Playground Buzz – The Most Intriguing Social Media News of the Week

By Christina

Happy Friday! We’ve been buzzily crunching to prepare for next week’s big holiday! We took a minute or two to sign petitions lobbying against SOPA , follow the #OWS livestreams on Twitter, and fought some curious cravings for Wendy’s. We’re logging off for the weekend with these in mind:

SOPA (Or E-Parasite Act): The Act that would Break the Internet

You may have heard rustlings and grumbles of a certain “Internet censorship” bill, or experienced a web “black out” on some sites you may regularly visit in protest of the bipartisan Stop Online Piracy Act that’s under consideration by the U.S. House of Representatives. While created in an effort to put a lock on Internet piracy, the bill would give corporations a lot of leeway in an effort to corral and control copyrighted material. The implications of such a bill on the Internet is potentially disastrous – for both users and social media platforms – prompting Tech moguls like Facebook, Google, and Zynga to rally together to lobby and protest. Copyright on the Internet is fluid for sure, but it can be complicated. This infographic, courtesy of American Censorship is pretty comprehensive and breaks down what the passing of the bill means for ordinary Internet netizens. Hint: jailtime. Lots of it.

Facebook is Watching: How Users are Tracked and Monitored 

In other quasi controversial Internet matters, USA Today compiled a pretty thorough picture of just how Facebook tracks and monitors users’ online behaviors through a series of interviews. Facebook has skirted the issue of user privacy for some time now, although its most recent wrangling with the Federal Trade Commission may bring more of the platform’s practices to light. For a simpler overview of how Facebook follows you through cookies and open graphs, read the breakdown here.

@MrsKutcher Files for Divorce; What’s to Become of Her Handle?

Ashton’s been airing out his woes and faux pas’ on Twitter lately. Last week he had a foot-in-mouth moment regarding ill thought out Tweets, and this week, his wife of six years has filed for divorce. The couple have been microblogging their lives together since joining Twitter in 2009; while Demi has kept mum on the matter (at least on Twitter), Ashton chose to take to first before linking to the original post on a Tweet. Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries must be taking a sigh of relief since #thingslongerthankimsmarriage might get some respite.

The Call from Inside the House: Skype and Facebook

Surprise! You can now get Skype video chat calls from Facebook friends, even the ones you’re not actually chummy with! While Facebook launched videochat back in July, you and your chat buddy both had to be logged in to be able to use it. Now with Skype’s Facebook integration, not only can you sync your Facebook profile and buddies to your contact list, your chatbuddy doesn’t even have to have Skype to videochat – simply call them from Skype and they can answer through Facebook. With Skype’s intentions of connecting over one billion people, it looks like dodging unwanted calls may get just a bit harder – maybe this is the push needed to actually participate in the second annual National Unfriend Day?

GirlBehindSix Boosts 33,000 Twitter Followers for Wendy’s

A stealth Wendy’s Twitter campaign to promote the new #6 combo – the W burger – ratcheted up 33,000 new followers for the account with minimal ad support – a success!  While the Twitter account was quietly introduced on Oct 6 without any outright affiliation to Wendy’s, @GirlBehindSix launched its gameshow on Oct 31st, quickly awarding $1,000 prizes to the first six followers who retweeted the rules. What followed afterwards was a series of challenges, responses, and lots of prizes ranging from mopeds, sleeping bags shaped like sharks, and headphones. Wendy’s recently revealed its association with @GirlBehindSix and are now trying to migrate followers to its main Twitter account, which boasts 49,460 followers at the moment.

Heinz Playing Catch Up After a Facebook Snag

While it doesn’t surprise us to see more brands take to Facebook as tentative ecommerce platforms, we’ve yet to hear of a terrifically bad snag. Heinz’s plans to exclusively offer a limited edition line of ketchup (now with balsamic vinegar!) hit a Facebook glitch on Monday’s launch. Consumers were told that they would be able to purchase their ketchup first thing Monday morning, but found that they had to wait until Monday night to be able to place an order. While Heinz didn’t comment on what caused the glitch, they did issue a statement:

“Heinz deeply regrets the inconvenience and we are expressing our thanks to Heinz Ketchup fans by offering one free bottle of Heinz Ketchup blended with Balsamic Vinegar plus free shipping to every consumer that posted on the site when it was down temporarily on Monday. In addition, we are offering a free additional bottle plus free shipping to every consumer that places a paid order for Heinz Ketchup blended with Balsamic Vinegar between 8:30 pm EST Nov. 14 and 11:59 pm EST Nov. 15. All orders placed Monday before the technical difficulties occurred will be fulfilled for free.”

While things have been smoothed over for the most part, a few users still posted complaints that they were having difficulty placing orders. Looks like the Heinz CMs have their work cut out for them!

PayPal Launches a Facebook App

PayPal has unveiled a new Facebook App called “Send Money”that allows users to send money to their friends. Users can choose to either send an ecard with money or just money; simply select a card, a recipient, and then select the amount to send. While we are slightly terrified at this development, we definitely see the benefits of enabling the app (especially if Grandma’s tech savvy and remembers your birthday), although so might spammers who PM you pretending to be a stranded friend in dire need of cash to get back home.

There’s a Score for that – Your IRL Social Life 

Ultimat Vodka (from the creators of Patron) launched a Facebook App that assesses, rates, and scores your social life outside of social media (attention hermits and recluses, you’re doomed). The Social Life Audit app factors 12 variables, including: how many photos you’re tagged in per week on Facebook; the size of your circle  (the average number of people who’re tagged in those photos with you); and how many places you check in through Facebook per week. While definitely not the end-all-be-all for scoring your actual life, it’s a clever ploy to raise awareness for Ultimat, which currently has six Facebook fans.

TV Meanie Simon Cowell Joins Twitter while Regis Gets a Twitter Sendoff 

Simon Cowell finally extended his brand of mean to Twitter, firing off an inaugural Tweet Wednesday afternoon. While the brutally honest TV judge has only tweeted a grand total of six tweets, his followers have rocketed up to 231,490, outpacing two of his cohosts. With his current gig at X-Factor relying on Twitter DMs  for votes, having such a devoted following could only be advantageous for Simon’s current mentees on the competition. In the meantime, Regis Philbin filmed his last hosting shift on Live! With Regis and Kelly today. Twitter, of course, has a lot to say.

Did we miss anything? Let us know and join in on the conversation here!

  • Brandon Rhoten

    Appreciate the coverage and interest in our effort, Christina. We used @GirlBehindSix to create conversations around our new product, the W cheeseburger, and to test Twitter as a platform to launch an old-school product. We’re very happy with the result. If you want more info on what we did, you can catch me on Twitter @brhoten. -Brandon Rhoten, Director of Digital at Wendy’s.