Twitter co-founder Biz Stone On The Next Wave of Social Networks

Three years ago, Twitter was barely known outside the geeky confines of San Francisco. Today, it's a marketer's dream: a free service with an audience of nearly 125 million people, who use it to keep tabs on friends, celebrities — and their favorite companies.

Co-founder Biz Stone explains what's happening, where it's headed, and how entrepreneurs can take advantage. He recently spoke with Inc. senior writer Max Chafkin.


Introducing Places: Facebook Embraces GeoSocial Earlier tonight Facebook ended several weeks of speculation and made it official that they're jumping into the check-in space with a new geolocation feature called Places.

Facebook Places has three key components: Help you share where you are, help you find where your friends are, and discover new places around you.

At the live announcement, Chris Cox (VP Product, Facebook) talked about how technology is encouraging interaction in the real world and forming a living history. Think of Places as a form of digital storytelling.

Imagine getting a push notification: "this is where your parents had their first kiss, here are the photos, this is what their friends said about it" - or something like that. "One day, when it's done, you'll go to a page and on that page will be our collective memory and that's dope."

Facebook also announced that they were partnering with the other leading geolocation services--Foursquare, Gowalla and MyTown (with others to soon follow)--and allowing them to integrate their services into Facebook Places.

Watch live streaming video from facebookinnovations at

For the most part these geolocation services have only been popular among the early adopter and geek crowd. Now that Facebook has jumped into this space, it will be interesting to see how quickly the 500 million members of Facebook embrace (or don't) this new service.

Avoiding a privacy debacle will be key to making this a successful mainstream service. Right now it looks like Facebook has learned from its previous privacy misteps--the default setting for Places will allow only your friends to "tag" you to a location or see where you've checked in.

Weekly Wrap: Hello Kitty Death Watch, University Ditches Kindle, Facebook Community Pages, Disney Tweets, Social Media ROI, Digital Parenting & More!

Barking.robot.iconFor Many Blacks, Twitter Enables a Vibrant Social Life: Some researchers have surmised that African-Americans might use Twitter more heavily because they use it in a more conversational way than other groups.

Twitter's "trending topics" - popular subjects on a given day - often center on issues African-American users are tweeting about. [NewsObserver]

Instead of Banning Your Kids from Social Networks, Consider Teaching Responsible Usage: I’m glad my parents didn’t ban me from them. I’m glad that my parents taught me basic principles to live my life by, principles that have served me both online and offline.

They weren’t particularly tech savvy. They didn’t hover over me at all moments. The family computer wasn’t locked down and it didn’t have any monitoring software. But, they taught me how to be safe as a kid. []

More Cyberbullying on Facebook Than Rest of the Web: Thirty-two percent of online teens have experienced some form of harassment via the Internet, a problem also known as "cyberbullying."

According to recent data, 15% of online teens have had private material forwarded without permission, 13% have received threatening messages and 6% have had embarrassing photos posted without permission. [NYT]

Facebook Privacy Research: There is significant concern about the exposure of personal data to facebook’s advertising partners and to external sites, often governed by the decision of friends rather than the personal subject of the data. [Frances Bell]

Hello Kitty Death Watch: Hello Kitty fatigue is hitting Japan first, and hard, the company indicated. Analysts say part of the problem is that Sanrio has oversold Hello Kitty, which appears on products as various as T-shirts, toilet paper and toasters. [NYT]

How Facebook’s ‘Community Pages’ and Privacy Changes Impact Brands: While there’s been plenty of coverage about user privacy concerns, attention on Facebook’s changes on brands hasn’t been adequately covered, this analysis is intended to unravel what’s at stake –and what brands should do.  I’ve spoken to a handful of brands and their representatives to learn what’s eating at them. [Web Strategy]

Tweets From Disneyland: Our weekly roundup of some of the best--and the worst--tweets from the park that's only sometimes the happiest place on earth. [OC Weekly]

Business School Ditches Kindle DX: The Kindle isn't doing as well in academic environments as Amazon—and educators—had originally hoped. The Darden Business School at the University of Virginia is near the end of its Kindle "experiment," already concluding that students are not into the Kindle when it comes to classroom learning. They are, however, fans of the Kindle when it comes to using it as a personal reading device. [Ars Technia]

The Real ROI of Social Media: If you're asking the ROI question about social media and expecting to be able to show it all on a spreadsheet, you're still looking at social media as a channel, most likely for just one or two business functions, such as marketing or recruiting.

While it's true that social media can be used in that way, it has become something else entirely: an essential communication utility. What's the ROI of the telephone? Or email? It's a ridiculous question, right? [American Express OPEN]

2010 Social Media Matters Report: Majority of Top Media Destinations Are Social

Social.montage According to research conducted by BlogHer and iVillage2010 Social Media Matters Study,” co-sponsored by The Nielsen Company and Ketchum, social sites are now a frequent destination for nearly three-quarters of Internet users.

