The Layout of it All

During our meeting today we discussed some ideas on how the final project will look.

1.) Student profiles- we thought it would be a good idea to include a
“profile” page which will include a picture of each student and description of who they are, what they’re studying, etc. These pages, hopefully, will look exactly like Facebook profiles do.

2.) We are still thinking about what Topics, Players, and Examples will look like but we have thought that our personal projects will look like the new profile on Facebook’s timeline- a large cover photo at the top to represent the company (for example: sharpie- large sharpie graffiti art, chick fil a- the cows, etc), with a profile picture of company logo, some quick facts and under info- everything about our individual projects.

3.) We’re going to bring physical ideas about layout to class next week- such as different magazines. If you all have some layout suggestions please feel free to let us know!

4.) A Cover page is in the works…

5.) What we need from you: eventually we will need all of your reports and photos to use- this will be based on what editorial suggests

Editing Team Responsibilities and Requirements

Discussion of Length: We decided that the articles should have a pretty strict word limit, so that the layout team would have an easier time fitting everything in and the articles would be consistent. The one-pagers should be no longer than 350 words. The topic papers should be no longer than 500 words. The company articles should be no longer than 750.

Discussion of Attribution: We’re not sure of the best way to do attribution yet, so everyone be sure to keep track of all of your sources. We would like everyone to include links of all the sources, but as for attributions within the articles, that’s still up for debate, so if anyone has ideas, let us know!

Discussion of Style: Please use AP style in all of your articles.

Discussion of Tone: After reading some of the articles already posted, we decided that the articles that worked the best were the ones we enjoyed to read. This doesn’t mean you have to be funny or sarcastic or have a personality trait that detracts from the material, but your articles should try to have a conversationalist style that isn’t just facts about your topic.

What we need from you: To make the editing team’s lives easier, we would appreciate if all of the articles you post to the blog are FINAL DRAFTS of what you would like to include in the report. This way, we can offer you feedback if something needs to be changed and whole process will be faster. So, when you write your articles, please keep in mind the length, attribution, style, and tone of your pieces. As for the articles everyone has already posted, if you could edit them update them, that would be great. Please don’t re-post them, just update the original post and title it “(whatever your title is) FINAL.”

Please try to have your one-pagers edited and finalized by Wednesday, April 4th. Thanks guys!

-The Editorial Team in an online music service which connects you with friends and others in a real time listening experience. Basically users create an avatar to visit virtual listening rooms to listen, socialize, chat, and share (or DJ) through a Facebook portal. boasts 11 million tracks and if not enough for some music enthusiasts, reserves the ability to upload songs from personal computers. Users take turns DJing (selecting songs) for the individuals in the same virtual room. Users vote on the song selections with points. Users save points in order to upgrade their avatar and to remain the “DJ” for longer time periods. 

Users must use Facebook or Twitter to log into the virtual listening rooms. Turntable will then post on individual timelines about the listening experience. Turntable is just one of the many music services that utilize Facebook’s worldwide connectivity to reach their constituency. Facebook now boasts a music sharing capability via facebook chat. Friends are able to chat with one another and if listening to Spotify or another music service have the option to share music in real time. 

Bottom line is music is a social experience and always will be. Turntable creators envision bringing the offline listening experience to online social networking. Artists are catching on. Rapper Wale now opens his show by “DJing” in a Turntable virtual room for fans who could not make it to the show. Likewise organizers of the Fun Fun Fun fest also utilize a Turntable room for its virtual fans. Perhaps more impressive individuals are planning events with music streamed virtually from So if they cannot afford or just don’t want to hire a DJ partiers employ virtual DJs from anywhere in the world. Lets just hope we all still physically, in real life, come together. It will be a sad world if people only attended virtual parties. 

The ACLU: One of Facebook’s Best Frienemies

In the wake of Instant Personalization, Timeline, and Open Graph, it’s not a stretch to say that Facebook has a history of pushing the privacy boundaries… at least until someone pushes back.

