Category Archives: New Media

Having It Both Ways: Which photo is best for a personals site?

Having It Both Ways: Which photo is best for a personals site?

For more on the Having It Both Ways project click here.

When I set out on this experiment and adventure I had no idea I had the potential to learn so much about attraction.  When I was in college I took Dr. Dailey’s Human Sexuality in Everyday Life class.  I needed another 3 hours and someone recommended to me in the registration office (this was before you enrolled online) that it always sold out.  There were 3 spots left in the class so I did it.  He taught us about the “attraction template” which is basically in the form of an onion or bull’s eye.  At your center is you – and each outer ring is the level of attraction you have to a specific type. Dr. Dailey always said that all long-term relationships with individuals MUST have the partner at the center of the attraction template.

Via an interview with my college paper earlier this year:

Sexual attraction, however, Dailey says, is just one component of overall attraction – an umbrella term which includes values, intelligence, money, religion and power all as things we consider when evaluating someone’s attractiveness. Our attraction templates, Dailey says, will alert us if a possible mate has enough of these qualities that we desire.

So, my quest on these online personals sites has been to figure out what best practices (if any) are perfect for both the profile and more importantly the profile photo.  What is the difference between what women are seeking in other women vs. what men are seeking in women and how can I alter each profile to capitalize on this?

I’ve tried to uncover some of this using two contrasting OKCupid profiles.  One in women seeking women one in women seeking men.  The two contrasting profile photos below:

Someone find this girl a man!Someone find this lesbian a date!

I used a lot of facebook and twitter commentary to get recommendations from friends on which photo I should use.  The crowd on both were split between these two photos.  Both felt like the photos showed off my … er… um… assets… so to speak.  And both said they made me look fun and lively.  So I posted them and then entered into the OKCupid profile photo voting system. They basically show your photos to several groups of people who vote on which one is better compared to other people’s profile photos.  BOTH profiles  voted the purple dress picture as being better.

Women seeking men photo analytics first – women seeking women photo analytics second.  Click to make them larger.

Vote on which photo is best

Here’s the troubling thing – the results aren’t spread enough.  59 to 65 votes doesn’t really give me a large enough sample vote.  Also the gender breakdown isn’t done in the voting process.  So, despite my second profile being in the women seeking women section, men vote on the photo as well as women.  So there’s no real way to calculate whether a photo is better for women or for men.  Also it only calculated results for 3 photos – not all 4 so the hiking photo didn’t get any data, and that was the photo many men suggested I use on facebook and twitter.  NOT helpful.

The results on both accounts thus far are

Views on seeking men: 328

Views on seeking women: 34

Is this just a user problem?  Meaning, are there more men seeking women on OKCupid than women seeking women?  Who knows…

OKCupid also posted extensive amount of data on the best practices for most compelling photos likely to attract the eye of a woman or man.  Again, however, is the problem about same sex data.  For women seeking women – which type of photos tend to do better?  Could we get some good data on this community, please?  Or are we to once again assume that what works for the straights works for the no-so-straight?

The Gaslighter

The Gaslighter

Gaslighting (verb): A form of intimidation or psychological abuse, sometimes called Ambient Abuse where false information is presented to the victim, making them doubt their own memory, perception and quite often, their sanity.  A more psychological definition of gaslighting is an increasing frequency of systematically withholding factual information from, and/or providing false information to, the victim – having the gradual effect of making them anxious, confused, and less able to trust their own memory and perception.

There’s something about sad lonely old dogs running down a country road.  Growing up in Oklahoma, you see this a lot, and even as an adult I always turn to look back at the poor pup as I drive by, hoping nothing bad happens to him as he meanders his way through life.  I always know that those sad lonely old dogs are without a home for one reason only:  no one wanted them.  That pity and need to take care of someone and give them a chance seems to have filtered into my everyday personal and political life.

As progressives or simply as sensitive feeling people, we see someone in need and want to find solutions to help.  It’s part of what I love so much about humanity, but it also stops us from thinking clearly and logically.  And, sometimes the fact that no one wanted the lonely old dog is a telling tale.

This week I had my first unequivocal experience of being gaslighted by a loved one.  I think as feminists, we expect sexism, misogyny, or chauvinism from adversaries or perhaps older colleagues or bosses.  I was shocked that someone I cared for and I thought respected me would go there.  But he did.  And in the fallout of our friendship, I’ve been left with the analysis of understanding men who are so insecure they feel the need to emotionally or psychologically abuse  others when called out on bad behavior.

Yashar Ali, author of The Current Conscience, wrote an amazing piece about gaslighting at HuffPo last year:

“You’re so sensitive. You’re so emotional. You’re defensive. You’re overreacting. Calm down. Relax. Stop freaking out! You’re crazy! I was just joking, don’t you have a sense of humor? You’re so dramatic. Just get over it already!  Sound familiar?

If you’re a woman, it probably does. . . .

When someone says these things to you, it’s not an example of inconsiderate behavior. When your spouse shows up half an hour late to dinner without calling — that’s inconsiderate behavior. A remark intended to shut you down like, “Calm down, you’re overreacting,” after you just addressed someone else’s bad behavior, is emotional manipulation, pure and simple.

