Black Friday

Buzz and Brilliance: Week ending November 26

This week was a subdued week for buzz as well as brilliance since Thanksgiving was happening in the U.S. It's understandable that thoughts turn to family, friends and turkey during the best holiday of the year (after Christmas). And after I found this geeky reference to pumpkin pi(e), I couldn't resist making a mention of the holiday. ;)

My favorite story out of all the post-Thanksgiving wrap-ups - that focused mainly on the Black Friday madness - was about and its record-setting Thanksgiving Day numbers. If I was a cookbook writer, I'd be shaking in my boots...just a bit. I am a huge fan of AllRecipes and its amazing database of recipes. Not all of them are winners, but I've found some really awesome stuff on there and, like other amateur content sharing sites, it will continue to grow and be very successful.

Facebook, Facebook and more Facebook

Without a doubt, Facebook once again dominated the news stream this week in a huge way. This week's B&B should probably just be titled "The Facebook Edition". They're still building new stuff to accompany the network and bolster their world domination plan deliver a more robust framework that users will become dependent on no matter where they are. Part of this plan involves invading our desktops giving users the option of keeping in touch through a desktop ticker and chat client. And for those who were already super-impressed (please note sarcastic tone) with the amount of distraction caused by the built-in ticker on Facebook's site, they'll be tickled to start seeing sponsored stories show up in the ticker as well. Mind you, if you use IE9 to browse the Web (I don't think I know anyone who still uses IE, but it happens) there's apparently a hack that lets you disable the ticker. No doubt it takes advantage of some of IE's non-standard, proprietary back-end coding. More proof that Facebook has a world domination plan to make us all co-dependent? They're building a phone named Buffy. All I'm going to say is that I'll stick to my iPhone.

We also found out this week that there are no longer six degrees of separation anymore - it's more like 4.74. This news has brought the discussion of the definition of "friendship" on Facebook to the forefront once again. Speaking of friends, how would you like yours to know what apps you're using on your phone? I find this a bit sketchy. Okay, a lot sketchy. Appropriately, it's called "peepapp". I have discussions with my friends about what apps I'm using pretty regularly, but that doesn't mean I list out all 200+ apps for them, nor do I think anyone needs to know. On one hand, it feels like too much information that I'm not authorizing - assuming that people can see the apps I'm using without me having the app (I have no idea how it actually works). On the other, I don't have any apps that are embarrassing that I wouldn't want to share, but just where does this information stop? This one feels icky to me and I'm not one to be worried too much about privacy.

That's not all, folks, and this section is worth the read even if it takes a bit of time out of your day to do it. Rather than say individually that each of these pieces makes good points, I'll just say that they all do. They all offer different insights, but that's the beauty of this social discussion we're all involved in. ReadWriteWeb had some thought-provoking pieces on the frictionless sharing aspects of Facebook. Marshall Kirkpatrick says this new sharing model is just plain wrong - and he makes some really good arguments, also citing a piece by Molly Wood at CNET who posits that Facebook is ruining sharing. Richard McManus waded in to this discussion to say that sharing hasn't been ruined; it's merely been redefined. Given that he says in the article that he prefers to choose when and what to share, I wonder how committed he'd be to this stance if frictionless was his only option. Then Scott Fulton added another point of view when he said we all have the option to opt-out and not share what isn't important to others anyway. Mathew Ingram at GigaOM is (mostly) okay with it, but sees the inherent limitations without proper filters. You see why this is a fascinating discussion. The culture of sharing is changing and we get to help shape it with discussions like this as well as with our sharing behaviors. I'll be throwing my two cents into the ring later this week. Oh, and there's this other little bit of commentary on sharing that shows how Facebook is may be discouraging users from exploring the Web outside of its walled garden.

We're still not done with Facebook. This section is for all you business users. The biggest news this week about Facebook Pages has to do with the newly revamped insights. I'll be doing some research over the next week on the updated insights and I'll post information next week to help users understand what's changed and how to monitor your stats. Regardless of the stats, it's important to consistently engage with fans.

If ever there was an effective argument for integrating an e-commerce site with Facebook, this is it: 50% of visitors are logged in to Facebook.  Makes for an easy way to share what you're buying...just sayin'. That's just one way to get some likes, but the number one way to get more likes is through offering coupons.

One last thing about Facebook - if you're placing ads between October and January, you might want to heed this advice from Conversify and think about a different strategy than you use the rest of the year.

In Other News This Week

This has been a long one, so I'll just add a few (hopefully short) briefs on other stories that caught my eye this week:

I got to see Jeff Jarvis last week and my brain is still buzzing with all the things I heard and anticipate learning from Public Parts when I am done with Enchantment. This week, his post about the do-not-track legislation is worth a read. Just because our lives seem more like open books than they were 20 years ago doesn't mean they necessarily are. That's important to remember.

For those who were wondering when it was finally going to happen, Klout is now factoring in your Google+ activity when it calculates your scores. (They said no one would drop and I didn't hear any uproar, so I guess it was true.) There's also a section on the site that gives you a summary of your activity over the last 90 days and ReadWriteWeb gave a good overview of how scores should be affected. Since the big scoring change in October that left me with a much more accurate score (in my opinion), my interest in Klout has dropped to nearly non-existent. My only reaction when I saw this was to visualize a great big question mark over the section that has my Facebook stats...oh, wait. They aren't there yet. There's logic to that, but it beats me what it is.

Mark your calendars: Tuesday is 'Pay a Blogger Day'! This concept is really interesting. It reminds me of sites like Wikimedia that give users the option of donating to their operating costs. Would you pay a blogger whose content is really good? (I do take checks from Americans and cheques from Canadians, by the way.)

All those times I've said Facebook and Google+ aren't competitors and someone finally listened. Well, sort of. His reasons are more in-depth than mine, but I'm glad to finally see I'm not the only one thinking this way.

Are you using Google+ to its potential? Read this to find out 10 ways you can change your use if you aren't.

Big question of the week: What are your thoughts on sharing? Do we need to have more control or is frictionless the way we're going and we just need to deal with it?