Social NetworkingEven if you don’t care to get heavily involved with social networking, have you thought about what happens if someone with your same name is?

We’ve written before about how employers can be checking your Facebook account before they hire you, but don’t think just because you don’t have a Facebook that you are safe.  Have you thought about how someone with the exact same name may be out there on social networks posting information that would shine an unfavorable light on you even though it isn’t you?

Lets say an employer goes to check on potential hire Englebert Humperdink, and when they see just one person with that name on a social network, they just assume its you.  Well this other Englebert has information about taking illegal drugs, talks about partying and so on, this could end up reflecting poorly on you.

Now, true, there are other sign posts that would hopefully tell the person it isn’t you, but you are counting on them being detail orientated, something most people are not.  Wouldn’t it be better for you to claim the profile for your name even if you never put a thing on the account?

Of course this isn’t going to work for people with names like John Smith, but if your name is the least bit unique it is something you should think heavily about just to protect yourself.

With services like Namechk you can enter your name as you would want it to appear, so lets say “engleberthumperdink” and the service will check 132 of the most popular social sites in one shot letting you know where the name has been taken, or if it is still available.  If it shows up red on too many sites, meaning it has been taken, you may want to think of another version of the username, but if its green, waste no time and go and grab them!

Essentially you have to think of this as the 21st century version of the land grab; if you don’t do it, someone else will.

namechk

Categories: Facebook, Social Networking   
 

facebook logoIt seems that changing your status message on Facebook is useful for a lot more than just killing time.

On Saturday, Oct. 17, at 11:49 a.m., Rodney Bradford posted a Facebook status update from his father’s home in the Harlem section of New York City.  He was wondering where his pancakes were, and he left it at that.

According to The New York Times blog, the next day Mr. Bradford was arrested on suspicion of being involved in an armed mugging.  Mr. Bradford was already facing charges in a minor incident, but due to that, combined with the new charges, he could have been facing very serious sentencing.

There was one small problem with the case: the mugging happened at approximately 11:49 AM on Oct. 17th … when Mr. Bradford was updating his Facebook status.

After a court order to verify the location of where the status update was made from, and Facebook verified it came from the area Mr. Bradford claimed to be in.  While his defense lawyer Robert Reuland admitted that anyone that knew Mr. Bradford’s login information could have been the one to enter the status message, but it seemed unlikely considering the location and timing of the update.

The interesting portion of this article was the following passage, and what prompted me to bring this up on the site:

“This is the first case that I’m aware of in which a Facebook update has been used as alibi evidence,” said John Browning, a lawyer and member of the Dallas Bar Association who studies social networking and the law. “We are going to see more of that because of how prevalent social networking has become.”

While we’re not saying you should update your social status on various networks on a continual basis — you know, “just in case” — it does bring up an interesting future defense for people involved in criminal cases.  However, Mr. Reuland’s comment of how it seemed unlikely that someone else could have done this for Mr. Bradford, he also just sank the defense for anyone else in the future.  That will always be the question from now on, but I somehow doubt that this will be the last time we see this come up.

Categories: Facebook, Social Networking   
 

playfishIn case you’ve ever wondered if your favorite game on Facebook is making any money … it is.

Electronic Arts (EA), a major gaming company for game consoles, computers and mobile devices, has decided to enter the social media gaming space in a major way. It was announced today that EA would purchase Playfish, the company behind games such as Restaurant City, Pet Society and more, For $400 million.  The deal is structured as $275 million in cash, $25 million in stock options to help retain current employees and $100 million in earnout bonuses for company targets through Dec. 31st, 2011.

It is estimated that Playfish is currently earning around $75 million a year from traditional advertising, in-game sales of digital items and through offer advertising.

So, the next time you fire up one of those addictive games on Facebook, believe us, you’re helping someone make money.  Sure it looks like you’re not doing anything, but click an add … buy something for your farm … click on one of those offer ads that will give you game items in exchange for doing something, and well that suddenly turns into a multi-million dollar business.  This isn’t to say this is a bad thing, it’s just shocking to see how much all of that really adds up to.

And remember, Playfish isn’t the biggest company in the market, that would be Zynga … anyone want to guess how much they are making per year?

Categories: Opinion, Social Networking   
 

twitter logoTwitter has now added the ability to build lists of users to every account … and the high school popularity contest is on.

The latest new feature on Twitter could be highly useful on the surface of it.  You can now group users into various groups so it makes it easier for you to follow people in your Twitter feed who are separated into your family, co-workers or any common theme you can think.  When people visit your profile they can also see your lists to see if they want to follow that list of people, or just find or two people who interest them.

