Saturday, 24 March 2012

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “11 Hilarious ‘Mad Men’ Parody Twitter Accounts”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “11 Hilarious ‘Mad Men’ Parody Twitter Accounts”

11 Hilarious ‘Mad Men’ Parody Twitter Accounts

Posted: 23 Mar 2012 08:59 PM PDT

1. Don Draper

The creative director for the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce (SCDP) advertising agency attends events like SXSW, where he looks for pay phones amidst a sea of smartphones.

Click here to view this gallery.

Season five of AMC’s Mad Men is back Sunday, March 25. But your favorite characters have been around this whole time — on Twitter.

We’ve hunted down 11 hysterical (and sometimes poignant) Mad Men parody accounts. Keep up with Don Draper, who recently paid a visit to SXSW, and check in with Sally Draper, whose relationship with her mother certainly hasn’t improved.

SEE ALSO: How Helen Klein Ross Brings @BettyDraper to Life

How else do you follow Mad Men online? What are your predictions for the upcoming season?

Image courtesy of Frank Ockenfels/AMC

More About: features, mad men, Social Media, TV, Twitter

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Mashable Is Seeking a Director of Sales Development

Posted: 23 Mar 2012 08:46 PM PDT

Interested in joining Mashable‘s growing sales team?  We’re expanding and we have an opening for our first ever Director of Sales Development.

As the Director of Sales Development, you will be part of a growing Mashable team focused on the development of innovative sales and marketing solutions that will drive revenue across a portfolio of digital platforms.

This is a fantastic opportunity and an excellent environment for someone looking to advance his or her career and be part of a fast-growing and dynamic digital media organization.

Responsibilities include:

    • Providing leadership, direction and insights that will guide day-to-day digital marketing efforts in support of the Advertising Sales team
    • Proactively developing sales programs and opportunities
    • Leading proposal development for the Advertising Sales team
    • Liaising with key stakeholders across Mashable on concept development, writing, implementing and executing client-focused advertising and promotional initiatives


  • A minimum of 5+ years of related work experience in the digital media industry
  • Experience managing research projects
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Ability to perform independently while working in a team environment
  • Ad creative design experience

To apply, see the full job listing.

Working at Mashable

We are a team of driven and passionate people who care deeply about the work we do.  Mashable is a unique and open culture where innovation and collaboration thrives. Every day is an opportunity to spread knowledge, find solutions, and take risks — not to mention have fun, laugh, and pet a team member’s dog.

We are proud to be part of the connected generation, and we always have an eye on what’s next.

Sound exciting? Mashable is looking for smart, driven and energetic new team members. Check out our jobs page for our most recent listings.

Mashable Meetings

Meetings at Mashable are rarely boring.

Click here to view this gallery.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, zorani.

More About: jobs, mashable

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8 Unexpected Moments From SXSW [PICS]

Posted: 23 Mar 2012 08:38 PM PDT

SXSW Dance Party

South by Southwest can be a stimulus overload. With so much to see and do crammed into such a short period of time, it’s easy to forget to stop and take in the smaller details.

Some of the most interesting moments happen outside of the panels and official festivities, and are fueled by the creative energy of the thousands of people who flock to Austin, TX. You never know when you’ll turn a corner and find yourself in the middle of a flash mob or a dance party.

And while these whimsical, serendipitous memories are part of the culture of SXSW, it’s also important to find moments of solitude and reflection, if for no other reason than to maintain some degree of sanity.

At the very beginning of the 10-day festival, we asked you to show us and our partners at CNN iReport to show us your SXSW experiences. We received lots of great submissions, many of which were displayed at the iReport booth during the SXSW trade show.

People sent pictures and videos showing us everything from parties to panels. You showed us quiet moments and flash mobs, the skyline and registration lines. We picked some of our favorites that we thought showed a diverse experience and reflected some of the more unique, off-the-schedule experiences.

Check out our picks below, and see all of the submissions over at iReport.

1. Impropmtu Dance Party

Flashpacker captured this impropmtu dance party, which broke out at the premiere of the independent film Girl Walk/All Day, led by cast member Daisuke Omiya.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: ireport, photography, sxsw, sxsw 2012

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Meet the $25 Musical Button Seducing Corporate America

Posted: 23 Mar 2012 08:07 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.

Quick Pitch: A stripped-down iPod-like device that plays the equivalent of a full album and retails for $25.

Genius Idea: Marketing the device as both a consumer electronics item and a promotional giveaway.

When Apple introduced the iPod in 2001, it held about 1,000 songs and retailed for $399. These days, a $49 iPod Nano holds hundreds of songs. Such is the march of technology that a device that holds about an album’s worth of music is now a promotional giveaway.

For shoppers at Bloomingdales, for instance, a Playbutton with a preprogrammed song selection can be used as a free incentive to get a pair of men’s denim pants.

If you’re not in the market for trousers, you can buy one of the devices yourself for $25. The pinnable item, which is about the size of a silver dollar and a bit thicker, can be worn on your shirt or jacket. Maintenance is also easy. To charge it, you just plug it into a USB drive.

Though Playbutton has been mostly marketed as a locked item with an unchangeable playlist, Adam Tichauer, the company’s CEO, says you can add and remove music files, just as you would with an iPod (minus the iTunes compatibility, though any MP3 file will work.)

Not everyone is a fan. Wired called Playbutton a “willful step backwards” and dubbed the device an “annoying MP3 player in a button.”

Yet corporate America is intrigued. Barneys used a Playbutton for a holiday promotion last year involving its Gaga’s Workshop store-within-a-store, and HBO used one to promote How to Make It in America.

At the very least, a Playbutton is a nice upgrade from what has become the standard tech tchotchke: The USB thumb drive.

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, Playbutton

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3 Key Metrics for Evaluating Your Mobile Ecommerce Site

Posted: 23 Mar 2012 07:00 PM PDT

Although the mobile web has become mainstream, not all websites have kept pace with the eager throngs of mobile shoppers.

After all, mobile traffic is projected to surpass desktop traffic by 2015 — the stakes couldn't be higher for optimizing your site for mobile.

When a mobile user reaches your site, what is his or her experience? Is it as smooth as it should be? Are there images that won't load? Text that's too small or too big? Do users have to scroll right, then down, left and back up to find everything?

Never assume your traditional website renders well on mobile displays. A missed opportunity can cause brands to lose out on key opportunities and relationships.

SEE ALSO: 5 Paradoxes Shaping the Future of Mobile Commerce

As with any marketing effort, gathering metrics is the best way to determine what needs work when it comes mobile site performance.

Understanding the ABCs of Mobile Metrics

Before you can gather metrics, you need to know what to measure. Let's start with the most popular analytics tracking software: Google Analytics.

Google's digital marketing evangelist Avinash Kaushik organizes metrics into three groups (acquisition, behavior and conversion), which reflect the high-level purchase or conversion process of a web visitor.

By tracking each set of metrics for both mobile and desktop, overall traffic patterns emerge. You’ll begin to understand mobile performance in comparison to desktop performance.

1. Acquisition: The following three metrics track user acquisition from various sources. These represent the top end of the conversion funnel. Check all metrics across both mobile and desktop use.

  • Visits: How many people visit your website from either mobile or desktop?
  • Unique visitors: How many different people visited your website?
  • Pageviews: How many times was a page on your website viewed?

When comparing mobile and desktop performance, it's important to realize that desktop is still the most prominent way to view websites. Therefore, people visiting on a desktop will view slightly more pages.

The most interesting tracking you can do is to observe how acquisition metrics change over time. Is mobile traffic growing on your site? Is overall traffic growing on your site? How is the ratio of mobile to desktop traffic changing?

2. Behavior: The next three metrics track user behavior, providing insight into whether a site moves users toward the outcomes it was built to achieve.

  • Pages per visit: How many pages are viewed during a single visit ob mobile vs. desktop?
  • Time on site: How much time does each visitor spend on your mobile website? On your desktop site?
  • Bounce rate: How quickly do mobile/desktop users turn away when they hit the site?

