I am not a link clicker

Back in college, my friend Jess would often declare to our group of friends, “I am not a link clicker.” At the time, several of our other friends and I thought she was silly to avoid them, that she was paranoid to think anyone could track her behaviors or that links could bring harm. She was, after all, into books and telephone conversations more than AIM, which, at the time, was all the rage. (She did eventually join, as it was the best way to be in regular touch with friends at other schools.)  She just didn’t understand—it made common sense that so long as one knew the sender there was nothing to worry about. 

Close to ten years later, it’s clear that Jess was on to something. Yes, considering the link sharer before clicking is still a no-brainer. But, link clicking in general is more and more risky with each passing day thanks to sophisticated pharming, sabotaged email and Twitter accounts, and shaded origins hidden in condensed links. 

It may just be that the “non-link clickers” segment will grow. Goodness knows I am now a “think twicer.”

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Digital Sharing Dictionary

Here it is. The official Sharing Cyclone Social Sharing Dictionary.

I’ve been researching these for a while, but this list is not exhaustive. Every time I try I find dozens more. My conclusions after compiling this list are:

  1. I thought about categorizing these by type—the news elevators, the blog aggregators, the friendly gossipers, the link savers and shares—but, frankly, the overlaps make this impossible. Sharers have blogs. Messagers allow saved links. Blogs have highlighted tags. FeedmeLinks Twitters, but they haven’t for a year. Ayayay.
  2. In total, we have a discombobulated mess. If you’re happy, stick with what you’re doing.
  3. Easy come, easy go. Diigo absorbed Furl. Yahoo MyWeb morphed into Yahoo Bookmarks.
  4. Social Bookmarking options are vast, and they’ve run amok. I’ve emboldened the options that stand out to me in terms having a focused audience and a simply user interface. And I look forward to trying out some of these options which pertain to my life (bargain shopping, yes, online gaming, no).

So here you go. Let me know if you’ve tried any of these. It will be fun to look at this in 10 years and see what has survived…

AIM –  The original chat. For people like me, it was THE digital social networking tool throughout college. It’s where you expressed your excitement, your frustration, and your whereabouts (from the library to the shower to bed.) Now it seems to have grown with technology, but usage trends have shifted from this to Facebook, Google Chat, and texting.

Backflip –  A bookmarker and tries to be a bit more. Been around since at least 2000, and looks like it, too.

BallHype – Sports oriented stories, blogs aggregator/sharer.

Bebo – My friend says this is more popular in Europe (her boyfriend is Irish). It appears to be trying to be a one-stop-shop for content, sharing, and aggregating multiple social networks. Seems to share a log in with AIM.

Blinklist – Sharable Bookmarks. This claims to be fastest for saving and finding (“lets you sort pages like iTunes”)-and allows saving of websites for review when one is no longer online.

Blogmarks – Just like it sounds: Blog-based “collaborative link management project based on sharing and key work tagging.” Whew. Cliché mouthful.

Care 2 – An online Community for healthy and green living. Part of me wishes it had only one position instead of two, but I can see how they go hand-in-hand. I give them points for having some sort of good-natured focus.

Current – This is the only 24/7 cable and satellite TV network and internet site produced with the audience. It has a lots of partners (iTunes, Cable companies, etc.). Prosumers submit, the best are filtered, and submitters can grow in reputation. I’d like to look more into this…very cool.

Delicious – The Original. Social Bookmarking. It’s older than Facebook (!) and owned by Yahoo.

Dealsplus – Broken down this is just what its name implies: Deals Plus. Not to be confused with the similar-looking Del.icio.us, it’s a bargain shopping aggregator. Nice.

Digg – The famous news aggregator, where the most popular items bubble to the top.

Diigo – Think sticky notes and highlighters that you can see from any computer and share with others. Apparently this helps you read the web.  TechCrunch likes it.

Facebook – Oh come on, you know what this is. It’s the mother network.

Fark – “Edited” news aggregator; not a very pretty interface. Perhaps that their thing, though?

