Category Archives: Media

How Not To Do Social Media: The Rock 101 Way

In a parallel universe, I’d love a career in radio. Unfortunately, the way things are going, it seems like some of the folks running radio stations don’t have a clue about how to survive in a New Media World, and who knows if Radio As It Is will continue well into the future.

Especially if folks like Vancouver’s Rock 101 keep fucking up the new media mix.

Being a part of the Corus Radio Network, I suspect the aging rock station’s social media work is being done by Jumpwire Media, who aren’t from Vancouver, but I’m not sure, and investigating that just isn’t important to me. So, let’s be clear that I’m unclear on who the Social Media Moron is in this scenario, but we’ll let their tweets do the talking.

So, about three weeks ago, I check my Twitter stream and there’s all this NOISE there. Seems someone has the CUTTING-EDGE GENIUS idea to try and boost their listening audience through Twitter, because suddenly there’s all these awful [ON AIR NOW] tweets from Rock 101.

Their Brainchild? Tweet EVERY SINGLE SONG played by the station. Every single song. And each song tweeted had no value added trivia or factoid, just the song and artist.

Even more awesome: The autofeed wasn’t working, so you’d get the song title partly cut off, like in the hilarious instance of [ON AIR NOW] Reilly, The Who. I asked if that was a song about Baba O’Reilly’s more conservative cousin, with less guitar. That took 2 or 3 days to fix, with hundreds of spammy tweets preceeding the fix.

And, like the rocket scientists they are, Rock 101 decided to be even more douchey by using the #Vancouver hashtag in every tweet, which one should use for interesting local content, not just wanking off for business purposes. When I called them out on that, their reply was that “lots of spam uses the #Vancouver hashtag already.”

Oh, so now you ADMIT you’re spamming me. That’s pretty awesome. Go, you!

During all this, I was vocally pissed about their “new” use of Twitter, and said much in public to my followers, while always using the @ClassicRock101 tag. This led me to having some private direct message conversations with whoever was behind the Twitter account too.

When they asked about another idea they had in the hopper — that of unfollowing the 2,000+ followers they had, choosing a “select” 101 accounts to follow — I replied as you see in the included screen shot here, but what I really wanted to say was that’s fucking elitist and dumb.

Why? Because they’re supposed to be a ROCK station. Rock’n’Roll was about telling THE MAN to FUCK OFF. Rock’n’Roll was about challenging long-held societal ideas, speaking out, getting involved, snubbing the system, and being your own man. Rock’n’Roll was Grace Slick singing about red pills that make you small. Go ask Alice. I think she’ll know.

Unfortunately, Rock 101 has decided to BE THE MAN and forget the little people, and this Fucking Dumb Idea is now their modus operandi, as they’re following the world’s most baffling 101 people, from Axl Rose to a couple little local bloggers. Apparently their fix was to “list” all their followers, but most Twitter users don’t even use lists or think they’re relevant.

Rock 101 have stopped their made-of-fail “ON AIR NOW” attempts, largely due to most people being pissed off about it (thank god). They’re full-steam-ahead on the Following 101 Not-So-Movers-Or-Shakers. And the result? They’ve lost 100+ followers in a couple weeks.

Here’s the thing.

Twitter is about engaging, not putting up walls.

I’m a personal tweeter. I’m not in it for the money or the glory, so I don’t follow everyone back and I really don’t give a shit what you think about my tweet stream — whether I’m swearing or angsty or goofy or what — because the minute I start caring about your thoughts is the minute it becomes a drag for me. When I start to please the people I would normally not attract, I start being less authentic, and set myself up for mass unfollows in the future.

In fact, when I become a Happy, Well-Balanced Tweeter, I attract more people that I know will unfollow me when I’m “myself.” And when I finally get bitchy and do a mega-rant, I get affectionate tweets from people who’ve followed me for a long time, saying they’ve missed my angst. Those are the people I want to keep around because they like me at my most uncensored, and that should be what it’s about.

