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Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

Join my #facebookfast and unplug for Memorial Day

In Children and Family, Health, Holiday, News Media, Opinion, Technology, Uncategorized on May 23, 2015 at 5:58 am

DIH LOGOOver the years I’ve done several articles and television interviews on the subject of going “off the grid,” when you put down the smartphone and tablet computer to unplug for a while. But some people simply can’t imagine letting go of their connection to the information superhighway, even for a few minutes.

Who knows what disasters might befall them if they miss that one, all-important posting that could quite literally change their lives forever. Of course, in reality, none of that stuff really matters.

It could be argued that political, racial and other social tensions might be less volatile if there were no social media to spread negativity and anger at the speed of light. Although it offers a positive outlet to promote social change, it also invites hateful rhetoric that can be distributed instantly and constantly.

Social media can sometimes even exacerbate depression in people already prone to the problem. True, it can sometimes elicit encouragement, support and sympathy. In my opinion, however, that level of support is only effective in the long term if it comes from in-person contact with people who really know you and care.

For the record, my job and my lifelong ties in technology leave me as guilty as the next person when it comes to maintaining my cyber connection. That said I still try to treat it like a tool – one for communication, maintaining a surface contact with friends I rarely get to see or just keeping up with my interests. But it can still be overwhelming at times and then I have to shut it off.

As it turns out, there is something called “social media anxiety.” Although it’s not recognized as a mental disorder (yet), from what I have read the problem results, in part, from this unrealistic sense of urgency with which we have endowed our virtual engagements. So, I think we all need a break.

Can you unplug for the #facebookfast?

Can you unplug for the #facebookfast?

If you’re one of the millions suffering from social media anxiety or just need a respite from the constant “Likes,” texts, tweets, pins and pokes, I’d like to make the following proposal. I’m inviting all of my readers, followers, and everyone else, to join me in what I’ve chosen to call, “The Facebook Fast.”

For 24 hours, we turn off all social media, going cold turkey on everything; no tweets, Facebook messages, or Pinterest posts – nothing. I considered suggesting a 48-hour-moratorium, but I thought that might send some people to a rubber room. The big question is, when?

The Memorial Day holiday weekend is always best spent with family and friends in the real world, so it seems the perfect time for a cyber-fast. Therefore, “The Facebook Fast” will kick off on Monday, May 25, 2015, at 12:01 a.m. and remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. the same day, so you even get two free minutes.

I expect this will be a challenge for a lot of people, me included. Because of the holiday, we’re all going to want to post and check in all day but we must resist temptation. If you can get your family and friends to participate too, it’ll be easier to hang in there.

Oh, I can almost feel the panic setting in at the mere thought of cutting the social media cord. But relax, consider it a “cyber cleanse.” Don’t worry; these particular DTs will pass quickly. And, in the event you can’t possibly imagine how you will stay in touch with the world for a whole day without social media, I have a few suggestions.

You could: read a book or newspaper, go outside, pick up the phone and actually call someone, meet a friend for dinner, go to a ball game, visit a local attraction, or any number of other activities that involve actual, human contact.

In something of an irony, the best way to spread the word about the fast is by using the hash tag, #facebookfast. I feel safe in guaranteeing to you that nothing bad will happen from ignoring social media for one day. The world will continue to turn and, if we’re lucky, it might also slow down just a little bit and give us all a moment to catch our breath.


Special Editorial Note: For fans of the late author Douglas Adams and his series of books from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” May 25th is also “Towel Day.” If you want to participate in the #facebookfast, just save up photos from Towel Day events and activities and post them at 11:59PM! If everyone hits it at once, “Towel Day” will trend on Twitter! 


Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communications. More at gerydeer.com.



Not Enough To LIKE About Facebook’s IPO

In Business, Economy, Entertainment, Media, National News, Opinion, Politics, Science, Technology, Uncategorized on May 21, 2012 at 11:54 pm

Photo Courtesy Associated Press

By Gery L. Deer

Deer In Headlines

Unless you live in a cave someplace, you probably heard that the Internet social media leviathan Facebook hit Wall Street with their initial public stock offering (IPO) on Friday, hoodies and all. Amidst the rock-concert type excitement over the event, the stock’s dismal performance seemed to leave everyone scratching their heads – except me.

No, I’m not some kind of Wall Street clairvoyant, nor do I consider myself any sort of expert on the subject. I do know tech companies, though, and I suggested a few weeks ago in another article that the Facebook public stock release would be a lot of buildup with no substance. Facebook might be the flavor of the month, but just around the corner there’s always another Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook’s founder, or thief, depending on which story you believe).

Not much happened after Zuckerberg rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. Trading of Facebook stock was delayed until just after 11:30 in the morning and then watching the Facebook stock ticker was a bit like looking at the slow motion replay of a horse race. You know they’re supposed to go faster, but they just poke along.

The company issued 421.2 shares of stock at an initial price of $38 and never really got much past that. With an intentional sense of irony, just a few minutes into trading, I used Facebook to publicly record my prediction that the stock would not exceed $45 a share – and it never did.

The second day of trading was actually worse. When the market closed on Monday, Facebook stock had fallen nearly 11 percent finally ending at $34.03. To say it was disappointing to Facebook followers is an understatement.

I’m not a financial expert, but I have done my fair share of day trading and information was always the best tool for choosing a stock. I honestly believe many people don’t understand how Facebook, and other businesses like it, actually earn money, thus giving them value. They bought in to be part of the fad, and now they’re paying the price.

I also think one of the biggest mistakes made by the financial pundits was to constantly compare Facebook to Apple – literally apples to oranges (pun intended). While Apple does offer some web-based services, at its core (another pun intended) the company sells a product, in fact it sells many different products – physical, usable, manufactured products with an understood perceived value – iPhones, iPads, software and computers.

Facebook, on the other hand, is like a free newspaper or magazine in that makes a great deal of its money from selling advertising space. Add to that the fact that Facebook has yet to establish a solid, profit-generating business model for the long term and you get a company that’s far too volatile to be compared to the likes of Apple.

Hype worked for Apple, in fact, for many years, it seems that most of the computer giant’s marketing plan consisted of Steve Jobs, a black turtleneck and a big empty stage. Facebook tries, and fails, to emulate that kind of drama and we saw a great example of that during Friday’s IPO. As of now, everyone who bought in has officially lost money.

Social media sites like Facebook make their money through advertising and licensing of patented or copyrighted applications (custom programming based on the website content). But if too many major advertisers bail, the company loses steam. Just before Zuckerberg rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Friday morning, General Motors announced it was pulling all of its advertising from Facebook.

The exodus of the auto giant was bad news for the company’s bottom line, and shook its viability on the stock exchange. Losing GM cost the Internet behemoth much needed credibility and might have had an effect on the early underperformance of the stock.

In my humble opinion, the Facebook IPO was a publicity failure, but not necessarily a business failure. Still, Facebook will always be forced to outdo itself. But where do you go from up? We’ll have to watch and see. Oh yes, and don’t forget to LIKE me on Facebook!
Columnist Gery L. Deer is an independent journalist and business writer based in Jamestown, Ohio. More at http://www.geryldeer.com