Facebook taken over by TSA

In what has been described as a “friendly, sort of” takeover, the social networking site Facebook has been merged into the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

The announcement was made in Terminal C of Newark Airport. After reporters and their personal items were screened, they were allowed to line up 12-deep to hear the head of the TSA, John T. Pistol, announce that Mark Zuckerberg had arrived at an “understanding” after several hours of enhanced frisking and being run repeatedly through a high-intensity X-ray machine.

“It was obvious that our attempts to protect the American people were simply not enough. Senior citizens were sometimes boarding planes without being subject to public humiliation, and once a right-wing blogger named Benjamin Jefferson Washington actually boarded a flight in Milwaukee before he showed up on our ‘No Fly’ list.

“Now, with Facebook, we’ll be able to extend our protective arms well beyond the airport, and monitor virtually all Americans in real-time. Except young males from certain Middle Eastern countries, of course – that would be social profiling.”

Changes to the Facebook interfaced were already evident this week, with subtle wording changes (Edit my Profile is now Profile Me) and random pop-up interrogation boxes for those who upload any photos. Also, each Facebook user is required to undergo a hands-on patdown by a TSA employee before changing any user information on their profile. “Instead of a captcha, we’re going to use a gotcha. Way better!” said Pistol.

The most controversial change involved the threat of uploading naked pictures taken in TSA scanners to user profiles. “We’ll have all your full-body X-ray pictures stored and matched to your Facebook profile, and if any user does something wrong, we figure we’ll just randomly expose 1,000 others by changing their profile picture to the bare view for 24 hours. That way, we won’t be profiling any individual or group, while still maintaining a focus on the privates of the individual.”

Asked about the issue  of violations of privacy, Pistol stared blankly ahead for a few moments, then replied, “Why do you think we chose Facebook, anyway?”

Scanner image credit

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Zuckerberg announces new Facebook Implants

While all the tech press was drooling over the idea of Facebook email, founder Mark Zuckerberg pulled a fast one with his announcement today of Facebook Implants.

“Email is so last century,” declared Zuckerberg at the standing-room-only press conference. “It requires thought, typing, even hitting a send button. We’re all about going forward, not backward.

“Starting today, with a Facebook Implant, you can upload every vital and trivial factoid about yourself automatically to your timeline, with no effort whatsoever.”

The Implant device, which looks like a pacemaker sporting rabbit ears, is placed subcutaneously in the body and constantly records blood pressure, anger levels, senior moments, caffeine highs, speeding in school zones, jealous thoughts, and gall bladder performance. These are tied to GPS coordinates and an atomic clock buried in a secret location in Colorado, and every bit of information is continuously uploaded as a Facebook status.

“Users kept telling us that they wanted less effort, so we created the ultimate mobile update device. Now all of your friends can be tuned immediately into your every mood shift, without so much as thinking about a keyboard or mouse.”

Asked about potential privacy issues with 24/7 upload of every scrap of personal information, Zuckerberg paused, then replied, “I guess we might want to think about creating a couple hundred more settings for that, now that I think about it. Privacy is very important for us, of course. It’s always the first thing we consider.”

When questioned if all the leaks about a Facebook email service were all a diversion, Zuckerberg gave a lopsided grin and announced, “Nah – we just bought Compuserve. I can give you more details if you just email me at 35821.9567@compuserve.com”

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Who “Owns” Social Media? Answered!

The debate has been raging across the social sphere – when it comes to business, who should “own” social media? Should it be PR? Marketing? Corporate Communications? HR?

Well, meeting an end-of-October deadline for a decision, the Social Networking Ownership & Responsibility Treaty (SNORT) has just been ratified. At a secret meeting convened by the Global Union of Relative Unknowns (GURU), an A-list conclave of social media mavens and all-stars has come to a final decision, announced at midnight last night on Twitter.

Social media, from now on, will be the responsibility of the Maintenance Dept.

Anticipating an upwelling of surprise at this announcement, the cabal of rockstar bloggers and tweeters outlined the rationale for this decision, in five main points:

     

  1. The other departments are used to just throwing stuff out there and leaving the aftermath to others. Maintenance, on the other hand, is used to cleaning up the mess, and who better to deal with all the detritus that will result from ill-conceived and poorly-executed social media programs?
  2. Maintenance is already “on” 24/7. Instead of paying high-priced employees or agencies to respond to social platforms at all hours, janitors and groundskeepers can easily be trained to field comments and tweet on behalf of the company at little or no extra expense.
  3. Social media is all about tools. Maintenance works with tools.
  4. The only turf wars Maintenance cares about is defeating grubs and crabgrass. That means greater corporate peace, more productivity, a healthier corporate climate, and ultimately, a flourishing of social media happiness and harmony.
  5. Maintenance really doesn’t worry much about ROI. So that’s a natural fit.

