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Fame: the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Twitter tool

With everyone looking for ways to grow their Twitter following, many will have fun playing the new Fame game without understanding that it is temporary and not at all intuitive to get out of.



Fame: a viral Twitter game invoking the name of Lady Gaga

Fame is designed by New Yorker Adam Ludwin as a side project to give random users a gigantic follower count once a day. Users to to the Fame site, give it permission to access their Twitter account which enters them into a raffle with everyone else who connect, and daily, a random winner is chosen. The winner is automatically followed for the day by everyone who has entered the raffle.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Ludwin has actually spoken with Twitter about the project and had their blessing, especially given that Twitter’s API allows developers to add or remove followers from a user’s account, making the temporary mass following possible.

The tool/game/service is free and the company says they have no plans to monetize the site and through the API, they simply follow and unfollow the daily winner on your behalf, and as the site grows in number, they seek to be as big as or bigger than Lady Gaga, giving each daily winner a taste of the glory, as daily winners have a Fame logo on their avatar for the day to set them apart from others.

The game is just like a good ol’ fashioned raffle where you get one entry, but in the case of Fame, you earn more entries by inviting friends to join Fame. Anyone can unfollow the current winner if they dislike them, or manually follow them after their 24 hours are up if the winner is interesting.

The good news

It is hard to criticize a free, fun game that is simply built as someone’s side project, so we’ll start off by noting that this looks fun. Honestly. Imagine potentially having millions of followers for a day – what would you say? My personal Twitter stream would either terrify or bore the average American as I tweet mostly about very specific economic indicators, Ben Bernanke speeches, kittens and unicorns.

Wouldn’t that be fun? And if someone liked my tweets and remembered to go back and follow me the next day after my temporary fame was stripped away, the ecosystem is stroked and new connections are made. Sounds like a win, no?

Why it is terrible, horrible, no good and very bad

First and foremost, unorganic connections no matter how temporary are bogus. In the early days of Twitter, before they knew what they were doing, a simple script would allow users to follow thousands of others based on simple parameters such as words in their profile like “follow back,” thus gaming the system. While Fame is not gaming the system in a permanent way, this really feels like a wet T-shirt contest… a girl gets on stage with a bunch of other girls, bounces around, then the next morning, no one remembers who she is or that she even had a name.

Secondly, any service of any kind that incentivizes people to flood my already overflowing direct message box on Twitter with invitations to join them, it makes me think of FarmVille and I want to hulk out. This part is not Fame’s fault, they’re just trying to spread the word, but trust me, it’s going to get very, very old, very quickly – I predict people will be annoyed before the system hits half a million people.

Thirdly, their FAQ is very clear in that “if the winner is a spammer or bot, we draw again. Only real humans can win FAME!” But what happens when the winner becomes a spammer as soon as they win? Check out the most recent winner below and tell me if you see spam:

While the person above is a radio DJ and is expected to be somewhat spammy, imagine giving the mic to most teenagers on Twitter (like this kid, found with only 5 seconds of searching for an example on Twitter). Fame says, “If you Tweet anything harmful or abusive we will revoke your win. Examples of harmful or abusive Tweets include links to malicious software, pornography, or hate sites. If you abuse or troll FAME players in any way, we will ban you from playing. We have sole discretion to determine what is harmful or abusive.” This should prove to be a challenge – have you ever given a drunk the mic at a bar? It’s never, ever, ever pretty – nor is an excited college kid with a loud Twitter mic.

Fourth, most people that sign up will not read the permissions, understand the game, or know that to stop playing, they have to contact the company by email. The system is beautifully designed to rope in the cattle, gate them and know that they won’t intuitively understand how to get out. Brilliant, yet kind of inadvertently evil genius (which is actually a compliment, not a real criticism).

Lastly, a daily winner is unlikely to stand out in anyone’s stream that is following more than 20 people. I often hear, “you didn’t see me tweet about my baby taking her first steps?” with that hurt puppy look in their eyes, to which I always say “I follow thousands of people and only log on intermittently throughout the day, I can’t possibly read everything everyone says, it’s not personal.” It sounds mean, but it’s true and I’m in the majority.

