Thursday, 30 June 2011

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Facebook Expands Sorting Options on Comments Box Plugin”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Facebook Expands Sorting Options on Comments Box Plugin”

Facebook Expands Sorting Options on Comments Box Plugin

Posted: 30 Jun 2011 01:47 AM PDT

Facebook has announced two new features for its Comments Box plugin, which lets third party websites embed Facebook comments: Chronological Sort, and Boost Comment.

Comments can now be sorted in three ways: besides the reverse chronological sort option, you can now also have the comments sorted chronologically or by their social ranking, which will take into account likes and comments from other users. To choose an option, click the arrow next to the number of comments in the box.

Furthermore, if a particular comment is especially relevant to you and you want to push it to the top, you can do so by clicking the “Boost Comment” option.

Facebook also announced that more than 300,000 sites have embedded the Comments Box – a solid number when you consider that the plugin was launched in March 2011.

More About: comments box, facebook, plugin, social media, social networking, sort, sorting

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Watch the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 Premiere Live on YouTube

Posted: 30 Jun 2011 12:00 AM PDT

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 premieres on July 7 in London, and fans of the franchise can check out the action on the red carpet live on YouTube.

The event will go down on YouTube’s Harry Potter channel from 8 to 11 p.m. PT and will feature the cast of the film as well as author J.K. Rowling. In preparation, YouTube has packed the Potter channel with all seven films (which one can rent), behind-the-scenes footage, parodies and interviews.

Livestreamed premieres are becoming an increasingly common practice on the web. YouTube streamed the premiere of Twilight Eclipse last June, and showcased the NYC premiere for the last Potter flick, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, last November.

Still, this premiere really shows off two of YouTube’s latest innovations: its expanded livestreaming platform, and the addition of major studio movies to its rental service.

More About: Film, harry potter and the deathly hallows part 2, live video, video, youtube

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Why Do People Follow Brands? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 29 Jun 2011 10:58 PM PDT

On Twitter, Facebook, and dozens of other social sites, normal consumers often choose to keep tabs on the brands they love.

In fact, many brands have highly optimized their marketing and PR strategies to accommodate that behavior, even going to far as to do one-to-one CRM (that’s customer or consumer relationship management) through avenues such as Facebook and Twitter.

As social CRM specialists Get Satisfaction found, many consumers who follow brands online are only in it for the perks. Around 40% of Facebook, MySpace and Twitter users in a recent study said they followed brands to get access to discounts and special deals.

SEE ALSO: The Biggest Brands on Facebook [INFOGRAPHIC]

Another common response in the same survey indicated that many consumers will follow a brand if they are current customers. And creating interesting, entertaining content online is another great way for brands to earn followers and fans on social services.

Check out this infographic from Get Satisfaction and design shop Column Five for more details on why and how ordinary folks follow brands online.

Click image to see full-size version.

[source: Get Satisfaction blog]

Top image courtesy of iStockphoto user Ridofranz.

More About: brands, get satisfaction, infographic, MARKETING

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Google Analytics & Webmaster Tools Now Track the Impact of Tweets, Likes and +1s

Posted: 29 Jun 2011 09:39 PM PDT

Google is getting more social, and its web analytics tools are no exception; Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools have added new tools for tracking the impact of tweets, likes, +1s & more on your website’s traffic.

Google Webmaster Tools now has a “+1 Metrics” section, which provides reports on the impact of the +1 Button on search. The new analytics show how +1s affect your website’s clickthrough rate (CTR). It tracks the amount of +1s on a given page, the CTR with +1 annotations and the CTR without +1 annotations. The new tool also graphs out the amount of annotated impressions and annotated clicks your website receives over time.

Google has also added an Activity report and an Audience report to Webmaster Tools. The Activity report displays how many +1s your website’s pages have received. The Audience report displays geographic and demographic data about users that have +1′d your website’s content.

Even more useful is Google’s new Social Plugin Tracking tool for Google Analytics. The tool compares the impact of different types of social actions on your website. It not only tracks +1s, but it also tracks Twitter tweets, Facebook Likes, Facebook Sends and other social actions.

Social Plugin Tracking generates three reports: Social Engagement, Social Actions and Social Pages. Social Engagement tracks behavior changes (time on site, pageviews, bounce rate, etc.) for visits from social plugins. Social Actions tracks the number of social actions users take on your site, and Social Pages compares your pages on the number of social actions they are receiving.

These tools give website owners a great deal more insight into the impact of social on their websites. Tracking social just makes sense, especially as social sites drive more of the web’s traffic. We also suspect that Google also wants to encourage more sites to adopt the +1 Button. Raw data showing that +1s increase web traffic is the most convincing thing Google can provide.

More About: Google, google analytics, Google Webmaster Tools

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Imagine a Klout Score for Developers: Meet Work for Pie

Posted: 29 Jun 2011 09:00 PM PDT

Devs, if you participate in the hacker community and make significant contributions to open-source projects, startup Work for Pie has come up with a simple way to showcase your involvement.

The WFP team has developed a score similar in ways to a Klout score. But these scores take into account things like your contributions to Hacker News, StackOverflow, Github, Bitbucket and other dev-centric communities. And if you do a lot of open-source development, all the better for your own score.

On its website, WFP states it wants to “incentivize meaningful participation and contribution. Our scoring system does just that, and soon you'll be able to see how you stack up against your friends and against the very best. It's an indication of your participation and performance, but it's also a challenge.”

Of course, the startup recognizes there are many ways to measure hacker greatness, and these types of community involvement are just one way. The scores are weighted to favor involvement in and contribution to open source projects. Right now, WFP is gathering data from Github and Bitbucket and may consider adding other sites, too.

SEE ALSO: HOW TO: Hire (or Be Hired as) a Team of Devs

Some dev-centric community sites have built-in scoring mechanisms of their own, and WFP uses these scores in developing their own. For example, the algorithm takes into account a user’s StackOverflow reputation and Hacker News karma, although the latter site gets less weight overall.

WFP scores range from 1 to 100. Currently, the highest score on the site is a 79.

In addition to calculating and displaying a developer’s score, a WFP profile can also show off his or her code projects, language and framework skills, general bio, work experience, and more.

WFP allows users to very simply enter usernames to grab publicly available data from the aforementioned developer sites. The profiles also link up nicely with existing social and personal accounts on Facebook and Google.

The more complete a WFP profile is, the more it looks and behaves as an interactive coder’s resume and showcase. Here’s an example from a top-scored WFP user:

The team will eventually allow users to customize profiles with their own colors, typefaces and background images with a WYSIWYG editor.

In an email to Mashable, WFP co-founder Cliff McKinney writes, “Our immediate plans are to get the latest version of our profiles rolled out within the next two weeks and then to consider adding additional code repositories to our algorithm.”

“Eventually, of course, we want to use what we’ve built to connect companies to awesome developers and vice versa, but we’re definitely focusing on making the portfolios awesome first.”

Here’s a sneak peek at the next iteration of WFP profiles, which will also include a breakdown of the score for code, community and Q&A involvement:

Work for Pie

Work for Pie

Work for Pie

Work for Pie was part of Memphis-based incubator Seed Hatchery earlier this spring.

Top image courtesy of iStockphoto user nullplus

More About: developers, development, github, hacker news, pie, score, stack overflow, stackoverflow, web developers, work for pie

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Report Potholes, Graffiti & Neighborhood Problems With Startup Mobile App

Posted: 29 Jun 2011 08:05 PM PDT

The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark. If you would like to have your startup considered for inclusion, please see the details here.

Name: SeeClickFix

Quick Pitch: SeeClickFix helps users report non-emergency issues to the appropriate government agency.

Genius Idea: Making reports easy and public with a mobile app

There was once an ugly piece of graffiti on Ben Berkowitz’s house in New Haven, Connecticut. He was staring at it while on hold with city hall in a frustrated attempt to request the graffiti’s removal when he decided that there must be a better way to report it.

“It was the epiphany that my neighbors had probably reported the same thing,” he says of this moment, “and I would have no way of knowing or communicating with them about it.”

He invited two friends over for an impromptu Saturday brainstorm on the topic, and four hours later they emerged with the first version of SeeClickFix. The app allows user to report non-emergency issues, like graffiti, burnt-out streetlights and potholes, to the appropriate city authority with a geotag and photo. In addition to automatically directing the report to the appropriate email addresses, the app keeps track of the reports and allows users to comment on the problem.

When Berkowitz first tested the new app to report a new batch of graffiti, city hall had a much different response than it did to his previous phone calls.

