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Archive for the ‘ social media news ’ Category

Nathaniel Hansen, CEO of The Socializers, (traveling in Athens, Greece) caught up with Lorrie Thomas, CEO of Web Marketing Therapy (traveling in Austin, TX) today for a quick interview on the release of her new book The McGraw-Hill 36-Hour Course: Online Marketing.

1. What’s one of your favorite Internet Marketing tips from your new book released today, Lorrie?

My #1 tip from my online marketing book is the healthy reminder that it is not all the geeky-cool wild web tools out there, it is HOW we use the tools strategically to make and grow relationships. At the end of the day, marketing truly means making relationships. This reminder is our compass that heps us choose the social web tools and decide how to use them.

2. What do you see in 2011 in the world of the Internet and social networks?

For 2011, I see a smarter use of social networking. The use of social networking as an interactive Rolodex will continue, however, community development, service and collaboration will explode. People seem to finally get that social web tools merely amplify traditional networking we do live :)

3. I hear that this book is a course and the reader can actually take an online test for certification upon completing the book. Say more!

The 36 Hour Course to Online Marketing does have an online exam that can get readers a certificate in online marketing! There are 100 quiz questions (instructions of where to take them online are in the book) and it is such a smart way to grade your comprehension and boost your resume! McGraw-Hill has been a wonderful partner in this book process and their certificates are such a nice bonus.

4. What conference(s) do you recommend attending in 2011?

As the CEO of a virtual company, I first recommend attending every webinar you can to get the most bang for your buck. Web Marketing has a channel on BrightTalk.com and I’m launching a 36 Hour Online Marketing channel this year too. Devour every Hubspot webinar you can! I am attending the eMarketing conference in SF, Social Media week in SF and RISE Global in Austin live this year, check all those out!

5. Love seems to be a BIG theme lately in your posts. Any thoughts on how Love is important in the world of Internet Markting?

Ah, love :). When marketers love their current and prospective customers, everything falls into place. Love keeps us ethical, boosts how well we communicate and keeps things gentle. May we all embrace love!

apuzzle

Find more on Lorrie Thomas, The Web Marketing Therapist at http://www.webmarketingtherapy.com/.

Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far surpass all the intellectual activities of any man however clever. Since the design of machines is one of these intellectual activities, an ultraintelligent machine could design even better machines; there would then unquestionably be an ‘intelligence explosion,’ and the intelligence of man would be left far behind. Thus the first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make. ~Statistician I.J. Good, 1965

All it takes is one technology – Artificial Intelligence, brain-computer interfaces, or perhaps something unforeseen – that advances to the point of creating smarter-than-human minds. That one technological advance is the equivalent of the first self-replicating chemical that gave rise to life on Earth.~AI researcher Eliezer Yudkowsky, 2001

TECH IS A HAIR BREADTH AWAY FROM SELF-AWARENESS: Technology is within a hair’s breadth of becoming self-aware. The social networks and properties may be seen as a mass effort by humanity to train our tech to first mimic and then evolve our actions. The intimacy of human-tech relationship has become a red-hot love affair.

I can forget my wallet at home but woe is me if my cell phone remains on the bedside table! With mobile now fully poised to take over as THE access point to all my information and action, that iPhone or Android becomes THE lover in my pocket, my EVERYTHING. I can dock my phone and access all of my content with a wireless keyboard and mouse and my 55″ 3D 1080p screen. And I can store 60 GB of my information in the cloud for $10 per month, giving me the power to link in to my info from anywhere at anytime.

And ALL of this information is scanned and makes up the ever-expanding global mind, which systems like the Chinese-made Tianhe-1A can perfect at rate of 2,507 petaflops (a petaflop is one million billion floating point operations per second). Soon all of this computing tech will occupy a transhuman body, like the hospice cyborgs in Asia.

I do agree that we may be closer than one realizes to the Singularity and that AI has advanced to truly FANTASTIC heights. One need only begin at the Singularity Summit, Singularity University and Humanity+ web pages to get thrown in the deep end of this information AND to realize that humans in the know are keeping long hours preparing for this imminent reality!

WHAT WILL IT MEAN TO BE HUMAN IN THE NEAR-FUTURE? So what happens when many more human duties are done by robots? What happens when the Transhumanists reign supreme? How does one look upon this: as an average consumer, as a corporate leader, as a major VC, as a nation-state concerned about security, as a parent raising children, as the leader of a global religion? For some, there is no action to be taken and submission is the only option due to NO TIME. For others, like the leaders mentioned, the conversation becomes philosophical and nostalgic: the good ol’ days of being human are now over.

