• Facebook Faces New Competitors
    As Facebook continues to struggle with privacy issues in its continuing effort to make the site a profitable advertising medium, it might seem safe to conclude that it has carte blanche: after all, it's the biggest, most popular social network in the world, so it appears to wield an almost monopolistic power in the social space. But this would be an incorrect and dangerous assumption.
  • Where Social Media Intersects with Digital Out-of-Home
    Sometimes when you hear about the cutting edge of media technology you say "wow that's awesome!" Other times -- or sometimes at the same time -- you want to say "wow that's creepy!" Today I hosted a panel discussion at the MediaPost Digital Out-of-Home Forum where I found myself saying both. One of the most interesting new areas of development in the DO arena is the ongoing merger with social media, which came up during several panel discussions, including the one I moderated ("Is Digital Out of Home Getting Too Creepy?"). Multiple speakers seemed to agree that mobile devices are …
  • Mystifying Social Shopping Scene Heats Up
    It still doesn't make the slightest bit of sense to me, but the "social shopping" phenomenon evidently makes a great deal of sense to people with lots of dough to invest in new sites. Tuesday brought news that a new social shopping site, Swipely, has raised $7.5 million in Series A funding and launched its service, which allows users to update their friends on their recent credit card purchases. Investors included Index Ventures and Greylock Partners.
  • A Dunce Cap for Dunkin' Donuts
    It's amazing how many things can go wrong when you are trying to give people something for free. Free giveaways just seem to keep ending in PR disaster (last year's Oprah KFC coupon debacle, for example) and when social media is involved, it's twice as bad. Just ask Dunkin' Donuts, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary with an iced coffee giveaway in select locations around the U.S.
  • Why Facebook Had No Choice But To Hire Bushie
    Even with the best intentions, Facebook is flailing -- and failing -- to defuse the controversy arising from its new Open Graph. Facebook's latest move in its ongoing privacy punch-up is the hiring of Tim Muris, the former chairman of the Federal Trade Commission under George W. Bush from 2001-2004, as a liaison with the current FTC; basically Muris is supposed to help Facebook reach some kind of compromise with the FTC to head off intrusive regulation regarding privacy issues. Predictably, the press and pundits have jumped all over Facebook for hiring an ex-Bush official, noting the previous administration's serial …
  • Facebook's Self-Defeating Slip Ups
    I generally stand on the side of commerce, and there's no question Facebook needs to justify its massive valuation by monetizing its massive audience. I also know it's much easier to be an armchair CEO, kibitzing and criticizing from the sidelines, than to actually lead a big company in a dynamic market environment, under pressure from investors and the press and the public and politicians. Still: this was not the right way for Facebook to introduce a new business strategy. Zuckerberg and co. must have known that the new Open Graph program -- which shares information about members with other …
  • The Mystery Of Formspring
    Social media encapsulates different aspects of human nature -- the good, the bad, and the ugly -- which seem to defy rational explanation. Case in point: Formspring, a relatively new social network that has spread, plague-like, among American youth. Launched in November 2009, it has quickly grown to about 14 million users per month. Formspring's twisted appeal is based on curiosity stemming from adolescent insecurity: it allows members to pose questions which acquaintances answer anonymously, and with brutal honesty. For example: does my butt look fat? Who is talking about me behind my back? What are they saying? The answers …
  • 25 Signs Your Social Media Guru is a Hack
    I try not to make a habit of giving up the mic, but sometimes I come across something so good it needs to be shared (all social media-like). Thus today I am proud to direct your attention to 25 signs that your social media consultant might be a hack, composed by bona fide social media expert Peter Shankman and his partner Sarah Evans and first posted on Shankman's blog. If you have additional warning signs that you'd like to add, I believe you can do so in the comments section of Shankman's blog, and of course here as well. IA …
  • Guess Who Doesn't Tweet: Almost Everyone
    Twitter has grabbed the imagination of a sizeable subset of professional Americans, and it has garnered a huge level of name recognition in the U.S. population, with 87% of respondents to a recent Arbitron-Edison Research study saying they were aware of the site. But the number of Americans who use Twitter at least once a month remains relatively small, at 17 million, or about 7% of the total. Separate figures from Nielsen and ComScore suggest the site has been attracting an average 20-22 million unique visitors in the U.S. in the first months of 2010.
  • BP Fumbles Social Media Response to Spill, What Should It Do?
    In terms of bad PR, it doesn't get much worse than BP's continuing disaster in the Gulf of Mexico: starting with an explosion that killed 11 employees, getting worse with the company's complacency regarding the possibility of a spill, now reaching new lows with harsh criticism of the company's response -- and about to head even lower with a huge environmental disaster as the oil comes ashore in sensitive tidal wetlands and prime commercial fisheries. Obviously BP's first priority is stopping the torrent of oil coming from the ocean floor a mile down in the Gulf of Mexico; the second …
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