Monday, 1 August 2011

Mashable: Latest 15 News Updates - including “Chrome Overtakes Firefox to Become UK’s Second Most Popular Browser”

Mashable: Latest 15 News Updates - including “Chrome Overtakes Firefox to Become UK’s Second Most Popular Browser”

Chrome Overtakes Firefox to Become UK’s Second Most Popular Browser

Posted: 01 Aug 2011 04:05 AM PDT

Google’s web browser Chrome is now the second most popular browser in the United Kingdom, according to web metrics company Statcounter.

Chrome’s market share has been on an upward trajectory globally, but in the UK Google’s browser has been doing exceptionally well, having captured a 22.12% market share in July, edging over Firefox which currently holds 21.65%.

The first spot is still held by Internet Explorer which holds a massive 45.51%, but its market share has been steadily declining over the last 12 months.

Google advertises Chrome as a lightweight, speedy browser, and uses it as a base for its operating system, Chrome OS. The first portable machines based on the OS – Chromebooks – arrived on the market in June 2011.

Once a breath of fresh air on the browser market, Firefox has been losing users globally in 2011 – at least according to Statcounter’s numbers. Mozilla’s open source browser recently sped up its upgrade pace, having released two major versions of the browser – Firefox 4 and Firefox 5 – within a three months’ span.

[Statcounter via Guardian]

More About: chrome, Firefox, Google, google chrome, internet explorer, microsoft internet explorer, mozilla firefox, StatCounter

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Mashable Weekend Recap: 26 Stories You May Have Missed

Posted: 01 Aug 2011 04:00 AM PDT

It was a tense weekend in Washington, but that didn’t mean the rest of the world couldn’t relax through the warmth of summer (or dead of winter for our southern hemisphere friends) this weekend.

That slower pace didn’t apply to us here at Mashable, however. We found stories about future bicycles, more ideas for Google+ and a whole lot more.

The best part? We compiled all those stories for you in this handy list. Now go out there and make it an exceptional week, but not before you take a look at this informative list of weekend posts from us:

News & Opinion Essentials

White House Aide Says Tweets Influenced Debt Ceiling Deal

Hackers Target Anders Behring Breivik's Twitter Account

Inside Sports Illustrated: Building a Magazine for the Digital Age

F-16 Fighter Jet Crashes On Runway [VIDEO]

This Week in Politics & Digital: Rickrolls & Debt Woes

Missouri Forbids Teachers and Students To Be Facebook Friends

Google+ Hangouts Adding YouTube Live Video Viewing

Private Site Connects Fashion Designers & Editors for Shoots

How the Web Is Responding to the Horn of Africa Famine

House Passes Boehner Debt Plan: Republicans Tweet Reactions

Helpful Resources

5 Ways To Tap Ad Agency Funding

Sharepocalypse Now: Why Social Media Overload Means New Opportunities for Startups

5 Essential LinkedIn Apps for Sales Teams

HOW TO: Land a Job at LivingSocial

3 Terrific Tools for Social & Mobile Viewing Audiences

5 Tips for Running Successful Cause Marketing Campaigns

Top Twitter Trends This Week [CHART]

38 New Digital Media Resources You May Have Missed

HOW TO: Choose the Right Office Space

HOW TO: Become a Google+ Beta Tester

iPhone App Simplifies Business Card Exchanges

Weekend Leisure

Calorific for iPhone: How Simple Can a Dieting App Get? [REVIEW]

Bicycle Of The Future Shifts Gears Via Brain Waves [VIDEO]

Review: Portable Speaker Pumps Out Powerful Sound [PICS]

Our Favorite YouTube Videos This Week: The Birthday Edition

"Cowboys & Aliens" Saddles Up With Social Media

More About: Weekend recap

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Apple Wins Dispute Over Domain

Posted: 01 Aug 2011 03:27 AM PDT

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) ordered on Wednesday that the domain name be transferred to Apple from parking site holder

Apple filed an official complaint with WIPO at the end of May, on grounds of trademark infringement. The complaint sparked interest in the public eye as to why the iPod manufacturer chose to wait nine years after the launch of the media player to go after the domain name.

This complaint comes after a number of other domain name conflicts for Apple, which tends to pay large sums of money to overtake desirable domains, a strategy that has cost the company millions in the past. Earlier this year, Apple reportedly shelled out $4.5 million to acquire the iCloud domain. And in 2007, it purchased from businessman and domain profiteer Michael Kovatch for at least $1 million, according to a number of reports.

Having landed such a quick victory in this case, Apple may choose to take advantage of the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) more often, instead of forking over loads of cash to domain squatters. After all, there are a number of domain names that the company still does not own, including,, and, among others.

[via Fusible]

More About: apple, Domain Names, domains, intellectual property, ipod, trademark infringement, WIPO

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Adobe Launches HTML5 Web Animations Tool

Posted: 01 Aug 2011 01:40 AM PDT

Adobe released a public preview of Adobe Edge, its new web motion and interaction design tool, on Monday.

Edge enables users to create animated content using HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript — not Flash. It’s the first professional-grade HTML5 editing tool on the market and is currently available for free, as the company is looking for feedback from developers.

Interestingly enough, Adobe Edge shares the name with Adobe’s free newsletter, which is bound to create some confusion among users.

The product, which relies on strict HTML standards and does not incorporate Flash, is not meant to replace existing web design tools like Dreamweaver or Flash, but to coexist with them, enhancing Adobe’s position as a leader in the future of Web infrastructure, especially as HTML5 becomes increasingly important in the world of mobile.

When Mashable spoke with Paul Gubbay, Adobe's VP of design and web engineering, last September, he made it clear that the company is interested in supporting both platforms. The following month, Adobe launched a Flash-to-HTML5 converter, a first step towards supporting HTML5.

Adobe is further backing up that position with the launch of Adobe Edge, and promises fast-paced updates to the software to keep up with frequent changes to HTML5 itself.

Adobe released the video preview embedded below last month. Take a look, download it, test it out and let us know what you think about it.

[via VentureBeat]

More About: adobe, Adobe Edge, Flash, HTML5, web design

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Foxconn to Replace Some of Its Workforce With 1 Million Robots

Posted: 01 Aug 2011 01:27 AM PDT

Foxconn, a company that manufacturers parts used in Apple’s iPhone and iPad, said it aims to replace workers with 1 million robots in the next three years, Xinhuanet reports.