Now we also, as leaders, have to understand what it really means to be led by our technology. It presents us with possibilities and solutions we may never have considered: Like finding the cure to cancer OR receiving a fully charted investment strategy yielding 125% growth per annum for 7 generations on your desktop OR just plain old peace of mind. We truly have more possibilities before us as humans now than ever YET at the same time we are in an economic crisis. Or are we?

Hear the following quote from the philosopher Aleister Crowley:

“We are in the middle of a world crisis. It is a very good world crisis — better than any crisis we have had before — and there is no man alive with an intellect big enough to grasp the threads of the problems which confront the world today. There are two ways out of that. Either consult a superior intelligence, which Magick shows you the way of doing, or you can develop your own mind, for it has a faculty which is as superior to the intellect as the intellect is superior to the emotions.

All magical operations require a very elaborate training of one kind or another, but I think the only way out is that we have got to put men in charge of this planet who are really more than men. We must get back to the times of the prophets or we must make ourselves prophets. And we must look at world problems from a standpoint which is entirely alien to that existing at present.”

TECH LEADERS GUIDE GOVERNMENTS AND SIT AT THE HEAD OF THE TABLE: Just a few weeks ago, Michael Dell said, “Our report contains straightforward, proven ways to pare back $1 trillion from the deficit while increasing productivity and enabling sustainable competitiveness. We’re serious about helping to provide solutions for the mounting debt crisis, and we’re optimistic that changes today will help lay the foundation for future job growth and innovation for our country.” And the TCC report, entitled One Trillion Reasons, stated: “A $500bn savings opportunity exists by consolidating the government’s myriad supply chains. This would also render the government’s procurement process far more transparent, helping to strengthen public trust.”

With tech leaders applying the power of computing to human inefficiency, we know who the REAL kings of this planet are and will increasingly be. It’s no wonder that men like Michael Bloomberg and Silvio Berlusconi are corporate leaders, political leaders and multi-billionaires. They are the model of the world-king, the Zeus archetype. And men like these have the power and resources to orient tech around cleaning up 20th century messes. Those who have erected Kingdoms of Opacity around the these cesspools are doomed, as we already have seen, while those who embrace Transparency as a route TO greater discovery and engagement with mystery and innovation will rule. The simple mathematical and scientific rule concerning this is Pareto’s Law or Occam’s Razor and Leonardo da Vinci has captured this when he says, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

HUMAN INTERACTION NO LONGER SLOWS DOWN TECH ADAVANCEMENT: Our technology’s solutions are so beautiful now and are being packaged to accentuate this elegance. Solutions on the social intelligence front are just one example of this. With Flowtown, I can upload all of my email addresses and see exactly which social properties these entities currently occupy. With another tool just about to launch I can upload my email addresses and know the exact time of day a Facebook ad campaign should run to reach the maximum online users. With another tool also on the verge of launching, I can determine which tweets and FB statuses have the highest chances of being re-tweeted and passed along AND which ad copy will achieve the highest percentage of click-through rate.

Again, with well-priced and effective solutions, we hurdle opaque entities that shroud previously complex processes in secrecy AND end up with BETTER solutions at BETTER pricing. This principle is horizontally applicable across industries AND is the metaphorical basis for human-tech relationship to leap-frog into a new paradigm of leadership, democracy and independence.

Of course, in the context of all this left-brain, progress-oriented talk, there is the question as to whether cyborgs dream of electric sheep or can enjoy the most human of experiences.

The game has just begun!

GoogleTV is going to rock the world—powered by Android.
AppleTV is going to rocket the impact of micropayments for content.
Netflix is going to be like Switzerland (sort of)
Boxee (now powered by the Intel Atom Processor) could be the secret GoogleTV hardware platform.
Amazon: Great library – slow tech right now, but they’re paying attention.

SOURCE OF ABOVE PREDICTIONS: RecordedFuture finding this article.

LOGITECH’S GoogleTV BOX: (In answer to the Boxee prediction is Logitech’s GoogleTV box

VARIOUS STREAMING BOXES: Various Streaming Boxes here or on the way soon

Now, as Logitech’s selling script at their GoogleTV site says, “If you can think it, you can watch it! Chances are, you have one of the 60 million HDTVs in the US that are ready. To be smarter. To integrate the full Web and your HD cable or satellite content. To do things no TV has ever done before.”