“I came out of the house two hours later, and there was already someone removing it,” he says. “There were 17 issues of graffiti that were public. They knew the alderman had been notified, they knew the business improvement district had been notified, they knew that I complained, and that the complaint was being shared with my neighbors and wasn’t sitting closed inside of a voice mailbox.”

Since then, the app has unexpectedly turned into a business. Houston was the first city to express interest in using it as an internal tool in 2009, and the same year the Boston Globe decided to use a widget to mark potholes in the city. Since then, about 50 city governments have become customers of the startup’s pro services, which include a dashboard for responding to reports, analytics and customized mobile apps. Publications like the San Francisco Chronicle that use the SeeClickFix widget either run advertising for the site or pay for a ad-free version.

This week, the startup announced its first deal with a university. Students at Southern Connecticut State will now be able to report problems to facility management using SeeClickFix’s iPhone, Android, Blackberry or Facebook apps.

Berkowitz says the company wants to focus on developing more tools for city workers, better widgets and better community functions as it moves forward (“we’d like to create local networks that can connect the 50-100 people who care about one pothole,” he says).

In January, the company raised a $1.5 million Series A round of funding led by Bryce Roberts at O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures to pursue those goals.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, sd619

Series Supported by Microsoft BizSpark

Microsoft BizSpark

The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark, a startup program that gives you three-year access to the latest Microsoft development tools, as well as connecting you to a nationwide network of investors and incubators. There are no upfront costs, so if your business is privately owned, less than three years old, and generates less than U.S.$1 million in annual revenue, you can sign up today.

More About: bizspark, government, SeeClickFix

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Q&A App Formspring Hits 25 Million Users [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 29 Jun 2011 07:14 PM PDT

Startup Formspring has just hit a huge milestone. The Q&A app now has 25 million users, and they’re asking questions and posting responses at breakneck rates.

In a chat at the startup’s San Francisco headquarters, we discussed a few items on Formspring’s roadmap. As we speculated earlier this spring, mobile apps are in the works, as are more and better options for organizations and brands. From causes to celebrities, Formspring is definitely building new features with pro users in mind.

One early example is the service’s new celeb features, which we wrote about earlier this month.

Another feature that the Formspring team says has been instrumental in its growth is the ability to ask a single question of all your followers at once and then see all the responses in a single interface. This massively multiplayer feature has allowed for more active and engaged users across the site.

Click image to see larger version.

Top image courtesy of Flickr, crystaljingsr

More About: formspring, infographic, q&a

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Google+ Invites: Get Access to Google’s New Social Network [CONTEST]

Posted: 29 Jun 2011 06:51 PM PDT

Google is rolling out its social network, Google+, to the masses, and we have a bunch of invites to give away.

Google+ was unveiled yesterday as the company’s answer to Facebook. It has features common to Facebook like news streams and photo albums, but also includes unique features such as Hangouts, which lets up to 10 people enter a simultaneous group video chat.

Originally, Google only let a small number of test users into its social network, but on Wednesday it gave Google+ users the ability to invite others. That means we have a few invites to give away, and we’d like to give them away to you, our readers. We can’t give them to everybody though, so we’re running a small content.

SEE ALSO: PHOTOS | VIDEOS | POLL: What do you think of Google+?

The contest is simple: comment on this article (the comments are below) and answer this question: Why do you want a Google+ invite? We’ll choose our top 25 favorite answers (possibly more) and send those people invites from the Mashable Google+ account.

We will do our best to send out invites to Google+ tonight, but it may take us some time to send them out.

What are you waiting for? We want to hear why you’re looking to snag a Google+ invite in the comments.

Update: Google has temporarily shut off Google+ invites. We’ve sent out a few, and we’ll send out the rest when Google reopens invites.

More About: Google, Google Plus

Find a Job in Social Media, Communications or Design

Posted: 29 Jun 2011 06:06 PM PDT

If you’re seeking a job in social media, we’d like to help out. For starters, Mashable‘s Job Lists section gathers together all of our resource lists, how-tos and expert guides to help you get hired. In particular, you might want to see our articles on How to Leverage Social Media for Career Success and How to Find a Job on Twitter.

But we’d like to help in a more direct way, too. Mashable‘s job boards are a place for socially savvy companies to find people like you. This week and every week, Mashable features its coveted job board listings for a variety of positions in the web, social media space and beyond. Have a look at what's good and new on our job boards:

Mashable Job Postings

Business Development Coordinator at Mashable in New York, NY.

Community Director at Mashable in New York, NY.

Community Intern at Mashable in New York, NY.

Editorial Intern at Mashable in New York, NY.

Tech Reporter at Mashable in San Francisco, CA.

Communications Coordinator at Mashable in New York, NY.

Campaign Specialist at Mashable in New York, NY.

Mashable Job Board Listings

Senior Engineer at Synacor in Buffalo, NY.

Community/Social Media Manager at Momentum Worldwide in New York, NY.

Senior Engineer at Synacor in New York, NY.

Graphic/Web Designer at Riot Games in Santa Monica, CA.

Web Marketing Analyst at THQ in Agoura Hills, CA.

Interactive Producer – Digital at Edelman PR in San Francisco, CA.

New Business Manager – Digital at Edelman PR in San Francisco, CA.

Account Supervisor – Digital at Edelman PR in San Francisco, CA.

Senior Digital Project Manager/Producer at GMMB Inc. in Washington, D.C.

Digital PR, Senior Account Supervisor at Edelman in Washington, D.C.

Product Director – Social Media at WhaleShark Media in Austin, TX.

Online Business Development Manager at WhaleShark Media in Austin, TX.

Online Merchandising Manage at WhaleShark Media in Austin, TX.

Interactive Digital Representative at SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment in Tampa, FL.

Web/New Media Writer at American Veterinary Medical Association in Schaumburg, IL.

Senior Web Producer at CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield in Owings Mills, MD.

Web Developer at Words Pictures Ideas in San Francisco, CA.

Mobile Engineer at Ruckus Media Group Inc. in New York, NY.

Network Project Manager at Glam Media, Inc in Brisbane, CA.

Senior Web Designer at Straight North in Oak Brook, IL.

Social Media Marketing Manager at Break Media in Los Angeles, CA.

Creative Technologist at Omnicom Media Group in New York, NY.

Digital Producer/Campaign Manager at Digitas in New York, NY.

Community Manager, Beauty at DeVries Public Relations in New York, NY.

Online Marketing Producer at SiriusXM Radio in New York, NY.

Director, Social Media Strategy at Catalyst Public Relations in New York, NY.

Associate Director – Web Analytics at Direct Brands Inc. in New York, NY.

Online Knowledge Management at Global Carbon Capture Storage Institute in Cranberra, Australia.

Associate Marketing Director at Digitas in Boston, MA.

CEO at Teelo in New York, NY.

User Experience Engineer at Vision Design Studio in Long Beach, CA.

Application Developer – Level II at Vision Design Studio in Long Beach, CA.

UI Designer at Beezag in New York, NY.

UX Designer at Beezag in New York, NY.

Sr. Search Systems Engineer at Evri in Seattle, WA.

PHP/MySQL/AJAX/Mobile Developer at Entrepreneur Media, Inc. in Irvine, CA.

Web Developer at Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, CA.

Ad Sales Proposal Writer at Bloomberg in New York, NY.

Social PR Manager at More Cabbage in Cedar Hill, TX.

Web Developer at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA.

Online Community Specialist at Opportunity International in Oak Brook, IL.

Marketing Manager at Kiere Media in Newport Beach, CA.

Manager of Client Services, Marketing and Social Media Products at in Scottsdale, AZ.

New Media Campaign Director at SEIU in Detroit, MI.

New Media Campaign Director at SEIU in Columbus, OH.

New Media Digital Campaign Director at SEIU in Houston, TX.

New Media Digital Campaign Director at SEIU in Miami, FL.

New Media Digital Campaign Director at SEIU in Chicago, IL.

New Media Digital Campaign Director at SEIU in Seattle, WA.

Senior Manager of Web Development at Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, CA.

Network Administrator at in Englewood, CO.

Digital Media Assistant at Dunham’s in Waterford, MI.

Digital Marketing Program Manager – Social Media at Safeway, Inc. in Pleasanton, CA.

Digital Marketing Director at Deltek in Herndon, VA.

AD – Strategy & Analysis at Digitas in Atlanta, GA.

Director, Account Management at Adknowledge in Kansas City, MO.

Mass Mobilization Director at Greenpeace SE Asia in Bangkok, Thailand.

Associate Integration Developer – Cloud Connect at Workday, Inc. in Pleasanton, CA.

Code for America Fellow at Code for America in San Francisco, CA.

Associate Producer (Freelance) at Logo/MTV Networks in New York, NY.

