Mis-information

One of the most irritating things is when someone tells you the wrong information in a bit to make a sale. This happens a lot, in a society where businesses want every penny they can. Every time you watch TV or open the newspaper there are advertisements everywhere. Companies fighting each other to gain a consumer’s attention. To get their money. This should be great for consumers. Get the best deals as the companies compete for customers. But it doesn’t always happen like that. Sometimes corners get cut, and the customer gets mislead, or feels let down.

As said previously, I sold my old phone through a mobile phone site, mainly because they did the best deal for my phone. They promised a quick turnaround and the money will go straight to my bank within days of recieving my phone. It sounded too good to be true. Well, they offered me £120 for an iPhone 4S and I was thrilled. So sent it away, and waited for a result. They said they phone had water damage, as had a ‘water damage’ indicator on the inside. Being me, I trust the company and was disappointed, when they offered me £90 instead, I accepted it. After all, that was the general price every other company was offering me. 4 days later, I am still waiting for anything about payment, and I’m getting frustrated. So, I googled the company and read a few reviews. This should have been something I did first. Many of the reviewers had experiences like mine. Where perfect handsets were voiced as having ‘water damage’. Phones that had been previously tested as undamaged, fail when they go to this company. So the company then drops the price, down to the level that other companies are offering to pay for your device. It has the appearance of a con, to get people in with higher than normal offers for devices, just decrease it.

After working in customer services previously, I feel that I should point out that people NEED TO read their terms in conditions. They are usually a tiny font, or available at the bottom of a website. You should always read these conditions BEFORE you agree to anything. If you agree to something, and it comes up later in your dealings with a company, you will be in the wrong. Never ever sign or agree to anything you don’t read. If you don’t read everything, you have nowhere to turn if it all goes wrong.

Happy Blog Is Happy

I have no idea how long it has been since I spent an evening with iTunes on shuffle and editing on Photoshop. Reminds me of my college days, rushing to get things finished till 2am, for a deadline the next morning. Thinking about it, that is possibly why things didn’t go as smoothly as intended.

I have been more motivated. Keeping myself motivated on  the job application front, which is hard considering you can be lucky to get 1 reply for every 20 applications sent off.  So, as you can gather, not a lot of positivity in that front. But trying to keep my head up, by throwing myself back into things that I haven’t done for so long. Like regular photographs, more blogging, making videos, drawing and re-familiarising myself with Photoshop again. It is unbelievable how much you forget, when you aren’t using it all the time. I mean, it took me over 15 minutes to remember how to find and use my custom brushes. Obviously, the fact that I am an idiot did not help that situation, at all.

I don’t know if it comes across, but I am the happiest I have been in so long. It is like I have found a part of myself that has been missing for so long, and it is great to have it back.  And I am making the best of it whilst it is here. I have been so depressed by everything around me for so long, that it has failed to inspire me to do anything. So, I have a list of things that I want to do, so I am working on that. First thing was a change of logo/header across all my internet doings, and also syncing a few things together. I am excited for the future, for the first time in years. It’s like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

 

Things Are A-Changing!

I am trying to change a few things over here. Which is why from today you can also find my blog at https://sueriot.wordpress.com, as well as ol’ Rgraphics. Everything else I run online, bar Youtube, all runs of the same username. So it made sense.

Rgraphics is the name I picked before I really tried to get all my social networks working together. I am trying to forge an online identity away from my personal, offline life. That involves me changing a few things about, and taking away the mention of real details. Whilst this doesn’t have a lot of relevance to things like this blog, it does have more to do with Facebook. Yes, a useful tool which has been inundated with nosey relatives, and ex-friends. While I’d like to say I was able to go and fix my security settings accordingly, Facebook make it hard, and I am far too lazy, so it doesn’t happen.

Because I plan to get back into the interwebs ‘full tilt’, I felt that some of my personal side should be hidden. Mostly, because people seem to think that because I use a lot of social media under my real name, I will tell all their secrets, and people will pry about them. Or something. I don’t know what people are so scared about, because this isn’t anything I have ever been worried about.

