Sunday, 20 May 2012

Mashable: Latest 16 News Updates - including “SNL’s ‘Lazy Sunday 2′ Hits the Web”

Mashable: Latest 16 News Updates - including “SNL’s ‘Lazy Sunday 2′ Hits the Web”

SNL’s ‘Lazy Sunday 2′ Hits the Web

Posted: 20 May 2012 03:29 AM PDT

“Lazy Sunday,” the Saturday Night Live digital short credited with popularizing YouTube in late 2005, got a sequel Saturday night.

“Lazy Sunday 2″ once again follows nerds Chris Parnell and Andy Samberg as they rap about mundane weekend activities. While in 2005, the day centered around seeing The Chronicles of Narnia, this time it’s the Broadway version of Sister Act.

SEE ALSO: SNL's 100th Digital Short Packs in Stars and Raunch [VIDEO]

The sequel dropped as Samberg, Kristen Wiig and Jason Sudeikis are reportedly leaving the show.

For comparison’s sake, below is the original version. What do you think of the new one? Let us know in the comments.

More About: andy samberg, Lazy Sunday, snl, viral videos

For more Entertainment coverage:

Mark Zuckerberg’s Very Big Week [PICS]

Posted: 19 May 2012 07:38 PM PDT

Mark Zuckerberg may have just wrapped up the biggest week of his life.

In the span of just seven days, the Facebook CEO has turned 28, taken his company public, become worth almost $20 billion and married his college sweetheart.

On the one hand, thinking about all of those life-altering events happening in such a short period of time makes us dizzy. On the other hand, it should make remembering anniversaries easier!

So if you’re Mark Zuckerberg, how do you share your eventful week with the world? You post about it on Facebook, of course!

We’ve rounded up some of the best photos of Zuckerberg’s very big week.

Mark, from all of us at Mashable, happy birthday, congrats on the IPO and mazel tov on the wedding! As one newlywed to another, I think you’ll agree it’s pretty awesome.

As for next week? Well, if it were us, we’d take a much-needed vacation!

NASDAQ Bell Ringing, Friday

Photo courtesy Facebook Product Designer Francis Luu

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: Facebook, facebook ipo, mark zuckerberg, trending

Mark Zuckerberg Gets Married

Posted: 19 May 2012 06:47 PM PDT

In a surprise ceremony, Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg married his longtime girlfriend, Priscilla Chan, in a private wedding at his home in Palo Alto, Calif. on Saturday.

Zuckerberg, who just became a billionaire as a result of the Facebook IPO on Friday, reportedly placed a ring on his wife’s finger during the ceremony — the ring, said to be designed by Zuckerberg himself, was described as featuring a “very simple ruby.”

According to the Associated Press, Zuckerberg’s marriage to Priscilla Chan took place in front of about 100 invited guests who thought they were celebrating Ms. Chan’s medical school graduation. It all happened in Zuckerberg’s backyard.

Take a look at Zuckerberg’s personal page on Facebook, and you’ll see the above picture, which Zuckerberg reportedly placed onto his own site as a change of his status after the ceremony.

The couple met while both were attending Harvard, and have been together for nine years.

It was a dramatic day of a big week for Zuckerberg:

NASDAQ Bell Ringing, Friday

Photo courtesy Facebook Product Designer Francis Luu

Click here to view this gallery.

Photo courtesy Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook

More About: mark zuckerberg, trending

Mobile Marketing by the Numbers [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 19 May 2012 03:57 PM PDT

The number of Americans who own smartphones rocketed past the number who own basic mobile phones this year, and marketers have been expanding their mobile budgets at a similarly rapid rate.

One study estimated mobile advertising will be $5.04 billion industry by 2015.

HighTable, a startup social website for professionals, compiled data about the key factors in the growing mobile marketing space in the infographic below.

More About: infographic, mobile marketing

44 Digital Media Resources You May Have Missed

Posted: 19 May 2012 03:20 PM PDT

Touchscreen Icons

Friday marked the much-anticipated Facebook IPO, and boy, do we have have a lot of resources for that topic. Whether you have no idea what an IPO is or you want to know how it might affect you, use our weekly features roundup to catch up.

