Showing posts with label MySpace. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MySpace. Show all posts

Monday, March 8

Looking Forward: Social Migrates To Mobile

Need another reason to keep your eyes on the mobile market? A new study from comScore, Inc. found that 30.8 percent of smart phone users accessed social networking sites via their mobile browsers in January.

The number is not static. It's up 8.3 points from 22.5 percent one year ago. And some networks are experiencing even more growth with mobile. Mobile access to Facebook grew 112 percent; Twitter access jumped 347 percent.

"Social media is a natural sweet spot for mobile since mobile devices are at the center of how people communicate with their circle of friends, whether by phone, text, email, or, increasingly, accessing social networking sites via a mobile browser," said Mark Donovan, senior vice president of mobile for comScore.

More than 25.1 million agree. That is the number of people who accessed Facebook from their phone, which means Facebook mobile users surpass MySpace users. Twitter attracted 4.7 million mobile users in January. These numbers do not include mobile consumers who access social network sites through a mobile application.

When combined with another study released by Euro RSCG Worldwide PR today, it underpins the next migration of social nomads. The study might be specific to a small group of teenage girls (ages 13-18), but the numbers are compelling.

• Seventy-eight percent of teenage girls use social media to keep in touch with friends, while three-quarters report being in "constant contact" with friends through texting, Facebook, iChat, AIM or other social media services.

• They show a clear preference for approaching a brand to find out about sales and promotions rather than having the brand approach them. But when they do approach a brand, 40 percent sign up for e-mails.

• Sixty-five percent say when their favorite brand or store has a sale, they want to share the information with friends and family with a preference toward one-on-one communication (texting) over social networks (Facebook and Twitter).

The original release can be found here. Only 100 girls were included.

The trending toward mobile suggests that most social media programs will have to be revamped within two years to include for a greater emphasis in reaching increasingly mobile consumers. Jokes about the product aside, the release of the iPad will likely stimulate an increased emphasis on mobility over sociability as technology gives consumers more flexibility in communicating publicly (one to many) or privately (one one one). Stay tuned.

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Wednesday, June 17

Retooling Spin: MySpace Layoffs

"Simply put, our staffing levels were bloated and hindered our ability to be an efficient and nimble team-oriented company. I understand that these changes are painful for many. They are also necessary for the long-term health and culture of MySpace." — Owen Van Natta, chief executive for MySpace

That is the message being floated by MySpace in the face of layoffs that will leave 420 employees jobless. But one wonders if that is what has really happened to MySpace or whether some observers are right in saying that the portal approach cost the company its lead position in the United States.

Or, perhaps others are right in saying that MySpace was overshadowed by the fast-paced migration of Internet nomads to Facebook, which doubled its membership to 70 million users while MySpace was losing 3.4 million. Worse, lost members only tell part of the story. Tracking MySpace over the last year reveals a steady drop in activity by the people who have stayed.

The trend began late last year after a long period of flatness. Indicators such as reach, page views, and page views per user have all declined by 50 to 80 percent in the last 360 days. It was one of many reasons while some social media tacticians were setting up MySpace pages at a premium, we needed a compelling reason to recommend the platform.

The real issue is probably platform simple over staff nimble; ease-of-use over innovation.

Simplicity continues to be the number one attracter in a country of voyeurs over content creators. So while MySpace was developing MySpace Music, which did less than impress, Facebook focused on simplifying everything from its message service to friend connections. Simply put, it's easy to join Facebook; MySpace takes some work.

While Facebook has also had its share of missteps, usually centered around sweeping changes that prompt members to remind Mark Zuckerberg that Facebook is more their network than his, MySpace is now faced with a communication mess that will be not be cleared up by uttering "whoops." Layoffs, after a year-long lingering decline, are an admission that something ought to have been fixed some time ago and now employees and investors will be left to pay the price.

Assuming MySpace can reinvent itself after what it calls a complete reset, the next question it will have to address is how to overcome the communication damage. It will likely take some time to overhaul the network without alienating its members, which can only mean more trouble ahead while people wait and wonder what's next.

So what's next? Here are a few ideas...

MySpace: After the Layoffs, Here’s What’s What and What’s Next by Kara Swisher

What Will MySpace Become After A 30% Headcount Reduction? by Scott M. Fulton

MySpace Isn’t Done Yet: Big International Layoffs Come Next by Michael Arrington

Thursday, December 6

Confusing Authorities: Masked Citizens

As the old saying goes, truth is sometimes stranger than fiction, and maybe doubly so online. Two anonymous identity stories have played out very differently in recent weeks; they are dramatically lopsided and in the wrong direction.

Lori Drew Escapes Responsibility And Meier Harassment Continues

Authorities struggled with charging Lori Drew for anonymously harassing 13-year-old Megan Meier to the point of suicide. Enough so that Megan’s mother Tina Meier urged a group of north St. Louis County lawmakers and city officials to push for Internet harassment laws.

"Nothing you can do," Tina Meier told the St. Louis Post. "Nothing on the books. It doesn't fit in the box. Too bad, so sad. They get to walk free."

For all her loss and effort, Dardenne Prairie (Missouri) has since passed a law making online harassment a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and/or a $500 fine. These charges do not apply to Drew.

