Tag: facebook

Facebookers, Do You Really Want a “Want” Button?

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Uncle Sam, America’s most famous “wanter”

Facebook is adding a new verb to its repertoire — it’s another one you probably never thought you’d need a computer with Internet access to perform. Soon, Facebook users will be able to “want” things. It’s kind of like we’re robots that are slowly learning to be human.

“I Hate to Ask”: Are You Addicted to Social Networking, Baltimore?

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Check out this funny poem by regular Baltimore Fishbowl contributor Elisabeth Dahl, which won an honorable mention in the 2012 Wergle Flomp humor poetry contest sponsored by Winning Writers. We love the rollicking rhythm and the way Dahl tilts her silly lens to look at a topic to which we can (virtually) all relate (and interrelate). We’d love to hear your reaction below!

I HATE TO ASK

I hate to ask, but would you click
This blinking rainbow fetching stick?
For every click, a dollar goes
To stray dogs in the Poconos.

Facebook’s IPO: A Good Investment? U of MD Prof Says, Maybe

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This story was originally published on Feb. 1, 2012, but given today’s Facebook IPO, we thought we’d re-run it. – The Eds.

Rumor has it that Facebook is set to file an IPO in the near future. No doubt, this will be a big deal. Not only is Facebook omnipresent in our social lives, its also helping shape our economy. A few months ago, a study showed that Facebook apps have created 182,000 jobs worth more than $12 billion. So is investing in Facebook a good idea?

Well, maybe, according to Gerard Hoberg, associate professor of finance at the University of Maryland. In the pro-column:  Facebook is already huge, and it seems like it’s here to stay. And word on the street that Morgan Stanley is underwriting the IPO. “History shows that IPOs underwritten by strong names… tend to be successful investments,” Hoberg points out. But the big question is growth. Is it possible for Facebook to get bigger than it already is? “How much upside is left?” Hoberg wonders. “Although the first day return for Facebook will likely be substantial, its long-term outlook may be average for the industry.”

So invest or not, as you see fit… but prepared for a whole lot more Facebook in your future.

Mark Zuckerberg’s Sneaky Visit to Baltimore Last Week

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As was reported earlier this month in The New York Times, Mark Zuckerberg visited Baltimore last week as part of his Facebook IPO dog and pony show. One place he paused? The downtown headquarters of T. Rowe Price, of course, whose stake in the social media juggernaut is worth over $500 million.

Boy Wonder brought along his chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, and the two had to sneak inside.

“They were trying to avoid  a Fox 45 camera team near the building so they came in throught the service elevator,” said one person who attended the meeting. “Mark was in his hoodie, as is his M.O.”

Zuckerberg presented to the group and munched on chicken parm, pasta, and Italian bread, just like any 27-year-old (he turned 28 a few days later).  Then he was off to BWI to head back to California and more of the roadshow.

 

Hopkins Surgeon and Facebook Team Up to Promote Organ Donation

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Facebook already wants your personal information. Now they want your organs too! Well, kind of. The social networking site has added a feature on its new “timeline” profile configuration that makes it easy for users to share their organ donor status, and the site links to users’ local authorities where they can register officially.

Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg was inspired by his girlfriend, who’s currently attending medical school, and Steve Jobs’s public battle with pancreatic cancer.

Johns Hopkins surgeon Andrew M. Cameron helped the social networking giant develop the initiative and is excited about the greater awareness and participation that Facebook can facilitate. More than 2,000 Marylanders are awaiting organs, a number that is on the rise, even as the number of donors stays stagnant. Currently, in Maryland, 50 percent of licensed drivers have registered as organ donors.

So if you participate in Facebook’s organ donation initiative, you’ll be doing more than just helping a billionaire impress his girlfriend; you could potentially save a life.

Maryland Lawmakers Propose Bills to Keep Employers out of Your Facebook Account

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Used to be, the only people besides you who were trying to log in to your Facebook account, were jerk friends looking to post something embarrassing under your name. But increasingly, it’s your employers who, no longer satisfied cruising your public social network profiles, are actually asking for your login information to see all the private stuff!

