I haven't been able to move this week for news about 'sexting'. I must confess that I was only vaguely familiar with the term, thinking it had been made up by a journalist for publicity purposes and wasn't a real problem. How wrong I was. Now I read that teenagers in the US and Australia have killed themselves when their boyfriends/girlfriends have emailed/MMSed 'compromising' pictures to school mates/parents, usually after they've split up. But in a worrying twist it now seems that so-called compromising pictures posted on social networks are being used as evidence in court to mitigate in cases of sex crime.
Genuine nudists and naturists have a social network to call their very own after an enterprising team set Skinbook up on Ning.
Karl Maddox and friends from Manchester set up a forum a while back after coming across a nudist beach in Wales. They lost interest in the project but when they went to delete the space, discovered 247 registered members.
Now a social network in its own right and very much in the design mould of Facebook, Skinbook has a 6,000 following and has had 25,000 applicants. Presumably, the unsuccessful 19,000 were just after a bit of free porn.
I'm not sure how much money one makes out of such an enterprise but, if you fancy a crack at creating your own web 2.0 niche, then head over to Ning.
Do the Daily Mail and it's online counterpart write these stories to create outrage or to write sensationalist nonsense? Perhaps it doesn't matter, because it must work both ways. On the one hand, these kinds of stories sell papers/attract traffic and on the other hand it brings them publicity. Well, I'm sitting here writing about it, aren't I?
So, today's pile of old toot is about the possible link between social networking and cancer. Oh really. Now, I feel rather sorry for psychologist Dr Aric Sigman who mainly talks about how using Facebook and MySpace causes a decrease in face to face social interaction and how that might lead to socio-psychological issues.
To give the doctor an incredibly generous benefit of the doubt, it might...
"The times, they are a-changin'", as Bob Dylan once said. We've hadplenty of 'X overtakes Y' news lately, and the latest is that Facebook is now double the size of MySpace worldwide. It represents a powerful victory for usability and good design over the infamous "MySpace page", which became synonymous with the web's - how shall I put this - more 'homely' side.
I just logged in to MySpace for the first time in about six months, and had to enter *three* different captchas before I could even log in. I guess that means they're taking the spammer threat seriously, but my god, what a barrier to logging in...
The social networking behemoth rumbles on. As of yesterday, Facebook has over 140 million active users. The site is growing at a rate of 600,000 users a day. That's a whole lot of poking.
Extrapolating the trend, you find that by March the company could hit 200 million active users. Interestingly, 70% of the growth is coming from outside the States, meaning that the market in the USA (and likely the UK, too) has possibly matured and is no longer growing as fast.
Microsoft is turning "Live" into a social network. That's what seems to be at the core of the big changes that will be happening to Live.com over the next day or so. Instead of just being a search box, it's getting activity and contact information from around the web - a 'news feed' of sorts.
If you want to check it out early, you can. It's at home.live.com. It's about using existing connections to build your network, so that you don't have to go through the rigmarole of 'adding' people yet again. Anyone that you're friends with on MSN Messenger automatically becomes a connection, and you can see what they're upto on a variety of different sites.
Over the last couple of months, Motorola has been showing to carriers a bunch of specs and pictures of a touchscreen phone based on the Android platform. The phone will apparently take some of the design cues from the "Krave" (pictured above) which was released in the States last week...
Jonathan Weinberg writes...
OK, so let's do a straw poll. What do you think would stop a sex offender abusing children? I know this is not a comfortable topic but it is an extremely important one in tech and Internet terms. Stiffer sentences maybe? The threat of castration? A life term in jail? Perhaps even death by lethal injection?
We've all had those "If I were Home Secretary" moments and this is one of them because the plans today released by the UK's Home Secretary Jacqui Smith seem the worst kind of limp proposals for such a serious matter...
After last week's cry from those with the cash that there are too many social networks, more voices are calling for social networks to become more useful.
That follows comments from Google's co-founder, Sergey Brin, saying that they hadn't yet found the best way to advertise and monetise social networks, and statistics which suggest that the popularity of social networks are declining a little...