Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Why Google+ Will Still Overtake Facebook

  It's official. Google+ is public. And it's spreading like wildfire. People are ready for a new option to socialize online, and Google+ is the answer. They have combined elements from Facebook and Twitter and made them more accessible, user-friendly and interesting for people to use. You know what's really cool? I joined Google+ with my Blogger username and I already have 4 complete strangers who have added me to their circles within a week, which is actually much faster than my other Google username got people adding me to my circles and I know those people offline. (Sorry, complete strangers if you've been following my blog and I just haven't realized it. Try connecting with Insistent and Persistent using Google Friend Connect. Hint hint.)
    You can also share your circles with people on Google+ so everyone else can see who you're stalking, I mean following. (Sidenote: Thanks, Mashable, for doing all this research so I don't have to.)
    The public grand opening, so to speak, of Google+ just happens to coincide with Facebook releasing a whole slew of new features trying to keep up with, er, compete, with Google+. They rearranged the news feed, meant to look a little more like Twitter and the Stream that you can narrow down with Google+ Circles, and they also created new "lists", obviously meant to imitate Google+ Circles, so you can organize your Facebook friends by location, favoritism, and work, or whatever you want, basically. However, it's still not as easy as Google+ Circles. There are way too many steps in the process. The lists thing is also only visible on the home page of Facebook, and it would be much more useful and practical if it were in the navigation menu so it could be easily accessed.
    With a little help from the social media team at work, I have also seen firsthand the new Facebook timeline thing that all profile pages are going to be converted to in short order. It is pretty snazzy, but only if you want your entire life history on Facebook. I can see the benefits of it, but I just don't care to share that much of my life with the online community, even my limited pool of Facebook friends. It's supposed to be like a scrapbook thing, but considering that I sort of suck at taking pictures, I don't see that this new format will benefit me that much. It actually makes your Facebook profile look a little like the old MySpace pages or a personal blog.
    Facebook knew that Google+ was coming after them, which is why all these changes have sprung up. (Memo to Facebook/Mark Zuckerberg: A little warning might've been nice. An email, perhaps...) But I think they may be pissing people off more than making them want to stick with Facebook rather than try Google+. We shall see.
Why does "Google" sound like a dirty word?

Check out Constant Writer on Google+, and join, if you haven't already! 
I will be sharing my blog posts, and some others that I find interesting or relevant there. 

So, dear readers, what do you think of the new Google+? 
Is it better, worse, or about the same as other social media mediums like Facebook and Twitter?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Worst Kinds of People

  I read an article today about the worst kinds of coworkers to have, the loud mouth, the bad influence, the rival, the downer, etc., and it got me thinking about people I know who are like this. Not necessarily coworkers, as I have pretty awesome coworkers, but just people I've known or that I know now who are people I probably shouldn't know.
    As far as someone who talks too much, I'm probably guilty of that one. I don't blab other people's secrets. Not secrets. I do have a tendency to overshare my own thoughts, and sometimes, when it's really good news or really juicy gossip, I have a really hard time not sharing it. Sometimes it's just with my boyfriend, and he doesn't really count because he doesn't talk about anything I tell him to other people, but sometimes it's sharing with my coworkers, and I probably shouldn't share all the stuff I do with them. There are some things that, because we work together, probably should be kept to myself.
    Bad influences, I know a few of those people. The ones that tell you to skip class to go to the brewery, the ones that talk you into coming to that party you didn't want to go to because it was going to be nothing but a bunch of people you don't know drinking stuff you don't want to drink, the ones that convince you to hang out or go do things that you don't have the money to do just because it sounds like so much fun. I think we all have this bone in our bodies--we all do a little peer pressuring from time to time, whether it's something little or something big. The difference is that we aren't the pusher all the time. Some people are always going to dare you to do the thing you know you shouldn't be doing because they have a little danger streak that they want to share.
    Overly competitive people--I was in IB in high school. I didn't finish, but I knew my fair share of overly competitive people. The ones that will always ask what you got on your test and caw happily when they find out they got one point better. (I did enjoy doing better than other people, I just didn't say it out loud that I got the better grade or that I was proud of myself for having gotten it.) The people who will always turn in the paper a week early and stick their hand up first to get their answer in. The only person I think I've ever really competed with is myself. I'll admit, I am a little competitive at work. I want to get my good idea in first, and I want my creativity to shine over everyone else's when I get the chance to. But I'm not the most creative person there, and I don't have the experience with certain aspects of the job that other people do, which limits me in some respects, and it means that that chance to shine doesn't come around as often as it used to when I was in school, getting grades.
    The downer is that person that can always find something negative to say about whatever happens or whatever else is said. I have DEFINITELY known people like this. It's really unfortunate because they're usually decent people, they just have an overly pessimistic outlook on life and people and the world. I have days where everything sucks--I think you'd have to be an automaton if you didn't have days like that at least sometimes, however infrequent. But some people are just distrustful, angry, regretful, and unhappy people that live by the adage misery loves company. These are probably the worst ones on this list because they bring everyone else down too, whether they mean to or not.
    I guess the point here is that while we all may be a little bit like these personalities from time to time, the point is not to be any one of them ALL the time. And maybe to be more like a few other personalities some of the time too--the encourager, the shoulder to lean on, the back-up, the giver--to balance everything out. (Sidenote: Using the new Blogger Interface right now. It's clean, and I like the posting part, LOVE the posting part, but the dashboard is weird. Too clean, too few buttons. Hard to find what you want.)
Be ambitious but not a shark. 
Be realistic not pessimistic. 
Be honest but not tactless. 