But when it’s a radio station, your job is to address your audience, be relevant, have interesting content, and to engage. You’re not there masturbating. You have a chance to actually LISTEN to the audience you’re trying to make money from, and what do you do? You don’t follow them. Worse, you UNfollow them. Genius!

When Rock 101 asked me what I thought they should be doing, I said:

Be edgy. Have interesting rock trivia. Don’t kiss celebrity ass. Embrace the lack of CRTC regulations and SWEAR some. Establish that you ARE rock’n’roll, not just some corporate sell-out station that plays music from the ’70s. I’ve included a screenshot of some of what I’ve said.

And, when I said “be edgy,” I didn’t mean to have typos and improper capitalization, Rock 101.

Radio needs to get the internet right. If radio today wants to exist tomorrow, they need to figure the web out.

I find that The CBC and News 1130 Radio are two accounts getting it right when it comes to radio. The CBC itself, not so much, but their personalities, whether it’s radio reporter @TheresaLalonde or the On The Coast man himself @CBCStephenQuinn, really announce their content ahead of time, engage their audiences, and keep their Twitter accounts very relevant as a personal way of getting to know the big network. As for News 1130 Radio, I’d say it’s much the same — their reporters are all very engaged and present. The station itself retweets followers and follows 60% of those who follow them, they always announce who’s at the news desk, they reply to comments, and they’re just plugged in. As far as both these examples are concerned, they believe Twitter’s a valuable part of their audience. News 1130 even held one of the best tweetups I’ve attended, and that’s a great way to thank your audience.

When it comes to media today, they have a chance to listen to real people and engage with their public. Want to be successful? Do that. Listen, engage, make people feel heard.

When someone like Rock 101 comes along and thinks, “Hey, fuck the 2,500 people we’ve been following, let’s whittle that down to 101, let’s broadcast everything the station’s doing, literally, and let’s start being newsy,” they can’t be surprised when their following starts dwindling, and when the few who stick around really aren’t dialed in.

Unfortunately, Rock 101 has no idea who they are. They’re tweeting news about lattes, traffic, and other silly things that I would be turning to other sources for, not a rock station. And, judging by the corporate approach on Twitter, they’re not even much of a rock station anymore.

Rule Number 1 in social media, man: Know who you are.

Rule Number 2: Know who you want to engage.

Both counts, Rock 101? You fail. Better luck next time, kids.

Note: During the simple hour it’s taken to write this post, Rock 101 has lost 2 more followers. Now that’s a social media strategy with results… just not the results they want.

Riot Report? Fuck the Report. Charge Someone.

This riot report business, man, I don’t know.

You want to know what it says? Go ask someone who cares.

Important facts are pretty simple: Here in Vancouver, we had us a little hockey riot. Everyone made a big deal about it, ‘cos it IS a big deal. We’re civil Canadians, we don’t do that shit. Want to do that shit? Hand in your Canadian passport at the door. You ain’t Canadian enough.

Well, cue the UK riots. That brought a lot of perspective to Vancouver folk.

All our hockey-riot hullabaloo passed — millions of dollars in damages, people injured, and all those things that come with mass destruction unleashed by drunk assholes — and not one charge has been laid. Not one.

In the Queen’s realm, not only have charges been laid, but people are already doing HARD time for their actions! Our riot was a couple months before theirs, and much easier to dissect, being all of 3.5 hours in Vancouver, versus four DAYS in the UK.

What happened in Canuckistan?

The same thing that always happens in North America, but that BC politicians have perfected.

The relevant happenstances get forgotten. All the players turned the riot chaos into a political free-for-all ‘cos there’s an election in five months. Next thing, everyone’s pointing fingers about whose fault the thing was.

Maybe these guys didn't burn this car, but they're celebrating it, so that makes them assholes too.

“I didn’t do it. You did it! It’s your fault! Hey, people, blame him! And, psst… vote for me!”

