Fake News

The fine folks from Science News have done an extensive study of how fake news vs. real news is shared and accelerated across the internet:

An analysis of more than 4.5 million tweets and retweets posted from 2006 to 2017 indicates that inaccurate news stories spread faster and further on the social media platform than true stories. The research also suggests that people play a bigger role in sharing falsehoods than bots.

Martha Temming, Science News

The fundamental dynamics of this result is not terribly surprising.  It is human nature to react with surprise to ‘far fetched’ stories.  However, in today’s modern world and with social media being the vehicle that people use to share and distribute information, it would appear that a typical social user’s reaction of ‘surprise’ is manifested through a Twitter Re-Tweet or a Facebook Share.

Header image source: FactCheck

Different Social Circles

The difference in income trajectory of the two most well known social networks is pretty stunning. After a few rocky initial quarters as a public company, Facebook has taken off from a revenue perspective. While on the other end, Twitter is digging a bigger hole for itself and is trending the wrong way.

During this year’s first quarter, which Twitter reported today, the company lost $162 million despite bringing in $436 million in revenue. Since its IPO in late 2013, it has lost a cumulative $1.25 billion over six quarters.

Source: Twitter has lost more than $1 billion since it went public – Quartz

Minimal Biz Card

After taking some inspiration from Boris Simus and his Minimal Contact/Biz Card design, I went ahead and tried one on for size myself. My online “brand” situation is very similar to Boris’s in that my “sgclark” id represents this domain, my @sgclark Twitter handle, and my Facebook and Google+ id’s. I may even get it processed as my personal card at someplace like Moo. TBD.

Also, I’m on a bit of a minimalist kick right now as I’m really studying and paying more attention to clean, clear user interactions both online and offline. I’ve even taken to cleaning up my own site a bit with this new U/X. I’m not fully done with this as I’m tweaking it here and there.

Update: sgclark is also my handle on Instagram, Snapchat, and several other sites and social networks of choice.

Zuck on SNL?

Now this would be fun:

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is being lured to have the last laugh on Oscar-nominated “The Social Network” by making a cameo on “Saturday Night Live” alongside Jesse Eisenberg, who plays him in the movie.

via NY Post.

Twitter Crushing Facebook CTR

This is an interesting study. A company called SocialTwist conducted a study comparing the methods which people share content and the performance of each of major social networks. According to the study, Twitter is crushing Facebook’s CTR, which to be honest is not all together that surprising. What I would be far more interested in understanding is what is the engagement and post click activity that is associated with each of the networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

Nearby Friend Stalking

Well, this did not take long. Facebook Places has been out for a week or to, and already an enterprising individual has hacked together. Nearby Friends, a mash up that enables you to see where those in your FB graph have recently checked in.  The interesting and scary thing is that it can also track where you have checked in over the recent past, thus putting together a trail of your check ins for all in your network to see.  Once again, Facebook has set the bar that much higher for complete disregard for everyone’s privacy. Here is a good article on ReadWriteWeb to help you manage your privacy settings related to Facebook Places.


Keep Your Distant Facebook Friends

Interesting article about how keeping Facebook friends you have not spoken to in 25 years is a benefit to your real life social standing and social interactions.

A decades-old insight from a study of traditional social networks illuminates one of the most important aspects of today’s online social networking. In 1973, sociologist Mark Granovetter showed how the loose acquaintances, or “weak ties”, in our social network punch far above their weight in their influence over our behavior and choices (American Journal of Sociology, vol 78, p 1360). Granovetter found that a significant percentage of people get their jobs as a result of information provided by a weak tie. Subsequent studies have revealed that weak ties benefit our health and happiness. Granovetter suggested that this is because these friends-of-friends aren’t like you, yet they are likely to be similar enough in social outlook and personal interests to have a positive influence.

The article goes on to talk about how the explosion of everyone’s “loose network” of friends and acquaintances that are connected via social networks will create profound effects on social evolution. A study cited in the article from Cornell University stated that those who more frequently shared information online were more likely to be liked and to “win people over” in real life.

The most interesting element for me is how everyone’s ever expanding social network will prompt people to go to their network first for information, references, advice, support, and referrals. This is one of the main reasons why Google is so concerned about the ever and rapid influence of Facebook as a “go to” source of information over Google’s search engine.

All these social networks are a sociologist’s wet dream!

Night Owls

This is interesting but not surprising. A recent study said that people check their social sites at all times of the day – morning, noon and night. Checking Facebook at 3AM in the morning? Seeing what folks are doing on Foursquare at 2:30AM on a Monday? You are not alone! What is most interesting is that folks are checking their social graph to find out what the big news of the day is. And we wonder why the big news organizations are struggling.

Social Media Stats

A compilation of social media statistics and sound bytes from across the Internet.