I submit to the reader that there are literal galaxies of video ALREADY PRESENT in the social fabric of the internet, on shelves, in boxes and, most importantly, in the human imagination. To peer into video IS humanity’s method of peering into that which is not seen or spoken in the workaday world.

Video channels could become as numerous as the grains of sand on the shore. And all of these are windows INTO what Carl Jung calls The Unconscious realm. How is this so? A single music video can carry one far away from the chair one sits in, a movie can transform a life and a single ad can empty the wallets of tens of millions.

STARGATES: Accessing the unconscious realm IS the BIG opportunity arriving with The Golden Age of Video. Why is this an opportunity? We are, each one of us, on a journey of discovery every day, every moment. Video is THE biggest and hottest medium at this time in history and it could be argued that video connects the psyche to that vast and un-ending universe of the unconscious realm, populated by countless entities, pathways and vortexes. Videos act like talismans, or symbols, that represent, as Jung puts it, “stargates that point beyond themselves…(and)…mobilize our psychic energy”.

GoogleTV is an aggregator of Stargates leading directly to the limitless Unconscious Realm.

Robert Boyle’s prophetic ‘wish list’ made in the 17th Century. Boyle was founder of the ”Invisible College” at Oxford University.

(Thanks to George Ure in the Predictors Group, the LinkedIn Group for RecordedFuture, a new temporal search tool that “searches the future”).

”The Prolongation of Life” – health improvements mean we are now living longer.

”The Recovery of Youth, or at least some of the Marks of it, as new Teeth, new Hair colour’d as in youth” – Botox, plastic surgery, teeth-capping, hair dye, transplants.

”The Art of Flying” – planes.

”The Art of Continuing long under water, and exercising functions freely” – submarines and scuba gear.

”The Cure of Diseases at a distance or at least by Transplantation” – transplants and keyhole surgery.

”The Emulating of Fish without Engines by Custome and Education” - free diving.

”Strength and Agility … exemplify’d by that of Frantick Epileptick and Hysterical persons” – steroids.

”The Acceleration of the Production of things out of Seed” – GM crops.

”The making of Parabolicall and Hyperbolicall Glasses” – spectacles and telescopes.

”Making Armor light and extremely hard” – Kevlar.

”The practicable and certain way of finding Longitudes” – satellite navigation.

”A ship to saile with All Winds” – boats with engines.

”Perpetuall Light” – bulbs.

”Varnishes perfumable by Rubbing” - scratch-and-sniff.

”Transmutation of Species in Mineralls, Animals, and Vegetables” – synthetic biology, genetic engineering.

(The following comment was posted as a response by Colin Donald, Director of Futurescape.TV, to an article in the recent Economist: Struggling for control: The humble channel-zapper is evolving in ways that will shape television’s future)

Internet-connected TVs lead to massively increased choice and require next-generation EPGs to help viewers navigate the wealth of content.

One solution backed by many in the industry, like Rovi, is to develop social EPGs that let friends recommend TV shows and videos to each other, via social networks or via systems which use data from social networks.

However, the implications are even more radical than your article suggests.

When Futurescape.TV recently researched this nascent social TV sector, we concluded that Facebook and Twitter are already battling for key roles in the TV industry as Internet-connected televisions transform TV into a social medium.

The two social networks have an actual or potential commercial role across the entire TV value chain.

For instance:

1. Global pay-TV, estimated at $250bn in 2014, NEEDS social recommendation and discovery services because these encourage viewers to subscribe to more expensive packages and buy more video-on-demand – Facebook and Twitter are both major providers of social data.

2. Facebook in particular has a highly developed social graph of people’s relationship with entertainment content, from the ubiquitous Like button, integrated into many broadcasters’ Web sites. Both it and Twitter own considerable, detailed data about people’s behaviour, such as discussing TV shows and sharing links to videos.

3. As your article described, set-top box middleware and EPG providers similarly need social network data for recommendation and discovery – the European EPG market alone will be worth $555m by 2014.

4. TV manufacturers’ strategy to provide video-on-demand direct to viewers also requires social recommendation, while their connected TV apps enable viewers to interact with Facebook and Twitter on home TV sets.

