Monday, 14 May 2012

Mashable: Latest 19 News Updates - including “Yahoo Ousts Thompson, Loeb Wins. Now What?”

Mashable: Latest 19 News Updates - including “Yahoo Ousts Thompson, Loeb Wins. Now What?”

Yahoo Ousts Thompson, Loeb Wins. Now What?

Posted: 14 May 2012 04:13 AM PDT

scott thompson

Mashable OP-ED: This post reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of Mashable as a publication.

Scott Thompson's short run as Yahoo CEO is over. He resigned this weekend after trying vainly to beat back the growing controversy over his somewhat fanciful resume. Thompson said he had a computer science degree when, in fact, he did not. For all the finger pointing and promises of long-term support for Thompson, nothing it seems could save him from the chopping block. Now Yahoo must try and build momentum behind a new, relatively unknown CEO, as well as a new chairman of the board.

Thompson's resume became valuable weapon in the behind-the-scenes proxy fight that had been underway for weeks in the Yahoo boardroom. Yahoo officially ended its battle with Third Point and has accepted all of their board nominees.

Third Point Lead Daniel Loeb has been urging Yahoo to overhaul its board for months; going so far as to launch a website dedicated to the cause (Third Point's Loeb owns 5.8% of Yahoo's Stock). Loeb was also the first person to accuse Thompson in an official letter to Yahoo's board of resume inaccuracies; an accusation that became fact when Yahoo verified Thompson has inadvertently added the computer science degree to his resume.

That Thompson would eventually leave over the partially faked resume was a forgone conclusion weeks ago, though Yahoo tried to act otherwise. Not everyone believed Thompson should have been fired. In a poll conducted shortly after the resume-gate revelations, a surprising 34% of Mashable readers were urging Yahoo to look at Thompson's years of corporate experience and give him a chance. On the other hand, more that 40% said he should've been fired immediately.

Yahoo's new CEO is a Yahoo insider, which depending on where you sit is either comforting or a red flag. Some may believe the Ross Levinsohn knows the company's strengths and weaknesses well enough to guide it through this particularly trying period. Others may worry that he'll hold some of the failing divisions and properties too dearly to cut them loose.

Still Loeb was calling for big change and with the degree of influence he currently has, it's quite likely that we're about to witness the biggest transformation in Yahoo’s history.

However, before Yahoo begins rebuilding, it will sell. Not the whole company — just a major, lucrative portion: Yahoo’s stake in ecommerce giant Alibaba. This means Yahoo gets money and time. One report said Thompson was hoping to save himself with the deal, but now credit for the deal, if it happens, will go to the new CEO, chairman and board of directors.

Money will buy Yahoo time, but not a coherent strategy. For that, the new leadership has to decide on which road they think holds the most promise: Content or Innovation. From what Thompson said when he took over and even the scant comments from Loeb about the new leadership, Innovation is the road to hoe.

What that actually means is anyone's guess. Yahoo is not actually a technology company any more. It does not stand toe-to-toe with Facebook, Google, Microsoft or even Twitter. It's big, ungainly and still quite popular. Yet, as a company, it's rudderless. Now that it's through the Thompson mess, let's see if Loeb, Levinsohn and company can chart a new and far more successful course.

What do you think Yahoo’s new CEO and board members should do with the company? Share your advice in the comments.

More About: Yahoo

Mashable Weekend Recap: 40 Stories You Might Have Missed

Posted: 14 May 2012 04:02 AM PDT

The weekend sat on the cusp of big news coming, especially the looming Facebook IPO. But that didn’t keep us from finding hot stories over the past few days, including fascinating concept pics that might show what the upcoming iPhone 5 might look like, a frank review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, and a sneak peek at Ashton Kutcher playing Steve Jobs in an upcoming film.

There was a boatload of news, views and ballyhoo this weekend, so you might be sitting there worrying that you missed a lot. Well, you did — but our accounts of that cool news are still here, and we’ve gathered them all in one convenient bucket to facilitate your immediate persual.

Enjoy this Weekend Recap, and once you’re done, go forth and attack the week with a spring in your step — make it a good one, and see us again right here next weekend where we’ll do it all over again.

News & Opinion Essentials

Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson Steps Down

Top 10 Twitter Pics of the Week

Reddit Users Surprise Terminally-Ill Man With Random Acts of Kindness

How Iraq is Using Reality TV and Facebook to Inspire a Generation of Peacemakers

Apple Drops 4G Branding From New iPad

Cheating Site's Second-Biggest Enrollment Day is Post-Mother's Day

Apple 'Sidesteps' Billions in Corporate Taxes, NY Times Reports

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 Highlights Android's Tablet Problem [REVIEW]

The History of Social Recruiting Technology [INFOGRAPHIC]

Game of Thrones is the Most-Pirated Television Show of 2012

Super-Fast Thunderbolt Connectivity Coming to Windows [VIDEO]

Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs: Uncanny Resemblance [PICS]

Pepsi Digital Exec: Google 'Messed Up' With Google+, Instagram Is 'Phenomenal'

Apple and Foxconn to Improve Factory Working Conditions? [VIDEO]

Top 10 Tech This Week [PICS]

Google May Be Close to Acquiring Meebo for $100 Million [REPORT]

Samsung Galaxy S III: Is the Screen Its Achilles Heel?

#RyanKennedy Trends on Twitter But It Wasn't His Dying Wish

Coca-Cola Truck Brings Cheers of Virtual Fans to Stadium

'F_ck Yeah!' The Evolution of Tumblr's Big Trend

Helpful Resources Makes Your Smartphone Even More Useful [VIDEO]

Top 6 Mashable Comments of the Week

How to Create a Mother's Day Slide Show

Free Ecards for Mother's Day: Here's Help [VIDEO]

9 Essential Steps for a Killer Kickstarter Campaign

20 Sites Every Cool Mom Should Know

47 Digital Media Resources You May Have Missed

9 YouTube Cooking Channels That Will Make Your Mouth Water

6 Things on Your LinkedIn Profile That Shouldn't Be on Your Resume

5 Hot Startups Using Tech for Good

10 Ways to Optimize Your iPad for Kids With Special Needs

SEE ALSO: All the Weekend Recaps Ever Published

Weekend Leisure

Summer TV Guide: 20 Social Shows to See

Pinterest Campaigns Honor Your Mom While Giving Back

7 Beautiful Time-Lapse Videos That Celebrate Expectant Moms

Google Doodle Offers Sweet Mother's Day Surprise

Answer Your Phone While Skiing With These Neva Ski Poles [VIDEO]

Coca-Cola and the Movies [INFOGRAPHIC]

30,000 Dominoes Capture the History of Nintendo in 3 Minutes [VIDEO]

Break Your iPhone in This Case And You'll Get a New Phone for Free

Enhanced Jug Sends Mobile Alerts When You're Out of Milk [VIDEO]

Here’s last week’s Weekend Recap.