In 2011, the Federal Trade Commission pushed back in its settlement, requiring Facebook to “respect the privacy wishes of its users and subjects [Facebook] to regular privacy audits for the next 20 years.” The New York Times commented that the FTC’s involvement essentially introduced “friction” to Facebook’s frictionless sharing, but in no way was it the end to Facebook’s skirmishes with privacy. In fact, if Facebook only had its eye on resistance from government agencies, it might make the mistake of overlooking a powerful opponent in the American Civil Liberties Union.

According to their website, the ACLU is an organization that works within the court system to preserve the constitutional “individual rights and liberties” guaranteed to every American citizen. With Facebook and privacy continuing to be at odds, it’s an easy fit for the ACLU, and as a result, the organization has consistently found itself representing complainants in many Facebook privacy cases.

Even back in 2009, the ACLU was very concerned about the information that users put on Facebook. The ACLU called Facebook’s restrictions on data collection by application developers “simply inadequate.” Their concern was that application developers could create something as innocuous as a Facebook Quiz and then use that to get access to a user’s information which could then be packaged, sold, or even turned over to the authorities.

While this concern is present today, what is more pressing to the ACLU is the increasing instances of authoritative organizations pressuring individuals to turn over their Facebook account information and passwords.

In 2010, the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services asked a former employee for his Facebook account information and password after the employee sought to reestablish his employment. Supposedly, the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services was looking for any “gang affiliations” the former employee might have, but the ACLU called such actions “appalling.”

There has also recently been a case where a student was forced to give school officials her Facebook password, because she was accused of having an inappropriate conversation with another student on Facebook. The ACLU is currently representing the student in a lawsuit against the school.

Facebook’s response to this new trend has been swift. It is now a violation of Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities to share or solicit a Facebook password. The ACLU now has a partner in its lobby for congress to pass legislation ensuring protection of passwords from employers, schools, government, law enforcement, and any other organization in a position to request such information.

So, in this instance, Facebook and ACLU find themselves strange bedfellows, because if there’s something Facebook can’t stand it’s someone other than Facebook violating its users’ privacy.


National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties


Google versus Facebook. As the two digital juggernauts continue their path in taking over the entire digital world, their biggest and most dangerous foe may not be each other nor another digital rival such as Yahoo!. As a matter of fact their scariest nemesis may not be an online company at all. If Facebook or Google is to reach their desired level of world domination they must first overcome the French privacy agency known as the CNIL: The Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés or National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties. 

The National Commission for Computing and Civil Liberties is a French administration responsible for ensuring that information technology is to serve the citizen without affecting: human identity, the rights of man, privacy, individual or public liberties. The French agency is a semi-major administration in the European Union and often leads the charge for enforcing privacy laws against companies racking up personal data. The agency is made up of 17 members 12 of which are elected administrators appointed by the courts or assemblies they represent. The administration gets its authority from the Data Protection Act and “does not take authority from anybody.” -When doing research on their site they very clearly very plainly asked ASKED me if it was okay to attach a cookie to my computer! A change from a time when cookies were just attached to an users computer whether the user knew or not. 

As the two mega companies Facebook and Google continue to ease back the creep out line when no one is looking, revealing more and more private information, the CNIL steps in on the behalf of not only Europeans but individuals worldwide. By investigating the digital powerhouses the CNIL promulgates to the public their rights to with hold and permanently remove information from online at will. For the individuals who feel defenseless in their struggle to remain silent, the CNIL tells digital powerhouses to “pick on someone your own size.” Companies like Facebook and Google analyze this personal information, package it, then sell it to advertisers all the while users donate it for free. Is it free or is the experience the compensation? In this fight for privacy, go CNIL! GO!

How News Got Social

In 2011, The New York Times‘ circulation reached 1.2 million people.

The Wall Street Journal’s circulation reached 2.11 million people.

Facebook’s circulation reached 500 million people.

It’s not a leap to say that news organizations would love to harness the power of Facebook, unfortunately few have found an effective means to do so. However, for those looking to partner with the social media giant, the success of the Washington Post Social Reader is one that cannot be ignored.

