To all my Facebook friends…

So many social engagements, so little time. – John Goodman in Raising Arizona (YouTube clip)

fb_invitations.jpg

Yeah, I’m a little behind on accepting all the social networking invitations and requests you’ve been sending me via that wonderful platform.

So if you’re waiting on me to take your movie, rock star or serial killer quiz, or to join your event or group, I might not be getting back to you right away. Not that I don’t want to be a virtual vampire or take better care of my Lil Green Patch to help reduce my carbon footprint. It’s just, well, you know — I’ve been busy.

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Now playing: X-Ray Spex – I Am A Cliche
via FoxyTunes

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Social networking trends: new players for 2008

Update, March 20, 2008: Joining Dots took the data presented below and put it in graph form, along with further analysis. See the entry Social Networks Long Tail.

top-social-networks-feb.pngRecent research from the web analytics firm Compete turns up some interesting information about the popularity of various social networking sites. Compete’s comparison of social networking traffic from February 2008 and February 2007 shows dramatic growth in up-and-comers like Ning (4803% change) and Twitter (4368%). LinkedIn also experienced a hefty spike in usage (729%). (Click image for the chart showing comparisons by social network.)

Meanwhile, MySpace is still the top social network, but usage actually decreased by 1 percent. Facebook, the No. 2 social network, grew by 77 percent between February 2007 and February 2008, an indication that Facebook’s popularity may be leveling off (as previously suggested on this very blog).

(Hat tip to Jonathan’s blog.)

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Now playing: The New Pornographers – Myriad Harbour
via FoxyTunes

SXSW

A lot of the folks I follow on Twitter are at SXSW Interactive as I blog this, and they’ve been tweeting up a storm over the past 24 hours. All the social media superstars are there, I think, along with a gaggle of microblogging groupies (and I mean that in the nicest way, for that is what I would be were I present). The best part — the SXSW music event — hasn’t even gotten started yet. Anyway, if you’re among the masses who are not at SXSW but want to follow along, but don’t want to sort through the Twitter clutter, here are a few resources:

  • The BFG Communications blog is doing a nice job of wrapping up the early sessions. BFG posted a summary of Forrester guru Charlene Li‘s presentation, Social Strategies for Revolutionaries, and linked to her presentation on SlideShare.
  • SXSW in pictures. If you’d rather look at a picture than read, ClickZ points to the work of Sunni Brown and Marilyn Martin, who “graphically record the proceedings – quickly, compellingly and more succinctly than many of the journalists or bloggers in the vast session rooms.” Cool stuff.
  • Coverage of today’s big event, an interview with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, which apparently turned truly interactive. Jeff Jarvis (BuzzMachine) reports on the event, as does Mashable’s Kristen Nicole.
  • Perhaps some of the higher ed bloggers who went to the SXSW Higher Ed Web Meetup last Friday will also be posting. It would be nice to get a higher ed perspective on some of the discussion.

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Now playing: Various Artists – eMusic – Badlands – Day For Night
via FoxyTunes

Friday Five: sick day edition

Second sick day in a row. Bleh. But lucky for you, dear reader, for I’m blogging like a feverish, cranky, congested, Sudafed-popping, Vicks Vap-o-Rub-slathered mad man.

(Okay, maybe that Vap-o-Rub reference was TMI for y’all. Let’s move on.)

  1. Karine Joly celebrates three years of writing for University Business with her latest column about how colleges and universities are developing Facebook applications to better connect with students, alumni, prospective students, etc. On her College Web Editor blog, Karine is compiling a list of higher ed FB apps. If you’ve got one to add to the mix, get in touch with her.
  2. Twitterpacks is a cool way to meet fellow twits tweeters based on interest, communities of practice, or geography. It’s a wiki and simple to join. Discovered via Karine’s Friday list-o-links. Karine found it via Seth Meranda‘s post. If you tweet, you should sign up and run with the pack(s) of your choosing. (I always assumed Twitter users would be in flocks, but that would make too much sense.)
  3. DW offers a refreshing reminder that sometimes we learn the most from the students we work with. Thanks for that.
  4. 10 social media presentations — all posted on Slideshare and yours for the viewing. Looks like a good resource for social networking data. Via .edu Guru‘s Links of the Week (from last Friday).
  5. Phoenix rising. The University of Phoenix doesn’t even have a football team — or any sports team. But it does own the name on the football stadium where the New England Patriots and New York Giants will square off on Sunday for Super Bowl XLII. U of P spent $154 million in 2006 for the naming rights to the stadium. They hope to cash in on Sunday with a bevy of inquiries and the kind of national media exposure that money can’t buy only $154 million (plus a couple of Super Bowl ad spots) can buy. A drop in the bucket for the university’s owner, Apollo Group Inc., which generates annual revenues of nearly $3 billion. (Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education. A Chronicle staffer actually pitched this idea to me and suggested that “other colleges without athletics programs can apply the same strategy of advertising at major sports events to their advantage.” Somehow I doubt that many colleges without athletics programs invest as much in branding as Phoenix. But the story’s still worth a link.)

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Now playing: Spoon – You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb
via FoxyTunes

More about Facebook and Twitter

Judy Gombita of PR Conversations tried to leave a comment on my recent post about the (apparently exaggerated) decline of Facebook, but her comment was rejected due to its plethora of links. So, she emailed the comment to me, and I thought it was worthy of its very own post. Here it is. (As a caution to commenters, the WordPress comment function on this blog isn’t very link-friendly, so please keep that in mind when posting. Just post the URL instead of trying to insert html code, and you should be fine.)

