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For when I need more than 140 characters to finish a thought on marketing, media or message.


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How to Leave Facebook 101: A Beginner’s Guide

Facebook has been the hugest time suck I’ve ever experienced. I haven’t even watched TV in months, I feel like I never have time to do the things I should be doing, and I get antsy if I can’t check it at least a few times a day.
~ Anonymous friend

Have you seen enough cat pictures? Tired of all the privacy leaks? Or do you just want to recoup the time that you lose captivated by people you don’t really even like?

You want to take a Facebook break, but you’re not sure how. A report published Feb. 5 by the Pew Internet & American Life Project shows 61% of Facebook users have taken a break from using the social networking site at some point. If so many people can take a Facebook break, then why not you?

But leaving Facebook?  Yes, it sounds insane. To hear some folks considering it, the idea of leaving Facebook is akin to leaving Earth. If you can’t bring yourself to deactivate your account right away, you can ease yourself into a Facebook break by limiting your interaction with the site.

A great starting point is the notifications. Do you really want to know when a friend-of-a-friend’s Aunt Lulu comments on a puppy photo you commented on in 2010? You don’t need a text message or email about that. If you look through the notifications, you’ll see that you can live without a lot of them.

FACEBOOKOBLIGATION

Of course, you’ll want to be notified about friend requests, but more important: you want to be notified when you’ve been tagged in a photo or a post. You don’t want the idiot friend who doesn’t follow the What-Stays-In-Vegas Rule to tag you in the pics of the fur bikini mechanical bull riding contest that you won in 2006.

If you want to further limit your Facebook interactions, delete the app from your phone. You’ll be amazed at how freeing this is. No badges, no buzzes. You’ll find your phone is plenty entertaining without it.

After you have limited the notifications and deleted the app, you’ll probably feel like something’s missing — like you’re not wearing pants. That will pass. You’ll soon find a sense of calm and quiet. At this point, you might find deactivating your account isn’t so hard. Try just one week.  At the end of that week, see how you feel. You may be surprised to find you feel relieved.

Why would I feel relieved?

Because you wouldn’t constantly be responding to a website.

Let’s face it: Social media carries an obligation. If we’re logged on, we are required to respond. It’s like if you’re at a party, you’re required to interact. Facebook is a 24/7/365 party. And sometimes you need to leave the party.

That’s not to say that you can never go back. But when you do, you’ll probably have a different perspective about what you share and with whom you’re sharing. This is healthy. We need to revisit how we interact on social media from time to time so that the sites — Facebook, Twitter, Google+ — don’t completely legislate what we share, how we share it and with whom we share. Taking a break from Facebook (or any social media) allows us to step back from the maddening crowd and think for ourselves — without the coercion of an unapologetic algorithm or the noise of a 24/7/365 party.

 

EARLIER: How Lady Gaga helped me get off Facebook

 


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Instagram changes terms: ‘We might want to sell your pics’

INTERNET_2012

 
Say it ain’t so, Instagram.

New Statesman reports that Instagram‘s new terms of service asserts the right to sell your photos to advertisers. Even so, I doubt this will keep many people, including myself, from using this surprisingly addictive app and social networking site.

I’m not sure we’ll be returning to flickr anytime soon. Or will we?

Also covering today’s collective Web freak-out is The Wall Street Journal, taking care to zero-in on the clause that’s got so many shutterbugs in a twitter.
 
 
Copyright 2012 © Jacqui Barrineau. All rights reserved.


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Williams-Sonoma: eCommerce giant?

Happy Thanksgiving, peasants, from Williams-SonomaThe Wall Street Journal‘s Corporate Intelligence blog has a post on Williams-Sonoma‘s flourishing eCommerce business, which has some surprising numbers.

From the article by Joan Solsman:

Over the years, Williams-Sonoma parlayed its catalog background to incubate one of the most thriving marriages of online and in-store selling in retail. E-commerce was 37% of net revenue last year in the fourth quarter.

Wow.

Thirty-seven percent of net revenue is nothing to sneeze at. But I still think of Williams-Sonoma as a catalog company with products that I can’t afford. Maybe this perception has something to do with the catalog’s pretentious copy.

