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Sean Parker

Sean Parker the co-founder of the music service Napster and the former founding president of Facebook started his internet entrepreneurial days a little bit differently than most. Parker showcased himself in the tech world by hacking into computer networks and companies around the world. This led to the FBI to his front door when he was only 15. Sean was forced to do community service with other trouble makers.

During his time doing community service, Parker would meet Shawn Fanning. Together they would start a small internet-security company that helped firms get rid of hackers. This business would ultimately be unsuccessful but would create a successful friendship.

Parker’s next project put him on the map for the CIA. It earned him an internship with them and a check for $80,000. Parker would use this to convince his parents to put college on hold while he pursued yet another internet project.

Parker along with Shawn Fanning would start a file sharing service called Napster in 1999. Napster quickly became popular with music lovers. The music sharing aspect of Napster attracted tens of millions of users. This made Napster a target of the music industry which led to its fall. This would leave him without a place to live and with very little money.

Parker was saved when he noticed the new online service called Facebook. Parker saw so much potential in Facebook that he met with the founder, Mark Zuckerberg. They instantly became friends and Parker was named the company’s founding president.

Some of you may have seen the movie The Social Network and know how this story ends. But if you haven’t seen it. It does not end well. At least the Facebook part of the story. Parker had a long history of partying, which led to him being arrested for suspicion of possessing cocaine. This would be what made him leave Facebook.

Although his time at Facebook was cut short. It didn’t completely end his career. He would later help bring Spotify to the U.S. Which we all know was a massive success and still is.

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Are Apps Killing the Web?

dying

To some this may seem like a dumb question, but it’s one that has been kicking around the internet in some form or another since about 2010. Not only has it been a question that has been probed as of late, it is actually a question that some have suggested can be answered with a resounding “yes.”  Christopher Mims is such a person who wrote an article about this in the Wall Street Journal.  I’m not going to talk about him however, because Mathew Ingram wrote another article challenging this notion.  Personally I tend to agree with Ingram.

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Facebook: From Self-centered to Stalking

If you have been a part of the social networking craze from its very beginnings with Myspace, AOL, and Xanga, you have probably noticed the dramatic shift in focus of these sites. When you first made your MySpace profile, you most likely spent oodles of time writing a full self-description in the “about” section, including your favorite animal, favorite color, current favorite music, favorite quotes, and favorite movies. You uploaded pictures of yourself (but only the good ones) to complete this online identity, so that anyone browsing your page might get a full and extremely accurate (note the sarcasm, please) depiction of who you are and why you are worth getting to know. But we all know: if you were anything like the average social network user, you spent exponentially more time on your own profile than you did on your friends’.

facebook-stalking

With the advent of facebook, we saw all of these same features—pictures, lengthy descriptions of interests and “likes,” space for quotes and long ranting paragraphs about the things you wanted everyone to hear about you. However, as time has gone by, the popularity of these portions of social networking pages has dwindled. People pay less attention to the nitty gritty details on their own page and have begun to use facebook for what is perhaps an even more unhealthy purpose: intensive stalking of friends’ profiles. And of your friends’ friends’ profiles. Suddenly, facebook has become less about helping others get to know you and more about getting to know other people—people who, too often, you are too lazy to get to know in person. It’s an interesting social phenomenon, really. I’ll be honest—one of the primary reasons I find and friend recent acquaintances on facebook is so that I can get a fuller, more rounded picture of what that person is like from their facebook profile. But like we’ve already said—all the effort we put into building our own profiles is geared toward establishing the best possible self-image for all to see.  So what does this boil down to? Are we really getting to know each other through our facebook profiles? Are we really building friendships or are we building false pretenses and expectations of one another? Regardless of whether it’s “right” or “wrong,” there has been an obvious shift in the purpose of facebook. So this is question we must answer: is it socially beneficial and validated to use facebook as a means of discovering things about people that we are too lazy or scared to ask them about in person?

facebook-stalking

 

While my instinctive reaction is to be repulsed by this obvious, society-wide leap back in social capabilities, my other response is simply: if you’re willing to post your info, you’re welcoming people to use it in whatever way they deem necessary.

 

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Exactly How Much is a Facebook Fan Worth?