  • Facebook currently has in excess of 350 million active users on global basis.Six months ago, this was 250m. This means over 40% growth in less than 6 months.
  • Flickr now hosts more than 4 billion images.
  • More than 35m Facebook users update their status each day.
  • Wikipedia currently has in excess of 14m articles, meaning that it’s 85,000 contributors have written nearly a million new posts in six months.
  • Photo uploads to Facebook have increased by more than 100%. Currently, there are around 2.5bn uploads to the site each month.
  • Back in 2009, the average user had 120 friends within Facebook. This is now around 130.
  • Mobile is even bigger than before for Facebook, with more than 65m users accessing the site through mobile-based devices. In six months, this is over 100% increase.
  • There are more than 3.5bn pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, etc.) shared each week on Facebook.

Networks To Manage Your Networks

Has it come to this? There are now online sites and applications to help you manage your social networks. This seems like a vicious cycle to me…will there soon be networks to manage your networks that manage your social networks?

CIO – When you belong to several social networking sites—Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter—(and don’t we all?), keeping up with them can seem overwhelming. Tweet this. Update that status. Share a link here. If you’ve resolved to get more organized this year, consider these seven tools that save time and streamline your social networking interactions. My picks: For easy content sharing across platforms, be sure to check out is the browser plugin Shareaholic. And for simple synching and updating of multiple accounts, Atomkeep seems to be the most efficient.

1. 8Hands. The desktop application organizes your social networking profiles (such as Facebook, WordPress, Flickr, Twitter and YouTube) into one place. It sends you notifications when you receive new comments, messages, friend requests or videos; generates summaries and statistics on your social networking activities; and features a chat window where you can drag and drop YouTube videos or Flickr pictures to share with others.

2. Atomkeep. This service allows you to import, synch and merge your profile data from a wide variety of sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Digg and Plurk. It also makes updating pieces of information—such as your e-mail address—across several platforms quite easy: Update that specific field in your Atomkeep profile (instead of visiting each site individually) and push it to all or select sites. Note that there’s a backlog in approving accounts at the moment, as the company site states: “All accounts are activated in batches, as soon as our capacity allows. Please don’t ask when, as we can’t give you any timeframe on this.”

3. FriendBinder. FriendBinder aggregates your existing friends from your networks and displays them in a single stream of information. It organizes your Twitter mentions and direct messages, and displays when someone favorites a photo of yours on Flickr or invites you to an event on Facebook. FriendBinder also displays trending topics and threads Twitter conversations, making them easier to follow.

4. FriendFeed. This tool displays a personalized, real-time feed of what your friends are sharing on various social media and social networking sites. You can comment or “like” items that appear in your feed, and have real-time conversations with your friends about the posts. You also may choose from a list of over 50 sites that you may belong to, and share items with your friends accordingly.

5. Ping.fm. Primarily a site that lets you update multiple statuses simultaneously, Ping.fm groups services into three categories—status updates, blogs and microblogs. You can configure the account to aggregate content from several services, including Delicious, Facebook, Laconica, LinkedIn, Twitter and WordPress.

6. Pond. The Pond social media aggregator and publishing tool allows you to follow your friends, collect information about them and share your own content. Pond also lets you merge your friends’ online identities—so, for example, if your friend belongs to Twitter, Facebook and Flickr, you’ll see updates from these services in one integrated time line. Pond also allows you to cross-publish information to several sites with one update.

7. Shareaholic. Shareholic is a customizable browser add-on that lets you share content with over 60 social networking sites. By clicking the Shareaholic icon, you can instantly share the page you’re on (it automatically shortens the link for you). It also displays real-time trending topics, allowing you to find the latest news, videos and blogs.

via computerworld.com

Accidentally Facebook

I recently cranked through reading The Accidental Billionaires, the unauthorized story of the early days of Facebook which details how Mark Zuckerberg started it in his dorm room, and how he ran over some “wanna be” Web entrepreneurs along the way. The book was written based on interviews, second hand accounts, email records and just piecing stories together. All in all, it was a pretty interesting book and it did a good job of connecting all the dots to weave the story of FB’s evolution.

So now, I’m completely fascinated with the history and evolution of Facebook and its growth trajectory. Its so interesting to research how it got to where it is today, and to learn more about the big players in its story – Sean Parker, Eduardo Saverin, the Winklevoss twins, and others. Obviously, the big challenge that FB has now is how can transition itself to a viable and profitable business and how it can sustain its relevance after the initial “newness” of the service wears down. What will be everyone’s “boredom” factor before people start to post fewer updates, and look for new platforms and options to connect with people.

From a business perspective, FB has been challenged to figure out its true business model so far. Recently, their COO Sheryl Sandberg sat down with John Battelle at the Web 2.0 summit and declared that Facebook was cash-flow positive and they will address an IPO sometime later on. But cash flow positive does not necessarily mean profitable…yet. I do think there is a ton of upside if FB is able to leverage the data that it has from all of its users and really turn that into marketing opportunities. The challenge will be to do that in a way that does not impinge on the vision of the site and the clean user experience that has made it so popular. I think they have the opportunity to turn themselves into a marketing and promotional machine similar to Google and other organizations that are effective in capturing user data and information. I have a feeling that FB may turn into a Harvard Business Review case study, either for its business success or failure, and wouldn’t that be the ultimate irony.