When we compare behavior metrics on the desktop site vs. mobile site, we see that visitors on desktop tend to delve slightly deeper than visitors on mobile and, consequently, stay longer on the site. Additionally, visitors on mobile are slightly more likely to bounce off the site (a “bouncer” is a visitor that visits only one page and then leaves).

Google explains how to understand user modes on mobile. The company classifies mobile users into three categories of interaction.

  • Repetitive now: These people track time-sensitive information on an ongoing basis, like stock quotes or sports scores.
  • Bored now: These people seek distraction or entertainment while waiting in line at the bank or on public transit, for example.
  • Urgent now: These people need location-sensitive information about a specific situation, such as the nearest pizza restaurant or the next available movie showtimes.

Understanding your mobile visitor's “user mode” sheds more light on your behavior metrics over time. For example, a “bored now” visitor wants to be entertained; therefore, longer time on site indicates a satisfaction of that need. By contrast, a “repetitive now” visitor can have a high bounce rate, short time on site and low number of pages per visit, but it's still a successful interaction.

3. Conversion: The last two metrics – conversion rate and average order size – track user conversions and the value of each of those conversions. These numbers show how visitors on both desktop and mobile contribute to an ecommerce site's bottom line.

  • Conversion rate: How many visitors take the next step, whether to purchase, register or request more information?
  • Average order size: For ecommerce conversions, what's the average dollar amount per order?

Most sites typically find that visitors on the desktop convert at a higher rate than mobile visitors. This is to be expected, as mobile web purchasing is relatively new and habits take time to establish.

Of course, mobile can still play a large role in the purchase process even if the transaction isn't actually made on mobile. A recent Google study found that 79% of shoppers use their mobile device to shop, and 70% of them use mobile in-store.

Additionally, the velocity of purchases is significantly faster when a consumer is aided by a mobile device. Microsoft research found that shoppers who research products on their mobile devices are ready to buy; 70% take action within an hour, but 70% of people on desktop PCs take action within a week.

Impact of the Tablet

Any analysis of mobile performance has to factor in the tablet, which has quickly emerged as the third digital screen in consumers’ lives, in between desktops and smartphones. While smartphones are used on the go, at work and throughout the day and evening, the tablet is a lean back device frequently used at night.

What does this mean for your metrics? For starters, don't consider all mobile devices equal. A shopper or searcher on a smartphone has markedly different needs and motivations than their counterpart who uses a tablet.

When you break your mobile metrics down between smartphone and tablet usage, you may notice trends. Perhaps tablet users visit more pages, spend more time on each page, and convert at a higher rate than smartphone users.

How Do Your Numbers Stack Up?

Looking at the ABCs provides a good snapshot of how a mobile website attracts customers, moves them to consider an action, and finally gets them to complete a desired action.

In order to understand mobile commerce, you need to track these metrics on an ongoing basis, whether you use Google Analytics or another analytics solution.

Plan to have someone in your organization spending, at minimum, half an hour per week reviewing summary reports and listening to what your visitors are telling you. Make adjustments to your desktop site, your mobile site and your marketing, and watch for changes. You'll now have data to build and refine a long-term strategy aimed at leading your competitors and serving your customers.

Mobile web adoption has a vast trajectory. Once you start tracking these common metrics, you'll begin to see how that rapid growth is affecting your website and business. And while technologies and devices may change over time, the underlying drivers do not.

At the heart of the matter, a consumer is looking for something, whether he’s using a desktop, smartphone, tablet or yet-to-be-developed device. All the while, that customer is speaking loudly with his clicks and dollars. Are you listening? By monitoring the right metrics, you'll start to hear them and evolve your business practice accordingly.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, -bilge, Flickr, Johan Larsson

More About: contributor, data, design, ecommerce, features, google analytics, Mobile

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Klout Doesn’t Really Measure Influence [STUDY]

Posted: 23 Mar 2012 06:16 PM PDT

Self Confident Guy

A new study about digital influence says Klout and other social media measurement tools don’t really define how users influence their networks.

All too commonly, sites like Klout and PeerIndex claim to measure influence — and maybe they do measure influence. But what does digital influence really mean?

Brian Solis, author of The Altimeter Group report, says social websites that rank users’ social media influence don’t measure influence like they claim to do. Rather, Solis says a user’s social media score measures the “capacity to influence.”

“Scores can be measures of social capital, but not true influence,” he said.

Solis came up with his own definition of digital influence: “the ability to cause effect, change behavior, and drive measurable outcomes online.” Solis conducted qualitative research by interviewing vendors, conducting software demos, and reviewing brands with piloted digital influence programs.

He also says brands don’t really understand influence.

“While these tools use sophisticated algorithms to calculate a corresponding number, they do not take into account all of the complexities of influence and the nature of relationships between people in social networks,” Solis says. “As a result, brands are potentially misallocating precious resources based on the lack of understanding of what influence is and the role influencers play within customer markets.”

Klout said it was well aware of Solis’s report before it was published — the company even had an advanced copy. But Lynn Fox, Klout’s spokeswoman, would not say whether Klout agreed or disagreed with the report.

"The report reinforces that we came in early on and we are furthest along in the process of measuring influence in this market," Fox said.

How Klout Found Success by Focusing on Users

The 33-page report outlines the three pillars of influence, which is the ways brands become influencers, Solis said. The pillars — reach, resonance and relevance — determine how a brand or person can cause change or effect in their social network. A social media score alone does not mean a brand is an influencer, he said.

“The Pillars of Influence contribute to social capital, which indicates the likelihood to influence behavior, but a "score" does not predict the resulting actions or outcomes,” Solis said. “A score of 74 only represents the capacity to influence, but other variable come into play as defined by the Pillars of Influence.”

Azeem Azhar, the CEO of UK-based social media influence ranking site of PeerIndex, said the study is a great conversation driver, but the conclusion of the study doesn’t mean much. Social media rating sites are all in the realm of influence and the rankings branded as measured influence aren’t misleading users, Azhar said.

“We are in a semantic battle here rather than a practical battle,” Azhar said. “I don’t think there’s much difference between the capacity to influence and influence itself.”

He illustrated this with an anecdote about martinis. If a person drank martinis the past 10 Friday nights, it’s likely the person will drink a martini the next Friday night, he said.

“Or we can say it’s likely you have the capacity to drink a martini,” Azhar said. “I don’t see a difference.”

Klout openly says on the site has an algorithm to measure influence. The algorithm has come under scrutiny in the past, but Klout says its scientists and engineers work to make sure your influence score is accurate.

“Influence in general is a challenge to define, but the point is that the data exists and influence is the ability to drive action,” she said. “Our focus right now is continuing to unlock influence for consumers.”

Does this report uncover the limitations of a social media score, or is this a semantic battle? Are the three social media pillars needed to be a digital influencer? Tell us in the comments.

Photo courtesy of iPhoto, AlijaAlija

More About: klout, Social Media

How Google Is Making YouTube More Like iMovie [EXCLUSIVE]

Posted: 23 Mar 2012 05:26 PM PDT


If you’ve been seeing a strip of thumbnails along the bottom of YouTube videos lately, you’re not seeing things.

The site has been quietly rolling out a feature that automatically generates thumbnails of every moment in a video, laying them all out the way a video-editing app like iMovie would.

When you’re just sitting back and watching, the thumbnails are invisible. But try dragging the playback dot along the red strip at the bottom of the video to find an exact frame.

If you hover your mouse pointer anywhere on the red strip, a thumbnail of that specific moment pops up, letting you easily see what you’ll see before you jump.

YouTube product manager Nundu Janakiram says the site introduced the feature because many users were trying to find exact moments, or see a particular moment in context with the rest of the video. There was a more subtle motivator, too.

“You’re at your computer and everything on this page is very interactive. You can subscribe, you can like, you can leave a comment, you can click on related videos. We wanted to make the video itself feel interactive, so it doesn’t feel like just this black box.”