No. You know who fucking did it?

Assholes who got loaded and trashed our city. Young, angry, stupid people who deserve to be in jail, on probation, or doing civic service to atone.

It’s not THE MAYOR’S fault. The city wanted public parties and viewing in the streets. We were longing for the communal bliss of the Olympics, and a little recreating didn’t hurt.

More than 150,000 or so folks convened downtown to watch the games. They thought it was a good idea. Those who didn’t go down mumbled thoughts that Vancouver would riot no matter how the game transpired, because some folks just look for the excuse, but I didn’t hear many of them saying “don’t do the public showings,” because they figured riots would happen with or without public events.

Still, there were plenty of politicians and would-be candidates in the mix, wearing their jerseys, cheering like it was the best thing since Oprah handed out hams.

Public parties are an awesome photo op, it would seem. “I’m a good citizen! I like hockey too. Look, I bought a jersey!”

The riot ain’t the chief of police’s fault. Our fine officers stopped the riot without firing a weapon, without using rubber bullets, and when it was all said and done, the citizens were so impressed they literally wallpapered a department squad car with THANK-YOU notes.

When you cover your face, you know you're a thieving fuck and should be ashamed of yourself, so that makes these guys fucktards.

In 3.5 hours the riot was done and dusted, honey, ‘cos our boys & girls in blue ate their Wheaties before the shift.

The fault of the great Hockey Riot was simply people who wanted to kick the shit out of things because… who the fuck knows why, “BECAUSE”? Because they did.

Why doesn’t matter.

The problem we have here is, the citizens don’t CARE about the mayor or the cops, and antagonistic media DOESN’T GET IT. We don’t care about the politics! SHUT THE HELL UP. Stop sensationalizing! Contribute to the solution! PLEASE.

We understood what happened THAT DAY. We didn’t need any fucking inquiry. The increase in cops wasn’t enough, the confiscation of liquor wasn’t consistent enough, the ability to get alcohol downtown on the day of the game was a part of the problem, even with sales ending at noon. The sunny weather brought out even more people. We got it. It was booze, numbers, and shitheads. Pretty simple.

How do we prevent the next riot? Well, we don’t. It’s always a possibility. Our riot response just needs to improve even more. The response improvement from 1994 to 2011 was impressive. Continue that.

In the meantime, we want justice. We want these punk-ass bitches, many of whom were caught IN ACTION, to be punished!

And if they’re NOT punished, FIX THE GODDAMNED LAW so they can be charged NEXT time. Get us some fucking politicians in chambers who execute new legislation that makes it possible to prosecute for incitement and agitation when it’s not related to a political protests. Those get a different measuring stick.

Seriously, write a law that escalates punishment if in conjunction with civic celebrations. If a riot happens within a day of a sporting finals or major sporting event, or public celebration like The Symphony of Fire, have it be a charge of hooliganism.

Or something. My University of Phoenix correspondence law degree ain’t done yet, so let’s not make me think so hard. Write somethin’, lawmakers.

But stop the fucking finger-pointing. If leaders weren’t so damned afraid to bust out a dance in this province’s political scene, we might actually have progress happen and effect some real change. God knows we need it.

That’s fantasy thinking, there. Here, in Lotus Land, everyone’s prepared to play the blame game before the record even starts to spin.

I’m tired of it. Guess what? Most taxpayers are tired of it.

Assholes that are “the future” went out there and tore my city apart, assaulted my police officers, broke our hearts, AND THEY’RE GETTING AWAY WITH IT.

They’re on TAPE! We have photos! There are witnesses!

AND THEY’RE GETTING AWAY WITH IT.

I’ve never considered politics in British Columbia to be more pathetic than it is now, and any politician campaigning with “riot speak and blaming” as a major part of their platform will not get one damned bit of support, or a vote, from me.

It’s time to grow up, BC politicians. And grow a pair.

