Email isn't on the verge of going the way of the dodo, but it is slowly being replaced by other forms of communications, including social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace.
According to data by the Online Publishers Association, in 2003 Internet users spent 46 percent of their online time at Communication sites offering email and IM services. By 2009, that number dropped to 27 percent as more users stay in touch via social networking sites.
"In 2008, we introduced the Community category based on the emergence and popularity of sites like Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn," said Pam Horan, president of the OPA. "These new sites have had significant impact on the Communications category, which saw a 41 percent decline due to the fact consumers are using Community sites where they can conduct these same activities more efficiently.
No doubt text messaging has also played a role, though OPA didn't include any data for this.
Making like a good social network and copying its competitors more successful aspects, Facebook has taken the liberty of using the @ symbol to tag friends in posts and status updates, a method that was popularized by Twitter.
Currently, while on Twitter you can use the @ symbol to refer to, or directly respond to a friend (ex: Hanging out with the coolest guy ever, @asalisbury). And, exactly as it’s done on Twitter, Facebook will reportedly auto-generate names with you enter part of a friend’s name. Don’t worry though, if the status update is too embarrassing you will be able to untag yourself.
The new feature is available now, so feel free to go give it a whirl.
Facebook will soon be at your eardrums as Boston-based tech firm Vivox is busy giving the finishing touches to its voice chat offering for Facebook. Vivox identifies itself as the leading provider of voice chat services for online games and virtual worlds. The service is currently in closed beta and only a few weeks away from launch.
Facebook announced today that they were open-sourcing the real-time technology from the recently acquired FriendFeed. The Python based code is now collectively known as Tornado. "Tornado is... designed to handle thousands of simultaneous connections, making it ideal for real-time Web services," said David Recordon of Facebook. The hope is that developers will quickly begin work on new services that take advantage of the Tornado real-time technology.
Tornado was originally developed by FriendFeed after finding existing Python frameworks did not perform adequately. Tornado is known as a “nonblocking” framework, as it is capable of many concurrent connections. FriendFeed co-founder, Bret Taylor, said that building their own framework resulted in throughput more than "four times higher than the other frameworks."
What about FriendFeed itself, you ask? Fear not, avid FriendFeed users, the service isn’t going anywhere. Facebook’s press release stated that, "Tornado is a core piece of infrastructure that powers FriendFeed's real-time functionality, which we plan to actively maintain."
“I want everybody here to be careful about what you post on Facebook,” Obama told a group of 40 ninth graders. “Because in the YouTube age, whatever you do, it will be pulled up again later somewhere in your life. And when you’re young, you make mistakes and you do some stupid stuff. ”
Recent studies have shown that an increasing number of hiring managers closely examine the social networking profiles of job candidates. So, a bit of caution on the part of these kids will at least ensure that they don’t remain unemployed because of social networking gaffes.
AOL has begun integrating its popular instant messaging service with two other social networking moguls: Facebook and Twitter. In July, they released a beta version of the AIM Client that connected the services to the application. With the updated beta version you were able to view friends’ status updates from Facebook and tweets from Twitter.
In a more recent update to the beta client, AIM now also gives you the power to update your Facebook status, as well as tweet from your Twitter account, all from within the AIM client. The updated “Lifestream” section of the application also features integration into other popular networking tools such as Flickr and YouTube.
A seemingly smart move by AOL, they’ve moved past their competitors, Yahoo Messenger and Live Messenger, by providing these additional, and in some cases, exclusive features.
uSocial is currently offering all the friends/fans packages at introductory prices. While 1,000 Facebook friends or fans can be bought for $177.30, the price for 5,000 friends is $654.30. The current cost of adding 10,000 fans is $1167.30. Although many doubt the worth of buying friends, uSocial founder Leon Hill claims his company delivers targeted friends. "We are getting, basically, targeted friends and fans who are saying, 'Yes, I want information on this,” he told the Associated Press in a phone interview.
Thanks to the inherent irresponsibility that comes with singing up for any social network, the IRS has been tracking down tax evaders thanks to people’s Facebook, MySpace and Twitter habits.
Mining through posted information such as relocation announcements, professional profiles and financial gains, agents with the IRS have been able to collect all sorts of bucks from would-be tax dodgers. One Nebraska agent was able to collect $2,000 from a disc jockey after he advertised on MySpace that he’d be working at a big public party. “These new supplements are often far more efficient than the older ones, such as reading the local newspaper or making inquiries at barbershops and church meetings,” said Jim Eads, director of the Federation of Tax Administrators. Another agent was able to collect $30,000 of unpaid taxes after a Google search lead him directly to his target.
So, if you’re the type of person that likes to boast about income that hasn’t been reported on Twitter, think twice. The IRS could be, and probably is, watching.
As it turns out, taking Facebook quizzes and posting for the world (or at least your network of friends) to see exactly "What Sex and the City Character Are You?" or "What is Your Vampire Power" isn't just incredibly lame, it's also pretty risky, suggests the Northern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), who warns of privacy concerns.
"Millions of people on Facebook who use third-party applications on the site, including the popular quizzes, do not realize the extent to which developers of quizzes and other applications have access to personal information. Facebook's default privacy settings allow nearly unfettered access to a user's profile information, including religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, photos, events, notes, wall posts, and groups," the ACLU warns.
The ACLU thinks Facebook should be doing more to protect its users and suggests that the social networking site upgrade its privacy controls so that quizzes can only see what people want them to see. One way to do this, the ACLU says, is to make the process for apps to access a user's friends' data opt-in rather than opt-out.
Facebook doesn't deny the ACLU's concerns, and in an email to Cnet, said it generally agrees with the ACLU's recommendations. The Facebook spokesperson also said the site has recently disabled hundreds of apps that were inconsistent with Facebook Platform policies.
Is Facebook doing enough? Hit the jump to weigh in with your opinion.
If you're concerned about privacy, it might not be enough to hide your profile or limit who can view your personal information, a new report suggests. That's because social networking sites are sharing your personal info with tracking sites, according to the report.
"When you sign up with a social networking site, you are assigned a unique identifier," says Craig Wills, professor of computer science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). "We found that when social networking sites pass information to tracking sites about your activities, they often include this unique identifier. So now a tracking site not only has a profile of your web browsing activities, it can link that profile to the personal information you post on the social networking site."
The study specifically points out Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter -- three of the most popular social networking sites on the planet -- as being guilty of leaking information. Using your unique identifier, a tracking site could then learn all kinds of things about you, including your name, address, email addy, gender, date of birth, what school you attend, where you work, and tons more.
But is it much ado about nothing? Only the tracking sites know for sure, and Wills admits that researchers have no idea what these sites do with the info, if anything at all.