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

By Affinitive

The end of the year is here! We’ve been busily buzzing about the office preparing for various end of the years ongoings. When not hunting down Cyber Monday deals or laughing at Michael Buble Being Stalked by a Velociraptor, this is what we took the time to read:

Facebook and the FTC have come to a settlement against the FTC’s eight count charge against Facebook, which included goodies like: sharing user information with third parties without knowledge or consent; changing privacy practices without informing users; and claiming to have a program that verified the security of apps (when it didn’t). In a blog post, CEO Mark Zuckerberg  admitted that Facebook “small number of high-profile mistakes” regarding user privacy. The terms of the settlement bar Facebook from further “deceptive privacy claims.” In addition, Facebook has agreed to now obtain users’ permission before changing the method of how user information shared and must submit to regular privacy auditing assessments for no less than 20 years. For the direct FTC charges and settlement docs, you can read here and here. We wonder if today’s unexpected NYC announcement has anything to do with this recent settlement?

From Google Bar to Box?

In another facelift (so many of those going around, who noticed Youtube’s?), Google announced that it’ll be doing away with its infamous black bar that it introduced back in June. Many had complained of it being an unnecessary eyesore, and it seems that the company has taken note. Google has announcedthey’ll be rolling out a less obtrusive pop up box that’ll appear when you hover over its logo.  If you want to hack it and take a look early, check it out here. On that note, who’s excited for Twitter’s updates to their “Tweet” and “Follow” buttons set to roll out on Tuesday?

Your Facebook Status is Truly Limitless

Twitter may be famed for keeping things short and sweet at a 140 characters, but Facebook thrives on being limitless. So much in fact, that they’ve just upped their character limit to a whopping 63,206 characters . A pity that NaNoWriMo participants were not informed in time, as uploading bits and pieces of their daily word count onto Facebook could have been great motivation. For an idea of just how large a 60k character count status is, check out this one valiant user’s attempt.

How People Literally Look at Your Profile

Sure, we hone and nitpick at what we post and share on our profiles, but what do our viewers see when they look at “us”? Mashable and EyeTrackShop decided to test this out by using the webcams of 30 participants to track eye movement when viewing the following: Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Flickr, YouTube, Klout, Reddit, Digg, Tumblr, Twitter, StumbleUpon and Pinterest at 10 second intervals. While not a perfect study, the observations are interesting: profile pictures actually do matter; as do who you know; your job title is just about the only thing people pay attention to on your LinkedIn page; and the content on top (or most recent content) gets looked at the most.

Grandma’s Social Media Tips

In a mashup of social media savvy, typography, and hip grannies, photographer and mixed media artist Chacho Puebla and his grandmother have embarked on a project called Grandmother Tips, a collection of doting advice and tips from grannies for the new age. We had a good laugh at the World of Warcraft sign.

Twitter’s Top 10 Stories of the Year

From goofy to heartwarming to powerful, Twitter Stories gathered 10 remarkable stories for the end of the year. Some are no brainers, like Shohaib Athar’s inadvertent live tweeting of the air raid that killed Osama Bin Laden, the outreach attempts after Japan’s earthquake, and the #riotcleanup efforts after the London riots. Others are heartwarming or simply amusing, like NBA player Kevin Durant’s impromptu flag football game after a follower invited him to join through Twitter. You can check out the rest of the stories here. Incidentally, Facebook has also released a list of the most shared articles of 2011 as well.

Flash Musical Kick Off the Holiday Season at the Mall

Improv Everywhere struck a chord at a New Jersey mall when shoppers broke into a song about how you’re never too old to sit on Santa. “Mall Santa”  is just one of their Spontaneous Musicals, known for breaking out in public places. You can check out the rest of Improv Everywhere’s Spontaneous Musicals here.

Did we miss a bit o’ buzz? Let us know here and join in on the conversation!