Shut up and solve some problems that need solving. Get these punk-asses charged and answering to society.

If these jerks can’t be prosecuted, then I want laws in place by June 1, 2012, that make it simple to lay charges and have them stick, when it comes to wanton sports-hooligan violence like this.

Because right now the legal system and political system in British Columbia is an embarrassment. An EMBARRASSMENT.

People wrecked our city. We know who to blame. Prosecuting them is just not brimming with enough political cachet.

Well, we, the people, we don’t need politics.

We want justice.

Now give it to us.

Round Up: The Week That Was

I have worked every day for eight days, writing for a few hours on all my off days, so, the blogging force is not strong in me right now, Young Jedis. This may be the way of the Steff world for a while, but after so long running the financial tank on half-empty, I’m trying not to gripe about the opportunities coming my way. It’s a great change. Right? Sure.

But… there’s a lot going on in my/our world, and if I don’t stop to take a writing break, none of it will ever get my attention.

In such a blah news week, why not a quirky old picture? Celebrating what it is, a Beetle reportedly crossed the Irish Sea from the Isle of Mann in the '80s(?). Apparently sailed by Malcolm Buchanan.

So, the week that was, then, except for Norway because I’m still processing this because I’ve been working too much to follow it. It deserves more than a passing comment.

Amy Winehouse, Forever 27

I don’t know what it is about that age. Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Cobain, Janis Joplin, Basquiat, and now Winehouse, all dead.

I’ll confess I’ve never really listened to her. I have a hard time getting into people I fear won’t be alive long, since this reputation long preceded Winehouse’s death.

Russell Brand really said everything that needs to be said about Amy in this shockingly good blog post.

And I promise to spend a rainy night sometime learning about her music, thinking about the prices paid for having an artistic predisposition — since artists are more likely to overdose and/or commit suicide than most. Just another brilliant mind gone far too soon.

Jack Layton, Cancer

I’m much more upset by the news of Jack Layton’s second instance of cancer, a new kind too, than I thought I would be, and angry he’s so gaunt so soon. The Left needed a more energized and optimistic voice in Canada, and despite how badly the recent national election went, I was optimistic that Layton could bridge the divide between all the left-of-centre voices in this country for a stronger political opposition as time goes on.

And maybe he still will. But let’s be real, it’s cancer, and they’re not saying what kind. That’s probably not a good sign.

This itself is becoming a controversy. Are we, the public, entitled to know what the opposition leader’s specific cancer is?

You know what? No. Fuck it. Why? Why do we need to go there? We don’t. It doesn’t change anything. He’s stepping aside. Shut up and let the man fight his fight.

The media’s prying because they want the meaty story. What about all the stories on X-cancer and Y-treatment options? How in god’s name will the networks ramp up their viewership if they don’t have specifics?

Well, fuck you, media. I don’t want the specifics today. I want Jack to get well. I don’t want the public jumping to conclusions on treatments for X-cancer when others’ cases might be different. I don’t want cancer sensationalised or peppered over the news yet again.

Layton’s shooting for a return date of September 19th. With everything I have, I hope it works for him. I didn’t vote for him, but I greatly admire him, and he’s a great Canadian.

Yo, Vancouver, What’s the 311?

If you live in Vancouver and you haven’t discovered the 3-1-1 City Services number, it’s among the best “service-related things a civic government has done for this city in my lifetime, I would say. Put down the blue pages, don’t dare Google that number — if you have a problem with ANYTHING the City has a department for, call 3-1-1 and report it.

One number, every solution. It makes every corporation in Canada look like an asshat for making phone customer service so onerous (I’m looking at you, Telus and Fido).

