• Social Media Destroys Empathy? Sorry, That's B.S.
    Adults always think "kids nowadays" are somehow qualitatively worse than previous generations; unsurprisingly, this comparison is implicitly flattering to the adults, who remember their childhoods as clean-scrubbed, healthy, respectful and studious little angels. Typically, once we have judged today's kids we start casting around for explanations as to why the little weasels are the way they are -- which is to say, not as good as us. Of course, the rules of this game forbid considering the most obvious explanation -- whatever negative characteristics they have probably reflect their parenting, or lack thereof -- in favor of more marginal environmental …
  • Facebook Is Also Freedom
    As everyone and their mother piles on to Facebook for its transgressions against online privacy, it's worth remembering that the site -- along with other social media like Twitter, and the Internet in general -- is a huge force for good. Among other things, it's a tool for spreading information and organizing political dissent in other parts of the world. I kind of doubt that Mark Zuckerberg or the rest of Facebook's management is really aware or cares about this aspect of Facebook's popularity in countries ruled by repressive regimes; they frankly don't seem to share the kind of ideological …
  • Younger Social Net Users Share Less
    A few weeks ago I wrote about interesting results from a survey of British Internet users by Ofcom, which showed that UK adults were pulling back the amount of information they posted about themselves in online social networks, and scaling back the number of people who they allowed to see it. I wondered if this foreshadowed similar shifts on this side of the pond. Now I have my answer: yes.
  • The Social Media Bubble Beckons
    The next big online media bubble is here, and it is social media -- at least, in my humble op-ed. There are certainly a lot of signs pointing in that direction, reminiscent of recent bubble markets. Here's a short list of the symptoms ...
  • Zynga Deal Highlights Facebook's Vulnerability
    Sometimes success tells you as much about a company's weaknesses as its strengths. This is the case with Facebook's recent deal with Zynga Game Network Inc. According to one view Facebook can do whatever it pleases -- including controversial moves to share member information and fiddle with privacy policies -- because of its overwhelming popularity, which gives it a dominant position among online social networks Events like the Zynga deal -- or more specifically, the negotiations leading up to the Zynga deal -- reveal how fragile and precarious Facebook's supposedly dominant position really is.
  • How Facebook Community Pages Hurt Brands
    Amid widespread criticism of Facebook's recent changes and their impacts on user privacy, one of the most damning analyses comes from Jeremiah Owyang, a partner specializing in customer strategy with the Altimeter Group who outlined potential damage to brands in a recent post on his blog, "Web Strategy." Bowing to Owyang's expertise, here's a quick outline of his analysis and critique.
  • Will Work For Social Net Access
    A shocking 21% of young adults said they would turn down a job if it didn't allow them to access social network sites or their personal email during work hours, according to a new global survey of workplace attitudes and behaviors by Clearswift, a software security company. This is part of a larger phenomenon which is blurring the lines between individuals' private and professional lives, Clearswift found in its survey of 1,600 managers and employees in USA, UK, Germany and Australia, performed in January and February.
  • E-Bathing: NFL Player Showers Online
    Oh, Darnell Dockett, we hardly knew ye; but then we knew ye a whole lot better when ye got naked online in front of thousands of viewers. Dockett, a defensive lineman for the Arizona Cardinals, has apologized after being chastised by coach Ken Whisenhunt and general manager Rod Graves for streaming live video of himself taking a shower, according to the Arizona Republic, which first reported the news. It seems Dockett, who tweets regularly, performed his public ablutions on Ustream after a dare and a $1,000 bet, then later bragged about it on Twitter.
  • Brits Use Social Media More, But Share Less
    Paralleling the United States, the number of adults in the United Kingdom who use social networks has expanded rapidly in the last few years -- but they are also demonstrating more caution in what they choose to share online, according to the new UK Adult Media Literacy report from Ofcom, which conducted 1,824 in-home interviews with U.K. adults. Does this echo or foreshadow similar changes in the U.S.?
  • Word Ploy: Facebook's Misuse of 'Personalization'
    I'm not a language snob or a nitpicker, and I have resigned myself to the corporate practice of inventing new words and burying things in opaque doublespeak to make it almost impossible to know what, in fact, you are trying to talk about. But sometimes I can't help but notice when executives seize on a nice-sounding word and employ it in a way that completely contradicts what it actually means; this is especially grating when it appears to be a deliberate, disingenuous PR tactic.
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