Teens, cell phones, social media and privacy

Earlier today a colleague sent out an email to illustrate how teens are using social media differently. A woman he knows (apparently in her teens) lost the numbers on her cell. Her solution for getting them back was to create a Facebook group asking her friends to post their numbers.

While 20 people have joined the group, only three have posted their numbers – just 15 percent. Is the issue concern with privacy? Apathy?

What do you think?

Social Media and the Economy

I’ve been asked to get a sense of how the world of social media is feeling about the economy and the potential for a recession. If anyone has thoughts they’d be willing to share of a sense from their own travels and observations I’d appreciate it very much. You can email me or leave comments here.

My Empire is Coming Together . . .

I do a little writing on the side. I’m not going to say what kind of writing it is but trust me, it isn’t like this blog and it’s about the farthest thing from my work as you can imagine (so no conflict if anyone from work reads this . . .). My work has become increasingly popular and my wife has been encouraging me to make some money with it.

The thing is, I am not really tuned into business and all that jazz so the idea of dealing with it hasn’t really captured my imagination. But at the same time, I’d love to make a little extra loot. I’ve got the product piece down – and the marketing – but the business end? Not so much.

Now though things are starting to come together. Let me tell you about the ingredients that will lead to my eventual anonymous stardom:

WordPress.com – as the initial point for publication. Why? Because it’s easy. I have a number of WordPress blogs – some that I host myself and some that I host on WordPress. Hosting them myself lets me put ads on them but hosting them on WordPress help grow traffic faster.

Craig’s List – as the initial point of promotion. Why? Because it’s free easy and I can set it up in less time than it will take me to write this post.

PayPal – as my method for payment. Why? Because, well, because it’s simple and when I asked my wife to look into payment systems this is what she came up with.

FreshBooks – as my billing/invoice system. Why? Well, they’re one of my clients and I really like the product (not that I don’t like all my client’s products but there’s not many of them that I can use). It looks good, is simple to use and helps me keep track of things I’m not very good at keeping track of.

A friend who shall remain nameless – as my marketing chum. Why? Sure, I could do it myself but I’m a little too close to the product to promote it objectively. She is not.

As soon as I get some paying customers I’ll be psyched – and with my new systems in place it will only be a matter of time until I am the master of my domain . . .

I’ve asked it before and I’m still interested in hearing from people – how do you handle the business end of your thing (what ever that thing might be)?

WiFi on the Commuter Rail

When I heard there’d soon be free WiFi on the Worchester line (which is the one I take every day) I couldn’t stop grinning. I considered it to be a potentially life-altering development. A week later and a few opportunities to try it out here’s what I think.

First of all, it is totally nice to be able to get online on the train. I know lots of people already do with WiMax and Mobile Broadband but for the rest of us it’s nice to have an opportunity. It does seem like the program – especially in the early days – is a little confused. I have seen a number of on-train networks: DemoProject, Junctionbox and Commuter Rail Connect.

DemoProject – which gave me a nice strong signal on Friday morning wouldn’t actually allow me to connect with anything. Junctionbox that afternoon gave me a connection and a strong signal but was incredibly slow. CRC is the official network and this morning brought me to the T’s terms and conditions page.

Right now the connection is technically limited to one car. I’ve looked for the network in cars not marked with the on board broadband sticker and haven’t had any luck. I’ll bet if you were in the very next car you could get on no trouble.

I get on in Natick and the signal has been strong all the way into the city. The speed isn’t terrific – 400k down and 200k up but it’s better than nothing. I haven’t seen anyone else using the connection on any of the trains I’ve been on and I wonder how slow it will be if there are 30 or 40 people sharing the bandwidth. It won’t be pretty.

On the train this morning

I’ve been using it for pretty light online activity – posting to this blog, IM, twitter, etc. While it might not be the fastest connection you’re going to find it’s free, fast(ish) and sure makes the commute a little more pleasant. Hats off the the MBTA for taking this first step.

WebInno 16 – In Retrospect

This past Tuesday’s WebInno was great. The event continues to grow and, in fact, may be getting TOO big (at least for the room it is currently in). It’s size actually made it hard (and in some cases impossible) to see many of the sidedish companies. I was near the door and the conversations in the foyer – even with the door closed – made it hard to hear some of the presentations. But these are nits.

While I really enjoy the presentations and the companies, what’s most valuable about WebInno for me is the chance to see people and to get a sense of the Web market here in Boston. Based on this week’s event that state of Web innovation and interest is higher than ever. I was only able to spend time with two companies – MakeMeSustainable and Glassbooth.

I really liked what I saw from MakeMeSustainable. Their analytics and Facebook integration – with its carbon tree metaphor for building a network for carbon reduction – were very impressive. Ben Brown, the CEO, and David Delacourt, the COO, were kind enough to show me the product and to discuss how they see themselves fitting into the market.

We talked for a while about how MMS compares with Carbonrally – a company that was at WebInno a few months ago. MMS has the analytics well in hand while Carbonrally has done a great job of building on people’s competitive spirit to engage them around the issue. It’s hard to say which approach will be most successful (if either) but some hybrid would be very appealing.

I went in expecting to love Glassbooth and I totally did. Robert Boyle explained things to me in more detail than I had gotten on the site – including their plans for the future. This was something I think a lot of people wondered about – sure, it’s a great tool heading into a presidential election but what do you do afterward?

Robert explained that they hope to use the system for a growing number of elections – local, state and federal. It sounds like a plan – especially since they are a non-profit that is receiving its funding primarily through foundations. I continue to be impressed by the depth of the site and by the commitment of the people involved with it.

As for the main dish presentations – my opinion of SpotScout and Urban Interactive is unchanged from my preview. SpotScout seems like a really niche product (if I don’t take the T I just part in a garage most of the time) and Urban Interactive still seems like it could be an annoying idea. That said, I can imagine examples of Urban Interactive executions that would be totally engrossing and fun. Maybe it’s just the way it was described – with references to reality TV, etc – that turned me off.

A new wrinkle on the event was the ability of everyone to vote on the coolest main dish. SpotScout won in a landslide so they certainly had something to say to many of the attendees.

Paper Hats did well at the event. More than 20 people were willing to don the recycled headgear and allow themselves to be photographed and the Paper Hat movement seems like it is poised for some exciting growth. Keep your eyes peeled for Paper Hats cropping up wherever the cool kids congregate.

Ans speaking of congregating – post-WebInno saw a terrific traveling Tweet-up. First downstairs at Dante and then across the street at the Cheesecake Factory. It was a veritable who’s-who of wicked fun people.

The next WebInno isn’t until April so we’ll have to come up with something else to amuse ourselves in the meantime.

Did everyone else have a great time?