E-Marketing at PM Membership advisor in Washington, D.C.

Senior Networking Engineer for Live Events at MAP Digital: MetaMeetings in New York, NY.

LAMP, PHP, Ruby on Rails Programmer for Event Marketing at MAP Digital: MetaMeetings in New York, NY.

E-Publishing Specialist at PM direct membership in Washington, D.C.

Social Media Manager at in New York, NY.

Community Development Apprentice at Meetup in New York, NY.

UX/IA (Freelance) at 72andSunny in Los Angeles, CA.

Digital Media Supervisor at Publicis Modem in Norwalk, CT.

Manager, Digital Marketing at Logo Channel, MTV Networks in New York, NY.

Digital Content Manager at Entercom in Brighton, MA.

Social Media Campaign Manager at Hot Topic, Inc. in Rowland Heights, CA.

Software Engineer at in New York, NY.

Web Developer at Real Art Design Group, Inc. in Dayton, OH.

Ruby on Rails Developer at Quirky in New York, NY.

Front End Developer at Quirky in New York, NY.

Senior Marketing Account Executive at YouCast Corp in New York, NY.

Creative Assistant-Graphic Design at William J. Clinton Foundation in New York, NY.

Social Media & Community Manager at TextPlus in Marina del Rey, CA.

Recruiting at TRUSTe in San Francisco, CA.

Entertainment Community Manager at The Cimarron Group in Los Angeles, CA.

Senior Manager, Product, Social Media at MTV Networks in New York, NY.

Creative Director at LEVEL Studios in El Segundo, CA.

Senior Project Manager at LEVEL Studios in El Segundo, CA.

VP of Social Media Strategy and Innovation at Fanscape in Los Angeles, CA.

Creative Director at Sierra Club in San Francisco, CA.

Technical Team Leader/Manager of Web Development at MaineToday Digital in Portland, ME.

Social Media Marketing Representative at Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport, TN.

Social Media Marketing Manager at Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport, TN.

RoR Developer – Professional Services at New Relic in San Francisco, CA.

Digital Art Director at Estee Lauder Companies in New York, NY.

Social Media Marketing Specialist at myFORBUY in San Ramon, CA.

Security Manager at Synacor in Buffalo, NY.

Web Graphic Designer – Sports at in Long Beach, CA.

Community Manager at Spring Creek Group in Seattle, WA.

Editor at OnGreen in Los Angeles, CA.

Senior Software Engineer at Everyday Health in New York, NY.

Account Executive at Shore Fire Media in New York, NY.

Startup Intern at Contently in New York, NY.

Mashable‘s Job Board has a variety of web 2.0, application development, business development and social networking job opportunities available. Check them out here.

Find a Web 2.0 Job with Mashable

Got a job posting to share with our readers? Post a job to Mashable today ($99 for a 30 day listing) and get it highlighted every week on (in addition to exposure all day every day in the Mashable marketplace).

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, YinYang

More About: COMMUNICATIONS, design, jobs, social media

For more Social Media coverage:

Google Unleashes First Wave of Google+ Invites [UPDATE]

Posted: 29 Jun 2011 05:24 PM PDT

Google+, the search giant’s answer to Facebook, is currently in a “limited field test.” However, it looks like Google has opened the floodgates to the masses.

The Google+ project is the company’s social initiative that brings friend streams, group video chat and group texting to Google’s millions of users. Check out our review of Google+ if you want to learn more.

For the last few days, Google+ invites have not been available to the public, but apparently Google is prepared to test the service with a larger group. Google+ users will find a button that allows them to invite their friends on the Google+ Stream page. Invites are also available if a Google+ user shares content with a non-user via email.

Google+ invites are in high demand. I sent just one tweet and posted one update on Facebook, and I have received over 100 requests for invites. Request for Google+ invites are flooding Twitter.

Are you on Google +? Have you gotten a Google+ invite yet? Let us know what you think of Google’s social service in the comments.

Update: Google has closed off invites after just a few hours. Demand was “insanely high,” according to Google SVP of Social Vic Gundotra.

More About: Google, Google Plus, social networking

For more Social Media coverage:

HOW TO: Turn Your Resume Into a Gorgeous, Web-Based Infographic

Posted: 29 Jun 2011 05:14 PM PDT

The Web Development Series is supported by Rackspace, the better way to do hosting. Learn more about Rackspace’s hosting solutions here.

A new app called will instantly turn your LinkedIn profile into a stunning infographic, all through the power of code — no graphic design skills required.

Pulling all your career information from your LinkedIn profile via LinkedIn’s API, creates clean graphical representations of your skills, work history and even your connections in an easy-to-scan format that hiring managers and other gatekeepers love.

To get the data from text to graphics, scrapes your positions, education, interests, skills, recommendations and number of connections from your LinkedIn profile, assuming all that data has been entered already. Then, attributes such as skills are weighted by the level of expertise you’ve attained and how many years you’ve been using it.

Those “weights” are then used to create a visual representation of your professional experience to date, where each of your abilities is accurately portrayed relative to your other talents.

Best of all, the resulting infographic-like resumes are customizable, too. While is in beta, users will be able to choose from a variety of different themes and templates, both free and premium. Eventually, users will also be able to specify their own colors and typefaces, too. Think of the app as a for your professional life.

How Works

Being able to accomplish this task programmatically was a problem that intrigued creator Eugene Woo. In an interview with Mashable, Woo said, “We are developing something that intersects software with design in a very big way.”

Woo, who has a background in electrical and computer engineering, pulled the idea out for a recent Startup Weekend event in Toronto. He said the app uses SVG — that’s “scalable vector graphics,” an XML family of specs for static and animated vector graphics — and will continue to do so until HTML5 Canvas becomes more widely adopted.

“I think our biggest challenge isn’t so much the technology but making sure that what we create enough flexibility and options so that the generated inforgraphics don’t all look alike.”

In addition to getting a lot of positive feedback from early users, Woo said he’s also “had a lot of interest from hiring managers and business owners. In the near future, we’ll take it to the B2B segment.” will be available as a public beta August 1, 2011. You can sign up early to get early access and free-of-charge premium features when the private beta launches July 25.

For now, here are some sneak peaks at how can transform textual resume data into easy-to-parse graphics:






Series Supported by Rackspace


The Web Development Series is supported by Rackspace, the better way to do hosting. No more worrying about web hosting uptime. No more spending your time, energy and resources trying to stay on top of things like patching, updating, monitoring, backing up data and the like. Learn why.

More Web Development Resources From Mashable:

- GitHub for Mac Makes Version Control Sexy
- The Web’s Been Running Out of Space, But IPv6 Is Saving It
- How 7 Black Hat Hackers Landed Legit Jobs
- A Look Back at Eight Years of WordPress
- HOW TO: Build an SMS App Quickly & Easily

More About: eugene woo, linkedin, startup weekend, vizualize,, web development series

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PayPal Predicts The End of the Wallet By 2015

Posted: 29 Jun 2011 03:56 PM PDT

PayPal has just hit a new milestone: the payments platform has more than 100 million active accounts.

The news, announced by PayPal President Scott Thompson, also comes with a bold prediction: that by 2015, the wallet will become a thing of the past.

“As the trend toward digital currency continues to gain momentum, we are focused on delivering solutions that are not just new and different, but better than what is currently the norm today,” Thompson said in a blog post.

“We believe that by 2015 digital currency will be accepted everywhere in the U.S. – from your local corner store to Walmart. We will no longer need to carry a wallet.”

To back his assertion, PayPal is launching a new campaign that will challenge five Bay area residents to only use digital currency to pay for all of their purchases — no cash allowed. It’s an intriguing campaign that could become a good marketing cool for the company.

PayPal has been on a tear in recent years, generating more and more of eBay’s total net revenues and profits. The company is expected to facilitate more than $3 billion in mobile transactions this year alone.

The payments company faces some powerful challengers, though. Google recently unveiled its mobile payment solution, Google Wallet, to the world. PayPal has sued the search giant, accusing two of PayPal’s former executives (now with Google) of stealing and sharing trade secrets.

More About: ebay, paypal

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Village Voice Staff Plan to Publish on Tumblr During Strike

Posted: 29 Jun 2011 03:37 PM PDT

Village Voice employees are planning to go on strike this weekend, citing salary cuts and declining benefits. They are not, however, planning to kick back and catch up with their Facebook friends.

Instead, staff will continue to produce content and publish it directly to Tumblr, where Village Voice Media can’t make any money — i.e. sell ads — on it.

Notably, it’s not just writers, editors photographers and designers who will be producing Voice-quality content on the; part of the sales staff will be joining them as well. As Betabeat notes, should some of the advertisers flock to the strikers, pressure on negotiations could elevate very quickly.

