Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Mobile Phone Sales Down 2 Percent, Samsung Still Number One [REPORT]”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Mobile Phone Sales Down 2 Percent, Samsung Still Number One [REPORT]”

Mobile Phone Sales Down 2 Percent, Samsung Still Number One [REPORT]

Posted: 16 May 2012 05:14 AM PDT


Mobile phone sales worldwide reached 419.1 million units in Q1 2012, a 2% decrease compared to the same period last year, Gartner’s latest report says.

This is certainly not due to smartphone sales, as they’ve experienced tremendous growth, with 144.4 million units sold in Q1 2012, up 44.7 percent year-over-year.

On the manufacturer front, Samsung emerged as number one with 86.6 million units sold, ahead of Nokia which sold 83.2 million units. Apple, which sells only smartphones, is a distant third with 33.1 million units sold, followed by China’s ZTE and LG.

Perhaps even more importantly for Samsung, that company is the undisputed king of the Android market. Samsung’s sales of Android smartphones in Q1 2012 represented more than 40% of Android-based smartphone sales worldwide, with all other Android makers capturing less than 10% market share.

Overall Android unit sales in Q1 2012 were 81.1 million, followed by iOS with 33.1 million and Symbian with 12.5 million.

[via Gartner]

More About: apple, htc, Mobile phone, Nokia, samsung, smartphone

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HTC One X Delayed at US Customs and Three Other Stories You Need to Know

Posted: 16 May 2012 03:21 AM PDT

Social Media News

Welcome to this morning's edition of "First To Know," a series in which we keep you in the know on what's happening in the digital world. Today, we're looking at four particularly interesting stories.

HTC One X and Evo 4G LTE Delayed at US Customs

HTC’s two new smartphones, the flagship One X and the Evo 4G LTE, have been indefinitely delayed at US customs due to potential infringement on an Apple patent, the Verge reports.

Apple won a patent lawsuit against Android back in December 2011, effectively banning HTC from selling certain devices beginning April 19, 2012. At the time, it seemed HTC would be able to easily circumvent this ban by simply removing the feature from its devices, but things obviously didn’t go as smoothly as planned.

At the moment, HTC can’t do much but wait until the US Customs reaches a decision. “We believe we are in compliance with the ruling and HTC is working closely with Customs to secure approval,” the company has announced.

General Motors Stops Advertising on Facebook

General Motors pulled its ads from Facebook, claiming that advertising on the world’s largest social network doesn’t convert too well into car purchases. Ford and Chrysler, however, aren’t following GM’s lead.

"We've found Facebook ads to be very effective when strategically combined with engagement, great content and innovative ways of storytelling,” said Scott Monty, head of social media for Ford.

World’s First QR Code Exhibition in London

QR World Expo, the first exhibition and conference focused on QR Code, is taking place at the Royal Horticultural Halls in London on October 24, 2012.

"We hope to bring industry specialists, service providers and users of the technology together to share ideas, discuss experiences and promote innovation. London will be our first event with a US and Far East event planned for 2013," said Adam Leese, Head of Operations at QR World Expo.

LG Unveils New Optimus 3.0 UI

LG Electronics has introduced a new user interface for its newest Android Ice Cream Sandwich devices – the Optimus UI 3.0.

Key features include a quick memo option, new pattern lock which supports presets for various functions of the phone, the ability to unlock the phone by dragging anywhere on the screen and Voice Shutter, which allows users to capture photos using only voice commands.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, mattjeacock

More About: features, first to know series, mashable

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Want to Live Stream Your Wedding? Here’s How

Posted: 16 May 2012 02:52 AM PDT

Even dream weddings can be missing something — friends and family who cannot attend. So what better way to utilize live streaming technology than for a once in a lifetime event? There are a number of web based services that specialize in live streaming weddings. Check out a couple of them here:

Marry Me Live

Stacy Yamaoka and her business partner Christopher Anderson started Marry Me Live in 2009. “It started because we recognized the needs of both of our families,” Yamaoka told Mashable. Anderson’s grandparents weren’t able to attend his sister’s wedding in 2009. By the time wedding Yamaoka’s sister’s wedding rolled around later that year, they decided to live stream the occasion to guests who couldn’t make it.

Yamaoka and Anderson live streamed their own wedding this past month. Since Anderson is from Texas and Yamaoka’s from California, the couple, who met in New York, decided it would be wise to stream their special day so everyone they know could attend, at least virtually.

Since 2009, Marry Me Live has expanded to 15 cities and works with a network of 20 videographers. Yamaoka said Marry Me Live vets each videographer to ensure they are hiring qualified professionals. All the videographers are versed on how to utilize the Marry Me Live streaming platform. Weddings can be live streamed overseas if needed. Yamaoka recalled one bride who live streamed her wedding to her brother in Iraq, who watched the service from a local Internet cafe.

March through September or October is the busiest time of the year for the site, with three-to-four weddings being live streamed each month. Each couple gets a personalized wedding page, from which their wedding will be live streamed, at least two weeks prior to the couple’s wedding.

“Most of the time, a wedding couple shares their viewing webpage in an email or on their wedding website several weeks before their wedding,” Yamaoka said. “Facebook and Twitter are also a great way to notify a larger network of friends a few days before the big event.”

Marry Me Live has two pricing plans. To hire Yamaoka and her husband (who are based on Texas), wedding streaming fees start at $2,000. This includes a video expert simultaneously broadcasting live and recording the ceremony for later. However, pricing differs between cities and videographers.

What sets Marry Me Live apart from other live streaming platforms? Yamaoka said they understand a wedding can only be live streamed once, so they perfect this experience. “There are only a handful of other regional companies trying to do what we do,” she added.

I Do Stream

Based in Connecticut, I Do Stream offers live streaming for weddings throughout the United States and destination weddings in Cancun, Mexico, Jamaica, Bahamas, St. Thomas and Hawaii.

I Do Stream works with more than 350 videographers, but like Marry Me Live, the prices vary. If you’re on a budget and a newbie streamer, you can rent the equipment for $595, or you can use I Do Stream and your own equipment for $199. A support line can walk you through the setup. Support staff will also monitor the live feed for your entire ceremony.

When your customized page is ready, virtual guests will be notified via an automated email. They can also view the wedding at any time for 90 days after the event or purchase a recording for their iPod.

To test the live stream before your big day, make sure your customized page is ready and download the broadcast software. Have a friend or relative in another location login to the site and make sure they can view the live stream.