For some of YouTube’s long-form content, the standard red strip doesn’t quite give users precise control to really target a specific moment. With videos longer than 90 minutes, a secondary slider appears when mousing over, so a user can zero in on moments like so:


The thumbnails feature isn’t on every video yet — Janakiram says they’re limited to just some videos with more than 1,000 views. The feature is available worldwide. The goal is to eventually bring thumbnails to all videos on the site.

Considering over an hour of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute, that’s a lot of thumbnails. The task of creating, storing and serving up that many images is something only a company on the scale of Google can achieve. And even then it’s pretty hard.

SEE ALSO: YouTube vs. Hulu: Which is the Future of Online Video?

“One of the big challenges was we didn’t want to compromise on the speed at which we serve these images, or the quality,” says Nils Krahnstoever, the software engineer responsible for scaling the thumbnails to YouTube vast amount of video. “The system actually provides images at multiple resolutions — initially when you [mouseover a point] you see a lower-resolution version of the image, but we increase the resolution of it as we fetch additional data.”

“That’s especially cool,” Janakiram said. “We generate tons of these thumbnails, yet when you use this feature it feels almost magical. If there was a lag, it would really detract from the user experience.”

As magical as the new thumbnails are, there’s one thing they can’t do: give you more options for the representative thumb when you upload a video. The storyboards aren’t tied to uploading, so you still only get three to choose from.

Also, you won’t be able to see the thumbnails on mobile devices, though Janakiram says they’re exploring it.

How do you like YouTube’s new thumbnail feature? Let us know in the comments.

More About: Google, imovie, thumbnail, Video, YouTube

Aziz Ansari: Turning Fans Into Customers, One Tweet at a Time

Posted: 23 Mar 2012 05:01 PM PDT

There’s no rest for the online entrepreneurs of comedy these days. Standups like Louis C.K. and Aziz Ansari are among the first to break out of the traditional distribution methods for comedy specials.

Louis C.K. knocked it out of the park with his DRM-free $5 special, earning $1 million in less than two weeks. Although Ansari is not yet releasing sales numbers for his own $5 download — a one-hour comedy special titled Dangerously Delicious which hit the web on Wednesday — the Parks and Recreation star says he’s very happy with the response so far.

“People are really excited that I’m releasing the special this way as opposed to going to DVD,” says Ansari.

On Twitter, Ansari says he’s seen nearly no negative feedback in terms of copying Louis C.K. Rather, many of them have expressed the wish for more comedians to follow this direct business model. What differentiates Ansari from C.K.’s route is that he did no press before the release.

“I just decided whenever we announce it, it’s going to be available right away,” explains Ansari, who will soon be promoting the special on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and Conan.

We received a promo video to share, featuring a clip from Ansari’s new special. (Note: The language might be NSFW, so keep your headphones on if you’re in the office.)

The point of this experiment-turned-trend is that people are willing to pay a reasonable amount for DRM-free content, delivered directly to them by a performer they love.

It’s also proven how powerful social media marketing can be when done outside the realm of a network brand.

“You have content flowing through there that’s both funny and innovative, but I think you also have some people who are realizing that a directly addressable fanbase is an extremely valuable thing to have going forward,” says Erik Flannigan, EVP of digital media at Viacom. “Growing that base ends up probably helping those people out and raising their profile beyond what their current television work life might be.”

Twitter has played a huge role in Ansari’s nontraditional social marketing campaign. The approach is straightforward as the comedy special itself — he’s talking directly to his fans through informal media outlets like Reddit, and getting up in front of them to drum up goodwill and awareness. He’s even gone so far as to take his fans out to lunch.

I was one of nine other fans to join Ansari Thursday in New York for burgers and fries at Shake Shack. Of course, to do so, we had to prove purchase of the special via screenshot or forward our receipt.

“I can’t believe none of you turned out to be crazy, this could have ended really bad,” the comedian joked with us.

The lunch was a test-run of something Ansari hopes to do in several cities while on his Buried Alive comedy tour — the content of which is completely separate from his newly-released special.

Although many standup comedians utilize Twitter as a testing ground, Ansari says he doesn’t take it too seriously. However, it is proving to be a valuable tool for Dangerously Delicious. More fans are contacting Ansari directly on Twitter, and even though he’s responded to the same questions dozens of times by now, he says it’s not hard for him to help his fans this way when he can.

“Since people are buying it directly through me, I feel more personally invested in it. It’s a different kind of product than if it’d air on TV,” says Ansari. “They’re buying it from me — I can help out if someone asks a question.”

Although social media has made nontraditional marketing easier for comedians, and people clearly agree with the non-DRM business model, Ansari says he’s still not sure if this is the future of standup comedy special production.

“Who knows what the landscape will be in two years?” says Ansari. “I mean, two years ago if people asked, ‘Oh, what are you going to do with your next special?’ I doubt I would have said I’m going to put it on a website and sell it for five dollars.”

Image via

More About: aziz ansari, comedy, features, Marketing

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In a Long Distance Relationship? This App Is for You

Posted: 23 Mar 2012 04:32 PM PDT

Oleg Kostour moved from Canada to Mountain View to build a 3D software startup. Instead, he built an app to stay in touch with the girlfriend he left behind in Canada.

The iPhone app, Pair, launched in the app store this week. It creates a private shared timeline for couples that allows them to easily swap SMS messages, photos, videos and locations.

“We thought, if we're so disconnected, how can we use our mobile devices to feel a little bit closer, to feel like we can touch each other?” Kostour says.

The app includes a feature called “thumb kiss” that vibrates when both parties touch the same spot on the screen. Couples can also co-create drawings, maintain a joint to-do list and send a “thinking of you” message that works like a more thoughtful Facebook poke.

Pair takes the concept behind Path a step further. Instead of sharing personal updates within a small network, it’s a way to stay constantly connected with the smallest of networks — one other person.

To start using the app, you need to send someone with an iPhone (the Android version is coming soon) a request to be your “pair” on it. Creating multiple pairs isn’t allowed, though it’s easy to unpair and re-pair.

Three of the five men who helped create Pair are in long-distance relationships, but Kostour says that any pair of close friends could use the app to stay in touch throughout the day. Eventually, the startup plans to sell premium games or other activities they can use in the app.

A few Pair activities — or even the concept of keeping an app solely for interacting with one person — might strike some as more nauseating than sweet. But there’s a case to be made that the app is just what the increasing number of young long-distance couples could use.

Instead of juggling Skype dates, phone calls and text messages, the app provides one portal for communication.

“If I want to talk to her, I don't have to tap anywhere else,” Kostour says of his girlfriend of two years. “Just tap one button and I'm talking to her right away.”

More About: apps, dating, pair, trending

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Twitter Reviews ‘The Hunger Games’ in 140 Characters or Less

Posted: 23 Mar 2012 04:07 PM PDT

The Hunger Games
grossed $19.7 million from its midnight showings across the U.S., making it the seventh highest grossing midnight showing ever — and the highest-grossing non-sequel.

The film has garnered a massive amount of buzz on social media through Lionsgate’s online promotion campaign. In addition to its hype, The Hunger Games has also earned a largely positive response from critics. Currently, the film has earned an 87% fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes and a 68 from Metacritic.

Twitter also responded strongly to the film. After the east coast midnight showings let out, Hunger Games-related topics began trending on Twitter. At 3:46 a.m. “Jennifer Lawrence,” “Rue,” “Peeta” and “Catching Fire” were all trending.

SEE ALSO: 20 Hilarious 'Hunger Games' Memes Taking Over the Web

Check out some reactions to the film from Twitter users. What kind of reactions to The Hunger Games have you seen on your Twitter feed?

1. Cove Reber


Click here to view this gallery.

Image courtesy of Lionsgate/Murray Close

More About: Entertainment, features, films, Social Media, the hunger games, trending, Twitter

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You Must Remember These: 17 Unforgettable Viral Videos

Posted: 23 Mar 2012 03:37 PM PDT

Ahh, memories. Remember the simple days of the Internet when we all laughed at videos of a dancing baby? Oh, that’s right, we’re still doing that.

Regardless, memes have changed a bit since the old days. Today, they’ve become so widespread, it’s difficult to distinguish the vintage from the modern.

