Buzz and Brilliance: Week ending October 22

Skipping a week of Buzz and Brilliance was not easy to do. It left me with a reader overflowing with posts I didn't have time to read. And I felt a little out of touch with what was going on in the world of social media, though perhaps that's a good thing considering I was at a real, live conference with real, live people around me to connect with. I was connected in the most important way of all and that's something we should all value in social media use - it really means nothing if you never have a face-to-face conversation.

What is the one social network that you just can't wrap your head around? For me, that network is LinkedIn (followed closely by Pinterest - sorry, devotees!) and I've decided it's time to do something about it. LinkedIn, not Pinterest - I'll save that for another time. My determination to learn was sparked by my friend, Andrea, who talks about its value regularly. Then, I saw Copyblogger telling me that I could turn LinkedIn into an SM workhorse. Really? I need to know more! Shortly thereafter, I found the LI & Business magazine and I'm convinced that the universe also wants me to know more about LinkedIn. The more I learn about its growth and the inherent value of that growth, the more I know it's wise to be well-versed. Seriously, the social media magazines are great resources if there are tools you want to get up-to-speed on. You're welcome.

One of the most-talked-about news items from week to week in the online world is changes to this app, that network, etc. And immediately following a hundred posts describing the facts of the change (with opinions thrown in about its value), there is inevitably a backlash from users who want things back the way they were before. Having seen this over and over again since I got involved with social media (as it is today), I was really happy to see 12 Most address it in a self-help post for change-resistant users. Not only that, but they also published a post detailing the Facebook changes that have users so upset and debunked what I see as a myth of privacy controls being lost. (Also, seriously subscribe to this blog. It's so diverse, interesting and above all...useful.)

Speaking of Facebook and privacy, did you know that most users actually DO change their privacy settings? Maybe they do, but not necessarily right away. I check profiles when I see friend recommendations of people I know. Often, I can see a lot more than I would personally feel comfortable sharing. No, it's not scientific or even probably statistically relevant what I've seen, but it says to me that we have a long way to go with educating users. Even Sean Parker, co-founder of Plaxo, Napster and Causes - also the first president of Facebook - doesn't believe privacy is an issue on Facebook. Oversharing by power users is the issue; they make people want to overwhelm their friends with the volume of sharing.

Interestingly, as Poole told Facebook and Google that they were doing identity wrong and backed it up with assertions that information dissemination is often interest-based, Bill Gross announced - an interest based social media network. I'm curious to check it out, but I'll as the obvious: Do we really need another social network? Maybe it will grow faster given that there is an income model associated with it.

Have you ever wanted to dabble in video on the Web? I'm resistant to it, personally, because I don't like recording my voice and I'm a little camera shy. But one of these days I'll try it out and see how it goes, because I do think there is great value in video done well. And Sue Murphy gave DIYers a few really helpful tips in one of her recent blog posts. There's nothing better than being able to tap the knowledge of an expert on these things!

More and more changes coming to Google with product integration to the social network, Google+. I'm not sure how I feel about limiting the ways of sharing as Marshall Kirkpatrick describes on ReadWriteWeb, but I also do the vast majority of my feed reading in third-party apps like MobileRSS or Reeder and they have built-in sharing/saving to a host of services. From the looks of it, Google will eventually be integrating pretty much everything with Google+.

Google set off a firestorm when they announced their intention to enforce the use of real names. By far, the best news I've seen from Google has to be their relaxed stance on pseudonyms. This was welcome news after Christopher Poole (founder of 4chan and Canvas) took Google+ and Facebook to task at the Web 2.0 Summit, raising valid and important points about identity online.

For all the talk about Google's commitment to privacy, there are still breaches that occur. Checking your privacy settings periodically on every network isn't a bad thing. Not checking them, however, can be. With more and more integration of Google services into Google+, users will need to work hard to ensure they aren't leaving themselves vulnerable to such breaches.

I'm going to be talking more about Google+ tomorrow simultaneously with Lara Wellman in the first of our new monthly series, "She Said / She Said".

QR code technology has slowly grown to cult status for people who like the technology. It's a great way to share deals and information about your product/services to people on the go. BUT, it's a mystery where that site will lead you. And that is a big security vulnerability for mobile users. The critical mass of QR code users has finally reached a critical mass that nefarious sites are beginning to crop up. It's going to be important now that genuine users setting up QR codes brand them in a way to show the code can be trusted. And users need to look for authenticity when scanning. Don't just scan every code that's out there.

If there's anything controversial associated with social media, it is influence scores - most particularly Klout, though PeerIndex and TweetLevel have had flack for their measurements as well.  Because, really, how do you effectively automate the measurement of influence? Well, Klout is taking a stab at getting better. This week. So, if and when your klout score changes, don't be surprised. It's happened before and it will likely happen again. I, for one, am happy they evaluate and tweak their algorithm.

A little fun

Social media loves a cause and what better way to work on your bad habits and give to charity than through a social tool? Check out SwearJar.

I think this is fun because I use Squarespace for my personal blog (and may move The Media Mesh when my hosting expires). I love Squarespace because it's just so easy and user-friendly. And it's getting a really big overhaul with some exciting changes. Are you thinking about starting a blog? Want a no-hassle platform? Squarespace is my number one recommended platform - and I've used Blogger, and TMM is hosted on Squarespace is my favorite.

Last week, I announced the new BBC (short for Business Book Club) that I'll run online (and off?) through The Media Mesh. Then I saw this article from (of course) 12 Most about, you guessed it, biz books! Let me know in the comments if you want to join - here or on the original post. What book is a game-changer for you?

This was a long one, so I thank you for sticking around! Let me know if you find this series useful. It's a lengthy post to write and I want to make sure it's adding value.