The robots will be assigned simple tasks currently done by human workers, such as welding and assembling parts. Foxconn currently has 10,000 robots; in the next year, this number should jump to 300,000 and up to one million in the next three years.

With the move, the company aims to cut labor expenses and improve efficiency, Foxconn CEO Terry Gou said at a workers’ dance party on Friday.

Foxconn has a massive operation in China with about 1 million workers. The company caught the headlines after a string of suicides which prompted HP, Apple, Sony and other companies to launch an investigation into Foxconn’s business practices.

More recently, an explosion in Foxconn’s Chengdu plant in China left two people were dead and 16 injured.

[via Xinhuanet]

More About: Foxconn, robots

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White House Aide Says Tweets Influenced Debt Ceiling Deal

Posted: 31 Jul 2011 07:32 PM PDT

Appropriately, in a conversation that took place on Twitter, a White House aide said Sunday night that Twitter influenced the recently announced agreement on the U.S. debt ceiling.

The tweets were exchanged between Brian Stelter, a reporter at The New York Times, and Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director.

The House and Senate are expected to vote on the debt ceiling bill Monday.

President Obama asked people to tweet at their congressmen Friday to get them to come to an agreement on setting the debt ceiling. He asked that people use the hashtag #compromise, and then his staff spent the day tweeting out the names of Republican legislators from every state.

In the process, the @BarackObama account lost 36,000 followers, but this new information indicates it may have been worth it.

Members of Congress also took the opportunity Friday to fire back at the president (or echo his sentiments) with their own tweets, as you can see in the gallery below:

Rep. Steve Womack, R-AR

Rep. Dennis Ross, R-FL

Rep. John Shimkus, R-IL

Rep. Todd Young, R-IN

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-FL

Rep. Trent Franks, R-AZ

Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY

Rep. Tom Rooney, R-FL

Rep Patrick McHenry, R-NC

Rep. Jim Renacci, R-OH

Tweets that mentioned @BarackObama while the #compromise campaign was going on were mostly negative. You can view an assortment of reactions on Twitter in the gallery below.













More About: Debt Ceiling, obama, twitter

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5 Ways To Tap Ad Agency Funding

Posted: 31 Jul 2011 07:02 PM PDT

money image

David Rosenberg is Director of Innovation at LBi in the U.S., the world's leading independent global marketing and technology agency.

For startups, selling advertising agencies on your technology can be fraught with difficulty. As startups emerge from their development cycles, investors begin clamoring to get the prototype to market. What follows is a flurry of meetings with brand marketers and advertising agencies in an attempt to secure funding and a business application for the new product.

Many startups assume that their brilliant, game-changing products will sell themselves. It’s at this point that mistakes happen, destroying any chance of meaningful funding and exposure. As someone who's been tasked with innovation on the agency side for years, and sat through countless meetings with startups, I’ve compiled a guide to make the most of each agency funding opportunity.

1. It's Not About You, It's About Them

This meeting is not about you and your idea. It's about finding a practical and profitable business application for your product. To avoid that glazed-over look as your audience tunes out, do yourself a favor: help them help you. Do your research on the agency and its clients. Have a look at their video case studies. Make an attempt to understand their brands and business challenges. In the agency world, this is called working back to the creative brief. Figure out why your service is best-suited to help the agency or a particular client.

2. Focus the Conversation on User Experience and Agility

Your pitch should emphasize how your product or service was designed with the end-user's needs in mind. Agencies need to know that your product is more than just a working piece of technology. You may even consider enlisting a UX designer to help with your pitch. Further, it’s critical that you show your ability to manage the product or technology in an agile and flexible manner during the build-out process. Be sure to mention this — it will go a long way in reassuring the agency that it has a real partner.

3. Demonstrate Measurement and Support Capabilities

Make sure you have a sophisticated measurement and accountability system embedded into your technology. Analytics are essential components of the agency business, so be sure to address the topic in your presentation. Also mention your team, however small, in your pitch. Even though you may be a small startup, you have to reassure the agency that you and your team will be able to see the project through to the end.

4. Meet with Key Decision-Makers, Avoid a Run-Around

Many constituents in the agency world have overlapping jobs. While meeting with the CEO or president is ideal, don’t neglect other important titles like the chief technology officer, innovation directors, emerging media directors and strategic planning directors. It can also be helpful to invite a specific account director (sometimes called business directors or management supervisors), as they often represent a direct budget connection, as well as the needs of a particular brand. Avoid the run-around by properly managing the follow-up. It's important to persist corresponding with the agency in general, but also to identify the appropriate decision-making advocate who will become your agency partner.

5. Entertain Multiple Business Opportunities and Models

Explore the many innovative business models and opportunities in today's marketing industry. The most straightforward method is piloting your service into a funded brand program. Be prepared to discuss the fees that make the investment worth your time and effort, as well as the costs you are willing to absorb to get the deal done.

Strategic partnerships can also help grow your business. Agencies can assemble many partners around a brand's table. Look for in-kind opportunities within agencies, for example, high-value media and promotions which would otherwise be financially impossible to you. Lastly, some agencies are now investing in new technology and services as revenue-sharing deals or equity plays. Consider that many agencies could see you as a long-term investment. The important thing is to be prepared for any opportunity and keep an open mind.

Image courtesy of Flickr, George Jonathan

More About: ad agency, business, funding, startup

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Inside Sports Illustrated: Building a Magazine for the Digital Age

Posted: 31 Jul 2011 06:02 PM PDT

Among magazines, Sports Illustrated has emerged as a leader in the digital age.

In addition to its print edition, the title has produced a tablet edition for the iPad every week since it debuted last June and more recently added to its roster weekly editions for Android and webOS tablets. Sports Illustrated also produces daily content for, highlights 10 sports photos every day on its Chrome web app, and offers more content on special cross-channel packages, including Swimsuit.

The numbers support the digital push. Sports Illustrated‘s digital revenue was up 22% between 2009 and 2010, and it is on track for double-digit growth again this year, says Scott Novak, VP of communications at Sports Illustrated Group.

Curious to know how and why the team could keep this pace, we visited editors, producers and operations managers as they put together a special double issue over a seven-day period.

It became clear that Sports Illustrated has alighted upon the best model for a print magazine in the digital age, not only in terms of content and design (i.e. the product itself), but also in the way the publication has organized its staff and workflow to produce consistently top-tier products across multiple platforms. Here’s why.

