I love TV and watch a good amount of it. I don’t, however, pay for cable television. I live in what’s increasingly referred to as a “Zero TV” household - all the TV content I watch comes from Internet pipes. And as long as I don’t want to watch live sports (deal-breaker for many people, I know) and can be content to sometimes wait until the next day after a show first airs to watch it, I’m pretty much able to watch whatever I want, whenever I want, mostly without commercials, in high definition (usually) and on my television using an Apple TV. And on my laptop. And on my mobile device(s).
From a few back of envelope calculations, it looks like I manage to save around $450 a year not paying for cable. This comes from the assumption that a cable television package that contains all the shows I regularly watch costs around $70 per month ($840 per year) after taxes and whatever other extra charges come attached to the base monthly service fee.
For around $350 - $450 each year, I get the following content:
- iTunes: Subscriptions to 9-12 seasons of TV shows (approx. $20 per season for $240 max)
- Netflix: All content on there for $8 per month ($96 per year)
- Hulu Plus: All content on there for $8 per month ($96 per year)
- Original Web-based content: Usually FREE!
This translates to me watching every episode of around 20 shows that I care about every year, mostly commercial-free and on demand, plus some amazing independently-created web content.
Of course, there are times when I can’t figure out how to purchase content that I’d really like to buy. To illustrate how I deal with this, refer to this The Oatmeal comic. Everyone should click on that link - it’s a fantastic comic. Ok - here’s another link. Go ahead - click!
It seems to me that future big media networks aren’t necessarily going to start as broadcast or cable channels. They are going to start from websites with strong user communities. Funnyordie.com produces tons of amazing original content like Zach Galifianakis’ Between Two Ferns and Billy On The Street, the latter also being shown on the Fuse network. Reddit.com’s only got one original web series, but I have a feeling we’re going to see more of them. Explain Like I’m Five takes the concept of the subreddit of the same name and makes videos out of it. The gist is that adults explain complicated concepts (like Existentialism) to a classroom of 5-year-olds. It’s awesome and informative and cute. Just ask Gizmodo.
Other great producers of content include:
And then there are the more and more fantastic independent producers of video content coming out. Just to name a few of my favorites:
- Red Letter Media - Reviews of Star Wars Movies (trust me - they are really good)
- High Maintenance
- My Drunk Kitchen
- Wainy Days
I didn’t include YouTube on here as a producer of content because it’s (at the moment) mostly a conduit for independent producers of content to showcase their content. All of the above independent producers place their content on YouTube as well as the web sites I linked to above. (Except High Maintenance - it is exclusively on Vimeo for some reason).
This is the third part of a few posts I’m devoting to exploring how I use the various social networking services I regularly use. See the introduction post here.
Of all the social networking services I use I find Twitter to be the most interesting and versatile, but when I started using the service in 2005 I never thought I would feel this way. I, like most Twitter N00bs didn’t understand the seemingly arbitrary 140 character limit to posts. What if you want to say something that requires 145 characters? How dare Twitter stifle my creativity! Turns out Twitter appreciates the art of saying more with less and realized that people can say a heck of a lot in just 140 characters.
This post is for leaders within organizations who provide Yammer guidance & best practices. If you’re unfamiliar with the enterprise social network, read my post “5 ways to use Yammer” for a decent primer.
Groups are arguably the best way to get instant business value out of collaboration tools like Yammer. They reduce the “noise” people see in their main feed by focusing messages around specific, affinity-based topics. For example, you might see groups for people to collaborate on key projects or company initiatives. You might also see groups designed to share best practices in a specific industry vertical. At Softchoice, we have a number of private groups used by departments to reduce the amount of email amongst teammates, while improving the conversational tone of the exchange.
