Facebook Slow Rolls New Home Page Design and More

Facebook has begun introducing a new home page redesign to about 20% of the total 400 million ‘users’ of the social media platform. It appears as if the gist of the changes are just moving certain elements to different parts of the page so they can get more attention from users. More usage of the functionality means more stickiness means more opportunities to make cash. It’s that simple. Inside Facebook tells us

First off, a lot more people are engaging with notifications in the new design, Facebook’s Peter Deng tells us, which isn’t surprising since it’s at the top left-hand side of the site instead of the right hand of the bottom toolbar. Notifications for third parties will appear within the new interface for the rest of the month, until Facebook removes them on March 1.

AOL’s Q4: When Failure = Success

And not in the positive “I now know 999 ways not to make a light bulb” way.

AOL’s Q4—their first earnings report since spinning off from Time Warner—numbers have all kinds of red ink and negative signs in front of them: display advertising revenue down 3% total YOY, international display down 22%, search and contextual down 19%, total ad revenue down 8%, subscription revenue down 28%, Other revenue down 5%. The only gain YOY was in US display advertising: a whopping 1%. And despite total revenues being down 17%, AOL still handily beat Wall Street expectations.

Yes, failure = success when people expect almost nothing of you. Says All Things D:

After factoring out one-time charges, AOL posted earnings of 71 cents per share on revenues of $801 million. Wall Street expected earnings of either 62 cents or 66 cents per share, depending on who you ask, on revenue of around $766 million.

29% of Companies Have a Social Media Policy

Does your company have a formal policy on employee social media usage during the work day (or after)? If not, you’re not alone: a report from employment services firm Manpower shows that only 29% of companies have a formal social media policy in place.

Obviously, far more companies block popular social media sites—another study in October showed that half of all companies block YouTube, Facebook and/or Twitter. But, as Mashable points out, those two stats aren’t mutually exclusive: there’s a difference between a written policy and simply avoiding the issue with blocking sites.

Toyota’s Recall Antics Spread Virally

Over the past few weeks I have been watching the Toyota recall fiasco out of the corner of my eye. It began as a news story (which is different than its actual start date) and it has not gone away. Well, you know the online “you know what” has hit the fan when you can go to Comedy Central’s site and see this

Now, it appears that Toyota has really done some serious long-term damage to one of the most respected brands in the world. How? By being slow to react and being aloof enough to give enough fodder to someone like Jon Stewart to skewer them. Sure Jon’s not NBC, ABC or CBS but he’s more influential ;-)

Twitter Breaks Tweet Count? Or Another Attack?

I just noticed that my number of tweets just skyrocketed, according to Twitter.

Apparently, I tweeted 34,000 tweets overnight!

Here’s Google’s cache from last night:

And here’s what’s showing right now:

I’m not the only one to see this. My wife’s just jumped around 10,000 too.

Anyone else seeing this?

UPDATE: While this is annoying–I don’t want to appear as though I’m a tweeting windbag–it’s a known, low-priority bug, according to Twitter.

Google Partners with the NSA? The Same Agency That Tapped Our Phones Illegally?

If you’re a government conspiracy theorist, you probably shouldn’t read this post. You won’t sleep for weeks.

The National Security Agency is rumored to be working with Google in light of the cyber attacks that reportedly came from China.

Think about that for a second. Big Brother just partnered with big brother, to try and fight off communist China.

Doesn’t that make you just feel so warm and fuzzy? ;-)

No one is publicly admitted that the NSA and Google are collaborating, but the source of the story isn’t some blogger looking for publicity, it’s The Washington Post–so there must be some smoke surrounding this alleged fire.

“The critical question is: At what level will the American public be comfortable with Google sharing information with NSA?” said Ellen McCarthy, president of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance.

C Suite Resignation Via Twitter

When people in the industry or anywhere else for that matter look to C-level participation in social media Sun’s CEO, Jonathan Schwartz, is viewed as a pioneer. He was the first Fortune 500 CEO to blog. Well, now he has broken some new ground by being the first CEO of his stature (or maybe any for that matter) to tweet his resignation. Yup, he’s given his last 140 characters on behalf of Sun Microsystems.

The New York Times Bits column says:

Jonathan Schwartz, the last chief executive of Sun Microsystems, has become the first Fortune 200 boss to tweet his resignation.

Late Wednesday night, Mr. Schwartz used Twitter to publish a haiku about his exit from Oracle, which just completed its purchase of Sun last week.