Happiness and Social Media
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Happiness and Social Media

It is the turn of the Washington Post to discuss whether people are happier after leaving social media. As with every other article I have skimmed on the topic it discusses addiction and more without discussing the reason for which social media might be bad for one’s mental health. 

Remember that social networks, discussion groups, and collaborating with people in different rooms, countries, timezones is normal, and has been for decades. What makes social media different from other social networks is that social media is algorithm and profit driven, rather than community centric. 

As I skim through this article I see discussions about self-perception, bullying behaviour and more. What I see is not a commentary about social media, but rather a commentary on the cruelty of normal people on the social web. As I like to say, the problem with social media is that the bullies we used to spend time on the web to avoid, have made their way onto the web. The web is now as unpleasant as meat space, as some called it. 

The article discusses body image and instagram but there’s something that people forget, or never experienced. Instagram was a photo sharing app, between friends and friends of friends. We didn’t share images of ourselves, or if we did it was because we were at events together. Seesmeetups and tweetups were events where we would have photos of ourselves, with others. If we posted images to instagram they were of landscapes, travel and more, not individuals. Body image didn’t even come into it for us. 

I left Myspace because the community left, I left Jaiku because it shut down. I left Google+ because it shut down. I left Facebook because it became filled with adverts and reminded me of the life I wanted but didn’t have. I left Instagram for almost the same reason, but also because I was seeing adverts, without feeling human connections with humans, anymore. 

I left Twitter for political reasons. I don’t like what Musk stands for, but I also hate what he is doing to the platform. 

People love to speak about social media as if it was addictive, and as if it was bad for mental health. They are missing the point. The point is not whether social media is healthy or unhealthy, because at the end of the day it’s just people socialising. If they were in a bar or pub we’d think nothing of it. If they were on a balcony or in a garden we’d see them as just socialising. People have lost sight that social media is a group of friends socialising. 

They think that social media is about likes, views, about re-shares and more. It isn’t. It shouldn’t be. Social media is a network of friends of friends, and to leave the network is to leave behind that network of networks. 

Twitter, Facebook and Instagram destroyed that network of networks, and now they’re trying to fix what they broke, whilst blaming what they broke on personal weaknesses, like addiction. Being social, as I have said for decades, online, is not addiction. It’s normal socialising via a different medium. 

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Video Editing And Social Media

In the past if you wanted to be a video editor you also needed to be a camera operator, and to be a camera operator you needed to be a video editor. By knowing both skills you shot good material because you knew how hard bad material was to use. As a result of this videos were worth watching with all of our attention.

In recent years, there has been a move towards multimedia editing, where you don’t expect people to watch the video while sitting in front of a TV. You expect them to be looking at a mobile phone while commuting, or scrolling through a social media feed. Job offers reflect this. You often see jobs that required perfect spelling and grammar, Adobe Premiere and Adobe After Effects. The need for an editor to be a camera operator is gone. We have gone from videos being made by camera operators and video editors who love their medium, to graphists, who overlay graphics over video. They’re making slideshows, rather than video content.

Today I started to watch a video about desertification and the graphics were so huge and prominent that I lost interest after just two shots. They are not using video appropriately. Videos should not be optimised for social media. They should be made interesting to view.

I spend hours a week watching videos on YouTube where the use of graphics is minimal or even non-existent. I watch hiking and camping documentaries that are half an hour to an hour long with minimal music and minimal graphics.

For a long time, there was the notion that content should be 1 to three minutes long for people to watch the entire thing. I think that this view is now wrong. I believe that with the coming of age of YouTube content creators, so the desire for longer form content has grown.

Tik Tok and User Generated Spam

For a while I really liked TikTok during this pandemic and then I fell out of love with it for two reasons. The first of these reasons is that it forces you onto the For You Page so you end up watching and following strangers, whom you will never interact with and the second is that everyone uses the same song, does the same action, but in their own individual way. This could be seen as fun, and many do, but for me this is User Generated Spam.

