Is the Social Network Really just a Social Utility?

What a difference an IPO makes.

Tuesday brought news that 80% of Facebook users have never made a purchase because of an ad or comment on the site. This is just the latest bit of news to tarnish the once-golden site of our time. As part of the IPO process we learned about the anemic revenues generated per user. The same poll that showed lack of buying indicated users were spending less time on the site. And we’d already seen that males were spending their online time elsewhere.

Can it all just be sour grapes?

Well, maybe. But I think what’s really going on is something that’s been seen before, namely the maturing of a channel or technology. Continue reading


The Ambient Nature of Facebook

It must be something in the water. Every time I encounter ‘business’ writing that makes sense  I invariably discover the writer is a Brit. Since I’m by no stretch an Anglophile that makes it all the more puzzling. So  something else must be happening. More likely than not whatever’s at hand serves  as a sane middle ground between the hyperkinetic American style and the  ramblings of Bernard Henri-Lévy disciples that seem to thrive on the Continent.

That brings me to my latest find, a post by Bryan Urbick, founder of Consumer Knowledge Continue reading

Who’s Missing? Pew Study Indicates Gaps in the Social Media Landscape

I’ve been spending some time with a recent report from the Pew Internet & American Life project. For those not in the know, the Pew Research Center conducts and publishes social research; the Interet & American life project is just one  of their efforts.  Since Pew’s funding is  secure the work they do is methodologically sound, beautiful even–unlike some of what gets reported in the business press. In fact, the execution is so close to perfect  it’s a pity so many Pew reports only warrant mention of a fact or two from the Executive Summary.

This past June Pew issued an 85-page report entitled Social networking sites and our lives. It Continue reading

Back to Business

Don’t fight the tape is an old Wall Street maxim that embodies some real wisdom. You really can get in a jam if you insist on ignoring a trend that has a life of its own. And that’s as true off the Street as on, maybe more so. Today our subject is a hopeful development–the deflating, however slowly, of the social media bubble.

Yes, I did say hopeful and I chose that word purposefully even as I suspect it will irk some Continue reading

Trope or Reflection?

Running behind, as usual, and so Nancy Franklin’s August review of the new Laura Linney show, The Big C, just crossed my path. I think it’s time to face the fact that I’d rather read Nancy Franklin about television than actually spend time to watch television.

What caught my eye, though, was this little bit about the main character’s decision Continue reading