Even if your wedding is this coming weekend, there’s still time to setup this live stream. I Do Stream asks for one day advanced notice assuming you have all the necessary equipment: a laptop computer, camcorder, firewire or USB video capture device and Internet access.

Ordering the Enhanced Broadcast Package requires a two weeks notice to process and ship the equipment.

You can view what the live stream will look like on the company’s website.

Couples might also consider general streaming services like Ustream or Skype.

What do you think about Marry Me Live and I Do Stream? Would you use either of these services? Tell us in the comments.

More About: live streaming, weddings

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Facebook Travel App Gogobot Hits 1 Million Registered Users

Posted: 16 May 2012 12:39 AM PDT

Facebook social travel app Gogobot announced on Wednesday that it has reached the 1 million registered users mark.

The app launched on Facebook in January, when the social network unveiled a slew of integrated apps, including Gogobot. Gogobot was in use before that time, launching in private beta 18 month ago. Now the app is exploding in popularity: A new user joins every 15 seconds, more than 5 million places have been shared on Gogobot and overall membership has grown 65x year-on-year.

The social travel site lets you share your vacation photos with friends and strangers on the site. You can give recommendations to people who post questions regarding travel or destinations you may have been to. Users can also create a “passport” listing places they’ve been and include reviews and recommendations of spots to visit. Create trip itineraries or search trips other users have shared to get a better perspective on things to do on your vacation.

Gogobot also launched the latest version of its free app in the iTunes store for iPhone and iPod Touch. This latest version allows users to comment on postcards, plus adds a richer search experience, including the ability to search for restaurants by cuisine and attractions by distance.

CEO and Founder Travis Katz told Mashable back in January that he created Gogobot out of his desire to collect travel recommendation and information from friends, rather than sifting through impersonal guide books.

Do you use Gogobot? What do you think of it? Tell us in the comments.

More About: apps, gogobot, travel app

Thousands of Butts Were Analyzed to Create This Lightweight Chair [VIDEO]

Posted: 15 May 2012 08:44 PM PDT

German designers placed a high-tech, sensor-equipped chair in the middle of a palazzo in Milan last month to record stress points on the backsides of thousands of people. The goal? To determine how to design a lightweight and efficient chair that’s sturdy enough to support a wide variety of users.

When someone sat in the chair, monitors recorded data and processed it with an “algorithm that determines the most structurally efficient version of the chair,” according to the blog Co.Design.

The engineers worked with Audi's Lightweight Design Centre “using methods borrowed from the future of automotive manufacturing,” according to the chair’s website.

This expertly designed chair will have a hi-tech sounding name, too: The R18 Ultra. The chair consists of three parts, notes its website: “a carbon composite seat, a carbon-rubber composite back rest and aluminium alloy legs which can be compacted and transported in a lightweight flat-pack box.”

The project took place at furniture and design exhibition Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan from April 17-22, 2012.

The same technology used to design the efficient chair was also used for an Audi race car.

The final version of this chair will be unveiled at Design Miami later this year.

More About: design, Milan

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In-Flight Calling: Coming Soon to an Airplane Near You [VIDEO]

Posted: 15 May 2012 08:29 PM PDT

Hitting the friendly skies doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t make a mobile phone call — at least if you’re flying on one of Virgin’s new Airbus A330 planes. The airline plans to make in-flight calling available first on its flight from London to New York. By the end of the year, in-flight calling will be available on 17 planes and at least 10 routes.

Calls will be restricted to the time the plane is actually in the air – so you’ll still have to power off when the plane takes off or lands – and American laws require the service to be turned off when the plane gets within 250 miles of U.S. airspace.

"Many people will have experienced that moment when you're about to take off on a 10-hour flight and you need to send an important message to the office, or even reminding a family member to feed the cat," Steve Griffiths, Virgin Atlantic’s chief operation officer, explains in a press release. "It's also quite fun to call home and say ‘Guess where I am’ – not many people would think you're traveling at 35,000ft above the Atlantic Ocean."

Mobile access will be provided by a company called AeroMobile, and only six passengers will be able to take advantage of the calling function at once. Calls will have to be placed from phones on European carriers O2 and Vodafone, or the U.S. carrier T-Mobile. Customers will also be able to send text messages and access email on mobile devices.

Chatterers will be charged around what they might pay for traditional roaming charges. Keep in mind, when you’re taking about roaming into different countries "traditional roaming charges" can add up to a huge chunk of change pretty quickly. Depending on how loud and long the in-flight conversation is, callers may also pay for using the service in dirty looks from their fellow passengers who are trying to read or snooze during their transatlantic journey.

What do you think about Virgin offering in-flight calling? Is it a service you’d like to use, or do you wish was left out of airplanes? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

More About: travel, Virgin

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Want to Talk it Out? This Startup Puts Group Therapy Online for $9.99

Posted: 15 May 2012 08:01 PM PDT

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

Name: Talktala

Quick Pitch: Talktala is an online platform for group therapy.

Genius Idea: Targeting a support-group demographic rather than diagnosed therapy veterans.

The online support group is almost as old as the Internet. It easily overcomes location, limited budgets and desire for anonymity. Online therapy arrived a bit later, with studies as early as 2009 supporting the theory that an online chat with a psychotherapist could be successful at helping people with depression.

Now Talktala, a startup that launched Tuesday, aims to combine the best of both approaches to online mental health support. The company offers group sessions led by a certified therapist.

The site’s group topics are intended to target people facing common life challenges rather than those who are already diagnosed with mental illness. Group offerings in the beta version, for instance, include “I just lost someone” and “my partner doesn’t listen to me.” Members participate in therapist-moderated sessions through video, audio or chat, depending on what they are comfortable with.

“[Current online therapy sites] only address people who know what they have and are diagnosed,” Talktala co-founder Oren Frank says. “They don't approach all those people who say, 'I don't know if I need therapy, but I could certainly talk to someone.’”

Talkata verifies each therapist’s license and malpractice insurance before allowing them to offer sessions on the site. So far, it has approved about 50 of them.

Serving customers in a group allows the site to charge less than other platforms charge for one-to-one sessions. Therapists are free to set their own rates, but Frank says most classes will cost $9.99 for a 45-, 60- or 90-minute session. Talktala takes a 25% cut of session fees. It also allows therapists to conduct one-on-one sessions with group members for a higher hourly rate, of which it takes a 10% cut.

Generally, offline therapy progresses from one-on-one sessions to group sessions, not the other way around. While Talkata is not targeting people with serious illnesses, it’s bound to raise some questions over this flip-flop method.

“Doing online therapy the same way you do offline therapy won’t work,” Frank says. “You have to create a new product.”

