In a new book called A Social Strategy: How We Profit from Social Media, Harvard Business School Professor Mikolaj Jan Piskorski analyzed many datasets from many companies, Facebook included. The big insight he takes from looking at Facebook’s data is that, the more friends a user has, the less active he or she is. As people amass friends, the type of content they post becomes more generic, less personal (which explains Facebook’s sudden embrace of news media). The problem isn’t that parents, siblings, and teachers are on Facebook. It’s not even that everyone is on Facebook. It’s that Facebook makes it too easy to suddenly be someone’s “friend.” In high school, you know who your friends are: They’re right there. Or as Piskorski told me, “Of course teenagers hate Facebook and find it useless. In high school, you see your friends everyday!”
CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s audacious bid to rewire the app economy—and make his social network more relevant than ever.
Although Zuck has outlined his three-, five-, and 10-year goals for employees, he has never crisply explained publicly how all of these recent moves fit together, and that has gotten tech watchers buzzing about whether he and the company have lost their way. But after dozens of interviews with current and former employees, rivals, advertisers, developers, and users, it becomes clear that Zuckerberg has launched Facebook on an aggressive and potentially brilliant strategy—one that has very little to do with the company you think you know based on your desktop use of its social network. [Facebook granted Fast Company access to several company executives, but not to Zuckerberg or COO Sheryl Sandberg.] To make Facebook more relevant than ever, the company has targeted the very core of the app economy to fulfill its vision for the next half-decade. As the six lessons that follow illuminate, the great social network of the early 21st century is laying the groundwork for a platform that could make Facebook a part of just about every social interaction that takes place around the world.
A Philadelphia agency built a smartphone-wielding robot that acts on anonymous haters’ requests, eschewing Instagram’s draconian API terms in the process.
The social media-savvy president invited Tumblr’s CEO and some lucky Tumblr users to the White House to talk about education and college affordability.
A fictional personality built a huge following for Marvel. Here’s how the man behind the Twitter mask did it.
Everyone knows Spider-Man and Iron Man, but do you know another Marvel Entertainment power player: Agent M?
Agent M is the twitter alias for Ryan Penagos, the executive editorial director of Marvel Entertainment’s Digital Media Group, who has been quietly building a massive personal Twitter following of 1.32 million sharing his insights on tacos, video games, pop culture (and yes quite a bit about comics as well).
Penagos was hired by Marvel in 2006 to kick-start the company’s online content back when social media was an emerging trend.
“In the beginning, we had two blogs and a variety of things that were very informal,” says Penagos. “They hired me to come in and go crazy. It was almost like the Wild West—I could do anything I wanted with some oversight.”
Twitter crashed repeatedly during the 2010 World Cup. Here’s how the company’s engineers are preparing for the 2014 games.
“I’ve been here just shy of five years, and I still have PTSD from the last World Cup at Twitter,” Twitter engineer Raffi Krikorian told Fast Company. “When you come to my floor at Twitter headquarters, we have signs all over the floor with a countdown to the World Cup. Reliability is at the top of our minds, and reliability first is the mantra. Somewhere in the world, there is a sporting event, an election, or an earthquake.”
In only a year and a half of Vine, we’ve seen six-second loops of just about everything under the sun. With a recent dispatch from space, however, we’ve apparently moved on from underneath and are now broadcasting Vines from somewhere more adjacent to the sun.
Astronaut Reid Wiseman has posted the first-ever Vine video sent from space.
In its first hour, the CIA’s premiere tweet has been retweeted more than 50,000 times.
“Basically, a social media pre-nup is an agreement in place as early as possible about what’s cool and what’s not cool online," marriage therapist Dr. Sheri Meyers told Katie Couric on her talk show. "Part of my agreement is no ugly pictures posted.”
The agency wants to buy social media software to aid its monitoring efforts. On its feature wish list: the ability to sniff out snark.
The service is appears to be exploring a feature that allows you to attach videos to a tweet with a hashtag.
“Samsung took on a company with the arguably most successful consumer product ever created.”
Find out which words are retweeted most, what time of day is best to post, which hashtags to add to your tweets—and how to figure out if your new tricks of social media are working.