Tag Archives: sharing

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.

Things to Remember This Christmas

steff's christmas card 2006 resizedSince 1998, I’ve had every kind of Christmas imaginable. Lonely, magnificent, rich, broke, injured, healthy, in love, out of love. Had ’em all.

I was raised to believe in the magic of Christmas. We’d have a houseful of people singing carols, Dad would make his famous cardiac eggnog, the house was full of decorations and laughter, and us kids would even have visits from Santa, who brought every child there a gift. It really was magical.

When my mother died in 1999, I was pretty sure Christmas would never feel that Magical again. And, yeah, I was right — it hasn’t. But my life isn’t over, and “dreams” don’t always have to be big, flashy, and involve a credit card. Sometimes they can just be about getting back to the heart of what made your life wonderful and good once. Continue reading

Nocturnal Thoughts about a Long & Windy Road

It’s 2.30am and the lights are low in my apartment. I was on the verge of bed when I saw a tweet from the singer John Mayer that made me think, so I took a look at his Twitter page, and I saw this:

There’s this moment in creation, when you’ve made something truly special, where you become euphoric. And then, utterly lonely.”

I’ve been feeling that tonight, the lonely. Continue reading

The Great Divide: When Relationships Falter

I read one of my reader’s blogs this weekend and found myself thinking about it afterwards. Now, there’s two takes on this posting of his, and this is the first of them. The other I need to write, and it’ll probably be shorter. Since this posting, he’s had awesome sex with the wife and things are looking more promising. (Again, two words: Cock ring.)

He said the following:

Lately my wife has a new habit of staying up as late as I do. She falls asleep early often, but it is on the couch, refusing to go to bed until I do, which is funny since we all know nothing is going happen there. If she goes to bed, she wants me to use the computer from the bedroom. It’s like she’s making sure I have no life to myself, that everything about me must belong to her.

I am married, not owned.

The last line really hit me. No, he’s not the first to say it, but it’s a powerful statement any time it’s spoken. We are not possessions. We are not commodities. We need air, space, trust, and faith. We cannot consciously be shown on a constant basis that we are not trusted, or not only will the fabric of the relationship shred, but so will our self-esteem.

When self-esteem goes, so does any hope of a genuine relationship. It’s a vicious fucking cycle, and one that’s often created out of the insecurities of one lover not trusting the other. Often, it’s simply communication issues, which I’ll talk about next time.

That previously mentioned distrust can be valid. Very. Infidelity isn’t some urban legend that wives whisper about around the water cooler, in daunted tones like they’re talking about the relationship equivalent of Boo Radley; it’s a pressing concern for many relationships, and something both parties need to work very, very hard to avoid.

Creating an atmosphere of distrust when you have no proof, when it’s just you being insecure or having a bad time of it, is dangerous. You’re creating a bell-jar effect for your relationship. Meaning, you’re conjuring a sense of psychic disconnection from your lover by forcing them to be guarded, defensive, or even secretive.

In talking about the article in question, my loverman and I were discussing how, technically, Haaaaa’s blogging manner is an act of defiance and untrustworthiness simply because he’s airing the dirty laundry without seeming to be working on it with his wife, but that’s arguable, considering that she doesn’t seem to be talking, and just pointing fingers. I commented that I felt he was doing the lesser of all evils; he either blogged about his anger and disconnection in a way to get to the bottom of it or would find some commonality with others out in the world, or would instead find himself an outlet or Band-aid out in the world, via an inappropriate relationship with a woman, or some other negative stopgap.

Let’s say this loud and clear: You do not own title on your lover. You simply have lease on a part of their lives, whether you’re married or not. It is always, always, always in your best interest that your lover maintain some of their privacy and “me” time.

Clichés are true for a reason; the law of averages states that, more often than not, that is the truth in that given situation. Such as, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” The more you see a lover, the more chance you’re running out of time for yourself. The less time you have for yourself, the more the likelihood that your thoughts are getting drowned out in your mind.

You may want to be with your lover every day, but it’s just not entirely healthy. Time alone needs to be had, not just by you, but by them. Men, in particular, need that time alone. Manhood is a fragile thing, and when men get too embroiled in their women, they can lose touch with part of themselves. It may not be an immediately pressing issue, but it will eventually become a problem for both people in the relationship. Women need to be more possessive about their alone time, too, because it’s far too easy to find “self”-worth through a relationship – also a very detrimental thing, and something all too common with chicks.

Personally, alone time is absolutely essential to who I am. I can do without a social life, but I cannot, WILL not, do without time alone. To do so would be to destroy who and what I am. To do so would mean you’d get no fodder to read.

Marriages, I presume, eventually have phases where things get a little crowded. We’re told that, because it’s a marriage, it’s a “partnership” and everything is co-owned and shared, etc. In the end, though, it can’t be. I’ve quoted Grandma Death from Donnie Darko before, and I’ll do it again now: “In the end, every living creature dies alone.”

Between now and your death, make certain that the person who finds their way into that pine box is a reflection of the person you’ve always been. Keep your passions, keep your loves, and allow your lover the time to maintain their own. Healthy people make for healthy relationships.

Each partner must be able to indulge in passions and enjoyments on their own, or soon, they will lose some of their sense of selves, and while the relationship may continue to seem decent in an average kind of way, it’s not going to be same as it once was. Ever. Instead, the relationship becomes a tug-of-war, or worse, routine. Never, ever settle for the routine, and tug-of-wars aren’t worth the energy expended on them.

We can easily forget about the things that make us tick. Face it, life is designed to distract us from unhappiness. Not thrilled with life? The new Audi will solve that problem. Things getting too difficult? The airline has a 2-for-1 deal on flights. Insecurities getting you down? Bedhead’s got great hold in their hair products, and they smell nice, too!