There Is No “Digital Department”

If you walk into the offices of almost any major print magazine, you’ll inevitably find a corner housing the so-called “digital department.” The staff there will be diligently putting together a website that is sometimes only loosely tied to the print title. These departments are byproducts of the early days of the Internet when publishers weren’t sure if a web edition had long-term potential. Magazine websites were treated like side projects rather than core parts of business and distribution strategies. The tablet edition usually ranks even lower on the priority scale.

Having a separate — and sometimes marginalized — digital department often leads to a discrepancy between the quality of the print product and the web product. Fewer resources are allotted to digital, in part because digital advertising revenues are far less than print.

This discrepancy is most apparent in women’s lifestyle magazines. Glamour and Lucky run thinly staffed, independent web operations that churn out upward of 50 pieces of original content per day. These are short, image-heavy pieces that have proven successful on the web. Both launched “blogger networks” earlier this year, an advertising play that allows the publications to sell ads across a network of content, namely pictures of the bloggers wearing different outfits.

Although the blogger partnerships enable the publications to bolster their advertising revenues in the short term and broaden their readership, there’s little sense that the content on these sites is curated. Rather, they feel like content farms licensed under the Glamour and Lucky banners.

At Sports Illustrated, by contrast, web and print are divided mainly by article length: the web is for shorter, newsier hits and print is a repository for long-form journalism. Quality is consistent largely because most of Sports Illustrated‘s staff touch every extension of the brand. Nearly all the writers (95%) produce content for both the web and print, filing short news pieces for the web while building out longer, weekly pieces for the print and tablet editions.

As a result, Sports Illustrated‘s brand and voice are consistently strong across platforms. But how do they do it and without substantially expanding or changing staff?

Producing More With the Same

It’s surprising how long most Sports Illustrated editors have been on board. Most digitally savvy media companies (The Huffington Post and Gawker Media, for example) are relatively young, or many of the older companies have brought in younger staff to turn things over (both The New York Observer and The Atlantic Wire are run by thirty-somethings who got their start at Gawker Media).

Take Assistant Managing Editor Chris Stone, for instance, who is tasked with overseeing the development of Sports Illustrated on multiple tablets each week. He has been with the magazine since 1992. The pace of the production was much different in the “pre-web” days,when he focused on the production of one to two stories per week as the baseball editor.

“Once upon a time you had a few ideas in the course of a week and they held up. If something happened six days before close, well, it was six days before close,” he recalls. “Now we deal with new ideas and three to four different ways to present a story every day.”

SEE ALSO: Tablet Publishing: Why Sports Illustrated Is Looking Beyond the iPad

Stories are assigned for print, tablets and the web by the same vertical editors in conjunction with Managing Editor Paul Fichtenbaum and are then optimized for their respective platforms. When a large story breaks, for example, separate angles are developed for the web, for Sports Illustrated‘s social channels, as well as for print.

“Print is no longer separate,” Stone says. “We’re able to see the good idea that might just work better on the web because of the urgency of that story.” When stories are conceived, the editors think how to enhance them for the web and tablets, sometimes by including multimedia like audio interviews, galleries or video.

Social media is included in the ideation process. During a Monday morning run-through of the print edition set to close that evening, editors debated what to do with an extra Charlie Sheen interview that would not make the print edition before it closed later that night. Should they release it as a web exclusive, or perhaps as a bonus for tablet readers?

They elected to publish it on both, accompanied by a series of 10 tweets titled “10 Pieces of Wisdom from Charlie Sheen.” Although the print issue was the focus of the meeting, staff discussed the entire integrated publication: print, tablets, the web and social media.

Design is integrated as well. The design staff formats print and multiple tablet editions simultaneously, closing print Monday night, the iPad and HP TouchPad editions on Tuesday, and Android versions on Wednesday. The spacing in deadlines prevents designers from having to prioritize one version over another.

Editorial Workflow

“It became clear to us pretty early on that we needed to establish processes well beyond what we had in place for the print magazine,” says Bob Kanell, director of operations. Kanell has been working at Sports Illustrated for 17 years, long before it started to make its digital shift.

The week now starts Thursday morning. “That’s when we solidify what is going to be in the next particular issue. There are long-term stories that are in the works that we know we are going to run at some point, and our editors will decide when it is the right time to run that story,” he says.

The editorial team meets again Fridays and Sundays to discuss the issue, which evolves over the course of the week as major events occur. Saturday is the one day the entire editorial staff has off. Each editorial member works four full days each week and takes their remaining off-time on different days so that the issue doesn’t grind to a halt on weekends.

On Monday mornings and afternoons, the editorial team meets again to run through the print issue before it closes that same night. The issue is roughly 80% complete by the 9 a.m. meeting Monday, during which time Terry McDonell, editor of the Time Inc. Sports Group, runs through the entire issue on a large screen. He poses questions to Creative Director Chris Hercik about various design decisions and ensures that editorial layouts are properly differentiated from the ads.

The editorial team meets again Monday afternoon to review the edited copy and debate final photo selections. As articles are reviewed, McDonell inquires where add-ons for the tablet editions will appear.

At around noon on Tuesday, a mix of editors, designers and producers crowd around a single Mac in the production studio and walk through the nearly complete weekly editions for the iPad and HP TouchPad, both of which are formatted at a 16:9 ratio. Editors view the issues both on the devices themselves and using simulation software on the Mac, checking each button and function for potential bugs.

The same crew gathers again around 4 p.m. for the final review. The completed issue, once approved by Director of Imaging Geoffrey Michaud, is shipped to Apple’s and HP’s respective app stores around midnight.

At noon on Wednesday, the team runs through the weekly edition for two Android tablets, the Galaxy Tab and Motorola Xoom. Although the devices are different sizes, they run apps at the same 4:3 ratio, so there’s no need to format separate versions. The final run-through for Android occurs at 3 p.m. The completed issue hits the Android app store around midnight.

Design Workflow

Although Sports Illustrated‘s editorial team had to adjust to meet the magazine’s new digital demands, Kanell says the biggest adjustments occurred in the design department.

Designers must now reformat the issue in two different orientations — horizontal and vertical — for the iPad, plus a version for Android. (The iPad’s vertical layout is also used for the HP TouchPad.)

Sports Illustrated uses a software program called WoodWing, which allows designers to lay out the issue in multiple formats (both print and tablets) simultaneously. If a change to the copy is made in the print version, for instance, those changes will be automatically replicated in the different tablet versions.

Side by side: The same elements rendered for print (left), iPad (center) and Galaxy Tab (right).