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, Kycstudio

Series Supported by Microsoft BizSpark

Microsoft BizSpark

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

More About: bizspark, online therapy, Talktala

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Aaron Sorkin Confirmed to Write Steve Jobs Biopic

Posted: 15 May 2012 07:24 PM PDT

After winning an Oscar for writing a screenplay about Facebook, Aaron Sorkin is setting his sights on Apple.

Variety reports that Sorkin has officially signed on to adapt Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs, titled Steve Jobs, for Sony Pictures.

Sony optioned the screen rights for Steve Jobs before the book even hit shelves. And almost immediately, the studio began courting Sorkin.

Variety quotes Sony’s co-chairman Amy Pascal as saying, “There is no writer working in Hollywood today who is more capable of capturing such an extraordinary life for the screen than Aaron Sorkin; in his hands, we’re confident that the film will be everything that Jobs himself was: captivating, entertaining, and polarizing.”

Prior to The Social Network, Sorkin was best known for his writing about the political and entertainment arenas. Through television programs such as Sports Night, The West Wing and Studio 60, Sorkin has shown a deft ability to create complex, three-dimensional on-screen characters.

With The Social Network, Sorkin — along with director David Fincher — did something remarkable: He turned a film conceit that was panned as a joke into one of the best reviewed films of 2009.

Sony’s Steve Jobs project might have the most clout, but it’s not the only film about the late Apple co-founder. Ashton Kutcher will portray a younger version of Jobs in the smaller film, Jobs: Get Inspired, which started shooting earlier this month.

Now here’s the big question: Who should play Jobs in the Sony version of the film? Let us know in the comments.

More About: Aaron Sorkin, apple, sony, steve jobs, steve jobs movie, trending

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Google’s New Research Pane Allows You to Access Search from Docs

Posted: 15 May 2012 07:07 PM PDT

Google Docs just got a little smarter with the introduction of a research pane Tuesday. The pane allows you to tap into a Google Search directly from Google documents to find additional information about a particular topic or idea.

Searches can be for things such as a map to a particular destination, quotes for a research paper, or even images. When you find something you like, you can add it to the document you’re working on by clicking the insert button. Images can be dragged and dropped from the pane into your piece.

So, if you’re working on a research paper about George Washington you can quickly find the perfect quote to add in, or if you’re working on a term paper on different types of flowers, you can drag and drop in photos to go along with your text.

For items you add to a research paper, a footnote citation will also be automatically added to the bottom of your paper as a record of where you found the info.

You can access the research pane now from the Tools menu by right clicking on a selected word that you want to learn more about, or by pressing Ctrl+Alt+R on Windows or Cmd+Alt+R on Mac.

What do you think about the new research pane? Do you see yourself using the new functionality? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

More About: Google, google docs

‘Prometheus’ Social Campaign Expands with Live Red Carpet and More

Posted: 15 May 2012 06:39 PM PDT

Fox is continuing its viral and digital campaign for Ridley Scott’s Prometheus with a new viral video, a special Twitter chat and a live-streamed red carpet premiere.

To kick things off, Fox will release its latest viral video for the film, “Quiet Eye,” at 7:00am PT on Wednesday. The video features Noomi Rapace as Elizabeth Shaw and was conceived and designed by Ridley Scott and screenwriter Damon Lindelof.

The video, which follows earlier viral videos for the film — including the amazing TEDTalk from the future and the creeptastic “ad” for robot helper “David” — will debut on the Verizon FiOS Facebook page.

In addition to the new viral video, Prometheus fans can chat over Twitter with screenwriter Damon Lindelof on May 16. Lindelof, of Lost fame, will answer questions live from the @PrometheusMovie Twitter account. Fans are directed to use the #prometheus hashtag for submitting questions.

Socializing a Global Premiere

Although Prometheus doesn’t hit US theaters until June 8, the film opens in the UK on June 1. On May 31, the film will make its red carpet debut in London and Fox will be streaming the event live for fans around the world.

Verizon is powering the stream in the US via its Verizion FiOS Facebook page, while global fans can access the stream from

BumeBox, which powered the excellent live red carpet event for Titanic 3D is also doing the live stream for the Prometheus event.

Red carpet live streams are not new; studios have been hosting the events for fans for the last three years. Still, we really like the social integration that BumeBox brings into the experience.

Fans can submit questions during the webcast, and talk with one another on Twitter and Facebook. Using the hashtag #prometheuslive, BumeBox is able to cull the best questions from Facebook and Twitter and deliver them to reporters on the red carpet.

Fox is doubling-down on digital for Prometheus in the hopes that online buzz will lead to big money at the box office. After seeing Disney’s success with The Avengers, their strategy just might pay off.

What do you think of the various social and digital elements of the Prometheus campaign? Let us know in the comments.

More About: BumeBox, Facebook, live streams, Movies, prometheus

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20 TV Shows With the Most Social Media Buzz This Week [CHART]

Posted: 15 May 2012 06:23 PM PDT

Although the NBA Playoffs round two Lakers vs. Nuggets game earned over 2 million more social media mentions than The Voice, the latter’s season finale caused quite a large ripple in the social ocean.

People took to the socialverse last Tuesday to chat about and celebrate the reality show competition’s winner, Jermaine Paul. A former backup singer to Alicia Keys and Mary J. Blige, Paul finally earned his own celebrity bragging rights by wowing both judges and viewers.

The runners-up also performed their closing songs during the two-hour finale, and famous acts like Daryl Hall and John Oates entertained the audience alongside pop stars like Justin Bieber, who sang his new single, “Boyfriend.”

SEE ALSO: Counting Crows Singer Adam Duritz: Twitter Changed My Life

The data is compliments of our friends at Trendrr, who measure specific TV show activity (mentions, likes, check-ins) across Twitter, Facebook, GetGlue and Miso. To see daily rankings, check out Trendrr.TV.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, subjug

More About: Entertainment, infographics, Social Media, social tv, social tv charts, Trendrr, TV

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Flipboard Adds Audio to Its Social Magazine

Posted: 15 May 2012 06:02 PM PDT

Flipboard wants to be the first magazine with a soundtrack.

The company is releasing an update on Tuesday that integrates music-sharing service SoundCloud as well as radio programs from NPR and Public Radio International (PRI).

Flipboard’s app for iPhone and iPad (and soon Android) collects articles, images, photo albums and videos that your friends share on social networks and re-formats them in a personalized magazine.

Its pages will now contain tracks that friends share through SoundCloud, including original recordings and podcasts from publications such as The Economist.