So for the moment. I have taken Riot (from Riot Graphics), and shall be calling myself Sue Riot online. Not a very smart alias, but hopefully enough to force a division between internet Sue, and IRL Sue. I am the same person though, so really it shouldn’t make a difference. It also keeps my ‘details’ secure. Though in one of my dumber moments, I am pretty sure I told most of my details to Facebook already.

Hooray!! I r so smart.

Check Your Sources

In a world where news is dominated by what is on the news overview onGoogleand the trending topics on Twitter, it is becoming harder for more traditional news outlets to remain relevant. Do people have to pay for what they want, or is free news part of a person’s rights?

I have just watched Page One: Inside The New York Times, which as someone with an interest in media and it’s progression, was something that I have been meaning to watch since it came out last year. It shows a ‘behind-the-scenes’ look at one of the world’s most established and popular Newspapers. It was not what I expected. It showed that the Journalistic giant had made mistakes, and that it was struggling in the world of modern day media. But for a printed paper, created in 1851, the fact that this publication can still sell over 2,000,000 copies in a day, is phenomenal, no matter how you look at it.

The one thing that was highlighted in the documentary, was how the drop in advertising revenue, and the reader’s want to get free news, was damaging the paper. It is said, that papers who print, lose money with every copy of a paper that they publish, as the cost of the paper needs to be affordable, for people to buy it on a daily basis. In the past, this loss was covered by the money that advertisers paid to be included in publications. As the Internet has become stronger over the last 10-15 years, companies began to start up their own websites for promotion, which was cheaper and began to lean less and less on the traditional printed media. In a world, where profit margins are becoming thinner and thinner, you can see why companies would follow the path of self-promotion.

This caused a problem for newspapers, like the New York Times, which found that their main source of revenue was disappearing. It meant that changes needed to happen, and the paper and it’s journalists would need to be more interactive with it’s audience to try and stay relevant. This involved an introduction of a website where journalists could record corresponding videos with their articles. Readers were invited to comment, and share their views, and the company began to catch up with it’s competitors in other media, such as TV. This way of publishing stories helps newspapers get a broader, even worldwide audience. Whilst this seems like a more affordable way to spread the news, but there was still a big gap in revenue, due to advertising loss. This is where the site installed a ‘paywall’, which would ask heavy users to pay a fee to continue using the site. This model has proved very successful for many online services. And has helped plug the gap in revenues, created by the drop of advertising.

And that is what a lot of people have a problem with. Why pay for something when you can Google the news for free. Google is a site, which like the way newspapers used to operate, is funded mostly by advertising revenue. The issue with advertising revenue, is it gives the reader the belief that they are viewing something that is free. Accept, it isn’t really free. Google gets paid by how many people use the service, as advertisers will pay accordingly to feature under certain searches. When up to the ‘top 10’ of results you get on google, have paid for that high ranking, you begin look further into what you’re using. That every click that you make on a google site, is collated and sold to marketing companies. You then begin to wonder, are sites like Google really free?

Another problem with the internet, is that the source is not as important as it used to be. You search for a news topic online, and will click on the one with the snappiest headline. More often than not, the photos and story may come from a single source, a source which be mentioned somewhere at the bottom of the article, if you’re lucky. And this mixed nature of ‘search engine news’, means that all sources and all work just becomes a big muddle. Where as in print, you can sometimes say, ‘I’ll read the Daily Star, because I want to read nonsense’. Or the Independent for more serious news. That definition between different publications isn’t so relevant when you Google search, and just pick one out of hundreds of results. It’s like written journalism is losing its definition.

Where this causes a problem, that whilst the bigger publications like the New York Times and The Independent can sent journalists to specific areas to cover important stories, smaller, less serious publications can’t. This means, that you can get ‘piggy-back reporting’, where smaller outlets will rehash another publications story. They report news and events, without any first hand coverage. This leads to second hand stories, which can lead to inconclusive reports and no checked sources. The only way that true, first rate articles can continue to be published, is if people start to pay attention and pay for what they read.