More About: Weekend recap

This 121-Megapixel Photo of Earth Will Make Your Jaw Drop

Posted: 14 May 2012 01:48 AM PDT


Need something to put things into perspective on a Monday morning? Our suggestion: The largest single-shot photo of Earth ever taken.

Eclipsing NASA’s updated “Blue Marble” shot, which is a composite of many satellite images, this image is a single-shot taken from 22,369 miles away by Russian weather satellite Elektro-L No.1.

The colors on the 121-megapixel photo are quite different from the ones on NASA’s photos of Earth. To capture the image, the satellite combines visible and infrared wavelengths of light. Infrared light is used to see plants, which is why the parts of the Earth that would normally be green are seen as rusty brown.

Check out a time-lapse video of Earth’s northern hemisphere taken by Elektro-L below.

You can explore the zoomable version of the image here.

[via Planet Earth]

More About: astronomy, Earth, high resolution, photography, trending

For more Tech coverage:’s New Event Service Takes Its Dating Algorithms Offline

Posted: 14 May 2012 01:06 AM PDT

In a move that brings online dating full-circle, is launching a new service that will use its matching algorithms to fill offline events with compatible singles.

Within the next year, the company plans to host 2,000 to 3,000 events across 40 markets. The service will be named “The Stir.”

“We expect to send half a million people to events this year,” President Mandy Ginsberg tells Mashable. “I think we'll be the biggest global events company in the world, with the exception of maybe the Olympics.”

Match will host two types of events: casual happy hours that paid subscribers can attend for free and more-involved excursions such as cooking classes or bowling nights that cost extra. The catch is that not everyone gets invited to every event. Rather, Match targets invitations based on age, gender balance and who — based on its algorithms — it thinks will hit it off.

While startup dating sites such as HowAboutWe and Grouper have carved niches within online dating by instigating interesting offline experiences, Match has until now focused more heavily on its matching algorithms, which are based on data collected throughout its 17 years of business.

A study published in February, however, questioned the effectiveness of such matchmaking algorithms, suggesting they were no more effective at predicting successful couples than meeting in person.

“Our review of the literature reveals that aspects of relationships that emerge only after two people meet and get to know each other — things like communication patterns, problem-solving tendencies and sexual compatibility — are crucial for predicting the success or failure of relationships,” wrote two of the study’s authors, Eli Finkel and Benjamin Karney, in the New York Times. VP of Strategy and Analytics Amarnath Thombre says has never promised compatibility, but rather sets up people who are likely to hit it off based on what has worked on the past. Assessing chemistry is up to them. The Stir is set up the same way, but Match provides a venue in which singles can take the step of meeting in person.

“It's not this weird pressure of going to a coffee date and sitting across from somebody,” Ginsberg says.

With 1.8 million subscribers as of February, Match can scale an offline singles event service in a way that most companies cannot. The company, which is owned by IAC, brought in $108.9 million of revenue during Q12′s first financial quarter.

The move could also help expand’s mobile presence. At The Stir’s 60 pilot events, for instance, subscribers checked-in at a bar to receive a promotion.

“We’re really going to build on top of that,” Ginsberg says. “There’s in-event interactions and post-event interactions. There’s just a lot of opportunity.”

More About: Match, online dating, the stir

For more Business coverage:

Summer TV Guide: 20 Social Shows to See

Posted: 13 May 2012 04:54 PM PDT

America's Got Talent

Premieres: May 14 on NBC

Social media: America's Got Talent ushers in a new judge this season: shock jock Howard Stern, who's already igniting buzz across social networks with his recent jabs at the American Idol's too-soft judging panel. Anticipate his critical judging style to incite significant social chatter. Meanwhile, AGT's Facebook Page has been pushing multimedia, including Spotify playlists from Stern and fellow judge Sharon Osbourne.

Photo courtesy of Mark Seliger/NBC

Click here to view this gallery.

A crop of new and returning reality shows, comedies, talent competitions and dramas will vie for your attention on your TV screens, web browsers and mobile devices this summer.

Flip through the gallery above to discover 20 shows that will use social media and interactive tools to enhance your viewer experience or will likely inspire significant conversations across social networks.

Below, find out from social TV experts which shows will stand out, what worked for networks in the fall season and what social TV trends are emerging.

Q&A With 3 Social TV Insiders

  • Natan Edelsburg, writer at social TV blog Lost Remote and VP of Sawhorse Media
  • Randy Shiozaki, co-founder of social technology company TVplus
  • Scott Ellis, VP of marketing at social TV company Peel

Mashable: Which shows will stand out this summer?

Natan: “True Blood will no doubt take over social conversations for another year. Breaking Bad‘s final season will be huge especially after the buzz it created after last season’s finale. Everyone will tune into FX’s Anger Management with Charlie Sheen, who we’ll definitely see using his social influence to promote the show. Also, TNT’s return of Dallas has an extremely interesting Facebook timeline social TV strategy that’s helping to make it a big premiere. Personally, I will be tweeting my heart out about Hatfields & McCoys because I am a huge Bill Paxton fan and have mourned every day since Big Love ended.”

Randy: “The fall is going to be big. Shows like Storage Wars will do well this summer. Highly social, good demo and addicting.”

Scott: “For reality, America’s Got Talent should do well, but Duets is less clear as viewers may have reality music show fatigue. In scripted TV, I expect viewers to head to the cable channels. The Dallas reboot on TNT has been garnering positive buzz. HBO is also getting ready to launch The Newsroom and preparing for another season of True Blood, and I’m personally looking forward to the final season of Breaking Bad on AMC. And don’t forget Charlie Sheen’s return to TV on Anger Management on FX.

Mashable: What worked in the fall for networks that should be carried over to their summer offerings?

Natan: “At the end of the day, no matter how amazing some of the social TV strategies were last fall, it didn’t necessarily mean that the show would succeed. One of my favorite activations last fall was how ABC captured the social web with their social TV strategy around Pan Am. They were able to start a conversation online the second the show was announced, through Comic-Con and then through the launch. Unfortunately, the show was canceled, in my opinion due to bad linear scheduling. Another amazing example was with Sons of Anarchy and how creator and show runner Kurt Sutter leveraged his social influence. He promised his Twitter followers that if the season premiere hit a certain ratings increase, he’d fly them out to L.A. The buzz was insane, they beat the ratings goal and he flew someone out.

