There may have not been Facebook in the 1970s, but the human concern for privacy is timeless. In 1974, Columbia University professor Alan Westin conducted surveys about privacy and concluded with the result that most participants were privacy fundamentalists (those with high concerns) or privacy pragmatists (those with medium concerns). Now, put internet in the picture. Privacy and the internet don’t really go hand in hand. People will tell you cautionary tales about that – “once it’s on the internet…!” Yup, you’ve heard the horror stories. No, really, if you don’t want to share certain information, DON’T SHARE IT.

As you may have noticed, Facebook constantly changes its privacy policy. But what exactly are some of the changes? It seems that when a layout change occurs, people pay attention and give their time of day to explore the new settings, but notifications about new privacy policies aren’t given too much thought. When Facebook started out, your information was viewable by friends and people in your network (such as a school network).We observed the transformations across the years on this timeline. Facebook started in 2005 with the policy that “No personal information that you submit to The Facebook will be available to any user of the Web Site who does not belong to at least one of the groups specified by you in your privacy settings.” Five years later (by April 2010), it’s become “When you connect with an application or website it will have access to General Information about you. The term General Information includes your and your friends’ names, profile pictures, gender, user IDs, connections, and any content shared using the Everyone privacy setting. …” and ended on the note that “If you are uncomfortable with the connection being publicly available, you should consider removing (or not making) the connection.” There goes your privacy! Read the rest of this entry »

Living in Gramercy, I have received more flyers and door knob hangers advertising the new website “Date My School” than I know what to do with. “Date my School,” or DMS as it is referred to, is a dating website used to “facilitate meeting of students from different departments within the same school and between different universities.” 

What’s interesting about this site is that it is exclusive to a select few institutions such as Columbia, Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford and NYU. Since users need an active school e-mail to sign-up, the creators claim this prevents “any weirdos, SPAM, SCAM or fake profiles.”

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Privacy and the internet don’t really go hand in hand. People will tell you cautionary tales about that – “once it’s on the internet…!” Yup, you’ve heard the horror stories.

As you may have noticed, Facebook constantly changes its privacy policy. But what exactly are some of the changes? It seems that when a layout change occurs, people pay attention and give their time of day to explore the new settings, but notifications about new privacy policies aren’t given too much thought. When Facebook started out, your information was viewable by friends and people in your network (such as a school network). We observed the transformations across the years on this timeline. Facebook started in 2005 with the policy that “No personal information that you submit to The Facebook will be available to any user of the Web Site who does not belong to at least one of the groups specified by you in your privacy settings.” Five years later (by April 2010), it’s become “When you connect with an application or website it will have access to General Information about you. The term General Information includes your and your friends’ names, profile pictures, gender, user IDs, connections, and any content shared using the Everyone privacy setting. …” and ended on the note that “If you are uncomfortable with the connection being publicly available, you should consider removing (or not making) the connection.” Oof, there goes your privacy!

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Every time Facebook changes the layout of profiles or edits the way the newsfeed works, users get up in arms. People do not like change, especially when it comes to their favorite social networking site. They take to their pages with fury to yell at Mark Zuckerburg and the rest of the Facebook team to leave Facebook the way it is. When Facebook updates its privacy policies and offers users new steps to secure their pages, no one comments and many ignore the window explaining the changes that pops up after they log in. A few years ago, privacy notifications elicited more a reaction. When social networking first became a phenomenon with sites like Myspace and Livejournal, the media was constantly discussing the issue of how people’s privacy was now at risk. Users did not trust social networking sites to protect their identities, and so were cautious and constantly warning each other with horror stories of Myspace pages gone awry. With the development of Facebook however, public opinion about social networking security seems to be changing. Read the rest of this entry »

This week’s assigned readings came at an ideal time. After a few phone conversations with marketing teams for the Met and ABT and extended research on how companies are making use of new social media, I was still unable to find specific answers to all of my questions. These conversations and readings about building community however caused me to look at Facebook in a new way, and find a new angle for this travelogue.

College students love Facebook. It is truly a website made for the people, by the people. Since its founding in 2004 however, Facebook is no longer a website dedicated solely to college students. It is a global community used by students, parents, and professionals. College students originally went onto Facebook because, as the film The Social Network puts it, “Facebook is cool.” Now Facebook is not only who your friends are and what party you went to, but your identity.  It was your social life, online; now it is your entire life online.  As Facebook continues to play more and more of a role in defining individuals, users are more cautious about how they present themselves. Read the rest of this entry »

I had started with the idea of looking at the relation between ticket sales and arts organizations’ Facebook popularity, but as you all pointed out in class that seems like a huge task and maybe an impossible one. On one arts marketing blog I was able to find that studies in this area have actually been done already. Yale Repertory Theater did a study on the relationship between their Facebook activity and ticket sales. I have tried reaching out to them to get their results, but no luck yet. Check out the blog post here: http://bit.ly/n5RiP and Yale’s Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/yalerep.

Since I’ve been having trouble finding any information in regards to ticket sales, I started to look at how non-profit arts organizations use their Facebook pages, and why they seem to be so successful compared to other companies. To keep my focus, I’ve stuck with the Metropolitan Opera and American Ballet Theatre as my non profits and Le Poisson Rouge and Madison Square Garden as my commercial venues. Here’s a breakdown of their Facebook stats:

  • Met Opera: 87,996 fans
  • ABT: 132,921 fans
  • Poisson Rouge: 6,806 fans
  • MSG: 373 fans

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I cried when I had to switch to Facebook. Not really, but I was a diehard MySpace fan until the fall of 2008 when I moved towns and realized everyone there used Facebook. I couldn’t figure out why the generic Facebook layouts and lack of personalization beat out the many graphical and musical capabilities of MySpace. I am actually an avid proponent of minimalism, so the Facebook layout does have a certain appeal in that sense – it is simple and systematic to use. But for the average teenager who will fight to the grave for his freedom of self-expression, I found it an odd transition. Facebook executives say MySpace and Friendster failed because of poor management and the inability to control the amount of spam and irrelevant advertisements users received (see some of the failures here). MySpace also lacked a coherent organization system along with having chronic difficulties in sending messages (CAPTCHAS, links marked as spam, etc.) Facebook obviously had a better design which was more user-friendly and improved regularly. But what would make even Facebook better? What is the next generation of social media? Read the rest of this entry »