This is something the third-party Twitter client TweetDeck has been able to do for some time now, but now you can just do it through the basic web interface of the site.  While this sounds like a great idea for the site, and a way for people to be able to find more interesting individuals to follow, it has already turned into a giant popularity contest where all people are concerned about is how many lists they appear on.

twitter list countTwitter made one fatal mistake in the implementation of the feature in that how many lists a user appears on is displayed on their profile page.  What may have seemed like a simple enough idea has instantly turned into a giant popularity contest which has fatally broken the functionality of the lists.

Users are already clamoring to get on as many lists as possible to climb an imaginary chart of what users are somehow the most worthy of following, like this number some how lends credibility to them being someone would recommend everyone should follow.

Don’t believe that people would actively lobby to get on lists?  Check out this post from Pete Cashmore on Mashable where he blatantly begs for the company account to be added to as many lists as possible.  (In the interest of full disclosure, I worked for Mr. Cashmore/Mashable from July 2007 to April 2009)

What could have been a nice little tool, and still will be for a goodly number of users, has already been bastardized in to some sort of ultra-metric to determine just how popular and important a user is on the service.  It won’t just be people like Mr. Cashmore who end up turning the tool into some sort of Homecoming Queen popularity contest, the spammers will soon invade the system, creating accounts that have no other purpose than to put their main accounts on the fake account’s lists.

All of this being said, there are numerous people on Twitter that will simply create lists of their friends and co-workers and will never cross into this new dark underbelly of social media, but for those of us that work in and around social media … thanks Twitter for the new annoyance.  How long until PR companies start judging which writers to speak with based on how many lists they are on?  How long until mainstream media judges whom to interview based on a poor perception of how “listed” somehow equals authority, influence or reach in the social media space?

Categories: Social Networking   
 

facebook logoYou! Yes, you! Step away from your Facebook account!

According to a new report released by Nielsen, the amount of time Internet users spend on social networks such as Facebook has tripled in the past year.  In Aug. 2008, users reported that just 6% of the time they spent online was taken up by browsing social networks and blogs, but as of Aug. 2009 that time has skyrocketed to 17%.

“This growth suggests a wholesale change in the way the Internet is used,” said Jon Gibs, vice president, media and agency insights, Nielsen’s online division. “While video and text content remain central to the Web experience – the desire of online consumers to connect, communicate and share is increasingly driving the medium’s growth.”

So who does this really matter to?  Advertisers, of course.  Spending of ad dollars on social networks and blogs increased 119% year over year.  $49 million was the amount spent in Aug. 2008 up to a staggering $108 million in Aug. 2009.  These numbers represent a change from 7% of all online ad dollars in 2008 to 15% of ad dollars in 2009.

Of course, this amount of ad revenue is still a drop in the bucket compared to what is spent on other mediums, but if these trends continue, then you’re going to see social media becoming an even bigger factor in future ad dollars, and also where people spend their time.

Categories: Social Networking   
 

facebook3It only took a few tries, but it looks like the full Facebook experience is finally making its way on to your iPhone.

While the Facebook application has dominated the most popular free application slot on the Apple App Store for ages, it has been lacking in a whole lot of functionality that users would like to have.  Well, thanks to the 3.0 update, all of that has changed, and Facebook was kind enough to spell out everything that the new version will do.

  • See your upcoming Events and RSVP
  • See your friends’ birthdays
  • See Pages and post updates and photos to Pages you administer
  • Write Notes and read your friends’ Notes
  • Upload videos from an iPhone 3GS
  • Upload photos to any album
  • Complete photo management (create albums, delete albums, delete photos, delete photo tags)
  • Change your Profile Picture
  • Zoom into photos
  • Like posts and photos
  • See the same News Feed as the Facebook website
  • Visit links in a built-in web browser
  • See all of your friends’ friends and Pages
  • See mutual friends
  • Easily search for people and Pages
  • Make friend requests
  • Become a fan of Pages
  • Quickly call or text your friends
  • Create shortcuts to your favorite friends and Pages
  • Friends sorted by first or last name according to your settings
  • Chat friends sorted alphabeticaly

In short, this new app will basically allow you to do everything you do on the full site, but on a mobile device.  If you thought the old version of the app was popular, this one should just be explosive.  It is available now, but it still needs a bit of time to show up in everyone’s iTunes and your iPhones and iPod Touches.

Categories: Apple, Social Networking   
 

facebook logoStill think we are overstating the need to have your Facebook profile of embarrassing items?