It’s all good fun

All of the criticism aside, it looks like a fun game, but for our readers that are professionals, business owners, entrepreneurs and c-suite level, skip the Fame and build your own, lest you join the ranks of the teen Twitterati. Ludwin’s concept is fun and we know that it will explode in the coming weeks, but for professionals looking to grow their Twitter following, this isn’t on the list of things to do.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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  1. Tinu

    March 28, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Like you, I get how the game could be fun. But this just makes me think: dear. Lord. NO. Well at least people now have a review discussing the ins and outs of the game. Of course they forgot to tell everyone that being Internet Famous is Exactly like not being famous at all, only with all the annoying disadvantages that come with it…

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Social Media

Instagram now lets you create and share fundraisers

(SOCIAL MEDIA) If you’ve been wanting to start a fundraiser for something you care about, Instagram’s new feature lets you do just that. Go check it out!



Instagram Fundraiser

Instagram announced last week that it has launched a test for a Personal Fundraiser tool on its platform. The feature will allow users to start their own fundraiser if it complies with guidelines or choose an existing cause to support. The launch began in some US, UK, and Ireland markets and is available on Android and iOS.

In its announcement, the company confirmed that since January, more than $100 million has been raised for COVID-19 across Facebook and Instagram (also owned by Facebook), citing that donations on Instagram have doubled in the US in the past 30 days. The announcement said, “from people raising money to buy medical equipment for Black Lives Matter protesters, rebuilding Black-owned small businesses affected by COVID-19 and funding educational resources related to racial justice, people are eager to mobilize around causes they care about.”

Personal Fundraisers are short-term and meant to serve time-sensitive causes, with the initial duration lasting 30 days with the option to extend for an additional 30 days. Users must be 18 to create a fundraiser and have a designated bank account in which funds can be deposited. Donations will be processed through Facebook Pay, which also powers Instagram’s new shopping features. The platform covers fees for non-profits, but not for Personal Fundraisers. Donors can choose to keep their information hidden from the public, but organizers will be able to see user names and donation amounts.

To start a Personal Fundraiser, users with access to the feature can tap “Edit Profile”, “Add Fundraiser”, followed by “Raise Money”. They can then choose a photo, select the fundraiser category, and write out a story to encourage donations. When approved, users will be able to raise funds.

Instagram says it will expand the number of users who have access to this feature in the months ahead, as well as give users access to share fundraisers both in their Feed and within Stories. Fundraising features already offered by the company include Donation Stickers for Stories and a Live Donations feature for live streams.

This feature is similar to the fundraising feature already available on Facebook, Instagram’s parent company.

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Social Media

Should you be Facebook friends with your boss?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Are there times when it makes sense to connect with your boss and team on Facebook? Or is LinkedIn enough?



facebook friends

Just as we learn, grow, and change in life, so does our use of social media platforms and technology in general. It makes sense though – when hot new programs come out and “everybody’s doing it” (thinking of you MySpace and Plaxo), it’s easy to create a user profile to see what you think of the platform.

You may be a heavy user at first (looking at you Facebook) and then back off, only to use it for certain functions (Groups and Events for example). In the interim, you may have joined Instagram because for some reason it seemed simpler and light-hearted. And don’t let the new, shiny things coming out pass you by without at least seeing if you like them, or if they help entertain you and connect you to loved ones (looking at you Snapchat and TikTok).

Amongst some doubt of new or potential users in the mid-2000s after Facebook opened up to those outside of universities, we have to admit that Facebook has had a longevity that some of the other platforms have not. It allows you to keep your personal network in one place as well as your photos, significant dates, your career changes, events, and even see what your cousins are up to. It almost feels like once you’re invested, it’s hard to get out.

The thing is, there is definitely a grey area on who you accept as a “friend”. It really is up to each person’s comfort level on who they want to be connected to, and how much sharing they do on the platform. This article isn’t going to address Facebook privacy concerns and data sharing, but we do encourage you to look in to those if that is something that is important to you. It’s a similar idea with LinkedIn – some people are happy to connect with anyone and everyone, while others prefer to keep their connections to those they personally know and/or have worked with.

This story is addressing a question as it relates to an article in Inc. about whether or not is it’s ok for managers and employees to be “Facebook friends”, and some other tricky professional situations. We have to look at few things first, including the evolution of our use.

