This Week in Social Media

I’ve been following social media news this week, and it seems that the social media world is grappling with some tough issues, such as:

What does and does not constitute free speech in social media?

According to U.S. District Court Judge Raymond A. Jackson, “liking” something on Facebook is not protected under freedom of speech. He ruled so in a case of a Virginia deputy sheriff being fired after “liking” the page of the sheriff’s opponent during his campaign. The former deputy sheriff has appealed this ruling and this week, the American Civil Liberties Union and Facebook itself have both come out in support of the former deputy sheriff.

At my work with a union, we’ve been facing a similar issue. With elections for union officials coming up this year, we’ve had to face either shutting down the union Facebook page completely (because candidates and other union members cannot publicly campaign for the elections) or whether to moderate the page to keep comments regarding the elections off the page, but legal council has deemed this a freedom of speech issue so the page will remain shut down until after elections.

Should social networks be ad-free, and at what cost?

App.net, a mobile app development company (according to its About page), has raised $600,000 toward building an ad-free version of Twitter.

The project has raised funds through “crowdfunding” inspired by an entry on one of the co-founders’ personal blogs, rife with language that reminds me a lot of the scene in The Social Network where Jesse Eisenberg accuses Andrew Garfield of wanting to “end the party early” by monetizing Facebook with advertising.

Sure, advertising may not be cool, but social networks are driven by teenagers and I doubt that users are going to want to pay App.net’s $50 per year basic access fee. Not with the number of scares I’ve seen on Facebook wherein misinformed users protest the “plan” to start charging to use Facebook in the future.

Is it possible to use social media to end (or alleviate) the unemployment crisis?

According to Jackalope Jobs, yes. The new jobs website is not another Monster.com or Craigslist. Jackalope Jobs promises to optimize your job search by connecting with your various social networks– Facebook, LinkedIn, or Plaxo– to import your qualifications and point out your most valuable contacts in your network. You can search jobs from the dashboard of the site and it will sort jobs by a ranking based on your credentials and your connections.

I’ll be entering the job market within the next year and if this website actually revolutionizes Internet networking, I’ll definitely be looking into it.

What have you heard about in social media news?

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