"No matter how amazing some of the social TV strategies were last fall, it didn't necessarily mean that the show would succeed. … TV networks must get their show creators and talent involved deeply. It can't just be a marketing effort.”

“TV networks must get their show creators and talent involved deeply. It can’t just be a marketing effort. Also, they need to go beyond listening to social TV data to determine buzz around shows. They have to find creative ways to engage with the people on social media showing early interest about summer shows.”

Randy: “Shows like The X Factor worked. A deep commitment to digital and companion, synchronized experiences. They had all the ingredients: commitment from the top, a sponsor, a great team and a show that lends itself to interactivity.”

SEE ALSO: Many Social TV Companies 'Will Disappear Over the Next Year'

Scott: “It’s always easier to talk about what didn’t work in the fall. Gimmicky shows like Alcatraz, Awake, and Charlie’s Angels struggled, but viewers connected to fairy tale shows like Once Upon A Time and Grimm, and more female-centered comedies like New Girl and 2 Broke Girls. What worked for these shows were relatable characters with larger than life story lines and impossible situations.”

Mashable: What trends are you seeing emerge in the social TV space for this summer?

Natan: “The trend of the ‘before and after’ social TV strategy in addition to the real-time, while-you’re-watching efforts. History (Channel) just launched a new Facebook game for their new show Hatfields & McCoys, a trend A+E Networks is at the forefront of.

“Many networks now have — or are launching — social curation destinations on their sites, and apps to better curate conversations about their TV shows. USA Network has ‘Character Chatter’ and there is now HBO Connect, Oxygen Connect and most recently CBS Connect. The idea of curating everything into a destination has become a perfect place to start introducing their advertisers into social TV opportunities. This summer is really going to be a big advancement for advertisers investing in social TV as part of their larger sponsorships across linear.

"Social TV will continue to be focused around reality-based competitions — shows that are perfectly positioned to drive audience participation and deliver a winner at the end of the season. … These polarizing shows beg the viewer to react, whether you love or hate the contestants.”

“Scripted social network TV strategies are becoming huge. The idea of scripted social networking is giving TV marketers a big chance to bridge the gap between the relationship the writers, producers, directors and talent have with social TV strategies. USA Network’s Hashtag Killer jump started this trend, which is now continuing with MTV’s exciting launch of a scripted social platform for their hit Teen Wolf.

Randy: “We’re not seeing summer trends.”

Scott: “With American Idol and The Voice winding down, in the short term I expect social TV will continue to be focused around reality-based competitions — shows that are perfectly positioned to drive audience participation and deliver a winner at the end of the season. We could see a big social lift as Howard Stern joins America’s Got Talent and Big Brother returns to CBS — these polarizing shows beg the viewer to react, whether you love or hate the contestants. Duets on ABC may also generate interest and a social following.

“I’m also seeing an increasing number of social TV focused promotions from networks encouraging viewers to participate via Twitter or second screen engagement, and I expect that this trend will accelerate. Viewers enjoy connecting with the shows they care about, and sharing those experiences with the community of similarly passionate fans.”

What shows will you be watching? Let us know if we missed your favorite ones.

More About: celebrities, Entertainment, Feature, Lists, Social Media, social tv, television, trending, TV

Pinterest Campaigns Honor Your Mom While Giving Back

Posted: 13 May 2012 04:23 PM PDT

When it comes to social good campaigns this Mother’s Day, all eyes are on Pinterest, undoubtedly one of this year’s hottest social networks.

For two organizations, Pinterest was an obvious choice for Mother’s Day, because of its heavily female demographics. Opportunity International and channeled the visuals women love to see on Pinterest into campaigns that give to women across the world.

Here’s how the two non-profits’ campaigns are using Pinterest to do some good in innovative ways. Have you seen any other uses on Pinterest to give back on Mother’s Day? Share what you’ve seen in the comments.

Global Opportunity Quilt

Opportunity International created the Global Opportunity Quilt as a digital solute to moms around the world. With a donation of $5 or more to the non-profit, you can leave your mark on the quilt — designed to look like a Pinterest stream — for your mother.

“The quilt is a way for donors in the U.S. to honor mother figures in their lives by helping support the lives of moms around the world,” Ian Haisley, director of online strategy for Opportunity International, told Mashable.

To create a patch for your mom, you select from 24 pre-designed squares, featuring inspirational quotes and photos. You can add your own note to your mom alongside her

“We historically use visuals and photos to tell our stories,” Haisley says. “We thought because of Pinteret’s heavily female demographic, this quilt would appeal to women in the U.S. as well as the women we’re trying to reach and serve.”’s E-cards wanted to create a Mother’s Day campaign hooked up to Pinterest. However, unlike Twitter and Facebook, Pinterest doesn’t have a public API.

Instead, the non-profit created a project that automatically pins Mother’s Day Cards to its own Pinterest boards.

You can create an e-card for you mom with a donation of $5 or more. The cards are designed to look like kolams, simple geometric designs South Asian women draw on their doorsteps as greetings and to bestow prosperity on people.

The organization very much considers this project an experiment with Pinterest, Mike McCamon, chief community officer of told Mashable. While thought Pinterest was an easy pick for Mother’s Day, it was curious if the campaign could increase their visibility on the network by creating a viral behavior or would be over-populating its followers’ streams.

“At the end of the week if people unfollow us, it’s a bad idea,” McCamon says. “At the start of the week we had 964 followers, so if it’s less by the end of the week we’ll know. We’re hoping people will see it and go to to learn more or tell someone else.”

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, IvanJekic

More About: mothers day, pinterest, Social Good

The iPhone 5 Might Look Like This [PICS]

Posted: 13 May 2012 03:43 PM PDT

The iPhone 5 is rumored to be coming later this year, with an official announcement expected in June around Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC).

Based on some of the latest rumors regarding the phone and what we can expect, one artist, Jon Fawcett, created some concept pictures of what he thinks Apple’s newest iPhone will look like when it hits store shelves.

Rumor has it that the next version of the iPhone will be made of LiquidMetal. A mix of several different metals, LiquidMetal could allow the phone to be more durable. Light like plastic but durable like aluminum, it would also allow the phone to weigh less and have a thinner profile.