According to a recent survey by CareerBuilder, forty-five percent of employers are checking sites like Facebook to see the profiles of potential hires before making them an offer.  We have been trying to warn you that employers are checking out your profiles before they hire you to see what type of person you are.

Since the survey last year, the number of employers using social media profiles rose from twenty-two percent to the reported forty-five percent.  Even more frightening is that another eleven percent plan to take up the practice in the next year.

So what caused potential employees to be rules out after their profiles were looked at?  Well, it isn’t pretty:

– Candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information - 53 percent
– Candidate posted content about them drinking or using drugs – 44 percent
– Candidate bad-mouthed their previous employer, co-workers or clients - 35 percent
– Candidate showed poor communication skills – 29 percent
– Candidate made discriminatory comments – 26 percent
– Candidate lied about qualifications – 24 percent– Candidate shared confidential information from previous employer – 20 percent

Social media can be all fun and games, but unfortunately you’re going to have to start having a little less fun online if you want to look for a new job.  There are worst situations of social networking profile pictures actually sending you to jail, but not getting the job you want can be pretty bad in and of itself.

Categories: Facebook, Social Networking   
 

yahoo mojoHave you ever wondered how you stack up against other Twitter users?  Well, Yahoo is going to help you find out… yes, I said “Yahoo”.

Yahoo has launched a new service called “Know Your Mojo” which allows you to enter any Twitter user name and see a resulting image and title for just what type of Twitter user you are.

Headliner – You’ve got all of the followers

Crowd Pleaser – You’re great at passing on the retweets

Name Dropper – You use lots of @names when you tweet

Novelist – You have a lot to say and tweet with a lot of characters to prove it

Scenester – If there’s a hashtag conversation happening, you’re there

Cheerleader – Retweeting is how you roll

Private Eye – Like any good investigator, you’re following a lots of people

Concierge – You seem to be great at showing people the best URLs around

Shadow – You follow lots of people like a good shadow should

B.F.F. – Your high volume of @replies makes you everybody’s best bud

Word Whiz – You have a way with words, and tweets with a lot of characters in them

Matchmaker – You pass along lots of URLs to make sure everyone’s connected

Tweethead – Your high number of retweets make you quite a fan

Party Animal – With so many followers, you’re the life of the party

Lone Wolf – Based on your low number of tweets, you must like to keep a low-profile

Wall Flower – It seems like you don’t tweet much but you’re still in on the party

What exactly the service uses to measure all of this is unclear, but to be honest, it’s pretty much useless. It looks like Yahoo found a way to cash in on the Twitter brand name and ran with it.  Is it fun?  Eh.  Will lots of people use it?  Probably, and that’s the point.  It’ll receive heavy use for a few days and then be forgotten by next weekend.

I will say this, the animations are cute.  Click the image below for a larger view.

twitter mojo

Categories: Social Networking, Twitter   
 

igoogleIf you’re already using iGoogle as your home page, get ready for some changes that are going to make it a lot more social.

While Google has dipped its collective toe in to social networking before, it seems they are going for a more full-on assault this time with new tools being added to its iGoogle start page.

googlesocial

While there seems to be a definite focus on “social” with the widgets they’ve announced so far, this does have a lot of potential for other uses.  Since you can choose who you share each widget with, you could theoretically set up a replacement for FriendFeed, which will probably be killed off soon by new owner Facebook.  All you would need is a widget that allows you to import your activities from other services and you’re done, you’ve got your own FriendFeed that would go much wider than the original based on the brand name alone.  Someone get on developing that, would ya?

If you want to see what is available so far, just head over to google.com/igsocial and check it out.  In the meantime, here is a video they released which ecplains it a bit more in-depth.


Categories: Google, Social Networking   
 

facebook logoWe’ve warned you time and time again about being careful what you put online, but apparently you can’t help the truly clueless.

TheNextWeb.com came across what may be the ultimate example of stupidity in social media.  Apparently a girl was pretty unhappy with her job and needed to vent.  Well, that’s all fine and well, but perhaps you should remember that you friended your boss on Facebook and he can see everything that you write on your wall messages?  Remember, if you friended someone, and you have it marked to be shared, that means they can see it… including your boss.  Here is the situation as it unfolded, kudos to whomever oroginally thought to take screenshots.

fbboss

We’ve already discussed how social media can cost you your relationship, that employers are checking out your profiles before they hire you and how posting pictures of yourself partying can land you in jail, but this may be a new low on the stupidity meter for poor choices in social media usage.

Folks, if you befriend your boss on a social network, don’t whine about your job.

Categories: Facebook, Social Networking   
 
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