On the subject of social……..

It’s another one from the vaults, dearest blog snorkellers mine. I know, I know – when am I going to stop recycling old ramblings and post something written especially for you, my loyal followers. If you’ll come a bit closer….that’s it…….now listen. No-one reads this stuff. So, if you’ve chanced upon it, rest assured that this was, in effect, written especially for you. It has been sullied by a number of eyeballs that’s in the single digits – that’s single digit pairs of eyeballs, obviously, unless I have readers who a) have only a single eye (never mind a single digit) or have mastered the art of reading with one. Eye. Not digit. Clearly. Anyway – this is new! Fresh! Splendid original thought to inform yours! Opinion-shaping and opinion-leading! Ah – who am I kidding.

Normal service will be resumed at some point in the future and, in the meantime, stop your whining and bask in my genius. Enjoy.

Take the case of Asiana Airlines Flight 214, which crash-landed at San Francisco airport on July 6 2013. Within a matter of minutes, one of the surviving passengers – and nearly all of them did survive – was tweeting about it. (Which puts me in mind of the sign in Twitter’s UK HQ – ‘In case of fire, exit building before tweeting about it’.) No-one appeared to have tweeted from Malaysian Airlines MH370, or updated their Facebook status. Which struck me as being a rather bad sign.

Moving on – and apologies, gentle reader, for that was something of what I believe they call a ‘downer’ – there’s been loads of stuff going down in Social Town this month.(I can’t believe I just wrote that.)

In no particular order, the world wide web is 25 years old and when you think about the damage it’s wrought, the amount of less-than-functional geeks that are now worth billions and the amount of TED-derived drivel that one is forced to listen to every day, it’s a wonder that Sir Tim Berners-Lee hasn’t been chased through the streets and pitchforked to death.

In an echo of a previous column, a passenger on a train alerted the train operating company to sinister banging and scraping noises beneath his seat through the medium of Twitter, rather than through the eminently more sensible – to my mind – ‘run down the train shouting until you find a person in authority’ method. What’s really astounding about this is not that he did what he did, but that he considered Twitter the best way of communicating what could have been imminent disaster.

Advertising on Twitter is getting cheaper – good news for all those of you who are considering placing Twatverts, but not a terribly good reflection of the value of Twitter’s promotional real estate. I thought the trick was – ideally – to create a sense of worth around your ad space (through audience profiling) and thus stabilise or increase price while (and here’s the clever bit) increasing quantity of space for sale. Doesn’t seem to have worked in this case, which has to cast doubts on the overall market valuation of Twitter.

Elsewhere, someone finally noticed that LinkedIn requires an entirely different approach to, say, Facebook or Twitter – one that, arguably, removes it from the ‘social media’ space and places it firmly in business networking. And then there were two. A respected American fund manager saw fit to question the values ascribed to these two (and their recent purchases) and mentioned the ‘b’(*) word. And I don’t mean ‘b*ll*cks’, although it would be equally appropriate.

Facebook decided that what Africa really needs, right, is – erm – access to Facebook and invested a sizeable sum in a manufacturer of drone aircraft, which it intends to use as satellites, off of which to bounce t’internet. This will enable people in some of the poorest countries in the world to join the increasing numbers of people offering to sell their organs (quickly) on the social network. It could be the end of payday loans. Until you run out of organs.

David Cameron pledged a £45m investment into research around the Internet of Things – or M2M communications. Given that this won’t buy you a half-decent app these days, it’s a farcically small amount of money to throw at such a big (and important) topic, one that might – possibly – not just be seen as the Next Big Thing, but (unlike social) actually have some of the qualities of bigness, nextness and thingness. But, better little than never.

Apparently, hackers are now targeting internet-enabled devices. This could, of course, mean that when your fridge contacts your smartphone, prompting you to buy milk, you’ll get home to find that you didn’t need any. What really worries me, of course, is that the fridge won’t bother to tip me off about the milk situation because it’s too busy updating its Facebook status.

(*) Bubble

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