Since Facebook was made available to everyone, we have gone from a simple profile picture, relationship status (oof), and random updates about our breakfast/dentist appointments, to joining interest groups, sharing news articles, promoting brands and memes at a mind-boggling rate. Many people have considered deleting their Facebook profiles due to a high level of negativity, privacy concerns over their data and pictures, and how ultimately, scrolling your newsfeed can be a total time suck.

Many stay on because they are in groups (like super amazing, supportive, and popular ones such as Austin Digital Jobs) that they enjoy, and it’s a way to stay connected with others. This has felt true especially during COVID-19 where many people have lost their social outlets, networking opportunities, and have not been able to get together in person. Social media has also been a useful platform for small business owners and entrepreneurs to run a business page at minimal costs (free unless they run advertising), and reach out to customers. Facebook (owner of Instagram) also seems to have been making strides this year to better support small business owners.

So, should you be Facebook friends with your boss?

That is up to you (we are not here to tell you how to run your life) and while many have said, “Nope” in a super unofficial survey of 30 respondents, there were a couple of interesting perspectives:

“Since I’m my boss, twist on my answer… I don’t yes any professional that asks to be FB friends. That’s what my page is for. I even have a canned response that says this because I get so many asks. My personal FB is for actual friends of mine. I didn’t want to yes my MIL either. I have her on the restricted list.”

“I guess it depends. I’m friends with my boss and most of my coworkers. Creative shop within a corporation … about 45 strong. We are tight.”

“If you love your job and you love your boss then I think it is ok. I work 2 part-time jobs and both of my bosses are amazing! I am friends and Facebook friends with both of them.”

“I’m fine. I don’t post much on Facebook anymore. My bosses are all fairly chill. ”

“I have been Facebook friends with previous bosses while they were my boss. I am not with my current boss, but I’d be fine with it if we were. I don’t post anything too crazy, and I tend to over share in the office already. I like to be an open book. Tiktok would be different though… ”

For some who are part of a start-up or smaller team where collaboration and getting to know one another  are supported (thinking teams of 10 or less, hey AG Staff Writers), this may be more of the ‘norm’ and acceptable. However, the majority of people do not want to be “Facebook friends” with their boss to draw a line between work and personal sharing. Many people also mentioned that it varied if they chose to be Facebook friends with their colleagues, although they seem to be more open to colleagues vs. direct supervisors.

This seems to reflect back on how you use Facebook and if sharing your weekend or family photos is not something you want everyone to see. On the flip side, if you’re not sharing much, maybe you’d be OK with being connected there. A more professional way of connecting with your supervisor and others at work is through LinkedIn, and is in fact, highly encouraged.

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Social Media

Could TikTok soon be banned in the U.S for privacy breaching?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) TikTok, a video content social media giant, has been deemed a potential national security risk by the U.S Federal government.



TikTok is banned

U.S lawmakers are calling for a full investigation into TikTok, the fifteen second video app with almost 180 million downloads, after expressing concerns of a privacy breach by the Chinese government.

TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, purchased the platform originally known as in November 2017. Since then the social media app worth an estimated $150 billion has almost 180 million downloads in the U.S, and 800 million downloads worldwide.

According to Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, the U.S has reason to believe the Beijing-based company, ByteDance, may have been coerced into handing over data to China’s communist leaders. The app’s Founder, Zhang Yiming, and TikTok’s spokesperson responded to the accusations with the following statement: “TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the U.S. We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked.”

We don’t know if we believe you TikTok.

TikTok received over 500 legal demands, including emergency requests, in the first six months of 2020. TikTok has also previously confirmed that the app stores user data on “U.S-based servers” withdrawn from phone downloads. Information includes IP addresses, messages, location information, and according to Pompeo, “sensitive information”, exposed by data breaching that disregards American rights to privacy and potentially violates national security guidelines.

Company employees may live in the U.S, but with its head of operations stationed in Beijing, pressure from the Chinese Government to provide user information is a very serious concern for Americans using the app. 41 percent of its users are part of Generation Z, a highly influential, social media-friendly age group, ranging between 16 and 24.

A sense of invincibility within this age range encourages users to use the app without caution of personal information that may be provided or derived off your phone after installation. In the past two years, social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have also been criticized for not abiding to lawful privacy standards.

ByteDance has halted the use of its corporate office in Beijing and is looking to establish headquarters within the U.S or under new management.

The U.S. government is seriously considering banning the use of TikTok.

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