Every time I’ve called, I’ve been helped in 5 minutes or less. In the last month, I’ve called about:

  • tubs of black mystery liquid abandoned in my alley (picked up by sanitation next day)
  • an eroding bike lane (fixed later that week)
  • a small “pocket” city park whose lights had blown out (called to say wiring had shorted, it got repaired that weekend)
  • finding a cockroach in my apartment (I called on Saturday, city inspector called me for details Monday, by noon)
  • an injured, possibly rabid urban coyote in a cemetery (they said a conservation officer would see if he could heal & carry on with life, or not)

So, when they say it’s a one-stop dial-in shop for civic services, the City of Vancouver doesn’t lie. Stop thinking it’s impossible to affect change at an on-your-street level because, clearly, them things they are a-changin’.

Pride Week

Here, in Vancouver, it’s Gay “Pride Week.” Click here for events scheduled.

While I’m not gay, I think it’s a great opportunity to remember that being yourself makes living your life a lot easier. Be honest about who you are, what you want, what you love, who you love, and how you want to live.

Life spend half-honest, or full of compromise, is a life left unlived.

For every person I turn off or push away by “being my blunt self,” it’s one less person I need to worry about pleasing in the future, and those who remain are further proven to be the ones I need be concerned with keeping.

  • Celebrate who you are.
  • Celebrate who others are.
  • Embrace diversity.
  • Encourage individualism.
  • Don’t apologize for being different.
  • Don’t tone it down.

And keep on keepin’ on, my fine, diverse brothers and sisters. You make life more fun, and you’re welcome in my world.

Why I’ve Drunk the Google+ Kool-aid… And Love It (for Writers)

I’m a writer.

I like an audience.

I also tend to use more than 20 words at a time, like on Twitter, or 75 words on Facebook. While I’ll always love the challenge of having a brilliant and funny 140-character-or-less tweet, the unfiltered-length possibilities on Google+ make it possible for me to write my Unabomber manifesto for the world at the large without burying it on some obscure “notes” page on my Facebook account, while giving me a larger audience than I enjoy on this lowly blog.

So, there’s that.

And I can edit after the fact, which is fantastic for a neurotic type-A personality like me who wants to cry at support groups every time my iPhone leads me to fuck up and upload a typo. And there’s bold AND italics? Oh, editor porn! Editor porn!

It’s a slippery-slope thing, the after-the-fact post-editing, but it’s LONG overdue in social media, where every word we say can cripple us professionally or personally.

If Google’s smart, they’ll have a built-in system that allows for proper tracking of edits once comments have appeared on a posting. I think, in the interest of truth and transparency, a “track-changes” feature might keep people on the ethical straight and narrow with edits. As it stands, it DOES say the post was edited and at what time, but not the extent to which edits have been done.

Google+ Has Borrowed From Those Before Them

Now, this is early in the game. Yet people are commenting, “Oh, I would’ve expected Google to roll out something much more dynamic, given their global reach,” etc, but I question if these folks really realize the scope of what Google has unleashed.

If you think of Google+ as being the framework upon which The Goog is developing a social structure that spreads throughout the whole web, they’ve created a fabulous start. No one has the ability to catch up with Facebook’s infrastructure — but Google can.

Right now, Google+ offers you “hangouts,” which takes the Chatroulette web-cam socializing idea and runs with it. They have “sharing,” and privacy controls that are far simpler to adjust than Facebook (and more transparency about the lack of existing privacy).

The continuous refreshing feed and ease of sharing replicates the Tumblr-reader/blogger experience.

The +1 bookmarking makes for a DIGG or StumbleUpon replacement and there’s a page on your profile where it saves them. It’s called the +1 Page, but it doesn’t save all the things you’ve “liked” in your main in-Google+ feed (where you +1 instead of “liking” as you would on Facebook), it only tracks external webpages that have a +1 button. (You can change a setting in G+ settings so that Google assigns a +1 button on ALL non-Google pages, and that way it can truly be your new bookmarking service. I’ve been hesitant to go there, but I use Google for all my searches anyhow, and resistance seems futile.)