We’ve covered more than just Facebook, though. This week we also have tips and tricks for Viddy beginners, instructions for live-streaming your wedding and a new episode of Behind the Launch. We’ve also covered socially conscious organizations like Idealist and Keepon, educational Android apps for adults and how social media can help users get internships. We even have a recap of the fantastic events at Mashable Connect.

What are you waiting for? Get started!

Editor’s Picks

Social Media

For more social media news and resources, you can follow Mashable‘s social media channel on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Business & Marketing

For more business news and resources, you can follow Mashable‘s business channel on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Tech & Mobile

For more tech news and resources, you can follow Mashable‘s tech channel on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, akinbostanci.

More About: Business, COMMUNICATIONS, Facebook, facebook ipo, Features Week In Review, Social Media, Tech

Top 10 Tech This Week [PICS]

Posted: 19 May 2012 03:03 PM PDT

Top 10 Tech is presented by Chivas. Access a world of exclusive insider benefits – private tastings, special events and the chance to win a trip for you and three friends to the Cannes Film Festival. Join the Brotherhood.

1. Sneak Peek: Beacon Phoenix Bluetooth Speaker

As speakers get smaller, their sound seems to get bigger. That's the case with this Beacon Phoenix Bluetooth speaker, a handsome unit available in red, blue and black. We listened to this cute $99 cube, available for preorder next month, and it cranked out some crispy tunes at a prodigious volume despite its diminutive size. In other words, it's loud. My biggest thrill was unplugging it and running it on battery power -- it felt like there was a whole band standing in the palm of my hand, rocking it with impressive intensity. It hooks up easily to your Bluetooth-compatible device, and the company says the Phoenix's rechargeable battery will play on for eight hours. However, because of its tiny size, its bass sounded diminished, although still present. Even so, it might be a worthy companion for a dancing beach trip this summer. [Pre-orders start next month at]

Click here to view this gallery.

The futuristic tech we found this week was so radical, it was getting hard for us to separate fantasy from reality. The week was swarming with future cars, efficient aircraft, brand-new Windows 8 screenshots, yet another peek at the iPhone 5 with its almost-confirmed bigger screen, and even a sexy new way to take a shower.

Yes, it was as if we had our own time machine, jumping into its cockpit and finding faster Wi-Fi, wireless power, and perhaps even discovering everyone in the future will be above-average. Well, perhaps that’s going a bit too far.

SEE ALSO: Previous editions of Top 10 Tech This Week

But you haven’t gone too far; in fact, dear reader, you’ve come to the right place, where we give you a sneak peek into the future with Top 10 Tech This Week.

Here’s last week’s Top 10 Tech.

Series presented by Chivas


Top 10 Tech is presented by Chivas. Access a world of exclusive insider benefits – private tastings, special events and the chance to win a trip for you and three friends to the Cannes Film Festival. Join the Brotherhood.

More About: features, mashable, Top 10 Tech, trending

China Approves Google’s Motorola Mobility Deal [VIDEO]

Posted: 19 May 2012 02:11 PM PDT

Authorities in China have cleared Google’s plan to acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion.

If the deal closes, it will be Google’s first hardware acquisition. It will also give the company access to Motorola’s treasure trove of 17,000 patents.

Chinese regulators attached one big condition to their approval, according to the Associated Press: That Android for mobile devices will remain free for at least five years. Google has also received the go-ahead from Europeon and American authorities to move forward with the acquisition.

More About: china, Google, Motorola

For more Business coverage:

Show Us Your Eclipse Photos

Posted: 19 May 2012 01:58 PM PDT

On Sunday, May 20, a spectacular astronomical phenomenon will occur when our moon passes between the Earth and the sun. The result for the luckiest of viewers will be an annular (or ring-shaped) solar eclipse. Many others will gladly “settle” for the similarly beautiful partial eclipse.

This type of eclipse occurs less than once a year, but even then it only appears geographically for those in its trajectory. Tecca reports the eclipse will appear full for viewers in locations including Tokyo, Redding, Calif., central Nevada, southern Utah, northern Arizona, and Albuquerque, N.M.

