Buzz and Brilliance: Week ending January 21

This week was a whirlwind of "social lobbying" with the end result being the derailment - for now - of SOPA and PIPA. Please note this is the second week in a row that I've introduced you to what will likely become our newest buzzword. This new practice reminds me of a scene in Horton Hears a Who (the movie with Jim Carrey and Steve Carrell) when the Mayor's assistant is giving him a run-down of his schedule. He's got to to meet with the Who Centennial Committee and then needs to go for a Who root canal. The Mayor replies, "You know, sticking Who in front of everything doesn't make it hurt less. It just wastes time!" Replace "Who" with "social" and the quote still works amazingly well.


Before I get into the SOPA/PIPA story, if you're not familiar with what's going on, you should read/watch this.

The Internet was in an uproar this week as many sites protested SOPA/PIPA with site blackouts. The symbolic gesture was intended to convey how the Web might look should SOPA/PIPA pass. While many were supportive of the move, others questioned the wisdom of teaming up with corporate entities, criticism of sites that didn't go black - including Facebook. While some were coining new buzzwords (see above), others questioned whether the massive Internet-based uprising could be labeled activism. In a commentary that I find quite an interesting perspective, Mark Schaefer asks if we became lemmings to a new meme this week.

Of all of these stories, Mark's was the most startling. Did I read SOPA/PIPA? No. Do I think everyone who speaks out against them should have read them? No. Sure, that's the ideal world situation, but we don't live in an ideal world. Would I call myself an "activist" against SOPA/PIPA? Absolutely not. Claims that SOPA is going to change the way civic discourse happens are not realistic, but I cynically believe that most issues won't inspire this kind of response. This is an issue that touches a pretty vocal group of people with lots of connections. For once, people made an effort to be informed on an issue, spoke out about it and SOPA/PIPA have been dropped - for now. These bills - or something like them - will come up again. Hopefully, people will remember the warnings from this Chinese blogger who speaks from personal experience living in a country with similar legislation. Then again, apparently we don't need SOPA or PIPA to break the Web.

In other news this week, Facebook has launched additional frictionless sharing apps, including Pinterest - and the world rejoiced for the first time about frictionless sharing. Are you still unsure how to use Pinterest? This might help. And just in case you thought you don't need another network to jump in to, first consider Pinterest traffic to your site.

Interestingly, it's being reported this week that "friending" strangers might just give you a more stimulating Facebook experience. I can honestly say this is true of my own experience. Mind you, the average Facebook user is primarily interested in their friends and family and that's it!

Google+ has 90K users now and is on track to reach 400 million by the end of this year. That's really incredible and hopefully more people will start to use it.

The story that has me scratching my head is about teens sharing passwords as a sign of affection. Have passwords become the new letter jacket?


Reading Amber Naslund's blog this week has hit me at just the right place, but this piece about taking back attention is one I paid extra attention to as it goes so perfectly with my three words - particularly time and focus.

There's no end to the theories around when to tweet, facebook and more. Dan Zarella posted an infographic that turns a lot of those theories upside down and suggests (gasp!) that you post when fewer people are on because they're less likely to miss your content. It's an interesting theory and certainly worth testing out.

Spin Sucks always has an interesting take on the social media/PR disasters that come around from time to time. But this week, one guest poster - Jay Dolan - challenged readers to stop fearing failure and start achieving the kind of brilliance people want to talk about instead of the disasters that always take center stage. Of course, we're not likely to stop talking about these disasters since we can all learn a thing or two from them.

Some people think they have to sign up for every social network under the sun, but that's not a very good idea. It can be fun to check them all out, but making a commitment to any social network needs to be about giving value to other users and finding how to get value for yourself or your business. Not all social tools are equal.

I love sharing good news, especially as follow-up to an awareness campaign to help someone. So in case you hadn't heard yet, Amit Gupta, who was searching via social media for a bone marrow donor in the fall, has found a match. I wonder how many cancer patients will benefit from Amit's campaign. Hopefully, there's cause for celebration for many more today as well.


This past week, I talked about the 5 Ws of Twitter, attempting to answer the question of who, what, when, where and why you should tweet. Later in the week, I announced what the next #MediaMeshBBC book will be.