Buzz and Brilliance: Week ending December 3

As we get closer to the New Year (where did 2011 go!?) I'm already seeing the beginning of the year-end wrap-ups. I'm not going to include them much in the B&B from week to week, but maybe I'll do one big year-end wrap-up post over the holidays, because those posts are always interesting - from the lists of top search terms, to gadgets, to news stories, to whatever else they come up with! That said, the buzz this week is rather ho-hum - in my humble opinion. The brilliance? Totally B&B worthy. So, this time, I'm going to separate the two completely.

There's a fantastic good news story at the very end - I'm saving the best for last - so skim through the rest if you like, but don't miss that end note!

The Buzz

I try not to talk about apps on here, because I'm an iPhone devotee and I don't want to get into that debate. NOR do I want to become a repository for iPhone info, because that takes a lot of time to do and a lot of other people do it far better than I ever could. NOR do I want to leave people on other mobile OSs hanging, because how boring is it to read about Blackberry and Android when you're an iPhone gal? Okay, I actually don't find it all that boring, but some would, so I'm sure the same is true for the BB and Droid crowd. BUT, some apps are little secondary networks of their own and they fit into my niche so I'm going to stop ignoring them. And the last couple of weeks have had some interesting stories. So, bear with me here. I will do my best to spread the love to other mobile OSs, but so far, most of these networks are iOS:

There was minor news this week about Facebook's announcement that FB status updates can now have 60,000 characters (But who wants to read long posts?) and now you can edit @ tags to have custom text - it's so clunky I can't see bothering with it. (See? Ho hum.) But the really big news is that Facebook reached a final settlement with the FTC on privacy charges. More details emerged after we found out last week they'd be submitting to 20 years of privacy audits. There's lots of commentary on this and what it means for Facebook and its users. Here's a list of stories if you want to read up:

Mashable asks whether Facebook is doing enough to protect your privacy. (I'd say yes and no - they've done some boneheaded things in the past - Beacon, for one example - but seemed to be learning with more recent updates. Opt-in is better and now that's got to be their default.) Proof that they learned (sort of) - Zuckerberg admits to making mistakes with privacy. Mind you, many think this settlement is a slap on the wrist. Others wonder if Facebook is ruined (hardly, I say). There's no doubt that it's given Facebook an easy pass, even if they're finally being forced to do what they should've been doing all along. This just proves once again that with a free network, your privacy is the currency. That cannot be emphasized enough.

Do you "like" the FTC's ruling? Because no matter where you are in the world, it will have an effect.

Earlier this week, I wrote about Facebook's seamless or frictionless sharing. Then I saw this and smiled. Time for a new plugin!

I'm not sure how the functionality is different, because I haven't yet tried it, but you can now do conference calls on Google+ hangouts. I wonder how this is going to take a bite out of Skype's business.

Google has bumped its video sharing service up a notch by adding analytics. I'm taking this as a sign that they'd like to be THE go-to video service and that video is just going to get bigger. But we already knew that. As if that wasn't enough, they've launched a re-design as well. It looks really nice and I'm so thankful for it. The old design was quite bad. But will this be a further threat to Facebook? (Oh, that had to be thrown in there, didn't it?) But there are wider implications as well.

Want to follow a brand or save something you see on the Web to Foursquare? Now you can! And it's a great move for the service and businesses alike.

The Brilliance

Jay Baer wrote a piece this week that underlines the importance of doing social media right, making the case that businesses have lost the advantage. We're on an even playing field now. Individuals and businesses are using the same tools, so businesses that do social media well are going to shine like stars. The ones who don't could see the effect on their bottom line - or in their twitter feed with an urgent need for reputation management.

Along similar lines, Ilana Rabinowitz is sharing why a business cannot be social over at Social Media Explorer. She gives compelling reasons why it's the job of the employees (oh, yes, all of them - not just the social media guy) to put a human face on the organization. She's right and not nearly enough businesses get this.

I like reading Mitch Joel's take on Twitter every time he writes about it. He just isn't bothered by the numbers and he doesn't try to set rules for anyone - including himself.

I love blogging. I can't imagine quitting, but it happens. You see blogs lie fallow after a while because life just gets in the way. Or was there a true commitment to it in the first place? The best thing you can do before launching is to start blogging unpublished, as this guest-post on Problogger tells us. He's taking my own suggestion a step further and it's wise advice.