If you’re feeling nostalgic, we’ve whipped up a serving of vintage video memes from the glory days. Whether you were in college watching YouTube videos with your friends, or laughing at a joke that got passed around the office, there’s likely at least one personal memory or two attached to these classics.

Take a walk down memory meme lane, and let us know your favorite classic video in the comments.

1. Dancing Baby

This 3D baby doing the cha cha started out as an office joke in 1996, yet it's still one of the most memorable memes from the '90s.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: features, humor, Meme, YouTube

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Did Rick Santorum Really Fix His ‘Google Problem’?

Posted: 23 Mar 2012 03:14 PM PDT

Has Rick Santorum finally fixed his “Google problem”, as the candidate claims? Sort of.

The campaign announced its triumph over a satirical site designed to redefine the candidate’s last name during a Friday morning breakfast at Google’s Washington, D.C. office, according to The Daily Caller.

For years, searches for “Santorum” on Google and other engines offered as the top result. That site suggests an off-color redefinition for “Santorum” and was designed by Dan Savage, a writer and gay rights advocate, in response to Santorum’s position on same-sex marriage.

Santorum’s presidential campaign’s website was unable to dethrone the satirical site — until now. According to the Santorum campaign, Google searches for “Santorum” now deliver websites “relevant to Rick’s campaign.”

So has Santorum beaten Savage at last? To find out, Mashable performed a “clean” Google search — first logging out of all accounts and clearing cookies, then searching.

Our results: Santorum campaign does indeed rank higher than the satirical “,” the long-time nemesis of the candidate’s digital team. But a Wikipedia entry about the satirical site still claims the top spot — so it’s not a total victory for Team Santorum.

Peter Pasi, one of the candidate’s digital consultants, credited Santorum’s bid for the White House as the cause of their victory as traffic from major news websites brought the official campaign site to the top of Google.

“We’re obviously a major player now,” Pasi told The Daily Caller.

Santorum has tried multiple times to petition Google to change the search results and accused Google of having a “political agenda.” However, Google wouldn’t budge because Savage’s site didn’t break the “rules” of search. Instead, it got traffic the old-fashioned way: viral buzz and search engine optimization, or SEO. All those eyeballs on the site drove it above Santorum’s website back while he was still a senator.

Pasi says Savage’s site was able to do so well because the writer “had a huge platform through his columns to say go ahead and search for this, link to this,” while Santorum’s own site “wasn’t active.”

SEE ALSO: Dear Rick Santorum: 6 Ways to Fix Your Google Problem

Do you think Santorum has defeated his “Google problem” for good? Sound off in the comments below.

Images courtesy of Flickr, Gage Skidmore

More About: 2012 presidential campaign, Google, Politics, Rick Santorum, trending, US

Happy Puppy Day! Top 10 Dogs to Follow on Social Media

Posted: 23 Mar 2012 02:29 PM PDT

1. Boo

Found Online: Boo's Facebook Followers: 3.7 million Typical Update Adorable pictures of him in a bear suit The number one dog on the internet. This five-year-old pomeranian is nothing but cute.

Click here to view this gallery.

Three barks for your favorite dogs. March 23 is National Puppy Day, a day to celebrate man’s best tail-wagging, four-legged friend.

National Puppy Day was started in 2006 “to help save orphaned puppies across the globe and educate the public about the horrors of puppy mills, as well as further our mission for a nation of puppy-free pet stores.”

Here at Mashable, we really love our dogs. Not only do they run around our office all day, we also follow them on social media. With that in mind, we rounded up the dogs with the most followers to celebrate the holiday.

Topping our list is the unmistakable Boo, the five-year-old pomeranian who rules Facebook with more than 3.7 million followers. All of the other dogs on our list combined don’t have Boo’s clout. It may be because he looks so cute in sunglasses and hats.

Boo isn’t the only pomeranian on the list. Tommy, the littlest Tumblr HQ intern, has his own Tumblr, which has earned almost 5,000 followers in two months.

Many of the dogs on our list are owned by celebrities, like 50 Cent’s dog Oprah Winfree and Bethanny Frankel’s dog Cookie. You’ll also find dogs with political pull: California’s first dog Sutter Brown, an adorable corgi, has his own Facebook, where he conducts official state business.

Tell us what you think of our social media pooches, and let us know if we missed any pup that should be on the list.

Thumbnail image courtesy of Flickr, ButlerBlue2

More About: dogs, Facebook, features, Holidays, Social Media, trending, tumblr, Twitter

8 Compelling Content Sessions to Expect at Mashable Connect 2012

Posted: 23 Mar 2012 01:26 PM PDT

Our largest conference, Mashable Connect, is returning to Orlando, Fla., from May 3-5, and this year we will explore the future of digital with some of the brightest minds in the industry.

An array of digital leaders will be speaking on topics ranging from new digital business models, mobile networking, digital campaigning and social TV.

There are still a limited amount of tickets available to the public. They include three nights at the Contemporary Resort, compelling content sessions, unique networking activities, connecting with Mashable team members and special events within Disney Parks.

Register for Mashable Connect 2012 in Lake Buena Vista, FL on Eventbrite

We’re pleased to share a sampling of content sessions delivered by our premier Mashable Connect speakers. Stay tuned for the announcement of a complete agenda in the coming weeks.

  • Predicting the Future: Duane Bray, partner at IDEO, will assess our current digital tools, mobile apps and social networks to get a sense of what the future will really be. He’ll explore how the role of collective intelligence, multi-threaded narratives and new literacies will shape the next digital landscape.
  • After SOPA/PIPA: What Winning (One) Means: Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School, will share his vision on the future of digital creativity and technology innovation in a post SOPA and PIPA world.
  • The Truth About Online Reputation: Joe Fernandez, Founder and CEO of Klout, will sit down with Mashable to discuss the truth about online reputation. How much influence does your reach online affect you in the offline world? What does your Klout score really mean? There are just a few of the questions that we’ll ask Joe Fernandez during our fireside chat.
  • How to Reinvent the Web: Roger McNamee, Managing Director of Elevation Partners, will talk about why the concepts of the “web” and the “Internet” are increasingly obsolete in the face of the new app-centric model. He’ll discuss how to reinvent the web to preserve the spirit of openness that has defined the current generation and examine the role of mobile technologies and their influence on how we navigate digital content.
  • Why Sound Will Be Bigger Than Video: What will be the dominate form of media? Alexander Ljung, Founder and CEO of SoundCloud, will explain why sound will be bigger than video.
  • Mobile-first Social Networking: Meghan Peters, Mashable’s community manager, will lead a discussion on mobile-first social networking and ask the question: are these the communities of the future?
  • Web 3.0: Curating Big Data is Future of the Web: Burt Herman, co-founder of Storify, will look at how humans and algorithms, along with media and technology, are all coming together to help us make sense of the world in this age of information overload.
  • The Evolution of the Second Screen: Christina Warren, Mashable’s entertainment editor, will moderate a panel with Umami, Discovery Digital Media and TVPlus to discuss the evolution of the second screen. This discussion will look at the impact the second screen is having on how content is produced and the huge potential for marketing to this type of engagement.

Event Information

Our annual destination conference, Mashable Connect, brings our community together for three days to connect offline in an intimate setting at the Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World®. Registration is now open.

Held in a unique location away from everyday distractions, Mashable Connect is a rare and valuable opportunity to be surrounded by digital leaders across industries. You'll spend time with Mashable's passionate and influential community, hear from top speakers who will provide insight into the the technologies and trends that are shaping the next era of digital innovation, and get to spend time with the Mashable team.

To keep Mashable Connect as intimate as possible, only a limited amount of tickets are available.

A Look Back at Last Year's Mashable Connect

1. Mashable Connect Race Powered by Gowalla

Team members check in to a race location at Magic Kingdom during the Mashable Connect Race powered by Gowalla.

Click here to view this gallery.

Supporting Sponsor

Sponsorship Opportunities

A limited number of sponsor opportunities are available for Mashable Connect. This is an excellent opportunity to get in front of Mashable's passionate and influential audience. Contact for opportunities.