And it might just work. Causes have a way of going viral on Tumblr, and we expect the community will be sympathetic to the strikers’ complaints. The initial post has received nearly 100 likes and reblogs since it was posted Wednesday.

Thumbnail courtesy of Flickr, Kheel Center, Cornell University

More About: media, tumblr, village voice

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5 Things You Need to Know About the Security of Google Apps

Posted: 29 Jun 2011 03:10 PM PDT

security image

Gil Zimmermann is CEO and cofounder of CloudLock, a Waltham, MA-based company that secures corporate data stored in Google Docs.

As companies move their operations into the cloud, admins must be aware of the risks to their data. While there are obvious benefits to storing data online — cost savings, instant availability, collaboration features and the increasing popularity of Google Docs — companies need to treat data stored in the cloud differently than data on the premises. End-users gain much more control, forcing IT to hand over some of the security reigns for the sake of easier business collaboration.

Here are five tips to make sure that Google Docs and IT can cohabit efficiently and securely.

1. Sharing Permissions are in the Hands of the User

The Google Docs model delegates control and responsibility to the users themselves. It's up to end-users, rather than IT, to determine with whom data is shared, so information can potentially be made available to the wrong people or groups within a company, external people outside the domain, or the public Internet.

2. Data Location

In Google Apps, information is created by users and resides in their individual accounts (as opposed to a central location). Furthermore, if an account is deleted, so is all of that user's data. There is no notion of a central shared file server that is run by IT. Companies using Google Docs need to understand what data users have and own before making any account deletions.

3. Access Privileges

Companies using Google Docs need to identify and report on who has access to sensitive data. This is needed not only to keep data secure in a collaborative environment but to adhere to auditing and compliance requirements. Keeping track of who is accessing and using information with an audit trail becomes a critical component in protecting data against misuse by both end users and admins.

4. Data Leakage

Companies using Google Docs must be able to inspect their data and be alerted when action is needed. For example, let's say that a company has a top-secret project called "Project Monkeyfeet" that they only want approved personnel to know about. They should be alerted any time the term is used in a Google Doc and change access permissions as necessary. This helps protect data from both internal and external threats.

Google Apps do not currently have this function baked in.

5. Data Loss

In addition to protecting their data, companies need to be able to retain records, migrate data and back it up without losing anything. Since control is in the hands of the users, businesses need to protect themselves and users from erroneous and malicious deletions caused by human error. There is a much higher risk that an employee will unknowingly delete a document or an admin will delete a user — along with all the data they own — than of a Google Docs system disruption or failure.

Protecting Business Data in Google Docs

Even in companies that have gone Google, IT admins have more power than ever before. In Google, all users and their data are condensed into a single "virtual" location: A big departure from distributed, unstructured data sprawling across hundreds of network devices. Furthermore, this information is accessible via data access and management APIs. Companies with development resources can write their own apps to integrate data stored in Google Docs with other internal processes and applications.

Additionally, the Google Apps Marketplace is a veritable candy store for IT admins. The Marketplace contains hundreds of third-party applications that allow organizations to build upon and customize Google Apps’ features.

Google does an excellent job of securing business data in the cloud. It's virtually impossible for outsiders to gain access to a company's data without their permission. It's that "permission" part that companies using Google Docs should be cautious about. Understand how your employees are using and sharing data and then leverage the technologies and solutions the cloud has enabled to completely protect your data.

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Tumblr iPhone App 2.0 Makes Managing Blogs Easier

Posted: 29 Jun 2011 02:41 PM PDT

Tumblr version 2.0 iPhone app

Tumblr is out with version 2.0 of its iPhone app, and it has completely overhauled the interface, making it much easier to post from multiple blogs.

Tumblr announced the update via its blog, stating that the app “has been recoded, rewired, and rethought from the ground up to offer you the very best of the Tumblr experience.”

Changes include a new UI for checking out blogs you follow, creating posts and managing multiple blogs. Check out the new look below. It appears very similar to Instagram in terms of the navigation bar, and it is pretty intuitive to use. Previously, you had two navigation options — Post and Dashboard — and had to drill down for more usability. Now everything is at your fingertips.

Tumblr also added the ability to read and reply to messages and find new users via your phone’s address book. In addition, version 2.0 allows new users to sign up within the app.

Still, the most standout feature of 2.0 is how easy it is to manage multiple blogs. In the past, you had to click on “Advanced Options” within a post to choose which blog to post it to (you also had to click “Advanced Options” in order to save to “Drafts,” etc. — now you can just swipe). When you click on “Post,” you’ll be presented with all of your blogs’ icons. Click on the appropriate icon to start posting.

If it weren’t for the fatigue inherent in typing long chunks of text on one’s iPhone, I would be happy to use this app as my sole blogging platform from now on.

Image of new Tumblr iPhone app

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Justin Timberlake To Take Ownership Stake in MySpace

Posted: 29 Jun 2011 02:33 PM PDT

Justin Timberlake and MySpace

Today, we learned MySpace had been sold for $35 million to an advertising network called Specific Media. Now, the company says singer Justin Timberlake will take an ownership stake in MySpace and play a role in its future.

According to MySpace, we should know more about Specific Media’s and Timberlake’s vision for the the company later this summer.

"There's a need for a place where fans can go to interact with their favorite entertainers, listen to music, watch videos, share and discover cool stuff and just connect. MySpace has the potential to be that place," Timberlake said in a statement. "Art is inspired by people and vice versa, so there's a natural social component to entertainment.”

Timberlake and Specific Media plan on focusing the site on entertainment, aiming to make it the place to go for original shows, videos and music. They also plan on launching “socially-activated advertising campaigns,” according to the statement, which would let users share their favorite ads with friends.

We’ll have more when we hear it.

Image courtesy of Flickr, edwardk662

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Where to Find Mashable on Social Media Day 2011

Posted: 29 Jun 2011 02:04 PM PDT

We’re gearing up for Social Media Day events here at Mashable HQ. So far there are 1,400 Meetups with 7,000 attendees scheduled in six continents on Thursday, June 30. That’s more than double the participation we had last year.

In addition to the events we’re organizing in our hometowns of New York and San Francisco, Mashable staff members will be attending events throughout the United States. Here’s where you can celebrate with us:

  • Los Angeles will have Editor in Chief Adam Ostrow at its #SMDay celebration at the rooftop studio of What’s Trending,’s online television show. He’s co-hosting with What’s Trending host Shira Lazar, and the Meetup page already has more than 215 RSVPs.
  • Santa Ana, California’s Social Media Day Meetup will feature Associate Editor Lauren Drell as one of 15 panelists. The event is being hosted at the Orange Country Register and will have nine food trucks to feed nearly 400 attendees.
  • Key West, Florida’s Social Media Day event will be graced with the presence of Stacy Green, Mashable’s director of communications. The Key West Meetup will be at the Smokin’ Tuna Saloon from 7-10 p.m. Music will be provided by Dave Edmonston and Chris Clifton, and food and drinks will be provided by our Key West sponsor LimaSolutions.
  • In Washington, D.C., Director of Business Development Brian Dresher will be attending the #SMDay celebration on the rooftop of Ozio. If you haven’t gotten tickets already, you’re out of luck — the event is already sold out.
  • Las Vegas attendees will be treated to a presentation by Mashable Chief Technology Officer Frederick Townes at their Social Media Day celebration. There will also be an hour of open bar, social media games, and prizes. The event is being held at ROK Vegas Nightclub from 6-9 p.m.
  • And don’t forget we have two great parties going on in New York at Brooklyn Bowl and San Francisco at House of Air.

No matter where you are, be sure to use the #SMDay hashtag on Twitter and Instagram, and your updates will appear on our streams on our Social Media Day website. If you haven’t RSVP’d for a Social Media Day celebration yet, you can find the Meetup nearest you on the map below, or check our Mashable Meetup page for a list of all Social Media Day events.

What are your big plans for Social Media Day? Tell us in the comments below.

Find a Social Media Day Meetup Near You »

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Check In on Foursquare or Facebook for Late Checkouts at Select Radisson Hotels

Posted: 29 Jun 2011 01:55 PM PDT

Late checkout: we all want it. Now anyone who checks in to Radisson Edwardian’s London and Manchester hotels on Facebook or Foursquare can get it.

The UK-based luxury branch of the Radisson hotel chain has kicked off a “Check In, Check Out Later” promotion targeted at its social media-savvy guests in celebration of Social Media Day.

Radisson Edwardian guests who check in on Facebook or Foursquare and show their phone at the front desk will be eligible for check out two hours later than regular hotel guests. The promotion is live now and will run through July 31.