5. Facebook aims to tap the $180bn worldwide TV ad market, competing with broadcasters for brand advertising – Google TV and similar Web-on-TV systems will put Facebook and Twitter targeted ads on TV screens.

6. Facebook and Twitter buzz affects TV ratings, while broadcasters that use the social networks for viewer engagement are effectively sharing their audiences with them.

7. The social networks know in real time how people react to TV programming – this is an essential supplement to Nielsen-type viewing data.

8. Integrating social networks with EPGs is only one manifestation of a profound and permanent change in the television industry, a change through which Facebook and Twitter are positioning themselves as major industry players.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010
Facebook statistics – By the numbers

by Tom Mason

Facebook celebrated 500 million users yesterday. Here’s some more stats to satisfy your desire for information about the big blue social network…

The average Facebook user:

Has 130 friends

Spends around 1250 minutes on Facebook per month.

Creates around 70 pieces of content (updates, links, comments) per month

Uploads five photographs per month

Watches 5.6 Facebook videos per month

In the United Kingdom:

There are 27,020,020 Facebook users (43.7 per cent of the total population)

The United Kingdom has the second highest number of Facebook users (5.54% of global audience)

51.8% are female (13,576 100) while 48.2% are male (12,626,280)

Most users in the UK are between 25 and 34 years old. (26.5% of UK national audience)

62.5% of the UK online population have a Facebook account

31 per cent of users state they’re single

43 percent state they’re engaged, married or in a relationship

Global users

70% of the Facebook audience come from outside the United States

The top ten audiences are from (in millions):

1. United States 128,936,800
2. United Kingdom 27,020,020
3. Indonesia 26,277,000
4. Turkey 22,924,780
5. France 19,351,420
6. Italy 16,858,340
7. Canada 15,756,400
8. Philippines 15,284,460
9. Mexico 13,788,560
10. India 11,534,480

Between 2009 and 2010, Taiwan was the fastest adopted of Facebook, registering a 884% growth of users over the period

If Facebook would be a country it would be the 3rd largest in the world

There are 65 million mobile users of Facebook worldwide

User behaviour per month

20 million videos are uploaded globally

More than 2 billion videos are viewed through Facebook’s video format

Woman post 55% more content than men

The average user writes 25 comments and likes nine things

14 billion pieces of content are shared across the entire site

3.5 million events are created

1.6 billion status updates are made

PAGES

20 million users like new pages every day

There are around 5.3 billion likes for pages across the site

There are 1.6 million active pages

There are 700,000 pages for local businesses

The average user likes 2 pages per month

The most popular pages relate to movies, television shows, books and bands

The most popular brand pages on Facebook (globally) are:

Starbucks
Coca Cola
Skittles
Orea
Red Bull

The most popular pages on Facebook (globally) are:

Texas Hold’em Poker
Michael Jackson
Facebook
Mafia Wars
Lady Gaga

GAMES AND APPS

There are over 550,000 active applications

55% of Facebook gamers are female

28% of all Facebook gamers have purchased in-game currency

The average gamer plays six social games

Of the 200 million users who log into Facebook every day, 15% play FarmVille

80 million users regularly play FarmVille each month

Zynga, FarmVille’s creators, are responsible for five of the ten most popular Facebook games including Mafia Wars and Texas Hold’Em Poker

In 2009, Zynga’s revenue was estimated at $270 million

SOURCES:

http://www.facebakers.com/facebook-pages/
http://www.facebakers.com/facebook-pages/brands/
http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics
http://mashable.com/2010/07/07/oxygen-facebook-study/
http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/6128/The-Ultimate-List-100-Facebook-Statistics-Infographics.aspx
http://www.ekaterinawalter.com/2010/06/key-facebook-statistics-every-marketer-should-know/
http://www.insidefacebook.com/2010/06/10/facebook%E2%80%99s-video-stats-show-growth-in-uploads-and-views/
http://mashable.com/2010/02/17/social-gaming-survey/
http://www.nickburcher.com/2010/07/facebook-usage-statistics-by-country.html
http://www.checkfacebook.com/
http://gigaom.com/2010/07/21/facebook-officially-passes-the-half-a-billion-user-mark/

*Disclaimer – The author takes responsibility for incorrect stats or information.
Source of this article: http://bit.ly/source_facebook_stats_article

Excited to be included in JWT’s Social Media Checklist 2010 at JWT Intelligence.