More About: Conference, disney world, education, event, mashable, mashable connect, networking, Social Media, technology

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Microsoft Demonstrates Mind-Blowing 3D Desktop [VIDEO]

Posted: 23 Mar 2012 01:13 PM PDT

Take on look at the world of mobile devices — from multitouch smartphones and tablets to virtual assistants ready listen to your questions and give you answers — and you get the idea that the world of interfaces is changing fast. Desktop interfaces, however, are a different story

“Despite advances in 3D sensing and display technologies, our desktop interfaces have not changed much from 2D interactions,” MIT PhD candidate Jinha Lee says.

Lee, along with a Microsoft research lab, has created a transparent 3D desktop display that puts your hands behind the screen and your desktop’s files literally at your fingertips. Users can search and rearrange the files simply by moving their hands.

If this futuristic interface sounds like something out of the Minority Report, that’s because it is. Unlike much of the technology in tablets and iPhones, this new 3D desktop display is not so much touch-based as it is interaction based. It’s one part Samsung OLED technology and one part Microsoft Kinect. To keep the 3D system illusion intact, the desktop display uses cameras to keep track of where your head is.

The system is still a work in progress. As Lee explains on his website, it actually began as a research project while he was interning for the Applied Sciences Group at Microsoft.

What do you think of this new 3D display? Do you think this is the future of desktop computing? Let us know in the comments.

More About: design, desktop, microsoft

New iPad Battery Indicator Lies, Research Shows

Posted: 23 Mar 2012 12:58 PM PDT


The battery indicator on the iPad is a liar. Research from a display research company says Apple‘s new tablet continues to charge for a long time after the onscreen indicator shows it’s full.

Ray Soneira of DisplayMate– whose research also showed that the new iPad’s retina display drains significantly more power than previous models — conducted a test that showed the iPad kept drawing power at the full recharging rate of about 10 watts for two hours after it initially reported having a 100% charge. Only at 2:10 did the recharging “fully terminate” with a sudden drop in power.

Soneira says he wasn’t setting out to test the battery, and that he only looked at the iPad’s power usage to see how much is going to the screen. However, when he noticed his equipment told him his iPad was charging even though the screen said “100%,” he decided to study the issue further. That’s when he discovered the extended charge time.

Why would the iPad say it has a full charge when it doesn’t? Apple isn’t saying (a spokesperson didn’t respond to a request for comment), but Soneira has a theory.

“The charge indicator on all mobile devices is based on a mathematical model of the charge rates, discharge rates, and recent discharge history of the battery,” he told Mashable in an email. “It’s actually rather difficult to do because most batteries degrade slowly and then tend to surprise with a precipitous decline near the end. So there is something wrong with the battery charge mathematical model on the iPad.”

SEE ALSO: Is a Retina Screen on the iPad 3 Overkill?

The takeaway for users: If you want a full charge (for, say, your next flight), don’t trust the display and be sure to keep your iPad charging for at least two hours after your iPad says it’s had enough. Or better yet, simply leave it plugged in overnight when it’s time for more juice.

This isn’t the first time Apple has had problems with display indicators on iOS devices. Back in 2010, amidst the iPhone 4 “antennagate” flare-up, the company re-examined the signal-bar icons on the iPhone, and found them to be inaccurate. Soon after, Apple released a software update that addressed the problem.

How important is battery life to your tablet, and do you think this is a serious problem? Sound off in the comments.

BONUS: A Tour of the New iPad

1. Retina Display

The most touted feature of the new iPad is its ultra-high-resolution "retina" display, which clocks in at 2,048 x 1,536 pixels -- a million more pixels than a 1080p HDTV. Thanks to the extra pixels and the iPad's new graphics processor, the screen has 44% better color saturation. The screen's pixels are so small, Apple says it had to change the design of the LCD itself to elevate the pixels above the circuitry to prevent distortion. Apple calls it the best display ever made for a mobile device, and -- from the specs -- it's hard to disagree.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: apple, battery, battery life, ipad, tablets, trending

Twitter Does Not Actually Predict Box Office Sales [STUDY]

Posted: 23 Mar 2012 12:34 PM PDT

Hunger Games

Twitter has developed the reputation of being able to predict the future — from box office sales to presidential primary results and even the stock market. But according to researchers at Princeton University, Twitter might not be able to foretell how well films will perform after all.

A new report called “Why Watching Movie Tweets Won’t Tell the Whole Story” found that monitoring tweets related to movies is not a reliable source for what could actually happen at the box office.

The news comes as analysts predict a record-breaking opening weekend for the movie The Hunger Games, based on active chatter about the book-to-film trilogy.

“We found that data from Twitter — while valuable for the unprecedented access it provides into the public psyche — is not necessarily representative of the larger online population, as seen from the results of our studies on ratings computed from movie tweets compared to International Movie Database (IMDB) and Rotten Tomatoes ratings,” study co-author and professor of electrical engineering at Princeton University Mung Chiang told Mashable.

SEE ALSO: Social Media Supports 'Hunger Games' More Than 'Potter,' Less Than 'Twilight' [CHARTS]

Chiang, along with two postdoctoral research associates Soumya Sen and Felix Wong, analyzed about 10 million user tweets with movie keywords from Twitter between February and March 2012 (around Oscar season) and data using machine learning techniques to label tweets based on their temporal context (before, during and after watching a movie) and opinion (positive or negative reviews).

“Twitter users tend to be much more positive in their reviews and comments for films overall,” Chiang said. “But they are less positive than IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes reviews for Oscar ‘Best film’ nominated movies.”

In addition to sentiment analysis, it looked at how well certain films performed at the box office via data on IMDB.

“We found that if a movie received high ratings in IMDB — by over 70% approval — and a lot of buzz on Twitter, then it usually does well at the box-office in the long run,” Sen added. “But otherwise, predicting box-office success is difficult. Movies with a lot of hype on Twitter and low IMDB ratings can be successful or unsuccessful at the box-office. It’s harder to predict.”

Overall, the study found no clear evidence that shows a direct link between Twitter hype, ratings and box office sales.

“The most surprising finding was that Twitter data may not be representative enough of the total population, so it is somewhat risky to use the site for forecasting,” Sen said. “More sophisticated techniques may be needed to understand the applicability of such data sets, such as the metrics we developed to understand the extent of the difference between Twitter users and other online rating side users.”

Do you think Twitter can predict big trends? Let us know in the comments.

More About: Social Media, the hunger games, trending, Twitter

For more Entertainment coverage:

Obama’s Trayvon Comments Ignite Social Surge

Posted: 23 Mar 2012 12:19 PM PDT

Trayvon Martin was just another face in the crowd until a month ago. But now the teen’s name is a household one. Fueled by a racially charged social media outcry, the story of the 17-year-old from Sanford, Fla., who was shot and killed by a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain, is everywhere — and even more so after remarks from President Obama early Friday.

Obama spoke Friday about the shooting and expressed his feelings about the case. One quote from the speech took off in the social space and beyond:

“If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon.”

Immediately after he spoke those words, journalists, politicians and social media users from all walks of life re-shared and responded to the quote. Journalists seemed to all choose the sentence as the moment that stood out from Obama’s remarks.

"I can only imagine what these parents are going through," Obama also said. "I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this.”

Shortly after, Republican presidential candidates also spoke out on the shooting. Previously, only Newt Gingrich had made statements on the case, when he elaborated on it and defended the Florida gun laws the case has spotlighted.

Geraldo Rivera, the host of Geraldo At Large on Fox News, also shared on Twitter his take on the shooting — and the Twittersphere has largely panned his claim that “Hoodies can get your kid killed.” The terms “#HOODIES” and “Geraldo” have been trending on Twitter since Rivera’s first tweet on the topic.

He later apologized, tweeting that even his son was ashamed of his stance, but that he still feels “parents must do whatever they can to keep their kids safe.”

Lebron James of the Miami Heat took to Twitter to shake his thoughts on the matter. He shared a photo of his teammates wearing hoodies with the hashtags #WeAreTrayvonMartin, #Hoodies and #Stereotyped.