“We're constantly looking for ways to enrich the hotel experience for our guests and this was a great opportunity to once again connect an online interaction with an offline benefit,” says Radisson Edwardian ecommerce manager Amy Clarke. “Checking in on Facebook or Foursquare has been popular with our guests, so rewarding them with a couple of extra hours in bed seemed like a nice way to say thanks.”

The temporary promotion is reminiscent of the partnership forged between Foursquare and Starwood Hotels earlier this year. In that campaign, guests earned Starwood loyalty points for checking in on Foursquare.

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Craigslist Founder Launches $100,000 Social Giving Competition

Posted: 29 Jun 2011 01:34 PM PDT

Craigslist founder Craig Newmark launches craigconnects competition

Craig Newmark’s non-profit project, craigconnects, will pit four non-profits that work with U.S. veterans and military families against each other in a month-long competition. The organizations will compete for a portion of a $100,000 grant in craigconnects’ first initiative since launching three months ago.

Unlike traditional aid campaigns, this competition is based on the number of donors rather than the total dollar amount. This model of community-based donations emphasizes creating an engaged group of followers over solely raising money.

“I feel that the only way to get big issues addressed is by finding ways to get lots of people at the grassroots level to work together, to find ways for the powerless, the voiceless to get serious influence,” Newmark told Mashable.

The prize money will be distributed proportionally between the four competing organizations, based on the number of donors.

The campaign emphasizes using social media as well as to increase awareness of each organization’s objectives.

The Craigslist founder started his philanthropy as a means to distribute his wealth and create awareness for the issues that he’s most passionate, using his significant Internet following. Craigconnects plans to use Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to help each organization strengthen its own online community.

Newmark said giving back to the people who risk their lives for him, by fighting in the country’s wars, motivated his craigconnects campaign. “This effort is both a serious effort to support people who really have earned the genuine support of all America,” Newmark says. “It’s also a way to learn how to engage people to work together for the common good.”

Blue Star Families, The Bob Woodruff Foundation, the Intrepid Museum Foundation, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America were chosen to participate in the project. Newmark says they were chosen for their proven track record working with veterans and military families.

Newmark has selected seven target areas of support: veterans’ issues, community building, connectivity, journalism integrity, open government, technology for social good, and service and volunteering.

What do you think of Newmark’s strategy of valuing the number of donors over the amount of money donated? Is building a community more powerful than any individual supporter?

Image courtesy of Stephanie Canciello, unali artists

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Saudi Arabia Releases Women Arrested for Driving [REPORT]

Posted: 29 Jun 2011 01:11 PM PDT

5:15 p.m. ET: Updated with information from Benjamin Joffe-Walt of

The Saudi Arabian women who were arrested for defying the kingdom’s driving ban seem to have been released, according to recent reports.

ABC News says the women, who were arrested while driving in the coastal city of Jeddah, were released after signing a pledge declaring that they won’t drive again. Their legal male guardians were also required to sign the pledge.

While ABC News is reporting that all five arrested women have been released, Benjamin Joffe-Walt — human rights editor at — says there has been no news regarding the fifth woman’s whereabouts. He says it looks like four of the women have been released, but may still have to appear in court, though that has yet to be confirmed.

Meanwhile, a tweet from independent journalist Caryle Murphy, based in Saudi’s capital Riyadh, only says that four of the arrested women were released after several hours.

The women were arrested Tuesday in two separate incidents. Four of them were arrested while driving through the Dorat Al Aroos area of Jeddah. Later that night, a woman driving in downtown Jeddah was said to have been surrounded by four police cars before being taken into custody. The Saudi Women for Driving — a coalition of Saudi women’s rights activists — launched a petition in response to the arrests, calling for the women to be freed.

The defiance against the driving ban is linked to the Women2Drive movement, which began spreading its message through social networks like Facebook and Twitter around two months ago. The campaign called for Saudi women to drive their own cars on June 17. There are no written laws preventing women from driving in Saudi Arabia, but religious edicts — that follow Wahabism, a strict form of Islam — have been interpreted as a ban. Religious police are the ones who typically enforce the driving rules.

The Jeddah arrests were the first to be reported since women starting driving on June 17, even though Manal al-Sherif — a key organizer — was arrested and detained for nine days last month after posting a video of herself driving on YouTube. Al-Sherif also pledged that she would no longer drive once she was released. Meanwhile, the women who have been driving since June 17 have been tweeting and posting YouTube videos marking the occasion. While a few women were stopped and while at least one received a ticket, none were arrested before Tuesday.

A couple of hours before reports of the Jeddah women’s release began to come out, Joffe-Walt told Mashable: “It seems the police were waiting for international attention to slowly peter out before cracking down on women attempting to drive. What’s clear is that the high levels of international support for this campaign is helping.”

The campaign has received support from a number of high profile politicians and diplomats, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the European Union’s Catherine Ashton and a number of U.S. Congresswomen.

Meanwhile, #Women2Drive remains an active hashtag on Twitter, where Saudi women continue to tweet about their attempts to drive.

Image courtesy of yfrog/Mai AL-Shareef

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Meet the People Who Scored Twitter’s Shortest Usernames

Posted: 29 Jun 2011 12:35 PM PDT

If you registered for Twitter in the past two or three years, chances are you didn’t get your top choice handle. That’s probably because Twitter use has grown exponentially, topping 200 million accounts this year. But get ready to meet the users that scored premium real estate with the shortest Twitter usernames on Earth.

When Twitter launched in July 2006, it would only issue usernames of four or more characters. But user @r (Rex Hammock) says he simply petitioned Twitter employees for something more succinct. “At the time,” he remembers, “Twitter probably had three employees, so it wasn’t a bureaucracy that met about stuff like who deserves a one-letter username.”

So are you ready to meet them? We’ve got you covered from @A to @Z (and @0 to @9). Some are early Twitter adopters, others took over accounts in later years, while a few remain stubbornly private. In any case, the shortest Twitter usernames seem to have the most to say. Their bios are often mysterious, their tweets philosophical and, not oddly, a great number of them seem to be from San Francisco.


Date registered: March 11, 2007

Location: San Francisco, California

Followers: 10,439

Memorable Tweet: "It'll be a huuuge egg on our faces if it turns out that all the spam over the years was actually aliens trying to communicate with us."

Did you know Twitter was going to be big? How? No, I didn't realize how much it would blow up eventually. ... I guess the mainstream audience didn't get on it until probably early 2009, just about when Oprah and such started talking about it.


Date registered: December 17, 2007

Location: Spokane, Washington

Followers: 2,574

Memorable Tweet: "6 shows down... So far so good. Day off in redding, hoping they don't kick us out of the mcdonalds for using their wifi for hours on end :)"


Date registered: January 14, 2007

Location: San Francisco, California

Followers: 5,598

Memorable Tweet: "@x Hey! I'm about 5 hrs upstate from ya, Gene. Guess I missed @k on NPR. Hopefully the clip is online somewhere so I can hear it."


Date registered: October 26, 2006

Location: Bushwick, Brooklyn, New York

Followers: 2,279

Memorable Tweet: "When people ask me if I'm a musician—something that's apparently easy to guess—I'm like, uh, kind of?"


Date registered: September 8, 2006

Location: Santa Cruz, California

Followers: 2,450

Memorable Tweet: "Okay Santa Cruz, I forgive you."


Date registered: September 8, 2006

Location: Portugal

Followers: 8,032

Memorable Tweet: "do twitter bots implode if I mention iPads, iPhones *and* justin bieber on the same tweet?"

When did you first sign up for Twitter? [When I signed up, Twitter] was uglier, had only a few people and a name that wasn't very good. But it was a great idea, let me keep in touch with people I cared about in the valley after moving back to Europe, and I stuck around.


Date registered: December 4, 2008

Location: Fayetteville, Arkansas

Followers: 1,184

Memorable Tweet: "Hey, @DanielleFusco, @Joel_DiPippa, @KellyMacNeil, et al: Is it too late to call an emergency meeting of the Burger Caucus for lunch Monday?"


Date registered: January 7, 2008

Location: Dublin, Ireland

Followers: 2,873

Memorable Tweet: "Watching friends hit on girls is an interesting experience! You always learn what to NOT do :-)"


Date registered: December 2, 2010

Location: n/a

Followers: 885

Memorable (and only) Tweet: "Haha I dont like kids that have ugly proplem so juh"


Date registered: October 25, 2007

Location: San Francisco, California

Followers: 5,691

Memorable Tweet: "OH: Someone's going to make money off of virtual dog ice cream, and it might as well be me."