It isn’t yet clear what all the ramifications of this move will be, but it is widely expected that most bloggers will now end up with their computers in the basement, which actually should not present any real change management issues.

While all of the members of the GURU committee had expected to remain anonymous, Wikileaks managed to obtain a 90,000-tweetchat transcript of the secret deliberations and decision (#GURUSNORT), which also indicated that there were plans afoot to certify social media practitioners through a SXSW-style popularity contest, and to stratify them according to a new measure of credibility, the “Wiley.” Wikileaks did redact out all the names of the participants, explaining in a statement that, “we didn’t feel it necessary to publicize any particular individual’s participation, because if we mentioned Mitch Joel, we’d have to talk about Joseph Jaffe and Jim Long, and then DJ Waldow would get jealous and want to make sure we also included Amber Naslund and Lisa Petrilli – so we just left all the names out. Even Liz Strauss.”

Meanwhile, the city of Austin is urging SXSW to add a new “Maintenance” track to the annual geek spring break festival,with such topics suggested as “Trash-talking Ain’t the Same as Joining the Conversation,” and “Unclogging your Micro-blogging.” The track should be held after all the other guests have left, so that the downtown area can be restored to end-to-end cleanliness by leveraging an iPhone-toting cleanup crew.

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The Post-Conference Re-cap Template

Having just returned from SOBCon in Chicago, I have been contemplating my post-conference summary blog post. Along with dozens of other attendees.

I’ll get it done tomorrow (update: here it is). But it occurred to me that perhaps some have never yet been exposed to a “Best Practices” document for a post-conference re-cap. So, as a public service, I hereby provide this template.

Paragraph 1

(this is where you summarize what a wonderful time you had. The words fabulous and awesome are nearly mandatory – no blog posts are written re-capping mediocre or idiotic events, lest you look stupid for attending. Words like “life-changing” should only be used sparingly – maybe once a year – lest you lose credibility among fellow bloggers)

Paragraph 2

(here, you write glowing thanks to the hosts/sponsors/organizers of the event. For instance, for SOBCon, you call Terry Starbucker extraordinarily smart and you praise Liz Strauss‘ unparalleled community-building skills)

Paragraph 3

(to show that you were actually paying attention at least part of the time, you now turn to the content, picking out a few gems that really impacted you, while mentioning the speakers’ names as well (e.g., Steve Farber), hoping they’ll link back to you or at least leave a comment. It’s highly recommended that you mention one actionable point that you are going to immediately work on this week)

Paragraph 4

(the fashionable geek paragraph – all about the Macs, iPhones, Foursquare check-ins, iPads, and how Amber Naslund rocked out in a Radian6 tiara)

Paragraph 5

(optional – in order to make non-attendees jealous, tell folks about the wonderful venue, the scenic host city, the delicious food, the astonishing parties, etc. Be sure to mention that you had very little sleep at least one night because you were carousing with Jason Falls or a similar famous blogging maven.)

[insert gratuitous picture of cityscape, ripped off using Google Images. Optional - add picture later of some name-brand bloggers at your tables, all pretending to pay rapt attention to some 18-year old entrepreneur boasting about his page views]

Paragraph 6

(this is where you include the obligatory “Chris Brogan is a social media rockstar!” paragraph)

Paragraph 7

(mention here your regrets that you didn’t get to meet so-and-so, which gives you a chance to name-drop anyway and hope for better link love. It’s always popular to pat a few other special people on the back, such as the Lucretia Pruitt giving you a sidelong smile, or Julie Roads sharing her breakfast sushi with you. Express your, like, TOTAL determination to attend next year)

Paragraph 8

(sum up by repeating a whole bunch of stuff from the earlier paragraphs, employing words appropriate to your marketplace – for instance, for agency folks, talk about how you’re going to leverage actionable insight to enhance customer value)

Paragraph 9

(close by quoting some funny line that only “insiders” at the conference will understand, and include a random link to something or other)

See, now that wasn’t so hard, was it?

 


Entire Internet Lost

What began as a curious blackout during the annual South by Southwest geekfest in Austin has exploded into a major on-line crisis today.

The Internet has disappeared. Shockingly, the backup copy of everything on the interwebs has gone missing.

“It was just here last night!” exclaimed Shannon Whitley, applications programmer and Chief Global Internet
Curator. “I had the whole web continuously backed up on this 8-track tape. Someone must have thought it still had Waylon Jennings music on it, and removed it for a 70’s party or something!”

The loss was detected when SxSW presenter Biz Stone tried to access an old copy of Twitter using the Wayback Machine. A strange 404 page appeared displaying only the song lyric, “Stop the world and let me off, I’m tired of going round and round.” Except for a few locally-cached copies of Amazon.com and the SxSW session chooser, all other Internet sites vanished.

A frantic search of all local DJs with 8-track tape equipment did not turn up the archive, and a mimeographed copy of the Internet was also lost the same day due to a warehouse fire covering most of the state of Nevada, fueling speculation by conspiracy theorists around the globe. However, the geek class had to share their concerns by FAX and registered mail.