What kind of person do YOU think is the worst? 
Or... are you secretly one of them?
Share in the comments. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lonesome Town: Or, How I'm Learning to Stop Worrying and Live Alone

  Living alone is strange. It's been a while since I have lived alone, a little over two years. It takes a little getting used to. I'm also in a different situation than the last time I lived alone: I'm out of school, working full-time, and I have my cat living here. I'm trying to make it a home, not just a place where I keep my stuff, and that's different too. That is expensive, I've discovered. I had some money set aside specifically to help me get some of the essentials, the things that I would need to live here indefinitely. I'm operating under the assumption that I won't be moving out at the end of my lease, also somethign I've never done before. I still kind of feel like that's what people do, for whatever reason. College town, I guess.
    In any case, I've moved most of the stuff from my dad's house up here, and I've got furniture, my furniture that I don't have to give back to anyone after I move out. I am even working on hanging pictures, not just posters or magazine cut-outs, a hold-out habit from my high school days, but actual pictures with frames and everything. It's strange trying to be a real grown-up who pays bills, buys their own groceries, does laundry in the machines in the complex as opposed to at mom's or dad's, and has to cook for themselves because eating out all the time gets so expensive. I don't mind some of it, only I wish it didn't cost so much. I like having all my stuff in one place. I like having some of the responsibility, and I like that when I go home, I don't have to talk to anyone if I don't feel like it.
    The cat is getting used to being here--he's already found the ONE piece of furniture that I hadn't covered with something to prevent it from becoming a scratching post and turned it into a scratching post. But now that I've identified it, he will be SOL. I'll have to get him a scratching post, a real one, that he can do whatever he wants with. Boy, was he terrified today, though! His bowl was *gasp* almost empty when I got home! He sounded a little hoarse actually, like he'd been crying for a while for someone to feed him. I think he really believes that he will starve if he ever completely cleans the bowl, like no one will ever fill it again if he eats it all. I'd really like to get him on a schedule where he gets a proper serving size twice a day, but I have a feeling he might take out his frustration on the ottoman, aka scratching post.
    I mostly like being alone here, alone meaning without people, because while the cat speaks, it's not in English. I can watch whatever I want on TV, I can spend however long I want online, I can eat spaghetti four nights in a row without judgment, and I don't have to worry about anyone leaving the toilet seat up in the middle of the night. But there are times when I feel a little funny about being here by myself. I'm not particularly concerned about burglary being on the second floor and having so many neighbors around all the time, but I worry about getting trapped under a bookshelf with no one to come home and rescue me, or choking on a pretzel and having no one to thump me on the back to help me cough it up.
    This place even feels a little bit big, even with the cat. I wish I had more storage and closet space, but who doesn't? The rooms feel big, the bedroom in particular. I don't have enough stuff to fill the place, and yet I almost have too much. The living room is packed, two bookshelves, two small shelves for movies, the TV, a small kitchen table I'm using as a desk, a loveseat, and a chair. It's not crowded, but it's definitely full. I just don't want to buy something else for the bedroom unless I know I'll use it, and not just for table space.
    It's quiet here, and my plants seem to be enjoying the east and west windows instead of the overpowering sun from south facing windows like they're used to. I really should try to become a better cook, so I can do a little better than spaghetti and cheese for dinner occasionally. But in the meantime, I'll keep sleeping diagonally in my bed because I don't have to share it with anyone, and I'll keep watching TV and watching movies online because no one's going to tell me I should go outside or do something more productive, and I'll keep squirting the cat with the water bottle until he learns that the ottoman is not a scratching post. It's almost bedtime, as I have been a little sick since yesterday and I need to get a little extra rest.
At least it's whole wheat spaghetti, right?


