MediaFile

Fortune 500 executives behind on social networking

With more than half of the U.S. public on Facebook and more than 200 million tweets sent each day (about 30 percent from the U.S.), American life is continuing to enmesh itself with social networks. But for the CEOs of the top 500 U.S. companies, social networking is a small — if existent — piece of successful living.

In a report released Thursday by Domo and CEO.com, the online presence of Fortune 500 companies’ top executives was compared to that of the general public, revealing that less than 30 percent have at least one profile on social networks. The vast majority have none.

Some of these accounts sit inactive — five of the 19 CEOs on Twitter have never tweeted — while others seem underutilized — 25 of the 38 CEOs on Facebook have less than 100 friends. The only social network that these executives outdo the U.S. public on is LinkedIn, the “world’s largest professional network.”

Perhaps the loneliest social networks for these top executives are Google+ and Pinterest. The former has only four of the CEOs — including Google’s own Larry Page — and the latter has none, despite Pinterest’s growing base of approximately 12 million American users.

Although the percentage of the top executives on social networks sits at less than 30 percent, Wikipedia has profiles for more than 36 percent of them. Only one of the CEOs has and maintains his own blog: John Mackey of Whole Foods.

from Paul Smalera:

The platform problem in social media

The two speakers from Twitter -- Ryan Sarver and Doug Williams -- had just left the stage at Big Boulder, a data conference I'm attending in Colorado, when Twitter, the service, went down Thursday. Neither of them have anything to do with keeping the service up and running, but the restless audience probably still would've thrown the hotel-provided notepads and candies at them if they could've. Such was the level of dissatisfaction about the Twitter platform's outage yesterday -- and let's face it, any day a service we rely on goes out, even when the crowd in question doesn't consist of users and consumers of social big data, and the odd journalist.

The outage may have been poorly timed for Sarver and Williams, but the incident speaks to a larger problem the companies represented in this room are facing: building on top of social platforms.

Consider Zynga. The high flying gaming company, built primarily on top of Facebook's Open Graph, has faced record lows in its stock as investors have lost some confidence in the company's ability to continue growing. Or consider just about any other company, social or not, that is trying to reach its fans and customers in the social media world.

Swipp looks to quantify your comments

Silicon Valley start-up Swipp says it has raised $3.5 million in funding from venture firm Old Willow Partners, an early investors in Groupon. It will use the cash to develop and launch its first products sometime in late fall. On the subject of what exactly those products will be, Chief Executive and co-founder Don Thorson was cagey. But it seems like he’s aiming to create a social network where it would be easier for consumers and merchants to analyze or make money from data than on say Twitter or Facebook.

“With (so many) people connected we should be able to do so much more than just tell each other where we’re having lunch,” said the executive, adding that conversations on social networks like Facebook and Twitter are “pretty cool stuff but not meaningful data. The bigger the network gets the smarter it should get.”

A basic Twitter search of a particular hot topic like a service price increase or a new product can already give a snapshot of how people are reacting, But that’s not enough for Thorston “We think that’s just a really 1.0 way of being able to extract information,” he said. With Swipp “you’ll have quantifiable data on that topic.” For example, it could figure out what percentage of comments were complaints and what percentage were positive.

Apple, Google and the price of world domination

In his first appearance at the World Wide Developer’s Conference as spiritual leader of the Apple faithful, CEO Tim Cook made it clear that he intends to not just further Steve Job’s vision but expand upon it. It’s never been more clear that Apple is intent on world domination.

Conspiracy theory? No. Try inescapable conclusion.

What else are we to make of Apple removing Google Maps from the iPhone? Google Maps was a core feature on the very first iPhone, but it will disappear in an iOS software update announced Monday at Apple’s developer conference.

Apple’s tension with Google is legendary. They began as friendly neighbors in largely complementary businesses – former Google CEO Eric Schmidt was even on Apple’s board. But after the introduction of the Android, Steve Jobs’s anger at Google’s entry into the mobile phone business was palpable.

Facebook’s private experiment with democracy

Facebook is having a vote on changes to its privacy policy. Not that you’d know it.

Voter turnout has always been a problem for developed nations, but what about developed social networks? Facebook, with its 900 million users, is often written about as if it were the personal prelature of its founder, Mark Zuckerberg. But Facebook itself prefers the term “ecosystem” – with good reason. Facebook’s engineers provide the basic conditions for life – the agar at the bottom of the social-media Petri dish. In turn, it’s developers and users who really craft their own worlds, their own experiences of Facebook – not Facebook itself. And whatever world they craft, it can only exist in the laws that govern the Facebook universe. Who ultimately decides those laws? Facebook.