“Everything still starts with print,” says Hercik, who has worked in the creative department of the Sports Illustrated Group for nearly a decade. “You work from scratch on every [layout] you do. There’s few layouts where it feels like you plug in images and text.”

Those problems are felt across the department. “Nothing that we do converts easily one from the next,” Senior Editor Stephen Cannella explains. “Even after the iPad, you have to tackle a whole different aspect ratio with the Galaxy and Xoom,” noting that tablet layouts also have to accommodate multimedia add-ons.

SEE ALSO: A Sneak Peek at Version 2.0 of Sports Illustrated's iPad App [PICS]

The design team is always conscious of file size when including additional images, videos and audio in the issue. Larger file sizes will take readers more time to download and will occupy a larger portion of their device’s storage space.

“If an add-on is really important to the experience, like a video cover, we’ll embed it,” says Hercik, but otherwise the team will opt to stream large files, like video, to minimize the issue size.

Hercik says the tablet versions are complete when they achieve a certain flow. “You want to interact on every page or every other page. If you go through a story and you haven’t had any interaction, you feel something is missing.”

Room for Improvement

Although Sports Illustrated‘s tablet editions are strong by design and engagement standards, the editors have not yet examined any reader usage data.

Examining usage statistics would enable them to understand, for the first time, which weekly sections and stories are most popular, how long readers spend reading certain articles compared to others, and what multimedia additions get the most attention. For now, editors have depended on a mix of feedback from focus groups and the comments left in various app stores to help them improve their tablet editions.

Going Forward

Sports Illustrated has emerged as a leader among magazine publications because it doesn’t think of itself as a magazine, but as a sports media company. “We don’t compete with magazines, we compete with networks,” says McDonell.

It’s sentiment shared by Mark Ford, president of Time Inc. Sports Group. “We think of ourselves as a sports media company, number one,” he says. “We believe that we have got to reach our audiences and our fans wherever and whenever they’re consuming content on sports, and that means making content available on whatever device they use. Hopefully that extends to TV at some point.”

In fact, Sports Illustrated‘s video operation has already proved profitable, bringing in $3 million in incremental revenue in its first six months, says McDonell.

It’s a mindset that other magazines would do well do emulate. Any publication, whether its roots are in the web, on TV, in print or even on tablets, is truly a media company. Any platform their audience is using should be treated as a crucial distribution outlet.

And that means dissolving those sideline digital departments and refiguring digital — and every other medium — as a priority on par with print.

More About: android, galaxy tab, hearst, hp touchpad, iOS, ipad, magazines, media, motorola xoom, Sports illustrated, Tablet, terry mcdonell, trending, webOS

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Hackers Target Anders Behring Breivik’s Twitter Account

Posted: 31 Jul 2011 05:16 PM PDT

It appears the hacker group Anonymous has hijacked the Twitter account belonging to Anders Behring Breivik, the man behind the attacks earlier this month in Norway.

The disparaging tweets began Sunday afternoon. They at first were made to look like Breivik himself sent them from prison, but the hackers eventually identified themselves as being part of the loosely affiliated hacker collective.

“This Twitter account has been seized by #NORIA. @AnonymousNorway,” read a tweet.

“We want Anders to be forgotten. Labels like ‘monster’ or ‘maniac’ won’t do either,” read another tweet. “Media should call him pathetic; a nothing. #Forgethim.”

Shortly after, a tweet said the account would be shut down. As of 8 p.m. ET, the account — which was created just days before the attacks — still exists, but all sent tweets appear to have been deleted. The only tweet that was visible previously, and presumably sent by Breivik, was a quote from philosopher John Stuart Mill: "One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100 000 who have only interests." (Breivik also had a Facebook account, but that disappeared shortly after the attacks in which Breivik killed more than 90 people.)

Anonymous, a group that sometimes undertakes protests and acts of vengeance through hacktivism, announced a campaign last week against Breivik. A Pastebin document titled “Operation UnManifest” instructed people to find and re-write Breivik’s manifesto.

“Let Anders become a joke, such that nobody will take him seriously anymore,” it reads.

[via Village Voice]

More About: anonymous, Breivik, hack, hackers, Norway

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Review: Portable Speaker Pumps Out Powerful Sound [PICS]

Posted: 31 Jul 2011 04:09 PM PDT

The portable and rechargeable Sound Freaq Sound Step Recharge is a Bluetooth speaker that lets you charge and play music from your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch in its dock, or control and play high-fidelity music wirelessly via Bluetooth.

Its wireless connectivity works with any cellphone, laptop or music player with Bluetooth on board. Beyond that, you can plug any audio device into its auxiliary port, and its rechargeable battery and small size will let you take it just about anywhere.

I was already impressed with Sound Freaq after I tested the larger SFQ-01 Sound Platform a couple of months ago. How do they compare? The larger (and more expensive) Sound Platform sounds better, with deeper bass and more realistic midrange. But the difference in audio quality between the two is not profound, and what you give up in sound with the new, smaller Sound Step, you gain in convenience.

For instance, its six-hour rechargeable battery lets you take this compact unit out on the patio, by the pool, or anywhere there’s not an electrical outlet. The only downside of that? You can’t use the USB port in the rear or its universal dock to charge any devices. Plug it in, and you can place your iPad, for instance, in the dock to charge, while using its USB port to charge your iPhone or other device.

Although music played via Bluetooth rarely sounds as good as music played directly from a given device, in this case I couldn’t discern any difference between the two. Nor was there any difference in sound quality when the unit was running on battery power versus when it was plugged in. That’s good, because I like the freedom of a battery-powered portable device, and in this case, you won’t have to sacrifice anything for that.

Its portable nature invites experimentation, and I tried listening to the speaker from all different distances, angles and in different rooms. Its powerful sound impressed me anywhere I placed it. Its bass, supplied by a 2.5-inch down-firing subwoofer, sounded stronger when I placed the speaker in a corner. Listening to it up close, its UQ3 Spatial Sound Enhancement sounded particularly convincing, as if there were speakers positioned around my head. That UQ3 effect wasn’t as realistic from a distance, though, sounding hollow.

Like its Sound Platform big brother, you can control the Sound Step with an unremarkable iOS app that almost duplicates the functions of the included infrared remote control, with one notable exception: If you want to use its FM radio, you’ll need the app to set up your FM radio station presets. The FM radio worked well and sounded acceptable, and if you preset your preferred stations using the iOS app, you can then skip through the presets using the remote.