Social Media Matters 2010

Respondents’ top daily media activities were social as well. Watching television is still on top, but Facebook was the next most common media destination visited every day.

The study found similar rates of usage among men and women, and pegged the percentage of weekly social media users at 73% of the online population.


Here are some of the other key findings in the 2010 Social Media Matters Study:

  • Blogs trail only search engines as the preferred media source for product-purchasing information for BlogHer users.
  • Among BlogHer users, 96 percent read blogs weekly or more often.
  • BlogHer users are more active than average women across the board on blogs, Facebook, and Twitter.
  • As for iVillage users, message boards and forums were second only to conversations with friends and family as the preferred source of product-purchasing information.
  • 73 percent of respondents from the iVillage community said they share topics on message boards and forums that they would not share on social networks. Of those, relationships (61 percent), health (45 percent), and work-related issues (39 percent) were the top topics they would not share on social networks.
  • 31% higher than the total online population for Gen X generation
  • 3.6 percent of iVillage community members post on message boards or forums every day.

Related: Millennials, Men Watch Most Online TV

Infographic: How Teens Use Mobile Phones

Have you ever wondered what teens were really using their mobile phones for? A recent study released by Pew Internet Research has shed light on average mobile phone use among American teens.

View Larger on Flowtown

This study includes not only information regarding how much teens use their mobile phones, but what they are using them for as well, such as: to go online, text, listen to music, sharing pictures and accessing social networking sites.

Perhaps not surprisingly, average mobile use varies greatly by age, and sexting, while limited (according to Pew only 4% of teen admit sending a nude photo of themselves to someone via text) seems to becoming more of an issue.

View Large on

Related: Parents' Embrace Texting with Their Kids

Report: Minority Teens Close Digital Divide with Mobile Web

A recent Pew Internet & American Life Project report, Teens and Mobile Phones, indicated that black teens were more than twice as likely as whites to go online on with their mobile phones, at 44% versus 21%. Hispanic teens were also relatively active on the mobile Web.

“Teens from low-income households, particularly African-Americans, are much more likely than other teens to go online using a cell phone,” the report said. “This is a pattern that mirrors Pew Internet Project findings about adults and their cell phones.”

Urban Youth Are Wire(less)

For most of the 1990s the conversation around minority youth and technology was centered on the “digital divide.” This conversation was primarily focused on hardware issues and connection to the Internet.

However, as S. Craig Watkins points out, the digital divide is not just about access, it is “also about social and cultural skills in human networks to enable proper participation.”

In his keynote at the 2010 Digital Media Learning 2010, S. Craig Watkins (University of Texas at Austin) presented a number of emergent patterns about African-American and Latino youth usage and participation in the digital media space:

  • Usage Is Mobile: Mobile phones are emerging as the preferred platform among minority youth. 92% of 1500 minority youth surveyed in 6 major urban markets own a mobile phone;
  • Usage Is Peer And Interest Driven: They are "living and learning" with new media, engaging their peers, peer interaction, peer informed spaces that drive their usage and interest driven genres (e.g., hip hop);
  • Digital Media Is The New Town Square: "Back in the day" hip hop youth were always writing stories, carrying pens and papers; documenting their stories about their life in poems and hip hop. Today, the digital landscape is the new town square and they go online to engage with their community, and engage in a "stunning" critique about the world around them;
  • Use Digital Media As A Space Of Opportunity: Messaging & hanging around in digital media is NOT just wasting time, but they are creating gateways for them to create opportunities and engage with what they are love and passionate about (e.g., a young girl who used hip hop to connect with hip hop artists, but also to connect with her friends and record/tweet about her own hip hop).

Whether it's marketing soda, producing digital entertainment or online learning opportunities, it's vital that we have a better understanding how minority and urban youth connect and interact on the web so that we can create more inclusive digital experiences.

Related: The Young and the Digital

Image Source: eMarketer

The Virtual Homeless Project: Using Mobile Phones to Raise Awareness

This is a pretty moving piece from Pathways To Housing & Sarkissian Mason depicting a “virtual” homeless man projected onto a wall in NYC, shivering from the cold of a sleepless night, alone, outdoors, he is just one of 40,000 similar people that are homeless in New York.

The campaign to raise awareness hope to create interaction with someone most people just pass by, in prompting the public to interact with the virtual homeless man by SMSing a number that opens a door.

Passers by are then given the opportunity to send another SMS to make a small donation instantly from their phone. Very, very cool work for a great cause.


Related: Lady Gaga Joins Forces with Virgin Mobile to Fight Teen Homelessness

Weekly Wrap: Foursquare Nabs MTV & VH1, Linguist Urges Kids to Embrace Twitter, Saving the Google Students, COPPA & Youth Marketing, Free iPad eBooks & More!