Users will also be able to play NPR and Public Radio International programs directly from the app. If they’re reading an article from either organization, the accompanying audio will also be included.

Flipboard will nudge users toward radio programs through a new “Audio” category in the app’s Content Guide. Once a track or a program is selected, it will continue playing as users flip through the app. A new menu located on the bottom left-hand corner of each page will control volume and play.

Though users can now access songs and podcasts through Flipboard, they cannot purchase them. The startup monetizes content by selling ads within publications on the platform. Flipboard Head of Marketing Marci McCue tells Mashable the company is exploring other options for audio.

“It’s interesting to us,” she says. “Not only integrating with popular music sources like iTunes, but also allowing new artists that are out there to have some social exposure and commerce related to their music. It's not currently on the road map, but it's stuff we're looking at.”

Image courtesy of Istockphoto, domin_domin

More About: ereaders, Flipboard

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Is Facebook Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory?

Posted: 15 May 2012 05:09 PM PDT

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

For years, the conventional wisdom on Facebook has gone something like this: the social network is an unstoppable juggernaut. It commands more and more of our attention and, ultimately, our ad dollars. Mark Zuckerberg is an unimpeachable genius. His product is too popular to ever be replaced.

But there’s something wrong with that picture — and it’s not just that anything labeled “conventional wisdom” is almost certain to be wrong in the long term. It’s that Mark Zuckerberg himself would likely disagree vehemently with all of it.

Everything we’ve heard about Zuckerberg’s behavior inside Facebook says he lives in constant fear of catastrophic and irreversible decline. And with good reason. He is well versed in Silicon Valley lore — which insists, in the words of Andy Grove’s famous book, that only the paranoid survive. Things change fast around here; today’s Apple could be tomorrow’s Yahoo, and vice versa.

Remember, this is the CEO who made a very sudden, very jumpy $1 billion purchase of Instagram — which may have been about to sell itself to Twitter — without consulting his board. This is the company that made an exhaustive list of 35 things that could kill it in its S-1 filing with the SEC. More to the point, it went back and amended that filing several times to make the picture it painted even bleaker.

One of Facebook’s biggest problems is mobile: it hasn’t figured out how to make money from its smartphone-based users, so the more of us that check Facebook from our phones, the worse for Facebook’s average revenue per user (or ARPU, a very important financial metric for consumer companies).

Guess what, the S-1 amendments said. More people are using our mobile apps than we thought. And our revenue is going down.

SEE ALSO: Facebook: Here are the 35 Things That Could Kill Our Company

But that doesn’t matter, right? Users love using Facebook. Advertisers are dazzled by its possibilities. And the coming IPO frenzy will erase all doubts and set the company on its way, just as it did with Google.

That’s what I thought — until about a week ago. But a number of factors have made me less than certain on all three counts. Let’s take them one by one:

Users love Facebook. Or more accurately, they did — until Timeline came along. As poll after poll has shown, Timeline is one of the least popular features Facebook has ever rolled out. The most recent study I could find, conducted in late March by online security firm Webroot, found that an astonishing 88% of users are “concerned” about the privacy implications of all the data that Timeline sucks in.

Facebook announced Monday that the last few Timeline holdouts would be automatically switched over as of May 21. That’s it — no more old profiles. Timeline is mandatory. Will users learn to love the new layout? Or will they conclude that Facebook is getting too damn complicated — and spend their valuable time elsewhere?

Ironically, the one place they can go for a Timeline-free Facebook experience: Facebook’s mobile apps. Down you go, ARPU.

Advertisers are dazzled by its possibilities. Make that some advertisers. The ad world was buzzing Tuesday about the news that General Motors, one of the three biggest advertisers in the U.S., is pulling all of its Facebook ads, citing a lack of effectiveness.

Granted, GM’s $10 million spend was a drop in the bucket of its $1.8 billion U.S. ad budget, not to mention Facebook’s $4 billion revenues. GM’s rivals, Ford and Chrysler, plan to stick around. But it does raise a troubling point: the effectiveness of Facebook ads is still unproven.

The social network is a place we go to hang out with friends, and ads in that context can often seem a little creepy and intrusive, no matter the high standards Facebook holds them to. Retailers are already shutting Facebook stores. And there are plenty of reasons to doubt whether Facebook ads can ever be as effective as Google’s AdSense — which has the benefit of being in a better context, ie. when we’re actually looking for stuff.

So could GM be ahead of the curve, rather than a stodgy old outlier? Either way, it’s about the last question Zuckerberg would want you to be debating in the last days before his big IPO.

The IPO will erase all doubts, just as it did with Google. Ever since Facebook first revealed its surprisingly low IPO share price of $28 to $35, I felt the company was, to use sales parlance, pumping the buying temperature. If the price jumps on day one, that’s all you’ll read about in the headlines.

Indeed, when Facebook recently bumped its initial share price, it seemed of a piece with that strategy — slowly raise the price of jumping in, and everyone will want on board before too long.

But then came the report that the IPO roadshow was less successful than Facebook had hoped. Zuckerberg’s choice of clothing for the big investment bank meetings became the story — an admirable riposte to Wall Street, yes, but not likely to win you many friends among slicked-back fund managers.

And IPOs are a risky business. For every Google, there is a Groupon. The Chicago-based daily deals site was all the rage before it went public, even turning down a generous buyout offer from Google. Then, a few months after IPO, its shares plummeted to below the initial asking price. The daily deals space? Not so hot right now.

That’s the problem with pre-IPO hype. You have to deliver on it, and fast. If Facebook ends up worth less than the $100 billion valuation we’ve all been discussing for months — heck, even if it doesn’t jump much beyond that — the whispering campaign will start. The cracks in its facade — Timeline, ad engagement, the fact that nearly all of its growth is coming from outside the U.S. — will become more obvious. And Zuckerberg’s worst fears may well be realized.

What’s your take on Facebook’s status? Let us know in the comments.

1. Competitors

"Users increasingly engage with competing products."

Image courtesy of Flickr, Mukumbura

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More About: Facebook, facebook ipo, General Motors, groupon, Opinion, Zuckerberg

Smart Collar Transmits Doggie Health Reports to the Cloud [VIDEO]

Posted: 15 May 2012 04:23 PM PDT

Ever wonder how your dog is feeling during a run in the park or how your pet is doing while home alone? A smart collar that transmits data to the cloud directly from your pup’s body can now tell you.

