Today’s must-reads from around the Internet.
You’ve got friends and colleagues and acquaintances. And thanks to Facebook, you’ve probably got a pretty accurate count of each one. But when the time comes to confide, to spill a personal secret to someone you trust implicitly… you may be coming up short.
According to a recent Cornell study, the average American makes do with only two “confidants”—down from three in 1985—and as we scan our own contact list, we have to admit that’s about right. We’ve got double the personal network of the last generation, but it’s only half as deep—but it’s not too late to dust it off…
Facebook has a long proud history of getting people in trouble, but here’s one you might not have thought of: divorcées.
This AP piece opened our eyes to the growing number of spouses being busted through judicious use of social networks. Stories range from being caught playing Farmville during the kid’s soccer game to couples pics posted on the mistress’s Facebook page. Of course, everything’s archived and time-stamped, so anyone inclined to do a little digging can figure out just about anything they want. On Twitter, there are no secrets.
Of course, most of these problems are more the result of ungentlemanly behavior than invasive tech. It’s unnerving, but the best policy is still not to do anything you’d have trouble explaining to a judge.
Either that, or get comfortable wearing a fake mustache.
It’s one of the quirks of the social media age: with a free afternoon and a little web savvy, you can track down everyone you’ve ever met. Artist Carolina Andreoli took it one step further, ranking all her friends by importance and graphing them onto a single page. (See the big version here.)
The colors correspond to where she met them—the big blue stripes are all UK, the orange are from Brazil, and so on—while the little gray lines on the bottom refer to how much she’s kept in touch. It’s pretty spectacular to see it all mapped out…but let’s keep this one as far away from Facebook as we can.
You probably heard about the newly minted Google Buzz—basically a fusing of Twitter and Gmail—but we want to offer a word of caution before you dive in. It’s got a frightening potential for accidental oversharing, and our online etiquette’s going to make a few changes if we’re going to survive with dignity intact.
For starters, it’s time we all got a little better at saying no.
It was fun for a while, but the thrill of social media is not what it used to be. After enough idle time, it gets to be a pain having that Facebook page that following you around—and not just because it still lists Clerks as your favorite movie.
With the help of augmented reality tech and facial recognition software, that pesky feeling is about to become very very real. This Augmented ID concept from Tat hones on a person’s face and proceeds to surround them with their various online simulacrums, from professional LinkedIn pages to the occasionally ill-advised Facebook quote. You’ll be able to tailor what shows up—Tat even goes so far as imagining separate “work” and “play” profiles—but we can’t help wondering if you really want all that following you around.
On the bright side, you won’t have to worry about remembering anyone’s name.
Burger King has been pretty clever about advertising, but their latest stunt might be the best corporate use of social media we’ve ever seen. The bad news? You’re about to have a hard decision to make.
Instead of making the usual passive app, Burger King is declaring all-out war on Facebook, offering a free whopper in exchange for de-friending ten of your least favorite online acquaintances. You’ll get a coupon, they’ll get an impolite note, and they’ll probably never speak to you again.
The brilliant move here is that Burger King isn’t playing nice: they’re asking you to become less engaged with the online community they’re using to promote themselves. Naturally, Facebook is big enough that they aren’t particularly worried—but if this kind of app gets more popular, maybe they should be.
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