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.

Buzz and Brilliance: Week ending January 14

CES might have been going on this week, but the rest of the world still kept journalists hopping on the social news - from SOPA to Google to a place called Boner's BBQ. I bet they never expected to be nationally known. And I'm officially not sharing just five links because the SOPA/Google stories are just too complex to throw just one out there.


Source: Stop SOPA Page on Google+

SOPA is the acronym for Stop Online Piracy Act and if you're not aware of it or think you're unaffected because you live outside the U.S., please read this brief overview or this more comprehensive overview (the long one is worth your time) to get up to speed. The U.S. is a world leader and they set precedents for other jurisdictions all the time AND your site may be "based" outside the U.S., but that doesn't mean it's immune from being affected. One interesting development (and I'm surprised it's taken so long to come to light) is that the sponsor of the bill appears to have his own copyright infringement issues. Tim O'Reilly shared his thoughts about SOPA with GigaOM this past week and I think he makes a lot of sense. Yesterday, the news out of the White House gives me hope that this will never see the light of day. Obama disagrees with some key parts of SOPA and PIPA, which leads some to believe he'll veto both if they pass. Following the release of the statement from the White House, Jeff Jarvis asks some pointed questions about where the U.S. Government will let this battle go in the future. This is important for all of us who want a free Internet. That really is what's at stake with should any of these bills pass. It's important enough to some that they're initiating a blackout this Wednesday.

It's hard to say whether Google or SOPA won the race to the top of the news heap this week. The release of "Search, plus Your World" has led to a vocal backlash where some believe this will lead to further anti-trust investigations and few speaking up to support it (including Matt Cutts, of course). Meanwhile, there's been a back and forth tiff between Twitter and Google that resembles something from the schoolyard. Facebook has been fairly "quiet" about the whole business. Mathew Ingram summarizes the entire Google search saga quite eloquently and points out that this war between Google and Twitter is only hurting users. Finally, Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land did some pretty interesting analysis of real-life search examples if you'd like to see how this is working.

Marketers, PR reps and humans in general gasped in horror at Papa John's and Boner's BBQ for their unbelievably offensive treatment of customers this past week. And in true Gini Dietrich style, she's given them the advice they need to avoid the post-screw-up PR disaster that they've just experienced should future mishaps occur. I just hope more businesses start reading Spin Sucks so they respond appropriately and timely to avoid getting into these tangles in the first place.

Finally, this week Facebook - without much fanfare - rolled out sponsored posts that will appear in your news feed this week. I haven't seen any in my feed yet, but the majority of the pages I "like" are not the kind that would purchase this kind of advertising.


Who out there uses social media and has been followed by (or follows) someone claiming to be a guru, ninja or expert in social media? (I'm raising my hand.) Mitch Joel admits to being fascinated with Social Media and the rise of the social media celebrity. He raised some thought-provoking points this week about the social media Kool-Aid.

"Social business" is a term I've been hearing more and more lately - 2012 is apparently the year of the social business. I'm still making up my mind, but I don't think I particularly care for it. I'm not sure we need to designate everything social if it comes into close contact or touches social media. I'm not sure we need to have a term to reflect the changing culture of business with the rise of social media use. Widely accepted business practices have changed in the past and we didn't necessarily put a name on it. That said, there's a lot of wisdom in Pam Moore's tips for becoming a social business that businesses should heed.

You probably already read it, but it's worth repeating. Seth Godin's post this week on the TED imperative is short, sweet and so very well said. It's the Cole's(Cliff) notes version of Pam's post about social business, but it's really all anyone creating content needs.

Ever since I realized a friend in my teen years had a bit of a jealous streak aimed at a talent I had that they were less proficient with, I've felt strongly that we each have to accept our strengths and weaknesses. Recognizing them makes life easier and allows us to ask for help where we're weak and speak up to help where we're strong. Finding your strengths can be so empowering - here's a few tips on how to do it.

I sometimes struggle to work at home, but most of the time it's really productive. This article helped me see how I could do even better.

This week from The Media Mesh

This past week The Media Mesh started a new series, Social 101, and our first topic was Twitter. I hosted the first twitter chat for #MediaMeshBBC. And the Sixty Second Social this week was about social media shortcuts and trying to emulate high profile people. Coming up this week, I'll be sharing the details of our next Business Book Club assignment, going over the 5 Ws of Twitter and more!

Buzz and Brilliance: Week ending January 7

{EAV:791908013b0aa24e}Welcome to the first Buzz and Brilliance of 2012! Judging by the number of articles in my RSS reader the last few weeks, the world of social media hasn't slowed down one little bit for the holidays. As if anyone thought it would! The buzz this week is pretty mild - nothing earth-shattering going on. I suspect social news is going to take a backseat to the hardware goodies everyone (but me) is going to be drooling over at CES next week.