Other locations in the Western United States and Canada and parts of the Pacific will see the partial eclipse. If you’re in the Western U.S., the eclipse will begin on Sunday at around 6:30 P.M. PDT.

At Mashable, we love to see these amazing events, but we especially love seeing them through your eyes. Most recently, we asked you to send us photos of the “supermoon,” and the results were stunning. Now, we want you to send us your photos of the annular eclipse. Simply drag your photo to the widget below, or tweet them with the hashtag #MashEclipse.

Before you get started, make sure you look at’s guide to safely photographing the eclipse. We’re looking forward to seeing your best shots!

More About: photography, space

Will Facebook Reduce Taxes By Going International?

Posted: 19 May 2012 01:43 PM PDT


Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin has been the target of public wrath after announcing he would be renouncing his U.S. citizenship and moving to Singapore, a haven where capital gains aren’t taxed one bit. Will Facebook follow in his footsteps by funneling money through international subsidiaries to maneuver around the American tax code?

The recently-gone-public social network could set up small satellite officies in countries with comparatively low tax rates, funneling income through foreign nations so money is never technically earned in the U.S. — and therefore not subject to American tax codes.

Such a move would be completely legal. It’s currently employed by a variety of companies, including Apple, which was the primary subject of a recent article in The New York Times about the practice.

The technique is particularly well-suited to technology firms such as Facebook because the company’s bottom line doesn’t depend on selling tangible goods. Facebook’s network and data are the products being sold, and data pay no mind to international borders, bodies of water or other impediments to international trade.

Facebook’s S-1 filing hints the company may indeed be preparing to send its intellectual property on a tax-minimizing trip across the world.

“Our effective tax rate in the future will depend on the portion of our profits earned within and outside the United States, which will also be affected by our methodologies for valuing our intellectual property and intercompany transactions,” reads the S-1.

Technology firms don’t just benefit from the intangibility of their products, however. There’s plenty of domestic tax subsidies to be enjoyed for doing research and development, or R&D. Tech firms do a lot of R&D in comparison to businesses in other fields, and that drives their effective tax rate even lower.

How low can they go?

Internet companies paid an effective tax rate of 5.9% in 2009, according to an NYU study. By way of comparison, the United States has an official top corporate tax rate of 35%. Car manufacturers and shipping companies paid upwards of 30% in corporate taxes in the same year — the downside of selling heavy, tangible, difficult-to-fit-on-the-Internet products.

SEE ALSO: Facebook Co-Founder: No, I Didn't Leave U.S. to Dodge Taxes

Facebook did not return a request for comment in regards to this article.

Do you think businesses should be barred from funneling money through foreign subsidiaries? Sound off in the comments below.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, -Oxford-

More About: Facebook, facebook ipo, US, World

Changed Windows 8 Desktop Revealed, Interface Improved [VIDEO]

Posted: 19 May 2012 12:55 PM PDT

Microsoft has revealed an updated desktop user interface for Windows 8.

“In the end, we decided to bring the desktop closer to the Metro aesthetic,” wrote Jensen Harris, the Director of Program Management for the Microsoft Windows User Experience Team, in a blog post about the changes.

The biggest change in the update is a move away from Aero Glass, a clear-window effect introduced with Vista.

A release preview of the operating system is due in June. In the meantime, you can get a glimpse of the interface in the video above. Harris wrote he expects any change to “bring forward its share of both deep believers and naysayers.”

Do you fit in either category? Tell us why in the comments.

More About: Micosoft, trending, Windows 8

For more Tech coverage:

6 Ways to Get a Tech Job Without a Tech Degree

Posted: 19 May 2012 12:17 PM PDT

Aaron Shapiro is CEO of Huge, a global digital agency based in Brooklyn, and author of Users Not Customers. He has spent more than a decade as a technology entrepreneur, venture capitalist and management consultant.

Jobs in tech are stronger than ever. In 2011, Amazon hired 22,500 people, bringing its workforce up to 56,200, and Google hired 8,000 people — more than ever in a single year. The technology sector is booming, and while not all of these jobs require an engineering degree, getting a gig can be harder than getting into an Ivy League school. Competition between businesses is too steep for firms to hire those who aren't qualified, and demand for these positions is greater than the skills that exist in the marketplace.

