I have never been a strict creator of, or adherer to, New Year's resolutions. But this year will be different. No, really. I mean it this time.
Since I am willing to go public here and put my reputation on the line by telling you all that I am resolved to compete in a crazy obstacle race competition (namely Tough Mudder) this year -- and I am not a runner or obstacle course competitor by any stretch of the imagination -- I thought it would be only fair if I helped my favorite social networks with their resolutions.
So, while there is no guarantee that they will heed my heartfelt suggestions, it might be nice to see if they happen to stumble into the high hopes I have for their self-improvement.
1 -- Google+: I will make more friends this year
It's been a strong year of growth for the newest social media group on the block, but when people are comparing you to a platform that is within an earshot of a billion friends, you feel like a hermit with only 62 million people in your circle.
You've done good so far Google+. You became the fastest growing network ever and you started letting in brands and people using alas names, but you are going to have to boost those numbers for it to feel like there are any fish in this vast ocean.
I think 2012 could be the year that Google+ gains its stride and capitalizes on its video chat and broadcasting feature (with Hangouts), especially now that the Dali Lama considers the site a great way to talk to his followers and The Muppets are happy to sit at the lunch table with you.
2 -- Facebook: I will respect other people's privacy
I know how tempting it is when all you roommates leave their cute clothes in the living room and their diaries open to some juicy details but this year you gave into temptation more than you should have. We know, you apologized with a "My Bad" and said it wouldn't happen again, but this time we had our neighbors and the FTC put in a few cameras to keep you honest.
So while all your advertisers are nudging you saying that we don't really care and that you can get away with it, we would like you to think about how mad you'd be if we just slipped past your Firewall and took all your revenue number and client lists when you were in Tahoe and sold it to Twitter.
Yeah, not so fun is it.
3 -- Twitter: I will handle criticism better
We love you Twitter. You make all of us feel like we work for AP. Heck, sometimes we find out breaking news before the AP. And because you had this great grassroots story and were like the UC Berkeley before it got all Stanford on us, we don't want to criticize you as you start making some serious money. But we have to say, you may want to listen to those of us that live and breathe via Twitter.
We know you have to put in ads and sponsored tweets in order to keep your kegs full, but just go a little easy on them -- I really don't want to know about the newest flavor of Coke more than once a day (or a week, preferably.)
Also, when you start changing your site and everyone cries fowl, maybe you want to let us use your pervious layout until to iron out the kinks. The last people you want to get angry with you are those people with tens of thousands of followers that tweet everything they do and don't love. You've been driving many of us away to third-party apps that don't change things on us like you do. We are all happy to go through this growth spurt with you, but you have to learn to listen to our critiques, because we just want you to be the best you can be. Then we can say we knew you when.
4 -- Instagram: I will appeal to more than just hipsters
I know, I know. This guy and that guy that use you are professionals. But let's face it, you were built on the back of hipsters -- not that there is anything wrong with that. I am just saying that you need to build your average joe and photo connoisseur user-base so that we can really call you a big social media player.
We all love the filters -- it makes everything more . . . interesting -- but we also want to talk about you the way pros talk about Flickr.
While those of us that have gone Apple all the way, you really made all those photo snapping Android users mad and there are a lot of them. Granted they aren't as cool as the iPhone owners but they are people too.
How about this year you stop being all cliquey and let some other kids play with your toys. And while you're at it, maybe throw in some fun search functions so I can discover stuff we'd love.
5 -- Foursquare: I will think up something cooler than Mayor
It is already a stretch to call someone that hangs out at a place "The Mayor," but the fact that you've been on the social media scene for two years and haven't come up with any label cooler than Mayor is a little sad.
We know, you can be "Super Mayor" if you hold 10 or more Mayorships, but what about Senator, President, Czar, Master, or Grand Who Ha. These are all suggestions to help you freshen up the badges people covet, often with sup rising fervor.
Give us something to look forward to once we get tired with all the bureaucracy that a Mayorship brings with it.
6 -- YouTube: I will help discover animals you didn't even know were cute
We could ask that YouTube resolve to stop draining hours from our lives, but who would we be kidding? So let's just face the music and hope that YouTube puts all of its effort into helping us learn about things that are so adorbz and make us post it all over the Internet.
I think YouTube started a few days to early for 2012, but a few days before Christmas, the world learned about the newest orphaned polar bear named Siku and now more than a million people have watched the painful amount of cuteness.
If this isn't even factored into the 2012 animal wonders, just think of what is to come.
7 -- Yelp: I will make my investors crazy money
This is a resolution that I know all the Yelp board can get behind. Since mid-November when Yelp filed that it would go public in coming month, people have been predicting that it would fair better than fellow reviewing service Angie's List did this year.
The San Francisco-based social networking and review site for business says that it has generated $58.4 million in net revenue for the first nine months of 2011 and it booked a net loss of $7.6 million over the same time.
Yelp plans to raise $100 million in the initial public offering and has the intent to trade under the symbol YELP. Several organizations have estimated that a Yelp IPO could reach $2 billion.
Yelp's latest round of financing in January 2010 valued the company near $500 million and kept the public buzzing over how the company was going to be able to leverage the popular site into a money making institution.
So let's hold the company to some promising and ambitious standards -- if they don't meet them, they will at least be able to point to all the others that couldn't keep their New Year's resolutions.
8 -- Skype: I will stop messing with your family video chats
It is well documented that I Skype with my family a lot. (See here, here and here.) And as much as I love the price tag (of $0) that comes with video chatting across state and country lines, I get frustrated with the unnatural movements and sound that I am often met with.
Internet and over-the-top video optimization improves every year and it seems like a fair and doable resolution that Skype up their quality.
They shouldn't just do this for me and their other users, but also because so many other services are coming into the video chat space including Google+'s Hangouts, Spreecast, Rounds and the highly anticipated Sean Parker project called AirTime.
9 -- Klout: I won't take myself so seriously
It is really important to have clout. Everyone wants to influence someone and most people like a way to prove it. Because of this natural desire (and a marketing method that attracts big brands by the dozen) Klout has found a great deal of success for its young startup service.
Earlier this year, however, Klout started messing with the algorithm that it uses to determine how much Klout social media individuals have and got some serious backlash.
In response to the cries of "foul" that came from this change, Klout claimed that it is always working to improve the quality of its measuring and strives to do its best. While this may be true, I think the company need to take 2012 to step out on a limb and admit that it isn't a science and it is mostly a marketing tool.
I check my Klout (frankly, a lot more than I will admit here) because I want to best grow a following of people interested in technology and anything else I might talk about. My Klout score hovers near 49 most of the time which, by Klout math, states that I am half as influential as the mark of perfection: Justin Bieber.
As flattering as this may be, it just can't be true or representative of the real impact I have on the public. I am sure I'll get some sort of email for my call for Klout to take it down a notch, but come on, it's just a number.
10 -- MySpace: I will help out all my indie friends
You have 2012 to prove to us that you can make a comeback MySpace -- use it wisely. We have seen you go from the major music networking player to social networking for everyone and then plummeting company worth and near life-support levels. Many of us want you to play the role of Comeback Kid and if you resolve to put all of your focus on boosting the networking capabilities of little indie bands that haven't gotten the music-selling boost from Pandora and Spotify.
You have the chops for it, millions of bands and streaming songs and you have Justin Timberlake -- I think if I had all of that I would enter the year with a great deal of wind in my sail.
And . . .
For those of you still asking yourself what a Tough Mudder is, I have included a stress inducing video. Hopefully, all the social networks and I can reflect this time next year about our successes. Hopefully.