And this is the sort of emotional manipulation that feeds an epidemic in our country, an epidemic that defines women as crazy, irrational, overly sensitive, unhinged. This epidemic helps fuel the idea that women need only the slightest provocation to unleash their (crazy) emotions. It’s patently false and unfair.”

When I started processing this incident with friends, family, indeed anyone who would listen as I’ve worked through what happened, I found a staggering number of people, feminists even, who have never heard the term “gaslighting,” and that’s what’s prompted this post.  When I began to describe what The Gaslighter said, “you’re assuming too much…. you read too much into it… I never lied we just never talk about it….” I watched as women nodded their heads.  “Oh my god I HATE when they do that!” a few replied.

As Ali said, you’re not crazy.  And as one friend told me, if you’re the one asking “am I crazy” chances are… you’re not.  It’s almost always the people who don’t ask whether they’re crazy or overreacting that are the source of the problem.
But the problem of gaslighting itself stems from a psychological problem that is deeply embedded in the fractured ego of the gaslighter.  As Robin Stern, Ph. D. author of “The Gaslight Effect” wrote:

“The powerful gaslighter (he has power both because he asserts it and because the gaslightee gives it to him!) engages in an ongoing, systematic knocking down of the other, less powerful, person, purposely controlling the relationship by telling the other that there is something wrong with the way she sees the world or there’s something wrong with who she is — and– the gaslightee, by agreeing with him or allowing his perceptions define hers, over time, loses confidence, feels unsure and experiences a growing shakiness of self. Gradually, the gaslightee begins to question what she thought she knew—and gives up the power to stand in her own reality.”

We’re coming up on the 4 year anniversary of one of my best friends being murdered by her boyfriend.  He had a history of physical abuse toward women that he dated and she knew this about him.  She had worked with victims of domestic violence and abuse and always was on call for women who might need help.  While I would never compare the violent physical abuse Jana’s ex-boyfriend inflicted on women to The Gaslighter’s emotional and psychological abuse he inflicts on women, one has to wonder if it stems from the same emotional problems.  Insecurity, shame, sneakiness, low self-worth, maybe narcissistic, self-absorbed, apt to create their own reality because theirs is too depressing.  I’m thinking of phrases like “I’m not what they say I am” or painting themselves as a victim.

Women who allow behavior like this in relationships might have similar psychological self-worth issues too.  Honestly, those self-worth issues could be created by the gaslighter themselves as a means of controlling the actions of their girlfriend or partner.  Imagine the psyche of a gaslighter’s long-term girlfriend.  She’s likely so emotionally damaged by a lack of respect for her and their relationship, that she might even believe she doesn’t deserve anything better.  It’s abuse – pure and simple.  While a gaslighter might not physically be smacking her around, the long-term emotional and psychological impact on her is likely horrifying.  And if one does it to you, he’s probably done it to others leaving scares in his path.  Indeed, it’s wrong.

Jana fell for a physically abusive man who never dared lay a hand on her until that fateful day that he killed her, but he exhibited controlling personality traits that made her uncomfortable.  Whether it’s emotional or physical, abusers will forever deny their responsibility and attempt to “gaslight” you into believing you’re just imagining things or that they really do value and care about you and want you in their life.  The truth is, if they respected you or any woman at all, that would manifest in their actions.  If they weren’t so insecure or emotionally immature you’d see it as well.

In the end the lonely old dog runs from farm to farm looking for someone to play with or a warm place to sleep.  He might need love and he might need a home – we all do.  But there might be a reason he doesn’t have either, and neither is your fault.

Dr. Stern’s Top 15 ways you know if you’re being Gaslighted can be found at her follow up piece on PT.

HuffPo’s BS Best Facebook List

HuffPo’s BS Best Facebook List

Today the Huffington Post did another useless list that categories people that should be “subscribed to” because their Facebook pages are so OMG AWESOME!

So go look at it – no seriously go look.  Can we please, universally agree, that in order to qualify for a decent Facebook page you have to have 1. upgraded to the Facebook Timeline, 2.  have publicly viewed content available, and 3. have a cover photo?  If you don’t have your shit together enough to even be actually managing your Facebook page then you’re undeserving of being on a top 50 list.  Also can we also say that shameless self promotion of Huffington Post writers is also a little humiliating?  I mean come on, I really love Amanda Terkel and she’s deserving but – it’s all just an attempt to generate content to get a bigger audience for the writers and promote their content on HuffPo for bigger readerships and higher ad dollars.

Evidence these recommendations are BS?  First of all Laurin Manning as number 37?  Come on.  She’s far better than half of the people listed above her.  Also, I think a qualification is that you have to actually share something that matters on Facebook at least once a day to qualify as being a valued.  I’m looking at you Bill Frist.

Want to know the best thing about them suggesting you subscribe to Bill Schneider’s feed is?  They might have done a screen cap – of his non-upgraded Facebook Timeline – but they neglected to also show you the rest of the page which features an AWESOME spam photo that has been on his account since April 29th.  Lookin classy Bill!!  Maybe hire a young person to teach you how to run the FaceSpace, eh?

