Some aspects of social media are like nesting Russian dolls, or a Turducken: there's always another layer, another iteration that promises to be better for some reason. After one company hits on a novel idea, competitors spring up out of nowhere with slightly different versions of the idea, presenting their minor adjustments as major, indeed revolutionary changes to the old (and now totally obsolete) model. As successive players tweak the concept, each time it's portrayed as something radically new: Facebook had Cliques, then Google+ had Circles, then Facebook had Groups.
Social media is transitioning from a purely personal leisure activity to part of the workplace, as more and more businesses embrace enterprise social media for a variety of purposes. But that doesn't mean they're doing it safely: major security issues persist, according to a new report from the Ponemon Institute titled "Global Survey on Social Media Risks," based on a survey of 4,640 IT and IT security practitioners worldwide.
By all accounts we are well into the social media era: Facebook has 750 million-odd members around the world, including around 155 million in the U.S., equal to half the population, and established online players like Google want into social media, badly. It's noteworthy, then, that search still leads social by a big margin, at least in revenue terms.
Okay, the headline is slightly exaggerated, since the Facebook jobs were created in the U.S. But you can't deny the numbers are impressive: in a new study titled "The Facebook App Economy," professors at the University of Maryland's Smith School of Business have calculated that 182,000 new jobs have been created in the U.S. by Facebook apps over the last couple years. That compares favorably to the overall change in U.S. non-farm payrolls, which dipped 100,000 from 131.2 million in August 2009 to 131.1 million in August 2011.
For my second weekly start-up profile, I'm returning to Southern California, my own stomping grounds -- and an appropriate choice of words for a profile of Underground Elephant
, a three-year-old performance-based digital marketing company based in San Diego.
Back in July, I wrote
about the surge of social media criticism directed at Netflix after its controversial price hike, which raised the cost of its main subscription plan by 60%, noting that it was "a great case study illustrating both the potential and limitations of social media as a tool for interacting with, and attempting to shape or at least placate, public opinion." The big question, I wrote, was "how does Netflix handle the social media explosion?" But I never would have expected the novel, unorthodox strategy adopted by Netflix to engage with social media critics: basically, …
Well, all those previous changes and additions sort of shrink into insignificance compared to the major changes announced today by Facebook at the F8 developer conference: the world's largest social network will be replacing all user profiles with a new "Timeline" format, which looks a little bit more like a personal blog than the old profiles did. This includes a big picture at the top, with posts and updates appearing vertical-chronologically beneath it. Of course I have my own opinions about this drastic revamp, but since social media is all about sharing -- and since I am privileged to address …
Reaching for an analogy to describe how Google launched Google+, its suite of social networking tools, for some reason I am drawn to the realm of child-rearing. Or rather, neglect, now that Google+ is open to the public: after keeping their kid tied up in a darkened basement for three or four months, it's like the parents have suddenly hauled their atrophied offspring outside, urging "Now go, be free! Make friends! Experience the whole wide wonderful world!" Then they give the kid a gentle nudge and he falls over.
One of the great things about covering social media and technology is the sense of continuing innovation and growth which pervades the space, providing a much-needed break from the litany of bad news in the broader economy. On that note, in coming months I will be writing about some interesting social media startups, including new social networks as well as marketing and advertising platforms.
Over half of high-net-worth individuals (defined as people with $1 million or more in assets) are influenced by social media when buying big-ticket luxury items, according to a survey conducted from July 6-13 by Unity Marketing, a boutique market research firm specializing in consumer insights about luxury goods and experiences.