Minggu, 31 Januari 2010

Post Pics to Twitter, Facebook and MySpace All at Once With yfrog

The yfrog Twitter image-sharing service can now simultaneously post to MySpace, Twitter and Facebook. You don’t have to go to each website to share that vacation pic you took; just select your image, check the boxes for the services you want to send to and click “Post It!”

yfrog ranked eighth in our Twitter image service user poll two months ago, but it’s been putting up new features slowly over the past couple months, including the ability to post videos and images directly from your webcam. It also powers massively popular URL shortener bit.ly’s image-sharing functionality.

This is a welcome feature, but yfrog isn’t the first to offer something like this. For example, you can do pretty much the same thing with Posterous (Posterous) when it comes to uploading pics to Facebook (Facebook), Twitter (Twitter) and Flickr (Flickr). Posterous doesn’t advertise autopost support for MySpace (MySpace), though, so we suppose you’ll make your decision about which service to use based in part on where your friends are.

Facebook and Twitter Lead the Pack as Social Media Usage Skyrockets [STATS]

statsDespite 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.)

- In December, Facebook was the most popular social networking site globally, with 67% of social media fans logging in. In addition, time spent on Facebook has been on the rise; globally, people spend close to six hours per month on the network.

- In the U.S., people continue to spend more time on social networks, but year-over-year growth for Facebook and Twitter () individually outpaced overall growth for the category at large.

- Twitter was the fastest-growing social networking site in December 2009, during which it had 18.1 million unique visitors. That’s up from 2.7 million unique visitors in December 2008. Still, month-over-month, unique visitors decreased 5%, lending credence to the notion that the microblogging site’s popularity may be flatlining.

Here are some charts from Nielsen showing social media’s ascent:

So what does all this mean? Basically what we and a bevy of social media experts have been saying for months now: Social networking is a force to reckoned with.

Sites like Facebook and Twitter are getting the most eyeballs, which means we have to figure out how to use them to their maximum potential — whether it be by optimizing ROI or attempting to mine them for journalistic purposes.

What social media site do you hit the most? Let us know in the comments.

Jumat, 15 Januari 2010

Facebook Loses Lawsuit Against German Clone StudiVZ

Celebrates 20th Anniversary with Social Media Tie-Ins

Fox celebrated the 20th anniversary of The Simpsons last night, capping off its year-long “Best. 20 Years. Ever.” campaign, which has included a slew of social media tie-ins and special events.

Last night, in addition to showing the newest episode of the longest-running primetime television series of all time, Fox aired a documentary by Morgan Spurlock (Supersize Me), which took a look at Simpsons fans from all over the world and featured interviews with creator Matt Groening, a slew of writers and the voices behind America’s favorite family.

U.S. users can watch it here, courtesy of Hulu.

Fox has been running an elongated campaign to celebrate the series milestone, both online and off. For example, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the very first half-hour Simpsons episode, “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire” (titled “The Simpsons Christmas Special” in its original airing), Fox released a 20th Anniversary Collection on iTunes back in December.

Yesterday, a few hours before the 20th Anniversary special, Fox took to the social media realm by releasing an Adobe Air (adobe AIR) app called The Simpsons Unleashed, which you can get from Facebook (Facebook). The app, which utilizes Facebook Connect, includes the option of letting Homer sit on your desktop and features episode news and previews. The app also lets you play pranks on your Facebook friends. It’s the sort of novelty tool that is kind of fun to play around with once or twice, but doesn’t really offer much aside from that.

Still, long-time Simpsons fanatics won’t be disappointed by the kitschy quality of the app (am I right NHC gang?); it’s just part of the Simpsonian experience.

And speaking of Simpsonian experience, the staff at Hulu (Hulu) selected 20 of their favorite Simpsons clips of all time and put them together in this collection. It’s a pretty great trip down memory lane, especially if you’ve been watching these yellow-skinned bug-eyed characters since you were pupil in Miss Dickinson’s first grade class.