Over a decade ago we had Qik, We had Seesmic, we had Livestation and plenty of other video sharing apps, some of them live, others pre-recorded, and others for multi-camera streaming. TikTok had great potential to be a Seesmic style channel. We could have logged in, recorded a video, and had someone comment or respond. It could have been a way of conversing people with our voices. Instead, it is a talent show. There is little to no engagement. We don’t talk. We don’t get to know others. Furthermore, we’re just eyeballs looking at mediocre content, when we could do something more interesting.

I considered unfollowing plenty of accounts, but this takes time. I also considered that I could follow accounts that create original content. Paradoxically, TikTok gave me just the video to illustrate the point I am making. 😉


Been a Long Week Of Diving In This Beautiful WasteWater ??? #commercialdiving #underwaterwelder #wastewater #shitjob #livingthedream

? Astronaut In The Ocean – Masked Wolf

Day 46 Of Self-Isolation in Switzerland – Contemplating A Walk In The Rain

Day 46 Of Self-Isolation in Switzerland – Contemplating A Walk In The Rain

It’s raining hard today and I’m still contemplating a walk in the rain. It should allow for some different photographs than usual. If I go to the motorway then I can photograph the vortices of wind behind trucks dragging up water from the road.

If I go for my daily walk when it’s raining as hard as it is today I think It might make sense to wear shorts although I have no good option for my feet. My shoes would probably get soaked.


Imagine like Carly is doing at the moment. She’s in France where you need derogations to go outdoors to go shopping and do other things. She speaks about getting help from some of the locals for water and for the permission slip. It’s an interesting life to live.

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What do you think you will take away from this experience of lockdown? . This was day 6 of confinement – it’s far away now but I’m still trying to keep the smile going strong! . We’re heading towards the beginning of the end now, in two weeks our restrictions will start to lift. For how long for? And to what extent? Who knows. But it’s the first sign of things to come. . At the start, the novelty of it all was entertaining, seeing everyone trying to adapt to be able to do their hobbies at home. Bouldering benches and tables, traversing stair cases, grass skiing….finding dry tooling routes around the van (in this case). . The level of entertainment gained from these things has started to drop off now and I’m just back to wanting to be able to go out and do the things I love for real. . But I love the smile on my face here and I know, once the world has healed and everything is back to normal, there will be some fond memories that I will look back on for the special experiences we have had and how it made us all grow as individuals. For good and bad reasons, this is a time we will never forget. . ? @mattgroom1 . . . . . #vanlife #chamonix #lockdown #smilemore #climbergirl #girlswhoclimb #alpinebabes #climbing_worldwide #climblikeagirl #climbingismypassion #mountainlife #vanlifediaries #vanlifemovement #vanlifeexplorers #vanlifeeurope #vanlifeideas #gymgirls #trainingmotivation #vanlifesociety #vanlifestyle #vanlifedreams #vanlifejournal #vanlifer #vandwelling #vandweller #homeiswhereyouparkit #vangirls #aiguilledumidi #alternativeliving

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Seesmic video and HTML 5

Remember the video version of seesmic, the one that spawned.the francofous?

Things changed for two reasons. Bandwidth issues and ressources. Flash would suck down the laptop battery within a few minutes. It meant that you could.only Seesmic from a fixed position.

With html5 that problem will dissapear. What I look forward to is an HTML 5 optimized version. It could result in a greater number of users on less powerful machines.

I hope we see a growth in users and a more international set of users. I hope they also add more features at the same time.

Let us see whether Seesmic take advantage of this opportunity.

A “Transcribe this” button for seesmic videos

Something I would love to see on Seesmic, and which would encourage me to use it more is a “transcribe this” button for when I record certain videos. The logic is simple. Sometimes we discuss things that we would like to see discussed but not everyone wants to listen to us explain our idea. That’s why it would be a nice feature.

