Every now again, the only way to describe an entire week of fresh picks is to admit they're all off kilter. The first full week in July was much like that, with five posts that make us blink at the less celebrated outcomes of social media.
Right. Sometimes social media does the unexpected. Numbers get twisted for effect and then still land on the front page of mainstream media. Media outlets create contests to make fun of online participants, only to erode the credibility of the jokesters. And then, someone with a lighter and brighter touch does something similar with a startlingly positive outcome.
When these are the headlines, is it any wonder some companies are asking their CIOs to protect employees (for their own good, they think)? But perhaps that's the lesson. When social media is taken too seriously, it makes the sharpest people look silly.
Best Fresh Content In Review, Week of July 5
• EWG Hits Home Run (Again): This Time, Sunscreen Is Unsafe.
Ever wonder how much you can believe on the Web? Bob Conrad does, especially when it comes from Environmental Working Group (EWG). EWG sometimes releases "studies" that capture everyone's interest, landing it on the front page of the press. The downside, of course, is that the details don't always hold up. In its latest attempt at garnering attention, EWG declares sunscreen is worse than ultraviolet rays.
• How Fast Company Confused Ego With Influence.
Influence is all the rage as a conversation starter, but Amber Nusland was one of the first to flush out one of several problems with Fast Company's approach to measurement. Sadly, even though most people have passed on the game or got out while the getting was good, some folks are still fighting for first place in a url pimping contest. There is no question about it. We pity the person who, er, wins. Indeed, it was sad to see someone I once respected beg for votes.
• Everyone is Wrong About Influence.
In a follow-up to the Fast Company debacle, Valeria Maltoni pinpoints that movements tend to influence people more than the people themselves. Even more interesting, the better direction for Fast Company was somehow outstripped by the link bait party antics of the Influence Project. Much like reputation, influence is a by-product not the "salesman" but in tune with what is being sold. Put up a link toward great content and people might click on it. Pimp meaninglessness and soon the so-called influence slowly fades away.
• What Type of Earthquake Tweeter are You?.
Everybody needs some comic relief now and again, and Rachel Kay provided some with a psychology twist. She shared eleven different responses to earthquake news that has become all too familiar on Twitter and Facebook. What makes this post so brilliant is that Kay doesn't tell her story from inside a fishbowl. Instead, she puts the whole world inside one. One wonders how the fish felt gazing up at their reflections or if they even know. Better yet, after a great chuckle, some people might quickly scroll back to see where they might have fit.
• CIOs Are Sticking Their Heads In The Sand By Blocking Social Media.
As impossible as it seems, some companies are still trying to find ways to block social networks or attempt to regulate their workers from writing on each other's walls for work purposes. Jenn Riggle captures what some CIOs have either been asked to do or perhaps made up as some sort of solution to pull out of their hats. There seems to be a much easier solution than read- only access. Social media might be treated much like the two martini lunch was in the 1970s. Landing the client was cool. Coming back drunk, not so much.