All posts in Social Media

  • Wikileaks tosses a virtual pie into Bill Keller’s face but who gets last laugh?

    Bill Keller (presumably the real Bill Keller) was angry. How angry? Apparently, all-caps angry:

    Wikileaks had some fun at his expense by going to the trouble of faking an oped under his name and posting it on what, at first glance, appeared to be the New York Times website. On closer inspection, you might notice that the URL was for “opinion-nytimes.com,” rather than the legit “nytimes.com.” I wonder what made Keller, a columnist for the paper and its former executive editor, angrier — that he was the butt of what he called a “childish prank” or that the column he supposedly wrote was so stilted?

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  • Twitter and Instagram are no longer ‘friends’

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    When it comes to the social media/tech world, there are super powers, established brands, up-and-comers and a whole bunch of wannabes. What we often forget is that the super powers — the Googles, Facebooks, Apples and Microsofts — were all, at one time, wannabes. Every one of them. Not a single one sprung full-grown from the head of Zeus.

    I wonder, however, how many years it will be before we see another social media start-up go from wannabe to super power? It seems that any established social media brand that shows beastly potential will eventually be bought and co-opted by one of the industry giants. Yahoo bought Flickr for $40 million in 2005 when the photo-sharing site was barely a year old. The next year, Google bought YouTube for an eye-popping $1.65 billion (which, after all is said and done, might be the steal of the century) before the video site turned two. And earlier this year, Facebook paid $1 billion for the one and a half year old Instagram.

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  • Rise of the Twitter bots

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    I was working on a post tying together Twitter bots, Mitt Romney’s recent surge in Twitter followers and Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics when I came across Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes’ smart article on the rise of “tweeting robots.” I may, yet, go back and finish my post but because I need to head out the door for work, I think I’ll just excerpt Holmes instead:

    Then there’s the sci-fi stuff: the latest generation of social bots and virtual agents showing up on Twitter and Facebook.  These tools don’t just optimize content; they make it.   In their simplest incarnation, Twitter bots are computerized scripts that automatically follow users who use certain keywords.  The newest social bots, however, take this to another level —  participating in convincing conversations and often drawing legions of followers.  Google (GOOG) product manager Greg Marra earned notoriety building @trackgirl, who infiltrated the ranks of hardcore runners, even attracting sympathy messages when she “hurt her ankle.”

    But how far is too far?

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  • Zynga, Facebook having some tough times down on the farm

    It’s been a tough year in Farmville. Make-believe fields are sitting fallow and make-believe cows aren’t getting fed. I’m sure if there was a make-believe John Mellencamp, he’d be in Farmville right now organizing a benefit concert.

    Let’s get this straight, up front. I’m not hating on Farmville or Mafia Wars or the other game you play on Facebook where you pretend you’re a vampire. I’m a gamer. I get it. I’ll even confess that I was hooked on Scrabulous (the Scrabble rip-off) back before Hasbro, the owners of the real Scrabble, shut it down.

    These days, I’d pretty much forgotten about Farmville and Mafia Wars. Thankfully, Facebook made it easier to hide those annoying, bordering on maddening, requests from friends to join their games or, even worse, the announcements that one of your friends had just added some critter to his farm.

    But in making my life a little more pleasant, the Facebook team ignored the goose that laid the golden egg. That goose, gamemaker Zynga, announced Wednesday afternoon that it posted a $22 million loss in its second quarter. And just like that Zynga, which made a fortune selling virtual (i.e. make believe) commodities for real (i.e. real!!) money, saw its stock pummeled, losing nearly 40 percent of its value as investors rushed for the exit. Zynga, maker of Farmville, Mafia Wars, Words with Friends and dozens of other titles, raised $1 billion last December when it went public. At its height, Zynga stock reached $15.91 a share. On Wednesday, it had sunk to $3.12 a share in after-hours trading.

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  • Digg’ing its own grave: Hard times for social media pioneer

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    Remember Digg? Just a couple years ago, it was a major player in crowd-sourced news. Getting a link on the the site’s front page meant tons of traffic. Nowadays? Not so much.

    Digg is done. A New York tech firm called Betaworks bought Digg last week for a mere $500,000 — about what they find under the couch cushions over at Google. Just four years ago, Digg was valued at $160 million. To put that in perspective, that’s like spending $900 for a Ferrari that sold for $300,000 in 2008.

    Of course, a $900 Ferrari might still get you from point A to B, but I’m not sure you can say the same about Digg. Of Technorati’s top 15 ranked blogs, I found the Digg sharing icon visible on only one site’s individual posts. All of them had Facebook and Twitter icons; most had G+, several had LinkedIn and a few even had Pinterest share buttons.

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  • Pentagon looking to develop Twitter, Facebook Special Ops

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    The Pentagon is gearing up for a looming social media war–battles the military envisions will be won by being one step ahead of Twitter- and Facebook-powered insurgencies.

    For the Pentagon that means developing social media tools that combine the code-breaking know-how of its intelligence services with the propaganda skills and manipulation techniques of its Pys-Ops group. On top of all that, the Pentagon hopes it can revolutionize the analysis of social media trends and conversations.

    It’s all part of the Defense Department’s new Social Media in Strategic Communication program, which the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) first announced a few weeks ago.

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