Before I jump in, I'll just mention that I'm going to strip down the B&B just a tad this year. I'm limiting the amount of time I can write it, so that means I have to pick fewer stories to highlight. I'll pick five of the top stories of the week, though I'll likely include more links to related articles still. I'll pick five articles that are worthy of being called Brilliant as well. This week I have a few bonus New Year's suggestions and some fun to share.

This tool is so interesting that I couldn't not include it: If This, Then That (ifttt) is a fantastic-sounding tool to help you automate and organize some of your social activity. I haven't logged in to check it out yet, but it's on my To Do list. I know there's more to it than any of the articles I've read and they had enough that piqued my interest quite easily.

If you ever had any doubts about the power of the Internet and social media, doubt no more. GoDaddy is feeling the wrath from (now) former customers for their formerly supportive stance on SOPA - proposed legislation in the U.S. that will be very bad for the Internet if it passes. GoDaddy's support has led to massive defection of customers transferring their businessto other providers. They saw the light within 24 hours and removed their support, but trust has already been broken.

When I saw this article about Twitter users being labeled anti-social, I wasn't bothered in the least. How many accounts are out there who do nothing but broadcast? (I won't even get into spam-bots.) At the same time, I personally have Twitter accounts that are mostly broadcast accounts, but they are for communities and I tend to interact more from my personal account. So, this may not be a good thing after all.

Have you ever wanted to communicate privately with someone on a Facebook page? It's quite the process. You have to go to the Web site (assuming they have one) or hope that they've included their email contact information on the page. Then you have to go to your email client to send the email. Why isn't there a solution built into the Facebook interface? Well, my guess is that now that Tumblr has fan mail, we'll see Facebook build this kind of functionality into Pages. I just wouldn't want to be the Starbucks page administrator when that happens.

In a story that, honestly, annoys me a little bit a privacy group is urging the FTC to investigate Facebook's Timeline - for privacy violations. This attempt just seems ignorant of the new layout. In fact, there are far better privacy controls now than ever before on Facebook. My wall had two options before - leave content posted or delete it. Now I can change who sees individual posts after they've been posted. (And I do.) Do you want to cleanse your wall before your Timeline goes live? Go for it! I encourage that. Do you want to complain about all that information being accessible? Please don't. It always was - even though it wasn't easy or pretty.

I don't know about you, but occasionally I start to feel overwhelmed with everything there is out there in social media. Partially because I try stuff out - I bring this feeling on myself. But I'm realistic enough to know that I can't do it all if I want to do anything else in life. With hundreds of networks to choose from, social media use can be daunting and intimidating for newcomers. And it's only getting worse. Mitch Joel is calling 2012 "The Year of More".  I see it every week in my RSS reader - more and more and more apps, sites, networks, gadgets to plug in to. He wraps his post by saying more isn't always better and I agree. Sue Murphy has provided some excellent tips for taking control of your social media use and the best advice she gives? "Social media is not about spreading yourself around to as many tools as possible." Fitting social media in to your day doesn't have to be hard if you adopt a social media lifestyle, as Ali Goldfield suggests.

Privacy is a hot topic around here and I have my own views on it. But what about you? The Next Web wants to know if you will care more about privacy in 2012 or less. Personally, I can't see ever caring less about privacy. We should all care a lot. What we should not do is expect anyone other than ourselves to take responsibility for it.

Starting a social media program is a great step for any company, but without firm commitment to do it properly and consistently, it can be difficult to achieve any success. Jen Zingsheim has shared some ways to avoid some of the common pitfalls that can derail a social media program.

New Year's Social Cleanup
The beginning of a new year is a good time to reassess things, whether you make resolutions or not. Take a few minutes this week to review the permissions you've granted on social sites. Are you still using those tools regularly? I'm also going through my 500+ "likes" on Facebook to get rid of inactive pages and any that I've forgotten why I liked them in the first place. It's all about reducing the noise and keeping things clean.

Here are a few other suggestions from Mashable. What other social cleanup are you doing this time of year?

A Little Fun
It doesn't surprise me that people are creating Facebook profiles for pets. The sheer number does surprise me. 14% for dogs alone!? That's a lot. I'm pretty sure that violates Facebook's TOS, too. And if you feel you're missing out on Facebook in the shower,'s a solution.

I love that more guys are getting into Pinterest.

As someone who met her husband on ICQ's Random Chat feature (not terribly long after it was introduced), I never thought I'd be surprised at the way people meet online - well, in our connected world, anyway. But the couple who met on Words with Friends did surprise me. How unexpected!

Finally, I'm a little squirrely around needles, but apparently these social media users aren't.


Recently, inspired by Chris Brogan's practice of identifying three words to define your year, I posted my own three words and a request for my readers to share ideas or requests for content that they would find useful from The Media Mesh.