Too Much of a Good Thing? You Bet!

File this one under “Study Results that State The Obvious.” Nathan Eddy at eWeek reports on a survey of Facebook users showing that people who tend to overuse the site are more likely to be unfriended. More than 1,500 people were polled, albeit a very small percentage of the over 500 million members. The primary reason for unfriending? Frequent, unimportant posts.

Posting about polarizing topics and crude or racists comments were the second and third most cited reasons.

The study comes from University of Colorado PhD student,  Christopher Sibona. Weeks reports that Sibona and others believe the results will have far-reaching implications for businesses on Facebook.

On one hand, I am not so sure. With the separation of business pages from personal pages, one can make an effective marketing use of Facebook without annoying friends and family. I also wonder whether the study examined “unfriending” behavior distinguished from “muting” behavior – Facebook users have the option of muting posts by friends who annoy without having to go to the Draconian level of unfriending.

On the other hand, I myself have unfriended voracious marketers who overstep the bounds of Facebook “friendship” and muted voracious posters who clutter the newsfeed. There is little question in my mind that sites like Facebook and Twitter can be overused and abused. While there is room in these social nets for originality, creativity and connection, the overmarketing employed by some users in this relatively novel stream of commerce will turn off other residents. And while Facebook “unfriending” is certainly easy to do, unfollowing on Twitter is even easier. Your message is lost if there is no one there to hear it.

I believe it pays to remember that the old rules of advertising and marketing do not apply in the social media sphere – people are attracted to those who actually offer, rather than promise to offer, something of value. Part of the value equation is knowing when to speak and knowing when to listen. Think before you post. With every post I make, I try to consider whether it might educate, assist, entertain or support someone else. Leave the intercom on and running your self-serving message at your own peril.

Oxford’s Word Of The Year

I’ve heard of Nobels, Pulitzers, Oscars, Grammies, Emmies and Tonys. But what’ s this? An Oxie?

The New Oxford American Dictionary has just announced its Word of the Year. Who knew? And guess what? The new word has to do with technology and social networking! Apparently, social media is on the minds of staid old dictionary publishers too.

The “Oxie” is presented to the 2009 WotY winner  — “unfriend.”

“Unfriend” is a verb. It means to remove someone as a friend on a social networking site. This is to be distinguished from “unfollow” which means to stop subscribing to someone’ s posts on a blog, microblog or aggregation site. “Unfriend” is deeper-rooted. It suggests the severing of a more meaningful connection, such as can be found in places like Facebook and MySpace.

Senior Lexicographer at Oxford U.S. Christine Lindberg explains the choice:

“It has both currency and potential longevity…. In the online social networking context, its meaning is understood, so its adoption as a modern verb form makes this an interesting choice for Word of the Year. Most “un-” prefixed words are adjectives (unacceptable, unpleasant), and there are certainly some familiar “un-” verbs (uncap, unpack), but “unfriend” is different from the norm. It assumes a verb sense of “friend” that is really not used (at least not since maybe the 17th century!). Unfriend has real lex-appeal.”

“Lex-appeal?” Now why didn’t that word make the cut?

You might be interested in some of the runners-up. Here they are, by category:

Technology

hashtag – a # [hash] sign added to a word or phrase that enables Twitter users to search for tweets (postings on the Twitter site) that contain similarly tagged items and view thematic sets

intexticated – distracted because texting on a cellphone while driving a vehicle

netbook – a small, very portable laptop computer with limited memory

paywall – a way of blocking access to a part of a website which is only available to paying subscribers

sexting – the sending of sexually explicit texts and pictures by cellphone

Economy

freemium – a business model in which some basic services are provided for free, with the aim of enticing users to pay for additional, premium features or content

funemployed – taking advantage of one’s newly unemployed status to have fun or pursue other interests

zombie bank – a financial institution whose liabilities are greater than its assets, but which continues to operate because of government support

Politics and Current Affairs

Ardi(Ardipithecus ramidus) oldest known hominid, discovered in Ethiopia during the 1990s and announced to the public in 2009

birther – a conspiracy theorist who challenges President Obama’s birth certificate

choice mom – a person who chooses to be a single mother

death panel – a theoretical body that determines which patients deserve to live, when care is rationed

teabagger -a person, who protests President Obama’s tax policies and stimulus package, often through local demonstrations known as “Tea Party” protests (in allusion to the Boston Tea Party of 1773)

Environment

brown state – a US state that does not have strict environmental regulations

green state – a US state that has strict environmental regulations

ecotown – a town built and run on eco-friendly principles

Novelty Words

deleb – a dead celebrity

tramp stamp – a tattoo on the lower back, usually on a woman

Check out the Oxford post here. And Hat Tip to Resource Shelf.

Oxford's Word Of The Year

I’ve heard of Nobels, Pulitzers, Oscars, Grammies, Emmies and Tonys. But what’ s this? An Oxie?

The New Oxford American Dictionary has just announced its Word of the Year. Who knew? And guess what? The new word has to do with technology and social networking! Apparently, social media is on the minds of staid old dictionary publishers too.

The “Oxie” is presented to the 2009 WotY winner  — “unfriend.”

“Unfriend” is a verb. It means to remove someone as a friend on a social networking site. This is to be distinguished from “unfollow” which means to stop subscribing to someone’ s posts on a blog, microblog or aggregation site. “Unfriend” is deeper-rooted. It suggests the severing of a more meaningful connection, such as can be found in places like Facebook and MySpace.

Senior Lexicographer at Oxford U.S. Christine Lindberg explains the choice:

“It has both currency and potential longevity…. In the online social networking context, its meaning is understood, so its adoption as a modern verb form makes this an interesting choice for Word of the Year. Most “un-” prefixed words are adjectives (unacceptable, unpleasant), and there are certainly some familiar “un-” verbs (uncap, unpack), but “unfriend” is different from the norm. It assumes a verb sense of “friend” that is really not used (at least not since maybe the 17th century!). Unfriend has real lex-appeal.”

“Lex-appeal?” Now why didn’t that word make the cut?

You might be interested in some of the runners-up. Here they are, by category:

Technology

hashtag – a # [hash] sign added to a word or phrase that enables Twitter users to search for tweets (postings on the Twitter site) that contain similarly tagged items and view thematic sets

intexticated – distracted because texting on a cellphone while driving a vehicle

netbook – a small, very portable laptop computer with limited memory

paywall – a way of blocking access to a part of a website which is only available to paying subscribers

sexting – the sending of sexually explicit texts and pictures by cellphone

Economy

freemium – a business model in which some basic services are provided for free, with the aim of enticing users to pay for additional, premium features or content

funemployed – taking advantage of one’s newly unemployed status to have fun or pursue other interests

zombie bank – a financial institution whose liabilities are greater than its assets, but which continues to operate because of government support

Politics and Current Affairs

Ardi(Ardipithecus ramidus) oldest known hominid, discovered in Ethiopia during the 1990s and announced to the public in 2009

birther – a conspiracy theorist who challenges President Obama’s birth certificate

choice mom – a person who chooses to be a single mother

death panel – a theoretical body that determines which patients deserve to live, when care is rationed

teabagger -a person, who protests President Obama’s tax policies and stimulus package, often through local demonstrations known as “Tea Party” protests (in allusion to the Boston Tea Party of 1773)

Environment

brown state – a US state that does not have strict environmental regulations

green state – a US state that has strict environmental regulations

ecotown – a town built and run on eco-friendly principles

Novelty Words

deleb – a dead celebrity

tramp stamp – a tattoo on the lower back, usually on a woman

Check out the Oxford post here. And Hat Tip to Resource Shelf.