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Archive for the ‘Social Networking’ Category

Like A Good Neighbor…

Posted by evankessler on April 12, 2011

Since the tail end of 2010, State Farm Insurance has bombarded millions of viewers, myself include, with a series of absurd commercials that feature people getting free stuff because of a “magic jingle.”  They seem to pop up during every sporting event commercial break or commercial break during my favorite network shows just to pick at my last nerve. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then just observe below:


Now besides being equally grating whether you’re seeing these ads for the 1st or 281st time, my main point of contention lies not with the stabby feeling I get everytime I hear that woman say “with a new boyfriend” while waiting for the top of the 4th inning to start, rather it’s the fact that these commercials seem like a gross misrepresentation of what an insurance company does.

After all, you can’t just call on an insurance company and they’ll magically make a hot tub or sandwich appear. Or can you?

Over the past few days my main point of contention with the State Farm campaign has been put to the test thanks to an interaction over Twitter. It all began with one innocent tweet while watching the Mets game, a knee jerk reaction to seeing a commercial I loathe for what felt like the 342,000th time. I was compelled to lightly harangue the brand via tweet with the most bizarre request imaginable.

Now, I do not know why I chose Poutine, but the bizarre request sparked a conversation between myself and the brand that played out over the span of nearly a week and a half. It went as follows:

So there it was, a 21 tweet long interaction (or 20 if you count the one about the Latin Billboard awards that wasn’t directed to me at all) between myself and State Farm Insurance. I didn’t think much would come of it. I thought it would go on a bit longer and maybe result in some poutine, but probably not. That is, until I received a Direct Message via twitter from Mile End Deli on Hoyt St. in Brooklyn notifiying me that State Farm had given me a credit at their establishment.

I’m still quite flabbergasted by the result of all of that silly tweeting, but I have a new found respect for the folks at State Farm Insurance; not just because they’re picking up my tab for Poutine, but because of the fact that even though their commercials are a bit ridiculous, they’re going the extra mile to back up their brand claims and interact with potential customers all the while maintaining a healthy sense of humor. State Farm Insurance didn’t have to magically appear in front of someone with too much time on their hands with some poutine, but they did.

Now if I could just get State Farm insurance agent to appear with some employment. Well, why don’t I try? “Like a good neighbor…State Farm is there…with a new job.”

Posted in Advertising, Social Media, Social Networking | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

People I May Know?

Posted by evankessler on November 9, 2010

There’s a weird feeling of invasion of privacy every time I’m on certain Social Networking sites. It doesn’t stem from the fact that people can see what I’m up to or who I’m hanging out with. I like to think I do a pretty good job of keeping the things I want to keep private under wraps. The specific thing that crawls under my skin is when the social networks in question feel the need to suggest who I might want to be friends with or connected to. It’s as if this program is digging through the annals of my personal correspondence to exert influence on my life. I belong to certain social networks because I don’t find them too intrusive and they allow me certain controls, but once they start nudging me with friendship suggestions for people I once tried to buy a Wii from via Craigslist, they’ve ceased to be effective. Then there are those other suggestions where you don’t know where they come from, as evidenced by the screenshot below. Can you guess which one doesn’t belong?

Posted in blogging, Social Networking | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Circle K Goes Viral

Posted by evankessler on September 22, 2009

The current lay of the cultural landscape is littered with several kinds of social media consumers. There are the casual users who are just trying to stay connected; the recreational users who find great entertainment value in the frequent status updates and interactive nature of socializing with those you can’t be near; and then there are the wholly self-obsessed who are convinced that their every move is of paramount importance on a global scale and thus worthy of the other two group’s time.

You can count Indonesian film director Joko Anwar as a member of the latter social “me”dia generation. The director of such films as Pintu terlarang and Dead Time: Kala wielded his sword of net arrogance to more or less make convenience mart Circle K a household name for the first time since Bill and Ted traveled through time from a phone booth outside of one.

Anwar announced via his twitter page that once his followers topped the 3,000 mark, he would be making a rather naked jaunt to everyone’s favorite store named after a shape-enclosed letter– assuming of course that 3,000 people wanted to see him naked buying a bottle of iced tea. The director’s challenge predictably proved the unfortunate fact that there are enough people who are more than willing to encourage such self-aggrandizing, yet wholly desperate seeming behavior. Within minutes Circle K was trending all over the net and Anwar was over 3,000 followers. It used to be people would do anything for a buck, now it’s just for some digital disciples and a soft drink. Unfortunately for Circle K employees, they’ll be seeing a very naked Indonesian film director very soon.