Reflections on The Dachis Group/SOMESSO Social Business Summit by Nathaniel Hansen

(Held on March 18, 2010 at Limkokwing University in the Mayfair District, London, UK)

Published originally on May 17, 2010 in Marketing Week, Greece’s leading marketing publication. www.marketingweek.gr

On March 18, 2010, I was the sole representative of Greece in the External Customer Facing Social Solutions case study group at the SOMESSO Social Business Summit in London. The summit was a invitation-only event for leaders in social business theory, solutions and practice. I was invited due to the pioneering work I have been involved in within Athens, a true blue-ocean environment for social business integration. At the summit, our joint project in the External Group centered around providing a solution for a large bank. After the session, I had many confirmations of what businesses need as they enter the social fabric of the internet.

OVERARCHING THEMES:

• Businesses need simple, efficient solutions, which tie internal, external and eco-system elements together.

• De-mystification of the social business process and education in the possibilities.

• Our businesses must be customer-centric vs. brand or product-centric.

EXTERNAL FACING SOCIAL SOLUTIONS:

MARKETING: Creation of simple, effective and proven strategies for social media marketing success. A blended approach with traditional media is advised. Marketing projects must always begin with a Digital Brand Assessment, where intelligence about where the brand is currently functions as a baseline for achieving gains in social equity and understanding of the CLV (customer lifetime value).

Marketing Departments and advertising organizations MUST understand the importance of getting their customers and audiences involved in the co-creation of their offerings.

PR: Training of existing PR staff in simple monitoring software and remedial techniques for reputation management.

INTERNAL BUSINESS PROCESS SOCIAL SOLUTIONS:

HR: Training of HR Director on what to look for in an adept Community Manager, Online Brand Ambassador, and Chief Customer Officer. Training of existing staff in social networking best practices while at work and out of the office, instituting company-wide rewards for employees who act as brand ambassadors.

In the social oriented business, the CCO plays a central role in communicating to brand managers what the customer wants.

sCRM: Training of COO and Executive staff through one-day seminars on how to use their existing databases for quickly building their social equity (eg.- followers and fans in specific social properties + what serves this community).

In the coming 12-24 months, Greece and the Balkans will see a deepening involvement in social business due to an overwhelming migration of audiences from traditional gathering points. Studying best-practices and successful case studies from mature social markets will be an essential action toward creative solutions geared toward Greek and Balkan audiences.

Facebook’s ambition
by ROBERT SCOBLE on APRIL 22, 2010

1. It gets Facebook plastered all over the web. Already Facebook likes are on many many sites and I’d expect to see Facebook’s new social features to show up on at least 30% of the web’s most popular sites within a month.

2. It lets us apply our social graph “fingerprint” to sites we visit. You do this by adding social plugins to your site, which is pretty easy to do.

3. It lets us apply our behavior “fingerprint” to sites we visit. Again, by adding social plugins onto your sites.

4. Facebook gets to study everything we touch now and will bring a much more complete stream back to the mother ship. This lets them build new analytics features for publishers, too, as All Facebook’s Nick O’Neill writes, but now Facebook will have the best data on the web for advertisers to study.

5. Facebook gets us to keep our profile data up to date. Marketer Ed Dale nailed why this is such a big deal.

6. Facebook gets to overlay a commerce system, called Credits, on top of all this. Justin Smith of Inside Facebook writes about that.

7. Facebook has opened up to enable all this stuff to flow back and forth and has removed the 24-hour limitation on storing data gained from its API. This is probably the biggest deal for developers, Inside Facebook writes about that, but they’ve also made their API more granular so that sites can ask for, and get, very specific data instead of getting everything stored on a user. We’ll be talking about this for a while, because it actually has good implications for privacy.

8. All this new data will enable Facebook to build new kinds of search experiences, as All Facebook hints at in a post where they say Facebook is trying to build a version fo the semantic web. Search Engine Land goes further in detail about what these changes will mean.

9. It lets Facebook minimize the need for a “public” fan page, like mine. Inside Facebook explains more in detail why this is true. Mostly because they’ll spit all those bits over onto my blog, if I add the code to my blog (which I’m pretty sure I will).

10. Finally a stream of focused bits for the people who are actually visiting your page can be pushed back out to you, as Inside Facebook demonstrates.

