One of the interesting emerging trends in social media is the rise of geo-targeted social networks focused on specific neighborhoods or locales -- which I will refer to as place-based social networks, until someone comes up with a better name. This week brought the unveiling of an innovative new place-based social network for skiers visiting slopes in Colorado and California, called EpicMix, which puts a new spin on the whole check-in.
U.S. adults ages 50 and up who use the Internet are flocking to social networks, according to the results of a survey of 2,252 adults ages 18+ by Princeton Survey Research Associates on behalf of the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The survey provides more evidence suggesting social media could become an effective advertising and marketing platform for reaching older Internet users (chronic offense-takers, please note that I did not write "old people").
I usually try to avoid making any statement involving the words "society," "values," or "priorities" -- nouns which are all so vague as to be almost meaningless. I also usually don't see any point in judging what other people do with their time or money, as long as they accord me the same indifference. But a recent realization has prompted me to (oh no, here it comes) question society's values and priorities.
Professional sports leagues focus on the weirdest things when they start cracking down on misbehavior. For example, the NFL doesn't seem to particularly mind players abusing steroids (the punishment for failing a steroid drug test is a four-game suspension -- basically a slap on the wrist)... but NFL players who use social media during a game are liable for a $25,000 fine. This is part of a communications blackout which decrees players may not use cell phones, electronic devices, or social media including Twitter or Facebook within 90 minutes of kickoff.
Those ungrateful little schmucks. After all they've done for them -- changing their diapers, feeding and clothing them, driving them to movie dates at the mall, pretending not to notice porn URLs in the browser history -- this is how they repay them? This is how they treat their own parents? The world today, I tell you.
If you are like most people, you have probably lied to someone at some point in your life, if only as a child. As adults, I believe most of us accept the need for "white" lies to smooth over social awkwardness. But what about more serious lies -- like claiming someone did something disreputable, to tarnish their image? Obviously this is "not okay" in an ethical sense... but where should social networks like Facebook draw the line in their policies for false user-generated content?
Last week I wrote about the results of a survey showing that 90% of Canadian businesses use social media to communicate with the public. But what about all those unfailingly polite Canadian criminals? It turns out scammers are also jumping on social media in a big way, according to the Canadian government (although many fraudulent schemes are of international origin, so the culprits aren't necessarily Canadian).
There's no question social media advertising is blowing up (in a good way) with Facebook alone predicted to take in $1.4 billion in ad revenue this year. But it's equally clear that the discipline is still in an early, experimental phase, as marketers struggle to get a handle on what works and what doesn't.
Facebook's unveiling of its new location-based service, "Places," on Wednesday evening was interesting as much for what wasn't said during some of the presentations by Facebook's "partners" (read: rivals and potential frenemies) in the location-based social network arena.
Here's another one for the "bound to happen eventually" file: It seems police in the town of Evesham, N.J., have begun posting mug shots on the police department's Facebook profile, in a move that is basically designed to publicly shame miscreants ranging from drunk drivers to car thieves and worse. Equally predictable is the wave of criticism this has elicited. Some of these are good points, but I think there is a way to post photos without hurting anyone unjustly.