Bill Schneider

I’ll bet Ed Gillespie has a lot of amazing incredible intelligent insights and opinions about politics and policy – ya know for the people who are on his side of the isle.  Thing is… you’re not gonna find them on his Facebook page.  Wanna know why?  Because Ed Gellespie hasn’t posted anything public on his Facebook Timeline since… well… I don’t know because after clicking “more” about 12 times I got bored and quit.  So you want to have an intelligent political conversation with Ed over something he was quoted saying or something he wrote? Try approaching him in a bar instead.

Ed Gillespie

These are just a few of the 50 people who are are a waste of your time.  Thanks so much Huffington Post for taking time to write about how AWESOME these people are instead of giving the spot to people who actually use Facebook the way it should be used.   I can’t wait to see who’s the best Twitter accounts.  Ten bucks they say it’s Brian Williams.  Because OMG his tweets are AWESOME!

1995 Called: They Want their Website Back

1995 Called: They Want their Website Back

Bad website no cookieEvery day I get a question about website design, new media consulting firms, and social media integration into your website or new media outreach.  Some of the most basic questions like “what should I do” or “how much should I pay” all comes down to what you want to get and what your goals and aims are.

Thus I’ve put together a handy list of mistakes and suggestions as well as the typical questions and how to answer them.

1.  Highly customizable websites don’t mean they’re good websites.

Many firms want to charge you very little to do proprietary websites under the guise of it being 100% about YOU and stand out have that design firm create it from scratch for you.

Here’s why this is bad:

  • You ultimately have no control over your own website after it’s designed
  • Customized websites are BAD for SEO
  • You can’t update your own content without your consultant
  • You can’t create additional pages, posts, information, or content that brings people back to your page without your designer or consultant

Let me also expand on this idea of something standing out and being 100% you.  Having a website that is all about you is what websites were for in the 1990′s.  Web 2.0 deign and outreach is more about simple, easy, uncomplicated design that has information that is engaging.

Read more below the click……

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Pinterest is Famous!

Pinterest is Famous!

Well what do you know… it seems the ladies not only like Pinterest … they trust posts on Pinterest too

According to BlogHer’s annual study on women and social media, when asked whether they trusted different social media sources, 81 percent of women representing the general U.S. population said they trusted blogs and Pinterest, while 67 percent said they trusted Facebook and 73 percent said they trusted Twitter. (The questions were asked of those who indicated that they used each of the social media services.)

We’ve heard for the last several months that women like Pinterest – that the majority of users are ladies. According to my good friend Beth Becker who has become the unofficial Pinterest expert the site is used primarily women in the midwest and southeast. (Actually Beth mentioned this in passing not at the link but… still read the above link)

Interestingly, Pinterest is also becoming more powerful than the Twitter when it comes to referral traffic:

A new study by online sharing tool Shareaholic has found that Pinterest now drives more referral traffic than Twitter.

Check out this graph – it’s even bigger than Google+. Eeek! Embarrassing!

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Pinterest Experiment leads to Addiction

Pinterest Experiment leads to Addiction

After an un-conference on net tools for activism and campaigns, I decided to embark on the Pinterest Experiment. While I have indeed created the political pin board – I have also created a design/architecture pin board that has now enabled me to geek out to an extreme. For those late nights and early mornings when I am stumbling the “architecture” category, I now have an opportunity to pin up my favorites and easily refer back to them, share them with my fellow addicts, and collect them for my other addiction, designing modern houses on the Sims.

Will this be my downfall? I think perhaps.

An Experiment: Pinterest as Activism

An Experiment: Pinterest as Activism

During an interesting day with @Ravenb @cksieloff @banditelli and then @melissaryan while participating at #Roots12 we began a conversation about Pinterest. Pinterest, if you didn’t know, is a site similar to a pinbaord where users can upload or tag a photo that are all placed on the “online pinboard.” Many use it for design or fashion and predominantly the demographic of users is female. Consequently, the online community views the website as a girly BS site – except it’s kind of become a thing, leaving many male online folk to scratch their head with this girly site. In a great piece How to stop being a pinterest sexist we learned

Whether or not Pinterest is a site “for women,” women make up 70%–80% of its user base and 97% of its fans on Facebook. That’s just the current reality. Meanwhile, men still do a majority of the tech blogging…and most of the men in the tech blogging world missed the boat on Pinterest. They didn’t get it, they thought it was “just for women,” and they dismissed it.

Until recently, that is. Now that Pinterest is The Next Big Thing, everyone’s scrambling to catch up. Except so many of the articles being written about Pinterest now — especially (but not exclusively) those written by and for men — are still off-point, and sometimes? Just plain offensive.

So… my mission, and yes I have chosen to accept it, is to figure out how we can use Pinterest as an online organizing tool. So…. here’s my Pinterest …. Thus far I’ve preloaded it with all sorts of political whatnot focusing specifically on cute things and women’s issues. I put cute things on because… well… I like cute things. We’ll see how it works out. Here we go.