It’s hard to believe Sound Freaq’s designers have managed to get so much clean, punchy sound out of a speaker that’s so compact. Retailing at $160, the Sound Freaq Sound Step Recharge SFQ-02RB is not cheap (the non-battery-powered Sound Step is $130), but its unique design will look chic in even the fanciest abode, and it can deliver high-quality sound on the go. Even at that high price, it’s an exceptional value.

iPad on Board

There's enough room in the dock for an iPad (even when it's inside a case), and there's enough power to charge the iPad when the Sound Step is plugged in.

It's Small

But still big enough to deliver a surprisingly powerful punch.

From Above

Its piano-black surface is a fingerprint magnet.

Controls on the Left Side

Controls on the Right

Looking Good

Rear View

Bass port doubles as a carrying handle

Back Left

Plug a USB device in this port for charging. However, you can't charge a device while this unit is running on battery power.

Back Right

Connect your non-Bluetooth devices with an audio cable here. There's also a port for an FM antenna and a video output.

View from the Top

It has a relatively small footprint.


On the left is the larger Sound Freaq Sound Platform, with an iPhone in between the two for scale.

Comparison 2

The Sound Step is shorter -- it fits better under computer monitors.

Remote Storage

Notice how the infrared remote fits in a little compartment in the bottom.

Removing the Remote


This gives you control of all the essentials.

More About: accessories, bluetooth, ipad, iphone, iPod Touch, review, Sound Freaq, Sound Freaq Sound Step Recharge SFQ-02RB, trending

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5 Essential LinkedIn Apps for Sales Teams

Posted: 31 Jul 2011 03:08 PM PDT

Koka Sexton is director of social strategy at InsideView and director of InsideView’s Social Selling University. InsideView helps sales professionals know their leads and prospects inside and out by delivering real-time sales intelligence seamlessly to any CRM. By combining social media insights with traditional editorial sources, InsideView increases sales productivity and revenue. You can follow him on Twitter @KokaSexton.

Everyone knows that LinkedIn profiles are great online resumes, but did you know they can also be terrific sales lead generation engines? Your sales team is already chock full of content — sales presentations, data sheets, case studies and existing customer references. There's no reason why LinkedIn can't be an online, findable and social extension of this. Indeed, LinkedIn is a portal to your company's goods or services, and each sales rep with a LinkedIn profile is an online ambassador to a closed deal.

At the same time, buyers and the process of buying has changed significantly in the past few years, especially in the B2B sector, where the sales cycle is longer and more complicated. Gone are the days when buyers turned to sales people to educate them on every aspect of a good or service. According to Brian Carroll, CEO of InTouch and author of Lead Generation for the Complex Sale, up to 95% of qualified prospects looking at a company's website are there to research and are not yet ready to talk with a sales rep, but an overwhelming majority of them intend to make an eventual purchase from you (or your competitors).

Think of your sales team as an army of lead-generating and nurturing soldiers on LinkedIn. If today's potential customer is going to take on a lot of self-research before being ready for sales outreach, the more information your team can make available, findable and sharable, the better. LinkedIn apps can help. So sales managers, listen up: Here are 5 LinkedIn applications no sales team should go without.

1. WordPress

WordPress has become ubiquitous with both blogging and content marketing, and has been available as a LinkedIn app for nearly three years. If your company blog is run on WordPress, it's essential you set up this app on your LinkedIn profile. Not only does it give you professional credibility, but that traffic to your company site can become a new set of sales leads. At my company, 20% of our web traffic comes from our sales team using the WordPress LinkedIn app.

2. SlideShare

SlideShare took the online content world by storm with one simple concept: a place to store and share all those great PowerPoint presentations. Sales professionals are no strangers to the "slide deck," spending hours crafting the perfect overviews, cost-benefit analyses and illustrative customer success stories. Your prospective customers should be able to get this information on their own time and outside of the formal sales environment. At the same time, you should be generating informed sales leads 24/7. According to a SlideShare spokesperson, "the LinkedIn app is a strong source of traffic to" You'd be remiss in not taking advantage of this powerful app.


When your sales collateral goes beyond the slide deck, there's Box's app. Like the others, it's free. But unlike the others, this can be your ultimate repository of customer case studies, white papers, proprietary or branded how-to guides, ebooks and more. Think of it as free storage space just for your best sales content. As the starting point for a potential sales lead, your prospect can get into the nitty gritty of your company right through your LinkedIn profile.

4. TripIt My Travel

With the World Travel & Tourism Council reporting that "reducing business travel poses significant business risks, including losing customers to the competition," it's no wonder why sales people and their prospects are on the road so often. TripIt's app makes it easy to share where you're headed, and when you're connected to your leads, vice-versa. While the web has made it easier than ever to establish relationships, there's nothing like being able to grab coffee or lunch with a business prospect face-to-face when you're in the same city.

5. Events

Much of that travel can be attributed to conferences and industry meetups -- gatherings you never want to miss. That's where the Events app comes in handy. With this app, your sales team can do a ton of automated networking with little effort. For starters, post events that your company will be attending (large and small) to spread your company's presence in your market and industry area. And on the ground level, sales reps will be able to see all of the events on the radar of their entire network, which is like having a professionally relevant meetup recommendation engine working full time.

Let us know how you and your sales colleagues use LinkedIn in the comments.

More About: apps, business, linkedin, MARKETING, sales, slideshare, trending, tripit, WordPress

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Bicycle Of The Future Shifts Gears Via Brain Waves [VIDEO]

Posted: 31 Jul 2011 01:19 PM PDT

You’re looking at the bike of the future, where you’ll control gear shifts with your mind. This design concept is now in the prototype stage, and from the looks of the video above, it’s well on its way to a high-end bike shop near you.

Cyclists will adore the bike’s multiple aerodynamic design features and carbon fiber construction, but the most astonishing thing about the bike is its ability to change gears using its rider’s brain waves.

Before riding while using its mind-reading capabilities, a cyclist needs to train the bike to read his mind. Its “thought sensitive” helmet picks up brain waves, which are transmitted to the bicycle’s brain-controlled electronic "neurotransmission. "

The cyclist acquaints brain with bike by practicing with an experimental iPhone app, moving a cube on its screen until the neural technology associates that thought with the neurotransmission. Once the link is made, all the cyclist has to do is think in that way and the bike’s gears will shift accordingly.

This is some serious magic. But it’s altogether possible – in fact, we’ve tested tech such as the XWave that lets you control objects on a screen with your brainwaves, and it actually works well.

The Prius X Parlee is sponsored by bikemaker Parlee and Toyota as part of its Prius Projects program.