Have you shared on social media your response to Trayvon Martin’s death and the investigation surrounding it? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below.

Screenshot courtesy of Matthew Keys, Deputy Social Media Editor, Reuters. Video courtesy of Talking Points Memo.

More About: barack obama, trayvon martin

Social Network Badoo Officially Launches in U.S. With Nick Cannon [PICS]

Posted: 23 Mar 2012 12:07 PM PDT

Badoo Project in New York City

Multilingual social network Badoo is making a push into the U.S., signaling its official launch this week with entertainer Nick Cannon and a massive public photo shoot in New York City dubbed the Badoo Project.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images for Badoo

Click here to view this gallery.

Multilingual social network Badoo is making a push into the U.S., signaling its official launch this week with entertainer Nick Cannon and a massive public photo shoot in New York City dubbed the Badoo Project.

The London-based company, which first released its network in London in 2006 and has 140 million registered users in more than 180 countries, already has 6 million registered users in the U.S. Badoo claims 35 million monthly active users worldwide.

The three-day Badoo Project that started Thursday involves four fashion photographers, who will give 1,000 New Yorkers new online profile pictures. Twenty-four of the best portraits will appear on billboards and taxi-tops across NYC from April to May. Facebook “Likes” on the project’s website will determine the winners.

Badoo‘s chief marketing officer, Jessica Powell, stressed the importance of having a standout profile photo, which is especially important for Badoo users because the social network is about meeting new people and not mingling with existing friends.

“Most people use Badoo for friendship, chatting, dating and making new contacts. I travel a lot for work and use sites like Badoo to find out about new clubs or bars.”

Cannon, host of America’s Got Talent and chairman of TeenNick, was among the first to go through the Badoo Project experience and get his portrait taken (see pictures in the above gallery).

“Your image online is the most important thing — it’s like a business card in a sense,” Cannon told Mashable at the event, where he wore Louis Vuitton and Gucci and encouraged participants to show their personality.

“Most people use Badoo for friendship, chatting, dating and making new contacts,” Cannon added. “I travel a lot for work and use sites like Badoo to find out about new clubs or bars from people that might share my interest in music, or simply connect with my fans.”

At the event Thursday, participants lined up to get their makeup and styling done before getting their portraits snapped by one of four fashion photographers — Kenneth Cappello, Dan Martensen, Brooke Nipar and Danielle Levitt — who have collectively worked with celebrities and brands such as Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and GQ and Vogue.

Nipar, who shot Mashable CEO Pete Cashmore’s portrait for Fast Company this year, says that having four photographers shooting portraits all day at once is rare and that a project like Badoo’s is important: “People like to look good.”

After the photo shoots, each participant got to pick his or her five favorite portraits. Badoo immediately uploaded them to each person’s Badoo profile.

“We’re not a normal tech company,” Badoo’s Powell said, “because our users are not early adopters, but they’re still young, diverse and social. That’s why we chose New York to officially launch Badoo.”

SEE ALSO: Badoo Unveils Features to Help Shy Users Flirt

Badoo, which snatched up $30 million in funding in 2008 when it had just 12 million users, is available as a browser service, iOS app, Android app or Blackberry app.

At the Le Web conference on Dec. 7, Badoo founder Andrey Andreev discussed the company’s growth, including the U.S. expansion and its 400 employees. The company is profitable and monetization is built into the site. A feature that lets users pay money to have their profiles featured higher in the app is one way Badoo brings in money.

What is the Badoo Proejct?

More About: Badoo, dating, networking, Nick Cannon, photography, Social Media

Legislators: Employers Shouldn’t Ask for Your Social Media Passwords

Posted: 23 Mar 2012 11:54 AM PDT

Two lawmakers are taking a stand against companies that have been demanding access to employee’s social media accounts.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D.-Conn.) will introduce a bill preventing companies from snooping on your Facebook page, Twitter profile or other sites. He told Politico that the practice is an “unreasonable invasion of privacy” for people seeking work.

"Senator Blumenthal is deeply troubled by reports of employers asking job applicants and current employees to surrender the login information for their social media accounts,” says Nu Wexler, Blumenthal’s communications director. “He believes the practice is an unreasonable invasion of privacy and he is working on legislation that would ban it."

Blumenthal’s bill is expected to be introduced to the U.S. Senate in “the very near future.”

A California state senator, however, doesn’t think that’s quick enough. Democrat LeLand Yee announced Friday that he’ll soon introduce a similar bill in California’s senate.

"It’s completely unacceptable for an employer to invade someone's personal social media accounts," said Yee in a statement. "Not only is it entirely unnecessary, it is an invasion of privacy and unrelated to one's work performance or abilities."

According to a spokesperson for Yee, his office discovered the problem while working on a separate initiative to digitize public records to make them more seachable by the general public. In the process of interacting with the technology community, Yee found out about the phenomena of employers demanding private information from prospective hires.

“We put that issue on the backburner and decided to address it next year,” says Yee’s spokesperson. “Then the Associated Press started to report on these cases nationwide, and the senator said 'We can't afford to wait, this is happening too quickly.’”

Yee’s spokesperson says that Yee is glad the issue is being addressed at the national level, but he thinks his office can move faster than Washington and pass a bill in California by Jan. 1. He’s taken to Twitter to ask people to share stories of employers demanding access to their person accounts.

Facebook itself took a stance against the practice Friday morning.

SEE ALSO: ACLU Responds to Facebook Password Debate [VIDEO]

Do you applaud the lawmakers’ efforts to ban employers from asking employees for their social media login information? Sound off in the comments below.

More About: congress, Facebook, Politics, privacy, Social Media, trending, Twitter

5 Productivity Tools to Make Your Job Easier

Posted: 23 Mar 2012 11:39 AM PDT

Eric Siu is vice president of SEO at Evergreen Search Marketing, where he writes on topics such as minimum viable SEO. You can follow him on Twitter @ericosiu.

No matter what line of work, there’s guaranteed to be many different processes involved.

For example, we’re seeing the roles of SEOs expand even further, into content marketing and social media. No longer is it simply about changing a few meta tags and building a few links. On top of having your SEO basics down, different online marketing channels must converge and collaborate with one other.

But these processes aren’t always a walk in the park. Some tasks can become so tedious that that it makes you want to punt a kitten (not really). At the same time, these important tasks still need to get done. No matter if you handle these tasks on your own or outsource them, these next few tools will help make your life easier.

Your time is valuable, so optimize it by using these productive tools. Do you:

  • Send the same emails over and over?
  • Have emails that you would rather automatically send later?
  • Wish you could have more information on who you’re emailing?
  • Wish you could have a better email signature to really show off your brand?
  • Need a robust project management system (that’s free)?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, the following tools will help you.

1. Yesware

Do you despise sending the same emails over and over? Would you like the ability to track open rates on your emails? How about the ability to track when, where and what device was used to open your email?

SEE ALSO: 5 Mobile Apps to Boost Small Business Productivity

Yesware is a Chrome extension that allows you to save templated emails and also track open rates for each email that you send. It’s the perfect tool for people who use email frequently — it’ll save time and give you insights on your customers. You can also conveniently BCC emails to your customer relationship management (CRM) tool. And guess what? You can share templates to your team — more time saved!

2. Rapportive

If you need to find an easy way to connect with a person, Rapportive is your answer. This Chrome extension pulls together information on your prospect from different sources, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Quora. If applicable, it’ll show you the person’s latest tweets or Facebook updates. Perhaps he just tweeted a question that you might be able to answer, or his favorite team just went down in triple overtime — great opportunities to connect on a personal level!

3. Wisestamp

Most email signatures I see are boring: name, title, phone number. People who aren’t making the best use of their email signatures are missing out on the opportunity to tell people what they’re all about.

For instance, showcase your latest blog post or your latest tweet so others can have more insight on you. Or include links to your social network profiles so they can connect with you. Your signature is that extra chance to shine and build more trust with others – so don’t squander it!

Wisestamp solves this problem by giving you various options to customize your signature. You can also create different signatures based on different situations (e.g. home, business).