Facebook Sues Germany's StudiVZ For Copycatting

New Facebook Feature Combats Dodgy Friend Requests

Facebook is testing out a new feature that lets you identify strangers who attempt to friend you, according to a report published today by the Inside Facebook blog. Facebook confirmed it’s testing the feature in an email to Mashable.

Ever encountered someone who just can’t take the hint, “I don’t know you, so, no, I do not want to be your friend,” and attempts to friend you over and over again despite numerous rejections? Or have you been spammed by a fake Facebook profile whose friendship you carelessly accepted?

Well, Facebook () has the remedy for all of these ills: A new function called “Mark You Don’t Know.” Now, after choosing “ignore” when you receive a friend request, Facebook gives you the option to report said person as a stranger. Check out the screenshots below (here’s hoping Mashable’s Samuel Axon doesn’t get blocked for kindly taking part in this demonstration):

The new feature will likely be a great help to the site and its members, given that it has been a target recently for both phishing attempts and spam. Still, it does seem to be sending mixed messages in the wake of the launch of new privacy features and founder Mark Zuckerberg’s proclamation that sharing is the new “social norm.”

It remains to be seen just how well this new feature will function. In the meantime, let us know what you think in the comments.

Facebook tried to buy StudiVZ | The Social - CNET News

After discussing plans on Facebook to blow up their school by igniting the gas line, four New Jersey high school students were taken into custody and charged with creating a false public alarm, making terroristic threats and conspiracy.

NBC reports that chaos ensued at Belleville High School after an unnamed student found a Facebook () page on which two seniors and two juniors were hashing out a plan to destroy the school. The facility was evacuated, and a bomb squad searched both the high school and the students’ homes. Their efforts revealed no evidence, so it’s unclear whether the threat was a prank or a legitimate plot to wreak destruction.

Regardless, the teens are currently being held at the Essex County, New Jersey, Juvenile Detention Center.

Naturally, a smattering of folks have already launched into dissecting the follies of youth in the comments section of this story, but one comment from an anonymous poster strikes a chord:

“Why are kids so incredibly stupid? My friend’s son’s FB friend just posted a similar comment followed by ‘jkjkjk lolol haha’ on her son’s page. This generation of texting, sexting, tech-savvy-with-no-common-sense morons may well be the dumbest yet.”

What do you think of the story and the commenter’s assertions? Do you think that this generation is more rash than the last? Or do they simply have more tools to facilitate rash actions? Ten years ago, kids wrote threats on the bathroom wall. The bathroom wall, however, doesn’t have a “like” button.

View topic - Add MeinVZ / StudiVZ (German Facebook clone)

Why Facebook’s Privacy Changes are Detrimental to Users

facebook privacy imageThough Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg says that public is the new “social norm,” many members who use the social network for professional and business reasons have lost the ability to conduct certain actions privately as a result of changes made to the settings.

And despite this being a reflection and a catalyst of our social activities becoming more public through the likes of Twitter (Twitter) and other sites, not having the option to control certain aspects in some ways is detrimental to the way we use the site and has the potential to deter users from using the site freely.

Public Activity, Pages, Friend Lists Without Control

Changes to Facebook’s () privacy settings mean that you can no longer hide your name, profile picture, networks, friends list, current city, and perhaps more importantly, the Pages that you are a “fan” of from being broadcast on your wall. The changes also include your activity (liking or commenting, becoming friends, writing on a wall, etc.). In some ways this is great for Facebook and can be beneficial to users — for example, being able to see all the activity of those you’re connected to can potentially make it easier to find new friends.

However, there are many reasons why you might not want others to see your activity. One of the biggest reasons is that it could be taken out of context by friends, co-workers, or business partners. You might think twice about your engagement on other profiles knowing it will appear on your wall.

Broadcasting Without Context

The fact that this information is being displayed is not just a problem because it removes the ability to control the privacy of your engagement with users and Pages, but also because it is being broadcast without context. Someone that stumbles onto your wall only sees the record of the action without knowing the reasoning behind it.

