Category Archives: Social Media

Social Marketing’s bet that we’ll do their work for them

Build it and they (us) will advertise for us (them). Genius. If it works.

For a long time now web marketers have been struggling to get heard above the din of flashing web animations and banners. No longer. If you ever wondered how social networking giants Facebook and MySpace made money (and why they’ve in turn been purchased by megamedia companies Microsoft and Fox), wonder no more. It’s target marketing. And it’s powerful. Or at least some are betting it will be.

If marketers believe in numbers, Facebook is betting they can deliver them. Facebook Ads (powered by Facebook Beacon) is a viral marketing distribution system wherein Facebook members are “empowered” to share (recommend) their product and purchasing habits with their online buddies.

To make this work Facebook, to the displeasure of many, lifted it’s longtime ban on member profiles that weren’t actual people. Corporations wanting a piece of the social marketing action can now create brand-specific profiles, but unlike your average-joe-Facebook-member, they’ll be tracking the behavior of their Facebook friends.

Think about marketing distribution channels for a second. Millions of dollars spent to advertise in print and on tv stand to be replaced by….us. And we’re cheap (free).

It’s not like everyone in the socialsphere is chomping at the bit to market to their online pals, but the fact is it’s a seemingly natural attempt to co-opt a fairly normal offline behavior. The markets as conversations crowd sees this all as incredibly natural.

Since Facebook’s announcement there’s been plenty of criticism. There’s the typical rants against insidious stealth advertising techniques, but privacy concerns are the primary cause for alarm. It may even be illegal. But I doubt it.

Don’t worry, the government is getting involved, so it will all probably work out.

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Filed under A Culture of Participation, Business 2.0, Privacy, Social Media, Virtual Communities, web 2.0, When New Meets Old

Turns out their are maps for these territories. Lots of them.

With the help of simple tools introduced by Internet companies recently, millions of people are trying their hand at cartography, drawing on digital maps and annotating them with text, images, sound and videos. In the process, they are reshaping the world of mapmaking and collectively creating a new kind of atlas that is likely to be both richer and messier than any other. They are also turning the Web into a medium where maps will play a more central role in how information is organized and found.

Read this article from the New York Times

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Filed under A Culture of Participation, A democratic medium?, Aggregate, Connection/Isolation, Social Media, Technology, our Mirror, Tools, Usability, User generated content, Virtual Communities, web 2.0, When New Meets Old

‘Social’ porn sites and the privacy intrusions we make on each other

As sites like YouPorn and PornoTube that mesh community aspects of social networking with completely free-of-charge pornography rise in popularity, so too do the associated copyright and privacy infringements. Right now, the law is lagging behind in redressing the harm done to victims of “porn 2.0.”….But the worldwide nature of the web makes it difficult to trace and prosecute violators and even more difficult to police privacy rights. There is no universal set of laws that apply to the distribution, purchase, or possession of Internet porn. Still, that’s not to say what happens on the net can’t be regulated, says Benedet. “The idea that the Internet is a borderless lawless universe is quite false,” she adds. Experts like Lane say porn 2.0 is here to stay, given how easy it is to post and view material online. Now lawmakers need to catch up with tech-savvy Internet users, and deal with the potential emotional and psychological damage lurking for “ex-girlfriends” around the world.

Sunny Freeman’s Porn 2.0: What Happens When Free Porn Meets Social Networking from Alternet

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Filed under A democratic medium?, Privacy, Social Media, Technology, our Mirror, Virtual Communities

MyFat: Recent study links obesity to social networks

Network phenomena appear to be relevant to the biologic and behavioral trait of obesity, and obesity appears to spread through social ties. These findings have implications for clinical and public health interventions.

Abstract from the The New England Journal of Medicine’s The Spread of Obesity in a Large Social Network over 32 Years

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Filed under Connection/Isolation, Networks, Social Media, Technology, our Mirror

Digital Divide evolving from a question of access, to one of social skills

Henry Jenkins, director of the media studies program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said here Tuesday that the divisions are extending further to a so-called participation gap, which exists between teens who have 24/7 access to digital technologies and kids who can only get online from school or the library. “We’re moving from a (digital divide that’s about) access to technology to one that’s about access to social skills and cultural knowledge that emerges from access to digital technologies,” Jenkins said in an interview at Mashup 2007, a two-day confab on teens and technology.