4. Boomerang

Boomerang is a Chrome extension that allows you to send your emails at a later, specified time. You can even send recurring emails to people if you want.

Let’s say you send a high volume of emails and tend to lose track of things easily. No problem — you can tell Boomerang to send the message back to you if no one replies. No more waiting until the morning to send an email and no more digging for emails.

5. Trello

We all know project management tools can help prevent headache, but the challenge is finding an exceptional one to suit your needs. Trello is a free, intuitive project managementtool that can be used for multiple purposes. You might already have a great project management tool on your hands, but give Trello a shot and see how it might be able to help with other business processes.

Productive tools help us save valuable time, which we can then apply toward more important processes. Instead of manually searching for someone’s information or having a boring signature that doesn’t say much about you, why not let these tools simplify your life?

What other productivity tools do you like to use?

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, arakonyunus

More About: apps, Business, chrome, contributor, features, productivity

12 Celebrities to Follow on Pinterest

Posted: 23 Mar 2012 11:23 AM PDT

1. Ryan Seacrest

Ryan Seacrest may be the busiest man in Hollywood, but he's also been hard at work on his Pinterest profile. From a pinboard dedicated to grilled cheese and The Hunger Games to a section for red carpet fashion, Seacrest boasts over 329 pins. The pin pictured is a recipe for caramel apple Jello shots.

Click here to view this gallery.

Just like us, celebrities are caught up in the latest social networking phenomenon Pinterest.

The two-year-old social bookmarking site — which allows users to collect and share things they like on the Internet — has lured many notables to add images to their virtual pinboards.

Now we know that Jessica Alba loves nachos with jalepenos and fashion designer Michael Kors loves Thailand. Not to mention, Mark Zuckerberg really enjoyed the films Bridesmaids and Moneyball.

SEE ALSO: 15 of the Most Popular Pictures on Pinterest

For a full look at how celebrities are using Pinterest and what they are pinning, check out the gallery above.

Do you know more celebrities using Pinterest? Let us know in the comments.

More About: celebrities, Entertainment, features, pinterest, Social Media, trending

Top 5 Instagram Alternatives for Android

Posted: 23 Mar 2012 11:09 AM PDT

1. Pixlr-O-Matic

Instagram has 18 filters, a few focusing tools, and borders that give photos that retro look. Do more with Pixlr-O-Matic's 68 filters, 73 lighting effects and 193 borders. Once your photo has been customized, share it with any of your social platforms, or upload it to, Pixlr's own clone, for a quick link. Price: FREE (iOS and Android)

Click here to view this gallery.

The moment smartphone owners have been waiting for is nearly here – Instagram is coming to Android. But while we’re all having filter fun on the photo app, developers have been busy creating Instagram-like apps that have the same tools and, dare we say, even offer a few missing features.

SEE ALSO: 45 Insider Instagram Pics From Bands at SXSW

There are dozens of Instagram alternatives to choose from, but here are our five favorites. Was your favorite on the list? Tell us about it in the comments below.

More About: android, apps, features, instagram, iOS, photography, trending

Angry Birds Space Is Headed to Windows Phone 7

Posted: 23 Mar 2012 10:52 AM PDT

It looks like Angry Birds Space will be making it to Windows Phone 7 after all. The game officially debuted Thursday on Android and iOS, however, Rovio indicated that it didn’t have plans to ever bring the game to Windows Phone 7.

“If you look at activations, Apple's iOS and Android are clearly bigger than any other platform." Rovio’s Peter Vesterbacka said in an interview with Bloomberg. "We want to be on all screens, but we have to consider the cost of supplying the smaller platforms. With Windows Phone it's a lot of work to technically support it”

Less than 24 hours later, however, Rovio has done a 180, with Rovio Chief Executive Mikael Hed telling Reuters Friday “We are working towards getting Angry Birds Space to WP7.”

The original Angry Birds is currently the most popular game available for Window Phone 7. Windows Phone 7 currently trails behind Android and iOS in sales and developer support, Rovio choosing to not release new games onto the platform could potentially be a blow to Microsoft’s ability to continue to grow the platform in the future.

SEE ALSO: Angry Birds Space is a Stellar Game — Even For Angry Birds Haters

Angry Birds Space brings a few changes to the popular projectile bird game, most importantly gravity, which allows players to use nearby planets to attack their pig enemies. The game currently has 60 levels (with more content currently available for the iOS version only), and Rovio has promised to add additional levels and features as free updates to the game in the future.

Angry Birds Space is now available for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Android devices, as well as the Mac and PC.

We’ve reached out to Rovio for more information on Angry Birds Space’s availability for Windows Phone 7.

Would the availability of huge titles such as Angry Birds Space affect your decision to buy a Windows Phone 7 handset? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Angry Birds Intro

The Angry Birds, with all new characters, are blasting off in pursuit of their piggy foe.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: angry birds, App, apps, game, windows phone 7

White House on ‘We the People’ Petitions: ‘We’re Listening’ [VIDEO]

Posted: 23 Mar 2012 10:35 AM PDT

The White House has a message for those who say that it’s not paying attention to “We the People” online petitions: “We’re listening. Seriously.”

Macon Phillips, the White House’s director of new media, defended the platform in an email to users sent on Thursday.

“Back in September when we launched the ‘We the People’ petitions platform, we really weren’t sure what to expect,” writes Phillips. “This kind of online engagement was brand new for the U.S. Government, but it quickly became clear that there were thousands of Americans across the country who were eager to tell the Obama Administration about the issues they care about most.”

Since We the People began, petitions have sprung up about topics ranging from “End the destructive, wasteful and counterproductive ‘War on Drugs’” to “End the Patriot Act” and “Require all Genetically Modified Foods to be labeled as such.”

The system works like this: Any one at least 13 years old can submit a petition. Once it’s up, it needs 150 signatures to be publicly searchable on the White House’s website. Petitions have 30 days to hit 25,000 signatures in order to garner a reply from the White House.

Replies have typically come from the appropriate office, too — a petition about saving the U.S. Postal Service got a reply from the Office of Management and Budget, and another about the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was in part written by Aneesh Chopra, then the U.S. chief technology officer.

SEE ALSO: Facebook App Lets You 'Cosponsor' Bills in Congress

The platform has been criticized by some who say it only presents the illusion that the White House is listening to citizens. Some argue that the White House ignores or gives half-answers to petitions that cross the 25,000 signature threshold but may be politically embarrassing.

NORML, a group that advocates for marijuana law reform, found the White House’s response to their petition less than satisfying.

“The government response (released late on a Friday to avoid news cycles, we'll note) repeats the same tired lies and classic misdirections,” reads a NORML blog post. “Most of all, it fails to answer NORML's actual petition.”

Phillips, however, defends the platform as something that’s still in an experimental phase. He said his team is the “first to admit” that there’s “more work to do,” and he’s asking users to help improve the platform through crowdsourcing.

Is “We the People” an effective way to connect citizens and government? If not, what could be done to improve it? Sound off in the comments below.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, lillisphotography

More About: barack obama, Politics, trending, US, we the people, White House

20% of March Madness Traffic Comes From Smartphones, Tablets [STUDY]

Posted: 23 Mar 2012 10:11 AM PDT

In what it’s dubbing “March multi-screen madness,” comScore is reporting that more than 20% of online viewings of the NCAA basketball tourney have occurred via a smartphone or tablet thus far.

That figure is about double the share of views of non-sports content via non-PC devices, comScore reports. Although the first 32 games of the tournament likely prompted more tune-ins, the study found about the same percentage of views occurred on the three Thursdays and Fridays before the event started.

During the first day of the games on Thursday, March 15, total sports-related traffic jumped 79% compared to the average of the three previous Thursdays. Total traffic to all other web content fell 2%.