Because when all the newspapers go under, a loss in advertising for Google, could send them down the pay route that News outlets are currently used for. Nothing in life is free, especially not the Internet.

So check your sources, and help them, or they will stop being reliable.

Converse Well?

What do you notice most everyday? Is it the weather? What you had for dinner? What outfit you wore to work? Do you remember the person who served you when you bought your morning coffee? Did you say thank you, or are they lost in your mind, destined to never see the light of day again?

I ask because as someone who has worked in customer services since I was 16, I have always found conversation important. Of how a little bit if effort to wish your bus driver a nice day, could make him smile and want to be nicer to other passengers. Positivity is a chain reaction, once you feel it, you can pass it on to others. It is contagious. And when you feel happy, everything that you have to deal with is a lot easier.

So why does that bring in conversation? Well, I work in a call centre, where conversations are of obvious importance. Sometimes, due to the environment, it is easy to become caught up in the business of targets and such, so that conversations don’t become the focus. Well, in my bid of being more positive, I decided to work on building a better conversation with my customer. And over the last few days, I focused on the call and the customer, and it made me feel good because the customer could see the difference. Feeling like you have helped someone, is a big personal boost, and that makes things bearable.

The biggest way to change things, is to treat everyone in your life the way you expect to be treated. Converse with people to treat the situation with a positive outlook. Try it and see what happens. It makes work better and life easier. As they say, if you open the door for positive thinking, more positive opportunity will find you.

I hope this makes sense. I am always quick to complain when life is poor, but being positive is not something I do normally. So this new thing is helping
me change some habits and hopefully change my life for the better.

Being Inventive

The one thing that I have noticed, is that as a freelancer, or someone who tries to freelance, when you don’t get work, it is hard to keep busy. I don’t know if this has been a problem over the last few months. If I get no interest, I take it personal, because my work is such a personal thing to me. So, when I get no work, I feel like it!s because I have done something wrong. I haven’t, but the easiest way to get past these feelings, is to ignore the issue completely. Which I have done.

But I can’t carry on like this. So, I have been writing down ideas of personal projects, that I can take on, to help improve my activity levels. Hopefully, it will also make me feel better about myself and about my work. I always feel better when I am doing things, be it blogging or painting. Because I am using my time more productive, I hope that the positive change of my thoughts, will open the door to more possibilities.

That’s the PMA way of thinking, anyway. That if you experience more opportunities, then more opportunities will come your way. Or that’s the idea, anyway. I have a few ideas I am thinking of, so we’ll see what happens.

Flattening of The World (basic)

I am in the midst of reading a book called The World Is Flat, by journalist Thomas L Friedman. It is a book on how globalisation has flattened the world as we know it.

I know that, as an initial concept, most people think, but the world is round, Christopher Columbus was wrong. But I am not talking about how the world is geographically shaped. I am talking about how people and businesses can work freely, on a levelled out playing field. This does seem rather bizarre at first thoughts, because every country operates individually, no matter where it is in the world. Before the days of high speed internet connections and outsourcing, this maybe was true, but not so any more.

Internet connections meant that people could communicate with anyone, no matter where they are. Send someone an email, and within 5 seconds they have received it. To understand how this happened, you need to know more about the history of the internet, something which I may cover at a later date, but not right now. Billions of pounds was spent on running cabling from country to country, so that the world became interconnect, hence it being dubbed the World Wide Web. This connected people together from all corners of the world. You can be sitting in your house in Glasgow, and playing Call of Duty through your X Box with someone in Australia. It is crazy, when you think how easy it is to now contact people. Especially when we think of the little bubble of communication people had before the internet. Before it was free to talk to people all over the world and share ideas. People began to learn how others lived, and realised that maybe people weren’t all that different.