SEE ALSO: New iPhone: Tantilizing Details Revealed

Measuring at 4.14″ x 2.25″, Fawcett’s concept phone is just 7mm thick and has a 4-inch widescreen multitouch display. The phone has a 10-megapixel rear-facing camera, 5-megapixel forward-facing cam for video chatting, and quad speakers for listening to tunes or watching videos in both portrait and landscape mode.

Fawcett isn’t affiliated with Apple in any way, and doesn’t really know what the newest version of the phone will look like — the pictures, however, are pretty impressive and can offer a glimpse at what might potentially be in store for us later this year.

SEE ALSO: Apple Still Undecided on Final iPhone 5 Design?

Beyond aesthetics, the newest iPhone is also rumored to have updated specs under the hood, including a faster processor and NFC capabilities.

Check out the gallery below for a look at the concept iPhone 5. Do you think Apple’s next iPhone will look like this?

LiquidMetal iPhone 5 Concept

Click here to view this gallery.

Here’s a bonus gallery of more iPhone 5 pics — another interpretation of what a LiquidMetal iPhone might look like:

New iPhone?

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: apple, iphone, iPhone 5, trending

For more Mobile coverage:

Top 6 Mashable Comments of the Week

Posted: 13 May 2012 03:40 PM PDT

One of the biggest stories from this past week was President Obama’s announcement of support for same-sex marriage.

While the issue of same-sex marriage is controversial in the United States, the Mashable community reacted to the President’s announcement with thoughtful comments. Some questioned the motive behind the President’s announcement while others reacted with pure happiness.

In addition to President Obama’s announcement, the Mashable community posted excellent comments on other topics from the week, including the Facebook IPO, the rumored “Budget Mac” and Star Wars day.

Each week, the Mashable community team is on the lookout for insightful and thoughtful comments from our readers.  Join the conversation in the comments on Mashable and our social media pages.

Mashable Facebook Page

The Mashable Facebook community reacts to Obama's support of gay marriage.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: community, top comments

For more Social Media coverage: Makes Your Smartphone Even More Useful [VIDEO]

Posted: 13 May 2012 03:33 PM PDT

Here’s, a Kickstarter project with a simple premise: Let’s hold your smartphone in a position where it can help you while it’s charging — or otherwise just sitting there. It’s a rigid USB cable that holds that Android device or iPhone either horizontally or vertically, letting you position it for use as an additional screen while you compute or drive.

The best news is, this handy accessory has already topped its $11,000 Kickstarter goal with 25 days to go, so it’ll probably be put into production before too long. It’ll probably cost around $17, the price 69 backers pledged as their votes for the viability of the project.

After you watch our video, be sure to take a look at the’s Kickstarter site, which cops a humorous and slightly aggressive attitude that made us smile. For example, here’s how the creator of describes what you’ll get for your pledge of five dollars: “You get nothing for this! I don’t want your sad pity money.” Not surprisingly, only one backer signed up for that.

Does look like something you’d find useful?

More About: accessories, kickstarter, Video

For more Dev & Design coverage:

Reddit Users Surprise Terminally-Ill Man With Random Acts of Kindness

Posted: 13 May 2012 02:57 PM PDT

Scott Widak and his family recently received the greatest gift anyone in their situation could receive — a viral act of encouragement and kindness from complete strangers.

Widak, 47, has Down syndrome and is terminally ill with liver disease. After frequently checking in and out of the hospital, Widak is now at home with his 85-year-old mother, who’s helping with his in-home hospice care.

To cope with such a challenging situation, Widak’s nephew, Sean O’Connor, turned to the Reddit community to see if anyone would be interested in sending a letter to his uncle.

“One of my uncle’s favorite things to do is open mail, and I thought that if he got a lot of mail it would cheer him up,” says O’Connor.

Within three hours, the post received more than 1,300 comments, most of which expressed interest in sending mail. O’Connor then included a link to a news article about Widak and his art, along with two photos of him and his mother, a P.O. box address and a few things he’s interested in, like Johnny Cash.

Due to the amount of personal information, Reddit removed the post four hours later — which was apparently enough time for most of the commenters to copy the address.

Following the post, Widak received hundreds of letters from all over the world, including the United States, Sweden, Finland, Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom and Mexico. According to O’Connor, there is still mail coming in.

In addition to beautifully written letters, Reddit users have sent custom artwork, art supplies, DVDs and personal keepsakes that they wanted to pass on to Widak.

Sony Music Entertainment sent him 15 CDs/DVDs, which were mostly by Johnny Cash.

“The mail that’s arrived has all been extremely positive and thoughtful,” says O’Connor. “My family and I are amazed at how so many strangers could come together for a random act of kindness.”

O’Connor and his family have shared these images of Widak and the overwhelming amount of mail he’s received. Take a look and share your thoughts in the comments.

Here is just a portion of the letters and packages that Widak has received.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: features, Mail, reddit, Social Good

For more Social Media coverage:

7 Beautiful Time-Lapse Videos That Celebrate Expectant Moms

Posted: 13 May 2012 02:35 PM PDT

1. Introducing...

This charming movie went viral earlier this year. If you haven't seen it yet, press play now!

Click here to view this gallery.

To celebrate Mother’s Day, we’ve rounded up a touching collection of time-lapse movies charting the physical evolution of seven expectant moms’ pregnancies.

Time-lapse photography is the perfect medium to capture the miracle of pregnancy, and there are clearly some creative filmmakers having babies!

SEE ALSO: Nature in Time-Lapse: 10 Awe-Inspiring Videos

Take a look through our video gallery above for seven stories with happy endings. If you enjoy the creative montages, then why not share this with all the special moms in your life?

More About: family & parenting, features, Mother's Day 2012, mothers day, trending, Video, YouTube

How Iraq is Using Reality TV and Facebook to Inspire a Generation of Peacemakers

Posted: 13 May 2012 02:28 PM PDT

"Baghdad" "Iraq map" "Middle East"

Educational reality TV and social media are the drivers inspiring a group of Iraqi youth demanding a different future — one with peaceful resolutions and equality.

Nareen, an 18-year-old Iraqi whose last name has been withheld for safety reasons, starred in Iraq’s first youth reality TV show called Salam Shabab to compete for the title of becoming an “Ambassador of Peace” last year. Salam Shabab is a competitive TV show with the ultimate goal of uniting Iraq through peace building.

