We are obsessed with social media here at Converseon. So obsessed that we’ve decided to devote a full hour of our company-wide bonding session to social media. Every Friday, the dutiful employees of Converseon- spanning the USA, come together in a virtual “kumbaya” of sorts conference call and share our thoughts and ideas on social media.

Names are taken out of a hat. The two minute timer is set. And whoever shares the best social media related news or commentary will bask in the glory of having his or her entire two minute monologue transcribed in this very post. The most recent winner is our beloved Affiliate Account Manager, Robin (who is also celebrating her birthday today). See below for her insights, as well as links to what we were all chatting about today.

1. A cool viral video on YouTube.com called The Girl Effect.

2. The NYTimes article on Comcast and customer service

3. New Facebook design. Thumbs up or thumbs down?

4. The NYTimes article on HBO’s True Blood viral campaign

5. Cool new site called Social Vibe that combines corporate sponsorships with charitable causes

6. Get to know Google’s Knol
-What is its page rank on Google’s search engine?
-Knol, a challenge to media companies and has it gone too far?

7. Case study on how social networking saved New Orleans

8. Personal shopping engine, StyleFeeder, helps people shop

9. BlogHer ’08 was amazing! http://blogher.org

10. Robin’s commentary on the downsides of social media:

I thought I’d pick my brain for some of the personal downsides I’ve found in my life resulting from social media. We all know the positive side effects for brands, companies and keeping friendships intact and updated, but what are the after effects and side effects that some of us may be experiencing and not discussing? I’m wondering if disorders or emotional defects will increase due to social media. Personally I’m finding phone phobia to be a new phenomenon in my world, as well as invite jealousy and increased paleness.

So I’m thinking, will there be:

*An increased number of online stalkers. I’m not talking about identity theft. I’m talking about my dentist finding me on Facebook and asking who has been cleaning my teeth. It’s great that he’s online, but that’s a little too much for me.

*I’m finding that there’s less to talk about when I finally do meet up with friends. They’ve already seen photos from the places I’ve been, they’ve read the status updates, they know I suck at online scrabble. What more can you possibly share in person except follow-up and see if they like the format of your RSS feed.

*Um, what about jealousy – I am way more nosy now than I have ever been. I question my boyfriend about comments on his MySpace from people I don’t know. He says they’re nobody, but they have a ton of MySpace contacts — so clearly they’re not “nobody”.

*Paleness – I used to be uniquely pale. Now everybody seems to be indoors more tweaking their wordpress plugins or creating a Ning network.

*Phone & camera phobia. I’ve become paranoid about friends w/cameras. I no longer care if a stranger takes a photo, it’s the friends that will tag you! It used to be that you’d be at a party, maybe someone had a camera. They’d take a group shot. Everyone would beg to borrow the negatives or they’d ask for you to get double prints at the drugstore. Chances are the lighting was bad and the flash bulb didn’t work or the negative didn’t advance or your friend would be so drunk that they’d expose the film .. and that’d be it. If it were an awful photo, you’d never see it again. If they wanted to tease you with it, they’d bring it to school and pass it around until you managed to snag it back and destroy it.

Nowadays I hang out with my sister, come home and see a million alerts in my email account that I’ve been tagged on Facebook. She also puts everything into flickr and snapfish. I can’t escape it. Friends know where I’ve been and how crappy I looked and there’s not much I can do about it.

*Along the same lines of being tagging too much is my paranoia about making sure to invite everyone to everything so that I don’t have to explain why I hosted a group hang and they weren’t invited. It’ s harder and harder to keep my groups of friends separate, too. This might warrant a new asterisk. Anyway, I liked having my HS bunch of friends, my college bunch, my ex-coworker bunch.. It’s weird for me to see them intermingle online and it crosses my mind that through social networks — I can be squeezed out. I just hope they fear social-media-karma and realize that I too can steal friends in return.

*False sense of being due to online extremes – Those who befriend every band, classmate and group think they’re very popular, while those with a close knit group online may think they haven’t enough friends. Social networks floss how many followers or friends you have and how large your extended network is. People are forgetting it’s not quantity but quality. That doesn’t keep us from sizing up our friends by their friends, though. Mine is bigger than yours. Speaking of flossing, I’m LinkedIn to Puff Daddy’s right-hand-man. That has to count for something.