Facebook's failure to communicate about its mood experiment is the least of the things Internet companies do to us.
carbon emissions from the data centers serving our social sharing obsession. According to Greenpeace, 2% of all global carbon emissions come from the IT industry. The cloud looks clean and pristine in IT-industry graphics, but it's still partially powered by coal. While many leading Internet companies have committed to powering their data centers with renewable energy, only Apple has made good on its promise to rely exclusively on clean power.
8. Labor exploitation That's another term for crowdsourcing. People don't feel that they're working for Google or Facebook when they create or share links. But they are. Google, Facebook, and other social media services capture atomic units of creative work and derive value from them, usually without paying royalties for the work. And if virtual labor exploitation doesn't pique your ire, there's always the more traditional variety in Amazon warehouses and on Apple assembly lines.
9. Software patents Several notable economists have called for the abolition of software patents. The late University of Chicago economist Gary Becker last year wrote, "Disputes over software patents are among the most common, expensive, and counterproductive. Their exclusion from the patent system would discourage some software innovations, but the saving from litigation costs over disputed patent rights would more than compensate the economy for that cost." Software patent litigation cost is estimated to cost over $11 billion annually. Though some technology companies have complained about software patents, they also file a lot of patents and participate in patent lawsuits against one another. They could effect change if they made it a priority. Meanwhile, we all bear the cost.
10. Executive compensation Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt received compensation amounting to more than $100 million in January. Former Yahoo executive Henrique de Castro received a severance package estimated to be more than $58 million after a mere 15 months of work at the company. Just another day in Silicon Valley, unless you happen to be a rank-and-file employee, in which case you might have had your wages suppressed while companies like Apple, Google, and Intel agreed not to recruit from one another. Corporate governance today exhibits the heedless excess that left Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette headless in 18th century France.
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Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful ... View Full Bio
Social is a Business ImperativeThe use of social media for a host of business purposes is rising. Indeed, social is quickly moving from cutting edge to business basic. Organizations that have so far ignored social - either because they thought it was a passing fad or just didnít have the resources to properly evaluate potential use cases and products - must start giving it serious consideration.
Social is a Business ImperativeSocial media is critical in the age of digital business. How can IT help? First, work with the marketing team to set up social networking programs on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, at minimum. Then work to put social media sentiment analytics in place to measure success.