The social media backlash is in full effect. Unsurprisingly, the push to stem the social networking tide is beginning in schools, where teachers and administrators can witness the ill effects of online bullying firsthand. Needless to say, these efforts will fail utterly. The real question: is there a more effective way to deal with cyber-bullying? Can it be dealt with, at all?
One of the great things about the Web, from the consumer's point of view, is that it's highly conducive to complaint: where a company could just shrug off your customer service issues in the old days, with the Web in the mix they pretty much have to pay attention lest it blow up into a horrible fiasco. Of course, while they put the best face they can on it ("no, we're thrilled to have a new channel to resolve customer service issues!") big brands are probably less enthusiastic about this part of the Web.
"Hugo Chavez is starting to use Twitter... forcing a president who often talks for hours to sum up each thought in 140 characters or less..." - Jorge Rueda, the Associated Press, Wednesday, April 28, 2010
It was inevitable, really: between the need of Congressional Democrats to rattle the media cage, and the need of Facebook to turn itself into a viable ad platform at any cost, there was bound to be some kind of collision. Predictably, the issue is privacy. Equally predictable is the outcome: Facebook will have to offer at least a few real concessions to hold on to the basic core strategy.
Huey Lewis will have to keep on looking: Social media appears to be as addictive as any chemical compound, and while it satisfies some of his key criteria for a new drug -- "one that won't spill, one that don't cost too much, or comes in a pill" -- it fails to meet some of his most important demands.Specifically, social media withdrawal leaves individuals "nervous, wonderin' what to do," according to a new study.
Sometimes you come across an online social network based on an idea so totally foreign and bizarre that you have sit there for a minute or two, awestruck, and just take the time to wonder: "WTF?" I know people have a remarkably wide range of interests and goals they may want to share with each other, not all of which I will necessarily understand. But then I come across something like Blippy -- the social network that instantly updates all your friends on what you're buying on your credit card -- and I am frankly at a loss. Wait, who...? ...
Amid growing concern about online safety for minors, including the threats of bullying and various other kinds of harassment, on April 13 Facebook unveiled its new "Safety Center" -- an online resource center for parents consisting of guidelines, advice, a Q&A section, and links to organizations with more information about keeping teens safe online. If I had to summarize my reaction -- as a non-parent -- to the Safety Center in one word, it would be "exhausting." As in, dear God, having kids must be exhausting.
This week brought another study showing the steady increase in consumers using mobile devices to access social networks. This one comes from Ground Truth, a mobile media measurement firm, which found that social network activity accounts for 60% of the time spent on the mobile Internet. That's more than four times the amount devoted to the next most-popular activity -- Web portals -- which accounts for just 13.7% of total mobile Internet use. It's also way ahead of mobile messaging, which claimed just 7.4% of total time spent, and mobile downloads, which accounted for just 1.3%.
I'm not about to stick up for bullies: as a nerd in middle school and high school I received my fair share of abuse, and believe me I have no love for the S.O.B.s. Frankly, I hope they're dead (if that's shocking to you, then you probably weren't ever the victim of bullying). But the recent trend towards legislation to prevent "cyber-bullying" seems way off-base.
This may be the best example yet of the growing power of social media, including Twitter and blogs, to bring about sudden, sweeping political change. Over the weekend India's junior foreign minister, Shashi Tharoor, resigned his post amid revelations of widespread corruption in India's cricket leagues. Tweets by Lalit Modi, the mercurial boss of the Indian Premier League, led to Tharoor's downfall.