Information technology product manufacturer Fujitsu has developed a special device that can be attached to a dog’s collar or harness. From there, the device monitors the number of steps the dog takes, signs of shivering and external temperature. Changes in these numbers, which could point to obesity or diabetes, would also be easier to detect, says Fujitsu.

On-the-go pet owners can access the cloud service to see how Scruffy or Sparky is doing. The health monitoring device sends data to an specialized Android app or web service. It’s accessible on iOS devices with a web browser.

SEE ALSO: 10 Animals With More Social Media Fans Than Major Media Outlets

The contraption is compact enough for your pet to wear at all times, says the company.

The service will be available in the latter half of 2012. It will be showcased at the Fujitsu Forum and Tokyo International Forum this week in Japan.

What factors about your pet would you like to track? Tell us in the comments.

More About: pets, Tech, Video

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These Are the Most Engaging Brands on Facebook [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 15 May 2012 04:02 PM PDT

As Facebook gears up for its initial public offering later this week, there’s been a lot of speculation about the company’s valuation. But there’s no denying that its worth to major and up-and-coming brands is invaluable, allowing Facebook users to interact and engage with companies in unprecedented ways.

A new infographic from social marketing firm SocialBakers takes a look at which global brands are making the most of their Facebook presence.

With 157 million Facebook users in the U.S. and 901 million on the site in total, about 83% of members are located outside the 50 states. This means there’s room for brands to grow their global reach.

SEE ALSO: 10 Innovative Uses of Facebook Timeline for Brands

Coca-Coca is the top global beverages brand on Facebook, according to SocialBakers. Meanwhile, Starbucks dominates the food retail sector and aConverse tops the retail apparel category.

The infographic also reveals the top ten countries in which global brands are engaging their audience, with the U.S. leading the pack with Starbucks, McDonald’s, Xbox, Walmart and Disneyland. Brazil comes in second — with L’Oreal Paris and Trident (Kraft) — followed by India with Vodafone and Pepsi.

SocialBakers also notes that among the fastest moving global brands are Halls, Axe, Nokia and Sony.

Which brands’ social media strategies do you believe are most impressive? Let us know your opinion in the comments.

Update: The original version of this story featured an infographic that misplaced a decimal point for brands listed under the “Top Global Brands” section. An updated version of the infographic has since been posted. We regret the error.

Facebook Brands Infographic

More About: brands, Business, Facebook, Marketing

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Follow the Nebraska and Oregon Primaries on Social Media

Posted: 15 May 2012 03:28 PM PDT

Mitt Romney has the Republican presidential nomination more or less in the bag, but primary season lives on. Voters in Nebraska and Oregon are headed to the polls Tuesday, with 63 delegates up for grabs. Romney’s collected approximately 973 delegates, so even if he cleans up Tuesday’s voting, he’d still be shy of the “magic number” — 1,144 — needed to formally secure the nomination.

Two of Romney’s opponents, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, have suspended their campaigns. Libertarian Ron Paul, who has about 104 delegates, sent an email to supporters this week saying he would no longer campaign in states that haven’t yet voted, but rather he would focus on amassing delegates in other ways — a sign that he’s bowing out of the race but wants to boost his own level of political influence.

There’s other voting happening in both states, too. In Nebraska, parties are holding primaries for an open seat in the U.S. senate, while an Ohio Democrat in the House of Representatives is facing a primary challenge.

Throughout the night, politicians, journalists and voters will use social media to rally support, tell the story of the evening and discuss the night’s events. Follow along as Mashable collects the best examples of social media use throughout primary night in Nebraska and Oregon:

Thumbnail image courtesy of iStockphoto, Henrick5000

More About: 2012 presidential campaign, Politics, Social Media, US

Chrome Now Syncs Tabs Across Devices

Posted: 15 May 2012 03:15 PM PDT

If you’re like me, you use Google Chrome as your primary browser, and at any one time you have dozens of tabs open. While it’s nice that Chrome remembers your tabs if you ever quit the app, you’ve probably at some point wished you could fire up the same tabs on another machine quickly and easily.

Now you can. With the new version of Chrome (version 19, for those scoring at home), Chrome now syncs all your open tabs across devices, be they PCs, Macs and yes, even phones. Right now the only version of Chrome for phones is a beta version on Android, although an iPhone version is rumored to be in the works.

The feature will even remember your browsing history on the other machine, so the back and forward buttons should work just where you left off.

Keeping tabs on your tabs is just the latest in Chrome’s syncing functionality. Chrome has had the ability to sync your bookmarks and sign-in information between devices for a while, and Firefox has a similar feature that includes the ability to sync tabs. In the upcoming Windows 8, Internet Explorer 10 will sync all your browsing information via a Windows Live ID.

To sync your tabs — indeed, anything — via Chrome, you’ll have to sign in with your Google account. We had trouble using the feature between a MacBook Pro and a Dell laptop, but Google says you should be able to see the option to open your tabs from the other machine when you open a blank tab.

Is this the Chrome feature you’ve been waiting for? Tell us in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, andrearoad

More About: Browsers, Google, google chrome

Ford, Chrysler Not Following GM on Facebook Pullout

Posted: 15 May 2012 03:02 PM PDT

What’s good for General Motors doesn’t appear to be good for Ford or Chrysler.

Reps from both carmakers say they’re not following GM’s lead in pulling its ads from Facebook.

Ford gives a particularly spirited defense of the platform.

“We've found Facebook ads to be very effective when strategically combined with engagement, great content and innovative ways of storytelling, rather than treating them as a straight media buy,” says Scott Monty, head of social media for Ford. “We continue to have a strong, collaborative relationship with Facebook, which includes first-of-a-kind vehicle reveals, advertising and innovative ways of sharing content. Our engineers have also been working with Facebook engineers to develop unique and safer ways of integrating the car experience with Facebook.”

Ford has been a strong proponent of Facebook as a brand platform. The automaker became the first to launch a new model exclusively on Facebook with the introduction of the 2011 Explorer in July 2010. Monty says Ford has 10 million fans across all its Facebook Pages.

Meanwhile, Dianna Gutierrez, a Chrysler rep, says the automaker “has no intention of following GM’s lead” in its Facebook stance. “Each of our brands has Facebook as part of its strategy,” she says.

It’s unclear whether other automakers will emulate GM. Joel Ewanick, GM’s marketing chief, is a longtime social media skeptic. In 2010, he told Brandweek that he thought Twitter was a flash in the pan. “Twitter is a little bit overrated,” he said. “There will be a new media toy that will replace it in a year or two.”