Launched in 2011, the Washington Post Social Reader Facebook application is currently used by 11 million people. It instantly shares articles you read with your Facebook friends, and shares articles your Facebook friends read with you, creating a “socially powered newswire of intriguing articles.”  It also recommends other articles based on what articles a user has previously read, allowing for a better understanding of a “user’s preferences with repeat usage.”

Most importantly however, is the fact the Social Reader allows users to look at full articles without leaving their Facebook page. Users also don’t have to pay for the articles they view.

The Washington Post Social Reader has no advertisements. For many stories, it doesn’t even direct the user to content from its own site but instead uses content from partner sites like Mashable, the Associated Press, and Global Post. The average individual may question what the Washington Post may even get out of an application like Social Reader, but the answer is data. When users get the Social Reader application, it asks for permissions, but more importantly specific permissions.

Like any good app, it doesn’t ask for information the creating organization doesn’t need. For example, since the Washington Post is an organization built on its readership, it has no need for information dealing with a user’s Facebook pictures or status updates. Asking for only specific information, instead of access to everything, shortens the number of permissions, which may make users feel more at ease with the app they are allowing on their Facebook page.

Since the Social Reader shares articles a user reads with their Facebook friends, privacy settings are included to where users can decide what groups of their friends are allowed to see the articles a user reads. This impacts the reach of the Social Reader, because not only can it be limited to certain groups of friends, but if a friend wants to read an article that a user’s Social Reader shares with them, they must also allow the Social Reader app.

It is also important to note that by using the Washington Post Social Reader, users are automatically upgraded to Facebook Timeline, the new version of a Facebook profile, which allows users to share more information about themselves over the course of their life.

The Social Media Research Foundation and the Guardian’s Facebook Timeline app

Visualizing the Future: The Social Media Research Foundation

If we are approaching the age of Big Data, then it is imperative that companies, schools, governments and people alike learn to make sense of and see patterns in vast amounts of data. To that effect, the Social Media Research Foundation is here to save the day.

With an aim to create “open tools, generate and host open data, and support open scholarship” about social media, the organization is poised to dissect the mountains of data that are updated continually online.

The foundation is truly a collaborative effort by researchers from an array of institutions including Microsoft Research, Morningside Analytics and many universities including our very own University of Georgia.



The organization’s biggest project to date is NodeXL, a free, open network discovery and exploration add-on for Excel.  Using this familiar spreadsheet format, NodeXL offers companies and social media researchers a way to collect, analyze and visualize complex social networks in an easy way.

Visualization is the key to understanding how and what we communicate via social networks.  Take, for example, the Bill Gates Foundation.

Marc Smith, one of many researchers involved with the foundation, visually graphed the social networks of the Bill Gates Foundation using NodeXL and, according to a article, found that their network is a “fairly insular and uncommunicative group of people.”  Gates serves as a broadcaster, but does not encourage the community to actively connect with each other.

Without the use of visualization, this trend may not have become apparent.  NodeXL hosts a gallery of hundreds of social media visualizations that have been submitted by users.  The gallery graphs everything from the connections among Twitter users who recently tweeted the #knightfdn or Knight News Challenge to a graphic representation of an individual’s Facebook connections.

The visualization add-on has mostly been used to graph Twitter hashtags or connections, but the tool has the potential to offer companies a chance to find patterns of use and trends among Facebook users

In short, the Social Media Research Foundation’s NodeXL add-on can help companies in their search to prove that they really understand their customers.

Want to learn more? Visit to learn more about the foundation or to view the open gallery.

The Guardian’s Facebook Timeline App


Since Facebook first launched its Facebook Timeline app component, more than 3000 apps have been created to take advantage of frictionless sharing. In the media world, several apps have resulted in a large increase of user traffic, mostly by users that are traditionally hard for traditional media outlets like The Guardian to reach.


That being said, The Guardian’s new Facebook Timeline app is a step in the right direction. The app has been installed over 5 million times with more than half of its users under the age of 24.