That Google owns Youtube, which is rolling out the COSMIC PANDA experiment as I type (for which you need to use the Google Chrome browser, I understand), makes for better video interfacing in-feed than Facebook offers, plus excessively-fun and easy animated-GIF posting.

The following options on Google+ are like on Twitter — it’s public and anyone’s game for you to follow without approval, unless they block you, but it’s easier to find people, and there’s a built-in, far more interesting and informative profile that makes the follow/unfollow option much more simpler.

They have ingenius “social circles,” and a smart user will create additional streams beyond the few basic ones that come pre-set by G+ — like I’ve added “local connections” who are people I don’t consider acquaintances but know through the local scene, “extended family” is obvious, “soc med influencers” keeps the Chris Brogans at bay, “news and info” will be news organizations or persons affiliated with them, which I hope are allowed onto Google+ sooner than later, because I think it’d be fantastic for that sort of content. I have “people I like” and “Journalists & Writers” and other stuff relevant to my life. People are grouped in multiple circles if they’re more relevant to me.

I foresee Google allowing a more toggle-able feed, where I don’t have to have all or just one, but can default to 2-3-4 preferred feeds that most affect my content-consuming time.

Built for Engaging

G+ will be, for me, a more powerful way of getting my writing out in the world, and a way to have a much better engaging with my audience, because I never really log in here and write comments, but I do love engaging on topics, and I’m more likely to do so on G+, since I’ve found myself having more ideological discussions there in a week than I have on Facebook or Twitter in a month, and at a far greater length and focus.

For now, Google+ is telling marketers to stay away until the end of the year. I think business won’t really get how to use it, and many will be awkward and shitty at content-generation like they are on Twitter, but one can get away with sucking more at Twitter than you could on G+. With more rope to hang themselves, I’m nearly confident most marketers will succeed handily at self-asphyxiation on Google-plus.

So, It’s More Private Than Facebook?

[insert laughter here] Urm, definitely not.

Privacy? Are there better privacy protections? Arguably, no. This, however, is more transparent, and I think we’re all used to Google knowing everything about us anyhow.

If you want privacy, get off the internet. Really. The two do not compute. It’s like putting alfalfa in cheesecake. What the fuck are you thinking?

Are there issues? Yeah. If you don’t want something private inadvertently shared, you can’t just not include X circles of people, you also have to disable sharing on it. But, wait! You can disable sharing! And disable comments! Yay.

The reality is, Google+ just ensures you’ll be a thoroughly data-mined person in the Google universe, but who’s kidding who? You already are. Facebook has ya, your credit card company’s got a real sweet dossier on you. Fuck, every charity in the country knows when you’re a giver. Worrying about your information being out there, that’s just silly. It already IS.

The only privacy you’ve got is to not say anything you don’t want repeated. Shut up or suck it up, basically.

Google Takes Over The World, Story At 11

This feels very much like a social tool that’s truly social. If Google starts expanding it — and, remember, this company owns Blogger and has stopped developing it — the dynamic nature of their “socialness” will be nearly infinite. Google is among the only companies in the world with the wherewithal to beat Facebook, and mark my words — and many others — this might just be the tool that does it.

Yeah, I’m sticking around. Wanna follow me on Google+? Go for it.

In the meantime, it’s not all sunshine and roses. This damning article says the privacy concerns could blow up big. Other sticking points I’ve found are below.

But, hey, I’ve been on the web for years. My privacy got screwed years ago. Welcome to my party, people.

Shit They Gotta Fix

Comments are bothersome: You can’t collapse comments. I’m liable to unfollow all the “popular” people until this is fixed. For the moment, you can read the post and the comments, then click the greyscale “+” top right of any post and “mute” the post. This will not only hide it in your feed, but it’ll end any notifications associated with the post.

Invasive feed-refreshing rate: The continuously auto-refreshing feed does so while one is writing a post or comment, which doesn’t hurt anything, but can be jarring to the thinking process, and it’s clumsy. I’d like it to be possible to pause the feed.