The first step to peace building is getting Iraqis from different races, religions and geographical backgrounds to respect and understand each other and work together. Iraqis have immense local pride, but do not have a strong sense of nationalism. This could be due to the fact Iraq’s regions are divided and traveling to different provinces is limited. Most youth have not interacted with people from different regions or left their hometowns.

This has cause a lack of cultural understanding and awareness in a nation full of a variety of identities. The North is made up of mostly Kurds and Sunni Muslims. Mainly Sunni and Shia Muslims reside in Central Iraq and Southern Iraq has mostly Shia Muslims.

Salam Shabab casts youth ages 14 to 18 from across Iraq to complete on teams in four challenges — mental, performance, physical and short film compositions. The teams are a conglomerate of youth from different regions, organized to introduce youth to people from other areas of the country.

The first season featured youth from six provinces and was filmed in Erbil, Iraq, Nareen’s hometown. Although Nareen’s group didn’t make it past the second round, she says Salam Shabab changed her life and empowered her to focus on her dreams of becoming a lawyer and defending human rights.

“I hope that Iraq will be secure and safe again and as important as it was many years before,” Nareen said. “I hope that I could do some workshops to teach Iraqi youth how much it's important to keep their identity and how to work together to make peace.”

The second season of the show is set to air in June and season 3 production will be underway late this summer.

How Social Media Unites Iraqi Youth

The show has an active website and an ever growing Facebook following. After the first season of the show aired, participants went home and turned to social media to continue conversations about peace. Nareen said she talks with her fellow Salam Shabab participants on social media to discuss news, peace and political issues.

“I think the Iraqi youth are more open-minded because of their openness to the rest of the world through social media,” Nareen said, “so if they knew that their voices are heard and there are other people who care about their opinions they will be able to express themselves more and will be able to change or affect the political environment. ”

Social media is increasingly playing a role in assisting youth’s ability to talk about their vision for the future, said Sheldon Himelfarb, the U.S. Institute of Peace Director for the Center of Innovation on Media, Conflict, and Peacebuilding. Salam Shabab participants and youth who watch the show gather on the Salam Shabab Facebook page and website to discuss what they can do to create a better future for the next generation of Iraqi leaders.

“In Iraq, youth are marginalized — 50% of the population is under the age of 19,” said Theo Dolan, senior program officer at U.S. Institute of Peace’s Center of Innovation for Media, Conflict and Peacebuilding. “This is an incredibly large population that is on the fringe of social discourse. We are giving them a forum and they are doing amazing things.”

Even though television may still the prominent way Iraqis consume media, reports show social media is being used more frequently in Iraq. A 2011 IREX study found Facebook is the most popular social network in Iraq; more than 80% of survey respondents have Facebook accounts. The majority of users — 72% — are 18 to 34 years old.

“In most parts of Iraq, you have electricity that you can count on for 2 to 4 hours per day,” Himelfarb said. “Preliminary data show Iraqi youth are spending more time online than the hours of electricity they have.”

“We have got to meet these kids where they are at, and they’re online,” he said. “The numbers of kids in Iraq that are on Facebook is just huge. ”

The U.S.’s Interest in Salam Shabab

Growing up during the Iraq War and the Saddam Hussein regime bred a deep-seated distrust for government and political leaders. Through conducting research and studies, the U.S. Institute of Peace has found youth want a voice but feel they aren’t being heard. This is one of the many reasons the U.S. Institute of Peace decided to fund Salam Shabab. The show allows youth to discuss important political issues facing their country and solve problems.

Salam Shabab also gives the U.S. an opportunity to promote democracy and to build a better relationship with young people in Iraq.

“The political intransigents in Iraq is difficult and gains are going to be limited,” Dolan said. “That is why we are targeting these 14-to-18 year olds. There will be generational replacement and these kids will be able to reach out on TV and online to express themselves. They can model conflict resolution behaviors and make a difference.”

While U.S. Institute of Peace funds the show production, the show is created by Magic Carpet Media Production, an Iraqi-owned production company based in Amman, Jordan. The U.S. Institute of Peace provided $500,000 for first season production costs. All of the 50+ crew members are Iraqi, including Hussam A. Hadi, the producer of the show.

Hadi has been through many tough times to get to where he is today. After he was chased out of Iraq by Uday Saddam Hussein, Saddam Hussein’s son, for refusing to work for AlShabab TV, he was later kidnapped by extremists. Hadi said he is finally using his TV producing skills to promote peace in Iraq. His kidnapping gave him motivation to focus on changing the future of Iraq.

“I didn’t let this experience break me, but it made me stronger,” Hadi said. “This encouraged me to be more involved in a peace campaign because I don’t want my children to suffer from those people. I get a chance to work for Salam Shabab; this show represents hope to rebuild Iraq and to make it better now.”

From what Hadi can tell, the show is making an impact on youth participating in the show and also shifting youths’ views on diversity, which will help the next generation set their differences aside.

The Institute of Peace is tracking youth’s views on diversity throughout the show by surveying the participants. Data shows a shift in openness to other cultures. A U.S. Institute of Peace report said “64% of youth agreed that acceptance of cross-cultural dialog among the different groups that make up Iraqi society would constitute an important step in building a peaceful Iraq.”

Nareen is one of many Salam Shabab participants who found a sense of nationalism.

“Iraq can be a peaceful place if people of Iraq love each other and work together to build their country regardless to their differences,” she said. “Salam Shabab changed my life. It made it more active, more creative, more responsible — and it made me know I can do what I want with my life. It made me focus on my dreams.”

Image courtesy of iStock, leminuit

More About: Facebook, iraq, reality tv, Social Media

Top 10 Twitter Pics of the Week

Posted: 13 May 2012 01:51 PM PDT

1. Met Gala

On May 7, the annual #METGala, nicknamed "the Oscars of the East Coast," was hosted by Vogue at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. The red carpet evening, also known as the "night of nights" of the fashion industry, was a hugely popular photo subject, with thousands of photos posted to Twitter. Dozens of celebrities were dressed to impress, including Jessica Alba, Scarlett Johansson and Beyoncé. This picture, posted by Beyoncé fan account @BeyonceLite (90.000+ followers), displays Beyoncé walking up the red carpet dressed in a daring design by Givenchy.

Click here to view this gallery.

Get ready for one of the best packs of pics yet, as we bring you this week’s Top 10 Twitter Pics.

In this week's quest to uncover Twitter's visual treasure, we dug through more than 53 million pictures posted throughout the week to find the top 10 Twitter pics.

Some of this week's Twitter jewels show you what was happening on the other side of the world, where others could have been captured right next to you.