As well as allowing people to become closer to others, the internet also became a major assets to companies. Initially, in the early days of the internet, companies were able to put several computers and offices on networks, where they could easily transfer information from one place to another. It was more cost effective than physically sending the information to the required person, and it was easy to manage. As the internet became more wide-spread, more commercial, more global, rather than just communicate between offices, companies were able to communicate with people in other countries in the same way. This lead to countries like India and China being used to complete work for Western companies, for a cheaper rate than what would be paid in their home country. Everything from manufacturing to remedial accounting was outsourced. Whilst there has been a lot of negativity about outsourcing, in that it is giving away work to other countries, etc., it is not entirely negative. When a British company opens up a 24 hour customer service line, it may be a financial struggle, due to the fact that UK based workers would require extra pay for working ‘unsociable hours’. So by getting in contact with an international outsource agency, in say Bangalore, they can hire workers to work these ‘unsociable hours’ without costing too much money. This saving allows the company to expand in other areas, and focus it’s local workers on more taxing tasks, where the people abroad get the remedial work. To a company, that means they can get more out of their staff, and get their money to work for them more.

It also has educated people in countries where outsourcing is popular, so that they can start working for themselves. So it actually becomes beneficial for their country. And in manufacturing, where US and European companies send products to be made in China, the Chinese learn how to successfully manufacture, and can then do it themselves. They can then create their own companies, which can compete with their Western counterparts.

It is giving more people the same opportunities. It is levelling out the world. No longer is the West were the power is, where the best manufacturing is. At the moment countries like America and the UK are the designers, soon, very soon, it will be China and India doing the designing, and what will we do then. I don’t know if the Western world is ready for such a shift in power.

Twitter App Ban?

So, after spending all day, trying to get UberTwitter (a third-party Twitter app, for Blackberry) to work. I got home, connected my phone to my WiFi, to a message saying UberTwitter has been suspended for breaking policies, or something. UberTwitter was the most popular Twitter client for Blackberry mobile devices, eclipsing Twitter’s very own official application.

Twitter say that UberMedia(owner of UberTwitter, Twidroyd and just recently TweetDeck) broke various terms of service, and are now suspended. The accusations are using unauthorised trademarks (Twitter in the name of a product), changing details within messages (this has not been made too public, but appears to be related to changing links or something) and a site used to post longer tweets (tmi.me) posts private tweets publicly. Now whilst this looks serious, you also wonder, why was the service suspended before UberMedia had a chance to do anything?

When my phone is operational (ahem O2), I am a very heavy ‘tweeter’ from my phone. I did initially try the official Twitter app, but found it very slow and non-working, so switched to UberTwitter, which was so much faster and easier to use. Now, when the service was suspended only two tweets appeared on Ubertwitter, and both where @support. One advised me that UberTwitter was suspended, the other was trying to get me to download the official Twitter app for Blackberry.

This, to me, seemed a little suspicious. Almost as if the suspension of UberTwitter was tactical, to push more people onto the official services. Within 12 hours of the suspension, UberMedia announced that UberTwitter was coming back as UberSocial, and that it just needed approval from the BB app store. So it looks as if things will return to normality soon.

It is thought that as many as 25% of tweets are sent through UberMedia’s applications, which makes it a hefty risk taking them off. You could end up leaving users disappointed, and they will leave Twitter completely. Or you could push them onto another third-party service, such as OpenBeak.

People are saying that this is another indication of the impending pop of the current internet ‘bubble’. With Twitter recently being a considered by both Google and Facebook owners for a rumoured $10 billion, people started to get worried. Many business and technology watchers find this evaluation of the micro-blogging site to be a little ‘steep’. And the over enthusiastic pricing, could be a sign that the internet is about to go down the toilet. Whether that happens or not, the big issue is that if Twitter are interested of getting a high price for the service, then they need to control where they lose money. Much like any business, you find where you are not maximizing profit. and you fix it. Here, Twitter was losing out on millions of dollars because another company was acting as a ‘messenger’ between twitter and the customer (end product). So twitter, revoke the licenses for the biggest ‘messenger’ service, to try to get people to use their own, in-house ‘messenger’.

