Friday, 21 March 2014

Social Media News, is ‘No Makeup Selfie’ Narcissism or Charity?

Another day, another social media craze that sweeps the globe.  If you checked your Facebook wall this morning, you would have seen hundreds of females posing for a selfie with no makeup on (SHOCK!).  How is this possible you wonder?  Well it is all in the name of battling cancer apparently.  It comes to no surprise that nearly everyone has a strong opinion on this subject, as on one side of the coin it can be seen as a great way to raise awareness, but on the other it can be seen as exploiting a serious subject in order to fill some narcissistic tendencies.

First of all I will identify the good, honest people who have seen this as a bit of fun whilst donating some of their hard-earned cash in order to help Cancer Research.  Although there is a way to anonymously donate to any charity you want, any donation is better than no donation right?  The biggest plus out of this craze is that no doubt Cancer Research will raise an awful lot of money, which is a great thing in the battle against cancer.  It also changes the atmosphere on social media sites, as sometimes they can be quite temperamental places.  Many an argument will take place on a daily basis, but this seems to have created a sense of virtual community.
Away from the charitable aspect of the act, it shows that women do not need an industrial amount of makeup in order to look good.  This is also where the campaign turns slightly negative, and almost a bit sinister.
Cancer is a massive killer in all forms of societies, and do we really need pictures of people in order to ‘raise awareness’.  This term gets used too much, and by now there is no doubt that people are aware of cancer.  Many families have been torn apart by this dreadful disease and the last thing these people want is to be told to be aware of what might be.  The real question burning under this benevolent term is ‘are you going to give money?’  This may seem like a pessimistic view, but there are other ways to advertise charity other than to take a picture of ones face.
Source: don'

Eventually the fad will pass, but does that mean that ‘awareness’ will pass?  Of course not and this is why there is something slightly narcissistic about these pictures.  There is opportunity to raise genuine awareness here, but some are simply posting slightly blurred pictures of their best benevolent pout, and then not proceeding to donate afterwards.  In this case the craze becomes detrimental to the cause and just highlights some of the problems in today’s world.  It seems that the folks doing this are just hunting for approval from their peers, and then it just becomes a big cycle of people patting each other on the back in cosmetic approval whilst the genuine issue takes a back seat.
There have been increases in donations off the back of this trend, but so much more can be done here.  There is a question to be raised and that is what an image of someone’s face without makeup ever done for the fight against cancer that the photos of other made up faces haven’t?  There are other people out there raising genuine charity via head shaves, marathon runs, and other ventures.  These create a physical element of community and produce real-life emotions with people making genuine sacrifices in the name of charity.
There have even been examples of people labelling others as ‘brave’ because they are uploading pictures of their faces!  This is terrible when held up to the unimaginable struggle that many go through fighting cancer on a daily basis.  Despite the good intentions by some, one can’t help that a lot of people online are just promoting the wrong cause here, the self. 
The fight against cancer will continue, and as long as people do donate there is hope that one day all forms will be curable, but also this trend will pass.  Unfortunately another trend that won’t pass is the narcissistic society we live in today where a lot of people are only interested in promoting the identity behind thescreen.  Despite the doom and gloom element to this latest craze, there are some great people in society who genuinely want to help others, and unfortunately they slip under the public radar.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Social Media News, Facebook Integrates New Gender Options on Profiles

Facebook took the social media world by storm last Thursday after announcing that people who use the site in US English can now customise their gender options.

Users can now procure the labels 'transsexual', 'intersex' and 'androgynous'. This move by Facebook ensures that people can be referred to as they wish, and socially liberates some pockets in society that previously have not had a voice in the online world.

As well as adding around 50 different terms for their options, Facebook have also made it possible for users to alter their profile when it comes to direct referrals.  A user can now be referred to as he/him, she/her, or even they/their. This is certainly a massive step in the world of social media networking as more and more people across the globe are using sites such as Facebook and Twitter, it is essential that these companies cater for even the smallest pockets of society.

The social media giant posted a message on its diversity page hailing the decision made: "while to many this change may not mean much, for those it affects it means a great deal".  The company also said it worked with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender activist groups before solidifying a final list of gender options.  This demonstrates another sound move from Facebook, who by reaching out to groups who are usually kept in the public dark, have now catapulted these groups into the watching eye of the Internet.

Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation welcomed the changes online and stated "over the past few years, a person’s Facebook profile truly has become their online identity, and now Facebook has taken a milestone step to allow countless people to more honestly and accurately represent themselves".  This gratitude towards Facebook was echoed on Facebook's diversity page by current users, but with jubilation also comes queries from other quarters, and this unfortunately opens the door for others who use popular social networking sites as a platform to discriminate.  There have been early signs of this as some have sarcastically requested a dictionary in order to look up some of the gender terms.

Despite this, the majority have reacted positively, and for anyone who wants to change their gender information Facebook offers these instructions:

 - Go to your Timeline (which we sometimes refer to as your profile).
- Click Update Info at the bottom of your cover photo.
- Click Edit in the top right of the section you’d like to change. (The new gender options are only accessible within an autocomplete drop-down menu, so you have to begin typing to see them appear.)
- Enter your new info and click Save.