Given that reality, it’s amazing that most users don’t care a lick about the vote happening on the site, right now, today, over proposed changes to Facebook’s privacy policies. Nor did they care much about the last vote over the site’s Terms of Service, which happened in 2009. Of course, it’s hard to care about something you don’t know is happening. Even though the vote is making the news here and there, there’s no inkling of any promotion on Facebook itself about what sounds like a rather important site event.

Betwixt and between: Facebook’s act of desperation

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook is considering lowering the minimum membership age to include tweens. It raised eyebrows and kindled a new discussion about privacy and the propriety of inviting youngsters into what the company aspires to make the world’s biggest salesroom.

But I have a different concern: Soliciting children would be pretty strong evidence that Facebook needs a big boost to its already staggering 900 million membership to justify its valuation and business model. Having courted every early, middle and late adopter possible, there isn’t much low-hanging fruit for Facebook anymore. But courting tweens would inevitably invite scrutiny and regulation, since the prospect of cyberstalking is even more toxic that cyberbullying.

In other words, the potential rule change looks like an act of desperation. Coming off a miserable stock market debut, both the merits and atmospherics of this notion are decidedly bad.

Older and bigger, Facebook rethinks a youthful flirtation with user democracy

With about 900 million people, Facebook is larger than all but two countries in the world. But the nation of Facebook’s experiment with direct democracy may be coming to an end after only a few years.

On Friday, Facebook said it will “review” a process that allows users of the online social network to vote for or against changes to its privacy and site governance policies.

The user feedback process was implemented at a time when Facebook a much smaller, privately-held company and may no longer be well-suited to the company’s current situation, Facebook explained  in a blog post.

Wall Street needs to shed Facebook’s shroud

As Facebook continues its search for a bottom after only eight trading days as a public company, there’s a much bigger problem than the $40 billion in market cap it has lost. The people behind Facebook’s dubious $100 billion-plus self-valuation were apparently as doubtful as the rest of us. At stake is the fate of Wall Street’s soul. To paraphrase Sir Thomas More’s line in A Man For All Seasons: “It profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world…” – but for Facebook?

Facebook’s interests are no more aligned with The Street’s than with its members‘. Wall Street needs to take the offense, see the handwriting on the wall and project itself as the ultimate defender of transparent, market principles, which is the only asset it has.

Facebook’s much-anticipated public launch has gone from bad to worse. It priced itself at the high range of $38 and opened 30 minutes late – some 20 of those with traders completely in the dark. Nasdaq has egg on its face and a possible liability in the tens of millions of dollars. Retail investors who bought into the hype are still losing money. Days after the May 18 launch, the tangled mess of positions that may or may not have been taken were still being unwound.

Google touts its ad metrics as Facebook confronts hurdles

Google just put out a study touting metrics as a way to sell more advertising.

But the most interesting part of the study is the timing. It comes on the heels of the Facebook advertising fiasco, when just days before its hotly anticipated IPO, General Motors said it would stop advertising on the social network, raising the question of the value of a Facebook ad.

The lure of online advertising has always been the promise of immediate and precise information (in theory at least) about how an ad worked. In industry speak, it is referred to as ROI– return on investment.

Google and Facebook are fierce rivals for online advertising and part of the reason for Facebook’s astronomical valuation (yes, even though its IPO was widely considered a flop)  is the promise of it sucking up more ad dollars down the line.

Facebook, the most cynical tech giant ever

For all its vaunted idealism, Silicon Valley can be just as cynical as any other area of commerce. The tech companies set up to profit from spam and search-engine trickery are too numerous to count. But Facebook’s short history makes one thing clear: There has never been a tech company that built so much fortune from the exploitation of ordinary people while giving so little in return.

Yes, Microsoft was vilified – and rightly so – for crushing competitors and forcing customers into an inferior operating-system software, but its iron-fisted dominance helped shape an immature and inchoate computer-software industry into a single standard that made PCs everyday devices in offices and homes. Microsoft’s brutal strong-arm tactics were directed at rivals. Its sin against its customers was that its software, for decades, just wasn’t that good.

Facebook, by contrast, built the best social network of its time, so good it left rivals like MySpace in the dust. And that should have been enough to make Facebook a Silicon Valley success story. Once it came time to make money, Facebook exploited its users’ personal data to a degree that no company had ever achieved before.