Posted in OneRiot, Social Networking | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Lohan Brings a Little Bit of Myspace to the Twittersphere

Posted by evankessler on June 19, 2009

It used to be that whenever we here at OneRiot had the urge to see a trashy Long Island native posing shirtless via a camera phone photo they took of themselves in the mirror , we would just go to Myspace and do a search for the name Joey or Amber. However, as of this morning the popular “place for friends” isn’t the only site to catch a glimpse of those desperate for sexy-time approval.

Lindsey Lohan has given us good reason to defriend Tom and start Tweeting up a storm as the the struggling skin-and-bones starlet bared most of her “upper-echelon” save for some strategically-placed hair in front of her reasonably sized silly cones in a pic she posted to Twitter.

It’s not clear whether Lohan was trying to attract or repulse the person she posted this for, but at least she and the hacker who snagged them off of her account have given America plenty of meaningless celebrity fodder to ponder at the beach over this first official weekend of Summer.


Posted in Celebrity, OneRiot, Social Networking, technology | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Science, Ashton Kutcher Show Twitter for D-Bags

Posted by evankessler on June 3, 2009

Ashton Kutcher at Time 100 Gala

Image via Wikipedia

If you’re anything like us your twitter stream is a constant flow of useful notices.  Whether someone we know is telling us they have a gynecological appointment on Wednesday at 3pm or just that they really enjoy having eggs for breakfast and make more money than us in a week than we make in a year. The informational content is usually rich and makes our lives more fruitful.

Occasionally, though our tweeps bog us down with nonsensical self-important notices about how much they love their car or how awesome their stock portfolio is. While we thought the latter types of messages were in the minority, a recent study by the Harvard Business Review shockingly shows that Twitter is basically a forum for a few d-bags to get together and gloat.

According to their research,”The top 10% of prolific Twitter users accounted for over 90% of tweets.” On other social networks the same top percentage usually accounts for a mere 30% of activity.  A separate study also went on to show Twitter was one of the only social networks where “men are more likely to be “followed” by both other men and by women.”

All of this research is fascinating, but both studies could’ve saved a heck of a lot of time and money by simply noting the phenomenon that Ashton Kutcher has over two million followers on the popular micro-blogging site. Our ultimate recommendation for Twitter is that it change it’s chief inquiry from “What are you doing?” to something along the lines of “What are you doing that actually matters in the context of other people’s lives?”  Wait, how many characters is that?

Posted in Celebrity, OneRiot, Social Networking | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Tweeting Our Lives Away: Twitter and The Inevitable Loss of Perspective

Posted by evankessler on March 19, 2009


To be or not to be, that is almost certainly not the question.  The current inquiry du jour is “What are you doing right now?”  That question is almost constantly being answered by 4 to 5 million Twitter users.  Mind you, those people aren’t being interrogated by their family, friends, or even their local police force; but a text box at the top of a website.

So why then are those people then providing the most personal  and often mundane details of their daily existence, ranging from current whereabouts to the least possibly descriptive rehashing of an event that occurred during the span of the past twenty-four hours.  One can’t say for sure, maybe they’re lonely.  Maybe technology has driven people so far apart and we no longer know how to communicate, but we somehow think that the only way we can be close to each other yet again is through the use of technology.  Or maybe there is no explanation, maybe people just want people to think they are the most important people in the world, no matter what it is they are up to or no matter what their opinion is.

Sure, this last sentence sounds as though I’ve described most blogging to a T, but the difference here is that blogging and most forms of writing allow for perspective and context.  Sure there are blogs that are done via mobile means and thus wield their sword of immediacy, but the ones with a valuable perspective usually take more than 140 words to do so.

Tweeting -as the use of the popular micro-blogging site is called-offers very little if any perspective.  Most journalism and conversation aims to answer the crucial questions of who, what, where, why, and how.  Tweeting often eschews valuable dimensions of communication with just the who and the what painting character sketches with very little depth and personality in favor of only action. Blogging is Die Hard to Twitter’s, well, pick a Michael Bay movie.


Sure by following a Tweet Stream we might be given enough hints to piece together a story, but that also causes us to insert our own bias and knowledge, like a detective when piecing together a crime scene no matter how little evidence there is (and often times there is very little), that’s what twitter leaves us to do with a personality or story, something that is clued into much quicker via a lengthy conversation or by reading something of greater volume. For instance…here’s a tweet I received today:

“Holy fucking creepy girl on the bus today… Meant to tweet this earlier. Wow. Creepy scary.”