11. They made the API much simpler and shipped a powerful graph API so more developers can build apps for Facebook (this has been one of the advantages of Twitter, for instance, because Twitter’s API was simple to figure out). Heck, you can even hit it from a web browser to see what it returns. Here is what it returns for http://graph.facebook.com/scobleizer (if you want to try it yourself, just include your Facebook name instead of mine).

(full article, including many great videos of the F8 conference, here)

NO FACEBOOK FOR PRIESTS
APRIL 22, 2010
ATHENS, GREECE
(Source: kathimerini)

A prominent bishop has warned priests to take extra care when using Facebook and perhaps even avoid the social networking site altogether to avoid becoming embroiled in situations that could embarass the Church.

Archbishop Irenaios of Crete sent a circular yesterday in which he advises priests to be cautious when either posting messages or setting up a profile on Facebook. “It is a precautionary measure so that our priests do not get involved in matters the extent of which they do not fully comprehend,” he told Kathimerini.

The social networking site is becoming an increasingly popular way for priests to keep in touch with their faithful. “Worshippers often ask to confess their mistakes,” said Father Pavlos, a priest from Thessaloniki who has more than 1,500 Facebook friends. “The distance seems to help and makes young people, especially, feel more comfortable expressing themselves.”

(It is FABULOUS and NECESSARY that ALL spiritual beings, teachers and practitioners be in Social Networks. Social Networks are inherently spiritual, tapping into the emotional sub-strata of humanity ~ Nathaniel Hansen).

Cool #1 – Social Shopping moves forward another step:

Jodi Bricker, Vice President of Digital for Levi’s® Americas said, “We’re creating a new social shopping experience that will change the way people shop online and, frankly, make buying jeans more fun. We’re excited to pioneer this new technology and help our loyal fans connect with our brand and share their favorite Levi’s® products with friends.” (http://bit.ly/cool_social_idea_1)

Cool #2 – digg Labs:

Nice way to check in on the latest: (http://bit.ly/cool_social_idea_2)

Cool #3 – Facebook Social Graph moves forward another few steps:

The new Graph API attempts to drastically simplify the way developers read and write data to Facebook. It presents a simple, consistent view of the Facebook social graph, uniformly representing objects in the graph (e.g., people, photos, events, and fan pages) and the connections between them (e.g., friend relationships, shared content, and photo tags). (http://bit.ly/cool_social_idea_3)

Cool #4 – An on-going GREAT social numbers counting project by Gary Hayes:

Gary Hayes Social Media Counts v1.8!!!

LARGE VIEW OF SOCIAL COUNT HERE!

Cool #5 – This is THE future:

Augmented Reality 1 – A 28 Second Movie on How it Works
AR 2 – Esquire’s Augmented Reality Issue
AR 3 – James Cameron’s Avatar Toys Augmented Reality Demo
AR 4 – Augmented Reality Business Models

…and the world’s first Commercial Augmented Reality Conference in SF is happening NOW: http://america.arconf.com/2010/

Cool #6 – Smart Clothing is sexy and truly amazing!:

Smart Fabric!

Smart Fabric Conference 2010: (http://bit.ly/smart_fabric_conference2010)

PING by Electric Foxy – Ping is a garment that connects to your Facebook account wirelessly and from anywhere. It allows you to stay connected to your friends and groups of friends simply by performing natural gestures that are built into the mechanics of the garments we wear. Lift up a hood, tie a bow, zip, button, and simply move, bend and swing to ping your friends naturally and automatically. No phone, no laptop, no hardware. Simply go about your day, look good and stay connected. (http://bit.ly/electricfoxy_PING)

What inspires you? The answer to that question can be found in the timeless words of a visionary leader or literary giant, the stunning beauty of historical landmarks and modern marvels, or the fighting spirit and the responsibility to support causes that speak to the very best of what humanity has to offer. The answer is a resounding yes. All of the above.

Truly, inspiration is a brand than can never be oversold. This is why I am excited about profiling the 16 people below. They are among the most respected, motivational voices on Twitter today. They inspire hundreds of thousands with their daily dose of gratitude, use of icons, thought-provoking blogs, support for nonprofits, and a great mix of uplifting quotes and affirmations. (read more and see Marvin Towler at Huffington Post)

Minister reacts to Facebook expulsion

Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou attempted yesterday to defuse a row that has broken out over the expulsion of a junior high school pupil who criticized her principal on the Internet, although the government official accepted that Greece needs to update its laws to deal with such incidents.

