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This week, the loudest buzz in the digital arena was overwhelmingly emanating from Facebook. It seems that their strategy to integrate themselves into users' digital and physical lives is, as expected, generating consumer resistance. Revealed last week, there are plans in motion for a location-based status update feature'positioning Facebook as either a Foursquare competitor, or potential partner. The possibility of a database of half a billion consumers' current locations is leaving marketers' mouths watering. This announcement, along with the recent news of Facebook's Open Graph and Instant Personalization features, has induced criticism of the site's minimizing privacy settings (consider these graphics of the website's security over time). Not surprisingly, this week, fifteen consumer privacy protection organizations took action against Facebook by jointly filing a complaint with the FTC. It's interesting that even though the majority of consumers are concerned with the lack of security, Facebook and content creators continue to charge ahead. In the three weeks since announcing their Open Graph system, already over 100,000 websites have sided with Facebook by adding 'like'? functionality to their site. This sovereign company continues to make our privacy decisions for us and, despite all the hesitation and opposition, we still choose to participate daily. However, there are some users out there who are looking for an alternative to Facebook and attempting to establish a new norm: open social networking.
The iNews As usual, Apple was a dominant source of news this week. The company announced that they had reached and surpassed their 1M iPads sold milestone'all within a month of their product launch. Now the question, since all the early adopters have adopted, who will be buying their product next month? Apple also released more information about their anticipated iAd platform, a service which will allow brands to engage their consumers on Apple products while also surrendering their creative over to Apple designers. The company reported an entry fee of at least $1M for advertisers who want to be involved when the new platform roles out. Marketers must weigh the hefty price tag against the positive PR that will surround being an innovative company who advertises on the new technology. Furthermore, these iAds will be built to support HTML5, and so, the Adobe versus Apple saga continues. Since Steve Jobs' letter last week which sought to explain the company's many reasons for not supporting Adobe Flash on their products, the media has been buzzing about the transition from the Flash platform to more 'open'? alternatives. Online Privacy Outside Cupertino, there's other buzz to be heard. There was much discussion this week on legislation that could significantly impact marketers' use of consumer data online. As the Internet continues to make privacy scarce, lawmakers are attempting to secure users' identifying information'including their IP numbers which facilitate behavioral targeting. This could have implications on how marketers' deliver personalized advertisements. ROFLcon II And digital happenings IRL! The Internet gathered in person last week at MIT for two action-packed days of panels, lectures and keynotes on the ever evolving role of Internet memes and the larger influence of Interent culture in today's world. And of course, there was a little time for chatroulette bingo. What did we learn from two days of rolling-on-the-floor laughing? Internet culture, however loosely defined, is becoming an increasingly powerful influence on the mainstream. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Debate among yourselves within the comments section below, or within the comments on the next cat youtube video that goes viral.