Well, where’s the story?  The person has no room to expound on it and if I am not in proximity to said person, or if I don’t even really know who this person is, why has the person chosen to share it with me if they cannot tell me the story?  Why not just save the story without the tweet for later.  If there was someone creepy on the bus, it’s most certainly worth remembering and telling your friends, but this form does little in the way of context. We know this person was on the bus and there was a creepy girl.  Why was she weird and creepy? What did she do?  We then are free to make up our own story without any facts with no accent on truth.

I constantly get tweets from panels. People love to tweet while witnessing live speakers.  They’ll quote marketing experts saying things like ‘“Define relevant attributes, model for an almost infinite amount of variations of those attributes, not a finite set of profiles,” which means absolutely nothing to me out of context.  People may say great things, but those great things usually have a great context.  For instance, we all know when FDR said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” at his inaugural address in 1933, when the nation was in the midst of financial crisis, much like today and those words carried great weight as part of a rousing speech.  What if they weren’t part of that speech? What if FDR was responding to an ill-looking Meatloaf cooked by Eleanor?  It certainly wouldn’t have been the famous or meaningful quote it is today.

I even know a young entrepeneur who was invited to the White House who while at the White House felt the need to twitter that he would only Twitter if  it were “respectable to the speaker” .  When is it ever more respectable to fiddle with an electronic device than to listen to someone who is speaking?  Especially, when you’re at the White House; you should be enjoying the visceral experience of being at the White House.  Ask that person what their memories of being at the White House would be and they’d probably say, “didn’t you read my tweets?” Your memories of the White House should not be “Well, I was listening to the President or whomever speak, and that’s when I tweeted you that I was listening to the President speak.” There are reasons we have memories and it’s not because we make a live call while we’re having a memory, it’s because they are worth remembering.

Twitter may be the most effective form of getting out information as it comes, allowing you to be right there with the person or event, but you are not there. Therein lies the problem with media’s reliance on this abbreviated form of communication.  Encouraging the public to latch onto this form of news tracking leads a serious void in the context department.  Sure we can read that Congress passed a stimulus bill or a bomb went off in Baghdad, but who did it and by what margin and what effects have they had or will they have. Saying things as they are happening gives us precious little perspective.  We’ve had no time to drink in what we’ve done, we only know that we’ve done it and so does everyone else.  Extra…Extra read all about it, I’m walking down the street.  Extra…extra…I’m in Congress listening to the President’s speech, nevermind what he’s saying…I’m there.

If Twitter continues its torrid growth pace we risk losing our ability to communicate our important stories as a nation of storytellers and dialogue creators in favor of headlines that number less than 140 characters. If history is reduced to just headlines to tell our story, how could we ever know which ones were the most important as there would be endless streams of the mundane to sift through?  How could we ensure that horrible moments didn’t repeat themselves if we didn’t have any details, just streams of live tweets that were inevitably be wiped out when a huge bomb hit wherever the Twitter mainframe sits?

One thing’s for certain without use of this new technology in moderation all of this endless tweeting is sure to turn us into a bunch of first class twits.

For a less than serious take on this issue…you might want to check out this additional post.

Posted in blogging, Social Networking, technology | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

SuperPoke and Dagger

Posted by evankessler on September 5, 2008

One of the more interesting and puzzling news stories I’ve seen in the past few days that is not related to McCain’s VP, was CNN’s article on the Social Networking site for spies. A-Space is a social-networking site for analysts within the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies that allows them to share secret intelligence data, sensitive information regarding pressing world issues, and even gives them the option to collect friends. Way to publicize a secret network of information between spies and just who those spies are! That should give international hackers plenty of reason to attempt to infiltrate your network.

While Central Intelligence is busy destroying all exciting and romanticized notions of “Cloak and dagger” such as covert suitcase exchanges, in favor of Superpoking each other with secret files and throwing bowtie cameras at each other, perhaps an enemy developer should be busy creating an online Risk application so that staffers spend the majority of their time challenging each other in Hasbro’s game of strategic conquest instead of doing actual work. You know, sort of like scrabulous did for the masses.

Posted in Government, Social Networking, technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Face The Nation: A Facebook User’s Manifesto

Posted by evankessler on July 2, 2008

Dear readers of EvanKessler.com and Facebook users in general,

We live in a grand era of online social networking, where people can connect with their friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and long lost loves at the click of a button. We can even spy on the girl that lived down the block from us when we were twelve years old whom we had our first sexual fantasy about. Yes, social networking makes it that easy to keep tabs on  or stay connected to just about everyone with whom we’ve ever shared a passing glance.

