Voicemail

OK, so let me start by saying I absolutely despise the invention of the telephone.  There have been few people in my life that I’ve ever cared to communicate with via this wretched device.  It goes off at all hours, whether it’s close friends and family or some random, incorrectly dialed number; it goes off at inopportune times like when you’re driving or in a crowded, noisy environment; if your signal is weak, or the other party’s is weak, it’s a bitch to hear on even in the quietest of surroundings; and then there’s the little-known fact that I hate talking on the phone (and I’m joking here, anyone who knows me personally knows I hate talking on the phone,) it’s impersonal and almost every conversation can wait.

But lets pretend for a moment, shall we, that I’m OK with telephone conversations… lets just imagine, if we can, that the mere sound of one of my many ring tones doesn’t incite the juices in my gut to churn and gurgle, and lets say, just for the fuck of it, that I’ve never pretended, gone through every motion of the act but letting go of the phone, that I was throwing the god forsaken piece of shit as far as I could in which ever direction held the most potential for destruction of said device (i.e. a river, highway with heavy traffic, or park bench where that fat lady sits every day to eat her dozen doughnuts from Krispy Creme,) while the party on the other end rambled on and on about what ever I didn’t give a fuck about at that moment.  Got the picture?  Good.  Lets continue.

If I were to keep my surges of malevolence toward these objects at least to this level, perhaps I could tolerate a call or two a day, maybe even enjoy a few moments of one of these conversations… but even then… EVEN THEN there is one thing that would always bother me.  One thing that would always rekindle my dampened hatred for my cell (and those that would call it.)  That one thing is the voicemail… NOT just ANY voicemail… but that one that never needed to be left.  See the following examples:

“Hi Matt, this is John.  If you could, give me a call at your earliest possible convenience.”

“Hello Mr. Mould, this is your daughters school calling.  It’s urgent that we speak to you soon.  Please return our call when you get a moment.”

“Hey man, gimmie a call when you get this.”

“Hey Baby, give me a call.”

OK… now if there are some of you that haven’t caught on to the point of this little rant… I will elaborate for you.  Those messages seem so different at a glance, but they are all the exact same message when you break them down to the information they supplied.  AND, this is the part that really pisses me off… NOT ONE of them gave me ANY MORE information than what I already knew after glancing at the display, seeing the caller ID, and hitting the button to send them to voicemail… See a translation of each message below:

John with IT called at 2:34PM – 555-555-1212

Daughter’s School called at 1:14PM – 555-555-9752

Chris (Dumbass) called at 6:32PM – 555-555-6284

Girlfriend (ex) called at 7:14PM – 555-555-1332

People… if you’re not going to tell my why you’ve called or what the fuck it is you want… DO NOT leave a voicemail on my phone.  If it’s not so important that I need to know the second I’ve checked the message… just STFU and hang up the phone.  See below for appropriate messages to leave in each of these four cases:

“Hey Matt, this is John with IT.  We’ve reset the servers and the system should be back online.  Just log out of any open clients and back in and you should be golden.”

“Mr. Mould, this is Ms. Reynolds (surnames changed to protect the individuals portrayed,) we’ve got an after-school program we think your daughter might be interested in and wanted to run the details by you.”

“Yo Matt, it’s Chris.  We’re heading out to Corning tonight.  The bars here sucked last week, so give a call when you’re on your way and we’ll let you know where we are.”

“Hey Baby, I was just calling to…”… well… actually… when the hell has a girlfriend ever had anything important to say.  I apologize, that last one was a bad example.

But you get the general idea I hope.  If any of you are responsible of this social atrocity, please try to make yourself aware of the problem and try to take steps to remedy it.  Do it for me, do it for your loved ones… do it for yourself (since you’re all greedy bastards anyway.)

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G+ Etiquette

Google Plus is a vast and wonderful online community, but just like the real world and all the other online communities, there are certain basic rules that should be followed.  Now I’m not talking about the TOS’s or EULA’s or any of that official red tape crap, but about Etiquette.

I’m sure over time this post will grow, and I invite you to comment with any ideas you have to make it more interesting and insightful, but until then I’ll just cover the basics.

If you circle someone and they do not circle you back, lets not make a big deal.  Right now there is a limit on circling for one thing.  For another, the person might just not be looking for more strangers to befriend.  Or maybe they’re just not interested in circling men, or women, or republicans, or whatever you may be that turns them away.  Or maybe they’re on vacation and haven’t gotten around to checking into G+ in a while.  Never the less, just let it slide and move on, even uncircle them if you feel you must.

If you’re sharing a circle, notify those contained within that circle.  I’ve got another post here on the basics (https://gplusexperience.wordpress.com/2011/11/04/sharing-circles/) but essentially, just give a heads up.

