Jenkins: Facebook becoming biggest 'nation'

Jenkins: Facebook becoming biggest 'nation'

December 17th, 2010 by Donnie Jenkins in Life Entertainment

Earlier this week, Time magazine named Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg its Person of the Year. The publication makes the point that if Facebook were a nation, it would trail only India and China in population numbers.

In other Facebook news, it was announced this week that J.C. Penney has established a complete "shop and share" retail store on Facebook, stocking thousands of items for sale. Facebook continues to be a major factor in how anyone has to see the Internet, especially marketers and businesses in general.

Twitter, the "other social network," was viewed for some time as dormant or not all that important compared to Facebook by some, but some online research indicates that Twitter may in fact be superior to the leader in one area: link click-throughs. While some would disagree, it appears that marketing and commercial links on Twitter get more actual action than do those on Facebook. We should always take such conclusions with the proverbial grain of salt, of course, but I have maintained for a long time that Twitter is often underestimated.

* Location-based services, including coupon offerings and credit-card transactions, continue to be looked upon as the next frontier of growth, especially for users of mobile phones and tablets. Facebook and Twitter recently have begun to get into this market, and more such businesses are popping up almost daily.

While this trend is great in many ways, it suffers from an old gremlin: security. Any transaction that becomes automatic has the potential for abuse. Users of these services should take care to completely understand the terms of service and especially the risk they are assuming when using any of these offerings.

* One interesting trend gaining momentum is that of including social-networking features as a core feature of Web browsers. Flock was one of the first browsers to attempt this, and recently the Rockmelt social-enabled browser was released. Mozilla's Firefox browser has had many social plug-ins for some time, and the company is also interested in further social integration.

A feed is defined as a stream of organized information, and the feeds from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other services are taking new shape via offerings such as Flipboard and Montage. These are services that arrange streams or feeds in magazine or newspaper format to make them easy to read and understand. It's ironic in a way that so-called "old media" can be so useful in enjoying digital content.

* YouTube is apparently beginning to allow larger video uploads for "well-behaved users." The service has had a 15-minute time limit on video uploads for some time. If true, this is great news for bloggers and anyone else who uses YouTube and embeds videos from there into their blog or web site. Also, this means we'll probably be getting feature-length movies and other longer uploads to enjoy.

* The Consumer Electronics Show is coming up in January, and we should see exciting announcements in mobile phones and tablets, Web-enabled TV and media streamers such as the Roku. Stay tuned.

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