Tag Archives: social networking

Facebook valued at $270 billion? NewsCorp buying MySpace for $580 million was sooo 10 years ago. #edchat

Illustration by Jordan Awan

There’s a terrific piece in the current @NewYorker, Facebook Should Pay All of Us by Tim Wu. In it, Wu writes:

Facebook is […] widely assumed to have more data than anyone else. That data is useful for advertising, which is Facebook’s main source of revenue. But the data is also an asset. The two-hundred-and-seventy-billion-dollar valuation of Facebook, which made a profit of three billion dollars last year, is based on some faith that piling up all of that data has value in and of itself. It’s like a virtual Fort Knox—with a gold mine attached to it. One reason Mark Zuckerberg is so rich is that the stock market assumes that, at some point, he’ll figure out a new way to extract profit from all the data he’s accumulated about us.

…For the most valuable innovation at the heart of Facebook was probably not the social network (Friendster thought of that) so much as the creation of a tool that convinced hundreds of millions of people to hand over so much personal data for so little in return. As such, Facebook is a company fundamentally driven by an arbitrage opportunity—namely, the difference between how much Facebook gets, and what it costs to simply provide people with a place to socialize. That’s an arbitrage system that might evaporate in a world of rational payments. If we were smart about the accounting, we’d be asking Facebook to pay us.

Since NewsCorp bought MySpace for $580 million dollars in 2005, I have had so many conversations with students, parents, teachers, friends, family, and strangers about what I imagined NewsCorp was buying. Data. An ocean of freely shared data about its users from its users: Who are you? Who do you know? What do you do? Specifically, what are your likes and dislikes for bands, songs, cars, jeans, sodas, shampoos, computers, magazines, pizza toppings, television channels, narcotics, candidates, Friends characters? Where do you shop, hang out, watch movies? People freely and willingly uploaded any and all personal information and preferences to MySpace, and NewsCorps hoped to sift through swells of big data for advertising and internet marketing purposes. Six years later, NewsCorps sold MySpace for $35 million dollars in 2011. Ruh roh.

For almost two decades, I’ve working mainly with middle school students and teachers. During my time at The School at Columbia University, Don Buckley (Director of Innovation from 2006-2013) asked Cristina Martinez (our Systems Administrator) to set up an internal social network using Elgg back in like 2007 or 2008. To demonstrate that a social network is EMPTY until people populate it with information, we start every school year with a blank social network after archiving the previous year’s work. I constantly reinforce that everything posted online is either public or less public, so if you want something to be private, you should never upload it. Below are links to some posts I’ve written detailing specific annual curricular projects I’ve led using this in-house space, The Social Network:

  1. Creating social networking profiles with 6th graders:  https://karenblumberg.wordpress.com/2014/12/10/in-6th-grade-life-skills-making-digital-profiles-on-our-in-house-elgg-social-network/
  2. Social networking etiquette and other life lessons:  https://karenblumberg.wordpress.com/2011/10/05/social-networking-etiquette-and-other/
  3. 7th graders creating faux profiles of Great Mathematicians:  https://karenblumberg.wordpress.com/2010/04/15/social-networking-with-great-mathematicians/
  4. 8th graders creating faux profiles of the Founding Fathers:  https://karenblumberg.wordpress.com/2014/10/20/foundingfathers/

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Notes from today’s photography, social media, and better health session I led with @BangkokGlutton. Thanks, @MORUBKK!

I’m on a personal leave from The School at Columbia University this semester. My best friend, Chawadee Nualkhair (aka @BangkokGlutton), invited me to stay with her in Thailand and collaborate on creative projects including a TV pilot, a web series, and/or another book. Since relocating to Bangkok in 1995, Chow has become an expert on Thai street food and acts as an ambassador to the world of delicious, fast, inexpensive, culturally significant, varied, and omnipresent curbside dining through her photos, tweets, interviews, blog posts, television appearances, and books.