Faves (Bluedot) – “Sites you love from people like you.” Though I must admit that the Bluedot thing throws me off.

FeedMeLinks – Super techie, and the mission appears to be accomplished because they aren’t taking new users. It’s in language called LINUX APACHE MYSQL PHP.  Here is the announcement on the homepage (in currier new font, I’ll add):

FEED ME LINKS:  A SOCIAL BOOKMARKING EXPERIMENT

HYPOTHESIS UNDER TEST: COULD I CRAFT AN EXPERIENCE VALUABLE ENOUGH THAT USERS WOULD TURN THEIR BOOKMARKS

FILES “INSIDE OUT” AND SHARE WHAT WAS CONSIDERED, IN 2002, TO BE PRIVATE INFORMATION? (THEIR LINKS)

RESOLUTION: YUP.

PRODUCT STATUS: COMPLETE (ARCHIVED)

Fresqui – I think the question this prompts is “What’s important?” or “What’s fresh?,” but my Spanish is terrible. Another news aggregator, seemingly skewed to video, but I could be wrong. Man, do these span the globe.

FriendFeed – For sharing and discussing with friends. Perhaps a watered down Facebook? My favorite characteristic: The dizzying link love run down on their about page:

Furl – YIKES!  Look at this, posted on the homepage. It’s vaporizing tomorrow:

Furl will be shut down on April 17. Furl is being absorbed by Diigo and will no longer be available. 
Click here to transfer your data to Diggo. For help, please contact info@diigo.com

Google Bookmarks – Part of the loveable iGoogle suite

Kaboodle – All about shopping!  Helps users share shopping spaces and deals, and coordinates with Friendster, too.

KiRTSY –  Social Bookmarking, but quite girly. Categories include Design/crafts, Family/Parenting, Fashion/Style, and more. Here is the description. Sounds like they’ve taken Jim Eiche’s positioning class (brand character anyone?).

kirtsy is a social media platform of pure goodness. A plaza for the peachy. A portal to the pretty. A place to find cool things. To read smart scoop. To connect with fab ideas, exceptional people, useful information, excellent products. All of it. And more.

kirtsy is just like that friend who always finds the best stuff. Only better.

Link-a-Gogo – FREE online links manager (are any of them not?). Whoopdedoo. I don’t see what’s different about this and the million others; except that it is uuughly.

LinkedIn – This sits on the networking side of social networking and comes with a more profession (aka job search) connotation.

Live – MSN google. (Note my non-proper noun use of google. That’s right, the brand has become the generic. Too bad for you Live because you’re not it.)

Magnolia – YIKES! This site lost everyone’s bookmarks two months ago. It dug (not to be confused with Dugg) around for a while but to no avail. I wonder what its trusted users think about how everything is-poof-gone. Now it recommends Diigo. And a video explanation of what happened. Read the apology notes on the homepage. Wow.

Meneame Like Digg, with voted on categories, but in Spanish.

Mister Wong – This reminds me of Delicious, but with a more international flair.

Mixx – “Your blend of the web” it says. Another aggregator, with a cute logo and name.

Multiply – More media sharing, this one with a safe, family angle. For “sharing with people you know and not with people you don’t.” Smart position-like Volvo plus multiplying rabbits.

MySpace – Not to be confused with Facebook. Or, to quote a good friend Joe, “facebook or spaceface or facetwit or myface.” Ay, ay, ay.

N4G – Not to be confused with N4C (Northern California Camera Club), this is news sharing and community for gamers. Video/internet/console/moble gamers that is. Nicely targeted.

Netvibes – A “startpage” as they refer to it, similar to MyYahoo or iGoogle, where you can have everything (weather, email, favs) pulled together on one screen when you first hit the net.

Netvous – Online bookmarks, again. Share with friends, again. Discover new websites, again. Green and blue coloring, again.

Newsvine – One click here and I see both a) who was eliminated on Dancing with the Stars last AND b) a story about how Homeland Security is cautioning Rightwing extremism. Similar to Digg, with popular stories bobbing to the top thanks to users, but, like the name says, is more news related.