Like many other media outlets, The Guardian Facebook Timeline app is a social reader.  With a few clicks allowing The Guardian app to access your Facebook data, the app allows you to read The Guardian’s content and seamlessly share what you’ve read with your friends. As soon as you’ve clicked on an article, that article is then posted to your news feed or ticker and your friends get a glimpse at your news reading habits.  You can also, thereby, see what your friends have been reading at

The launch of this Facebook Timeline app has meant a monumental increase in traffic for The Guardian UK.  According to an article on, The Guardian recently reached a new record of unique visitors to its website, and 30 percent of those visitors were attributed to Facebook referrals.  That’s up from 2 percent just six months ago, prior to the launch of the Facebook Timeline app.

While an increase in traffic is good for The Guardian, besides recommendations from friends and time saved from sharing articles that you’ve read and liked, the app could also offer content that is personalized. The Guardian is poised to show readers that they really get them by tailoring recommended content to a person’s interests, saving the user precious time in finding content that’s relevant to them.

Want to know more about the power of The Guardian’s new Facebook Timeline app? Visit

Consumers Union

As consumers become more aware of online terms such as tracking, cookies [not the good kind you eat], data mining, and other invasive expressions, privacy advocates have been stepping in and creating a voice for the people. One of those organizations who has taken initiative and has stepped forward to challenge numerous issues [both online and off] has been the Consumers Union (CU).

Founded in 1936, when advertising started to rule the airwaves and consumers lacked a reliable source to help them determine between hyped of bad products and quality ones. On the Consumes Union’s website they define themselves as, “an expert, independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers to empower consumers to protect themselves.”

Throughout its existence, the CU is provided consumer information on a broad range of products. In a continual growing technological world, the most recent CU stand has been at the forefront of the online privacy war.

This past March, the CU offered up praise for the final report on a framework for online privacy by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC report concludes that companies need to address consumer privacy by implementing a “Do Not Track” option which should be operating by the end of 2012 and takes a focus on mobile applications as well. The idea behind the “Do Not Track” is to be industry designed [but if companies cannot get their own technology rolling by the year’s end, ideally, lawmakers should be able to force those companies to figure out a different option, quickly], but an easy way for users to opt out of online tracking.

Ioana Rusu, member of the Regulatory Counsel for the Consumers Union, has had a long stand for online privacy and data security laws. In light of the release of the FTC final report, Rusu said, “This is a good report that reflects the growing concerns about online privacy, especially the fact that we need better tools and information to decide how our personal information is used.”

Rusu continued, “When we talk about online privacy, we’re talking about trust. A company needs customers to trust that their personal information is going to be treated with respect. If you don’t trust that a company is going to use your information responsibly, you’re going to be much less likely to adopt new services, and that hurts innovation.”


Yahoo! and EPIC

Do You Hadoop!?: How Yahoo! Initiated the Data Processing Framework That Could Change the Game

Yahoo! is currently the world’s most visited homepage, and with almost half a billion users each and every month, it is certainly racking up massive amounts of data on every single one of those users. From your online shopping preferences to celebrity and gossip interests, Yahoo! knows where you’ve been and what you’ve been doing. And with such vast amounts off personalized data, Yahoo! was among the frontrunners on the worldwideweb that realized this data could be leveraged into a real money-maker.

When Yahoo! first pioneered the big data front with the creation of Hadoop in 2006, companies hadn’t yet recognized the potential of these data sources. Knowing a person’s individual interests and the ways that they spend their money and time is the key to directing relevant advertising dollars, gaining consumer loyalty, and a million other possibilities that have yet to be discovered. Hadoop, a data processing and analyzing venture that Yahoo! initiated and has led for the past six years, “relies on an active community of contributors from all over the world for its success,” according to Yahoo!’s Hadoop blog. These “contributors” are mainly facebook users who generate terabytes of data each day, and this big data is stored and analyzed within Hadoop’s software framework. Yahoo!, as well as facebook and Google, have been among the leaders in figuring out what the heck to do with big data sources, and Yahoo!’s investment in Hadoop has shown that the amount of data generated requires a data processing software to match.