By far, the most brilliant news of the week. An update about Amit Gupta's need for a bone marrow transplant and how a social campaign may just save his life. Sure, this stuff happened before social media was around, but it isn't the same. And doesn't this just validate how much good we can do through these tools?


Are you interested in the The Media Mesh's BBC (that's Business Book Club for those who missed the original post)? Our first reading assignment is Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki and linking up on January 3rd in just one month. It's a quick read with lots of valuable information - join us! If you comment on this post that you want in I'll add you to my email list (no need to do so if you already asked to be added). First update is coming this week!

Buzz and Brilliance: Week ending November 5

In general, the news this week was pretty lackluster - nothing really huge going on, but that doesn't mean there wasn't lots going on anyway, unless you're Google.

The more I see complaints about privacy (especially in regard to Facebook), the more frustrated I become. Look for more on that in the coming week. But, this post from Kelly Clay at Lockergnome really hits the nail on the head when it comes to all the people I see threatening to leave Facebook. Really? Will you? Because it's where your friends are, so are these serious threats or simply expressions of frustration? That said, will those who stay fill in their timeline now that they can back date posts? I'm still very much up in the air about doing this. Partially because of time (I don't have any). Partially because of privacy (I'd like to keep it).

In the ever-popular commentary on the war between Facebook and Google+, a new angle was introduced this week when Google integrated G+ with Google Apps - the enterprise angle. Mashable guest poster, Balakrishna Narasimhan, believes that could be the key to victory and the commentary is interesting, but I say that's just another huge difference that sets Google+ apart and makes it complementary to Facebook. Of course, guest poster, Aidan Hijleh, on All Facebook would probably disagree with me - they think Facebook is going to win. When I read commentary like this from Social Times, I'm convinced that the market that Google is targeting isn't your mom, dad and high school classmates. I've always looked at Google+ as a cross between Facebook and LinkedIn anyway...sort of.

Other Google news includes a facelift for Google Reader and integration into G+ as well. There's been backlash at the changes, but nothing that I think will convince Google to roll back the clock. Other than missing the count of posts I've starred, I have no issues with the update. Gmail is the other big Google product to get an overhaul this week. I'm not a fan of the Gmail interface - I use Outlook as my email client (even for web-based accounts), but they have made some nice changes. With all the integration, including YouTube, that Google+ is giving its users, Google is becoming quite a powerhouse of information and content.

Here's a few other briefs for you:

Why Comments Help You: Bloggers love comments (hint, hint). But have you ever seen the benefits for yourself? Trust me, there are benefits.

Protecting Your Home: We've all seen cringe-worthy posts where someone says too much about something. Here's how to avoid sharing too much about where you live.

Tumblr Spam: Tumblr has admitted to having a spam problem and they're working to resolve it. I have an account, but I haven't actually seen any spam. Unless you count this. (Oh, Klout, you have problems!)

Twitter Ettiquette: I really wanted to share this link with a new follower this week who immediately wrote a sales pitch to me when I followed back. The person did engage with me a bit after, so I held off. I did notice that someone else gave them some advice. Appropriately so since the pitch they were sending to everyone (apparently) didn't apply to that individual. And it made me want to share Susan's tips once again.

Facebook Privacy and Access: In another fun privacy story about Facebook, researchers found it was quite easy to friend users through their mutual friends - from fake accounts.  I'd say this is a great reason to be selective about who you're connecting with.

For all the complaints people have about privacy on Facebook, there are actually some pretty sophisticated features in place to help people protect themselves. Unfortunately, they aren't commonly known.

Social Media in the Workplace: What's your preference: Access to Facebook at work or a higher salary? The answer might surprise you.

Crowdsourcing Life: There is so much good going on in social media. It's overwhelming sometimes - especially when I hear about life and death situations where people are spurred to act and raise awareness.

MySpace getting its SexyBack: Well, at least Justin Timberlake is going to try. This is one story that barely got any play this week. It's the reason I dislike seeing "<insert social network/tool> is dead" whenever I see it. Until you're down to a handful of users, it's not dead. MySpace is bleeding users, but Justin Timberlake has proven himself to be a smarter than average businessman. I'm extremely curious to see what happens with this.


The Business Book Club's first reading assignment was set this week. I started reading yesterday and I can tell this book is going to challenge me in numerous ways. Will you join us?