For example, as a journalist that uses the network for reporting, I have joined Facebook Pages or groups to gain contacts for reporting. With the previous settings, I was able to hide my joining the group from being broadcast to my network. However, now it gets posted onto my wall automatically and could easily be taken out of context. If I join a political or advocacy group strictly because I am trying to find sources, it might appear to my friends and colleagues that I joined the group because I support the cause.

We simply might not want to broadcast these certain activities, in both our personal and professional lives. In some ways, we may now be discouraged to friend certain people because we don’t want our boss to think we’re crossing the line with a source, or your wife to think that you’re flirting with an old friend by commenting on her wall.


Facebook is pushing itself to become more public than ever, and that has a lot of potential upsides. However, they should continue to keep users in mind by giving them options to control the information being broadcast.

It’s hard to tell what impact this will have on users, but it has the potential to decrease activity rather than increase it. Sure, people aren’t forced to use the platform, but Facebook has become part of our everyday lives. Longtime users accustomed to previous privacy options are being alienated when those choices are taken away.

What do you think? Have you had issues with the new settings? How are you dealing with them?

StudiVZ is doomed, Facebook will eat its lunch

Facebook’s “Reply by E-mail” Feature Now Live For Everyone

Facebook has just rolled out the ability for users to reply to comments through e-mail, a feature it began testing last month.

The feature is straightforward. Anytime you get a notification e-mail about a comment on a status update, a photo or a wall post, you can simply reply via e-mail and the post will show up on Facebook (). The social network is able to filter out unrelated text like your e-mail signature.

As we noted in our previous coverage, this move is about more than meets the eye. While it’s a useful feature, it also means Facebook is sacrificing short-term pageviews (by forcing you to log in) for more user interaction.

The same can’t yet be said for Facebook’s mail system, which isn’t getting the reply-by-e-mail functionality with this update.

Facebook and StudiVZ Settle Lawsuit

5 Tips for Creating a Successful Social Media Contest

trophies imageClay McDaniel is the principal and co-founder of social media marketing agency, Spring Creek Group. Find him via @springcreekgrp on Twitter.

One of the best ways to drive engagement and build word of mouth traffic about your brand is to run a contest via social media channels. Not only does it engage consumers with your brand in a fun and exciting way, it results in a treasure-trove of customer information, preferences, and feedback you can then mine to improve your business. And, best of all, launching an online contest can be very inexpensive.

However, there is a subtle art to social contests. Your brand needs to appear neither too “cheesy” nor too “salesy,” and you must deliver a prize that people really want. This can be a standard product or gift card, or a “notoriety” prize, such as publishing a winner’s video. What’s more, the contest itself has to be fun and easy to participate in. Few prizes are worth doing something extremely boring, monotonous, or complicated.

Here are five specific strategies you can follow to launch and manage a social contest, and leverage it to deliver real business value.

1. Define Your Marketing Goal

goals image

Every contest you launch should meet a specific marketing goal. Do you want to drive awareness of a new product or service? Collect a list of customers interested in a specific product segment? Encourage new participants to use your company’s social networking channels? There are many valid reasons to launch a contest, but it’s important to know ahead of time what you’re trying to accomplish. This goal will set the tone for your contest strategy.

2. Get Creative

Here’s the fun part: Creating your contest. The sky’s the limit when it comes to the type of contests you can launch. Here are a few ideas:

- A video contest inviting users to create a new commercial for one of your products
- A user-generated content contest that awards the best ‘personal experience stories’
- A photo contest related to your product or service
- A product invention contest with a large cash prize

Of course, your contest can be short and offer a small prize, or longer and more involved. Check out the Startup Nation Home Based 100 business creation competition that received thousands of entries and high-profile sponsors for an idea of just how big a contest can become.

3. Leverage Social Channels

twitter contest search

The best part about online contests is how easy it is to take them viral, encourage participation, and link them into your social marketing activities. Promote your contest via Facebook (), Twitter (), your company blog, and all other social channels, as well as via traditional marketing channels such as print, e-mail, and in-store signage.

Just search the word contest on Twitter to see hundreds of contests going on right now. The best contests are intensely social by nature, because people like to play games and contests together, and most people love to share the chance to win a cool prize with friends and family. Ensure your contest is easily sharable by embedding “share this” links on the contest site, on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube (), and everywhere else people will come across it.