Well I say, “get over it.” There is no point in trying to maintain friendships with everyone you’ve ever known or seen. Who do you think you are online Jesus Christ? You can’t love everyone. The way I see it, each new social networking site that tends to capture the attention of this bored out of their mind at work, internet-addicted generation,falls victim to the same pitfall…one that I like to call “overfriendization.” You may recall a similar post in which I railed against people coming out of “the woodworks” to befriend not only myself, but tons of other people they’ve proven to have no interest in talking to. Well, just the other day, one of these “woodwork” friends connected with me for not the first, not the second, but the third time, despite my deletion of her from the ranks of people I refer to as my friends on two previous occasions.

She was not deleted with malicious intent. I was more or less just trimming the ranks of people who hadn’t spoken to me and whom I hadn’t spoken with in quite some time. By quite some time, I mean a matter of years. I saw no use in having people as ornamental friends and so I “cut the fat”. Unfortunately, Facebook has a feature that alerts its users of other “people you may know.” I surmised that each time I cut said “friend” from the ranks, my photo continued to appear on the “People You May Know” list and seeing as said person is so mindlessly addicted to adding “People You May Know” she continues to add me to her ranks in her subliminal or not so subliminal quest to earn the most friends, completely unaware of the fact that we had been “friends” on two prior occasions.

This pointless cycle created by the ease of adding “friends” all willy-nilly at the click of a button has inspired me to create a manifesto of sorts relating to the usage of Facebook, in an attempt to put an end to the madness of “overfriendization” and other problems facing social networking. It’s not really a manifesto so much as it is a simple list of demands and/or rules for Facebook users to abide by in order to make it’s existence more palatable and therefore allow it to sustain a more lengthy period of success than that of it’s predecessors, whose sites have so mercilessly been turned “totally gay”.

So without further ado…

The Rules of Facebook:

1. If you do not plan on sending someone a message or inviting them to an event, do not become friends with them That goes both ways.

2. If you choose to make someone your Facebook friend, you are obligated to make contact with them first in the form of a regular wall post, instant message, or message…unless you’ve seen each other in the past week and have regular communications

3. Friends of Friends are not your friends. It is not okay to friend them unless you’ve met before and shared enjoyable conversations. This can be remedied by starting a conversation or message sent make your intentions to get to know someone better immediately after your friend request is accepted, but is generally frowned upon. Don’t let them sit there as an ornament…that is grounds for deletion.

4. If you think someone deleted you as a friend, don’t friend them again. It’s a really awkward position to be in to have to de-friend someone more than once.

5. Don’t friend someone just so you can see their photos.

6. A Funwall message of a silly video of a cat doing something crazy does not constitute a message nor does any funwall message for that matter. Let’s face it, the funwall should be renamed StupidMessageWall.

7. Poking is not a valid form of communication.

8. Do not friend people for the sole purpose of having ten people to forward applications to so that you may see your results on an IQ test or other pointless exam you took without pissing off your actual friends.

9. You don’t have to be friends with everyone in the “people you may know” section. Just because you may know them doesn’t mean they actually know you or even have the slightest need to do so.

10. You don’t have to be friends with everyone you went to high school with or who graduated the same year as you from college.

11. There is no need to send an application to ALL of your friends.

12. Not everyone wants to play Scramble with you. It’s not nearly as fun as Scrabulous.

13. Do not use any form of SuperPoke and expect to get Superpoked back.

14. Giving someone a Facebook drink does not make up for that beer that you owe them from the last time you went out.

15. The “War on Child Sexploitation” will not be won by joining a group against it on Facebook.

16. Do not update your status every time you do something new such as sit down, stand up or eat lunch. It’s not terribly interesting. Everything is better in moderation.

17. Status braggarts will not be tolerated.

18. Do not use Facebook to first announce any major personal lifestyle changes. If we have to learn that you’ve come out of the closet and you’re engaged to your lover from the “Interested In” and
“Relationship Status” tabs instead of from you personally, we’re de-friending you in real life and on Facebook.

That does it for the preliminary version of this Facebook Users Manifesto. If you have anything to add, feel free to do so and perhaps I will add it in as an amendment in an updated version. Thank you for reading and please take all of these rules into consideration so that we the people who use Facebook can one day be a more prosperous bunch.