It seems a little confusing, but I can see why the staff at Twitter would be forced to try to stop these companies profiting from their losses. After all, you will not get the highest price if your business plan (and profit) isn’t watertight.

It doesn’t take much looking on the internet to see what people’s opinions are of Twitter since the UberMedia issue. And it looks very negatively in the light of Twitter. Most of the thoughts are, that if Twitter had better applications of its own, and proper support for them, then they wouldn’t need to ban anything. Maybe Twitter should work on what it has, rather than attacking those who essentially bring business to their site.

*shrugs*

Twitter Unbalanced?

I use twitter A LOT!

It is a place I joined to get to know friends from other sites more. Which is something the site has done so well. It was mostly people from The Leaky Cauldron, Youtube and various Good Charlotte sites. Actually, mostly the Good Charlotte sites, as the GCfam are just brilliant. And twitter has brought me closer to them, and to the band themselves.

But recently I have noticed a few strange going-ons. First is people using the site to advertise themselves for work, and don’t make any personal statements or anything. And I just miss the point of that. You use the site to get to know people, even if it is purely those in the same industry as you, but simply retweeting people does not use the site to it’s capabilities.

The second thing, its fanbases trying to beat each other. Mostly its Lady Gaga Vs Justin Beibers (or Monsters Vs Beliebers), and they try to knock each off the trending topic lists. :S Again, most of it is spam, and doesn’t do anything bar get on peoples nerves. In fact, coincidentally, both acts are becoming very close to over-saturating the market. That is basically getting to the point where instead of making new fans, you annoy people and get less fans. It is the golden rule of advertising, don’t over-do it. And the fans don’t realise that they could be negatively effecting their idol’s sales.

But, twitter is a tool. And the reported interest 0f Google, to purchase the service for as much as $10 million. Watchers say that this inflated price could be the sign of another internet bubble about to go POP. The reason they say this is because they struggle to validate the site being worth that kind of money, especially when advertising and promotion have only been launched recently.

I guess time will tell with twitter. I love it, so as long as it still works, I don’t mind, really. Just don’t change it too much.

Funding

After a discussion with a friend at 4am this morning, via Skype, it has become apparent that I need a good idea for helping me get out of the monetary rut that I seem to be permanently stuck in.

Obviously, the easiest solution is to get more money, but what is the best way to do that? I have already tried to find a second job, something that is difficult, seeing as a lot of people have difficulty finding just one job in the times we live in. *sigh*And I have been doing design work, but as I touched on yesterday, people want things for free and are unwilling to pay.

So…after much thought, I decided to look in what is doing well. And, the solitary success of recent times, is this very blog. Which, at the moment is happily averaging at 40 views a day, without me posting anything. So, thank you people who are reading, as it seems there is a few of you. But, as with any site that goes well, advertising comes along, and becomes part of things.

I have two choices, the first is to ‘monetize’ with Google. Where they will place appropriate adverts on my site, and clicking on their adverts, makes me some money. The other, is to ask for advertisers myself. Ask people if they would like to be associated with this blog for a small, undecided, fee. This would be more cost-effective to myself, as everything would be created by me, so there would be no middle-man to pay.

I am sceptical about it all, to be brutally honest. I never started blogging to make money and make it a job. But, it has just come round that my financial situation may require me to do this. *sigh* I’m stuck, I guess.

I have talked to people who run other blogs, and they say that the page views are high enough for advertising to be a good idea. I guess I am afraid that by making me use the blog for profit, that I will lose my passion for it. Beh!

The good thing, is that I have been blogging for so long, that I know that I will update regular, and have done on here for the last 2 years. I think, I am going to have a think about things before I make any more changes.

If anyone wants to add their two cents or even email any queries about possible advertising or anything email me at suewantsaRIOT@gmail.com or simply comment below.