Date registered: November 1, 2006

Location: "SFO"

Followers: 16,246

Memorable Tweet: "Free shoes for Twitter employees means everyone's going to be wearing the same shoes tomorrow. Yoga class should be fun."


Date registered: June 24, 2009

Location: "Here, there and everywhere."

Followers: 1

Memorable Tweet: n/a. Tweets are protected.


Date registered: August 6, 2007

Location: Bad Kreuznach, Germany

Followers: 4,401 

Memorable Tweet: "I just became the mayor of Hunsrück-Klinik Simmern on @foursquare!"


Date registered: March 10, 2007

Location: Palo Alto, California

Followers: 3,317

Memorable Tweet: "@smtakeda every meals i posted this week, yes. only because i should feed my son something other than garbage :p"


Date registered: November 9, 2006

Location: Montréal, Quebec, Canada

Followers: 873

Memorable Tweet: "What kind of URL shortener we would be if we didn't have the shortest of Twitter usename? Check us out @o"

Did you know that Twitter was going to be big? How? I did, it was a time when the term microblogging started to appear here and there and my minimalist (not to say lazy) self realized that not just Twitter but all those "straight to the point" services will be the future.


Date registered: October 30, 2006

Location: "trailing off, away, offshore."

Followers: 2,136

Memorable Tweet: "back here after years. who are all these followers? did we step all this way through evolution & time just to have bots listening to us?"


Date registered: April 13, 2010

Location: Tel-Aviv, Israel

Followers: 509 

Memorable Tweet: "קמתי מאוחר, הלכתי למשרד, שכחתי את הארנק בבית, הלכתי הביתה, שכחתי את המפתחות במשרד. חזרתי למשרד, הכרתי בחוסר הטעם ביום הזה. ים?י" (I woke up late, I went to the office, I forgot my backpack at home, I went home, I forgot my keys in the office. I returned to the office, I know what today is missing? The beach.)


Date registered: December 22, 2006

Location: Nashville, Tennessee

Followers: 7,127

Memorable Tweet: "Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fly-fish, you'll sell him fly-fishing gear the rest of his life"

Did you know that Twitter was going to be big? Like a lot of early users, the utility of Twitter didn't sink in until SXSW a couple of months later...Pretty soon, however, people were using it to say what was taking place in the session they were attending, and you could start noticing people leaving sessions if people in other session started tweeting about how great it was.


Date registered: September 10, 2010

Location: Portland, Oregon

Followers: 4,101

Memorable Tweet: Hasn't tweeted yet.


Date registered: November 7, 2006

Location: San Francisco, California

Followers: 15,887

Memorable Tweet: "despite appreciating NYC's energy and pace, relieved to find myself feeling happy to be home in SF. not moving yet. :)"


Date registered: February 26, 2009

Location: n/a

Followers: 3,624

Memorable Tweet: " setts, bench"


Date registered: May 11, 2008

Location: n/a

Followers: 0

Memorable Tweet: n/a. Tweets are protected.


Date registered: July 17, 2006

Location: n/a

Followers: 32

Memorable Tweet: n/a. Tweets are protected.


Date registered: March 29, 2007

Location: San Francisco, CA

Followers: 2,001

Memorable Tweet: "@Photojojo dude I've been wanting to unleash 1000 superballs down a steep SF street & photograph it except a mini test run hit an old lady"

Did you know Twitter was going to be big? How? I didn't – at first it seemed pretty useless until I started going to tech parties where people would ask what your twitter handle was instead of your actual name.


Date registered: Summer 2006

Location: London

Followers: 0

Memorable Tweet: n/a. Tweets are protected.

Are you an early adopter for other social media/tech? I wouldn't say I'm necessarily an "early adopter" -- I tend to use well designed and simple services. I'm not a user of Facebook for instance. I'm currently loving


Date registered: March 27, 2007

Location: San Francisco, California

Followers: 1,884

Memorable Tweet: "You know that feeling when you wake up hungry from a nap and none of your roommates are cooking you dinner? I hate that feeling."


Date registered: September 26, 2010

Location: "Earth"

Followers: 8,682

Memorable Tweet: "0 is wondering why people even bother to follow him?"


Date registered: January 12, 2009

Location: n/a

Followers: 4,300

Memorable Tweet: "No longer the loneliest number. Bumping up my 'following' count."


Date registered: September 10, 2010

Location: n/a

Followers: 879

Memorable Tweet: n/a. Hasn't tweeted yet.


No user data. Profile was suspended.


Date registered: January 12, 2007

Location: n/a

Followers: 0

Memorable Tweet: n/a. Tweets are protected.


Date registered: March 17, 2007

Location: China

Followers: 1,543

Memorable Tweet: "无聊" (bored)


Date registered: January 19, 2007

Location: "iPhone: 37.788361,-122.408410"

Followers: 4,345

Memorable Tweet: "@Beaker @tqbf I'd respond to a polite query (but it have no relationship with the FBI.) C'mon, they couldn't even /catch/ me."


Date registered: February 20, 2011

Location: "Baby Las Vegas"

Followers: 186

Memorable Tweet: "@6 was scared of @7 because @7 'ate' @9"


Date registered: March 17, 2007

Location: China

Followers: 1,587

Memorable Tweet: "今天愚人节哦,大家节日快乐" (oh, April Fools Day today, happy holidays)


Date registered: March 8, 2011

Location: Australia

Followers: 109

Memorable Tweet: "Meme sounds [link]"


Date registered: March 16, 2007

Location: "@_98119"

Followers: 4,208

Memorable Tweet: "Credit card encryption hack: Divide the digits embossed on the front of the card by 1 to get the credit card number."

More About: List, Lists, social media, social networking, twitter, usernames

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3 Simple Ways Tech Can Grow Greener Cities

Posted: 29 Jun 2011 12:11 PM PDT

The Global Innovation Series is supported by BMW i, a new concept dedicated to providing mobility solutions for the urban environment. It delivers more than purpose-built electric vehicles — it delivers smart mobility services. Visit or follow @BMWi on Twitter.

In the annals of urban design, Peter Calthorpe is a living legend. He is the man who made Portland, Oregon the bustling eco-friendly metropolis it is today by insisting on light rail links rather than the prior plans for a pointless (but symmetrical) ring road around the city. Here is a man who is helping to build China, three cities at a time (literally — that’s his current roster) while still advising the state of California on its future urban growth. He is a thought-leader and author, most recently, of Urbanism In the Age of Climate Change.

When it comes to technology, however, Calthorpe is a professional cynic. He chides city bosses for relying on technology to fix their environmental ills — providing cosmetic offerings like electric vehicle charging stations, for example, or iPhone apps that identify parking spots — rather than making greater, greener tweaks to the urban organism itself. “You can’t put the cart before the horse,” he says, “and the horse is the city. You’re never going to take away this social animal stuff. Proximity is more important to us than ever. Technology matters, but I don’t think it’s a substitute for fundamental urban design.”

That doesn’t mean a city has to make itself into Manhattan — though Calthorpe is well aware that such dense environments are the most eco-friendly human habitations, pound for pound. We don’t need to go that far to make our cities much more energy-efficient. Instead, Calthorpe points to a suburb of Oakland called Rockridge as his prime example: dense, leafy streets with plenty of shops, nice houses, mass transit and a high walk score. If we all lived that closely, he says, we’d make a massive dent in the causes of climate change — and we’d be happier, more social and more creative creatures to boot. “Even the high-tech, Internet-connected world wants to be in the same place,” Calthorpe says. “They’re not interested in living on a mountaintop. They want to crowd into places that are all about exchanges of ideas.”

How to Make It Happen

Having sampled the delights of Rockridge — and similar dense walkable suburbs, such as Cobble Hill in Brooklyn — we can’t help but agree with Calthorpe and his goals. But we do think there are a few areas where cutting-edge technology can help him reach them. Indeed, Calthorpe admits that as a 60-something, he is not as familiar with the tech world as he could be. So here are a few ideas:

1. Offer Wi-Fi on public transit. Calthorpe knows good public transit is essential to the kind of neighborhoods he wants (Rockridge was built as a “streetcar suburb” and still “has streetcar DNA,” he says), and he points to higher ridership rates in cities with high walk scores, like San Francisco. But anyone who spends time riding the MUNI in the Bay Area knows that it is an experience in dire need of improvement, and it isn’t attracting all the riders it possibly could. Meanwhile, tech companies like Google and Apple are running dozens of Wi-Fi-enabled shuttles from the city to the Valley every day so employees can noodle on laptops or stream movies on tablets as they ride.

