We Are Social’s Monday Mashup #24


Hello all. Nice to be back. Here’s my stab at rounding up social media happenings over the last week:

BREAKING NEWS: Major Twitter bug
I’ve just been told no one is going to read this because Twitter has fallen over and the internets are generally freaking out. It’s all down to a bug that lets you control who follows you by writing “[tweet] accept [username]”. More on this over at Mashable.

Twitter influence not linked to number of followers
Although, today’s bug may not matter at all, as according to the latest Twitter research from Meeyoung Cha at the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems in Germany, the amount of followers one has is largely meaningless when it comes to Twitter. In the research paper entitled ‘The Million Follower Fallacy’, Meeyoung writes: “Popular users who have a high indegree [number of followers] are not necessarily influential in terms of spawning retweets or mentions”. Sweet, I only have about 12 followers and they all ignore me anyway.

McDonald’s on Facebook Geo-location
The ever nimble marketing machine that is McDonald’s have beaten a path to Facebook HQ and updated their status to “We’re the first brand to partner with new Facebook location-based status updates FTW – LOL!!!” (possibly). Essentially, this means that McDonalds will probably the first brand to use the new geo-location feature on Facebook. Apparently they’re building an app that would allow Facebook users to “check in at one of its restaurants and have a featured product appear in the post, such as an Angus Quarter Pounder” according to executives close to the deal. I for one am breathless with excitement.

Geo-location is only the latest in a long list of social networking features to be touted as a total godsend to cyber criminals everywhere. eConsultancy posted a rather interesting piece on how naive Facebook users are to posting private information for public consumption. According to a survey by Consumer Reports:

56% of users posted at least one piece of risky information on the site. 42% posted their birthdate, 7% posted a street address. 3% disclosed they’d be away from home. 26% posted children’s photos and names, 23% didn’t use or know about privacy controls. Also, 18.4 milion Facebook members used apps. Of that number, 38% of app users were confident those apps were secure, or hadn’t even thought about it.

Pringles lampoon oversharers
Speaking of which, Pringles have decided to focus their latest social media campaign on people who overshare with boring and/or uninteresting content. Entitled ‘Help the oversharers‘ Pringles’ agency Wunderman have built a website where you can submit your friends most rubbish Facebook and Twitter updates to be featured on the site. In case you’re stuck for anything to submit here’s my Twitter feed.

Facebook privacy issues
While it appears that Facebook users are being a bit naive, those running the social network aren’t really helping any. The Facebook Open Graph protocol backlash is starting to pick up some steam. Matt McKeon has published a very simple but powerful diagram of how Facebook has steadily reneged on it’s privacy promises to its users over the last five years, outlining what areas the social network is choosing to make indexable and visible to the public on standard settings. The answer is: everything. (Panic set in there, just set privacy to highest settings on photos. Don’t even think about looking either).

The Evolution of Privacy on Facebook

Wired have gotten in on the act by being incredibly critical of the way Facebook is going and is openly encouraging people to look for, or even build their own open alternative network. As you all know the information super netway moves incredibly fast and Wired’s prayers are already beginning to be answered. Reddit’s technology page has already set down outlines for what this network could look like. Reddit is notoriously well frequented by the programming community and have already built their own private Bit Torrent tracker. They currently have highly developed plans to buy and develop a real-world Reddit Island, so I wouldn’t bet against them.

On the other hand, they may just want to help out  4 young programmers from NYU’s Courant Institute with their project. Starting with a dream to build a “privacy aware, personally controlled, do-it-all distributed open source social network” these young whipper-snappers wrote a blog post on the 14th of April outlining how they planned to do it. Naming their project ‘Diaspora‘ they were initially looking for $10,000 dollars to build it before releasing it for free they received the full amount by last Saturday the 8th of May and are currently sitting on close to $20,000. Looking forward to seeing the results.

Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare get bigger (gasp!)
Just in case you haven’t quite had enough news about Facebook this week; here’s some more. According to Nielsen Facebook and Twitter have posted large year over year gains in unique users. I’ll let the graph do the talking:

Only five weeks ago, the total number of checkins on Foursquare had only reached 22 million, but today brought the news that Foursquare counted its 40 millionth checkin, which shows that Foursquare’s growth rate is accelerating considerably.

Have a good one.