Hey Andrew, I agree with you that the kool-aid crowd has moved on to Twitter, but whether it will ever reach the critical mass/numbers (worldwide) of Facebook, I’m highly doubtful.

The bright shiny new toys crowd (BSNTC) tend to be very loud and adamant at the front end about how useful and necessary is the tool/platform/channel, but they are also the first to be fickle and move on. Twelve to 18 months ago everyone was telling me that I *had* to be exploring Second Life, because my organization would *have* to have a presence in there or risk being left behind by the competition.

I held fast.

For the last six to 12 months I’ve been rejecting “be my FB friend” requests. The BSNTC is always amazed that I haven’t sent up a profile in FB. Of course they are now yawning in boredom about how “so 2007” it is and complaining about FB’s numerous applications (you know, the ones they happily installed), the Beacon fiasco, etc.

Yep, the main problem with FB is that it *isn’t* as fast and easy and valuable and fun as Twitter! (At least for the next two to three months…after that they will move on to the next BSNT….)

I haven’t rejected the concept of micro-blogging wholesale (although I doubt the current iteration of Twitter will prove to be the killer app). It just hasn’t proven itself for (my) business direction/needs as yet. (And I have a real office water cooler, so don’t feel the need of an online one.)

FYI, I keep my eye out for relevant articles (and not always negative ones!) and send them on to my University of Georgia “blogging prof” and unabashd Twitter champion pal, Karen Miller. See how she is incorporating Twitter into her class assignments and building up a nice little list of resources for her students. FYI, I sent her these two:

How Individuals Use Twitter, Peter Kim

17 Ways to Use Twitter

(When I sent this second one, I actually put in the Subject line: OK, this makes sense)

On a side note, I think there would be a greater acceptance and use for Twitter if the BSNTC didn’t try so hard (and often) to be “clever” on Twitter. Or so obviously cliquey. Not to mention the excruciating amount of details about their food intake and travel plans and the “good mornings” and “good nights Twitterati.” It’s that kind of behaviour that earns the phrase “overactive tweets.” (Credit to Jenn Mattern for that one.)

My Twitter and Facebook activity has been pretty light lately. Likewise with this blog. A combination of work craziness and some under-the-weatherness has contributed to my malaise. Maybe next week I’ll get back into the social networking groove.

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Now playing: Angelique Kidjo – Salala ft. Peter Gabriel
via FoxyTunes

While I was away: new Chronicle blog, Facebook/Beacon woes, fastest growing search terms, Courtney Love is still around (who knew?), and more

While I was busy conferencing, a few blogworthy items have come in over the virtual transom. Time to play catch up.

  • Brainstorm is the latest blog offering from The Chronicle of Higher Education. It’s an offshoot from The Chronicle Review, the collection of thoughtful essays that is branded online as “the magazine of ideas.” I doubt I’ll follow this one; it’s a bit too far to the highbrow end for my middlebrow tastes.
  • Another interesting find: Communicators Anonymous, a blog by Lauren Vargas, a marketing professor at Northwood University. This one’s going into my RSS feeds.
  • All your face are belong to us? Facebook has been catching it lately since the news broke that its Beacon advertising program collects data on people who aren’t even part of the Facebook network. A smattering:
  • txting relevant 2 educ’n? “Text2Teach was launched in 2002, and has since managed to serve 900,000 students from 204 public elementary schools” in the Philippines.
  • iPhone rising: Google announces fastest growing search terms. iPhone tops the list, followed by webkinz. But of course. And Britney Spears doesn’t even make the top 10.
  • Calling all ‘webiste’ designers: Courtney Love wants you. Or so she says in a recent, typo-ridden MySpace blog post.
  • There’s more stuff from the past few days in my shared RSS items.

    Whites are from Facebook, Latinos are from MySpace

    Race and class may have something to do with how people select social networking sites, and may mirror real-world race and class issues, a recent study suggests. As reported on the Chronicle’s Wired Campus blog, the study, published in the October issue of the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, “argues that a student’s race, ethnicity, and upbringing play important parts in predicting which online social networks he or she will join.”

    The report, “Whose Space? Differences Among Users and Non-Users of Social Network Sites,” by Eszter Hargittai, an assistant professor of communication studies at Northwestern University, summarizes the results of Hargittai’s surveys of more than 1,000 students at the University of Illinois at Chicago about their social network preferences. Among the findings: White students favor Facebook, hispanics prefer MySpace, and “Asian and Asian-American students prefer Facebook, but they also use other social-networking sites, like Xanga and Friendster, that are less popular with other ethnic groups.”

    Class also plays a role in social network selection. “Students whose parents have lower levels of schooling are likely to use MySpace, while students whose parents have more formal education lean toward Facebook. And students who live at home are much less likely to frequent social networks than are their classmates who live on the campus.”

    What should campus officials take away from the study? Ms. Hargittai says the results show that online social networks evoke real-world communities and demographics. “Online actions and interactions cannot be seen as tabula rasa activities, independent of existing offline identities,” she writes. “Rather, constraints on one’s everyday life are reflected in online behavior, thereby limiting—for some more than others—the extent to which students from different backgrounds may interact with students not like themselves.”

    It’s interesting, but my high school classmates who are into social networking tend to reflect this class breakdown. (There aren’t many of us into social networking; we graduated in 1978, after all.) Most of us were from lower-middle class backgrounds, and we’ve gravitated to MySpace. A few of us are on Facebook, too. Some of us are on LinkedIn, too (more my college classmates than high school). So maybe the class divisions play out in social networking even beyond the college years.

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    Now playing: Talking Heads – Don’t Worry About the Government
    via FoxyTunes