In a week when a lot of the news was dominated by President Obama’s announcement to begin a troop withdrawal process in Afghanistan, social networking sites played a large role in some of the other leading stories. It’s becoming more and more common to see social media playing a key element in breaking stories that headline the news.

Ryan Dunn dies in tragic car accident, Twitter controversy ensues

Ryan Dunn died after driving his Porsche off the road early Monday morning, various news sources reported. He had been out for a night of drinks with friends in West Goshen, PA and had decided to drive himself and friend Zachary Hartwell home. Reports later showed that Dunn had too much to drink and should not have been driving, his blood alcohol level twice over the legal limit.

Not long after, well-respected film critic Roger Ebert tweeted to his followers: “Friends don’t let jackasses drink and drive”. There was outrage from friends and family of Dunn, who criticized Ebert’s lack of sensitivity on the very recent passing. Ebert of course wasn’t blindly assuming as there had been widespread report already of Dunn’s drinking and he had even posted pictures of himself out with drinks earlier that evening. (See right)

Facebook quick removed Ebert’s Facebook fan page after the comments, citing a violation of terms, but later put the page back up.

Meanwhile, a war of words on Twitter was waged from supporters of Dunn, including some that were pretty distasteful. Ebert would eventually admit he was ‘too quick’ to tweet about the unfortunate death of the young man but that he stood by his convictions.

The world is indeed getting smaller with the increasing popularity of social media. We’re given an infinite outlet to post our opinions, pictures and thoughts without filter or advisement. It’s an unfortunate and cautionary tale for those in the public spotlight, and it won’t be the last.

President Obama to begin tweeting


Don’t believe in the incredible power of social media? The most powerful man in the world has decided he will start regular use of his twitter account, @BarackObama. This decision came over the weekend when the President, whose account had previously been managed by staff and was started during his Presidential campaign, decided he should be using Twitter as a resource to engage his 8 million+ fans. (That’s still less than Justin Bieber, Mr. President)

His tweets will be signed ‘B.O.’ It’s a smart move by Obama as he begins focusing on his 2012 campaign. He has a tremendous amount of followers to engage and many of them will surely be looking closely for those signature tweets as his staff posts important breaking news and campaign information in the upcoming year.

Winklevoss drop lawsuit against Facebook

The Winklevoss twins, most recognized for their portrayals in the popular film The Social Network, have decided to drop legal claim against Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

CBS reports, “The Winklevosses had claimed they were shortchanged in a $65 million settlement with Zuckerberg because Facebook had misrepresented the value of company stock. In April, a federal appeals judge rejected the argument and ruled the twins could not unwind the legally binding agreement they had signed in 2008. The brothers and a third partner, Divya Narendra, had wanted to reverse that ruling and were willing to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. But in documents filed Wednesday with the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, they said they will not pursue the matter any longer.”

It’s the end of a long string of legal battles for Zuckerberg and Facebook, who have faced legal scrutiny from many sides since the boom of their popularity in 2007.

Blog Post of the Week: Measuring Facebook Fan Engagement Beyond the Like

Jay Baer runs a wildly popular blog over at Convince and  Convert. This week he gave way to a series of guest bloggers to fill his big shoes. Matt Simpson did just that. I’ve recently done a series of posts here at DigitalSherpa for small business owners foraying in to the world of social media marketing. We’ve discussed the basics of Facebook management and the importance of fan engagement. We highlighted the value of the ‘like’ and discussed exactly what it meant. Simpsons takes some of those principles to a deeper level and really explores the value and process of fan engagement. Worth multiple reads.

About Chris Vaughn

Chris builds, manages and executes inbound lead generation programs and is responsible for new business development and partnership with a focus on growing a brand. In the past, Chris was the Managing Editor at Bluff Media LLC and graduated from Oglethorpe University in 2005. In his spare time, Chris helps run a growing fantasy sports website and hangs out with his dog, Ace.