Monday, October 27, 2008

Facing the Facts About Facebook

Are you on Facebook? It's a great site for reconnecting with friends and family. It also helps you get to know new acquaintances a lot quicker. On the flip side, perhaps you can relate to some of the less desirable kinds people you encounter on the site.

The Friend Whore: Long lost people you never really had a relationship with request to be your friend, and you never actually communicate with you once you are connected. Let's face it, all they want to do is rack up the number of friends thay have.
The Friend Poacher: This person joins Facebook and then proceeds to link up with almost everyone from your friend list. Even those they may not know too well.
Get a life and your own friends, I say.
The Peanut Gallery: Long lost or fringe friends who suddenly comment on every little thing you do or say. Leave me alone and mind your own business.
Status Martyrs: These are a pet peeve of mine. These are people who change their status with great frequency, often to tell you how tired or how stressed out they are, or that they just got back from the gym. If you are that busy, how do you have time to update your status so much?

Is there anything more annoying?

However, Facebook and the status field are a great example of the power of social networking. Social Networking has become a hot term in the marketing and market research worlds. Like the term "Green", it's almost overused in many cases. But one thing is for sure, it is a huge factor in affecting people's behavior.

Facebook pages have become personal podiums where people can promote their political views, religious beliefs or promote a cause. Sometimes this might turn more people off, but the simple fact is that it's making people more aware... of everything.

The power I saw today on Facebook was from referrals. A friend posted on her status that she was looking for a new digital camera. I have some insight on this topic so I commented on her status and recommended a brand I was happy with, a good camera review site and some advice about how to find a good price.

A little later I checked back and I saw a three or four other people had chimed in with advice and recommendations. It was amazing. My friend's purchase will be influenced by people that a year ago she hardly spoke to or did not even know. And now other people are reading the discussion from the sidelines and are getting product reviews almost by osmosis.

Wow, a built in panel of friends, family and acquaintances that can be instantly tapped into for advice, referrals and opinions. That's powerful.

I wonder what the final effect on her purchase will be. I hope my friend follows up after she buys a camera. I'm curious to see how the suggestions from Facebook affect her purchase, or if the advice steers her in a certain direction. Who knows? Maybe will she see a sale and just buy a camera because of the good price. Or a sales person will convince her of a different brand.
There are so many factors in a purchasing choice, but we can't ignore the weight of a referral on a decision or the significance of a network like the community on Facebook.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go update my status. How does this sound?
"Jack is blogging about Facebook, and is tired, stressed out and needs to hit the gym."

UPDATE 11/9/08- I followed up with my friend and found out that she bought a Canon SD880 IS. Canon was the brand that we all had recommended. She says so far, she I loves it.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Those Were the McDays

I really miss McDonald's.

Books like Fast Food Nation and movies like Super Size Me are exposing the health hazards of these types of restaurants. The big message now is to eat healthier and steer clear of fast food. Too much of this stuff will kill you.

Okay, I get it. I know that Quarter Pounders and hot apple pies will clog my arteries and add chins to my face. But let's face it; McDonald's can be really tasty. Is there anything better than a large fries, fresh out of the bag? I don't think so. (Especially those stray, bonus fries that hide at the bottom of the bag.) Anyway, it's the whole aura of McDonald's that I miss. It wasn't just a meal, it was a destination.

When I was a kid, McDonald's had an alternate universe known as "McDonaldland". I never read Alice in Wonderland, so I couldn't tell you the difference between the Cheshire Cat and the Mad Hatter. However, I can tell you more about McDonaldland than I can about the very state of Connecticut that I live in. McDonaldland was the realm of Ronald McDonald, the Clown Prince of the franchise, but there was so much more to this magical place.

McDonaldland was ruled by a guy named Mayor McCheese. His head was a giant cheeseburger with eyes and a mouth. (I guess in McDonaldland, you are what you eat.) He also had a purple top hat and sash that signified his rank as a public servant. Besides representing the citizens of McDonaldland, he also represented cheeseburgers, and he was not shy about it. You might cringe at the thought of a politician with such overt biases, but I found it refreshing. There were no hidden agendas with The Mayor. You knew where he stood at all times. It was usually next to a table full of cheeseburgers.

The Mayor's right hand man, and enforcer, was a burley dude called Big Mac. Big Mac was a cop, one of McDonaldland's Finest, and he kept the peace. Big Mac was charged with protecting the citizens of The Land from the many dangers under the Golden Arches. His arch nemesis was a vile creature known as The Hamburglar. His true identity hidden behind a black mask, The Hamburglar was always in the shadows, terrorizing the hungry people of The Land by constantly stealing their food. Ever the enigma, the only words we ever heard from this fiend were "Robble, robble, robble." What did it mean? Was it a message, a warning, a threat? Or was his mouth just full of stolen hamburgers?

McDonaldland actually boasted a roster of villains that could rival that of Batman or Dick Tracy. There was Captain Crook, the pirate who loved Fillet of Fish and The Gobblins, whose insatiable appetite for French Fries kept McDonaldland in a constant state of high alert.
They weren't all bad though. There was also a host of friendly characters who inhabited this world, like The Professor, the lovable Grimace and later on, Birdie the Early Bird. (I'll deal with Birdie later.) Each was known for their love of a particular menu item, and as kids, we would rally behind the characters that stood for our favorites. I was always partial to the Grimace, myself.

Unfortunately, like many things in life, McDonaldland eventually lost its' shimmer. Maybe it started when that obnoxious Birdy showed up for breakfast and made us dread the sunrise. (The Early Bird gets the worm, and gets on my nerves. Nobody should be that cheery first thing in the morning.)

Then the Mcflood gates opened; The Gobblins became The Fry Guys and they even softened up the Hamburglar's look to be cuddly rather than sinister. By the time the anthropomorphic Chicken McNuggets showed up, it was all over… or maybe I had just out grown it all.
Now eating at McDonald's is different. It's just another place to grab a quick bite. The colorful characters have been replaced by apathetic servers who constantly screw up your order and charge you a quarter for an extra packet of sweet and sour sauce. It doesn't even taste as good as it used to. Never mind the guilt associated with eating that stuff. It's just not the same anymore.

But sometimes I sure wish I could go back in time and have one more Shamrock Shake in that special place where they always put the "happy" in Happy Meal.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

No Niner, No Cry

Sorry. I missed the new 90210 this week, so I have no comments about it.

Baseball playoffs are starting, so we'll have to see how much Niner I actually catch in the next month. It's not looking good.

Have you watched It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia yet? What are you waiting for?

I've been watching that new vampire show on HBO, True Blood. It's okay, but it has not won me over 100% quite yet. But I'm sticking with it for now. Plus, it's back to back with Entourage, which is one of the best shows. So that makes it easy.

I just discovered this show The Unit, which is also on Sunday night. Caught it this past Sunday and thought it was pretty good.

I saw the premiere of Heroes but I missed this week's show. I liked season one, but I think this show may have already peaked. I'll watch it when I can, but how many people dying and coming back to life can I really take? They rely on the same old tricks time after time.

The big news is that the 24 two hour movie airs next month. Stay tuned for more on that.

Gotta go. Tata for now.
11/8/08 Update: It turns out that I never went back to watching the new 90210. It was just too bad to keep watching. This was the last post on the topic for the time being. - JC