New social geolocation services due to be launched during SxSW have now been replaced by nametags and business cards. AT&T wireless executives were spotted yelling “It’s not our fault! Not us this year!!!!”

Outside the Austin conference center, a chuckling Jason Falls took it all in stride while munching a funnel cake, saying only, “They should have used Backupify. Heh.”

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No Longer Running in Circles, Armano Unveils the sVenn Diagram

After a recent post put him over the Annual Blog Circle Allotment Quota, designer/blogger David Armano has just launched his newest information explanation creation, the sVenn diagram.

“My audience was getting tired of the same old Venn diagrams, and frankly, so was I.” explained Armano. As you can see from the trajectory of my graphics over time, I simply overused the circle metaphor to the point of radius overload. It was time for a change.

“For the last month or two, everyone’s been demanding squiggles. So that’s the heart of my new design motif, the sVenn.”

Not everyone was thrilled with the abrupt change of direction. “I’ve always liked Venn diagrams myself,” complained Alan Wolk, while feeding his pet toad. “Armano is taking a perfectly good mechanism for pretending to understand information design, and deconstructing it into an atomized mess of disparate graphical entities.

“Besides, you can’t do squiggles in pastel.”

Top American Social Media Idol designer Kristi Colvin had a different perspective, however. “Look, Venn diagrams are at least as old as AOL disks. We need something new, something fresh, something that can encompass all levels of both meaningful and meaningless, all in one package. The sVenn is perfect for this – a brilliant move by Armano. And my Uncle Sven is going to be thrilled that he’ll finally have his 15 minutes of on-line fame!”

Armano was reticent to show the full suite of his new sVenn diagrams, as they are under Patent Review for a New Method for Creating or Saving 1 Million Jobs, but he did pull one sample out of his gallery, an identity design for a social media guru formerly known as Scoble. “As you can see, with one sVenn, I’ve summed up every aspect of Robert’s Scoble’s his identity. Just wait ’til you see my latest, the sVeen, which will be the new lovemark for Gary Vay-ner-chuck (@garyvee).”

In other social media news this week, social media agency maven Darryl Ohrt described the Olympic sport of Curling as “riveting.” He was promptly unfollowed by 1,500 people on Twitter, though three Canadians did add him to their RSS feeds.

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Blogger Blogs about Google Buzz in Vain Linkbait Effort

SOMEWHERE IN ALABAMA – In an effort to join the bandwagon and hop on the blogosphere buzz about just-launched Google Buzz, social media guru/expert Collie Mackier decided to write a blog post extolling the significance of Buzz before actually ever seeing or using the product.

“Every blogger worth his or her grits knows that as soon as there is a new product announcement, you have to put out a rushed and ill-informed blog post about whatever it is in order to get links and Twitter re-tweets,” declared Mackier in an interview conducted using Buzz/Wave/Gmail a rotary phone. “Lately, I don’t even bother using the new product. I just read what Mashable says, then make stuff up with my own spin on it. Some guys invest 5 minutes looking at the new shiny object – that’s a waste. I invest that time creating link backtracks (sometimes to Guy Kawasaki, for instance) and hyping the news on Plurk.”

“Let’s face it people – it’s all about the linkbait. That’s why I always manage to make one reference to Connie Reece or Jay Baer or Liz Strauss in each post. Because it’s not what you know – it’s who you bribe into the ‘conversation’ with some first-mover link-love.”

It should be noted that Mr. Mackier made no gratuitous references to Mari Smith, Chris Brogan, or Alan Wolk during the interview.

As expected for a social media rockstar, Mackier’s post was re-tweeted 27 times on Twitter and was incorporated in 22 other linkbait blog posts/lists hyping the new Buzz platform, whatever it is. Instead of an excerpt, his entire post is reprinted below:

Google Buzz is what all the buzz is about – everyone has been demanding the user-centric social integration features that are offered here. I’m sure that once I use it, I’ll have more to say about it, but in the meantime, Buzz is buzzing the blogosphere (see links here and here and here) with more Buzz than Wave did, which I still haven’t tried either. It’s Google, so I just know it will change the world – at least, Mashable thinks so. What are your thoughts? Please join the conversation below by adding comments before you try it too. And please tweet to get the buzz going.

A standard meaningless picture is also  included in the blog post as a way to try to entice reader engagement while ducking on the delivery of any actual value or content.

By being one of the first blogging all-stars to post about Buzz, Collie’s ranking in the AdAge 1,500 jumped three places, to number 889, just ahead of The Lifestream and Times of Jean Luc Picard. His blog is still nowhere near the rankings of such internet luminaries as Ann Handley, Amber Naslund, or Lee Odden, however.

In related news, Yahoo announced the release of its Buzz-killing Mullet platform, including integration with Prodigy, GeoCities, and Napster.

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