The other day I took part in a hysterical exchange on Facebook: After watching AMC’s The Pitch (think Mad Men meets reality TV), my friend Deb Gabor, who heads up Austin-based consulting shop Sol Marketing Concepts, posted that she couldn’t stand hearing the contestants talk about “about mind spaces, brand platforms, value propositions, empowering consumers and other sundry bullsh*t.” She followed that with a comment along the lines of, “I’m afraid I sound like this at work – please help me.” Of course I jumped in with a snappy and equally buzzword-laden response, as did a few other folks. We cracked ourselves up. (I know, I need to get out more.) Read More →
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You don’t have to be Sigmund Freud or an evolutionary biologist to figure out that there is something about Facebook that resonates deeply in our psyches and in our lizard brains. New research is attempting to identify and document how this works — and what it means for the rest of us trying to connect with the public.
The fact that people accumulate friends and family members and then post and watch countless photos and videos feels very primal and tribal. As we build our social networks, we exercise the passive aspect of our flight-or-fight instincts, meaning that as we add “friends,” we’re constantly monitoring them for signs of friendship or aggression — and unfriending those who fail the test.
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- Hired Guns blogger Jeff Gothelf is cochairing the AgileUX NYC conference, to be held Saturday, 25 February — a few tickets are still available….
- The neighbors are a little unsure about the new house that Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, is building. (It’s 40% bigger than Zuckerberg’s, but the Wall Street Journal opines that by “billionaire standards, [her] mansion is nothing special”).
- Speaking of Facebook, it’s using you. [NYT]
- Stanford University’s online “Introduction to AI” course attracted 160,000 students from more than 190 countries, with a median age of around 30. And about 23,000 of them finished the course. [The Guardian]
- Have we reached the end of more-is-more when it comes to online content? Felix Salmon writes that “If we have reached that point — and I hope that we have — it’s a function of the way that the world of the web is moving from search to social.”
- Valentines for the curve-loving economic wonk in your life. [Freakonomics]
- “Fail fast” is such a common phrase that it’s a cliché, but what exactly does it mean in practice? The Next Web pulls together some examples of how a batch of startups used initial failures to succeed – at long last.
- In the category of too good to check: Fast Company reports on Cerveza Norte, a beer company that cares about its party-hardy consumers’ privacy. A beer cooler the company tested in a few clubs acts as a “photoblocker” that shines a bright light back when it detects nearby camera and cell phone flashes. The idea is that any photos of you going all Las Vegas somewhere dark will be ruined by all that light, keeping your dirty deeds off Facebook. Check it out in the video below:
There may not be much to cheer about in the economy as a whole, but technology remains one rare bright spot. Here are a few factoids that help make that case.
- All that online socializing does more than keep us up-to-date on our friends’ favorite pet causes. A study from the University of Maryland, released last month, found that the so-called “Facebook App Economy has added at least 182,000 new jobs and contributed more than $12.19 billion in wages and benefits to the U.S. economy this year.” [TechCrunch]
- Last year, New York City’s tech employment finally outstripped its previous record in 2000, during the first tech boom: there were 47,300 people employed in technology in 2010, as opposed to 45,000 a decade before.
- New York has nearly outrun Boston as the #2 destination for venture capital investment (Silicon Valley still holds a commanding lead for first place, although that doesn’t mean that NYC won’t keep trying).
- Recruiters have done a 180 from the doldrums they were in just a year or two ago: some of them can now be seen going after software developers and other techies with a devotion that borders on the stalkerish.
- Like so many others, The Economist is talking tech bubble.
- “Position yourself as an expert” (and other good advice) is in Inc.’s 8 Tips for Using Social Blogging to Grow Your Business.
- Zipcar’s IPO last week had a good start, although the company has yet to be profitable.
- Education-bubble watch: NPR reports that for-profit colleges are targeting people who can’t pay; the SF Chron writes about colleges that market to high schoolers, even though many of the students have little chance of actually being accepted. Doing so “[swells] school coffers with application fees” and “[makes] colleges seem more selective by soliciting and then rejecting applicants.”
- The companies that organize high-school reunions are seeing a drop in attendance. Yep, it’s Facebook’s fault.
- Still need convincing that what you put on the internet matters? Business Insider has a slideshow of 17 folks fired for using Facebook.
- Is the funny guy you’re following on the Twitter really a… bot? [Atlantic]
- A Marist poll found that 36% of the residents of New York state who are under 30 plan to leave within five years. They’re motivated by taxes, a shortage of jobs, and the cost of living. [Daily News]
- Things Organized Neatly is exactly what it says it is.
- The author Douglas Rushkoff has argued that in the near future, being able to program at least a little is essential to understanding our world. Want to get your feet wet? Mashable has four free places to learn to code online.
- Happy Friday the 13th. Maybe today’s the day to learn about some interns from hell. We like this dialogue:
Me: Please be patient with me and all the changes I’m requesting. I promise that for the next issue, the process will be smoother.
Intern: It’s all good. You’re doing a GREAT job!