What Exactly Are We Trying to Keep Private on the Internet?

Most people would think twice about typing their social security number into an online profile, but what about your driver’s license number? What about your grades? The organizations that you work for or even your mother’s maiden name?

The Center for Media Design at Ball University conducted a very interesting study about what kinds of information people are willing to share. Rather than hand out a questionnaire, they asked the students to write down categories of personal information on slips of paper. Then they had them drop the slips into boxes based on how comfortable they would be sharing that information.

(Almost) Everybody Loves Facebook

This week’s not surprising fact is that 52.2% of internet users log in to Facebook at least once a month. eMarketer says that number will climb to 62% by 2013 and after that, Facebook will simply take over the entire internet and we will all be made slaves to the “like” button.

Okay, that last part is mine, but eMarketer is an expert at predicting things and if they say that 152 million people will be logging on to Facebook by 2013, I believe them. Here’s a chart:

Next on Oprah: Smartphone Addicts and the Women Who Love Them

Are you addicted to your smartphone? Be honest? Would you break out in a sweat if you lost if for more than an hour? Or even more telling, would you fish it out of a public toilet?

Crowd Science surveyed 800 smartphone users and 1 in 5 said they were addicted! The others. . . . pure denial. 26% of the smartphone junkies were iPhone users while only 13% of BlackBerry owners admitted to jonesing for a cell phone fix.

The heaviest feature users landed between the age of 30 and 49, which is older than most would imagine. It’s nice to know that 89% of those surveyed believed in a phone code of honor saying that it’s bad karma to break-up with someone via text message even though smartphones make it oh, so easy.

American Idol and UFC Make Facebook Part of the Show

In another sign that Facebook is taking over the world, American Idol and mixed-martial arts masters UFC are both moving forward with applications that make the social media site a big part of their plans.

This past January, UFC offered two exclusive mixed-martial arts fights on their Facebook page and watched as 130,000 new people clicked the “like” button. After that, they were sold on the concept and began making plans to do it again and again.  Says UFC president Dana White:

“What I like about the Facebook part of it is the social media portion of it. It’s people connecting with other people. My thing is, and this is my philosophy about fights, everybody wants to see a fight. The problem is letting everybody know that it’s on.”

And MySpace Came a Tumbling Down

I feel bad for MySpace. They came to us with a plan to socialize the internet. It was an easy way for everyone, from the student to the CEO to get together and share their interests, their thoughts and the ups and downs of their day. With a single click, strangers from across the world could become friends. It’s like that old Coca-Cola commercial where people of every race, creed and color stand hand-in-hand while they learn to sing in perfect harmony.

So what happened? How did MySpace go from harmony to off-key? Is it simply a case of not being the popular kid on the block anymore? Even after the recent upgrades, are they still that far off the mark?

Most People Leave Twitter Because it’s Pointless

52% of people who stopped using Twitter said they did it because they realized Twitter was pointless. Imagine that. The stat comes from the latest installment of ExactTarget’s Subscribers, Fans and Followers report. This one is called “The Social Breakup” and it’s all about why people stop following a brand on social media.

Yesterday, we talked about Facebook. Today, it’s all about Twitter.

On the upside, people said they liked Twitter because the messages were short, it provided unprecedented accessibility and even more than email or Facebook, Twitter was seen as a two-way street. Though more than half the people who started a Twitter account have stopped using it, the ones that stay are very active and they’re ready to engage in conversation.

The Ethics of Pay Per Post

Suppose you ask me to write something nice about your company. I do it and you give me a $10 bill. If I work for you, then it’s a paycheck. If I don’t work for you, then it’s Pay Per Post and that’s a whole different bowl of noodles. . . or is it?

If I disclose the fact that you paid me the money to write the post as required by the FTC, then I’m in good shape, right? But if I disclose the fact that you paid me, maybe the value of the post decreases because now people aren’t sure that I told the truth.