Share posts.  It sounds simple, right?  Well, it is simple.  G+ has a built in function that allows you to quickly share a post, giving credit to the individual from whom you are sharing it.  Just click the share button, select who you’d like to share it with, and submit it.  You can even add a comment, a bit about why you like it and are sharing it.  What we’ve been seeing a lot of is individuals finding posts, copying the comment, or just a link if that’s the main topic of the original post, and then reposting it as their own.  Now some still credit the individual from whom they found it with a quick ‘via +soandso’ tag at the beginning, but this disrupts the pond so to speak.  G+ has integrated the Ripples feature which allows you to track a post back to where it originated and see how far out it’s gone.  Once a person fails to ‘Share’ a post, that post is plucked from that pond and dropped into a new one.  It might seem trivial, but think how you’d feel if you found some great bit of information you wanted to share, posted it up on your stream, and then two weeks later saw the same post filter back your way with you completely unattached to it.  Now I know this isn’t a popularity contest, but as we should in life, lets give credit where credit is due.

Again, this is just barely touching on the subject, and I welcome any and all input and will update accordingly.

9/10/2012 update
OK, so, it’s been a while.  Life gets busy and there is a world outside of the internet (INORITE!?)  Anyway, just a few more tidbits to cover here.

Spam.  It sucks.  Whether it’s the same crap rehashed over and over and finds itself on my stream, or it’s one individual sending a bunch of mindless, meaningless crap that just clogs my stream making it difficult to find those choice posts from my favorite users (yes, circle management makes this less of a pain in the rear, but now and again, i do like to just watch my stream flow without a million pictures of half-naked women and other mindless dribble that finds its way there…)  If you’re going to constantly post, make it something noteworthy.  Whether your area of interest is beauty, fashion, technology, or whatever might interest you, you can show us all kinds of great links and information on those interests without completely blurring out everything else in our streams.  Quality over quantity always.  Put one through now, wait 20 minutes, then send the next one… rinse and repeat.  No hurry, no need to just spam the hell out of our streams.

Drama.  Keep it between you and your significant other (or inlaws, immediate family, etc…)  If someone posts something that just outright annoys you… who cares?  It’s the internet.  You can uncircle them, you can remove them from whatever special circles they might be in to keep them out of your filtered feeds, you can just ignore them and wait for the next post to come streaming by… so many options.  Just like with children, if you don’t engage them, you don’t empower them.  If someone posts some blatantly insulting (to you) image or joke and you jump right in and tell them just how infuriating their post was to you… most people are just going to ignore you, but some are going to really screw with you and send another 5-10 posts just like it.  Fight nice.

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Sharing Circles

Everyone likes to make new friends and everyone likes to share, so of course what better way to do both than by sharing your friends (and I’m not talking about some kinky swingers party here.)  The problem becomes too many people sharing too many circles without those within the circles knowing it.  Now G+ has a feature built in that lets you add the circle you are sharing to those you wish to share the circle with and then, upon positioning your cursor over the group you are sharing, there is a ‘notify about this post’ option.

Alternately, I like to click the stream for the circle I am about to share and send them a quick note with more details… something along the lines of:

“Hi guys, Just wanted to let you know I’ve shared you in a circle for Sons of Anarchy.  If you want out of this circle in the future, leave a comment here and let me know.”

This lets them know where the recent influx of users circling them has come from and, if they’re not interested in being a part anymore, it’s quick and easy enough for them to let you know.

This could most likely be filed under Etiquette.

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Circle Management

I know Google plus is new to all of us and if you’re just jumping into it, it might be even more confusing.  But for those of you looking to gain a few followers quickly to make things more interesting, I’ve decided to post a quick walkthrough on how to do so without becoming completely overwhelmed by a stream that never pauses long enough finish reading a post.

First things first… go make some friends.  Once you start following enough people you will find that many of us ‘share circles’ and you’ll most likely find several larger circles of people with common interests to your own to follow.  Until then, there are a few sites out there with links to shared circles… the best one I have found so far is:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Aj61HTcxENspdFhVRVp5OGN1d1VnUG1oZTg0WG5YZ0E&hl=en_US#gid=0

Head there and sift through the circles until you’ve found a few you like.  Add them and then what as a good number of them add you back.  The downside here is that many will not add you back and you will have their posts still flooding your streams.  To remedy this, I use the Uncircle Uncirclers+ extension in Google Chrome.  Get it at the link below (and a bit thanks to +Marcus Smith for the link.)

Tafreevar | Uncircle Uncirclers+: Unfollow Unfollowers!

Now it can still all get confusing… some times we follow people we don’t expect to follow us – Celebrities and such – or perhaps we’ve recently added people to a circle we’re about to ‘weed out’ and haven’t given them much time to add us back.  For this I’ve been using a very simple process.

When I go to the spreadsheet on the first link and add a new circle, I create a new circle.  For instance, if I’m adding fellow followers of the Sons of Anarchy television series I create a circle called “SOA111711” – SOA for Sons of Anarchy and 111711 for the date I feel has given plenty of time to the users I’ve circled to circle me back.  Once 111711 rolls around, I’ll run the Uncircle extension and select only SOA111711.  This removes all the users who have not added me back whether because they just don’t add random strangers or because they are not active users within the G+ community without affecting any other circle where I might want users who haven’t circled me to be left in my stream.  Once done, I just transfer the users left in the SOA111711 circle (those who have circled back) to my permanent SOA circle and delete SOA111711.

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