Just like Yahoo!, Hadoop is still growing and realizing the potential of big data sources. With unlimited amounts personalized data being freely contributed via social media daily, big data has already changed the game. Hadoop and Yahoo! are combining forces to make sense of all this data, and with the technology and creativity of these two companies, the possibilities are endless.

To learn more, check out Hadoop’s blog at:



EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center): Defending Your Privacy

There are evils lurking around every corner, especially on the Internet, but fortunately for you, there is the Electronic Privacy Information Center to protect you from every one of those injustices! EPIC is a public interest research firm based in Washington, D.C., and is leaving no rock unturned or privacy policy unchecked for the purpose of defending our civil liberties as humans. EPIC has always been at the forefront of emerging privacy infringements on the Internet, and the sole purpose of this non-profit organization is to keep companies from using our data against us. Recently, EPIC condemned Google’s new privacy policy for allowing advertisers to have easier access to what we’re searching on their site.

EPIC has been a big player in the privacy game since 1994, and it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. As long as there are big corporations trying to find ways to make more efficient use of the data that we supply freely, whether on social media or search engines, EPIC and other organizations like it will be there to try and stop them. Wired magazine quoted EPIC as making “everybody else at the table look moderate. It’s the old good-cop-bad-cop routine,” but this is typical for an organization that is so concerned about protecting us from the evils of corporate America. Our data is being carefully watched by all sorts of online companies, and these companies are using this data to profit. The Electronic Privacy Information Center aims to make sure that the ways these companies are profiting from our data don’t violate any of our First Amendment rights or breach our individual privacy.

EPIC has noble intentions, but with social media trends showing that we are continuing to share more and more about our personal lives with the world, how can they continue to defend our privacy if we don’t want these things to be kept private in the first place?

The Best Vacation You Have Ever Taken…Planned by Your Friends?!

With summer quickly approaching, the one thing on many minds is vacation. When it comes to such trips, besides the money [it costs to actually go and the money lost when taking time off from work] and time [it takes to plan and the time lost from jobs], one of the most important details is personalization. Vacation-goers know what they like, and when the time comes to pack their bags and jet off, they want what they like.

Tapping into the ultimate personalization trip planning experience is TripAdvisor. This travel website, known for providing and gathering travel information, reviews, opinion-related content, and travel forums, has integrated Facebook with travel as it became one of the first eight approved partners to take part in Facebook’s Open Graph launch.

Article writer Jeff Ente [author of One Year Later: What Mrketers Have Learned About Facebook’s Open Graph] further explains this idea behind the Open Graph: “The cutting edge for Open Graph integration is Instant Personalization…If a user is currently logged into Facebook, Instant Personalization allows sites to use Open Graph data without an additional login.” In taking advantage of this new idea, TripAdvisor has created an interactive app that appeals to their users and in return gains user data from the app which shapes the website.

Welcome to the world of Trip Friends, the latest and greatest way to think about, plan, and dream up vacations that meet all of your likings. With this app from TripAdvisor, information from a user’s social graph on Facebook will be collected and those Facebook “Friends” who can tell you a thing or two about that vacation you are thinking, planning, and dreaming about will be identified.

As technical manager for apps at TripAdvisor, Sanjay Vakil, explains the app, “So as an example, I can navigate to the Los Angeles page on TripAdvisor. That page will show me people that I know who live there and people who have visited there. I can ask these people questions, and responses are curated on my Facebook wall.”

All of this data is being taken from the “Cities I’ve Visited” application that has been circulating on Facebook for the past three years. Once users accept and grant permission to the “Cities I’ve Visited” app, they are able to put digital pins into a map showing where they have been and visited. According to Vakil, from the use of this app on Facebook, TripAdvisor has over a billion pins’ worth of data; this is exactly what they are combing Trip Friends with.

This direction TripAdvisor is taking will make vacations more personalized than ever before. Users can now plan trips based on the places and suggestions of the people they trust the most: their friends. In combination with the suggestions, the global mapping feature will allow app users to actually see on a digital map where their friends are actually talking about. And with trust already established for this travel site, customers are willing to hit the accept button and start receiving and sharing their data with their friends and the company of TripAdvisor.