With plans to expand these new options, it seems that Facebook is looking ahead to a new diverse online world, and it's about time. These changes will indeed create debate amongst people in forums and on Facebook itself, but if there is a positive end result, which allows people to confidently express themselves as who they consider themselves to be, then it represents a step forward in society. In a subject that is regarded as touchy by some, Facebook should be commended in their bold effort to establish themselves as the company that liberated the cross-gender masses online, and it will now be interesting to see whether other big companies will follow.

In a nod towards their relationship status "it's complicated", Facebook may well have expanded its already 1 billion plus target range, through diversity and equality.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Use Social Media to Follow March Madness 2014

March Madness 2014, Social Media, NCAA, Men's Basketball Tournament
More than ever before, social media has made it incredibly easy to follow March Madness 2014. Selection Sunday is this Sunday March 16th and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament gets underway with the play-in games on Tuesday March 18th. The Tournament itself begins Thursday March 20th around 12:00 Noon EST.

With that, March Madness will be officially underway. I love this time of year and to recognize our clients and friends we’ve just rolled out our Second Annual prize giveaway. I couldn’t wait until next week! Just Like our Facebook Page to sign up to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card, then share with all your friends using the hashtag #TFGMadness to increase your chances to win.

Image by: Gabriel Suits
Image by: Gabriel Suits

Articles are being posted everywhere describing in great detail the time we spend watching games, attending parties and pretending to work while we watch games and catch up on scores with our smartphones, tablets and computers. Here at The Friedman Group we’re all about the tournament and I’m just hoping to get a couple hours of work in every day until April 7th when it’s all over.

This year, there’s even more excitement about the bracket challenges many of us participate it at work and elsewhere. Warren Buffet has teamed up with Quicken Loans and Yahoo Sports to offer the Quicken Loans Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge. Feeling lucky? All you have to do is submit a perfect bracket to win the billion dollars. Not feeling so lucky> The 20 highest scoring imperfect brackets win $100,000 and that’s nothing to sneeze at.

College basketball fans around the world have found social media to be a way they can keep up with their favorite teams. And when they can’t watch the games live, they can keep up with the action just by looking at their smartphone or tablet and checking their favorite social network. Here’s some ways you can stay engaged with the NCAA Tournament while remaining mobile.

This year, the NCAA March Madness Live app will broadcast live games. Games broadcast on CBS can be seen on the app and Saturday’s Final Four games (televised on TBS this year) will also be available online and on your mobile device via the NCAA March Madness Live app.

There are lots of ways to keep up with the Tournament scores, including the ESPN SportsCenter app on iTunes and for Android devices.

You’re going to find Facebook pages dedicated to March Madness and Pinterest boards for the visual amongst us. YouTube will also be filled with highlight clips throughout the Tournament.

Interested in filling out a bracket or hosting your own competition? There are many options to choose from including the bracket challenge hosted by CBSSports and Coke Zero just to name two.

Twitter is going to be buzzing with March Madness info and millions will be using and following the #MarchMadness, #ESPN, #CBSSports and #NCAA hashtags to keep up with everything they can. For some of the best tournament information, I’d suggest you have a look at @MarchMadnessTV the official home of March Madness TV, TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV.

Some of my other favorite people and teams to follow on Twitter are:
    • ESPN Basketball Insider Jeff Goodman @GoodmanESPN.
    • Being a student of history and a fan of Duke basketball I follow @dukeblueplanet to keep up with everything Blue Devil.
    • I can’t mention Duke basketball without mentioning another one of my favorite teams, the Kansas Jayhawks. Follow Kansas Basketball at @KU_Hoops and “Rock Chalk Jayhawks!”
    • This year I’m also looking for Wichita Stateto shock everyone, so I’ll be following them on Twitter too.
    • Jay Bilas is an ESPN Analyst, former Duke player and President of Hair Club for Men. Follow him at @JayBilas to get his take on the tournament.
    • Rob Dauster @RobDauster is the Head Writer for’s college hoops coverage at College Basketball Talk and always has some great insight to share.
    • Senior Writer Andy Katz @ESPNAndyKatz covers college basketball for ESPN while populating his Twitter stream with the day’s breaking news, trivia and his own analysis.
    • Are you interested in the smaller conferences? Looking for the next upset pick in your bracket challenge? Check out The Mid-Majority @midmajority in its tenth and final season.
    • College basketball reporter/analyst/author for Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports Seth Davis @SethDavisHoops believes “Everyone is entitled to my opinion.”
    • Need some serious stats on your favorite team? Check out Sports Illustrated and writer Luke Winn @lukewinn. The guy is a statistics machine!
    • While we’re talking about statistics gurus, check out Ken Pomeroy @kenpomeroy for team metrics and statistical analysis you’re not likely to find elsewhere.
By no means is this an exhaustive list of March Madness social media sites. It’s just some of my personal favorites. I’d love to hear from you in the comments below! Tell me who you follow on any of the social networks to get your March Madness fix.