Read this item from C|Net. Previously from WNM: Choice of social media reflects class divide…II

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Filed under Connection/Isolation, Digital Divide, Networks, Social Media, Technology, our Mirror, Virtual Communities

Crowdsourcing: Business v Users

I understand crowdsourcing as kind of an industrial age, corporatist framing of a cultural phenomenon. There’s human energy being expended here. A company can look at that as either a threat — to their copyrights and intellectual property or as some unwanted form of competition — or, if they see it positively, then they see it as almost this new affinity group population to be exploited as a resource. And I guess what I’m undecided on and debating internally is whether this is fine. In other words, am I naïve to think this isn’t the death knell for a community-oriented, collaborative, open source ethos? Has corporate America finally figured out the way to arrest this shift in the balance of power? Or do we let them believe they are doing this when actually it is human participation and collaboration going on, the kind of thing I would promote.

More from filmmaker Douglas Rushkoff from WIRED’s What Does Crowdsourcing Really Mean?

Subvert and Profit fills the niche market for ‘darker’ crowdsourced actions. Beginning by operating a black market for votes on social bookmarking services, S&P will bootstrap itself towards operating a full-fledged crowdsourcing marketplace for clandestine actions on the Internet. Striving to maintain our allure and underground appeal, we seek to represent the fundamentally subversive nature of the Internet….Our system has successfully placed a good deal of content on the front page of Digg. At this point, 2 out of 3 advertisements are successful, and we’re getting better. Ultimately our attempts are at the mercy of the Digg community. The average client buys 70 Diggs, though some clients prefer to gamble by purchasing 10-20, hoping that regular Digg users will carry them the rest of the way. We haven’t collected enough data from satisfied advertisers, though I’ve heard a story on Digg gets roughly 10,000 visitors. Once a blog I run under another name got over 30,000. All of this translates to organic marketing that is an order of magnitude cheaper than most other forms of Internet advertising.

More from “Ragnar Danneskjold” of Subvert & Profit from WIRED’s Exploring the Dark Side of Crowdsourcing

There are two ways that crowds are wise.

One way is that the crowds seem to average out certain kinds of nuttiness — which is sometimes a good thing and sometimes not, so I don’t want to just say that is a wonderful thing. I remember one of the examples in James Surowiecki’s book, The Wisdom of Crowds, where a State Fair type gambit was guessing the number of jellybeans in a jar to win a prize, or something like that. The averages were much closer to the answer than the individual guesses. I think there are times when there is wisdom in response averaging, and that is one way crowds can be wise or smart.

The other way is in diversity. It turns out that for a system like Innocentive we are playing off the diversity angle much more. I go back to the Archimedes example. If you just take the story at face value, and I realize that is impossible to do — but if you could reproduce the sitting in the bathtub part, how could I ever build that into my R&D function? But if I go out to the large numbers of individuals in the crowd, somebody is going to sit in their bathtub at the right point in time.

Read more from Dr. Alpheus Bingham, co-founder of research & development firm Innocentive in WIRED’s Using Crowd Power for R&D

Get more Crowdsourcing and Digg content from previous WNM mentions.

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Filed under A Culture of Participation, Business 2.0, Digital Commons, Media Evolution, Same as it ever Was, Social Media

Why can’t social media be social?

Looking over the landscape of recent blog posts on open social networking, it’s clear that folks are interested in connecting together some of their disparate accounts on a wide range of social networks. The dream is that distributed social networks will mesh with individuals–each who are on multiple social networks–and that the whole thing kind of slides up next to the blogosphere and extends the notion of a free, open, distributed Long Tail environment….But we’ve got a long way to go before we can truly open up social networking. All sorts of social-networking APIs (application programming interface) will be implemented by different vendors–and we need a way to map these APIs together and create some sort of normalized world–where friends, profile pages, groups and messages all can line up and be compatible with each other….We need a way to find people and not have some vendor own that list of people’s names. There are a few “people search” plays out there right now, but none of them are offering up the source code to their platforms or promoting the notion of open people search. We even tried to do a PeoplesDNS once. So, it’s not like we haven’t been trying!

Read Open standards for social networking from C|Net

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Filed under Aggregate, Identity, Open Source, Social Media