Use a social media tracking tool like Meteor Solutions to see which people and sites are sharing your contest, then promote your contest more heavily to those communities. Make sure your contest spreads like wildfire by encouraging easy “copy/paste” sharing using the Bit.ly () URL shortener for the links to your contest location online. Most importantly, allow the contest participants to vote to choose the winner, which keeps the audience interacting with one another and engaged long after each person has submitted their entry.

4. Finish the Contest

Everyone loves a winner, so make sure you don’t let your contest drag on too long. A typical social contest runs about four weeks –- longer, of course, if it’s more complex (e.g. programming a software algorithm or inventing a new product). When the winner is chosen, do a PR push to publicize their win. Of course, use Facebook and Twitter to promote the winner like mad. Go back to your social media tracking software and find out which people and social sites are talking most about the winner, then post comments on those networks to drive even more interest in the winner.

5. Measure the Contest

social stats image

Of course launching a contest wasn’t just for fun, it was to achieve a specific marketing goal. So after the contest is done, you need to measure the impact it had on brand engagement, clickthrough to your site, conversion, and bottom-line sales. Again, you can use your social media tracking tool to measure all of these success metrics. Find out whether your contest drove as much traffic to your site as you had hoped, and whether this traffic resulted in conversion, however you may measure that (e.g. purchases, newsletter subscriptions, Twitter followers, etc.).

Many brands have done a great job with social contests. Spring Creek Group, for example, created a social media contest to drive interest and traffic during the launch of the Microsoft Bing search engine last summer. Bing () launched The Bing Jingle Contest, and invited people to upload user-generated video “jingles” about Bing to their official YouTube channel. Bing then promoted the videos via its Facebook Page, Twitter updates, and other social channels. The video with the most views and highest ratings would be crowned the winner, with the creator receiving a $500 gift card.

Overall, the contest garnered 27 video entries, over 238,000 views, 550 comments on the videos, and 2,200 tweets. The word of mouth generated by the contest was phenomenal, and was covered by many top blogs. The contest took on a life of its own, generating both defenders and detractors over the winning video.

More Great Contest Examples

moonfruit contest image

Marin Software’s Biggest Search Geek Contest: This is a fun and very popular contest, now in its second year, that pits smart search marketers against one another for a free pass to SMX West — double points for creating a cool B2B social contest.

#TriviaTues: Fancast, Comcast’s competitor to Hulu (), promotes #TriviaTues, a weekly trivia event where Twitter users who follow @FancastTrivia and answer twenty trivia questions can win free DVDs, movie tickets, and t-shirts.

Moonfruit’s Win a Macbook Pro Everyday for 7 Days: Moonfruit, provider of do-it-yourself web site building tools for small businesses, recently completed this hugely successful contest. You can see results and entries on their web site.

StudiVZ - The German Facebook

10 Musts for Marketing to Women on Facebook

female facebook imageBrette Borow is the President and Founder of Girls Guide To, the “ladies only” guide to life, and spends most of her days engaging with the community’s over 140,000 members.

There are over 56 million women using Facebook in the United States, and for marketers this means one very important thing –- if you have a brand, product or company that targets women, Facebook () is the place to be.

Unfortunately, unless you’re a brand that every woman knows or loves, then just being on Facebook is not enough. Facebook has done a great job of giving marketers a powerful tool with its Pages product, but like most things in life, it comes down to execution. To help, here is a list of 10 tips for marketing to women on Facebook.

1. Quality Counts

The first thing I tell marketers, whether it’s a Fortune 500 company or a friend launching an online jewelry site, is to remember that women are bombarded by marketing messages all day, every day. On the surface, Facebook is no different than the “real world” –- constantly being pitched to and spammed is annoying. The main difference between Facebook and the “real world” is that on Facebook, fans can “hide” your marketing message much more easily than they can avoid the billboard on the way to work. As a result, you are going to have to try your best to connect with them. On Facebook, quality rises to the top more often than not.