Incredible job opportunities exist, if you know how to get them. Yet, college students are still earning educations for jobs that technology will eliminate in the next decade, and people without backgrounds in technology are stuck in unemployment or at the dead-end of a long career, hoping their field will be revived before their luck runs out. But none of these people are actually stuck.

You can transition to the tech world, if you're willing to put in a little work. Here are six steps that will help you get there.

1. Learn How the Web Works

I'm consistently amazed at the number of businesspeople who have no concept of where a website comes from. There's no need to be an expert coder, unless you're an aspiring engineer, but you should know enough about technology to make informed business decisions about it.

I taught myself how to code in the mid-'90s after leading an e-greeting card site that could have been successful but didn't have the technology to scale with demand — I never wanted to be stuck like that again. Similarly, Instagram founder Kevin Systrom taught himself to code at night while working in marketing, possibly inspiring a new generation of business guys learning to program.

The first thing anyone should do is learn HTML and maybe even some JavaScript. Codecademy and W3Schools are two great places to start. Or pick up a newbie book from Amazon.

2. Start With a Digital Job in Your Current Company

Without any digital experience, landing a job at a tech company will be tough. Get an advantage by going after low-hanging opportunities.

Many non-tech companies, like the one you probably work for, are desperate for help building an effective presence on the web. If you can be of service, you'll not only gain valuable experience, but you'll also be likely to have the chance to make a real impact. This way, you can show up for your first interview at that desirable tech firm with a success story behind you.

3. Knock on the Door of a Disrupter

A friend of mine used to be a salesperson for radio, a dying industry facing myriad high-tech competitors. And, as happens in these situations, he got laid off. But rather than fighting for one of the last jobs in his native field, he went after a gig selling ads for Pandora. They liked that he knew the radio industry and hired him.

One of the easiest ways to get into tech is to go after a job at a startup that's looking to disrupt the industry in which you've spent your career.

4. Position Yourself as an Innovator

The technology space is all about innovation. Working for a scrappy disruptor or the digital department of your current company will surely give you the chance to be a pioneer. But if these roles are inaccessible, you should demonstrate your inventive and courageous side within your present role by starting a new department, devising and implementing a fresh strategy or producing a cutting-edge marketing product. It's advantageous if technology is inherent in these accomplishments, but not necessary.

5. Accept that You're Not as Senior as You Think You Are

Just because you're an art director for print doesn't mean you're qualified to be an art director in digital. Just because you've managed significant client relationships doesn't mean you're qualified to manage client services at a tech firm.

Individuals switching industries need to start with a more junior role. When I meet fairly senior people whom I'd be interested in hiring, I ask if they would start as a project manager and not a single person has ever taken me up on that offer. Invest time to learn the business and the pay cut won't have to last long.

6. Become a Thought Leader

It takes some creativity, charm, smarts and nerve, but you can become an industry thought leader before you even have a job in the industry. JD Beebe, a young copywriter, creative and entrepreneur, is a good example. He made his way into the agency world by starting a online newspaper called Ad Agency Thought Sauce that aggregated links from ad agency tweets. Agencies saw him re-sharing their links, and this functioned as a constant series of soft introductions.

If social media acrobatics aren't your thing, you can still build a profile for yourself as an expert by sharing your point of view on industry issues. Do it in-person, at industry events and Meetups, and digitally through Facebook, Twitter and comments on relevant articles — maybe even this one.

How did you transition to a job in tech? Let us know in the comments.

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!

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, knape

More About: features, job search series, jobs, mashable, Tech

7 Fun Accessories for Your Geeky Pet

Posted: 19 May 2012 11:54 AM PDT

1. Facebook "Like" Custom Pet/Dog/Cat iD Tag

These ID tags show how much you like your pet, as well as help you stay connected. Hey, just like the social network!

Via Lucy Loos Pet Shop.

Click here to view this gallery.

There are cats on Twitter, dogs on Facebook, birds that won’t stop checking in on Foursquare (OK, we haven’t witnessed that last one, but it’s probably true). And let’s not even get started on all the cuddly animals on YouTube.

