Posts Tagged 'Facebook'

Where People Are (and Aren’t) Using the Internet

Let’s face it, if you’re reading this you have internet access. You are one of the 2.5 billion people on this planet that have reliable access to the internet and all the benefits that it brings. That also means you’re not part of the roughly 4.5 billion people who don’t have internet access. Well Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently announced that he’s going to try and change that. The ride of the internet and social media have allowed people to access unprecedented amounts of information, created entire new businesses and markets all over the world, and has even helped overthrow governments. Zuckerberg of course has a big financial interest in greater worldwide internet access. 4.5 billion more internet users means 4.5 billion more potential Facebook accounts and a potential rise in value of Facebook’s stagnant stock price.

In reaction to this news CNN Money made up an interesting interactive map showing which countries have the best and worst percentage of people with internet access. Iceland, Norway, and Sweden lead the world in internet access with 96%, 95%, and 94% connectivity rates while the three countries with the lowest percentages are Eritrea, East Timor, and Myanmar which have rates of 0.8%, 0.9%, and 1.1% respectively. One interesting revelation of this map is what it says about the United States. Only 81% of American households have internet access and I find that pretty astonishing since we’re the country that invented the internet in the first place. This would suggest that Facebook hasn’t quite run its base of potential subscribers completely dry in America despite many reports to the contrary.


The darker the better.

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Wikipedia: The Internet’s Anti-Google

Think of all the websites that get the most unique visits in a given day. Many of those websites like Google, Amazon, and Facebook have made a billions of dollars over the years and made their founders super rich. Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are both worth about $20 billion, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is worth about $25 billion, and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is worth about $13 billion. There is however an exception to that trend worth noting. Wikipedia is the 7th most trafficked website in the world, employs less than 10 full time employees, and founder Jimmy Wales is not a billionaire several times over.

Wikipedia is a free internet encyclopedia available to anyone with an internet connection that doesn’t have any advertising. It’s content is created and edited by roughly 80,000 volunteers that anyone can join so long as they make a free account. Though the quality of the writing has been called into question due to its editing policy, Wikipedia remains an invaluable repository of easily accessible general information (though I wouldn’t recommend using it as a source for serious research). It is estimated that the site would be worth about $5 billion if it were to have advertising but the site’s volunteer base would likely revolt at that prospect. Voluntary donations fund the site’s operating costs and the system largely works. In many ways it shares the same mission statement as Google “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” but not make any money off of it.

As for Wales himself, he only makes about a million dollars per year for his efforts and he’s okay with that. Though he is no longer involved in the site’s day to day operations he still remains the final arbiter of the site’s many disputes over content earning him the informal title of Wikipedia’s “Benevolent Dictator for Life.” I find a decision like this to pass up on billions of dollars to avoid editorial conflicts of interest and retain an interface that its readers enjoy to be incredibly admirable and increasingly rare in our society. For that reason and for creating one of my favorite websites ever I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for Jimmy Wales.

How much money would you give up to be a Benevolent Dictator for Life?

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Oxford English Dictionary Adds Social Media Terms

If you were to look up the word “tweet” in the dictionary last week, the only definition you would have gotten would be something like “a high-pitched sound made by a bird.” That of course is not the most common way that it is used in today’s society and Oxford English Dictionary finally changed to reflect that. Also included are new terms like “mouseover,” “e-reader,” “big data,” “crowdsourcing,” “flash mob,” and “redirect.” Here’s some of the new definitions you can find in the dictionary now:

Tweet (n): A posting made on the social networking service Twitter.
Tweet (v): To make a posting on the social networking service Twitter.
Follow (v): To track the activities or postings of (a person, group, etc.) by subscribing to their account on a social media website or application.
Follower (n): A person who follows a particular person, group, etc., on a social media Web site or application.

It’s moments like this that remind us that our technology, culture, and language are constantly evolving and that we will be using words fifty years from now that haven’t even been invented yet.

A brief history of tweeting.

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The Space Race and Social Media

Funding our space program has never been politically popular. Even in the 1960s when NASA’s funding and support was at its highest, more people in America opposed its funding than supported it. The refrain is always the same too; “We have enough problems as it is down here on Earth, let’s focus on those first.” Fortunately for us, Congress and Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon decided to completely ignore public opinion when it came to our space program and everyone in the world benefitted from it.

In the summer of 1966 NASA launched a weather satellite and that fall it observed a hurricane developing over the Gulf of Mexico heading towards Texas. For the first time in human history we were able to give people in the hurricane’s path an early warning that the storm was coming and order them to evacuate, potentially saving many lives. After the hurricane hit, President Johnson famously said “Today our space program just paid for itself.” NASA’s primary mission at that time may have been to put a man on the moon but their innovations ended up creating new industries and developing new technologies that have improved all of our lives.

I would argue that social media is like NASA for many businesses. Companies that can use social media very well can benefit enormously in today’s digital economy but the path to reaping those benefits is much less clear and predictable. In business there is a tendency to think in terms of simple causality; doing A will lead to B. If B is not something that will directly benefit the business then it usually gets dismissed as something that isn’t worth doing. With social media it’s more like doing A leads to B which leads to C which leads to D. Only when you get to D is where you get something that directly benefits the business.

Microsoft recently did a study on companies and social media surveying about 10,000 information workers across 32 countries and broadly speaking it shows that there is a disconnect between management and their employees over the effectiveness of social media. 46 percent of those surveyed say that use of social tools has improved their own productivity, and 28 percent of respondents say that they know people who have completely ignored their company’s policy regarding using social media. The main concerns against its usage are loss of productivity and security concerns. Ultimately I think that the biggest issue that upper management in many companies has with social media is that it is unpredictable. Much like space funding there is no clear line that can be drawn with respect to how it improves the company and too often it gets shunned altogether as a result. In my opinion this is a grave mistake. The refusal or inability to embrace new innovations in many industries is a death sentence. Just ask Kodak, Polaroid, and Blockbuster.

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Facebook Releases a New, Faster App for iOS

Ahh, finally! After 18 months of criticism for being slow and unresponsive, Facebook issued a massive update to its iOS app yesterday with version 5.0.

According to Facebook, the new version is “rebuilt so it’s faster and easier to use.” In addition, for iPad users, Timeline is finally supported on the device.

You can download Facebook for IOS from the App Store.

Facebook issued a smaller update to Facebook for Android as well. It isn’t as grand as the iOS update, but some perks include faster photo uploads and the capability to use emoji in messages.

Original article courtesy of Mashable.

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Super Bowl 46 mobility by the numbers’s Super Bowl 46 mobility by the numbers highlights the increase use of mobile devices and social media for major events.

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“I Would Have Stayed In Boston”

According to Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg, “If I Were Starting A Company Now, I Would Have Stayed In Boston.” during a a candid interview with Y Combinator, Zuckerberg was asked what he would do different if he could go back in time.  His reply was “If I were starting now I would do things very differently. I didn’t know anything. In Silicon Valley, you get this feeling that you have to be out here. But it’s not the only place to be. If I were starting now, I would have stayed in Boston. [Silicon Valley] is a little short-term focused and that bothers me.”

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