Barking.robot.iconSix Reasons to be Skeptical of the 'Digital Natives' Discourse: Almost all of the claims of the net gen discourse are in popular media and if they are based on research, it is proprietary and full methodological details are not provided. All of the sound research that refutes the claims is published in scholarly journals and has been subject to peer review. [Net Gen Skeptic]

Saving the Google Students: For the Google generation, closing school libraries could be disastrous. Not teaching kids how to sift through sources is like sending them into the world without knowing how to read. [LA Times]

Weekly Wrap, Foursquare Edition: Meet Gatsby, Fresh off the heels of hooking up with Bravo TV and Harvard Foursquare signs a similar deal with MTV & VH1, Microsoft adds Foursquare data to Bing Maps & a really cool visualization of Foursquare check-ins at SXSW. [Iconoculture] [Mobile Entertainment News] [Mashable] [TechCrunch] [SimpleGeo]

10 Reasons Students Are Tuning Teachers Out: You’re teaching to a generation of students that can access more information more quickly than any other generation. Don’t tell students that you don’t want to figure out how to use the internet or that you don’t answer email. You’re putting yourself into a category you don’t want to be in. [GYJoe]

US Census Bureau Adds Mapping App to Facebook: In an effort to reach out to young people, the U.S. Census Bureau is launching a huge nationwide campaign incorporating social media, broadcast media and print to encourage people to fill out their census forms this year. [Inside Facebook]

Ypulse Interview| Jamie Tworkowski: Jamie is the founder of To Write Love on Her Arms, a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with addiction, depression, self-injury and suicide. Related: MTV Poll: Generation Stress [Ypulse]

Preparing Your Content for iPad: Platform-specific considerations and UX Guidelines for web content in Safari on iPhone OS devices, with specific information for iPad. Also, iPad to Offer 30,000 free eBooks at launch. [Safari Technical Notes] [Apple Blog] [UX Magazine]

Marketing to Kids | A Time for Playing by the Rules:Whether it’s Quiksilver, Monster Energy Drinks or ESPN X Games, the look and feel of the typical action sports-related website is young, edgy, authentic. Action sports marketers need to be aware, however, of the panoply of laws that regulate marketing to kids, including the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). [GroupY]

Quote O' The Week: “I hate being thought of as a product. I am not a doll, and people want to treat me that way. I’m older now. I have an opinion. I have my own taste.” - Miley Cyrus on why being a Disney pop princess is so difficult. [Gossip Girl] [Barking Robot]

Blogging, academia, and the new public intellectual: John Holbo admits he and his fellow pioneers have lost the “revolutionary fervor” of blogging’s early days. “I’m fortunate to be at the top of the food chain, to have these bully pulpits where I can stand up and know thousands of people will hear me,” he says. “But we all thought blogging was going to transform academic life, and that didn’t really happen. [Cal Alumni Association]

Linguist Urges Kids to Embrace Twitter: Language is forever changing -- and forms such as tweets and text messages are no less valid than any textbook version, says the linguist David Crystal, whose latest book encourages children to engage with the possibilities of their lingua franca. [The Independent]

More People Are Watching TV While Surfing the Web: This is some decent news for the TV industry, since the fear is that Internet time is eating into boob tube viewing. Overall, TV viewing is up 1%, year over year, according to the report.  [Business Insider]

Why Apple’s iPad Can’t Succeed in Schools (Yet): You see, tablets-as-books is a great idea until the battery dies, and then the student has no textbook and no computer. She will have to plug-in to a power outlet if she wants either of those things back. Related: A Kindle in Every Backpack [The Apple Blog] [Barking Robot]

Weekly Wrap: Miley's 'The Last Song" Webcast, AOL's BeboFAIL, Oscars Score Nielsen Win, TEDxTeen, Books in the Age of the iPad, Wizard of OZ Remake, Twitter Backchannels, 11 Step Content Strategy & More!

Derek.baird.barking.robot Miley's "Last Song" Webcast: Miley Cyrus, Greg Kinnear and Liam Hemsworth, stars of the upcoming film "The Last Song", will host a live chat on UStream Saturday, March 13 @4pm Eastern/1pm Pacific.  [Ustream]

3/13/10 Update: Here's the recording of the webcast with Miley Cyrus and the cast of "The Last Song." [Facebook]

AOL Could Make More Abandoning Bebo Than Selling It: As AOL continues to explore the sale of some of its non-core assets, TechCrunch speculated that the company may fair better financially if it were simply to abandon social network Bebo, rather than sell it. Related: AOL Launches AOL Lifestream [DML Wire]

Oscars Pull Biggest Audience in Five Years: The Oscars were watched by 41.3 million viewers, improving 13 percent over last year's audience and posting significant gains for the second year in a row, according to Nielsen estimates. Looks like that Oscars youth strategy paid off after all! Related: Social Media Played Big Role in Driving Oscar Interest [LA TIMES] [Radixhound] [Clickz]