The point is, pets, social media and tech go well together, and you — their owners — are to thank. Therefore, check out the gallery above for some inspirational examples of tech-savvy pet gear. Your four-legged friends will be walking, playing and tweeting in geeky style.

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

What kind of tech-themed gear does your pet have? Let us know in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, diane39.

More About: animals, Facebook, features, pets, Social Media, Tech, trending, Twitter

On Facebook IPO Day, Twitter Sentiment Correlated With Share Price

Posted: 19 May 2012 11:10 AM PDT

Twitter users who participated in a crowdsourced prediction for Facebook’s IPO day closing price collectively missed the mark, but another analysis suggests that changes in Twitter sentiment accurately predicted how Facebook’s share price turned throughout the day.

The crowdsourced prediction was inspired by a tweet from investor Chris Sacca, in which he wondered if a crowd could accurately predict the closing price of Facebook during its first day of trading. Programmer James Proud put up a website called to find out. He accepted 2,261 predictions from anyone who wanted to make one.

The result? Submissions, solicited mostly via Twitter, predicted on average that Facebook’s stock price would soar from the opening price of $38 to $54.

The reality? Facebook’s stock gained a measly $0.23 during its first day of trading.

Only 26 people correctly predicted that Facebook’s stock would close at about $38, and crowdsourced predictions unsurprisingly gained no clout as tools for predicting stock prices as a result of the experiment.

Another analysis, however, says that Twitter sentiment correlated with how the price turned throughout the day.

In an examination of tweets that were published Friday related to the Facebook IPO, Social media data firm DataSift found that every time the volume of negative comments increased, Facebook’s share price dropped within 20 minutes. Conversely, when positive sentiment increased, the share price rose within a short timeframe.

But don’t start basing your trading decisions on Twitter sentiment just yet.

Though the analysis is not the first to find a link between Twitter data and stock price, its authors aren’t willing to call it any more than “an interesting correlation between Twitter sentiment and stock price fluctuations.”

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, blackred

More About: facebook ipo, Twitter

For more Business coverage:

7 Hot Startup Tips for Raising a Killer Seed Round

Posted: 19 May 2012 10:28 AM PDT

Mashable’s new video series, Behind the Launch, follows Vungle on its startup journey toward a June launch. Each week on Mashable, the Vungle team offers tips and lessons learned from its own startup experience. This week, we saw Vungle court big-name investors, so co-founder and CEO Zain Jaffer offer tips for courting investors. Watch the episode above, and be sure to tune in to Behind the Launch every Monday and Wednesday.

There are many stories of hot startups raising killer seed rounds, and it can feel like money is flowing everywhere. Times might be good right now, but raising external capital is a complicated process, and it’s something every entrepreneur needs to think about carefully. Here are tips that can help you achieve your goals as quickly and pain-free as possible.

1. Be Hungry

As Steve Jobs said, “Stay hungry.”

The first thing that will lead you to success in fundraising (and anything in life) is hunger. The moment you get complacent, the game is over. Naturally, most entrepreneurs are hungry because they have little money, but once things start to look good and investors start showing interest, there is a tendency for entrepreneurs to get excited and celebrate prematurely. The deal isn't closed until the money hits the bank, so stay hungry.

2. Adjust Your Mindset

Change your mindset when thinking about investors — they are not evil opponents who are out to destroy your business. Instead, think of investors as partners for life, who will continue to back you in subsequent ventures. Changing your perspective will mean you will treat potential investors with respect, and will naturally focus on the value-add they bring beyond just finance.

Missed earlier episodes? Watch them here!

3. Have Integrity

You need to have integrity in everything you do. When you pitch an investor, make sure you are honest but firm. Investors expect you to learn quickly but don't expect you to have all the right answers. So if you're asked a question and you don’t know the answer, don’t make up something or deflect the question. Investors are quite measured with the questions they ask, and they’ll quickly detect that you don't know what you're talking about.

4. Maintain Confidentiality

When an investor asks who else you are pitching to, don’t disclose names without permission — this puts you in an awkward position. It signals to investors that you can't maintain confidentiality, but also harms your negotiating position, as investors may collude in hopes of getting a better deal.

