• New Social Net Connects Drivers Through License Plates
    The only thing you really need to create an online social network is a group of people willing to share some aspect of their identity online. There are endless variations on this theme; why, there are even online social networks tied to credit card numbers, like Blippy and Swipely, which update your friends on your latest purchases. Next to these services, a social network based on your license plate number seems perfectly safe, if not positively cautious. That's the idea behind Bump.com, a new social network which lets members create profiles tied to their license plate numbers and communicate with …
  • Twitter Says It Is Not a Social Network
    The Gulf War did not take place, according to Jean Baudrillard, and Twitter is not a social network, according to Kevin Thau, the microblogging service's vice-president for business and corporate development. Naturally this raises the question: Well then, what is it? I would like to present some suggestions which Twitter might find more suitable. Could it be a "content fountain" or "information shower?" I like these because they capture the cascade effect of content sharing on the netw -- sorry, microblogging service.
  • New Hampshire Police Bust Facebook Burglary Ring
    Up until last week, the potential for place-based social networks enabling burglary had been (to the best of my knowledge) mostly hypothetical; while the possibility was recognized and much discussed, I hadn't seen any reports of burglars actually victimizing people after determining they were away from home by looking at their online profiles.
  • University Plans Week Without Social Media
    Social media has emerged from nothing to achieve ubiquity in less than a decade, and some adults have found it jarring to watch children grow up in a world where social media is taken for granted. Somewhat predictably, this has prompted well-meaning attempts to remind children and young adults that there is a world outside online social networks, and perhaps even force them to experience this mythical pre-Facebook universe, however briefly.
  • California Law to Ban Online Impersonation
    The last year has seen growing concern about online fraud, as well as a new crop of state laws to combat it. One high-profile example is California Senate Bill 1411, which will levy additional civil and criminal penalties on anyone found guilty of "e-personation," that is, impersonating someone else online with malicious intent. The proposed California rule, which just needs the gubernator's signature to become law, has obvious potential to impact social media and social networks (especially if other states pass similar legislation). But it also raises questions about the interpretation and meaning of some of the practices it seeks …
  • Social Media's Biggest Obstacle: Failure to Measure
    Efforts to build customer loyalty garner more social media spending from marketers than campaigns aiming to build brand awareness or increase customer acquisition, according to the results of a new survey conducted by the Direct Marketing Association and Colloquy of DMA members and Colloquy subscribers. At least, that seems to be the case among companies which actually take the trouble to keep track of their social media budgets: remarkably, the DMA and Colloquy also found that a good number of companies engaged in social media marketing couldn't say how much they were spending.
  • Germany Protects Right to Be Stupid on Facebook
    Ah, Germany -- that orderly Central European Utopia which carefully protects rights Americans didn't even know existed. For example, a right to privacy in public. That seems to be the basic idea behind a new German law which forbids employers from checking out the online social profiles of prospective job candidates. Capitalist Americansgenerally tend to be less forgiving of slip-ups in the professional realm: If you are dumb enough to post incriminating pictures online, the thinking goes, you probably deserve to get canned, or never hired in the first place.
  • Juror Booted Over Facebook Post
    This story encapsulates so many illustrative points about the rise of social media: its effectiveness as a communications platform, the rapid change in privacy expectations and online behaviors, the important role of young people in navigating these implications, the overlap (and conflict) between personal social media use and official responsibilities ... the list goes on. But above all it affirms the deep, enduring -- indeed, eternal -- nature of human stupidity.
  • Facebook Faces Challengers on Home Turf, College Campuses
    The social media gods have a taste for irony, and like to amuse themselves by keeping Mark Zuckerberg on his toes. Or so it would seem from a procession of new social networks inviting college students to join campus-centric online communities, thereby competing with Facebook on its old stomping grounds.
  • Facebook Post Leads to Torture, Imprisonment
    I've always suspected that social networks -- which allow users to share personal information with friends, strangers, and everyone in between, sometimes unwittingly -- might play a role in episodes of family violence and abuse. But these episodes of violence must still be catalyzed, of course, by old-fashioned human craziness.
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