• Restoration Hardware's Catalog Mailing Jumps the Shark -- And So Much More
    In the annals of corporate credibility, few initiatives stretch reality quite so much as the Restoration Hardware "Source" books, which arrived here at the house last week. I'd heard about these massive catalogs being delivered all over town for a month or so, and when I got mine, I realized it was probably the reason the cement was missing between the bricks that make up our front steps. I wouldn't want to drop the thing on my foot; let's put it that way.
  • Yo! Here's What I'll Be Doing This Weekend
    It's pretty clear. What I should be doing this weekend -- hell, it shouldn't even take the whole weekend -- is thinking up a really silly social networking idea that will net me upwards of $1 million and a few headlines. Then, like the Flappy Bird guy, I'll pull the thing from the iOS and Apple app stores, and next thing you know, I'll be on the beach on Cape Cod, laughing at how I managed to pull one over on a bunch of gullible investors.
  • One Way You Know Your Sponsored Content's Being Laughed At
    And now, at last, the Social Media Insider will stop discussing retargeting and social data and finally offer some comic relief. You see, it's a Friday in summer (well, close enough), so I'm devoting this column to something fun and simultaneously super-important, called ClickHole. What is ClickHole, you ask? According to its list of FAQs, it "is the latest and greatest online social experience filled with the most clickable, irresistibly shareable content anywhere on the internet." ClickHole is a parody, published by The Onion, that makes fun of Buzzfeed in particular, but its kin like Upworthy too, as well as ...
  • Will Search + Social Yield Better Advertising Experience For All?
    As long-time readers of this column know, there are few things I detest more than retargeting. Though it's not quite up there with climate change denialists, my hatred of stalker ads is on a par with Bitcoin and reading about Maureen Dowd's close encounter with edible marijuana. That's still a relatively high bar. It's not a conceptual complaint, but an executional one. Make the mistake of going to a site of an advertiser that uses clumsy retargeting and you may find yourself doomed, for a month or two anyway.
  • Please, Oh, Please Be My Snapchat Friend: A Confession, And An Opportunity
    One of the hardest things about being a writer/consultant in digital with some -- ahem -- experience, is that when new social platforms emerge, you want to go play on them, but there's no one you know who wants to play on them too. It's strange. You read about these platforms, write about them and analyze them all day long, but ultimately, you begin to feel like someone who is in the cable TV industry who doesn't have cable. Only in social, it's much harder than calling up your local cable provider and signing on. You can join all of ...
  • Facebook Walks the Privacy Walk, And Walks It Back -- At the Same Time
    If you've got Facebook, who needs the NSA? That's the question I've been asking myself after reading yesterday about Facebook's new, um, eavesdropping service, which uses the sounds of music and TV shows around you to help you share what you're listening to or watching. Please note that in the very same week -- nay, on the very next day -- Facebook also said it was going to push all of its nearly 1.3 billion users to do a perhaps annual privacy check to make sure that everyone's privacy settings are really where they want them to be.
  • Five Key Takeaways From The New York Times' Innovation Report
    For a moment, let's not focus on the delicious irony of Buzzfeed breaking the second biggest news about The New York Times this week. The site -- which many a Times staffer probably sniffs derisively at -- uploaded the paper-of-record's entire 91-page "Innovation Report" that calls for de-emphasizing print in favor of a more sophisticated approach to digital. If you're in digital, it's even more intriguing than the news on Wednesday that executive editor Jill Abramson had been unceremoniously shown the door.
  • Yogi Berra Knows Some Of What's Wrong With Twitter
    Apparently, from what I've been seeing all around, it's time to go hating on Twitter, which means it's time for the Social Media Insider to find out why people are hating on Twitter, other than the usual restlessness that typifies most heavy social media users.
  • What Does Social Have To Do With The NewFronts? Only Everything
    At the risk of going entirely off-script, today I'm going to write about the NewFronts, maybe just because everyone else is - and if anything characterizes the Social Media Insider, it's a vicious insistence on being on top of the latest trends. But the good news is that when it comes to social media's role in the broader media business, there is no going off-script. If the one NewFront presentation I went to is any guide, much of the success of the entire digital video enterprise relies on social -- maybe (in a sense) even more than it relies on ...
  • Where Did I First Hear The News? Guess What? It May Not Have Been On Twitter
    As an unrehabilitated news junkie, I've long been fascinated by how the fragmentation of media still allows the news of the day to somehow seep in. If a few years ago, for most of us, news resources primarily consisted of TV, newspapers, a quick surf of the major news sites, and the occasional radio broadcast, now the inputs come at us in a much more splintered fashion, and from a variety of sources, from Twitter to CNN.com, NewsRadio 88 to "The Daily Show." You would think that getting news in so many small slivers would make it less comprehensive, -- ...
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