Indiscriminate re-sharing: When one has shared things with a limited audience, it’s possible for their limited audience to then re-share to the general public, and, if so, the original poster’s name is on it. Great to have attribution, but it’s an invasion of privacy. Instead, G+ should build in a restrictor of some kind. In the mean time, you can disable sharing on each post.

Photo-sharing: When uploading photos, it creates a whole album, and one can share someone else’s complete album. If you ever geotag your stuff, whether it’s shot at home or you have kids, it’s unwise to allow these geotagged photos to be reshared, so, I would advise remembering to disable sharing on every posted photo album. UNFORTUNATELY, this cannot yet be done with the mobile app.

Circle-editing: You can’t edit a circle of friends and just move someone to a new circle, so you really have to be on the ball about it. Instead, you have to add them to a new circle before deleting them from the one you’ve decided they don’t fix, otherwise you have to re-ad them to circles in entirety, which is just irritating.

Ego-boosting fail: When I see great content and re-share it, I now get nothing out of the re-share when someone re-shares it off me. Instead, the person who originally posted it gets all the credit. I’d like to see “By way of Steffani Cameron, and Originally Posted by This Genius Guy” or something. Otherwise, you’re encouraging people to find the original source, upload it, and try to steal credit. Everyone wants their name in the game, Google. Savvy up there.

Buggy, bitches: The notifications, adding people, the numbers in circles, none of it is working completely right yet, but that’s to be expected with a new product that is achieving unprecedented influx of new power users in less than a week. This will smooth out, I’m sure.

Plain Stupid Things: That they request you to list “other names” like “maiden names” and stuff is absolutely moronic. Sure, it’s nice as a be-found-by-old-friends feature, but it’s also an identity-thief’s wet dream. Think twice before you’re so needy for antiquated social connections that you give scam-artists an open door to your identity, people.

Assaulting Employees: FUNNY! Really, Groupon?

I just don’t get it.

Maybe I’m not funny after all.

Apparently this Groupon video for unsubscribing is the cat’s meow, the bee’s knees, so funny you’ll puke. Just asked Wired, that’s what THEY think.

Me, I watch it and think “Wow, we’re just a sad, sad society.”

2,000 years ago, the Romans threw Christians to the lions. We got off on seeing people hurt and killed as entertainment.

You’d think, in the Information Age, that we would have progressed some, so that we’re not at that stage where we think it’s a blast to see people hurt or tormented. Sadly, you’re kinda wrong, it seems.

We’ve toned it down, but the gist of enjoying the humiliation and harm, that’s still there. Way to go, society. Stay classy.

Sure, all that happens in this video is a guy gets chewed out, pushed around, and a cup of presumably hot coffee (since most mostly-full cups of coffee tend to be recently acquired) thrown into his face.

I’m sure no Groupon Employees were harmed in this video, but the suggestion is that, DUDE, it’s HAH-LARRI-YUS to chuck scalding beverages into a peer’s face. Yuck, yuck, yuck. Chuckle! Giggle. “That’ll leave a mark, dude!”

Can’t we be a little better than this? Can’t the same message be achieved by dropping a bomb on a computer and saying, “Bad computer! BAD! No email for you!” or something?

Well, yes.

But this is what happens when you like to shock and sensationalize for notoriety and water-cooler cachet.

We can be better than this.

Unfortunately, some folk who write the newspapers and stuff (lookin’ at you, Wired) seem to think Groupon’s writing is awesome and their ads are terrific.

In the social media trenches, though, more people than not tell me they hate Groupon’s writing. A number of people have unsubscribed on that basis alone. I haven’t even mentioned the Groupon Superbowl debacle, or the recent controversial ad that poked fun at depression as being a great sleep aid.

Groupon’s lack of taste is ridiculous, and it’s disappointing that there isn’t a larger hue and cry about it.