SEE MORE: Top 10 Twitter Pics of the Week

Here is the full analysis for this week’s pics from our helpful partners at Skylines, whose custom algorithm lets us find the best pics of the bunch. We’re lucky to have Skylines writer and analyst Julie Donders (@IkbenJulie) writing captions for each pic, making sense of it all while pointing to the analysis behind each pic with helpful links.

In case you missed them, here are last week's Top 10 Twitter Pics.

More About: Top 10 Twitter Pics, trending, Twitter

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Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson Officially Steps Down [UPDATED]

Posted: 13 May 2012 01:08 PM PDT

Update: Yahoo has officially announced Thompson is no longer with the company. The Board of Directors has named Fred Amoroso as Chairman of the Board and Ross Levinsohn as interim Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately.

Rumors circulated this morning Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson would step down from his position at the company Monday in the wake of a scandal involving his credentials for the position.

Thompson claimed in his resume that he graduated with a degree in accounting and computer science in 1978 from Stonehill College. While the school confirms that Thompson does in fact have a degree in accounting, the school did not offer a computer science degree until 1983 — that’s five years after Thompson graduated.

Thompson, who was previously the president of PayPal, became CEO of Yahoo on January 4.

The error was originally discovered by Dan Loeb, an activist investor in Yahoo. Loeb also discovered Director Patti Hart misrepresented her degree from Illinois State University as one in marketing and economics, though she actually got a degree in business administration.

According to All Things D, Yahoo will say publicly Thompson is leaving the company for “personal reasons,” however, those reasons are almost certainly tied to the recent resume debacle. Thompson, on the other hand, will cite a recently discovered illness as his reason for departure.

Last week he attempted to explain the error, blaming a headhunting firm for adding the error to his resume when he was hired for a job at eBay in the mid-2000 time frame. That firm responded to the accusation, offering Yahoo a copy of a resume Thompson had reportedly submitted to them with the fake degree on it.

Thompson’s handling of the error –- rather than the error itself — is reportedly what has led Yahoo to make the decision for his removal. Thompson originally called the mistake an "inadvertent error" and apologized for the “distraction” it caused rather than the mistake itself.

Many staffers, engineers, and top-level execs at Yahoo have called for his dismissal.

Ross Levinsohn — the new interim CEO — is Yahoo's head of global media. Levinsohn recently ran Yahoo’s Americas unit, including its advertising sales.

More About: Scott Thompson, trending, Yahoo

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Free Ecards for Mother’s Day: Here’s Help [VIDEO]

Posted: 13 May 2012 12:18 PM PDT

It’s Mother’s Day, which means its time to buy Mom a card to tell her how great she is. If you forgot today was the big day — or waited until today to pick up a card — you’re not alone. Searches for free ecards ranked third on Google this morning, peaking around 9am – right about the time most people were getting their day started.

While there are tons of sites out there that offer electronic cards you can send Mom’s way, finding a free e-card is a little more difficult. Popular card maker Hallmark, for instance, offers one card free, with all its other options requiring a subscription to send them.

If you’re still in the market for a free card to send Mom, egreetings offers a few unique options. Yahoo and American Greetings are also offering a free option you can send Mom’s way.

Nothing there seems appropriate? Here’s a bonus gallery with even more suggestions:

1. Customized CanvasPop Artwork

With a CanvasPop gift card, your mom can get any photo -- including images from Facebook and Instagram -- printed on a stylish canvas frame. Once you've purchased, CanvasPop will instantly email you the electronic gift card and you can either print it out or forward it to your mom.

Click here to view this gallery.

Did any of you send your mom a digital greeting today? Where did you go to find the perfect electronic message? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

More About: e-cards, Google, Mother's Day 2012

Apple Drops 4G Branding From New iPad

Posted: 13 May 2012 11:20 AM PDT

Apple is changing the way it’s marketing the iPad + 4G, dropping the 4G altogether and replacing it with the word “cellular.”

The move comes after complaints from an Australian competition regulator. While Apple was marketing the tablet as “4G” in the country, it currently cannot connect to Australia’s 4G network or the 4G networks in other countries outside of North America. Due to that fact, regulators felt Apple was misleading Australian customers about the device’s possible data speeds.

While much of the iPad’s website marketing — at least here in the U.S — still has the the 4G LTE designation, when it comes time to buy the tablet in the store, you’re now given the option to purchase just a “Wi-Fi” version, or a “Wi-Fi + Cellular” model.

While the term “4G” does refer to the data speed a device can achieve, it simply means that it can connect to a 4th-generation data network faster than its 3G predecessor. In the U.S., many device manufacturers use the “4G” label on devices that are not capable of data speeds as fast as some of their 4G competition.

SEE ALSO: What is 4G? An FAQ on Next Generation Wireless

One example is Apple’s iPhone 4S on AT&T, which now has a 4G designation, although according to the International Telecommunications Union the network the iPhone specifically runs on (HSDPA) is not a fourth-generation network. It’s more like 3.5G.

The new iPad is currently only capable of connecting to five true 4G networks, all of which are located in the U.S. or Canada.

[via 9to5 Mac]

More About: 4G, apple, ipad, LTE, trending

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 Highlights Android’s Tablet Problem [REVIEW]

Posted: 13 May 2012 09:54 AM PDT


Is the large-size Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 a worthy iPad alternative? With its 10.1-inch screen, this is the Samsung tablet that competes most directly with Apple‘s flagship “post PC” product. And with a price $100 cheaper than the entry-level iPad (for the same 16GB of storage), the $400 Tab is certainly a temptress for tablet buyers.

In tablet society, though, Samsung and Android have a thinner pedigree than the iPad, and it shows in the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1. While the tablet will certainly please anyone who just wants a decent screen for checking out Netflix videos, the tablet falls short in many key features — notably, the screen.

To be clear, the new Tab is a fine Android tablet. Running version 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” out of the box on a dual-core 1GHz processor and sporting a 1,280 x 800 display, Samsung’s latest toy has a lot to brag about. But when you’re talking tablets, you simply can’t ignore the iOS elephant in the room. Any tablet up for sale doesn’t just have to convince buyers it’s worthy of their cash — it has to show why it’s more worthy than the iPad.

It’s a fair argument to say, that since the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 is priced at $400, it’s really competing with the repositioned iPad 2, which now costs the same. But even putting aside the Retina display, better camera and faster processor in the latest Apple tablet, the experience on the Tab 2 (and most Android tablets) is generally a poor substitute for what you get from an iPad.