Image courtesy of Flickr, JD Hancock

More About: Advertising, Chrysler, Facebook, ford, General Motors

Twitter Confirms 10 Million Active Users in the UK

Posted: 15 May 2012 02:43 PM PDT

Twitter revealed there are 10 million active users tweeting regularly in the United Kingdom. This makes it the fourth largest tweeting nation — with about one in six Brits signed on to the social network.

About 80% of U.K. tweeters view Twitter on their mobile devices, more than in any other country. The global average of mobile Twitter users is about 55%.

The official @TwitterUK sent this tweet out on Tuesday:

The official Twitter count worldwide is 140 million users, who churn out 340 million tweets per day. The year-to-year growth of the microblogging social network, created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey, is staggering. The top countries on Twitter are the United States, Japan and Brazil.

SEE ALSO: Twitter Campaign Donates Your Unused Characters

Twitter opened its first European office in May 2011.

The 1-year-old London office is reportedly still seeking talent. Twitter is also set to open offices in Dublin, according to The Guardian, as part of its global expansion of offices.

Do you think Twitter will continue to see its global audiences grow? Sound off in the comments.

More About: Social Media, Twitter, uk

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Facebook to Stream Best Movie of All Time

Posted: 15 May 2012 02:26 PM PDT

Casablanca Facebook - 600

Grab some popcorn and your laptop. Facebook users on Wednesday night will be treated to a one-night only screening of the classic film Casablanca, which will be streamed from the film’s brand page.

Casablanca — the winner of three Academy Awards in 1944 and often heralded as one of the best movies of all time (according to, among others, world-renowned film critic Roger Ebert) — will be complimentary streamed on Casablanca’s Facebook page on May 16 at 7:00 p.m. ET. Only one screening for each Facebook account is permitted.

This screening coincides with the recent launch of Casablanca’s 70th Anniversary three-disc Blu-ray and DVD combo edition ($64.99) from Warner Home Video. The bundle also includes two never-before-seen documentaries: "Casablanca: An Unlikely Classic," and "Michael Curtiz: The Greatest Director You Never Heard Of."

SEE ALSO: 10 Innovative Uses of Facebook Timeline for Brands

The event also aims to promote a new e-book initiative called “Inside the Script” that gives movie fans a deeper look into various films. The illustrated e-book collection contains the film's actual shooting script, rare materials from the Warner Bros. Corporate Archive and more.

Although the live stream is unique, this isn’t the first time entertainment has been integrated into Facebook. In September 2011, Facebook first partnered with more than a dozen entertainment brands such as Netflix and Hulu to encourage more users to watch TV and movies directly on the site.

Do you think Casablanca will resonate with the younger Facebook crowd? Let us know in the comments.

More About: Entertainment, Facebook, Facebook brand pages, Film, hulu, Movies, netflix

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Can Facebook Ads Ever Beat Google? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 15 May 2012 02:00 PM PDT

General Motors is pulling its entire $10 million advertising budget from Facebook, mere days before the IPO.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, they called ads on the social network “ineffective,” but called Facebook pages “effective and important.”

Looking at the data on the infographic below, courtesy of AdWords provider WordStream, it’s easy to see why. Advertising rates on Facebook rose 40% in 2012, but click through rates fell by 8%.

In 2010, ads on Google were clicked nearly 10 times more often than ones on Facebook.

BIA/Kelsey's U.S Local Media Forecast, however, says that global ad spending on social media platforms will climb to $9.8 billion from $3.8 billion in the next four years.

Social media ad revenue in the U.S. is predicted to jump from $840 million in 2011 to $3.1 billion in 2016.

Will advertising on Facebook ever catch up to Google, or is the space not viable for traditional advertising? Let us know your take in the comments.

Trippy Rolls Out New Features to Become Vacation-Planning Hub

Posted: 15 May 2012 01:49 PM PDT

Trippy Map - 600

Social-travel planning site Trippy has rolled out a series of updates that turn the daydreaming platform into a vacation-planning tool.

Trippy — which, similar to Pinterest, allows users to share travel ideas and pictures but also incorporates trip-planning utilities — now includes map functionality, Facebook Timeline integration and “following” capabilities.

The new map integration on Trippy plots the photos you’ve collected on the web and adds them to your map. So if you have 20 pictures hovering over Hawaii, it might be time to finally consider visiting.

Trippy has also added a Facebook Timeline App to allow Facebook friends to see the travel ideas you’re collecting, as well as who you are “following.” To get things started, users automatically follow a series of avid celebrity travelers, from food critic Anthony Bourdain and stylist Rachel Zoe to musician Jason Mraz and entrepreneur Randi Zuckerberg.

SEE ALSO: Trippy Lets Your Friends Help You Plan Your Trips

Trippy continues to stand out among competitors by allowing users to not only compile pictures but help work toward planning a vacation. For example, posting a picture of a hotel to one of your boards and then search for room and rate availability by clicking “show prices”.

“We want users to visit Trippy to not only think about the places they want to visit, but to actually help with the planning process,” founder J.R. Johnson told Mashable.

Johnson also shared his vision for where he wants take the site moving forward: “In the future, we want users to book flights directly on the site and make dinner reservations with services such as Open Table, so users looking at pictures of delicious meals from certain restaurants can make a reservation on the spot.”

Although Johnson didn’t reveal when features like this beyond hotel booking will be made available, he said it’s top of mind for the company.

“If you’re booking a flight to Paris and pull up a picture of the Eiffel Tower, we want you to be able to book tickets to visit the landmark too,” Johnson added. “Trippy is becoming more of a vacation-planning tool than just a socially-curated content platform.”

More About: travel, Trippy

This Guy Gave Himself Implants for His iPod Nano

Posted: 15 May 2012 01:37 PM PDT

Some say fashion is pain, and in the case of Dave Hurban, it actually is. Hurban recently implanted magnets in his wrist himself — all for the ability to wear his trusty iPod Nano like a watch without having to sport a wristband.

What motivated him to do it? "I just thought it would be cool," Hurban said in an interview with Digital Trends.

To turn himself into a human iPod dock, Hurban had to make four incisions on his wrist, where he inserted small magnets. After a little bit of blood and some healing, the magnets, for all intents and purposes, are now a permanent part of his wrist. Hurban calls this creation iDermal.

The magnets are placed specifically to hold on to the four corners of the Nano. When he wants to wear his iPod Nano as a watch, all he has to do is hold the player close to his wrist and the magnets grab hold of the player and attach it to his body.

While designed specifically to be used with an iPod Nano, we can’t help but think that the magnets might also grab hold of other unwanted metal items like pocket change, kitchen utensils or car keys.