Diamantopoulou issued a statement after the girl, who was not named, was forced to leave her school in Hania, Crete, after starting a page on the Facebook social networking site under the title “I hate the principal at Chrysopigi [high school].”

“The need for young people to express themselves and to vent their feelings is not only a given but is something that should be encouraged,” said Diamantopoulou. “But this should happen within a framework of respect for people and the smooth running of schools.”

The minister chose her words carefully after an apparent groundswell of support for the expelled teenager both in the media and on the Internet. Following the announcement of the girl’s dismissal on Thursday, another Facebook page was launched, this time demanding that she be readmitted to Chrysopigi school. By last night, the page had close to 10,000 members.

This came after the Hania school inspector, Nikos Vestakis, said that the school should have invited the pupil and her parents for talks and not expelled her.

Diamantopoulou did not indicate whether she thought the school was right to dismiss the teenager but made it clear that Greece needs to update its laws to keep up with technology. “The rapid developments in technology and in communication and the need to modernize our rules mean that we have to approach new challenges with seriousness and responsibility.”

(source)

by Dave Jackson

Last week, social shopping site ThisNext announced plans to buy smaller rival StyleHive; that announcement came after news from Time Inc. last month that it would buy social recommendation engine StyleFeeder as a way to incorporate ecommerce into its online fashion magazine properties.

This recent rush of consolidation points to a trend that’s evident no matter where you look: Consumers have flocked to social networks as an easier way of communicating with friends and peers, getting information, building relationships and participating in community. Activities that used to take place in the physical world — in shopping malls, over the phone, at restaurants and at neighborhood events — have rapidly moved to places like Facebook, Twitter and countless other third-party networks like StyleHive, ThisNext and StyleFeeder.

Most brand marketers have realized this shift and have stepped into these new “common spaces” of the 21st century. They’ve created fan pages on Facebook, accounts on Twitter and channels on YouTube, and have replicated offline marketing tactics, like advertising, coupons and promotions to engage online fans and gain new customers.

With the exception of a few innovative brands like Mattel and Charlotte Russe, however, the majority of online businesses have yet to take the next logical step and allow this social interaction to take place at their own online stores. To continue the common-spaces analogy, imagine if a downtown store only let one customer come into the shop at a time, while the customer’s friends waited on the street. The shopper could go outside every few minutes to get opinions on the outfit or finish a conversation, but had to return to the store alone to browse or make a purchase. (read more)

Social media marketing campaigns are proving to be goldmines rich with customer engagement and insight that companies wouldn’t likely have otherwise. Companies like PepsiCo are going to extensive lengths to foster this type of collaboration with fans, and the payoff has been big.

The company’s Mountain Dew division is several stages into its DEWmocracy campaign — a plan to launch a new Mountain Dew flavor with the public’s involvement at all levels of the process, and PepsiCo also just launched the Pepsi Refresh Project on January 13th. Rather than spending money on Super Bowl television ads this year, the company is spending $20 million on a social media campaign. read more here

Despite Facebook privacy changes and serious cases of Twitter Fail Whale, social media use has increased astronomically since this time last year: During December 2009, global users spent an average of five hours on social networking sites, up from three hours in December 2008. That’s an 82% increase.

Nielsen just released a report on its blog detailing increased social media use, and the results are impressive, while not exactly shocking. Some highlights:

- Social networking sites are the most popular online destinations globally (based on the amount of time people spent there in December), with games and instant messaging coming in second and third, respectively. (Side note: As gaming becomes more popular on sites like Facebook, it will be interesting to see how this affects time spent.) (read more)

FIVE journalists will lock themselves away in a French farmhouse with access only to Facebook and Twitter to test the quality of news from the social networking and micro-blogging sites.

http://bit.ly/social_is_best_news_source

This year for the first time in 23 years, Pepsi will not have ads in the Super Bowl telecast. NoCindy Crawford, Britney Spears or Justin Timberlake. Instead it is redirecting the millions it has spent annually to the Internet. Pepsi has chosen to give away over $20 million in a social media play it is calling The Pepsi Refresh Project, debuting in 2010. …read more

Facebook Memology: Top Status Trends of 2009

Is Blippy, the online social media location for viewing and sharing purchases, taking transparency too far? http://bit.ly/blippy

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