We’re back by popular demand – or at least a few random asides from people I pass on the street. It seems some of you genuinely missed the weekly snark-fest that is The Vortex, in which we take a moment to poke some fun at the Egotocracy. And once I started compiling items earlier in the week, I just couldn’t stop. This may be slightly longer than usual; there’s just so much to choose from! Let’s get to it, shall we?
News from the Social Media Vortex
-The big kerfuffle of the past two weeks has been King Arrington vs Twitter. Citing the entire history of the news industry as precedent, he decided that publishing confidential company documents sent to him by a hacker in need of a hobby qualified as sound journalism. Twitter has not ruled out the possibility of lawsuits. I think the best assessment of the situation came from a journalist friend who said, “Lovely how journalism has progressed from The Pentagon Papers to this…” Indeed.
-In other Twitter news, the company found a fan in Martha Stewart this week and a critic in David Letterman. Calling Facebook “dippy,” (my new favorite word), Stewart lauded the ease of using Twitter, though also strangely labeled it the ‘Wal-Mart of the Internet.’ (Is Twitter now hawking mass-produced crap made by Malaysian children?) Meanwhile, Letterman rebuffed Kevin Spacey’s attempt to lure him to the service, calling it a waste of time. They’re both right.
-Social-networks-in-a-box site Ning reminded us that the tech bubble never truly dies, raising a $15 million funding round on a valuation of $750 million. In April, the company said its users had created over one million social networks, with only 200,000 of those still active. I’m no math whiz, but that sounds like a user retention rate of just 20%. How does that translate to a valuation higher than the GDP of, well, any country in the world? Just asking.
Apps on the Radar
-Mashable has a great piece on impressive implementations of Facebook Connect.
-Parents will appreciate Have2P, for those times when the young ‘uns just can’t wait, and Balloonimals, an ingenious little app that lets your kid blow up a virtual balloon and shake the iPhone to create an animal.
-And stoners should know about Cannabis, a recently approved iPhone app that will locate legal purveyors of medical marijuana. Not that I know anything about that.
Tweet of the Week
-This one was just too easy. In the category of Scarily Immersed in Social Media, we salute Mark Rizzn Hopkins for the following: “Ever wanted to micro-podcast to your FriendFeed? Try FriendBoo! http://riz.gd/bt2qn4” Um, no Mark. No I have not.