It’s an outstanding idea, but can these designers and innovators mass-produce the bicycle at an affordable price?

More About: bicycle, brain waves, design concept, future tech, neurotransmission, prius, Prius X Parlee, research, Toyota, trending

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HOW TO: Land a Job at LivingSocial

Posted: 31 Jul 2011 11:53 AM PDT

Group deal sites are booming, putting them in a great place for hiring, and that’s exactly where LivingSocial is. In January 2010, the company had 33 employees and 12,000 members in 6 U.S. markets — today, it boasts more than 1,600 employees and 30 million members in 13 countries. The company hires about six new people per day, so if you’re in the market for a job, there’s probably one for you at LivingSocial.

What kind of applicants stand out?

“We want folks who have drive,” says Griffin. “We're growing really quickly, and we’re excited to be helping local business attract new customers and help all of our members figure out what the cool stuff is in their neighborhood.” Believing that the company has the power to affect GDP and help small businesses all around the world, the company hires wisely. “We want to make sure that everyone we hire has that drive and passion to affect that change and bring those audiences together.”

No matter your age or experience, there’s probably an opening at LivingSocial. Obviously a VP of marketing and commerce will probably have had experience launching new ecommerce companies, but there are also marketing coordinator positions that are great for new graduates. In the Adventures division, there are many new grads — a LivingSocial “experience coordinator” is on the ground with the customers at an ice skating party or a Canadian turkey night — and this is often their first job. In the Escapes division, teammates have worked in travel and know how to work with everything from a bed and breakfast in Vermont to a big resort in Cabo, says Griffin.

What kind of positions are available?

The company is based in D.C., but its growth is global — the company has boots on the ground in more than 260 markets. “Literally everywhere that we are and that we’re going, we're looking to hire local folks, everything from sales people to our editorial staff,” says Griffin. In the editorial department, the company wants writers who are familiar with businesses and can make local references. Positions may be full-time or freelance, and there’s a “robust internship program” that runs on a semesterly schedule.

If you’re interested in seeing what positions are available, check out LivingSocial’s job board. Griffin notes that “it’s a very long page,” and it’s divided into various departments, each of which has its own required skill set listed.

“Everything is growing really rapidly, all at the same time,” Griffin says. “As the company gets larger and goes into new markets, you need sales, editorial, marketing and design people — there’s symbiotic growth amongst departments.” And that’s great news for job seekers.

After you apply, you’ll receive an email saying whether you’re moving forward in the application process or if your skills don't match any of the needs that LivingSocial currently has. Then comes the interview — you’ll have a few phone interviews, and if all goes well, you’ll be on your way to the D.C. office or the office in your local market for in-person interviews.

If you make the cut, you’ll have onboarding on a Wednesday — every new hire class begins on a Wednesday with orientation. There, new hires learn the ropes and discuss what LivingSocial does and why it does it. After a thorough introduction to the company and its goals, hires meet with their respective teams to get a better look at what their day-to-day routine will be like.

Company Values

LivingSocial abides by a handful of company values, and employees are expected to also embody these values. Whether the company is hiring an intern or a VP, LivingSocialites use these principles to guide their work:

  • Make strong moves.
  • Recognize others.
  • Surprise and delight.
  • Live hungry.
  • Champion good ideas.

Griffin says the four founders started as “hungry machines” and sought to figure out how to improve upon what they were doing and how they were living. This ambition drives the company culture today, and LivingSocial is an open-minded, collaborative environment. If you’re not a team player, don’t bother applying.

“It doesn't matter who an idea comes from — if it's a great idea from an intern that we think is really going to help us, we're going to try it,” says Griffin. Something else that’s necessary — though it sounds cliche — is passion. “We look at it as an energy source, and it really drives everything that you do in your work,” says Griffin. And the company will test that passion on day one: New dev teammates need to create something that touches the members on their first day at the company. “It could be figuring out a better interface for when a member is doing me+three, or it may be something that a member won’t notice has changed but that makes the process easier,” she adds.

Griffin says she previously worked for a massive corporation and she is “thrilled and in awe of the fact that we are now 1,600 — it still feels like when I first started last November and we were a mere 400.” Despite the rapid growth, LivingSocial’s culture team works to make sure the company still embodies the entrepreneurial spirit that got them where they are today, and that includes team socials within each market.

One employee is a Washington Wizards dancer who hosts a dance class, and someone on the sales team is a cross-fit trainer who trains the staff. They had a lunch-and-learn with Miriam’s Kitchen, they went to see Super 8 at the Uptown Theater, they go to dinner at Ben's Chili Bowl, and they support colleagues who are in bands by attending their shows. And when one office does a blood drive, the other offices host one, too.

Company-wide, the team makes sure that everyone is included by broadcasting their all-hands meetings all over the world and hosting an internal award show to recognize individuals for their great work at LivingSocial.

Benefits and Compensation

Full-time employees get a very competitive benefits package, commensurate with their role and experience. Employees receive 15 days of vacation, full health benefits and “all the usual suspects.” According to the website, other benefits include stock options, life insurance, flexible spending accounts, short- and long-term disability coverage, commuter benefits and a “never-ending supply of Snapple, fruit snacks and chips.”

Social Media Job Listings

Every week we post a list of social media and web job opportunities. While we publish a huge range of job listings, we’ve selected some of the top social media job opportunities from the past two weeks to get you started. Happy hunting!

More Job Search Resources From Mashable

- HOW TO: Spruce Up a Boring Resume [INFOGRAPHIC]
- Tips For Negotiating Employee Equity
- HOW TO: Land a Job at Airbnb
- HOW TO: Set Up an Online Resume
- HOW TO: Land a Job at LinkedIn

More About: career hunting, careers, group buying, job search, job search series, jobs, LivingSocial

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Calorific for iPhone: How Simple Can a Dieting App Get? [REVIEW]

Posted: 31 Jul 2011 10:56 AM PDT

WorkSmart Labs already makes some of the most successful health and fitness apps for the Android platform, with a total of 7 million users gained over three years. Now one of those apps, Calorific, has finally made its way to the iOS platform.

Calorific, as the name suggests, is an app that lets you log what you’re eating. That immediately puts it in competition with some pretty strong food diary apps on the iPhone and iPad, such as Lose It! and Livestrong Calorie tracker.