So why not implement a bus-based Wi-Fi system? That’s the major advantage transit has always had over driving — you can do other stuff while you’re on it. And in today’s hectic work world, extra time online during the day is like gold dust. It wouldn’t even have to be free. Cities could provide it to riders at cost for a monthly fee, or get companies to sponsor it. They’d reap the rewards in massively increased white-collar ridership and provide an elusive sense that riding the bus is actually something to aspire to.

2. Encourage checkins. So you want to increase your city’s walk score? Then give people more reasons to walk around, using the tools they already have in their pockets. Indeed, get them addicted to it. That dovetails nicely with the purpose of location-based checkin services like Foursquare and Gowalla. Merchants could get a small tax break for being active participants on these services, especially if their checkins came with information on where you can walk next. Cities could dot the landscape with checkin posts that offer information on the neighborhood or track and reward you for being on foot. While you’re at it, these posts could offer transit details on nearby buses, and inform you how much money you’ll save getting to your destination on transit versus using gas, much as Google Maps does now.

3. Install more parking sensors. Yes, parking sensors have primarily been used for those iPhone apps that tell you where to park. But they could just as easily be used to change driving behavior. Calthorpe intentionally reduces parking spots in the cities he designs in order to reduce the number of cars on the road. You could get the same effect by upping the price at peak times and limiting the amount of time you’re allowed to park in a given spot before you get a ticket, forcing drivers to use their cars for crucial, timely trips only — and take transit the rest of the time. What’s more, parking sensor activity would be your best guide to where new transit services are needed.

How else could new technology help bring about Peter Calthorpe’s vision of tight, friendly, walkable suburbs? Let us know your ideas in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, andipantz

Series Supported by BMW i

The Global Innovation Series is supported by BMW i, a new concept dedicated to providing mobility solutions for the urban environment. It delivers more than purpose-built electric vehicles; it delivers smart mobility services within and beyond the car. Visit or follow @BMWi on Twitter.

Are you an innovative entrepreneur? Submit your pitch to BMW i Ventures, a mobility and tech venture capital company.

More About: city planning, environment, foursquare, Global Innovation Series, gowalla, location-based networking, peter calthorpe, public transportation, technology, wi-fi

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Turtles Block JFK Runway, Launch Twitter Account

Posted: 29 Jun 2011 11:59 AM PDT

Perhaps inspired by the fame of the escaped Bronx Zoo Cobra — who accumulated 200,000 Twitter followers and national media attention before being discovered seven days later — the 150 turtles who crawled onto the tarmac at New York City’s JFK airport on Wednesday have apparently started a Twitter account of their own.

Turtles Block JFK Runway

JFK Turtles Launch Twitter Account

The turtles, which are searching for beaches to lay their eggs, have caused numerous flight delays since they were first spotted around 6:45 a.m. ET, according to the Associated Press.

@JFKTurtles opened their account at about 10:00 a.m. ET by retweeting a message from JetBlue that read, “JFK is experiencing delays as the airport clears turtles off the runway. #cantmakethisup.”

JetBlue Tweets About JFK Turtles

Since then, the turtles have mostly used the account to respond to people discussing the situation on Twitter. “When you are gearing up for the moment, you don’t really think about your personal safety. You know?” they told @nymag. “We take humpday to heart,” they tweeted at @thedailybeast.

More About: bronx-zoo-cobra, JFK, turtles, twitter

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Facebook Deals Expands to 3 More Cities

Posted: 29 Jun 2011 11:33 AM PDT

Facebook Deals Expands to Charlotte, St. Louis and Minneapolis

Facebook Deals, an advertising product that lets businesses offer discounts to nearby Facebook users, is expanding its pilot program to three more cities: Charlotte, St. Louis and Minneapolis.

Businesses in those cities can sign up to participate now. Users will have access to Deals in the coming weeks.

Facebook Deals originally launched in San Francisco, Austin, Dallas, Atlanta and San Diego in late April.

Although Deals is frequently compared to Foursquare, the product is more akin to Groupon. It offers Facebook users vouchers for a range of goods or services ahead of — rather than at — the point of purchase.

Facebook is not yet disclosing any numbers. But it did note that early feedback from businesses has been largely positive, particularly for helping bring in new customers and increasing the number of Likes on their Pages.

More About: facebook, Facebook Deals, groupon, local businesses, MARKETING

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MySpace Sold to Ad Network for $35 Million

Posted: 29 Jun 2011 11:19 AM PDT

MySpace Sold for $35 Million

The day that the web has been buzzing about has finally come: MySpace has been sold, to an advertising network called Specific Media for a mere $35 million.

CEO Mike Jones will be leaving the company, and it seems that so will a good portion of the staff.

Says Jones in an email: “In conjunction with the deal, we are conducting a series of restructuring initiatives, including a significant reduction in our workforce. I will assist Specific with the transition over the next two months before departing my role as MySpace CEO.”

SEE ALSO: Justin Timberlake To Take Ownership Stake in MySpace

News Corp. declared it was ready to sell MySpace in an earnings call in February. The media company was reportedly hoping to get $100 million out of the sale.

In 2005, News Corp. bought the site for $580 million from its original owners, but MySpace’s traffic has plummeted in recent years. All Things Digital reported that News Corp. will still hold a 5% to 10% stake in the company.

Other reports this week indicated that close to 50% of the site’s staff could be cut after the sale, and it’s likely that any further iterations of the service will focus on music.

More About: business, myspace, news-corps, social media, Specific Media, trending

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Card 2.0 Maker Raises $35 Million To Change the Way You Pay

Posted: 29 Jun 2011 11:12 AM PDT

Dynamics Card 2.0

Dynamics, the company behind the high-tech debit and credit cards we showed you last year, has just raised a huge sum of money to fuel its rapid growth.

The Card 2.0 products, which were developed to make credit and debit cards both simpler and more secure, are currently being tested by large consumer banks such as Citi.

The futuristic cards have embedded buttons and graphic displays, yet they're as thin and flexible as a normal credit card.

In addition to using the new funding — a $35 million Series B led by Bain Capital Ventures — to fuel growth, the startup will also use the money to develop new next-gen credit and debit card products. Keep an eye on this company for battery-powered contact chip cards, battery-powered RFID contactless cards, and phone-based payment systems.

SEE ALSO: Your Credit Cards Will Never Be the Same Again: Meet Card 2.0

As Dynamics CEO Jeff Mullen stated in a release, “This is just the beginning. We will continue to introduce exciting new payments products that we've been refining in our labs over the last few years.”

The company launched at startup conference DEMO Fall in 2010, where it won both the first prize and the $1M people’s choice award.

Card 2.0 also won Best of Show at FinovateFall 2010 and Best in Show at CES 2011 for Personal Electronics.

More About: bain, bain capital, bain capital ventures, banking, card 2.0, Dynamics, finance, funding, personal banking, series b

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Startup Bizzy Now Lets You Follow Friends’ Local Reviews

Posted: 29 Jun 2011 10:57 AM PDT

Bizzy has collected more than 173,000 local business reviews since March by making them simple and mobile. Now it’s adding the third variable that it hopes will compete with long-form review sites like Yelp: community.

A new version of the iPhone and Android apps went live on Tuesday that allows users to follow and comment on other users’ reviews.

Until this point, Bizzy has recommended local businesses to users by matching them with other users who have similar tastes — as determined by the businesses visited in the past and a survey at sign up. In March the app added a “check out” feature that allows users to leave short, emoticon-style reviews (“Love It,” “Meh” or “No tnx”) of venues as they’re leaving and thereby easily add more recommendation data to Bizzy’s database.

The matching process by which Bizzy makes its recommendations has been invisible to users until now.

The reviews and a short comment could be shared on Facebook and Twitter and users could see the people who liked certain venues, but there was no way for them to keep track of each other. Now Bizzy has added a network of its own to help them do so.

“Your friends on Facebook and Twitter are not necessarily the same people interested in you reviews,” Bizzy founder Gadi Shamia says.

Bizzy’s new app helps you find people by combing your address book, Twitter and Facebook for other Bizzy users. Then it recommends a handful of users who have similar tastes.

Theoretically, adding these people will result in a continuous feed of relevant reviews. Someone who loves to eat at Subway will get one kind of recommendation, and someone who loves five-star French restaurants will get another. There’s also a tab for finding reviews in the area and a “Try it” list that is similar to Foursquare‘s “To-Do” list.

Creating a Twitter-like feed for recommendations is a concept that’s been used for dining recommendations before. And it makes a lot of sense for customization.

But is Bizzy’s user base broad enough to sustain this sort of feature? I might like Bizzy, but how many of my friends — whose reviews I would be most interested in — are also logged into the relatively new startup? The feature that matches you with people who have similar tastes and the local tab might be enough to overcome this hurdle.