Why iPad is the Children's Toy of the Year: While nobody was looking, the iPhone became a universally understood part of children's culture. And hundreds of companies have responded by creating child-specific apps, which makes the device even more compelling to kids. Sorta Related: Hard Bound Books will be Finished by 2016 [Computer World] [Wired] [Collaborative Creativity]

A "Wizard of Oz" remake? Say it ain't so!: Fresh off Disney's massive success with Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland," Warner Bros. wants to remake another childhood classic. Like, really classic. The studio is examining two existing "Wizard of Oz" projects, with an eye toward giving one of them a modern gloss and moving it toward the screen. [LA TIMES]

Rapid Rise of Children with Cellphones: Though girls still have more cellphones than boys — 21.8 percent of girls have them, compared with 18.3 percent of boys — that gap is about half as large as it was in 2005. Most of the children surveyed who had cellphones were 10 or 11 years old; Mediamark reported that 36.1 percent of children in that age range had phones. [NYT]

TEDxTeen has curated a lineup of international youth (sprinkled with some compelling adults who made big waves as teens) who are tackling the big questions and big problems with passion and action. What are teens across the globe doing to make a difference? You might be surprised! [TEDxTeen]

Peeved Facebook Might Sue Brit Tabloid Over '14-Year-Old Girl' Headline Chaser: The story focuses on the dangers of pedophiles and teens co-mingling on social networking sites, and its original title specifically read "I Posed as a Girl of 14 on Facebook." The problem? The statement was a blatant lie. [YourVersion]

Who Wants an iPad? The Young, the Social & the Pop-Culture Addicts: The prospective iPad buyers on Facebook are young - much younger than the overall Facebook population, in fact. They're also fairly social, with nearly a third of the fans having over 300 friends. And finally, iPad fans are also very interested in other pop culture activities and themes including various celebs, brands and internet memes. Related: Books in the Age of the iPad. [RRW]

11 Steps Toward A Content Strategy: IBM recently published research showing that about 80 percent of those who begin a corporate blog never post more than five entries. And that's just blogging. The Internet is littered with near-tweetless Twitter accounts, expressionless Facebook pages, no-one-home YouTube channels. In the rush to adopt social media as a tactic, too many marketers leave strategy in the dust. [eConsultancy]

Five Ways to Use Twitter to Avoid a Backchannel Disaster: What do you do when you’re giving a presentation, and notice that your audience is looking down, busily typing on their laptops and smartphones? And what about when you get the sense that they are turning against you? To short-circuit a possible disaster, keep in mind these five things you can do to prepare and engage the backchannel. [Mashable]

We're Just Not That Into You: Gen Y, Brand Marketing & Social Media

Social.montageArmando Samuels has written a really great guest post over on Next Great Generation titled, "Hey Brands, Get out of My Social Media Grill." I've swiped a few of my favorite quotes from the piece, but I hope you'll take the time to read the whole article. It's really spot on.

Armando raises some really good points in his article, but I think his most important lesson for youth marketers and brands is that there is a fine line between (buzz word alert!) engagement and alienating the very customer you are targeting with your message. Possibly forever!

And now, a few words of wisdom from Armando:

"I’m tired of dealing with brands all over social media, I need a minute of my day when brands are not all up on my shit. Is that possible?"

"The more that you try to be part of my life, the more turned off I get. If I love a brand, I will find you, and I’ll be your biggest fan. So instead of trying to be all up in my shit why don’t you act confident (I’ve heard chicks dig it). Act like you believe in your product and its quality and maybe I’ll give you a chance."

"So how about we make a pact, brands of the world, stop trying to be someone you are not (my friend) and be who you are (a confident brand that believes in your product). I know you are there and if I don’t, I’m sure I’ll see you on TV or every time I open a magazine – just please stay away from my social network."

Good stuff, eh? Now go read the whole thing.....

A Guide to Understanding the Phases of Youth Development

Dan Pankraz, an Australian youth planning specialist in Sydney, has put together an insightful presentation that looks at some of the key development stages kids, tweens and teens go through and the implications for marketers looking to have conversations with youth.

Related: Study Finds Facebook and MySpace Enhance Relationships Kids Already Have

Global Youth: What Youth Think | 2010 Youth Trends Report

Partnering with youth marketers, culture and trend experts from around the world, Graham Brown (the force behind mobileYouth) have crowd-sourced an impressive amount of research on global youth trends and shared his findings in a series of three presentations.

What Youth Think: 2010 Youth Trends Report presentations are a must see for youth marketers, media planners, educators, youth pastors and anyone else who works in the youth space.

So sit back, take notes and enjoy. Then let's all meet up at the Carrot Mob!