Check out the video below for a look at how Hurban inserted the magnets under his skin and the finished product.

What do you think of iDermal? Would you consider an implant like magnets in the name of one of your gadgets? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

More About: apple, ipod, ipod nano watch, trending

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Mark Zuckerberg: Smart or Lucky? [POLL]

Posted: 15 May 2012 01:26 PM PDT

Eight years ago Facebook was nearly non-existent and today it’s the world’s largest social network. Facebook is certainly much more than a one-man operation, but the efforts of Mark Zuckerberg cannot be understated.

With the success of Facebook, and the company’s IPO occurring later this week, one question many have asked is whether the success of Facebook came from Mark Zuckerberg’s skill or from being in the right place at the right time.

When Zuckerberg created Facebook in a college dorm in 2004, social media was still in its infancy. He was a young college student who had a vision. That vision was to make the world more open and connected. Throughout these past eight years, he has certainly accomplished this by amassing over 900 million active Facebook users.

Facebook has been the subject of acquisition rumors, but has stayed its course. Later this week the company will go public with an estimated overall valuation just under $100 billion, the largest in history for the tech industry.

Because of the company’s high profile founder, Facebook is sometimes seen as synonymous with Mark Zuckerberg. Do you think Zuckerberg is a genius, or was he in the right place at the right time?

Take our poll below and let us know why in the comments.

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

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Robber Forgets to Log Out of Facebook, Gets Arrested [VIDEO]

Posted: 15 May 2012 01:16 PM PDT

Two Colombian criminals almost got away with robbing an Internet cafe, but one of them checked Facebook first — and ended up being identified and arrested because he forgot to log out.

The two men were in the neighborhood of Calima, north of Cali, Colombia when they stepped into an Internet cafe to surf the web. The two men whipped out guns at the cash register to demand money and made a clean getaway on a motorcycle.

After the men escaped, an employee at the cafe called the police turning in information from the Facebook page that led to his arrest.

The incident that was first reported in Spanish. An MSNBC reporter made sure to verify the original account before publishing an article in English.

No reports have surfaced yet regarding the other robber.

Do you recall any embarrassing moments stemming from not logging off of Facebook on a public computer? Tell us in the comments.

Image courtesy iStock Photo, youngvet

More About: Facebook, international relations, trending

Youtoo Puts You on TV With New Facebook App

Posted: 15 May 2012 01:04 PM PDT

Youtoo, which bills itself as the world’s first Social TV Network, has just released a new Facebook app that allows users to be on TV.

Youtoo launched in 2011 and is a cable network with a social twist. Users can record their own video responses to on-air cues and see themselves on TV. Users can also post their text comments about a show for on-air inclusion.

To date, the network has broadcast more than 90,000 viewer videos. Realty TV God Mark Burnett is an investor in Youtoo and sees huge potential in bridging the gap between TV viewers and on-air content.

Youtoo already has mobile apps for iOS and Android that allow users to record 15-seconds of video and share them with the network. Now, the company is adding the ability for users to upload video directly from Facebook.

Users can respond to a question posed by the television program and Youtoo app and then record their response directly from Facebook. That response then shows up on the user’s Timeline.

If approved and scheduled to air, Youtoo will send the user a message with the date and time of their TV appearance. For users who might miss their moment in the spotlight — or want to share it with others — Youtoo also creates, air checks and recorded video of the live showing, which is shareable via Facebook.

In essence, Youtoo is kind of like Viddy or SocialCam, but with the ability to share those clips on TV.

Youtoo Technology is Coming to More Shows and Networks

Although Youtoo is available in more than 15 million cable households, CEO Chris Wyatt really sees the network and the website as a way to test new products and technologies. Youtoo then works with television producers and networks to integrate those technologies into the shows themselves.

“Youtoo is a software company that just happens to have a TV network as its testbed,” Wyatt says. The goal is to develop technology that others can then whitelabel and customize for their own uses.

This is important — because while Youtoo’s current programming structure includes shows that can benefit from direct fan interaction, the real power is with shows that can integrate the functionality at a more granular level.

Youtoo’s style of social interaction — especially with video prompts, could be a great fit for talk shows and courtroom shows. That way instead of asking users to sound off on Facebook at the end of a Judge Joe Brown segment, the announcer could also show text from viewers or video reactions.

Wyatt tells us that Youtoo’s technology — including the new Facebook app — will be powering dozens of shows this fall.

More About: Facebook, social tv, social video, viddy, youtoo

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Senator Goes ‘Lights, Camera, Action’ for Video Chats With Voters

Posted: 15 May 2012 12:51 PM PDT

Sen. Grassley (R-Iowa) has a mixed relationship with technology — he embraces social media, but his tweets are often laden with typos (much to the enjoyment of some observers). However, to his credit, Grassley is certainly an early adopter of new platforms. Most recently, he became one of the first politicians to begin using VYou, an interactive video sharing network.

VYou lets users broadcast and share short video responses to questions sent in by an audience. It’s proven popular with bloggers and other Internet celebrities. Questions and answers can be embedded anywhere a YouTube video can embed, and the whole experience can live almost anywhere on the web. Answers are typically short, and searching for a particular response is simple.

Grassley’s team is using VYou as a virtual town hall platform, allowing the senator to record short responses to constituents’ questions (such as “Will we ever see a balanced budget amendment to the constitution?”). Grassley records his responses and transmits them to his online following.

For Grassley, VYou is another digital tool in an ever-expanding toolbox that helps him connect directly with his constituents.

"I work hard to promote dialogue between myself and Iowans,” said Sen. Grassley. “That two-way street of communication is very important to representative government. Changes in technology continue to help facilitate that dialogue. VYou is the newest technology I'm using to communicate with constituents. Whether it be VYou, email, YouTube, Facebook or Twitter, I want to reach out to Iowans where they are having conversations online.”

Steve Spurgat, founder and CEO, told Mashable that the platform is great for politicians and voters because it lets them reach one another on a more personal level than is otherwise possible.

“Grassley’s using the platform as a virtual town hall,” said Spurgat. “If you want to ask him questions on any issue, it solves one of the biggest issues in politics — accessibility. There’s a feeling you’re talking directly to him.”

SEE ALSO: Video Q&A Platform VYou Makes Broadcasting Personal

The advantage of VYou over other video platforms, such as Google+ Hangouts (which President Obama has used) or YouTube videos, is that politicians can record responses to a collection of questions in a single sit down and create an easily-searchable set of answers.