EARLIER: Order up, peasants

 


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Something to Moo about

I usually don’t post stuff like this, but I love this company and have sung its praises many times over the past two years. I’ve ordered three sets of business cards from them, and I did research paper and presentation on them when I was studying ecommerce.

You’ve probably heard of them, but maybe not. They’re Moo, and they produce amazing customized business cards. You can create an account and do all your designing right on the site. You can even upload photos so all the cards are different. I uploaded some of my Instagram shots for one batch, and they’re really cool-looking.Moo mini cards

If you’re a writer, photographer, designer or recovering journalist, this is a great way to produce a business card that leaves an impression.

(Photos courtesy of Moo.com)


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What I know about being off Facebook

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post is part of an ongoing series documenting my social experiment as a former Facebook user. The observations and opinions expressed here are mine and do not in any way reflect those of my employers.

I got an email from a friend the other day saying she missed me on Facebook. It’s not the first such email, and it won’t be the last. It has been more than two months since I deactivated my Facebook account — again. And although I don’t miss it —  I do like not being on the world’s largest social network — this time around confirms what I discovered last fall: Being off Facebook makes for some weird real-world situations.

Unlike last time, I just deactivated without a lot of fanfare. This time there were no pleas for me to stay. No questions why. This time I made a clean break: For 24 hours, my status said, “I’ll be back. Promise.” And then I was gone.

After eight-plus weeks, I’ve found plenty of ways to keep busy — and more real-world social weirdness. I told a friend that because I’m not on Facebook that it’s as if I’m persona non grata. I have gotten (what seems to be?) cold shoulders from co-workers and former co-workers because they (might?) think I’ve defriended them. Even worse, I’ve lost a meaningful connection with co-workers and former co-workers whom I actually like — not to mention re-formed bonds with the college friends whom I truly love. Case in point: I’m just now catching up on plans for a 20-year reunion — but I’m not blaming the organizers. Facebook definitely makes it easier to orchestrate such events. If I’m not on Facebook, I have to work that much harder to be included.

But I don’t mind.

When I logged on after the first break, I found that as much as things change, the more they stay the same: I was losing the same 20 minutes every day that I had been losing before I logged off. And it was a precious 20 minutes. I had not deactivated my account because I think I’m too cool for Facebook; I did it to find some lost time because I am too easily distracted by — well, everything. Facebook was a crippling diversion for me at home. Away from work, every minute counts for me. There aren’t enough hours in the day. I needed to eliminate distractions that ate up my free time. Facebook was one of those distractions.

“But do you miss it?” That’s the question I get when I mention I’m a former Facebook user. The answer is no, not really. There are just so many things about Facebook I don’t like, such as its creepy “sharing” initiative or the classic overshares from the Chardonnay Moms or the chain-prayer posts. I have to admit, though, there are some things I miss. As a journalist and marketing/ecommerce student, I miss seeing what the marketers are doing with the brand pages. As a friend, I miss seeing what my friends are doing, how their kids are growing up. I miss seeing what my teenage niece is up to or the beach photos from North Carolina that make me homesick. All of which is more reason for me to make a real-life effort to connect — and to stay logged off.

 

NEW: Thinking about logging off? Baby steps for the Undecided<

 

EARLIER: How Lady Gaga helped me get off Facebook

 

YOU NEED TO KNOW: Mashable on Facebook’s auto-sharing feature

 


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Anti-SOPA protests: Simple design, big statement

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In the wake of a Web blackout protesting  the antipiracy bills SOPA and PIPAlawmakers were calling for more discussion on the bills that have pitted Silicon Valley against the entertainment industry, which supports the bills that it says will protect against pirating movies and music. today. Wikipedia, Google and WordPress.com were just a few of the websites who tweaked their designs in protest.

Further reading:

 


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Nielsen: Top U.S. Web Brands in 2011

Nielsen reports that Google is still the top web brand in 2011, followed by Facebook, which is where Americans spend the most time online. According to Nielsen’s Q3 social media report,  Facebook users spent 53.5 billion minutes on the site in May 2011. (I bet I work with some of those Facebook enthusiasts.) It is also the top social networking site through mobile devices: 46,500,000 unique audience members.