Saturday, June 30, 2012

Why Google Events is Better Than Facebook Events

Tonight I was asked to present on Google Plus; but, I wasn't really prepared to give the spiel on a moment's notice. Although I personally love Google Plus, I recognize that it is a separate environment from Facebook. So, what I did present was haphazard and half-assed, mainly about Google Events. I'm in love with Google Events.

Given the recent clarifications from Vic Gondutra, the guy leading the Google Plus project, it's not their intent to be a social network the way that Facebook is. In reality, it plays out that way. I use Google products to get work done. As a result, my socializing with Google is not so familiar.

Going back to Google Plus Events, there are benefits that Facebook events don't offer. The first is the ease with which you can post photos to Google Plus Events. You set your device to Party Mode, then click away. Boom. They're up.

Facebook makes that process more difficult. It is more deliberate.

But, there is another problem with Facebook events. When you post a photo to an event, it doesn't show on your stream nor in your albums.

Check this out. Google Plus ads pics from your events into your photo albums.

Facebook, on the other hand, doesn't:

In fact, FB requires you to go to the event to find the pics.

But, it's not just that. Even tagging people is more diplomatic on Google Plus. When you use Google Plus for you photos, you are shown with other people. Facebook only shows you:

Compared to Google Plus albums.

And lets' not forget about search results. If your event is public, it will show up all over the web. That's the benefit of being Google, you can give higher weight to your own content.

Of course, this leads me to a bigger concept that if you are looking for engagement, you may want to go with Facebook, that's where many people are. However, if you want to be found when your customer is getting ready to buy, then you really should consider Google Plus.

Nobody Facebooks "coffee shops"; they Google "coffee shops". So, if engagement is your thing, go with Facebook. If making money is your thing, then you better start posting to Google Plus. It doesn't matter if there is a smaller audience and less engagement. When it really matters, in the search results, that's where your payoff is. Facebook can create awareness about your brand; but, Google will be there to remind your customer that you exist when the day comes that they decide to spend their money.

Going back to Google Plus Events, if you've spent a crapload of time and/or money on an event, you want the world to find it, not just the people who attended. Who do you think will have the advantage in search?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Photos: color filtering

Monday, June 04, 2012

Photos for June 4, 2012

The Trouble With Mindfulness

We all instinctively know that rushing something often results in poor performance and quality of work. Given the appropriate amount of time and attention, a job will be both well done and of good quality. However, we often find ourselves in the grasp of immediacy, throwing mindfulness under the bus. This is the trouble with mindfulness; it is too time consuming in a world where work is no longer physical, but of ideas. And, while we can think up ideas in a flash, it is often problematic to implement them in a flash. 

The best example I can convey is when I watch 3D movies. I am amazed when I watch 3D movies at the theater, most especially in IMAX. The characters seem to pop out of the screen and are in such clarity. The problem is that in my every day life, I do not see things as clearly or as real. Even when the prescription for my glasses has just been filled and I am presumably able to see the clearest, life often seems like a 2D movie. 

The same holds true with mindfulness. One is often under the pressure to perform work quickly so that one is not mindful towards doing a good job, simply a good enough job. It takes a mental effort to slow down and think things through sufficiently to do a good job. The same holds true for vision; it takes effort to focus sufficiently to see your surroundings in 3 dimensions rather than only 2. At least that is my experience. 

I've been reading Search Inside Yourself to help overcome that tendency. The author, Chade-Meng Tan emphasizes the importance of meditation, of forcing yourself to put all your attention on an individual task, not forcing yourself. It seems contradictory; but it could be natural. 

For example, I walked to the grocery store today. One thing I prefer to do is to take reusable bags to the grocery store to bring home my groceries. Somehow, it is much easier for me to remember to take a bag with me when I am walking to the grocery store rather than when I drive there. Why am I more mindful when I walk to the store than when I drive there?

I do not know the answer with certainty; but, I hypothesize that walking is a much slower and deliberate act, requiring a bit more thinking ahead. An error when walking has higher stakes than an error when driving. If I forget something, it is much more involved to walk back home than to drive back home. Therefore, it is that much more important to go through a mental checklist to ensure that I am well prepare for the journey. 

Similarly, when watching a movie, I am paying attention to the movie. Thus the movie characters seem more realistic and clear than the characters in my everyday life. During that showing, the movie has my attention. I am mindful towards it. And, if I focus my attention enough on real objects that are right in front of me, they pop out into 3D. It takes that little extra effort to make my surroundings appear as real physical objects like they do in 3D movies. 

The trouble with mindfulness is that we all know how to do it; but we cannot force it. We benefit from it; but, it is difficult to sustain without our minds wandering off. Mindfulness makes a great difference in how we experience and interact with reality. But, somehow, it can be elusive to some of us who live in a mental fog of ideas and information, where the abstract becomes more real than those things around us. 

While I certainly enjoy the ability to visualize ideas and concepts, it can be frustrating to have to step back into the physical world to perform everyday tasks at a functional level. The inability to be constantly mindful is why we lose our keys in the morning, why we have to rush from one place to the other, why we forget important things that need to be done, why we become entangled in things that do not get us nearer our goals. 

The trouble with mindfulness is that it requires you to be mindful about being mindful. In order to make things real, you have to step back and think of yourself as a puppet that your mind controls without autopilot. That freaks me out a little.