I was reading something the other day where some folks with atrocious reading comprehension were staunchly sticking to their idea that the characters in the book they were reading were white. They were worse than those tacky dimwits on Twitter dogging The Hunger Games cast.

I’m as cool as I’m ever going to get with the majority of people defaulting to white when they read vague descriptions of characters in books. The less described the person is, it does make it a bit easier for the reader to relate to. I must be a bit off because when I read works with “flexible” protagonists, the narrative fills in the blanks and they tend to all look different in my head. Reading something over at a different age has yielded different results at times.

But when I write, the person in my head is non-white a vast majority of the time. Even the comic, in its deceptively lazy black and white color scheme, is pretty colorful.

It’s odd to me to imagine nothing but people that look like me.

That’s also kind of creepy.

Antisocial Socialites

Videodrome Pwntopath
Image by ncomment via Flickr

I get it. You want to sound like an authority on something. All the other authorities have said something is dead, but you want to fit in so you swirl the words around in a cup and say it is dead on your blog as well.

That’s lovely.

Now can you shut up about it.

If this service is dead, why are you still making it a point to remind people who are still using it once a month? Sure the development has stopped, but I didn’t die after puberty and neither did billions of other people.

At first all the talk of services “dying” didn’t bother me. Most of the pundits would wait until the official announcement that all the lights were off and all the servers were unplugged before they started rolling caskets up to doors. Now every time the subscription rate drops or slows by more than 5 people everyone runs around like the village is burning down.

Geocities was dealt the dead treatment years ago, but it was still around up until about a month ago. There are plenty of services still around that have been called dead for months which have stated no intention of shutting down in the near future and have thriving communities. Just because you don’t like the UI doesn’t mean you need to stick your head in the door and yell that it is dead to make yourself feel better.

I have touched on this issue before, but that was more reflection on how chasing after new services was getting old.  Picking on the ones you don’t like and saying they are dead is different, especially when you are still using them. If you want to be seen as an authority, then maybe you want to lay off the hypocrisy for a bit.

Saying blogs were dead in a bunch of blog posts designed to spur traffic didn’t really do you any favors, sending a bunch of tweets that Twitter is useless just made you look like a jerk. If you want to be an authority on something you have to remember that part of the job is being respected. Every single time you nag about something being dead, it raises the discussion from being a potential statement of fact to condescension.

Quit acting like someone crapped in your cereal and stop trying to drive people away from places. The goal of these places is for you and go build a community, not try your best to shatter them before their time.

Don’t Force It

It is understandable that you want people to consume your content and then share it with all their friends.  It is also quite considerate of you to try your best to make the process easier, by adding sharing methods directly to your content. The “social” toolbars that are showing up with great frequency lately however, may not be the best route to take to accomplish this.

Many of these toolbars are full of chunky code and just make a decent number of visitors  leave the site before it finishes loading.  Many of these toolbars are, for lack of better expression, butt ugly and completely clash with the design of your site. The worst offenders actually load in front of your content, preventing users from reading what they came to see.

To be honest, once one of those things pops up on my screen, I’m pretty much done. Your content can be FANTASTIC, but I hate the “social” toolbars with a passion.  If you added one of those atrocities to your site for a mainstream visitor, you probably could have just added a small “Add to Facebook/Email” link somewhere.

It is much worse when the content is geared toward more of the tech savvy/extra geeky crowd. Probably 80-90% of us have a stack of sharing bookmarklets we can navigate in our sleep.

The toolbars scream desperation, and that is just not attractive.

EAS: Early Adopter Syndrome

Most of the people that come across this blog would test positive with Early Adopter Syndrome. (This little hut is probably only known to the people in Linkville and the followers on Friendfeed, its not LAX). Most people try to whittle down logins and passwords down to a handful, yet we keep signing our information away to tons of fly by night establishments that we hope have good intentions.

We deprive ourselves of sleep for days on end, just to catch that last bit of news about something that will not matter to us one way or the other next week. Is the taste of truly breaking in a service that delicious? Why is it that we rush to test things that are obviously still broken, and have to scramble for solutions to a product that did not matter mere moments before?

Continue reading “EAS: Early Adopter Syndrome”