2. Create an Emotional Connection

So quality rises to the top, but what does that mean? For starters lets take a look at what Dove has done on Facebook. Dove is one of the few brands that seems to grasp the fact that on Facebook, content really is queen and that brands must deliberately create an emotional connection with their fans. This is a great strategy to emulate because in order to reach women on Facebook, you are going to have to connect with them by providing content that women can relate to. Something that ignites a reaction like “Wow, that’s me!” will encourage women not only to respond to your messages, but actually remember them. Making an emotional connection is one of the best ways to motivate women to use your brand or service.

3. Provide Utility

Utility should be synonymous with your brand. It will allow you to create a relationship with your fans. Create a series of posts that your fans can look forward to on a daily or weekly basis — something they will feel a real connection to and will teach them something they can use. If you run a fashion web site, for example, provide a piece of advice from a designer every Friday –- it will make it much harder for your fans to block your updates if they have something to look forward to.

4. Give Fans a Voice

Women like to be heard. Stand out from the crowd and engage us. By creating a two-way conversation, you are personalizing your brand and making it one that can be trusted.

Your Facebook Page is also one of the best “focus groups” on the web. Not sure if you should add a product to your line? Trying to decide which functionality to add to your iPhone app? Just ask your fans. A great example of this type of interaction is H&M. They are constantly asking their fans what pieces they want to buy, what they would pay and what they want H&M to carry. This type of feedback is invaluable and brings the fan into the overall experience. Women can share their thoughts, and you can enjoy the free insight you’re receiving straight from your target consumer.

5. Listen!

Not only do we like to be heard, we also like to know we’re actually being listened to. If a fan posts a question on your page, answer it. If she compliments your brand, thank her. And if she complains about it, address her concerns and reassure her that you’re working on fixing it. This is a great way to build trust and showcase the great customer service and support your company offers.

6. Complement Her Life, Don’t Complicate It

If you’re doing a giveaway, running a great promotion or launching a new product, you need to keep the process simple. Cosmopolitan Magazine, for example, constantly offers giveaways and discounts, but always do it in a clear and simple way. The lesson here is not to overthink your promotions. Your fans will look forward to the next time your brand has something new and exciting to share, as long as taking advantage of the offer is relatively pain-free.

7. Don’t Be Redundant

Unlike Twitter, where most people are following a plethora of people and information is passing by at lightning speed, Facebook has a tendency to draw attention to “spammy posts.” Facebook users do not want to see the same message posted multiple times in their feed. So if you’re promoting something through your Fan Page be sure to reword it and provide additional value before you post it a second time.

8. Keep the Shopping Experience Seamless

You need to remember that women tend to be the CPOs (Chief Purchasing Officers) in their households, and that they tend to ask friends for advice about brands and products. Women are more than happy to share a good deal when they find one.

The Limited was one of the first brands to really grasp that Facebook represents a huge opportunity to reach their CPOs. They have started to embed actual retail offers into their newsfeed. But unlike other brands, they do not drive their traffic off of Facebook. Instead, their feed stories open up into widgets on Facebook that can handle the entire transaction right there. This clever use of technology is a prime example of ways that brands need to think outside of the box to reach their social shoppers.

9. Remember: She’s a Social Shopper

Women also tend not to be shy about sharing their distaste about a brand or product or talking about their poor experience, so never take advantage of your fans. The last thing you want is your target demographic badmouthing your brand on a viral platform like Facebook.

Keep your offers and processes clear and honest and always respond to feedback and criticism.

10. Keep Your Fans in the Loop

Fill your fans in on the positive but don’t be afraid to address the negative. As we all know, the web is transparent. Allow it to work in your favor. Just launched a new Android () app? Let your fans be the first to know. Just got nominated for 6 Grammy Awards and want to share it with the world? Then do what Lady Gaga did and let your fans know the moment you find out. In a transparent world, you can share your news with your fans, and the sooner the better.

Last but not least, if your company is experiencing difficulties like supply shortage or a down web site, be the first to let your customers know. Be upfront and straightforward. Your honesty will speak volumes about your brand.

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