"The NCAA Tournament, like the Super Bowl or the Olympics, is one of those events where sports fans don't want to miss a beat of the action – especially if they can't be in front of a TV," said Debbie Bradley, senior director of comScore, in a statement. "Over the past several years we've seen fans become more reliant on the web for NCAA tournament coverage, especially while they're tied to their desks at work during the first round matchups. As media formats continue to evolve, we're rapidly seeing America's national college basketball obsession increasingly bleed over to other screens like smartphones and tablets.”

comScore’s figures came from its Device Essentials unit, which measures traffic via smarphones and tablets as well as PCs. Since the division was only introduced in June of 2011, there are no comparable figures from last year’s March Madness. comScore’s measurement is based on viewings via mobile browsers and doesn’t take into account views from apps.

Thumbnail image courtesy of iStockphoto, adamkaz

More About: ComScore, march madness, Media, NCAA, smartphone, sports, tablets

5 Interesting Pinterest Marketing Campaigns

Posted: 23 Mar 2012 09:55 AM PDT

Pinterest is so new that a lot of major brands still don’t know what to make of it. However, there are a few outliers who have found creative ways to exploit the potential of the new social media destination.

As the following list shows, there are many ways to do this. One marketer made a puzzle out of Pinterest’s picture-heavy design. Another noted what people were pinning on Pinterest and sent them real-life gifts based on those pins.

SEE ALSO: How Brands Are Using Promotions to Market on Pinterest

If you’re a marketer looking to do something creative with Pinterest, we hope these will inspire you. If you know of any other interesting Pinterest campaigns, please let us know in the comments.

1. Kotex’s Women’s Inspiration Day

In this campaign, which ran last week in Israel, Kotex found 50 “inspiring” women and looked at what they were pinning on Pinterest. Then, the brand sent the women a virtual gift. If the recipient pinned the gift, she then got a real one in the mail that was based on something she had pinned. Smoyz, the agency behind the effort, claims nearly 100% of the women posted something about their gift, not only on Pinterest, but on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In total, there were more than 2,200 interactions based on the 50 gifts.

2. Peugeot’s Panama Puzzle

French car maker Peugeot’s Panama unit recently ran a contest that awarded fans who completed a Pinterest puzzle. The brand’s Pinterest profile featured images of cars running over two or more boards. In each case, a board was missing. To get the missing pieces, fans had to go to Peugeot Panama’s Facebook Page or website.

3. Guess’s “Color Me Inspired” Campaign

Fashion brand Guess challenged fans this month to create boards based on four spring colors: “Noir Teal,” “Hot House Orange,” “Red Hot Overdue” and “New Plum Light.” Participants were told to title their boards “Guess My Color Inspiration” and pin at least five images. The four winners were chosen by fashion bloggers Kristina Bazan of Kayture, Michelle Koesnadi of Glisters and Blisters, Jennifer Rand of Belle De Couture and Samantha Hutchinson of Could I Have That.

4. Procter & Gamble’s “Thank You Mum”

Consumer packaged goods giant Procter & Gamble’s Olympics tie-in strategy is to highlight the mothers of the athletes. The focus naturally lends itself to a Pinterest component. Though this Pinterest site, spotlighting the U.K.-based “mums,” is pretty sparse, P&G is likely to populate it more soon.

5. British Midland International’s “Pinterest Lottery”

British Midland International recently ran a contest called "Pinterest Lottery” that randomly rewarded fans with trips.

Here’s how it worked. The airline posted logo-clad photos from five destinations: Beirut, Dublin, Marrakech, Moscow and Nice. Users are asked to repin up to six images. At the end of each week, the company will choose a number at random; the users who had repinned the image with that number will be qualified for a chance to win a pair of free return flights to any BMI destination.

BONUS: 10 Most-Followed Users on Pinterest

1. Jane Wang

118 Boards
13,921 Pins

Jane Wang is the single most-followed user on Pinterest -- an impressive feat, even if her son is a co-founder of Pinterest. Wang maintains 118 boards across a broad array of subjects. Among the more quirky: "Small things that work very well" and an entire board for "Octopus." (or octopi).

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: Business, features, Marketing, pinterest, Social Media, social media marketing, trending

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Job Wars: How Google Stacks Up Against Facebook [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 23 Mar 2012 09:36 AM PDT

Google employees are slightly more satisfied with their workplace lifestyle compared to Facebook for the first time in four years, a new study suggests.

A new infographic from career and workplace community Glassdoor pits Google againts Facebook and compares how employees and candidates view the company.

The data was collected from Glassdoor in a series of surveys on the site, where employees can fill out information regarding the interview process, the company’s CEO and more. Depending on the survey, between 100 and 1,000 people for each company answered the questions.

The report revealed that 92% of Facebook employees approve of how CEO Mark Zuckerberg is leading the company, while 94% of Google employees are satisfied with Google CEO Larry Page.

Glassdoor also divulged average salary data for software engineers at both companies. Facebook pays its software engineers a base salary of $110,874, with a cash bonus of $13,781. Google’s base salary is slightly lower at $103,228 but it comes with a higher average bonus of $18,117.

Although working at both companies is highly coveted in the tech industry, employees said the interview process wasn’t too grueling. On a one to five scale (with five being the most difficult), Facebook employees ranked it a 3.1 and Google employees ranked it a 3.5.

While Facebook poses questions about what it should do next and what could be the biggest challenge the company faces in the next five years, Google raises questions about what a candidate would do if they were the general manager of Apple. For software engineer candidates, Google has asked them to estimate the total storage size of Gmail.

On the inside, both companies love to talk about food, the perks and the benefits. However, Google employees are more likely (7%) to complain about the salary and company politics (6%) compared to Facebook employees, who are more likely to talk about the long hours (%) and work/life balance (7%).

What is your dream company to work for? Let us know in the comments.

Google Facebook Infographic

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, NNehring

More About: Facebook, Google, larry page, mark zuckerberg, Social Media, trending

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Surveillance System Can Recognize a Face From 36 Million Others in One Second [VIDEO]

Posted: 23 Mar 2012 09:20 AM PDT

Face-recognition technology is rapidly evolving as evidenced by this new surveillance camera system. It can not only recognize specific faces, but is able to compare a single face to 36 million others in just one second.

The system, made by Hitachi Kokusai Electric and reported by DigInfo TV, was shown at a security trade show recently. It’s able to achieve its blazing speed by not wasting time on image processing — it takes visual data directly from the camera to compare the face in real time. The software also groups faces with similar features, so it’s able to narrow down the field very quickly.

When the system finds candidates that could be a match to the person being scanned, it immediately displays their thumbnails. The user can then review the archived footage and see if the person is, say, a repeat customer if it’s being used in a business. And the usefulness to law enforcement is pretty obvious.

SEE ALSO: Facebook Turns On Facial Recognition For Tagging By Default

As with any technology, there are limits. The software assumes people are looking right into the camera or facing no more than 30 degrees off center. And they’d better be close, too — if the face takes up anything smaller than a 40 x 40-pixel square, there’s just not enough face there to go on.

It’s impressive nonetheless, but it’s also a bit chilling to think that as soon as you look at a camera, whoever’s watching probably knows exactly who you are.

What do you think of advancing surveillance technology? Share your thoughts in the comments.

More About: face recognition, facial recognition, Hitachi

Soon You May Be Able to Buy – Not Just Rent – Movies From Google [REPORT]

Posted: 23 Mar 2012 09:06 AM PDT

Google is in talks with film studios to begin selling movies through Google Play, the search giant's recently redesigned hub for exploring and buying apps, movies, books and music, a new report indicates.

Currently, consumers can only rent movies through Google Play, although they can purchase digital downloads of films through other retail channels, including Apple’s iTunes.

Citing multiple unnamed sources, Cnet reports that Google could begin selling films as soon as this summer. Some suggested that the move to begin selling — and not just renting — films may be coming from the studios themselves, who may have demanded the tech giant agree to sales in order to get access to rentals in the first place.

The partnership would open up film purchases to a huge market: owners of Android devices. There are some 300 million Android devices activated globally, Google’s Andy Rubin said on stage at Mobile World Congress in February. Film sales are still an important business for studios, who have witnessed a gradual decline in DVD sales as more content is made available through streaming and DVD rental providers like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Redbox.

In other Google Play news, the company is also said to be planning to begin selling ebooks in France.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, RonBailey

More About: Google, Google Play

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