As an add on you could then add that video to your blog, with a transcript for quick and practical reference.

Twhirl and video recording

Loic Le Meur yesterday released Twhirl to anyone willing to give their name and e-mail address. As a result I am using the latest version of twhirl and it finally offers the ability to record straight from twhirl. That means you can record video straight from twhirl. No more web interface.

Of course some credit should go to Critter and Seesmicair. His project became a reality.

Leweb was a great event

Leweb for me was about two things, meeting my seesmic friends and meeting new people. It’s through meeting friends that are familiar to me on the web that I had the best times. In particular I enjoyed meeting with Alex, nutrisionist 2.0 as is mentioned in his tagline. What was great about meeting him is the amount of hours we spent just chatting about one thing, then another. It was fun to get to know the person behind the persona.

What was also fun was meeting someone like Tiil. I hardly knew him until Leweb but he’s a friendly person as well with some interesting ideas and a different point of view to my own. In particular it was interesting to watch as he described Seesmic to people that were not yet familiar with the social network.

Of course there’s Marion. She’s the one that asked me whether I actually wanted to come to Leweb and for that I’m grateful. It’s not often that you get invited to such an exclusive event to meet with so many interesting people.

After this of course there’s Whitt and Clare. During the actual conference we didn’t get to chat much but over the past few hours we were in Paris enjoying some organic food before some macaron at Ladurée and some very thick hot chocolate. That was a nice place. What was interesting about this meeting, aside from the food was the conversation, just hearing about things from a different angle and seeing why certain people should be appreciated more than we give them credit for.

Of course it was a pleasure to meet KDFA. He’s often on seesmic filling the timeline and he’s known for “Le Bar est ouvert”, an occasion which happens on a daily basis when he opens a bottle of wine and the community follows suit for a more convivial atmosphere.

Then there’s Dean. I know him from a few meetings in London and at a podcamp in England and he’s another interesting person to talk to. Another person that has some ideas and is trying them out. He’s the one that got John Cleese to give an interview to seesmic in seesmic style rather than the traditional kind.

Then there are Seb and Virginie, two seesmicers I see a lot because they live just 20 minutes away by car. They were both working on providing some coverage of the events in the form both of pictures of participants and the layout as well as of interviews that should be online shorty.

Then of course you have Valvert, Baptiste, Patrice Gabin and many other seesmicers who were present as well. They’re interesting to meet. I also met some other people of interest working on a number of projects.
Kate carruthers is an Australian friend I’ve been tweeting with for many months now and I finally got to meet her at Leweb and that meeting was pleasant. We sat in one of the lounges and it was an opportunity to discuss the social media and explore, at least to some extent how we picture the word within a broader context. Two words she liked to use together were Social computing. It’s not that I understand in depth what she means but it’s nonetheless an interesting branch of thought to be explored, in parallel to my own ideas.

Sandrine Passeriaud is a person I’ve met at a number of events in London but I never really got to chat to her till leweb. It might be because, as we were in a french speaking Environment, and away from London, we felt more comfortable. That’s another occurence I’m happy about.

Taylor Barr was often present on the seesmic booth but I didn’t make one connection yet. The day before he was meant to fly out to Leweb his plane was cancelled and so he was delayed. We exchanged a few videos on the topic and it’s only two days later, during the seesmic dinner that we understood that we actually knew each other from seesmic. That’s why seesmic is a great tool. It’s about meeting a few people you may not have known beforehand, even if at first hand you don’t remember why you knew someone.

Hermione was one, Stephanie booth was another, then people like Dan martell. We talked as we walked from the seesmic post Leweb dinner to the techcrunch party and that was long enough to get an understanding of what we both do. I’m speaking about this because I didn’t stay more than twenty minutes at the techcrunch party because it was overcrowded and I was too tired to spend much time present there. As much as networking is about the event and the organised parties, it’s also about the walking from one location to another.