Today, Chow and I were led a half-day workshop on using smartphones to take pictures of food, and/or people in food settings, and sharing these photos via social media. Here are some topics we discussed:

  1. Who shares? What do you share? How do you share?
  2. Everything you put online is public, permanent, and traceable so make wise choices.
  3. Stake your claim (reserve user name on various social sites).
  4. There are great free apps out there for taking photos including:
    • Skitch for marking up photos with text and shapes
    • Squareready for making your rectangular photos fit within a square border
    • Touch Color to make part of a picture color and the rest of it black and white
    • Pic Stitch which creates quick and easy collages using a variety of free templates
  5. Photo tips: rule of thirds, depth of field, lighting, angles, no flash, ask permission if you include others in the photo,
  6. Photo ideas: focus on food and crop out most of the person’s face, include half-eaten food or food with a bite removed, don’t try to include everything in the photo, focus on an ingredient, show before-and-after plates, show empty plates.
  7. This project is using Facebook. Consider also sharing with other communities (ex. Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr, etc.)
  8. What is a hashtag and why? Sample hashtags to consider: #eeeeeats #foodporn #foodgasm #healthyfood #healthyeating #diet #getfit #superfood #fitspiration #cookinglight and many others
  9. The best way to get better at photography is to take a lot of pictures yourself and look at other peoples’ photos. Suggested people to follow who take good pictures: @Infatuation @bkkfatty @bangkokfoodies @bangkokglutton @karenblumberg @jessvsworld @christao408 @nat_catandnat @migrationology @huffpostfood @bkmagazine

The organizer of today’s event, Phaik Yeong Cheah (aka PY), works at MORU, the Mahidol Oxford Research Unit, a tropical medicine research collaboration between Mahidol University in Bangkok and the University of Oxford in the UK. PY organized this photography seminar to kick off the FACEBOOK FOOD PHOTO CHALLENGE. As it was described to me, “This project aims to understand a bit more about sharing food photos on social media and to explore its potential uses in health and health research. This is part of wider Wellcome Trust funded Food and Drink Initiative on global food issues including food production, transport, packaging, storage, shopping, cooking, eating and wastage.” More info can be found here: http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/Funding/Public-engagement/Funded-projects/Major-initiatives/Food-and-drink/index.htm

Some of the questions that arose during today’s workshop were:
1. Can sharing food photos on social media help those who are on some kind of diet?
2. Can sharing help promote healthy eating and cooking, and reduce food wastage?
3. Can social media offer an advantage by utilizing a peer support group when users upload photos and have their peers comment or ask questions?
Chow and I joined the Facebook group and committed to take photos of every meal for at least 14 days and post them to the group. You too can be a part of it! Please consider reading the guidelines, joining the The Facebook Food Photo Challenge group, and posting images with us!

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In 6th grade Life Skills, making digital profiles on our in-house @elgg social network

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I worked closely with Meredith Bonacci, PhD, our middle school psychologist, and the rest of the Socio-Emotional Learning liaisons, to revamp our Digital Citizenship and Online Safety unit for 6th grade Life Skills. Topics include understanding lack of online privacy, developing your digital character, reviewing Terms of Service for a variety of social networks, building an online profile, cyberbullying, and self-advocacy.

Today we talked about how to craft an online digital profile on our in-house social network, The Social Network, powered by @Elgg. (Thank you to our server manager, Cristina Martinez, for her help every year!) I reinforced that a social network is NOTHING until you freely and willingly populate it with information about who you are, who are your friends, and what do you do. To demonstrate this, we start every school year with a blank social network after archiving the previous year’s work. I reinforce that everything posted online is either public or less public, so if you want something to be private, you should never upload it.

We discussed:
Should you use an avatar or photo. What is an appropriate photo? Real photo or manga?
What to include in the bio? How do you want to represent yourself online?
What do you want people to know about you?
What type of information will you share? What should you never share?
Should you fill in every cell?
What privacy settings should you use? Who sees what?
Who should you connect with? Who has access to the information?

For further reading, I shared links to these articles:

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