But as anyone who has used those apps for any length of time can tell you, using them long-term means making a significant commitment. To do it right, you need to weigh or measure your food, look it up in a vast and incomplete database of food, and figure out the precise number of calories. Personally, I’ve lost a fair number of pounds using Lose It! — but I also found it hard to keep up for more than a month at a time.

Calorific seems to have been built with that understanding. Its purpose isn’t precision — it’s simplicity. Every food is in one of three categories (Great, OK and Bad) and four sizes (tiny through large). There’s a very small database that will tell you roughly which size counts as which, for any given food. And chances are you already know which category and size that plate of cookies is going in.

“The truth is, most people eat junk and know that it’s junk,” says WorkSmart Labs co-founder Aterm Petakov in an email. “What they need is a way to be held accountable for those choices and change them over time. It’s an idea that’s very counter to the Type A/engineer-driven calorie counting that’s on the market today. This makes it very polarizing, but after people use it for some time, they love it.”

Putting It To The Test

I’ve been using Calorific [iTunes link] since it arrived on the app store yesterday at midnight, and it certainly is the most simple food-logging program I’ve ever seen. It’s about as fun, uncluttered and brightly-colored as weight-loss apps can get. WorkSmart Labs’ proud boast about this app is that you can log any food in two clicks. That’s not true if you need to look up a food, but the company’s hope is that you will quickly learn, for example, that anything more than 8 oz. of beef counts as large. Sorry, chum, no way that steak is costing you anything other than 600 calories.

There, if you’ll pardon the pun, is my major beef with the app. Its relentless pursuit of simplification leaves no room for nuance, and nuance adds up. Sure, Calorific gives me the option of lean beef (OK) or regular beef (Bad). But there’s no accounting for how you prepare it, no shaving off a few calories if you lean-grilled it. The 600 calories goes straight on your record, and there’s no way to adjust the numbers once entered. So I might as well leave the juice in it, right?

Also — and this may be a deal-breaker for some people — there’s no way to log exercise. You choose in your profile whether you’re sedentary, lightly active or very active, and that alone determines your calorie target on a given day. There’s no way to point out that today you happened to run 10K, say, and have damn well earned that steak. (On the Android platform, this is taken care of by WorkSmart’s Noom Weight Loss app — let’s hope that crosses over to iOS next.)

The food database is a little threadbare at the moment, which is why the app invites you to tell it what’s missing on every search page. Here’s a freebie for WorkSmart Labs: You need coffee drinks in there, stat. I see a lot of people consuming half their daily calorie allowance in the form of Frappuccinos.

In the aggregate, I can see how well this app would work. It lacks precision, but it gets you in the right ballpark of calorie consumption. With that pie chart and that bar graph, you have an easy bead on the two most widely-accepted tools for weight loss — not just how much you’re eating, but how well you’re eating. Treat it as a game where you try to fill as much of that pie with green (for Great) foods, and you needn’t worry too much about the calorie count. Because it’s easy to play every day, this could be the most vital, life-saving iPhone game you’ve ever killed some time with.

More About: calorie counter, calorific, trending, weight loss, worksmart labs

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Top 10 Twitter Trends This Week [CHART]

Posted: 31 Jul 2011 09:59 AM PDT

Twitter Chart Image

A wave of nostalgia served as an escape from summer heat and tragedy last week on Twitter, as a Nickelodeon ’90s retrospective took the top honors in our weekly survey.

Meanwhile, the real world gripped Twitter users, with the Norway explosion/shootings and Amy Winehouse’s death spurring users to not only tweet, but spread the word of a moment of silence for Norwegian victims.

And then there was football, both American (as in NFL) and international (as in futbol), keeping the Twitter fires burning all week, even during their off-seasons.

You can check Twitter trends from the past in our Top Twitter Topics section.

Top Twitter Trends This Week:

The TV channel TeenNick aired a block of programming called “The ’90s Are All That” containing Nickelodeon shows from the ’90s. Some of the trends that came from viewers reminiscing were Kenan & Kel, Drake & Josh, Doug, Clarissa Explains, Ren & Stimpy, Rugrats and Catdog.
Norway Explosion/Shootings
There was an explosion in Oslo and a mass shooting at Norwegian Labour Party’s youth camp on island Utoya, Buskerud, Norway. People all over the world showed support for the victims with a moment of silence.
Users discussed problems they were having with Twitter, along with things they’ve learned by participating on the social network.
Fans continue to watch football in the off-season and the largest football-related trend this week was “Support Timnas Indonesia” referring to the Indonesian National Football Team beating Turkmenistan 4-3 in the Pre Qualification World Cup 2014.
Amy Winehouse
Amy Winehouse was found dead. She was 27 and users noted that this is the same age as Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Brian Jones, and other members of the “27 Club.”
Phineas & Ferb
Inexplicably, this old TV series continues to trend, week after week. Disney’s Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension movie is released on August 5th.
National Football League
Now that the U.S. football lockout was resolved, players are getting traded, re-signed or released as teams prepare for the next season.
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2
Harry Potter fans continued to discuss the latest film along with other movies in the series. One of the most popular trends was “Greatest Harry Potter Moments”.
Justin Bieber
Bieber fans in Mexico, Colombia and other South American countries started trends to petition the singer to tour in their countries.
One Direction
This week saw the first anniversary of the creation of One Direction, a UK pop group brought together on the singing talent UK TV show X Factor..


Data aggregate courtesy of What the Trend.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, 123render

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Sharepocalypse Now: Why Social Media Overload Means New Opportunities for Startups

Posted: 31 Jul 2011 08:37 AM PDT

Nova Spivack has several ventures in production that focus on the real-time stream, including Bottlenose (for filtering the stream), StreamGlider (a new mobile stream delivery platform), Live Matrix (the schedule of the live web), and The Daily Dot (a new online daily newspaper about what’s trending online).

The social media landscape is changing quickly, but this change won't be immediate, or for that matter, efficient. And that’s going to be a big problem for all of us.

I believe that Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn are fundamentally different, and thus, should not be in competition. However, I'm not sure the companies themselves see it this way. It's likely they will continue dedicating resources to competition instead of differentiation.

And while the social media gods fight it out in the clouds above us, what will happen down here on Earth? What about all of us, the little people — the users?

We're entering a new era of social network chaos, and this, in turn, is going to create new needs and opportunities for startups.

The Sharepocalypse

Welcome to he "Sharepocalypse," a new era of social network insanity.

In the Sharepocalypse hundreds (if not thousands) of online friends share content with us across various social networks, culminating in massive information overload. Our lives will become more fragmented, we will lose productivity, and we'll perpetually be playing catch up.

