Everyone seems to be talking about Bobak Ferdowsi, a.k.a. "Mohawk Guy," the telegenic young NASA rocket scientist who captured the social media world's heart with his punk rock hairdo. With NASA battling budget cuts, image is more important than ever -- something Wernher von Braun, the legendary ex-Nazi rocket scientist who oversaw the Mercury and Apollo programs, knew all about. With the help of a social medium, MediaPost has contacted von Braun for a quick interview about PR and space exploration in the age of social media.
With the notable exception of LinkedIn, the first social media companies to go public have suffered a fairly disastrous debut, with investors apparently souring on Groupon, Zynga, and Facebook. The falling fortunes of all three social media stocks reflect widening skepticism about the viability of their business models -- extending, in at least some cases, to the efficacy of social media advertising.
If there's one thing human beings can be counted on to do with admirable regularity, it's judge other people: we just can't get enough of that judging thing, it seems. Now there's a new social network, Karmafied,com, which is devoted to judging the deeds of individuals, good and bad, and assigning them -- you guessed it -- a score.
Controversy over a Facebook page mocking aborigines may result in new legislation in Australia's parliament compelling social media sites to remove racist content, Australian newspapers reported this week. The page included images and statements about aborigines which hammered home, in none-too-subtle fashion, racist stereotypes about Australia's first inhabitants. In the ensuing popular outcry, Facebook at first refused to remove the page, citing the need to protect free speech, then took the page down briefly, but later allowed it be reposted as "controversial humor."
Common sense dictates that it's probably not a super idea to criticize your boss on social media, but is it protected by the First Amendment if you don't actually say anything? That's the issue at the center of a case going to U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. According to the Washington Post, Daniel Ray Carter Jr., a sheriff's deputy in Hampton, VA, was fired after expressing support for a rival candidate for sheriff by clicking "Like" on the candidate's Facebook page.
That may seem like a strange headline for a blog devoted to all things social media-related, but several news stories about social media have finally pushed me over the edge: I have to share my own growing skepticism about social media from a purely personal perspective. Yes, social media represents an amazing advance in communications technology, which has opened whole new worlds of possibility in news, opinion, politics, entertainment, art, and activism -- not to mention marketing and advertising. And no, I don't think anyone is coercing us to use social media, nor do I agree with people who claim …
By allowing people to make constant, instantaneous updates, Twitter has at once increased the amount of information to be analyzed and decreased the amount of time in which to analyze it, leaving less room for people to judge the accuracy of news reports -- and more room for rumors. It's one thing when false reports of, say, a celebrity's death spread all over the Internet via Twitter: while momentarily distressing for fans (and the individual in question) these rumors aren't usually the kind of thing that can necessarily move stock markets or drive up prices. On Monday, however, a false …
"... in true Twitter fashion, even Curiosity was able to sound off on its landing. The rover has its own verified Twitter account: @MarsCuriosity" -- Los Angeles Times
The branded social network concept is getting a new lease on life thanks to celebrity fan sites that either aggregate other social networks in a distinct online hub or host bona fide, stand-alone social networks or "communities" (usually with integration of other social networks, of course).
For reasons that can't always be explained, some numbers acquire symbolic meaning, and in the case of Facebook's stock price, the magic number was $20: somehow that figure became a meaningful benchmark to analysts and stockholders. There's no denying that Facebook's prestige has suffered an additional blow as the stock dips below $20 for the first time today, to $19.88 at the time of writing -- down from $20.77 when the market opened.