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Facebook Goes Open Source–With Its TOS

After what can only be termed a kerfuffle last week over changes to its Terms of Service, Facebook has decided to take some pretty drastic steps to address the issue of content ownership on the social networking site: they’re soliciting input from their users.

Asking for user feedback? Revolutionary, I know—but when it comes to setting the legal policies for one of the most popular sites in the world, somehow I don’t think direct democracy is the best way to determine IP rights. (Okay, I’m sure they’re not going the direct democracy route. Who does these days—I mean, really? Even Digg isn’t really democratic anymore.)

Facebook, MySpace Become Mainstream Marketing Vehicles

By David Lindop

Is it time to rethink who we market to on the social networking giants?

What do you think the average age of a MySpace and Facebook user is? Perhaps 16 for MySpace and 22 for Facebook?

According to AdAge, new reports from comScore suggest that over 50% of American Facebook users, and 44% of MySpace users, are actually over 35 years old. It goes further to confirm the largest age demographic on both of these social media platforms is now between 35 and 44.


Twitter Fires Up the Spotlight

twitter-logo1Last month Twitter launched its ‘suggested users’ feature and the impact on those who were put on Twitter’s red carpet has been significant. Some of these profiles saw tens of thousands of additional followers added to their own personal profiles which created some very happy folks and, you guessed it, some not so happy people. The LA Times Tech blog has all the details but here are the high points.

Evan Williams and Biz Stone, co-founders of Twitter put this feature into place last month. When users sign up for a new account (which is happening at a dizzying pace) they are given a list of suggested users to follow. The folks at Twitter were noticing that many folks were signing up then not using the service. The hope by offering this was to get the newbies in the game. Makes sense to me since Twitter can be somewhat daunting for those beyond the early adopter / social media savvy part of the population.

B2B Buyers Dig Social Media

A new report from Forrester Research, outlined by Groundswell, takes a look at how B2B buyers interact with social media—and by and large, they’re more engaged than their average peers.

The report breaks down the use of social media by Social Technographic role by type of social media involvement (types explained in this PPT):

The “Overall” column indicates what percentage of those surveyed fell into that type of social media activity. Note that, obviously, there is overlap between roles—Creators, who generate online content, can also be Critics, who leave blog comments, etc.

Takeaways here:

  • 91% of these decision-makers consume social media including blogs, video, and customer reviews.
  • 69% of Spectators use social media for business purposes.
  • 55% of the B2B buyers in this survey are Joiners—they’ve created profiles on social networks.

Social Media Changes Brains

You may have thought that the headline should read “Social Media Changes Minds” because of all the brain-picturewonderful things that social media adds to our lives (I’ll let you determine what wonderful things it does for you). But across the pond there’s concern that social media is actually changing the brains of young users. Of course, this story wouldn’t be any fun if it was simply saying that the kids are getting smarter and smarter because of endless hours in front of a screen while forming ‘relationships’ (more on this one later). Au contraire! Apparently the brains of young folks are, in effect, being rewired by these kinds of interactions and this rewiring is not a positive thing.

I Tweet, Therefore I Am

Deep inside the confines of the Beal household, my wife and I often debate what motivates us–and others–to share so much of our private lives on Twitter.

We discuss the notion of being significant with each Tweet, and often joke about those that seem to Tweet as if their very life depended on submitting 140 characters every 5 minutes (sounds like an episode of LOST!).

After reading the Times Online, it seems that there’s some scientific foundation to our light-hearted conversations:

The clinical psychologist Oliver James has his reservations. “Twittering stems from a lack of identity. It’s a constant update of who you are, what you are, where you are. Nobody would Twitter if they had a strong sense of identity.”

Yelp Extortion: True or False?

yelpWe’ve heard it all before: a shady review site features negative reviews of your company, but (glory be!) they’ll remove them—for a price. It’s more of the same old song this week, but in a different key review site: Yelp. But they’re not taking the allegations lying down.

In a lengthy article generated from a series of interviews with local business owners (all with 3+ star reviews on Yelp), the (Emeryville, CA) East Bay Express levels some serious allegations against the local review site—offering to push negative reviews down on the page for a few hundred dollars, offering to remove negative reviews completely, moving up negative reviews for businesses that declined to use their local advertising.