Tag Archive: Social Media


As lawyers, we are trained to accept mortality and the myriad of consequences it may have to others.  Lawyers need to accept that we will die… and so will everyone else.  It is in this vein that I appreciate the idea of PassMyWill.

It holds your passwords so that upon your passing, your heirs have access to all your online accounts and can enact your wishes.  It checks your social media accounts for activity, and after a specified period of inactivity sends an e-mail to you to check in.  If you do not respond to that e-mail, it assumes you’re dead and then gives your specified heir access to your passwords.

It’s an interesting idea and I’m sure that we haven’t heard the last of this.  For creativity points, I can even forgive founder Danil Kozyatnikov’s hat (he is from Siberia after all).  However it does remind me of this commercial from 2005.

TechCrunch has a full description and video interview with the founder.

Here is an interesting comparison of Twitter and blogs:

Blogging was a direct attack on MSM hegemony at both the micro (fisking) and macro levels (explanation space). I just don’t see Twitter as the same threat. It is a flood of unmermorable chatter that is easy to ignore. Blogging had the potential to break the power of the MSM guild. Bloggers, at their best, presented arguments. Arguments can both change minds on the immediate subject and undermine the credibilty of those establishment pundits who present weak cases on a regular basis.

I think that’s largely apt, but there’s more to it.  Both blog posts and tweets tend to be short, but tweets are too short to convey any real content or argument.  It’s the difference between e-mails and text (sms) messages.  There’s no inherent cap on e-mail length, but e-mails are kept short.  Text messages are capped at 160 characters.  With Twitter, there is no way to convey a complex idea in only 140 characters.

Blogs-and the web generally-permit authors to reach a much wider audience than they could otherwise–essentially disintermediating the gatekeepers of old.  Twitter is too short and is a closed system, so it cannot achieve the disruptiveness of blogs.

via.

Facebook may have won the social media battle, but what’s the prize?  Bob Cringely predicts a finite shelf-life for Facebook.

[W]hile Facebook is certainly a huge social, cultural, and business phenomenon, I just don’t see it being around for very long.

Facebook is a huge success. You can’t argue with 750 million users and growing. And I don’t see Google+ making a big dent in that.  .  .  .

Each era of computing seems to run for about a decade of total dominance by a given platform.  .  .  .

I give Facebook seven years or until 2014 to peak.

Does this feel wrong to you?  Listen to your gut and I think you’ll agree with me even if we don’t exactly know why.

I’m inclined to agree with him on some level, but I think it’s more of the finite shelf life of the “walled garden.”  Eric Raymond discusses an alternate universe of no Internet as a “world of walled gardens:”

Welcome to a world of walled gardens. Your digital universe is a collection of competing fiefdoms run by CompuServe, AOL, Genie, and later entrants that came into the fray as demand rose, many of them run by big media companies. Each network has its own protocols, its own addressing conventions, and its own rigidly proprietary access software. You get the services they choose to offer and that’s it – there’s no end-to-end, no access to the bitstream.

You can only do the equivalent of email and instant-messaging with people on the same provider you are using. Inter-provider gateways are buggy and often nonexistent – some providers think they add attractiveness to potential customers, others think they can shoulder smaller networks aside by making them relatively inaccessible.

Facebook, like old AOL, lets you leave, and has some interoperability with its instant messaging platforms, but it’s effectively closed.  The Facebook e-mail system is closed to Facebook, and its IM is not entirely open either.  It has an API to allow other software to work with it, but it controls the ecosystem.

Facebook is smart and will probably learn lessons from AOL’s failures, but its hard to see what it can do beyond a certain point.  I think I agree with Bob Cringely, even if I don’t know why.

A Juror in a UK drugs trial decided to communicate with the defendant, who was later acquitted.  Now the 40-year-old, mother of three faces up to two years in prison for contempt of court.