There are many more people I met but I’m pretty tired now and I wanted to mention by name or nickname those that I found most interesting to meet during Leweb. If you’re not mentioned it’s not that you’re not interesting. It’s that I need to get to know more of what you do before being able to speak with any authority on the topic

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A busy few days

Tomorrow I will be in Lausanne once more, this time to meet the people from Bloggy Friday. It’s Switzerland’s bloggers and social media types coming together for a chat and the traditional fondue (or so it’s been for the past few weeks) and an opportunity to hear about new projects.

Last month it resulted in me hearing about minsh and going to a demonstration of what the website will provide for users of twitter. i’m not going into details just yet but when it comes out some people might find it quite interesting.

The second event is the TGIO (Thank goodness it’s over) party for the National Novel Writer’s month and the Swiss writers that participated. it’s a sleepover right next door to where I live and that will be interesting.

The main event comin up is of course LeWeb which I will be attending this year through a great piece of luck. I’m looking forward to the presentations and meeting many new people. It should be an interesting to pick up ideas for how to develop and re-wrte some parts of the book I’m currently working on.

The culmination of the week of course will be on Friday when 30 of the French Seesmic community will meet for a dinner.

In all it’s going to be a very social media week and it’s refreshing for it to take place in a place like Paris. I will take some video and photographs and blog what I think is of interest. For now it’s a restful evening whilst looking forward to the fun week ahead.

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The Social media Misnomer

This morning I spent three hours chatting to people in Australia, Sweden and France via both twitter and plurk and it felt great and the reason for this is that it was personal. We hear so much and read even more about the social media and the social web but there is one fundamental flaw and oxymoron in this vision. That is that there is an utter lack of the social aspect.

Everyone is here, trying to promote their work, their brand, their friends and everything. They re retweeting what other people say and do to promote work. They are promoting things that they think can promote a person’s value. The trouble is that how many of these people do you know as friends. Do you know anything than their marriage, their recent hirings or their job. Do you know where they’ve been out with friends?

I could name a hundred locations where podcamp have been, where tuttle have gone and many other things but I couldn’t tell you where more than two or three people like to go for drinks or good food. That’s because the social media are hidden. Everyone is hiding their real identity, their real friendships and their real passions. That’s why some of them have a public twitter account and a private one. That’s why there is so little conversation left on twitter. That’s also why you want to have 20,000 followers.

The truth is that if you use the social media as a professional tool, as a branding tool then you might find work, and you may find those who provide you with an increased profile but is that what the web is really about? How many of you will send more than two tweets to anyone except for work? How many of you will spend an hour just chatting?

You see for most of the people I follow on twitter it’s about work and nothing else. Sure there’s the charity for breast cancer and the organ donation drives that give good results but what about the mondane conversations? That’s lacking on twitter. That’s why plurk is more fun at moments.

In reality if what you called the social media were truly social then I would have had nothing to write and dream about in my nanowrimo effort. That’s why I lampoon most of you. You haven’t understood the social nature of the social web because for you it’s a work tool, not a play thing. Learn to play with the social media and you will get a lot more out of it. You will build friendships and the transparency will result in some positive things.

I’ve seen the Francofous community, how it grew, how it meant there were many meetings and how they talked behind closed doors. i’ve also seen the consequences of the lack of openness and what it can do to people’s involvment in the communities they’re part of. How many francofous still use seesmic for example. Of those I follow I see just one person still on seesmic.

Plurk at the moment is more social, you see conversations between friends and they have fun. it’s about funny images, it’s about night shifts, it’s about waking up, or going to sleep. In general it’s just a convivial social space where no one is using the network as a professional tool.

I’m not saying that you should be social all the time, what I’m saying is that you need to think about how to give time to the communities you’re part of. Ping.fm, hello text and others provide no value to those that are listening. Engage with your audience on a personal level. SHow them that you’re interested in the individuals, not the professionals.