First of all, the tablet is hampered by the classic Android problem of a lack of good tablet support for many apps. Even mainstream apps like Twitter and Facebook still have stretched-out user interfaces that are more suited to a smaller phone screen. Forget the extremely visual layouts in, say, the eBay app for iPad, and forget running Hulu Plus at all (it doesn’t yet offer support for Samsung’s latest tabs).

The issue isn’t limited to apps. Using the browser, many sites (including Mashable) took me straight to the mobile version, even though the Tab’s 10.1-inch screen is more than enough to take on full web pages.

SEE ALSO: What Android Ice Cream Sandwich Does That iOS Doesn't

All these “is it a phone or a tablet?” issues, of course, are a symptom of Android’s fragmentation problem. With so many devices out there — all with different screens, processors and software — few sites or apps are ready for every possible device. Still, that’s not the buyer’s problem.

Samsung has some tricks that help it stand out from the Android pack, though. Like its little 7-inch brother, the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 has an infrared blaster so you can use the tablet as a remote control. Paired with an pre-installed app called Peel, the tablet can configure itself to control your TV and other gear just by tapping a few virtual buttons.

At least in theory. In practice, the process is much less nimble, and Peel stumbled badly on the first “activity” I attempted to set up. After successfully turning my Pioneer receiver on and off, it then attempted to switch inputs on it, but couldn’t. Worse yet, the app offered no way to skip the step without contacting technical support. I abandoned the process at this point, something I expect the majority of customers would do, too.

Samsung also offers one-stop shopping for movies, music and games right from the home screen. Although when I say “offers,” I should really say “thrusts your face in front of.” The large Samsung storefront widgets that appear on the screen by default highlight exactly what’s wrong with Android, though at least they’re easily deleted.

On pure performance, the Galaxy Tab 2 is a trooper. It performed well in benchmarks, besting most of the phones we’ve reviewed lately and leaving the original iPad in the dust. Still, it didn’t quite beat the iPad 2, and the iPad 3 blew it away. In terms of real-world use, I found there was a slight lag after some finger taps and motion wasn’t quite as fluid as I’d like, but I’m now used to the iPad 3.

At the end of the day, if you’re in the market for a tablet, you could do a lot worse than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1. It’s a solid performer, and the bright widescreen display is tailor-made for things like watching HD video. But until app developers rise to the challenge of fully supporting Android tablets — and Google gets its fragmentation problem under control — tablets such as the Tab 2 will never make enough noise to be heard over the stampede of customers trampling their way toward the nearest Apple Store.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, Packaging

Here's what new owners of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 will see first.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: android, Galaxy Tab 2, ice cream sandwich, ipad, iPad 2, review, samsung, trending

The History of Social Recruiting Technology [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 13 May 2012 09:42 AM PDT

Digital recruiting has certainly come a long way in such a short time. Since the dawn of the computerized job process, quick and simple strides have been made in recruiting that have ultimately produced a major impact on how employers find young talent with the right skills. Of course, it’s no secret that one of the biggest advances made in recruiting in the last 20 years has been the advent of social media. These networking platforms — LinkedIn being the most noteworthy — have altered the foundation of recruiting to allow for more efficiency, higher speed and better results.

But why not introduce social media into other great tools of recruiting? This infographic, with research and art provided by Jobvite, not only chronicles the major leaps in recruiting since the ’90s but also shows how social media can be cleverly integrated for even more efficiency. Of course, these changes are in sync with the way that job seekers are handling their own search — Pew Research estimates that 65% of adults use social media for their own job search.

Check out the infographic below. How important is social media to you when looking for a job or finding a potential employee? Let us know in the comments.

Infographic courtesy of Jobvite

Social Media Job Listings

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

More About: features, infographic, infographics, job search series, jobs, linkedin, mashable, Recruiting

Google Doodle Offers Sweet Mother’s Day Surprise

Posted: 13 May 2012 08:52 AM PDT

Google’s done it again, creating a Google Doodle for Mother’s Day that’s touching enough to warm the cockles of even the hardest heart.

There’s mom, the blue g, standing there all alone wearing her string of pearls and wondering if those two little ones, her brood depicted as the letter “o” in red and yellow, will remember to honor her on this special day.

As you can see, she’s not disappointed, as they come running through the door with their tiny floral offering and heaping helpings of love, jumping into her arms and showering her with love and thanks for bringing them into this world.

Makes me want to call my mom. Thanks, Google.

By the way, see this little gem for yourself by going to, and here’s a little viewing hint: Ironically, the animation looks a whole lot cleaner in the Firefox browser than it does on Google’s own Chrome browser.

Bonus: Of course, this is not the first animated Google Doodle — here are our favorites:

The Christmas Google Doodle

Each package gets larger with a mouse-over, and a click on it returns search results pertinent to a specific country or the particular items featured in a scene. This one is from December 24, 2010.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: google doodle, Mother's Day 2012, trending

9 Essential Steps for a Killer Kickstarter Campaign

Posted: 13 May 2012 08:05 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.

These days, more Kickstarter campaigns are achieving success than we can keep track of. The iPhone-friendly Pebble watch earned $7.6 million more than its $100,000 goal. And the Galileo iPhone platform closed its Kickstarter campaign at $702,000, far surpassing its $100,000 goal.

Not to mention, Kickstarter recently reported it has raised $200 million from over 2 million backers.

How does one cash in (literally) on the Kickstarter craze? For starters, it helps to have a unique concept, wicked ambition and one unforgettable pitch. The great news is that Kickstarter provides great tools to showcase all of the above.

We’ve read all of Kickstarter’s guidelines, FAQs and tips, and have researched testimonials from successful campaign alums to compile a set of tips that will help launch you into the Kickstarter hall of fame.

1. The Scope

Kickstarter projects are just that: projects. And Kickstarter has strict parameters to define a project. It’s “something finite with a clear beginning and end. Someone can be held accountable to the framework of a project — a project was either completed or it wasn't — and there are definable expectations that everyone can agree to."

In other words, Kickstarter is not meant to help you earn money to launch a business. Rather, it's about earning money to complete a finite goal, whether that's releasing your band's latest album, completing a book, etc. There is leeway if you’re looking to develop a more abstract project — such as, for example, prototyping a suite of online services or completing an entire line of products — but that’s as big of a scale as the rules of the platform can handle.