When we’re unhappy in relationships, in life, we fill the gaps with things, with television, with sleep, with food. We do everything we can but face the problem itself, fearing that the cure is worse than the illness – which is often anything but true. Talk to your lover. Trust them. Give them space. Go listen to Sting’s “If You Love Somebody (Set Them Free)” and remind yourself that the song’s just echoing an eternal truth. Love comes back to you. And if it doesn’t, it was never yours to begin with. Again, clichés are true for a reason.

Why it takes so long to leave an unfulfilling relationship is that we can sometimes forget what it was like to be single, and we forget the sense of fulfillment we can take from ourselves. It’s scary, the notion of being alone versus being unhappy and together. The devil you know, etc. Relationships have a way of falsely making us feel whole – until the relationship’s flaws begin to become evident and we remember that, once upon a world, we were a different person with different needs and somewhere, somehow, who we were began to murkily assimilate with who our lovers were, with the lines dissipating in the dark of it all.

We are not possessions. We are flawed, imperfect beings who sometimes need the space to remember ourselves, for our lovers’ sakes. But, mostly, for our own.

Getting What You Ask For

Words hurt. What we say can hurt others. It can traumatize them. It can lead to unthinkable acts. Without a doubt, words can hurt.

But what we don’t say can often hurt us every bit as much. Unfortunately, as you read this, lovers all over the world are having unnecessarily bad sex all because of words they’re not saying.

Words like, “Honey, not so hard.” Or perhaps, “Can you move a little to the left?” Or quite possibly the worst phrase of all to overlook, “I think we could use a little lube.”

I’m making light of it, to be sure, but honestly, I still feel the best way to dial up a sex life is through talk. I’m not suggesting getting into a discourse on the pros and cons of ratifying Kyoto or anything, but rather, an interactive discussion on whether things are working or not. But let’s come back to that.

I recently received a happy package in the mail from my Secret Santa. In it was a copy of the Better Sex Series on DVD. This was Volume One: Advanced Sexual techniques and Positions.

Now, personally, I didn’t find there was anything really new in the DVD, but I really was glad to watch it. I’ll be keeping it around. It may come in handy with a future lover. It’s a “how to” video that explains a whole lot about sex, and I think it’d probably be useful for any new or even intermediate couple. It echoes a lot of things I’ve always believed.

There was a lot of great information included, everything from how every person’s body will respond differently to stimulation, to the uniqueness of different cocks and vaginas, and a myriad of useful position and technique advice. Great stuff.

It also highlighted the necessity of communication. The program’s participants appear to be real couples who occasionally suck at acting (in that they’re just trying too hard to say the lines right) but they sure as hell have it going on in bed. The couples talk on-screen about aspects of their sex lives correlating to whatever topic might be showing at any given time, from cunnilingus to come, and then you see snippets of them getting it on in rather elegant, if sparse, and nicely lit surroundings, illustrating how hot their sex really is.

(An assumption one might draw if they excelled in naivety would be along the lines of, “Dude, they talked about it and then, whammo! They had frickin’ hot sex! Talking is HOT, dude!”)

There are scenes, though, that illustrate beautifully what kind of dialogue can be used to really spice up your relationship. How? It’ll give you a roadmap for your partner’s pleasure zones. Here’s some questions I think ought to be asked in these scenarios, and some are variations of ones asked in the DVD:

“How do you like having your clit rubbed?”
“What part of your cock is the most sensitive?”
“Is there something I don’t do that you wish I did?”
“What part of your body do you think needs more attention?”
“What do I do that you like the most?”
“What do you like the least?”
“When’s your favourite time to have sex?”
“Please tell me when I’m doing something that doesn’t feel right.”
“I wish we could keep doing this longer…”

You obviously can surmise that having information on any of the above questions would give you a little more insight into your lover. I mean, haven’t you ever had that experience where, when you were younger, you had certain beliefs (political, ethical, spiritual, philosophical, whatever) and you happened upon a book that somehow encapsulated everything you ever believed, and you suddenly just had this totally invigorated worldview?

Not everyone knows that feeling, but I do, and those that do, I bet they know what I’m saying here. If, say, you have an inkling that the way you tickle your lover’s anus when you’re making out, playing naked in bed, but it’s one of those sorta odd taboos you’ve never really spoken about, so it’s almost like a guilty little pleasure when you sneak a little tweak for kicks, right?

But let’s say it finally comes up in conversation. They somehow look up at you, all abashed, and guiltily confess, “I gotta say, I get so, so, so hot whenever you do that thing to my ass, but I’ve been too embarrassed to admit it… and I’d like a little more.”

One little statement, that’s all it takes. I couldn’t care less if assplay is a notion that gets you off or not, but you see my point. Confess your desires, inquire as to theirs, and start fulfilling them. What part of this is so hard to understand?

Not much, I gather. It’s just hard to do. At first. One day, you just come to realize that being vulnerable may get you a little more hurt more often, but wow, the dividends it pays in most of your life is frickin’ killer — especially when it comes to sex. You’ll find that the more you open up, the more you will be rewarded in kind. When that happens, a synergy starts to build between you. There’s something there, more tangible, more open, more adventurous. It’s like you’re finally receiving permission to act.

What’s more, it’ll start spilling out into other areas of your life. You’ll feel more comfortable being open. It takes a while to find the right people who are receptive to it, but once you do, then you need to find a way to get them talking.

And if you can’t get them talking, then at least try to get them to watch something like the Better Sex series. There is help out there, kids. It’s a matter of finding it.