Granted, we've heard this song before. But I argue that the movement will reach a fundamentally new level of chaos — and the data from my portfolio of companies bears this out.

The Sharepocalypse causes (and is caused by) social overload — an evolution of information overload. Because the distinctions between each social network are not entirely clear, we feel obligated to maniacally juggle different apps and social networks just to keep up and be heard everywhere.

It would be one thing if all our social messages were part of a single, parsable, filtered stream. But instead, they come from all different directions. The Sharepocalypse is aggravated by social streams that originate in many competing silos. We spend nearly as much time hopping between networks as we do meaningfully digesting and engaging the content within.

Furthermore, the more we engage in cross-posting, the more noisy and redundant each network will become. Social overload begets more social overload. In a room where everyone is shouting to be heard, the mob shouts even louder.

And it's not just one room full of people shouting — it's many. Among the social networks of Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs and other social outlets, which network is the most appropriate forum for any given post? But wait, it gets worse. Now we have to choose among Circles as well.

Google+ circles are mini virtual sharing networks, and they're potentially infinite in number. What circle or list or group should you share with? But first, how well organized are your circles? Do they overlap? Are you sure that by only sharing with certain circles you can reach everyone you need to? No.

On top of all the social noise we experience, look forward to new noise from brands. Brands are becoming more lost and confused about how and where to communicate than ever before. Predictably, they will try to reach us redundantly, everywhere, all the time to make sure we see them. Social media consultants, on the other hand, will have a total field day, because ultimately they will benefit most from the chaos.

To make matters worse, it looks like Microsoft may now be on the verge of launching a new kind of social sharing service. And many other companies will follow, I'm sure. Why not every mobile company, for that matter? Why not every big brand? Even celebs may start their own social networks in which fans can share and compare their adorations.

And I'm not talking the micro-networks like Geni and Dogster. We're moving toward a landscape in which social networks and sharing mechanisms will be built into the DNA of every site and service.

As Mark Zuckerberg has argued, everything that can be social will be social. I agree…and that's the problem.

Choice Overload

Nobody is going to know where to share or where to look.

How will you know if you missed anything important? Which networks will you visit to get updates from friends, from brands, from publications you follow?

The sad truth is that you can't get it all in one place.

In fact, choosing with whom to share is going to become harder and will require more thought. Ironically, by trying to solve this problem using “circles” and other gestures, Google+ may just be piling on more disparate channels. Therefore, many people will simply opt to quickly and easily share everything with the public, rather than denote a special group or circle with which to share.

The fact is, when people have to ponder a choice, they often opt for the easier alternative: don't choose at all. This is classic choice overload theory. Many studies have shown that choice overload leads people to make fewer choices. People become stressed when they have to choose from too many options at once.

It's a perfect storm: A massive expansion of networks on which to share and track information, but all the while, its users have less and less energy to make choices. The result will be a lot more confusion and noise.

Soon we will long for the days when we were unplugged, cut off from the global brain, and able to, at least once in a while, enjoy that rare feeling of being up-to-speed.

A New Category: Social Assistance

The Sharepocalypse will generate an expanse of new problems. However, this will generate a new opportunity for social assistance — a new category of software and services — and therefore, a ripe environment for startups.

Social assistance will be the next frontier spawned from social networking, and we're all going to need it. We'll require help managing our online relationships, tying our streams together, sifting through the noise, keeping up with what matters personally, finding who and what we need, and remaining productive.

Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Microsoft will all struggle to deliver acceptable signal-to-noise ratios to their users. But they will be focused on solving this problem within their silos, rather than across all platforms. I call this approach “vertical social assistance” because it focuses on assisting people only within particular networks. Because each service is biased toward its own social graph and content, it's unlikely that any of them will help solve the horizontal overload. Understandably, it's not in their interest to enable users to make better use of competing services.

This world of fragmented messaging systems is akin the early days of email in the 1980s, when users of one network were unable to communicate with another. It was a mess. Eventually, email gateways were created to link these disparate networks. But the problem wasn't fully solved until everyone adopted a single set of standards, and all the email networks connected into one common fabric.

Unfortunately, the unification of email networks and standards immediately killed of a lot of the smaller email networks and client makers. But through simplification, the world became less complex and more connected.

The question is, will something like this ever happen for social media? Will we see the social networks connect into a common fabric anytime soon? Right now, the major social networks own the content — it’s captive on their platforms. If that were to change, and you could read any social media message anywhere, they would have to compete on features alone — and that's another can of worms.

What I call “horizontal social assistance” is the opportunity to access and use social media messages in a unified way. This approach is different from the vertical social assistance approach because it would span across all networks. The users of social networks need this capability in the same way they needed email unification. However, until all the social networks agree on standard profiles, messages, contacts, groups and streams, it's not going to happen. And to be frank, such an agreement is highly unlikely in the near future.

But it could happen if some neutral party takes the initiative.

In the meantime, many other social assistance resources will emerge that target a range of different needs and opportunities, including:

  • Social Relationship Management (SRM): : Services that help people create, organize and manage sets of social network relationships — for example, sets of people to follow and/or share with on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, etc.
  • Social Awareness: Services that help people keep up with their social networks, especially among a user's friends.
  • Social Curation: Services that help people organize and make sense of their streams and messages.
  • Social Personalization: Services that help people sift through the network noise for information most relevant to their particular needs and interests.
  • Social Analytics: Services that help to measure online social behavior and trends, optimize engagement, monitor activity and communicate more appropriately.
  • Social Automation: Services that help to automate activity in social networks, like automatically updating your status, helping to increase your influence, suggesting what to share, matchmaking, alerting, and using bots to intelligently interact with and assist users.

Because social assistance will become so necessary, both vertical and horizontal social assistance could mean interesting opportunities for startups. Ventures that provide vertical social assistance for particular networks, like Google+ and Facebook are going to be early build versus buy acquisition targets. These are rapid innovation opportunities for individual developers or small teams.

Ventures that attempt to solve the harder problem of horizontal social assistance will have a chance at building longer-term independent value. Some may become strong stand-alone ventures, or larger exits, but they will also be more technologically challenging, requiring larger teams and more capital.

One thing is certain: The Sharepocalypse is here and, as a result, social assistance will soon be the cutting-edge of social media innovation.

Images courtesy of iStockphoto, Kileman, and Flickr, World Bank Photo Collection, zipckr

More About: facebook, Google Plus, information, Overload, social analytics, social media, social networking, trending, twitter

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