In a move brilliant in its simplicity, yesterday Google+ began showing total content view counts on profile pages. This is significant for several reasons, but I’ll focus on the main one.
Some background: Back in December 2013 Facebook — Google+’s main competitor in the social media arena — changed their news feed algorithm. With that, Facebook in effect usurped editorial powers over users’ posts, which resulted in hiding (most of) users’ content from (most of) their friends. Now if you want more friends to see your posts, you have to pay Facebook to “promote” your posts. Many users cried foul. Some have called the practice “bait-and-switch” and “Facebook fraud”. The New York Times wondered whether Facebook had become too big to care.
Showing total content view counts on Google+ profile pages is designed to set Google+ apart from Facebook and attract more users and brands. Google basically says: “Hey, we not only let your message through to all who want to see it, we tell you how many users actually saw it.” Google+ is smartly riding the wave of discontent over Facebook’s authoritarian stance.
This works for me. After fuming for months over various objectionable Facebook policies and practices, today I am beginning to gradually phase out my Facebook presence in favor of Google+. Find me there.
In case you haven’t heard it yet, here’s the story: A “funnyman” tricks a US Olympic athlete into tweeting a fake video purporting to show a wolf on the loose in the athlete’s hotel in Sochi. The funnyman’s network (ABC) knows about the plan, but keeps mum. The story goes viral, as other legit news networks (NBC, CNN) report it as true. The funnyman goes “Sike!” ABC goes:”It is a piece of comedy.” Ha-ha!
“It wasn’t just that it was a potentially viral video. The news was that security may have been breached where the athletes stay. How did a wolf get into a place that was supposedly fortified? Was there a hole in the fence? Were there other weaknesses? How did it get past the guards? Was it even a wolf? These were all legitimate questions in the context of what has been reported about Sochi.”
In my opinion this “prank” goes well beyond stupid and irresponsible, into malicious and probably criminal. Confession: I am a little angrier than usual because I thought the story was true and shared it on social media as such. I am also no fan of ABC’s for other reasons.
Oblivious A.T.’s potpourri of impressions from Super Bowl XLVIII
I only watch one football game per year. Apparently it’s illegal to call it Super Bowl any more, but I don’t care. Super Bowl Super Bowl Super Bowl Super Bowl. SuperBowl. #superbowl. (hi, AK47!)
So, without further adieu (joke!), here are some impressions:
The TV image is crisper than I ever remember seeing it (on the same set).
Why are the Broncos orange? Orange is reserved for Florida, or — in extreme circumstances — Georgia. The Broncos are white (remember OJ?). I kept getting confused throughout the game.
Ronan Farrow is live-tweeting the show, as he did the Grammys two weeks ago. One of many parallels between the two spectacles. Other: Bulgarian-Canadian Nina Dobrev is there, as are Sir Paul McCartney and wife Nancy Shevell, Michael Douglas, etc.
I don’t understand the game.
GoDaddy commercial: Superimposing Danica Patrick’s face on a bodybuilder’s torso is grotesque. I get it: This year the males are the meat, the female is a business owner. Nice try, still disgusting.
Bruno Mars and the Chili Peppers slay the half-time show.
Bob Dylan appears in an artsy vintagey commercial for an Italian car manufacturer. The times, they are-a-changing. Fo sho.
A Belgian brewing conglomerate panders to the US military. Anything for a buck.
Maserati reminds me that I need one of their cars.
Nancy Shevell, Paul McCartney’s wife — always classy — looks younger and prettier every time I see her.
By comparison, Michael Douglas looks like he has aged ten years in two weeks. How did he get so old in the two weeks since the Grammys?
The Broncos won. Or maybe it was Seattle. The white team won. Good for them. I feel genuinely happy for the coach, who looks like a genuinely nice guy.
[UPDATE March 14, 2014] Apparently it wasn’t obvious that this post was meant to be sarcastic. So let me spell it out: What I meant was: “Marketers don’t know anything about us. ANYTHING!” Amazon — the smartest of them all — only serves me ads for either stuff that I just bought from them, or stuff I looked at by mistake with no intention of buying. The rest of them are worse. Chinese Walmart? Puh-leeze!
Don’t freak out, people!
I just got served this banner ad on a website I visit several times a day. Clearly, my privacy is in danger.
The Monaco is undoubtedly a lovely timepiece, and LVMH is clearly putting a lot of resources into its promotion. However, I don’t think a square watch will ever come close to the iconic status of James Bond’s Rolex Submariner or (later) Omega Seamaster, which is clearly what LVMH is gunning for.
As of late I have been seeing a new type of TV commercial that I don’t remember seeing before. In it a “clever” character wins an invented 30-second situation. Or, as I see it, a dishonest character betrays someone’s trust and gets rewarded for it.
In one commercial a wife pretends to have cooked the canned soup she bought. In another a friend uses her friends to earn credit card points. But the most appalling is the KFC Go Cup commercial (embedded below) where a police officer makes his partner respond to a 10-31 (crime in progress) dispatch call so he can steal his partner’s KFC snack. Appalling? Apparently not to the advertisers and their customers.
Why are there so many of these commercials? Why are they so popular? They must work, or else they wouldn’t be airing. But why do they work? Is it because they are “funny”? Or is it because they appeal to the cheater rooted deeply in the majority of the advertiser’s target demographic? Do these commercials and their apparent success reveal something deeper about the American psyche?