5. Have a Big Vision

Investors are mandated to invest in high-growth businesses with multi-billion dollar potential. So make sure you clearly articulate your big vision and where you want to be in the longer term. Nothing turns off investors more than entrepreneurs who think small.

6. Target a Big Market

Investors put a lot of focus on funding startups in high-growth and emerging markets. You need to be able show investors that the market you are targeting has the potential to be worth billions of dollars. More importantly, you need to show you understand the key trends that make a market big. It also helps to try and quantify the size of a market — even though it may seem useless, it will lead you to appreciate the key factors that drive the value of a market.

7. Know How to Frame the Product

You'll be surprised to find that few investors will test your product (especially at the seed stage), so it's important to speak about your product on a higher level. Always stress the benefits about how your product solves a key problem, rather than getting caught up in the details of features. Remember: Investors don't invest in features, they invest in real businesses.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto/tumpikuja

More About: Behind the Launch Series, contributor, features, fundraising, investors, mashable, Startups, Tech, trending, Vungle

For more Business coverage:

9 Top Comments on Mashable This Week

Posted: 19 May 2012 09:35 AM PDT

The Mashable community engaged in a variety of articles this week, resulting in solid discussions and debates in the comments.

Topics that sparked conversation included a new MacBook Pro rumor, an Avengers adoption joke, as well as the long-awaited Facebook IPO.

One commenter, KiTTGT, wrote how a slim profile and Retina display on the next MacBook Pro could be limiting, depending on the features. On a different story, Alex Elman, showed great interest in the Teachers Pay Teachers platform by commenting with a strong opinion to oppose lesson plan sharing for teachers.

Other readers took a liking to Facebook’s IPO, which is the second largest ever in the U.S., next to that of Visa. Esteban Contreras gave his opinion on the acquisitions Facebook made prior to its IPO, such as Instagram and Glancee.

At Mashable, we're always on the lookout for thoughtful, insightful comments that add to our stories or further the discussion. Take a look at this week's top comments and let us know what you think of the readers' opinions.

Foursquare Friend Requests

Mashable asked people in the Get Glue community if they friend people on Foursquare they don't know. They responded with great comments and insights on how they use Foursquare. Comment originally seen on: Mashable's Get Glue Page

Click here to view this gallery.

If you haven't commented on a Mashable article before, check out Mashable Follow, our content curation and social tool, as well as our comment guidelines to learn more. We'd love for you to join the conversation.

More About: comments, community, mashable follow, top comments

For more Social Media coverage:

SpaceX’s Historic Launch Aborted at Last Second [VIDEO]

Posted: 19 May 2012 08:28 AM PDT

When the countdown to its launch ended early Saturday morning, Dragon, the first private spacecraft to ever attempt docking with the international space station, did not take off.

“Early data indicates that the flight computer detected slightly high combustion chamber pressure on engine 5, which prompted the computer to abort the countdown,” wrote Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), the spaceflight company that attempted the launch, in a statement.

To put the unmanned Dragon into an orbit where it can dock with the international space station, SpaceX must launch it within a narrow timeframe. As soon as its computers automatically shut down the launch, the optimal one-second window had passed and there was no opportunity for another attempt. The next opportunity for a launch attempt is on Tuesday, according to NASA.

SpaceX has a $1.6 billion commercial contract to deliver supplies to the station. Its latest attempted mission was intended to test whether the Dragon can successfully dock there. A previous test flight in 2010 successfully launched the dragon and recovered it from orbit.

Officials at the company had made efforts to play down expectations before Saturday’s launch — predicting just a slightly greater than 50-50 chance of launching, according to the Wall Street Journal.

More About: space, SpaceX, trending

Why Social Learning Benefits Your Business

Posted: 19 May 2012 08:12 AM PDT

This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business.

Classroom training isn't dead, but it also isn't the answer for every training need. Social tools are changing the game when it comes to employee learning. Organizations can create collaborative workplaces where employees can learn from each other instead of only learning in a formal setting or from the proverbial “company expert.”

For training programs to be effective, companies must use the right methods and medium for their training sessions and their audience. Given the popularity of social media, it only seems logical to explore how social media tools can have a positive impact on the learning experience.