“It’s really easy to answer a ton of questions on VYou in 40 minutes,” said Spurgat. “On YouTube, a politician could do a one-hour interview and answer 50 questions, but if I’m a voter, I might just want to know the answer to one question. It could be 40 minutes before I get to the answer I immediately need.”

“It’s almost like a choose-your-own-adventure, in a kind of way,” he added.

Spurgat also said that the recorded format of VYou answers means that politicians have “complete control” over what gets put online — a welcome reprieve from the world of hot microphones and live slips of the tongue.

“Politicians can re-record, which means — no gaffes,” said Spurgat.

For all of Sen. Grassley’s VYou answers, check out his website.

Do you want your politicians to use VYou to answer video questions? Let us know in the comments below!

Thumbnail image courtesy of Flickr, Gage Skidmore

More About: Politics, US, Video, Vyou

Facebook and Twitter Ad Spending to Double by 2016 [REPORT]

Posted: 15 May 2012 12:41 PM PDT

This week’s impending Facebook IPO, which could top $12.7 billion, is sparking questions about the value of Facebook and other social networks. The future of social media ad spending may justify the hype surrounding Facebook, which is geared to being the highest valued U.S. Internet company at IPO.

Facebook has received criticism about being overvalued. Critics point to the company’s ad model that doesn’t fully reach its 901 million users. Plus, investors worry about Facebook’s post-IPO growth. On Tuesday, General Motors pulled a huge $10 million advertising campaign from Facebook, citing ineffective ads.

Though there are hurdles, the BIA/Kelsey’s U.S Local Media Forecast predicts within four years, global ad spending on social media platforms will reach $9.8 billion from $3.8 billion in 2011. Social media ad revenue in the U.S. is predicted to jump from $840 million in 2011 to $3.1 billion in 2016.

Companies will drive the ad growth on social networks by incorporating more creative elements like video and pictures.

Facebook and Twitter are paving the way for the rise in online ad earnings, according to BIA/Kelsey. Both companies are making crucial changes to their advertising platforms that open doors for companies hoping to reach consumers online instead of offline.

“Facebook opening its ads API to more partners, including those that work with SMBs (small and medium businesses), and Twitter's self-serve platform will help to 'democratize' social ads, which will ultimately lead to more local growth,” Jed Williams, BIA/Kelsey analyst and program director, states.

In Facebook’s IPO video presentation for potential investors, company COO Sheryl Sandberg spoke about Facebook’s new business model. Sandberg said the end goal is to become the choice online advertising platform for the 70 million businesses worldwide.

This is just the “beginning” for Facebook. Sandberg stated users are adopting the social network faster than ads are incorporated — an imbalance that needs correcting. The social network will continue pushing personalized and targeted ads in new formats and contexts.

SEE ALSO: General Motors Pulls $10 Million Ad Campaign From Facebook [REPORT]

Twitter introduced a new way for small business to advertise through the microblogging website in March. The self-serve advertising platform will be available for clients to create promoted tweets and promoted accounts.

Twitter, who partnered with American Express for the advertising initiative, opened up the platform to the first 10,000 business to sign up.

Do you think social media will see the bulk of online advertising campaigns in the future? Let us know in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, arakonyunus

More About: Facebook, facebook ipo, Twitter

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Ryan Montbleau Band Makes Live Webcasts for All — With 2 Mac Apps

Posted: 15 May 2012 12:26 PM PDT

Singer-songwriter Ryan Montbleau has been on the road performing music for much of the last decade. But since January, he and his band have been experimenting with a new format for staying in touch musically with fans.

They’ve been live streaming the audio of performances for free in high quality audio at RMB Live, a site they designed for this purpose. And there’s no catch: you don’t have to sign up or log in through Facebook.

To broadcast live, the band’s keyboard player, Jason Cohen, tapped into their digital mixing console. Each night the band sets up a station transferring the files of the recording to USB sticks that anyone can purchase. Overnight, they upload the files to Dropbox, so their merchandise guy can have the set available as a 320kbps MP3 download – complete with track marks and metadata – the next day.

There are currently 94 Ryan Montbleau Band live recordings available in their online store dating back to November, 2009. Most of them are available as a name-your-price offering.

Now, with some tinkering, the band is letting anyone listen live to their gigs in real time.

The band was using one piece of OS X software, Audio Hijack, to make the live recordings and another, Nicecast, to stream them. The surprise for Cohen — as well as for Rogue Amoeba, who makes both apps — was that Nicecast would recognize the Audio Hijack feed as an audio source in real time.

“What I've done is through the one connection first sent [the audio] into Audio Hijack to make the instant lives, and then I have Nicecast look at Audio Hijack and stream the audio from there to our server," Cohen said.

“They combined two of our tools in a way we haven’t seen before,” Rogue Amoeba CEO Paul Kafasis told The New York Times.

The success of the streams has been modest. According to Cohen, the first few times they did it they had more than a hundred listeners. Now they draw a couple dozen each night. Many are diehard, repeat listeners who also use the built in chat client on RMB Live to interact.

Still, Cohen says it keeps them honest. “We can't just play the same set every night because people will pick up on it. It forces us to make each show a special thing.”

Montbleau says this is just a part of the essential task of being available to your fans. “I think these days you have to diversify how you connect,” he says. “However they want to connect with you, you have to be there for them.”

Today, the band releases its new album For Higher independently. Mashable is premiering the music video for the opening track, “Yeah Man,” in which Ryan poses as a motivational speaker selling scam products and wisdom.

Check out the video and let us know in the comments what you think of the band’s approach. Is their model of free, streaming live music the future for independent musicians?

More About: audio, Music, streaming music, Video

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How to Recognize Disruptive Opportunities [VIDEO]

Posted: 15 May 2012 12:14 PM PDT

Recognizing opportunities to invest, change or innovate is now a fundamental part of business. Whether you're a business strategist, an entrepreneur or an investor, innovation is part of your livelihood. The ability to recognize opportunities must be matched with the ability to experiment and ultimately contribute to the adaptation of current business models.

Yet, moving at the pace of real-time isn't fast enough anymore. By looking ahead and studying emerging trends, you will have the insights necessary to introduce change into the organization — before “what’s next” becomes the new reality. So how do you recognize those opportunities before they arrive?

My guest on this episode of Revolution is Mark Suster, an entrepreneur who has “gone to the dark side” of venture capital. After selling his last company to Salesforce, he joined GRP Partners as a general partner, where he focuses on early-stage technology companies.

Watch as we explore the state of innovation and the differences between emerging and disruptive technology as it impacts business and culture.

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