Now, if that project just so happens to coincide with the launching of your business, so be it. However, don't expect to use Kickstarter funds toward anything related to general business — you can use the money towards the development of your project and in paying the necessary people to get your work off the ground. So, set very specific and measurable project goals. Not only will Kickstarter approve your project, but potential backers will have a firmer understanding of what they're funding.

2. The Timeline

One of the biggest factors to take into account is your project's timeline. This is important not only for overall organization, but also because it will dictate how long your Kickstarter campaign should run and how long it will take to deliver the finished product.

You can set a Kickstarter campaign to run anywhere between one and 60 days. Keep in mind, however, that projects lasting 30 days or less have Kickstarter's highest success rates. Some sellers favor shorter time periods because there's less of a chance of a funding "dead zone” — a project's momentum climbs in the beginning and the end, but can lag during a too-long middle time period. Find a happy medium between your timeframe and your audience's attention span.

A timeline is also important so that you can set mailing dates for your backers' rewards, another essential piece of the Kickstarter experience. Be sure to give yourself enough time to complete your project once the Kickstarter campaign has been funded; that way, you won't disappoint your backers with late or rushed rewards.

3. The Money

Once you have a clearly defined project, it should be relatively straightforward to define a funding goal. It's as simple as putting together a budget.

Take into account the following: production, manufacturing, labor, packaging and shipping costs. Factor in your "salary," too; if you're using Kickstarter to help you complete a book, backers are paying for your time. (Just be sure to make that clear in your project description.)

The most important thing to remember is that Kickstarter uses an all-or-nothing funding model — if your project doesn't reach its financial goal within the specified time period, you'll receive no money. Therefore, don't set the bar unreasonably high. On the other hand, if you've accurately budgeted the project and are fully transparent to potential backers, you should see healthy returns.

4. The Tiers

Hand-in-hand with your budget, you'll need to determine the proper rewards to return to backers once the project is completed. Rewards are tangible returns for a backer's money, and can vary widely from project to project.

Kickstarter provides an example: "Every project's primary rewards should be things made by the project itself. If the project is to record a new album, then rewards should include a copy of the CD when it's finished."

Rewards are determined by different funding tiers. Let's take the CD example: You might estimate that a backer who pledges $20 deserves a copy of the CD. However, if a backer pledges $50, maybe he or she receives a signed copy of the CD. And if he pledges $100, it's two signed copies plus a concert ticket.

Kickstarter data shows that the most popular pledge is $25, but the average pledge is around $70. Kickstarter also shares that projects with no reward succeed 35% of the time, while projects with a reward less than $20 succeed 54% of the time. Therefore, don't be afraid to vary your pledge tiers widely to accommodate all budgets.

5. The Video

Kickstarter projects with a video component succeed at a higher rate than those without (50% vs. 30%). So yes, a video is important. Rather than speculate what makes an awesome video, let's hear from Kickstarter itself what makes a killer vid:

  • Tell us who you are.
  • Tell us the story behind your project. Where’d you get the idea? What stage is it at now? How are you feeling about it?
  • Come out and ask for people’s support, explaining why you need it and what you’ll do with their money.
  • Talk about how awesome your rewards are, using any images you can.
  • Explain that if you don’t reach your goal, you’ll get nothing, and everyone will be sad.
  • Thank everyone!

Finally, be sure that your video thumbnail is strategic, inviting and piques the visitor's curiosity. Consider featuring a prototype or a design element. After all, it's the first image people will see when they visit your project page.

6. The Project Page

Now that you've defined your project's parameters, it's time to communicate them to potential backers and supporters. Kickstarter emphasizes the most important thing to remember is to be transparent at all times.

That means clearly defining your project's scope and how you will achieve your goal. It's also imperative that you explain precisely how you plan to use backers' money. These are the things people want to know first, and they can make or break some backers’ decisions to fund your project.

Then, explain why you are the best person, company or group to complete this project. Why is your team qualified? What are your past experiences and accolades? Also, create a sense of urgency and timeliness — why do people need this project right now?

Remember to be concise but thorough. Ask yourself, “What questions would people have about my project before pledging money and support?”

7. The Community

Now that you're ready to launch your project, it's time to call on your community. Kickstarter recommends tapping your Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and other social media followers, but advises a gentle approach. Don't spam your friends and goad your followers with self-promotion. Consider several different kinds of outreach (e.g. email newsletters) so as not to overload one network.

And remember: Your community isn't enough. Consider drafting a pitch document for media coverage, no matter how small the outlet. And ask for help from your local community so they can share in the success — pass out fliers in local businesses and make nice with your town's radio DJs.

An often overlooked tactic is to tap your backers' networks, too. Once a person supports your project, he or she is obviously invested in its completion. So, ask backers to share the project among their communities — they scratch your back, so you scratch theirs, right?

8. The Updates

Your backers are the lifeblood of your project; therefore, they deserve to be updated frequently and thoroughly, as if they were on the team alongside you.

You may choose to either make updates public, or share them privately to backers. Either way, an email will be sent to backers with the update. Consider including video and photos of your progress, important milestones and team events — that way, backers will feel more invested in your project.

In each update, ask backers to spread the word about the project to their networks. Remind them that the more exposure the project gains, the more likely the project is to succeed, and thus, the more likely backers are to receive their rewards.

9. The Rewards

It goes without saying that you need to do everything in your power to complete the project after it has been funded on Kickstarter. Even if it gets delayed (things happen), continue sharing updates with backers. Be open and honest to maintain backers' trust.

A project's completion means you need to start mailing backers their rewards. You'll be able to send backers a survey upon completion of your Kickstarter campaign, in which you can ask them to provide their contact information and other requests (T-shirt size, color preference, mailing address, etc.) Kickstarter offers a spreadsheet tool to help you keep all of this information organized.

That's just it — stay organized. Many Kickstarter alums share that the most challenging part of the process was meeting the mailing dates for rewards. But the process should be pretty straightforward, as long as you account for every step of the process: collecting surveys, calculating shipping costs based on package weight and backer location, purchasing supplies, printing shipping labels, packaging, transporting and finally mailing your rewards.

Have you launched a Kickstarter campaign or backed a project you believe in? Do you have any Kickstarter advice to add? Please share in the comments below.

1. Portals

Funded: $1,934

This project uses a box and an old monitor to simulate virtual reality. It is an incredibly cool project, but its Kickstarter backers shouldn't expect anything in return other than a "big happy thank you."

Click here to view this gallery.

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

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, sjlocke, Flickr, boxchain

More About: features, kickstarter, mashable, open forum, Small Business, Startups

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