What was your reaction to living by yourself for the first time? 
Fear? Independence? Homesickness? Freedom, at long last? Or something else entirely? 
Share in the comments. 
Yes, I'm now soliciting comments, dear readers. Kindly play along ;)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

What I Do For A Living

  So one of my coworkers found this really awesome infographic yesterday: How Google Works. (I was TOTALLY going to insert it into the blog here, because they have some HTML code to do so, but it was about 20 pixels wider than my main content column, so I decided against it. UPDATE: I did preview it with the whole thing in there and it looked really buggered up, so just check it out on their site.) The infographic breaks down the process, in every excruciating detail, of how Google finds what you're looking for when you do a search. It's pretty extensive, to say the least.
    I'm not an SEO expert, and I've only been working in the Internet marketing and Search Engine Optimization business for about a year now (one year next month!), but this infographic really explains a lot about what we do where I work. Right now, I've been mostly managing the content for our sites, but part of what I do is making sure that search engines, like Google, can find the articles that we post to our sites by using SEO techniques. I can't say what we do or how we do it, as that would sort of be like exposing trade secrets--which is somewhere in that fifteen page document I signed when I started work--but knowing a little bit about how Google actually finds stuff is helpful to that aspect of how I do my job.
    I just thought it was interesting, and in such a world in which we rely on Google to tell us pretty much everything about our world, I thought some of you might find it interesting too.
Google it. If Google doesn't know, no one does. Or you suck at searching.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Everything in Moderation

  I think everybody has had that day where they partied a little too hard. Embarrassed themselves, and possibly other people. I won't go into the details, mainly because they're a little gruesome, but I'm sorry to say I was that person on Friday evening. (Digression: what a wonderfully uplifting way to return to blogging after two weeks of no internet! Did we all catch the sarcasm? Good.) Needless to say, I will not be doing that again. From now on, unless I'm home, I don't even want to start drinking because I really outdid myself this time. It's not the first time I've passed out, or the first time I've thrown up from overindulgence, but it's the first time I really made a fool of myself doing either one. To boot, I have a sore throat today from heaving and dry-heaving so much. First and last time shooting tequila. Margaritas yes. Shots, no.
    On to slightly less depressing topics: Still having problems with Comcast. I got my equipment a couple weeks ago. Couldn't get the cable to connect--they gave me a non-functional cable box, and came out and replaced it, free of charge. It worked for a week until I finally got around to purchasing a modem today to hook up my internet, and I managed to knock most of the cable out. The internet works like a dream. The cable will now only bring up about a dozen of the hundred or so channels I'm supposed to get, so I have to have another technician come back out here tomorrow. I snuck in a service maintenance fee thing so they can't bill me $50 every time someone has to come out here, except now I get to add another $2.45 a month to my bill. Still, I figure $2.45 a month is cheaper than $50 in one go.
    Went to a lovely sushi restaurant this afternoon, mainly as a thank you to my boyfriend for helping me and sticking with me when I was at my absolute worst yesterday. It was amazing food. I've never had such good miso soup. And the sushi itself was great too! They had a few unusual menu items, pumpkin tempura--something which I ordered and loved, but the servers were nice, the prices were reasonable, and the food was awesome. What more can you ask for?
    I am finally nearing the finish line as far as moving in goes. My extensive movie collection is shelved, organized. I think I've bought all I need to buy, thank God. The only things I still have to do are bringing my cat up--which I hope to do this weekend, hanging my pictures, getting the cable AND internet to work simultaneously, unpacking my video tapes (the rest of the collection I mentioned is all DVDs), and maybe buying a few more groceries. Other than that, I'd say I'm pretty much there. It actually looks like a place someone lives, and not just a place someone keeps their stuff.
    Quirks about the new digs: the windows don't like to slide open and shut too often; the floors all seem to slope towards the center of the apartment where all the closets and cupboards are; I can hear all the sirens and dogs and kids in the neighborhood loud and clear at any and all hours of the day and night; and the electrical outlets that are connected to a switch are for some reason connected to both outlets instead of just a single outlet plug. Maybe that's not so unusual, but it's unusual to me.
    In any case, I think I've over-shared quite enough for one evening. I'm hoping to get back on track blogging regularly, so maybe I can convince everyone to get back to regularly following what nonsense I may have to say.
Drink, drank, drunk.

+Constant Writer

Etsy Addict: A Few of My Favorite Things