Social Media Should be Boring

It’s still unraveling, but the story of facebook and data sharing has captured the attention of its users and Wall Street alike. It seems that personal data was shared in many ways which violated facebook’s own policies and privacy laws in some states and nations.

Step back for a minute, however, and we can all see how much worse the problem is. From the Clinton hacked email scandal through this to even more revelations to come, it is very clear that every single thing online has to be treated as if it is public knowledge. There is no privacy.

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Whither, Twitter?

The question always comes up in about the same way whenever I have a new client seeking social media advice.

Client: “I don’t get Twitter. Can you explain it to me?”
Me: “It’s like a personalized news ticker and public chatroom.”
Client: “That’s it? That’s all there is to it? Why is there all the hype?”

At this point, we have less dialogue and more handwaving. People who aren’t on twitter already don’t “get it” and will probably never become users. That’s reflected in their falling growth rate, down to 4% each quarter. And it’s starting to show up in their stock price now that the six month lockup period is over, allowing insiders a chance to sell. It’s below $33 a share, down 25% from the first day of the IPO last November. It’s worth about $19B total, about the same as Facebook’s tab to buy WhatsApp.

Is Twitter dead? No, MySpace and AOL are still around – but that’s where it’s headed at this rate.

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What Do You Expect?

Another week, another crippling cold. It is January, after all, and numbing cold is only to be expected. But expectations are the key to surviving Winter, especially one as brutal as this one. As long as you expect it will be deadly cold, the few days spent actually above freezing turn into a blessing. And there is always the greatest expectation of all – that this can’t last forever and some day it will be Spring.

Expectations are also the key to understanding predictions and the sinking feeling of disappointment when they don’t come true. Barataria has come under some fire for insisting that predictions are the key to a worthy blog’s identity, so it’s only natural that we should deal with three stories of expectations gone horribly wrong in today’s news.

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