Thankfully, it seems consciousness has been growing since the Superbowl ads, and I’d hope the prevalence of things like Deal By Day’s newsletter, which aggregates all your local deals into one daily 6:30am email, might increase the number of people who unsubscribe from Groupon’s daily letter, who start shopping a broader array of deals, and will send a message that it’s not okay to mock committing cruelty to people, as Groupon has done on a few occasions now.

But, hey, like I say. Maybe I’m just not funny anymore.

Maybe I’m getting old. Maybe this whole “I’m past treating people like shit for a gag” thing is some emotional midlife crisis.

Who knows.

I just know I ain’t impressed. I ain’t laughin’. And I know I ain’t alone.

Groupon’s market share is falling, for a lot of reasons. I think the media doesn’t realize how much a contingent of the public loathes Groupon’s marketing, definitely a reason many of us have walked away. With ads like these, I say it couldn’t happen to a better company. Groupon walking away from a $6 billion sale to Google? Probably the stupidest decision since putting all the marketing eggs into one Crocs-shoe basket.

Oh… and I haven’t bought a Groupon since last August. Hello, DealByDay newsletter, how YOU doin’?

The End is Nigh: What Journalism’s Selling

I graduated with a journalism degree back in the mid-90s, when this little “internet” thing was just taking off.

I don’t think any of us then could have fathomed a world where news could travel instantaneously from not just professionals, but amateurs with fancy cellphones.

Today, I wish the ethics class I had taken then was mandatory for all users of social media, and a refresher course available for all working journos. In the heat of the moment, even I can be guilty of kneejerk retweeting, because I naively believe the news sources wouldn’t DARE misinform us about something as dire as, like, nuclear meltdown.

How wrong I am.

Journalism & social media today.

Times like these, I worry it’s the blind-leading-the-blind news scenario that’s most detrimental to us.

Out there, panic. Apparently we’re all going to be stricken with radiation, then cancer and certain death as a nuclear meltdown abso-fucking-lutely will be laying waste across the world. Potassium iodide sales are skyrocketing. IN THE USA AND CANADA. Hello, there’s 7,000 kilometres minimum between our coasts, let alone travelling inland.

Get yer tinfoil hats on and stock up on duct tape, kids — North America’s in JEOPARDY!

Um, no, no meltdown, no nuclear boom. Not yet, kiddos. And, the thing is, the news is so sensationalised by just about everyone right now that I can’t even watch it. I just can’t.

Being terrified isn’t helping. And it’s insulting to the Japanese who are living with this shit within their borders.

And, furthermore, these constant death totals — the media had no business reporting deaths on day 2, 3, 4, etc. We know they’re going to escalate rapidly, and the foolishly low numbers reported early in the tragedy are just irresponsible — as if the tragedy is WORSENING because the numbers are rising.

No. It was that bad to begin with. You just had to watch it unfolding live. I’ll never forget how that felt. “Hundreds” of deaths? So naive.

I remember the low numbers reported for the first few days of the Indonesian tsunami that resulted in 230,000 deaths. I fear the numbers in Japan. I loathe the endless watch as the number creeps up with increasing speed as recovery efforts escalate. From false hope of “oh, it looked worse” to the ever-rising gloom of knowing that’s so much more than “just a number” as it gets amped up by thousands.

And, then, elsewhere in the world, Gaddhafi is effecting a brutal crackdown on his protesters, as the western leaders twiddle their thumbs. Bahrain is killing its protesting citizens, too.

CNN? Barely even knows the Arab World exists this week. And people are dying while our heads are turned away.

That is the media’s job. To prevent us from being blind to these things.

They’re failing.

They’re scaring us.

They’re reporting inside an echo chamber, putting people who don’t understand the topic in charge of educating the masses, they’re ignoring blood being shed for democracy, and none of us are the better for it.

To the few journalists who are really trying to present information without sensationalising it: Thank you.

To the rest of ’em: Get a real job.