Oknotizie – Like Newsvine, Italian style.

Propeller – Run by AOL, another user-decided story feed.

Reddit – If you read it, you can Reddit. (Or at least I believe that is how it’s pronounced.) Another news article aggregator, with popularity votes by members.

Segnalo – More social Bookmarking Italian-style. Bravissimo!

Simpy – Another all-in-one: allows users to save, share, tag, search, bookmarks, etc. Lots of verbs. Probably not a lot of users.

SlashDot – A one-stop news source for Techie things-in particular Linux and Open Source platforms. The name says it all. I wonder if the .org means it is a nonprofit?

Spurl – I’m running out of descriptions for these bookmarking sites. Ugh. So many.

StumbleUpon This site uses both user recommendations and machine learning to recommend websites, based on pre-determined preferences. Interesting. Here is a cool and complex diagram of how this works.

Tailrank – This feeder is Blog-focused, scanned posts for common topics. Some say is the closest thing we have to Blogdex, which shut down three years ago when the founder went to work for Facebook.

Technorati – Similar to Tailrank, but with news aggregation in addition to blogs. From my experience with it, bloggers can register and “claim” their blogs to create credibility and more frequent bot visits.

Twitter In a twisted way, all of these dictionary entries are like twitters because they short, sweet, and all jumbled together.

Yahoo MyWeb Yet another casualty. This shut this down last month and transferred all data straight to Yahoo Bookmarks. Why? To “focus,” to “streamline,” and to “reprioritize” efforts to Yahoo Bookmarks for personal bookmarking and Delicious for social bookmarking.

Yahoo Bookmarks – See above.

Yahoo Buzz – Yahoo’s version of Digg, plain and simple. Again, see two above.

Yardbarker – Another sporty one, here is their “about” description:

Yardbarker breaks down traditional barriers, allowing fans and athletes to debate sports, read and write articles, and watch videos. In the Yard, even the famous athletes are treated like fans.

We feature thousands of sports websites and blogs, so you’ll get news, rumors, photos and videos that you won’t find elsewhere. We make it easier to follow your favorite teams, talk sports, and submit links to interesting articles found elsewhere on the web.

You don’t need your own sports blog to join the discussion on Yardbarker. All you need is an opinion. But if you do have your own blog, join the Yardbarker Network. We will promote your site, increase your traffic, and put money in your pocket.

Yigg – Similar to Digg, but in German.

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Deep and/or Wide

I read Vanessa Grigoriadis’ article “Do you own Facebook?  Or does Facebook own you?” in New York Magazine last week and thought she had a great voice and a few great viewpoints. In particular, I’d to point out what she wrote about the term sharing:

Sharing is actually not my word. It’s the most important Newspeak word in the Facebook lexicon, an infantilizing phrase whose far less cozy synonym is “uploading data.” Facebook’s entire business plan, insofar as it is understood by anyone, rests upon this continued practice of friends sharing with friends, and as such it is part of the company’s bedrock belief, as expressed in the first line of its principles: “People should have the freedom to share whatever information they want.” “A lot of times users-well, I don’t want to say they undervalue sharing, but a lot of times they don’t want to share initially,” said Chris Cox, Facebook’s 26-year-old director of products. “And then eventually, they say, ‘Okay, I’ll put a profile picture up here. I’ll do it.’ Immediately, their friends comment on it, and there are no tacky, weird strangers around, and suddenly they start to realize, ‘Hey, wait, this is different. I am on the Internet, but I am in a safe place.

She goes on to state how “In a time of deep economic, political, and inter gene rational despair, social cohesion is the only chance to save the day, and online social networks like Facebook are the best method available for reflecting—or perhaps inspiring—an aesthetic of unity.”

And, in my last quote of this post, I’ll note her note about how, on Facebook, “many actions that take on weight in the real world simply don’t pack the same punch: You can reconnect with long-lost friends without a gooey, uncomfortable e-mail about why you grew apart; you can forget to return Facebook e-mail and nobody minds.”