“The 308th review does not add a lot of value,” says Bizzy VP of Marketing Ryan Kuder about the new strategy. “At some point you need to come up with a new way to discover places.”

More About: bizzy, mobile apps, reviews, startups, yelp

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Connected Closes Funding for Sophisticated Social CRM

Posted: 29 Jun 2011 10:26 AM PDT

Connected, a young startup tackling personal CRM with a fresh social twist, has just closed its first round of funding — $500,000 in a seed round led by Trinity Ventures.

500 Startups, Ignition Partners, and angel investors Christopher Michel, Michael Hoydich, and Mark Gray also participated in the round.

Connected will use the infusion of cash to focus on new user acquisition and conversation and to enhance the product to better suit the needs of small businesses.

Connected, if you recall, is a web- and mobile-friendly application that taps into nearly every social network, contact database and calendar repository on the web to create a contact and company database for users, no manual entry required.

“The main goal of the product is to help you build, maintain and leverage your relationships," founder and CEO Sachin Rekhi told Mashable in a previous interview.

The personal CRM space is one that continues to evolve. A few early startups attempting to solve the problem — a growing one in the digital age — have already had nice exits. Gist, for instance, was acquired by RIM earlier this year.

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Traditional Higher Ed Opens Doors for Tuition-Free Online University

Posted: 29 Jun 2011 10:09 AM PDT

Online universities have earned a reputation among traditional higher education institutions as businesses that offer low-quality degrees in exchange for hefty debt. But online University of the People challenges the stereotype.

The University is completely free. Its mission is not to turn out a profit, but rather to create a truly global opportunity for education. A thousand students who live in 115 different countries are taught by the university’s core of 2,000 volunteers. And traditional universities are starting to open its door to their very nontraditional free counterpart.

In May, New York University announced it would accept students from University of the People at its Abu Dhabi campus. On Tuesday, HP invited the free university’s students to become virtual interns with its Catalyst Initiative — a global consortia of 56 organizations, most of them universities, that focuses on projects related to improving STEM education.

“I think it’s important to support collaboration between the formal and informal education space,” says Jeannette Weisschuh, HP’s director of education initiative. “We believe educators from the formal space can learn from the informal space. … I wouldn’t say it’s a revolution, but its an evolution of the existing education space.”

The consortium will select qualified interns who apply through University of the People to work virtually with its partners on projects that could include setting up webinars and developing some software elements.

University of the People offers two degree programs, one in business administration and one in computer science. Working with HP’s consortium partners gives students a virtual equivalent to the internships that many students at physical universities get during summer internships. But they can have the opportunity even if they’re working from an Internet cafe in a remote area of the world, as many of them are.

NYU has offered a further bridge to traditional education by inviting University of the People students to apply to its Abu Dhabi campus. Even though University of the People is not accredited, NYU will use performance in its classes to assess students for admission. It will also make some of those classes eligible for credit transfer, giving the free school’s curriculum something like a nod of approval, says Shai Reshef, the founder of University of the People.

"NYU Abu Dhabi has distinguished itself not only by the quality of its students and the selectivity of its admissions, but also by its broad international reach," said John Sexton, the president of NYU, in a statement. "That diversity is part of what draws young people of such talent to NYU Abu Dhabi.”

Reshef says the relationship is focused on the Abu Dhabi campus partly because that campus has more money available for scholarships. Most, if not all, of his students would need full scholarships to attend.

“People who one year ago couldn’t think about higher education at all, all of the sudden can think about NYU,” Reshef says.

Top image courtesy of iStockphoto user RapidEye.

More About: Catalyst, education, HP, nyu, online education, university of the people

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5 Innovative Facebook Campaigns to Learn From

Posted: 29 Jun 2011 09:56 AM PDT

The Social Marketing Series is supported by Campaigner®. Campaigner® email marketing enables small, medium and large businesses to strengthen customer relationships and drive sales by connecting to their customers quickly, simply and affordably. Visit to learn more.

If you've tried to run a campaign on Facebook and were frustrated by its poor results, you're not alone. Facebook's ads have a pretty poor performance record and its ads continue to be cheap, though plentiful.

The good news is that Facebook is working hard to improve its ads' performance. The company continues to experiment with new ad formats and has lately cozied up to the ad community with Facebook Studio, a forum for new campaigns that features a directory of ad agencies.

The idea is that marketers can learn from each other as they try to navigate Facebook, which is terra incognita for everyone since it's so new. In that spirit, here are five recent Facebook campaigns that offer some instructive examples on how the platform can be used to amplify a message or interact with consumers in a new way.

1. “Infinity” — Batelco

Bahrain Telecommunications Co., a.k.a. Batelco, isn’t going to give Apple a run for its money in the name-recognition department anytime soon, but for those interested in social media marketing, it’s the little brand that could. You may recall that Batelco’s “Infinity” video made the short list of favorite TED ads earlier this year, but the Facebook aspect of that campaign is just as notable.

Batelco aired two trailers for the video in movie theaters and online in September 2010. To spread the video even further, Batelco’s app included a prompt for users to activate their webcams and take pictures of themselves reacting to the video. The picture was then posted on Facebook (with the user’s permission). Next, the company and agency FP7/BAH disseminated information about the making of the video. Realizing that all the target customers were online, Batelco also set up kiosks in malls and airports letting consumers see the video. As a result of the exposure, Batelco gained more than 200,000 fans on Facebook. More than 70% of Bahrain’s Facebook community are fans.

The Upshot: Batelco bet heavily on a viral video and it paid off, partially because the video itself is so compelling, but also because it provided a means for people on Facebook to add something to the experience.

2. Fashiontag — Flair Magazine

Flair, a Belgian women’s magazine, observed that women check out each other’s wardrobes in real life and figured that might be the case online as well. That reasoning prompted the creation of Fashiontag, an app that lets users identify their friends’ clothing in Facebook pics and ask a question about the item. The question also was posted on the friend’s wall.

Those conversations then ran on a Fashiontag Page on Facebook. The best ones ran in the magazine. According to Advertising Age, after the app launched on March 22, the magazine’s Facebook Page got a 35% bump in fans, to 23,000. Best of all, this was done on the cheap: The app only cost about $35,000 to create.

The Upshot: Flair created a genuinely useful app and one that tied in with its brand mission. As a result, the title not only got attention, but found a new way to interact with readers and create content.

3. Comida Kraft — Kraft Foods

Kraft introduced Comida Kraft, a recipe website targeted to Hispanic consumers, in 2001. Nine years later it launched a Comida Kraft Facebook Page as well. Kraft stepped things up in May 2011, by enlisting Mexican celebrity chef Alfredo Oropeza, which boosted the Page’s fans by 38%. But Oropeza isn’t just lending his name. In July, Kraft is planning three livestreamed video chats with the chef, during which participants can ask questions in real time. In November, Kraft is planning to give Latina moms who subscribe to Comida Kraft recipes by email — those who subscribe to the Comida Kraft Mobile Club will get free exclusive access to additional recipes and videos on their mobile phones.

The Upshot: Kraft, working with digital marketing agency 360i, has added new activities to engage its Facebook fans. The addition of a celebrity chef and exclusive access gives consumers a reason to become fans and gives fans special access.

4. The Squeezing Smiles Machine — Prigat

The problem with a lot of branded Facebook Pages is there’s nothing to do there. Israeli juice company Prigat not only gave its fans something to do, it put them to work. Prigat set up an app that let fans activate an orange juice machine by smiling. (The company used face-recognition technology to recognize those smiles.)

It turns out, a lot of users were up to the challenge. More than 20,000 users uploaded photos of themselves, which led to 30,000 “likes,” (a 300% jump in growth). More than 40,000 oranges were also squeezed during the effort — the juice was given to charity.

The Upshot: Bridging the real and the online world can spark some interesting ideas. Asking users to smile also ensured that the program was fun.

5. Your Very Own Mad Men Ad — Mad Men Season 4 in the Netherlands

Here’s the pitch: Don Draper and his team have a new assignment — an ad about you. But first they have to know a bit about you — what kind of car you drive, what’s your drink of choice, that kind of thing. Next, they need a picture of you. Then you get to see a few mockups of ads about you. When you settle on one you like, you post it to your site. The best ads will run in the Dutch magazine BLVD Man and on billboards in Amsterdam.

The campaign, from an agency called Greenberry, launched in June to promote the premiere of season 4 of Mad Men in the Netherlands. So there you have it: a promotion for a show about advertising that creates advertising about you that might actually run as a real ad somewhere. Is your head spinning yet?

The Upshot: This promotion stays true to the concept of the product it promotes, but involves consumers in the process as only Facebook can.

What other innovative Facebook campaigns have you seen? Let us know in the comments below.

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