Since a Yammer network “belongs” to all employees, each person has the ability to create a group. But just because someone can, doesn’t mean they should. Before people create a group, ask them to answer 3 questions:
Internal social networking tools like Yammer can be used by companies for many different purposes, but one of the best use cases is for facilitating collaboration among teams of people. This is also one of the least understood ways of using these kinds of tools because teams working together tend to use email and meetings for most of their collaboration needs. When Yammer is suggested as a way to collaborate, those who don’t understand it often dismiss the tool as just another email inbox. They say they don’t want to have to look in two places to communicate with their colleagues. To them, Yammer is a second stream of work that they will have to deal with (which is understandably terrifying).
The problem with this line of thinking is that it shows a lack of recognition of the very important differences between using Yammer private groups and using email for group collaboration. (Hint: no one is collaborating very effectively using email!)
Today I found out that my Twitter account was one of the one’s hacked in yesterday’s thing: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/feb/02/twitter-hack-password-reset
Twitter made me change my password, which I did. But of course, that password is one of the ones I use for a bunch of other stuff, so that worried me. I searched my 1Password app to find all the sites that I use that password for - there were like 50. I then spent an hour changing the password for all of them to something random and unique using 1Password’s password generator. It was a pain, but I think it was the fastest and most efficient way to do something like that.
If your password management sucks (and it probably does), I highly recommend 1password.
This is the second part of a few posts I’m devoting to exploring how I use the various social networking services I regularly use. See the introduction post here.
What kind of content do I post?
The type of content I post on G+ is much more varied than what I post on Facebook and other sites. This is mostly because of the Circles functionality - I can most easily target my posts at different audiences. Generally, I will post:
- Links to interesting articles or extremely broad comments on events in the Public circle - anyone on the Internet can read that content.
- Content related to my professional pursuits in the public circle.
- Personal items about what I’m up to in my life, more personal opinions, and links to content that reflect a more personal worldview to my “My Circles” Circle. Thus, this content would go to everyone I have put in Google+ circles - basically, anything I would post to Facebook I would post on Google+ in this way.
- Very personal items to a “close friends” circle. While I remain aware that ANYTHING posted on a social media site is on the Internet and thus I can’t really control what happened to it, I hold a reasonable level of trust that things I post to specific circles won’t magically become posted publicly.
- Items to a very targeted group of people. I very much like the fact that “private messaging” isn’t really a separate concept in Google+. You can just type the names of individual people you want to share a post with instead of typing the names of the circles.
- All the pictures I care about are posted on Google+. The transparency the platform gives me about who can see what picture is very useful and important to me, and I really like how the platform organizes pictures.
Why do I care about G+ when I regularly use FB?
Honestly, a lot of what I get out of Google+ I do or could get out of Facebook. As a publishing platform, I like having the flexibility to target specific individuals and groups of people in my posts, but of course Facebook lists can more-or-less do the same thing. I also like Google hangouts - I have even gotten my parents to start using that for our weekly conversations - though I’m certainly aware of Facebook’s partnership with Skype. And as I said above, I prefer Google+’s photo organizing software though I realize Facebook’s is quite good and similar.
One real point of differentiation between G+ and Facebook for me is that Google+ is a much better way to consume content. I really like Google+’s uncluttered look and feel - I for one love its white space. I follow a lot of news sources and will use G+ to read about current events and learn about topics that I care about. Also, Google+’s search capability is tremendous, and I find myself going there more and more when I’m looking to learn more about a topic. I often find people with expertise in areas I’m interested in using Google+. Finally, I like the fact that I can confidently post really personal content as well as more professional content related to my work on the same platform.
Who do I connect with on Google+
I connect with a number of friends of mine on Google+ in much the same way I connect with them using Facebook. Also, since my partner vehemently mistrusts Facebook and refuses to join, G+ is a great way for us to keep in contact. I have also added many sources of news that I’m interested in to my Google+ circles.
Who can see my stuff?
Because of the Circle concept in Google+, I am much more particular about who can see my posts when I publish something in the tool. About 60% of my posts are viewable by everyone whom I have added to a circle. 20% of them are limited to specific circles or individuals because of their content. And about 20% are public posts.