• The New Inflation Threat: Fake Friends
    One of the amusing (or annoying) things about social networks is the phenomenon of the "fake friend" -- the person you really don't know whom you somehow end up being "friends" with anyway. There's any number of reasons why this happens, but it often seems to boil down to the fact that the aggressor treats social networking as a big game to collect the largest number of online friends, or he or she just has a different idea of what social networking is for (or a different idea of what constitutes a "friend," for that matter).
  • Social Media And The Next Big Religious Revival
    Speaking from a personal perspective as a secular coastal media type, it's easy to forget the huge role of religion in American life. But at some point in my lifetime I expect we'll all be reminded by another broad-based religious revival -- the latest in a series of revivals that have occurred periodically throughout American history. And it will take place through social media.
  • Nestle's Bites It On Greenpeace Controversy
    Like any company with a marketing organization worthy of the name, Nestle's has a social media presence including, of course, a Facebook page. Meanwhile, like any global corporation, Nestle's also does things that attract criticism from environmental activists. Taken together, these two facts virtually guarantee a collision resulting in negative publicity somewhere down the line.
  • On Incivility
    You know you must be getting old when you're bothered by incivility in online forums. But it does bother me, damn it, and not just out of some reflexive dislike of confrontation. I'm worried it reflects something fundamentally wrong with modern society, or at least some of the individuals who compose it. And I'm also wondering whether individuals who are uncivil online may be doing themselves professional damage they're not even aware of.
  • SAS Supercharges Sentiment Analysis
    One of the most interesting things about social media, in my humble op-ed, is the way enterprising nerds have begun to apply quantitative analysis to the uber-complex world of human sentiment -- basically marrying math and emotions. The most recent example I came across is a new social media analytics tool from SAS. But first I must digress about why I find this stuff so fascinating.
  • Kibitzing Kyrgyz Kismet: Did Twitter Play a Role?
    Sometimes some faint doings in the outside world filter into the American news, probably by accident and only on slow news days: I remember something about Moscow subway bombings beneath banner headlines about Ricky Martin's shocking revelation that he is the former lead singer for Menudo. More recently something happened in Kazakhrygikstans. I'm not going to criticize the news organizations for dropping the story about the revolution in Kyrgyzstan like a C-Span press conference: in addition to being almost impossible to spell, it is small and poor and doesn't have any oil. But the revolution in Kyrgyzstan is interesting, darn …
  • Conan Tweets on Digital Billboards
    I don't often say this, but: oh man, is this hip. It brings together, like, so many hip trends it threatens to create a black hole of hipness that sucks all the hipness out of the rest of the universe. Here it is: Conan O'Brien (who is hip) is Tweeting (that's even hipper) on digital billboards nationwide (a hipness trifecta) courtesy of billboard owner Lamar.
  • Feds Say Bring On The Comments
    At the order of the Obama administration, the Federal government has adopted a policy that will make it much easier for Federal agencies to use social media, according to OMBWatch, a site which follows the doings of the Office of Management and Budget. This is another, major step forward for officialdom in the social media arena -- and more proof that even the biggest, most risk-averse organizations can find value in social media strategies. Basically, the OMB has issued a memo which waives cumbersome paperwork requirements for government communications that solicit or enable responses or feedback from private citizens. This …
  • Social Media as Scandal-O-Meter: The Tiger Woods Case Study
    I've always prided myself on not giving a darn about celebrity infidelities, and I have just about zero interest in golf -- but I will admit to being morbidly fascinated by the priapic saga of Tiger Woods: I guess it was something about the bizarre, inept lie at the beginning (your wife was trying to rescue you by breaking the back window of your SUV with a golf club after a walking speed collision? Really? Really?) and then of course the sheer scale of Wood's catastrophic fall. So it's interesting to note that the world of hardcore -- er, serious …
  • Google Buzz Blowback, Part Two
    I never thought I'd say it, but: poor Google! The search giant, so easy to loathe for its overwhelming dominance of search marketing, burned its paws with its misguided introduction of its new social tool, Google Buzz. Now it is learning that recovering from this kind of misstep is a tricky, difficult process -- and thankless, did I mention thankless?
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