is sad, because “That Truman Show”, directed by the same guy, really had a fun world to explore and think about.

I’m not really to the point to say that I want my 2 hours back after watching the film, but I definitely wouldn’t recommend that my friends should lose their own precious life-moments by doing the same. It just felt like a lazy story that was written in a hurry – but then, maybe the creator’s can use the premise of the story as their own excuse as to why the plot was terrible. *shrug*

Status update from the dream-pursuant

31 Dec

My feet hurt so bad that they itch. I’m losing weight, but eating better than I ever have before. I’m spending more money than I’ve ever wanted to, yet I go to sleep every night feeling rich. I’m following my dreams, and still I feel closer to God.

Maybe all of these things don’t make sense combined, but that’s exactly what’s has been happening. Since my last update, many of you have been sending me emails and tweets to see what has been happening. Well, here is your update. Thanks for asking. 🙂

I’m working 6 days a week now at Taste restaurant in Trotwood, Ohio (always looking forward to a day off). Some days I work from open to close in the front of the house as a waiter, others I work in the back of the house as a food preparation cook, and other times I help out behind the bar. There are even a few hours a week that I spend working on the company website and online marketing. Oh, and I sing on Thursdays. Maybe you could just say it do a little bit of it all.
I feel great, though. I’m living out my dream to work in a restaurant, and everything that could benefit from that decision, is. I’m paying off debts, moving into my own home, eating healthier, getting into shape, meeting great people and getting fantastic experiences that will only continue to help me in the future.

So there’s the quick update, but I’ll share more soon. For now, I need to take the opportunity to go to sleep. Life continues tomorrow!

Here am I: A look at food, gadgets and the future

22 Dec

I guess this is where it all begins… again. I have no doubt that you, my faithful reader, have already seen the recent announcement on my departure from Mobile Nations and the webOS Community. It has been a very long time coming to this decision, as I’ve said elsewhere and as others in the world of webOS have said in their own departure messages, but it was a very necessary decision if I am to make way for the future. I’m 23 years old, and life is just now starting to get really interesting. I would be foolish to hold the future back.

But this post isn’t meant to be another reiteration of what I’ve already said. I’m of the “make a decision and move” kind of attitude, so now is the time to put the past behind me and get to work going forward. I could certainly do that without a blog, but I’ve made a lot of friends over the last few years who want to keep in touch with me, and whom I want to keep in touch with. A blog is a great way to make that happen. Plus, as has been said a dozen times before, I enjoy writing. I am going to be writing this blog, albeit not too frequently, and I hope that you will subscribe and enjoy a conversation or two with me.

Taste Creative Cuisine Bar

Free drink to the person who can guess my favorite beer.

A month ago I started my new position at the brand new Taste restaurant in Dayton as a Bartender. Within a week I was working the day-shift as a waiter, and not long after that I was in the back of the kitchen prepping the food for the chef before the week’s start. At any given moment when you come into this restaurant you might see me behind the bar, serving customers around the house, prepping food in the back of the kitchen or working on the company’s online presence (through Social Networks or the Website). Soon you might even see me up on the stage, singing a few songs with the live Jazz bands that show up 4 days a week.

The restaurant has a cajun, creole cuisine and is located in a town with no other really great up-scale dining experiences available. This is the challenge and the type of restaurant that I was looking for, because as you may have already guessed, this is the career path that I have a lot of desire to follow-through with. The experiences and education that I will get while at Taste are superior than any I could get by just going to school or working in a chain. It has been my dream since I was just a wee-lad to open a classy restaurant, and while I may not be the owner of Taste, I am helping to make the launch of this restaurant a success. My dream is already coming true, but I’ll share more on that later.

Pasta Jambalaya at Taste

Pasta Jambalaya is one of my favorite dishes served here.

Obviously, I can’t pass on the opportunity to go back to school and finish my degree, so I’ll be doing that as well. Culinary Arts is on my list of things to tackle, as is Business Management (both of which I’d already started working towards finishing in the past). In just over a year, I will have that simple piece of paper in my hand that says I can cook a sandwich, and it won’t be long until I can open my own restaurant somewhere that is not Dayton, Ohio (location to be decided). There’s a family movie out there somewhere of me in front of a few hundred people announcing what I want to do “when I grow up”. “Be a chef!” I said. I kind of think that “little me” would be happy to see what I’m doing today.

Now, to answer the question that is probably on everyone’s minds; what about my interest in mobile tech and gadgets? I have spent the last three years of my life in the mobile tech world, and it has been one of the greatest experiences that I’ve had. Contrary to what some of my friends may believe, the things I’ve learned while following the development of mobile platforms can definitely be used in creating a successful restaurant (so I don’t believe that any of that time was a waste, at all). I still enjoy mobile devices, specifically because of their power to enhance communication and efficiency between humans. In the same way that my restaurant is centered around serving people, mobile devices should be centered around connecting people and keeping communities alive and thriving.

Come to the dark side... we have cookies!

This image was made for one of my first articles on PreCentral - Click to read it.

That said, I will still be watching the mobile world to see what happens next. I may even write an editorial or two on certain topics/events that I find worthy of discussing. I will not, however, be giving it my full attention as I have in the past. Smartphones and tablets will be used as tools to make me a more proficient restaurateur, and I do plan on eventually building some nice apps to complement the work that I’m doing (why let that skill go to waste?). I will not tie myself to a single platform any longer, as I had in the past with webOS, because I learned very clearly through this last year that mobile platforms simply will not last for very long – even the good ones. What will last is your relationships with people, and that is where I want to put my focus.

Right now I’m running a Samsung Nexus S as my daily driver, with Ice Cream Sandwich installed and plenty of apps that keep me organized and on task. Because I use Google services for everything on my desktop, using an Android device (even if I don’t use many apps) doesn’t just mean that I’m using a good smartphone, it means I’m a more efficient person in my day-to-day life (this would also be true if I used all Apple services and had an iPhone, or if webOS services worked optimally, etc…). I still have my HP TouchPad as well, which I will use in the mornings for reading the news or watching videos, and I do plan on getting a MacBook at some point in the future. I’ll have the best of every world – and in my life, that means I can do more, faster and better than anyone else.

Honestly, life is still up in the air for me. I’m excited, really excited, about what I’m doing right now (and I’m equally satisfied with what I’ve already done). Whatever happens, I know that there are a lot of great people out there cheering for my success. Thanks for that, and please don’t be a stranger now that I’m stepping out of the world of mobile tech. Seriously… that would be lame. Catch me on Twitter, Google+ or Facebook, and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog, then let me know who you are so I can do the same.

See you all later.