Posted in Internet, lists, old friends, rules, Social Networking | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

The Woodworks

Posted by evankessler on May 15, 2008

Whether or not you consider yourself a member of Generation X, Generation Y, The MTV Generation, or The Generation that really hates to be labeled with letters; if you’re under the age of 40, odds are that you’re currently lumped into a new generation known as the Social Networking Generation. Ever since the dawn of Friendster sometime around 2003 it’s been totally cool to have a digital space to show all of your friends how many other friends you have just in case you want to make them jealous that you might have other people to hang out with besides them or if you want your other friends to find someone attractive within your group of friends they don’t know that they may want to hook up with.

Aside from the glory that comes along with showing off the fact that you are semi-acquainted with more than 116 people, there are some drawbacks that go along with Social Networking. The biggest annoyance is that which I call “The Woodworks”. The “Woodworks” are the group of people from your past who you may have met in school or perhaps during a boating accident that come seemingly out of nowhere or from the deep recesses of the forest known as the Internet to declare that you are indeed friends with them despite having been out of your life for somewhere between ten to fifteen years. While there are a decent portion of these so-called “Woodworks” that are recognized as welcome additions, many of them might as well go back to existing in the vacuum where they came from.

So why do they do it? Why do these Woodworks feel the need to re-establish contact with your metaphorical mission control? Maybe they’re hoping to rekindle a long dormant friendship or rehash some of the good ol’ times. While those possibilities sound marginally fantastic, chances are they just want to add you to their impressive roster of people they sort of know, but aren’t planning on speaking with any time soon.No matter how curious you are about their well being or their whereabouts…all you are to them is a personal ornament on display for their own popularity’s sake that they can occasionally spy on.

This begs the question, why even accept woodworks into your social networking circle? Well, fellow Internet denizen, while there is no positively concrete answer to this query, there are certain acceptable responses; the first is that becoming friends with them may arouse enough curiosity in said person that they might see fit to rediscover your once unbreakable bond. However, the most popular reason for acceptance of said netquaintances is the hope that adding them to your friend roster will result in a future hand job or awkward sexual encounter made possible by a binge drinking outing.

In the early days of Social Networking on Friendster my policy towards “Woodworks” was what I would abbreviate as N.W.A. as in NO WOODWORKS ALLOWED. However, as time wore on though, I found this policy to be harder and harder to follow as more and more actual friends started adding people willy nilly and their friends with whom I was only a casual acquaintance would see fit to add me as a friend. In order to avoid any initial awkwardness that might occur if I were to ever see those people in person again, I would accept them into my circle.

As Friendster died out and Myspace emerged on the Social Networking landscape with shirtless abandon, I found myself reasserting my NWA policy. There was a certain incident early on where I rejected someone who had been very nice to me in High School because I was certain of the fact that I wasn’t going to ever hang out with them, thus there was no point to accepting their digital friendship. When people on Myspace friended me whom I didn’t recognize I would politely send them an email asking, “To what to do I owe the pleasure of this friend request.” Most responses were along the lines of “I”m friends with your friend” or “you seemed like a cool person” and despite my initial policy, I found myself hypocritically allowing them to join the exclusive “Friends of Evan Kessler Club”.

It was also towards the beginning of the reign of Myspace that another “Woodwork” approached me to join another Social Networking site called Multiply. The “Woodwork” in question was a girl I knew from summer camp who barely ever gave me the time of day. Despite my initial misgivings and my general feelings about “Woodworks”, I joined the site.

Within a week of being on the site, I had written a post about my disenchantment with the site’s features. However, I was unaware that unless specified, the post would go out to the entire site. As a result, the particular “Woodwork” in question was mortified by my opinions due to the fact that she was friends with the developers. She asked me not to say anything negative about the site, which was essentially asking me not to have an opinion. I thought this was the lamest thing I had ever heard and never really attempted to use the site again. I should have spent the next week spewing negative comments just to spite her, but that wouldn’t have been very adult of me. Either way, I didn’t owe her anything. All she had ever given me was a lame new way to socially network with people I didn’t care about with a side of unwarranted criticism.

Now as we bask in the Facebook period of the Social Networking Era…we’ve been blessed with many gifts. We have the ability to play scrabulous with our friends online or digitally poke them when we’re not physically trying to poke them. However, one thing still persists and that’s the “woodworks”. Nary a day goes by when someone doesn’t come out of the woodwork to say, “Hey Evan, we were friends once…let’s be friends and ignore each other just like old times.” While I don’t claim to be utterly faultless in this ultimately painless though soulless act, I try my best to combat it. It’s as simple as writing a note that says…”Hey how’s it going?” See, it’s not so hard to at least pretend you care.

Posted in Evan Kessler's Greatest Hits, Myspace, Social Networking | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »