A federal judge this week sided with a man accused of stalking a Buddhist religious leader on Twitter, ruling that the Constitution protects "uncomfortable" speech, even when it may cause "substantial emotional distress." Judge Roger W. Titus dismissed the government's case against William Lawrence Cassidy in a 27-page order outlining the details.
Despite the fact that the internet is a constant source of never ending electronic amusement, sometimes it’s simply not enough to keep you entertained. On the days where memes, kittens, trolls and games just aren’t cutting it, might we suggest settling in with a good book? Don’t worry, there’s no need to go cold turkey by turning off your rig while you read--far from it. As a matter of fact, our Cool Site of the Week, GoodReads, can actually enhance the life of a bookworm.
Seeing a lot of crappy status updates on Facebook lately from your British connections? Maybe your friends are constipated. That seems like a silly conclusion to come to, but is it really? According to a new study, British adults view Facebook as more vital to their day-to-day lives than a flushing toilet. We wish we were kidding.
More than a few Twitter users on Monday awoke to find that they had no followers when logging into the popular micro-blogging service, though it wasn't anything they said/wrote. Instead, Twitter temporarily reset all follower/following counts to zero in order to stomp out a bug that allowed users to force others to follow them.
"We identified and resolved a bug that permitted a user to "force" other users to follow them. We're now working to rollback all abuse of the bug that took place," the company said.
Before Twitter squashed the bug, all a user had to do was type "accept [username]" to force that person to follow them, including celebrity accounts. It no longer works, of course, and what about those follower/following counts? According to Twitter, everything was back to normal by 11AM Pacific on Monday.
Not into the whole social networking thing? Well then you're in the majority, but just barely. According to a new study, some 48 percent of Americans age 12 and older are all about making friends online and have a profile on one or more social networking sites.
And it's not just teens and young adults who have latched onto social networking in a big way. The number of people with personal profiles in varying age brackets breaks down like this:
Teenagers: 78 percent
18 to 24 year olds: 77 percent
25 to 34 year olds: 65 percent
35 to 44 year olds: 51 percent
"The use of social networking sites has expanded beyond younger consumers, with substantial numbers of Americans over age of 35 now using social media," said Bill Rose, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Arbitron Inc.
The younger crowd does appear to be taking a bigger interest than before, however. According to the study, 30 percent of Americans age 12 and older log onto their preferred social networking site "several times a day," whereas that number was just 18 percent one year ago.
Google hopes, besides you making more use of its search engine, that the Social Search will offer greater confidence in search results. Rather than rely on the “kindness of strangers”, you can get feedback from people you know and trust. You’re doing it now on Facebook and Twitter, so why not do it on Google as well?
For Social Search to work in a meaningful way, you’re going to have to disclose more of yourself to Google. Google says creating/updating your Google profile is a first step. There you can add links to your other public online social services. Google allows options for managing your Social Search network, including adding and deleting members.
Social Search is being rolled out for all signed-in users. Google says it may take a few days before you see the change.
There is some good news for those of you still awaiting a true measure of Facebook's transcendence. The world's most popular social networking site generates 11 times more page views than first runner-up MySpace, according to Pingdom. Its monthly page view count is a truly vertiginous figure: 260 billion. Microblogging sensation Twitter is rated the fourth most popular social networking site on the planet in terms of page views.
Twitter's 4.4 billion monthly page views may make it look very small in comparison to the top three sites on the list – Facebook, MySpace (24 billion) and Hi5 (12 billion), but as correctly pointed out by Cnet's Caroline McCarthy, it is not the perfect yardstick for measuring Twitter's true reach. Social news aggregator occupies the tenth spot with 340 million monthly page views, twice as many as its rival Reddit.
Social networking may be on the fast-track to market networking, if Dell’s habits become widespread. Dell reports it is taking advantage of social networking sites, such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter to develop networks of Dell followers, within which it promotes its products. And, according to Dell, the practice seems to be working.
Speaking specifically of Twitter, Manish Mehta, vice president of Dell’s online sales unit, says the number of followers of Dell’s tweets now numbers 1.5 million. Furthermore, these followers have spent an estimated $6.5 million on Dell hardware, software, and accessories.
Dell keeps it’s Twitter network active with more than 100 employees sending out tweets over 35 different channels to followers in 12 countries. According to Mehta, “It’s a very vibrant channel for us and it’s growing aggressively. It’s not just our reach and growth that has progressed, it’s that it’s happening globally.”
If Dell’s tweet-related sales are measured against total revenue, it doesn’t seem this approach is much better than mass-mailing. With $6.1 billion in annual revenue, tweet-related sales account for only 0.11% of the total. It hardly seems worth the effort.
RapLeaf, a self-proclaimed “leader in automated search for people information on the social web,” has released the second part of its three-part study about the demographic characteristics of webmail users. In this part they consider the social media profiles and friend counts of AOL, Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo users. What they find, unfortunately, doesn’t really reveal all that much about who does what, social networking-wise, based on their webmail ident.
It’s possible to conclude from the study that Gmail users have, on average, more online friends than other webmail users. And it’s possible to say that Hotmail users have more social media memberships then their online counterparts. But the differences are relatively slight; probably aren’t statistically significant; and quite likely within the realm of measurement error.
For example, guess how many friends the average Gmail user has.
Facebook has taken a pot shot at Digg’s URL popularity service. The social networking giant has upgraded its Share button to display sharing statistics.
The Share button has been around for quite some time and was one of the first Facebook Connect features. It has had overwhelming success in turning Facebook into one of the best to share popular internet content—effectively making services like Digg obsolete.
Facebook also opened all of the analytics associated with the sharing habits of its Facebook users. Inevitably, this will change the way advertisers and media publishers tailor their content to fit the interests of their respective demographics. “We hope you’ll create tools to help analyze and understand how users interact with your content on Facebook,” said Mark Kinsey on the Facebook developer blog about the new analytics.
This is yet one more step Facebook as taken to continue its headstrong effort on becoming the all-in-one solution to the internet. Do you use Facebook Share? Do you (or did you) use Digg?