Two Social Networks Diverged In The Woods

confusion demotivational poster

One of the projects I’ve had puttering on the back burner this summer has been what to do about my personal laptop. It’s a 13″ MacBook Pro that’s just finished its 3-year Applecare warranty. Although so far (knock wood!) it’s running just fine, being out of warranty means it’s time to do some thinking about what next.

Thanks to this year’s crop of hardware choices, what to do about replacing it has been a much harder decision than I expected. What I really want is a 15″ Macbook Air, but sadly that’s not an option. Hence my dilemma.

So over the weekend, Scott & I took a ride down to Palo Alto, where a Microsoft Store and an Apple Store sit side by side. We took a good hard look at the options. I came away more impressed than I thought I’d be by one of the Samsung ultrabooks (this one, if you’re curious). And then, like many confused people these days, I hit up my social networks for feedback. The results were interesting.

I posted essentially the same question on Facebook, Google+, and App.net. Both in terms of amount and quality of feedback, both Google+ and App.net smoked Facebook. At first that seemed surprising, but then it occurred to me that this was actually good validation of the “Strength of Weak Ties” theory.

The other interesting aspect was that I got very different answers on the different networks. The thread on Google+ leaned strongly towards the Samsung laptop, whereas App.net’s denizens were firm Apple advocates.

And then, when I was thinking about this, a related post hit my Twitter stream about being hooked on the familiar. Marco’s main focus is PHP, but the broader point is true for operating system changes as well. When the choice is a familiar OS on a form factor I don’t want, or a less familiar OS on a form factor I do want, the pull of the familiar makes the choice a lot harder than it should be.

Facebook Email Fail: The Aftermath

The number of links to my little blog post over the past few days has been pretty impressive.

The Facebook email imbroglio seems to have mostly blown over now. And Facebook, after initially suggesting that users were too stupid to check their nested folders for messages (!), seems to have realized the problem was theirs and is working to fix it. Hopefully they’ll do some better QA after this.

The lesson I take away from all this is that despite the rise of social media, one little blog can still make an impact.

Also, MSNBC has some tips on what to do if you’ve been affected by this.

A Tale of Two Pins

Like many people, I’ve been checking out Pinterest lately.

One thing I find fascinating is how much viral effect even people who are not deeply networked can have. The other thing I find fascinating is that there’s no predicting what will or won’t “hit”.

Here’s a perfect example. I’ve got a small pinboard where I’ve been collecting ideas for our patio. It’s got less than a dozen photos, and about 35 followers. Tiny. None of my pinboards is particularly popular; in fact, my most popular one has maybe 60 followers.

I pinned two photos there on Saturday, both different treatments of an outdoor dining space. Here they are (click through for a bigger version):

Notice something in that screen shot? One of the photos got more than 85 repins and 20 likes. The other got none.

I’ve no clue why one shot got so much traction and the other, nothing. I like the second shot better, frankly, and even leaving sheer taste aside, the first shot’s composition isn’t as good. Yet it was the popular one on Pinterest.

Looking at other pins I’ve put up that have gotten some traction, there’s not a lot of commonality. Some are cute, some are funny, some are inspiring. And yet others in those categories go nowhere.

I don’t have a theory yet, or enough data to make any kind of guess as to what’s really going on here. It’s interesting to watch though!

By the way, this is post #1500 on my blog. Go me.