And yet, the Meier family continues to be harassed. Someone claiming to be Drew has set up a new blog called Megan Had It Coming, which seems authentic enough that some are speculating it might be real.

James Buss Gets Locked Up For Criticizing Spending

James Buss, a high school chemistry teacher in Milwaukee, left an anonymous comment on Boots and Sabers and was promptly arrested after authorities insisted the blogger give up the anonymous poster’s e-mail address. Buss was arrested.

The comment was reprehensible, praising the Columbine High School killers and saying they “knew how to deal with overpaid teacher union thugs.”

According to the Associated Press this morning, Buss won’t face charges because it was unclear whether the comment advocated violence against teachers, and even if it did, its language was not likely to incite others to act.

However, one wonders how authorities in one part of the country can take swift action on an apparent inappropriate comment and yet authorities in another take virtually no action after the death of a 13-year-old girl who was maliciously plotted against. And, no action has been taken as the Meier family continues to be harassed.


Monday, November 26

Accounting For Anonymity: The License To Kill

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is an international non-profit advocacy and legal organization that is dedicated to preserving free speech rights such as those guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

One of the cornerstone arguments is the right to say things online that will not be connected with our offline identities, as we may be concerned about political or economic retribution, harassment, or even threats to our lives. As someone who has long valued free speech, I agree with tempered reservation.

The reservation comes from something that is often missed in discussing anonymity: it is often abused as a license to kill. What is missed is that being anonymous demands even more authenticity, sensitivity, and responsibility than those who operate outside the realm of cloaked avatars and general deflection.

CEO John Mackey Poses As An Average Investor

A few weeks ago, Whole Foods Market Inc.'s board, overreacting to anonymous postings by its chief executive, amended the company's corporate governance to sharply restrict online activities by its officials.

The new code bars top executives and directors from posting messages about Whole Foods, its competitors, or vendors on Internet forums that aren't sponsored by the company. If there was ever a case for attempting to pander to the public and perhaps the Securities Exchange Commission during an investigation, this is it.

It was never about what was posted, but rather the deceptiveness of comments made under a fake persona. In this case, the messenger is the message.

State Investigates Political Blogger After Anonymous Tip

Chuck Muth is president and CEO of Citizen Outreach and a professional political consultant. He is well known for his conservative viewpoints, well-thought arguments, and biting commentary.

In early November, the state’s Children and Family Services (CFS), which acts as child protection services in Nevada, launched an unfounded investigation on Muth based solely on an anonymous tip, possibly to the amusement of his detractors. After reluctantly allowing the sheriff’s deputies to inspect his home and interview his children, Muth was cleared by their inspection.

Or, perhaps not. Despite passing the inspection, the CFS has informed Muth that his file would remain open unless he subjected himself and his family to further investigations. In other words, any previous inspection would not be enough.

This is no longer about the accusation, but rather the deceptiveness of the accusation and a potential agenda for revenge under supposedly sealed files. In this case, the messenger is the message.

Megan Meier Commits Suicide After MySpace 'Hoax'

Meier, a 13-year-old girl, who suffered from depression and thought she made an online friend with a boy named Josh, committed suicide over his accusations that she was cruel person, unkind to her friends, and that the world would be better off without her.

Except Josh was not Josh, but rather the mother of another girl who wanted to gain Meier’s confidence in order to know what she was saying online about her daughter. To date, the woman who created the fake “Josh” profile has not been charged with a crime. The entire story has sparked an online maelstrom of cyber vigilante justice.

This is no longer about protective parenting, but rather the deceptiveness of hateful intent under the fake persona “Josh.” In this case, the messenger is the message.

The Future Of Anonymity

In the Meier story, Wired goes on to point to the work of Daniel Solove, professor of law at George Washington University and author of The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor and Privacy on the Internet.

The work is important, because as we see with Muth’s story, the danger of unrestrained anonymity remains a license to kill and is not confined to the Internet. It has become the new weapon of choice among con men, vengeful accusers, and hateful posers in a world where everyone is a public figure with the burden of proof landing squarely on those accused, regardless of the masked messengers.

We see it too often, accompanied by unjust justifications. The argument made for Mackey is that if anyone was duped into making decisions based on the financial message boards he posted upon, they deserve no less. The argument against Muth is he ought to have nothing to hide from the authorities. And even as the Meier story, which continues to spiral out of control, is being twisted into the idea that the victim got what she deserved. We need an adjustment.

You see, sometimes in our diligence to preserve some rights, we neglect others. And the most neglected today seems to be found within the Sixth Amendment, which includes our right to be …informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against us …

While this may seem to be an argument for complete transparency, living in glass houses is not a remedy as we’ve given up enough civil liberties in the private and public sectors. If there is any solution, the real remedy begins with shedding our apparent ignorance that the credibility of the anonymous posters, posers, and tips extends beyond a well-reasoned and authentic argument.

Simply put, allowing for anonymity preserves one freedom; whereas placing additional burden on the validity of anonymous accusations will preserve another. It’s something to think about.

Freedom was not born out of emotional polarity, but rather well balanced reason. And until those who use anonymity for selfish rather than selfless pursuits are brought to justice for bearing false witness against their neighbors, we are all at risk to become their victims. Or equally disheartening, we will lose our own right to privacy when it matters most.


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