Everyone starting a new business venture or maintaining an existing one has been bombarded with articles and various kinds of news about the integral importance of social media to a venture’s success. Recently, Sycapse actually put a tangible number to it. According to their study, the average Facebook fan is worth $174 to a business.

What exactly does this number mean? Sycapse derived the $174 worth by measuring Facebook fans and non-fans’ “product spending, brand loyalty, propensity to recommend, media value, cost of acquisition and brand affinity,” according to a Mashable article written by Todd Wasserman.

The study, which goes into significant detail, can be downloaded here.

It is interesting to see someone finally measure exactly what the Facebook fan is worth. Of course, the first question one would have after hearing about this study is the following: are these Facebook fans better customers because they became Facebook fans, or did they become Facebook fans because they are better customers?

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Facebook Home

Facebook Home: the idea is to bring content right to the user, without he or she having to check apps on the device.  Facebook itself described Home as software, not a new device, that places realistic communication at the center of the phone to focus on the person, and not the communications channel.  It does this by making your Facebook cover feed your phone background, and allowing chatting “on top of” other apps.

I read about Facebook Home before its release, and must admit my first thought was, “I’ll never get that.”  I believe in the lofty ideal of integrating personal communications with the services offered online, and through apps on smart devices, but I doubted Facebook could effectively meet that need.  Seeing the above commercial promoting Facebook Home did not change my mind, but it could partly be that I have a love affair with my iPhone and the word HTC makes my ears fold up.

Forbes points out that I may be underestimating Facebook Home.  Austin Carr of Fast Company said, “Facebook has woven traditionally disparate content and services together into a single, unified experience.”  Second, and most importantly, Home may be disruptive to the mobile communications industry by making free VoIP calls (Voice Over Internet Protocol; calls over the internet) as easily available to users as Facebook’s other offerings.

Not to sound like a broken record (if you read my other posts), but the cost of free communication is abandoning privacy.  Facebook could further map one’s social activities, in addition to tracking web browsing, app use, and physical location.  This would allow Facebook to build a customer profile that any marketing agency would kill to have.

So what is the conclusion on Facebook Home?  It could become wildly successful, as it seduces users into putting Facebook before any other app.  It could be a wolf wearing sheep’s skin, but no matter what, Facebook Home is leading mobile users like you everywhere into a new era, where competitors will all fight to be the app at the center of your phone.

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Is Facebook Getting Old?

Facebook used to be the new, hip fad. It used to be the cool kid on the block. But now… is Facebook getting old? According to an article posted on Mashable by Monica Vila it is. And Facebook’s future success depends on one very important question: will Zuckerberg’s social media phenomenon age well? Will it have a midlife crisis, try to recapture its youth, and fail miserably in the process? Or will the creators of Facebook acknowledge the change and adapt to its new circumstances?

So how exactly is Facebook getting old? For one thing, it isn’t new anymore. Just like MySpace before it, Facebook has been replaced by Twitter, Instagram, and SnapChat as the newest social media out there. Of course, this is not necessarily an indictment to go the way of MySpace, but the fact remains that it is no longer the newest (or coolest) name in the social media world.

Monica Vila, author of the aforementioned article and co-founder of OnlineMom.com, pointed out in her article that she has noticed a shift in her kids’ internet time. They have migrated to these cool new sites (Twitter, Instagram, and SnapChat), leaving Facebook to the old folks over the age of 18.

It seems that Facebook has recognized this phenomenon and is adjusting accordingly. As of its latest changes, Facebook is becoming more and more content-driven and less and less socially driven. Its new home page format not only includes a news feed based on your most visited friends, but also additional news feeds based on topics (like music, for example), rather than people. Facebook is trying to give the website a more magazine-like feel, says Vila. They are beginning to focus primarily on attracting people in the 18-49 age bracket, as opposed to the droves of high schoolers who have been populating Facebook for the last few years.

This aging process is not necessarily bad from Facebook’s perspective. The middle-aged target market is the one that has the most buying power, and is consequently the most sought after market in the demographic spectrum. Capturing this market as its primary users would be invaluable to advertisers and other businesses who are trying to use Facebook to facilitate their own businesses, which only makes Facebook more valuable.

Can Facebook age well? As of right now, it seems like it can.

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