What It Means

Tony Bingham, president and CEO of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), defines social learning as "learning that happens outside a formal structure or classroom and is really the way people have always learned from each other. Social learning centers on information sharing, collaboration and co-creation."

While the practice of social learning has been around for ages, we need a better definition of it for today's workplace. Most of us have a vision for what formal classroom training looks like, so here's one way to view the basic difference between informal learning and social learning:

  • Informal learning is a term used to describe anything not learned in a formal program or class. It can take place within groups or alone using activities such as reading or search.
  • Social learning is learning with and from others. It happens at conferences, cafes or online — with or without social media tools.

In the book Social Media at Work, written by Arthur L. Jue, Jackie Alcalde Marr and Mary Ellen Kassotakis, the authors share case studies of companies using social and informal learning for business success. For example, Oracle uses a key tool called Connect to give employees the information they need at the moment they need it. The tool is about more than just answering questions -– it's teaching people how to make smart decisions about the business.

One thing is certain about social learning: It's not a replacement for traditional classroom training. "There will always be some kinds of training that must be done in a classroom setting because of the requirements of the training or skill mastery demands,” Bingham explains. “Examples include certification, compliance, and deep learning -– this is happening in the classroom."

Social Learning Benefits

Surveys of CEOs continue to report that recruiting and developing talent are their top concerns. In addition, ASTD Research notes that by 2020, nearly half (46%) of all U.S. workers will be Millennials.

Organizations have to gain an understanding of how a new generation of workers likes to learn, how they use technology and their preferred means of communication. This will be essential in creating training curriculum, development programs and succession plans.

Bingham says it's possible to calculate the return on social learning, but it's not the traditional return-on-investment (ROI) formula: "It requires alignment to what's important to the organization, and often that includes retaining institutional knowledge, solving complex problems collaboratively and attracting people to your organization."

Maria Ogneva, director of community at Yammer, says, "If your goal is to increase customer satisfaction, perhaps the impact metric you are looking for is the increase of speed of a response to a customer, and how collaboration helps you do that. For any social effort to be successful, it has to tie to a business objective."

Barriers to Social Learning

Business leaders need to realize that employees are already using social tools -– whether it's approved or not. Instead of prohibiting the use of social media, savvy business leaders should harness its power to drive business results. Bingham notes, "It's important to make the distinction between a management problem and a technology problem. Most often, problems that occur with the use of social media are management problems."

Bingham adds that he sees a concern that the use of social media tools may compromise proprietary informaion, or that issues related to intellectual property, company secrets or business strategy may be divulged by a workforce given social media tools. His recommendation?

"Organizations should have an intellectual property policy in place that outlines clear expectations -– and consequences for inappropriate activity. This policy should consider the multitude of possibilities for the use of an organization's intellectual property."

Once guidelines are in place, clearly communicate those throughout the entire organization. The goal isn't to create obstacles to learning but a respectful, effective means to using social tools.

Implementing Social Learning within Your Organization

Before rolling-out a social learning strategy, take a good look at your company culture. Determine if the company is ready to incorporate social learning into its training and development strategy. Adding social just because it sounds cool isn't productive for the workforce.

Any time a company is testing the new territory, it's beneficial to start small. Find a program or an initiative that would be well-served by employing social technologies and let the people involved with it experiment and find what works. “Social learning has an organic nature to it, it can't be forced," Bingham says.

After using a new technology, evaluate the success of the program. Get feedback on three levels:

  • From the participants who used the social tool. How did it help or hinder the learning experience?
  • From the administrators of the social tool. Was it easy or difficult to use, explain to others and get participant involvement?
  • From the management team. What was their perception of the results gained from using a social tool within their work teams?

This feedback will help refine the best social learning methods to incorporate for future activities.

Social media platforms will continue to develop and evolve. More and more individuals will start using them for their personal brands and professional lives. Employees will demand simplicity and expect workplace training to incorporate the tools they use on a regular basis.

Would you like to see more social in your training programs? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

More Small Business Resources From OPEN Forum:

- Should Small Businesses Follow Everyone Back on Twitter?
- Are You Falling into the Pricing Trap?
- How to Take Your PR Pitches to the Next Level

More About: features, mashable, open forum, social learning

For more Business coverage:

Back to the top