This kind of big brother stuff, sends my imagination off into the stratosphere. I picture the guy who asks my for my Facebook password wearing black gloves, a monocle, and sporting a wicked scar. When I picture myself refusing, I imagine being dragged kicking and screaming by two huge Men in Black. Then I’m incarcerated as a political dissident, and I become the Rosa Parks of the anti-anti-online privacy movement. It’s kind of cool, actually.

Anyway, last year, former correctional officer Robert Collins was asked to give his superior his Facebook login information in order to be considered for a promotion. He gave the information but then contacted the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland about the violation of privacy.

This is the kind of thing that feels so good to get righteously indignant about. And, happily, several Maryland lawmakers are doing just that. Sen. Ronald N. Young decried the practice for “stepping on constitutional rights.” Sen. Young is one of several legislators that have sponsored bills currently sitting in the Maryland legislature aimed at curtailing the ability of employers to request login information. Some would only protect state employees. Others are more inclusive, protecting students also. I say pass ’em all; let God sort ’em out!

A Trader Joe’s in the Rotunda?

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When Giant announced it was moving its supermarket out of the historic Rotunda in Hampden, many in the neighborhood bemoaned its imminent departure. Others saw an opportunity, namely to invite the sorta-organic, store-brand-heavy, quickly-expiring-produce-selling (come on, it’s true), aesthetically pleasing, and above all, inexpensive grocery chain Trader Joe’s to open in the soon-to-be-vacant location.

One such supermarket visionary decided to take it all the way and started a facebook page (with 898 likes and counting) that links to an online petition as well as Trader Joe’s’s (that can’t be right) own “location request” webform where Baltimoreans who are sick of driving to Towson can bring their demand to “Joe” himself.

If you decide to send a request to TJ’s, could you throw in something about making their check-out counters a little bigger? I mean, I can’t be the only who thinks that they are crazy small.

Just Because It’s Viral Doesn’t Mean It’s True

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If you’re an avid facebooker with socially conscious facebook friends you may have seen these recently. If you’re socially conscious yourself, you may have reposted them.

One is a chart comparing the ratio of salaries of CEOs to those of average workers across countries. According to the chart, the lowest is Japan at 11 to 1. The highest (by far) is the United States at 475 to 1.
 
The other began as a chain email and outlines the “Congressional Reform Act of 2011,” demanding, among other things, that Congressmen “participate in social security,” that they “no longer vote themselves a payraise,” and that they “participate in the same healthcare system as the American people.”

But where do these posts come from, and are they based on fact?

Pulitzer Prize winning website PolitiFact tackled the pay chart last week. Apparently the chart comes from paper penned by three Louisana Tech College of Business students in 2005. According to their professor, the data were included in the paper with no citation.

As far as the validity of the numbers, one major institutes calculates a pay ratio in the United States of CEO to the average worker at 185 to 1. Another (using a different system) puts the ratio at 325 to 1. Both figures may be shockingly high (“Wait, if the average work makes $20,000…”) but neither agrees with the unsourced table. Neither group calculates ratios for other countries.

The “Congressional Reform Act” was evaluated in by FactCheck.org. The site points out that members of Congress have been participating in Social Security since 1984, that their payraises are determined by a cost-of-living algorithm (Congress has actually voted to receive no pay increase the last two years!), and that their health coverage options are the same as “millions of other federal employees.”

But don’t lose heart, social networking activists! Just do some research and cite your sources.

Missouri Bans Teacher/Student Facebook Friendships

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There are a lot of exciting ways to break the law (international money laundering! treason! running guns!); as of August 28, though, there will be a brand new boring way to get in trouble, at least in Missouri:  becoming Facebook friends with your teacher.

The idea behind the law (Missouri Senate Bill 54) is to minimize inappropriate contact and to “more clearly define teacher-student boundaries.” And while it’s pretty obvious that some boundaries shouldn’t be crossed (ie, buying beer/weed for your high school students), others are trickier to parse.  Combine that with the internet’s ever-expanding archive of embarrassing material, and it’s sometimes hard to say what teachers can and can’t do. Should a good teacher be fired for writing about a past stint as a sex-worker? For posting Facebook photos of herself with a few drinks? For favoring objectionable (to some) bumper stickers?

So, will banning teacher/student Facebook friendships help create those boundaries? Or will it just keep teachers and students from forging stronger bonds, both in the classroom and out of it?

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