• Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Social Media Activism
    A few weeks ago I took issue with Malcolm Gladwell's article in The New Yorker attempting to debunk the notion that social media can enable "real" social activism, meaning risky confrontations with injustice involving existential danger. But Breast Cancer Awareness Month is doing a better job refuting Gladwell than I ever could, by inverting the stereotyped model of social activism he describes in his article.
  • Social Media Addiction: Not the Cause But The Symptom
    I'm not an uncritical supporter of social media, and I certainly don't drink the social media Kool-Aid, as some commentators have uncharitably alleged. I know social media has its problems and drawbacks, and I am troubled by some of its effects on people and society. But I must disagree with the growing chorus of criticism blaming social media "addiction" for all kinds of woes, including the further disintegration of the American family, because this confuses cause and effect, symptom and disease. Facebook isn't killing the American family -- Americans are.
  • Never Mind About That Logo Thing, Says Gap
    In some situations even a total, humiliating reversal can't quite lay a bad idea to rest. This is doubly true when the bad idea involves corporate tinkering with a familiar and maybe even beloved icon, as Coca-Cola learned with its embarrassing retreat from New Coke back in the 1980s; even after restoring Coca-Cola Classic, the company faced a barrage of questions from marketers and shareholders. Like: what, exactly, the hell were you guys thinking? Did you even do consumer research before making this change? If so, how could your consumer research be so dreadfully wrong? Are you sure the subjects …
  • Internet Is Top Medium Worldwide
    Any doubts about the ascendancy of the Internet should be removed by a new global survey from TNS called "Digital Life," which found that the Internet is the most-used medium among people with online access. Specifically, around the world 61% of people with online access used the Internet every day, versus 54% for TV, 36% for radio, and 32% for newspapers.
  • Gap: You Wanna Design Our Logo?
    While everyone is trying to figure out what goes into planning an effective social media campaign, the most engaging social media marketing is often unplanned, at least from my perspective: it's interesting to see how brands play it by ear when things take an unexpected turn. The latest example is the Gap, which appears to be embarking on a social crowd-sourcing project for its new logo, more or less spontaneously, after the first logo redesign met with a not-so-positive public response. It's kind of funny that a corporate logo redesign can inspire such a hullabaloo, but there's no question that …
  • Social Media Security for Kids: How Realistic Is It?
    The social media boom has paved the way for a veritable gold rush of businesses providing social media security services to parents worried their children might be targeted by predators (or do something really stupid, all by themselves) on online social networks. For example this week brought news that SocialShield, a service which launched in June and lets parents monitor kids' social networks use, raised $10 million in its first round of venture capital financing.
  • Malcolm Gladwell Is Wrong, Wrong, Wrong
    Malcolm Gladwell is once again stirring controversy on the Internets with an article in The New Yorker magazine in which he sets out to debunk the notion that social media will transform social activism. Lots of people are taking issue with Gladwell's piece, as he surely hoped, and I am adding my voice to the chorus: Malcolm Gladwell, you naughty intellectual imp, you are totally and utterly wrong. That said, ironically I agree with what I believe to be Gladwell's real argument.
  • Can 'The Social Network' Hurt Facebook?
    The figures are in, and "The Social Network" is a hit, taking in $23 million in its first weekend as 2.9 million moviegoers flocked to theaters to see the (often unflattering, possibly wildly inaccurate) retelling of the early days of Facebook. Naturally this raises the question of whether the film's not-so-complimentary portrayals of Facebook execs -- especially CEO Mark Zuckerberg -- could in some way damage the company by, for example, fostering negative perceptions that cause people to abandon the site. In short, the answer is "no." But that doesn't mean Mr. Zuckerberg and other top execs shouldn't be watching …
  • Woman Travels 200+ Miles to Kill Internet Commenter
    Forget all those pleas for civility based on simple respect for other human beings. There's an even better reason to watch what you say about other people online: one of them might just snap and try to kill you. And don't assume simple things like distance or sanity will protect you.
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