Om Malik has an excellent post on why Kickstarter works (the comments are also worth reading).  He quotes Craig Mod because this really does say it all:

With Kickstarter, people are preordering your idea. Sure, they’re buying something tangible — a CD, a movie, a book, etc — but more than that, they’re pledging money because they believe in you, the creator. If you take the time to extrapolate beyond the obvious low-hanging goals, you can use this money to push the idea — the project — somewhere farther reaching than initially envisaged. And all without giving up any ownership of the idea. This — micro-seed capital without relinquishment of ownership — is where the latent potential of Kickstarter funding lies.

Billionaire Felix Dennis wrote, “ownership isn’t the important thing, it’s the only thing.”  Kickstarter allows creative talents to get seed capital without giving up equity.

Do You Own Your Photos?

Glenn Fleishman over at Boing Boing writes “All Your Pics Are Belong to Us: at image hosting services, Terms and Conditions always apply

He spoke to “Carolyn E. Wright, who goes by the moniker Photo Attorney,” and she recommends Mobypicture for their terms.

Fleishman quotes key portions of the copyright terms of several photo sharing service.  One service missing is WordPress, which allows users to upload media directly.  For example, the photo of my dog that I have posted here is hosted on WordPress’s servers.

Here are WordPress’s terms of service:

By submitting Content to Automattic for inclusion on your Website, you grant Automattic a world-wide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, modify, adapt and publish the Content solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting your blog. If you delete Content, Automattic will use reasonable efforts to remove it from the Website, but you acknowledge that caching or references to the Content may not be made immediately unavailable.

Seems fairly standard.  It doesn’t include the Mobypicture language, however, which is:

Content Ownership
All rights of uploaded content by our users remain the property of our users and those rights can in no means be sold or used in a commercial way by Mobypicture or affiliated third party partners without consent from the user.

Mobypicture explains further, here.

It’s important to know who owns your content when you produce it.  With terms of service frequently changing, protecting your intellectual property rights is becoming a full time job.

The UFC is embracing Twitter as part of its promotion strategy.

From MMA Fighting.com:

Unlike other professional sports organizations that have cautioned, not to mention fined, its players for using Twitter, the Ultimate Fighting Championship is encouraging its fighters to tweet as much as possible.
.  .  .  .
At the conclusion of a full calendar year, the UFC will end up paying $240,000 a year to its fighters for their Twitter usage.
So while NFL and NBA players have been fined for tweeting during team functions, the UFC is doing the exact opposite, which is no surprise considering how active White is on Twitter and how he has long been in favor of embracing social media.

This makes sense from the MMA’s perspective.  Take advantage of controversies to build awareness of the brand, the fighters, and the fights.

It encourages the fighters to reach out to their fans and build a more-direct and stronger fan-base.  I think it’s another smart move from UFC boss Dana White.

Malicious software on Facebook is an increasing problem.  (I’ve written about them here and here).  Recently, Facebook has come up with two different and complementary security measures to fight back against these viruses, worms, malware, and other scams.

First, Facebook has teamed up with Web of Trust to try to identify “risky” links.  By warning users of potentially malicious sites and applications, Facebook hopes to reduce the amount of malicious software running on its system.

Secondly, Facebook has implemented a text message login approval as an opt-in security measure.  If a user tries to login to Facebook from a new computer or device, the system sends a code via SMS to the user to verify the new computer or device. This should reduce the amount of unauthorized users accessing Facebook and legitimate users’ data and slow the propagating of viruses.

Facebook Virus Alert

It appears that my report of recent Facebook viruses is only part of an increasing trend.

The new Facebook viruses use Facebook applications to spread themselves, and spread using a victim’s friend list.  In addition to the photo tagging pretense I identified, these attacks use the pretense of surveys and “liking” a video or image.

As always, the best defense against these attacks is vigilance.

The End of MySpace?

Not the final nail in the coffin, but not a good sign either.  Today Zynga, which makes games for social networks has discontinued support for Mafia Wars on MySpace.  It continues to support Mafia Wars and other games on Facebook.

In the Facebook/MySpace War, there is a clear winner.  It will have to be the subject of a future post, but it was not long ago that this outcome was unclear.

%d bloggers like this: