Saturday, June 05, 2010

Did "Quit Facebook Day" have an impact?

Social Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Friday, June 4, 2010
Moncton Times & Transcript
Metro section

Quit Facebook Day: My own observations have determined that it has had zero effect on the world's most popular social media network. I know of only one Facebook friend who left on a matter of principle in protest of Facebook's privacy policies.

One thing that should not be inferred regarding those who remained on Facebook: this does not mean everyone agrees with Facebook's privacy policies. Even since I joined a few years ago, I've been forced to have more and more junk in my newsfeed. This is "junk" that one could previously opt out of.

Facebook now forces you to post various things to your wall that you could previously opt out of, including new friendships and the fact that you commented on others' posts. Thankfully, they still give you the option of deleting these from your wall, but it must be done manually. Personally, I delete all my personally activity from my wall every day. Frankly, it's no one's business but my own. Anyone who checks my Facebook wall will see that I've deleted everything but my own links and status updates — and what others have commented on, of course.

With all that said, if you want to limit what activities you publicize on Facebook, it bears repeating to regularly check your privacy settings and manually erase items from your wall that you don't feel are the business of others. Just because Facebook dictates that this is "sharing" and "enhances" the experience, I can assure you that all it has done (in my opinion) is add clutter and make more work for me (as a user).

Regardless of these little annoyances, I certainly won't be leaving Facebook any time soon. It has become an essential tool in my everyday life and I hyperventilate just at the thought of leaving. Trust me, the connectivity is addictive.

And the bottom line is if you're serious about being in business or consulting today and you're not active on Facebook, then you have to accept that your effectiveness may be called into question. I'm not saying it's a valid concern, but if you're ignoring the most popular social network in the world, one has to wonder how else you plan to effectively communicate with a population who has pretty much embraced Facebook as a part of their daily life. Just sayin'.

Video tools: I wrote a few weeks ago about the importance of using video on your blog and that there were inexpensive ways of recording video.

With that said, I've been struggling with my personal video content of late. I haven't recorded a vlog in three months. Honestly, I just haven't been happy with the low-light video quality of the Sony Mobile HD Snap camcorder I bought after Christmas, and I've since sold my used Flip Ultra (non-HD) camcorder to a relative.

The Flip had excellent sound and video quality for the price, but vlogging with it was nearly impossible since you couldn't flip the screen around to see what you were recording. Its performance in low-light situations (which I define as indoors at night with normal household lights on) was excellent. The videos were crisp and clear. It was incredibly easy to use, as well.

But with all that said and done, it was too difficult to vlog with because you couldn't see yourself while speaking so positioning yourself in the shot was awkward and difficult. I did some research and came up with the Sony as a replacement. I just haven't been happy with it and have decided that perhaps the time has come to invest in a mid-range high-definition (HD) camcorder and leave the world of pocket camcorders behind. If you want a pocket camcorder, however, get a Flip Ultra HD. Video quality is amazing.

After much research, I've pretty much decided on the Canon Vixia High-Definition (HD) SD/SDHC Camcorder (HF M30). One of the great selling points is a remote control, which is very useful for vloggers. As well, its low-light recording capability and touch-screen face-tracking feature would be great for ensuring your videos are crisp and clean. What do you use for vlogging? I'd love to hear what others are using.

Twitter has a new star: Troubled pop princess Britney Spears is the first Twitter user to reach five million follows. In the past few days, she eclipsed the previous record holder, actor Ashton Kutcher. Although Kutcher reached five million followers shortly after, he still lags about 40,000 followers behind at the time this column is being written.

Monitoring social media: You've probably heard of Radian6, the social media monitoring company. Well, there's a new player on the block this week, with launching Heartbeat, a service that — according to a company news release — will allow users to: 1) monitor social media conversations; 2) measure key metrics including buzz and sentiment; 3) identify and engage with key influencers and opinion leaders; 4) gauge share of voice with respect to competitors; 5) conduct industry analysis; 6) join in conversations directly from the FPinfomart Heartbeat platform; 7) produce clear and concise reports — saving users' time on data gathering and analysis.

Facebook faux pas: According to a recent CNN report, Ken Altshuler, a divorce lawyer in Maine, recently won a case after he found incriminating photos of a client's spouse on Facebook. The wife said she wanted a divorce because of her husband's drinking. The husband denied he'd been drinking but forgot that he'd posted photos to his Facebook page that clearly showed him boozing it up.

"Facebook is a great source of evidence," Altshuler said in the CNN story. "It's absolutely solid evidence because (the husband is) the author of it. How do you deny that you put that on?"

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