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And it was all Yellow

This is difficult to read, isn’t it?

I know it is. And I know better than to send an e-blast to 10,000 people in which I used it only on underlined links. But earlier last month I got catch up in the excitement of spring, in the beauty of coloring in a pretty design.

So what happened? I was pleasantly surprised to hear back from constituents writing nice, simple emails with phrases like “yellow print is illegible.” And I was happy to take the time to listen. I wrote each back, thanking them for their note and promising not to use yellow again. No biggie…I was just glad for their input.

Also, recently, I took the time to write a huge company to simply ask for discount on an order. (They had screwed up a previous one.) It worked…I got 10% off, no questions asked.

These instances just go to show what emails are sent and read by people—no matter the size of the organization. And, sometimes, if we take time to share our preferences with companies, then that is all it takes to get what we want.

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Tweet, tweet

Everyone has been talking about Twitter. It’s been on to do my list, too. And so I’ve finally joined. I’ve only projected three tweets thus far: one announcing my presence, one pushing my blog, and one mini-RFP for ACP idea collections. (Funny how all my tweet are school related, but that’s all I’ve got to share thus far…)

So far I like Twitter for two reasons. First, it’s simple. Compared to other social networks there is relatively no learning curve. Second, you don’t feel like you’re “falling behind.” With Facebook, it’s pretty clear if you haven’t visited in a while. Since Twitter seems to include more people but fewer details, it’s not so obvious.

I also have to give it points for its personal approach. It gets overwhelmed, too.

twitter-is-freaking-out

Time will tell if it actually becomes useful for me. If analytics make it useful for businesses. And if it shifts from counter-culture to mainstream and when (or has it already?). It will also be interesting to see how much it continues to grow, if it can start making money, or if it will simply sell itself to do so.

In any case, this simple sharing software is breaking ground. If you haven’t tried it yet, why not just leave the nest?

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Slimming Down

My friend Ginger offers some savvy budgeting tips for event planners. Here is a great suggestion, and you can read her others here, here, and here.

Did you forget to include signage in your budget? Print posters at Kinko’s and use snap frames instead of poster board. After two uses, the frames will pay for themselves and they look much nicer. Bonus tip: Spend the savings on magnetic name tags. Your attendees will thank you for keeping their clothes intact.

What goes in as just as important as what doesn't go in.

What goes in as just as important as what doesn't go in.

It occurred to me that cutting budgets is like loosing weight. Why? Because not one, but two things need to happen to reach long-term success.

Rather than only cutting the “fat,” we must ensure that what remains on our plate is made better too. We can’t just spend less, we have to make sure the dollars (and time and employees and physical assets) that we do expend are more wisely allocated than ever before.

And here is how to look on the bright side as resources shrink: each and every one of these choices, just like those annoying audience members, can be viewed a great opportunities for improvement. (As they say, necessity is the mother…)

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Taking it one step further…

A while back, I praised the Nielsen Company for disabling the “Reply All” functionality in Outlook. Now the company may take an even bigger step in controlling sharing. In an email sent to the BASES division from a VP of the company today, it appears they are allowing employees to vote on several forward-thinking cost-cutting measures. Here is one idea:

Remove the “Send” button from Outlook. How many times have you come back from vacation and had 1,452 emails waiting for you, including 323 reminders that your inbox is over its size limit? Well, help is just around the corner if you vote for this proposal.  We have noticed that the “Send” functionality in Outlook results in a great deal of in-box clutter. By removing it, we will dramatically free up associates’ time and untold server space. In-person communication is often more effective than e-mail anyhow, since it gives you a chance to “read” your co-workers’ faces and look for certain “tells” or even facial tics. For long-distance communication, phone calls will continue to be a viable option, as are smoke signals (where permissible by local law).

Other options suggest that the next operating system could be based on the “sturdy and time-tested Excel platform” and that April Fool’s Day emails could be sub-contracted in future fiscal years.

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