The Next 5 Years in Social Media

Over the last five years, social media has evolved from a handful of communities that existed solely in a web browser to a multi-billion dollar industry that’s quickly expanding to mobile devices, driving major changes in content consumption habits and providing users with an identity and social graph that follows them across the web.

With that framework in place, the next five years are going to see even more dramatic change. Fueled by advancements in underlying technology – the wires, wireless networks and hardware that make social media possible – a world where everything is connected awaits us. The result will be both significant shifts in our everyday lives and a changing of the guard in several industries that are only now starting to feel the impact of social media.


Adam Ostrow

Social Media ImageOver the last five years, social media has evolved from a handful of communities that existed solely in a web browser to a multi-billion dollar industry that’s quickly expanding to mobile devices, driving major changes in content consumption habits and providing users with an identity and social graph that follows them across the web.

With that framework in place, the next five years are going to see even more dramatic change. Fueled by advancements in underlying technology – the wires, wireless networks and hardware that make social media possible – a world where everything is connected awaits us. The result will be both significant shifts in our everyday lives and a changing of the guard in several industries that are only now starting to feel the impact of social media. Leer más “The Next 5 Years in Social Media”

Huggies, Tumblr and… Kidnapped Babies? Why You Should Pay Attention To Your Social Media Campaigns

Huggies recently released their interesting new High Chair Critics social marketing campaign by leveraging the Tumblr microblogging service, and if their front page is anything, it’s a lesson that big brands should pay close attention to who’s running their social media campaign. The first entry on the page is a reference to “the most famous babies of all time”, but for some reason, instead of showing a picture of a cute baby model, it’s a missing person poster of Chas. A. Lindbergh, Jr,, who was kidnapped in 1932. Read on for more ways to avoid messing up your social media campaign.


Posted by Neil Vidyarthi

huggieslogo Huggies recently released their interesting new High Chair Critics social marketing campaign by leveraging the Tumblr microblogging service, and if their front page is anything, it’s a lesson that big brands should pay close attention to who’s running their social media campaign.  The first entry on the page is a reference to “the most famous babies of all time”, but for some reason, instead of showing a picture of a cute baby model, it’s a missing person poster of Chas. A. Lindbergh, Jr,, who was kidnapped in 1932.  Read on for more ways to avoid messing up your social media campaign.

The key problem here is that the posts on the site seem very scrapped together, and it’s clear that one of the various anonymous writers didn’t do the extra work to ensure that the included image was in sync with the Huggies brand. Leer más “Huggies, Tumblr and… Kidnapped Babies? Why You Should Pay Attention To Your Social Media Campaigns”

Web Impostors May Face Prison in California

Internet users pretending to be others could be prosecuted—and sued—if Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signs an “e-personation” bill

By Olga Kharif

California Web impostors beware: You may soon be breaking the law, even if you aren’t one of the perpetrators targeted by the state’s “e-personation” bill.

The measure, which is awaiting Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s signature, carries fines of as much as $1,000 and a year in jail for anyone who poses as another person online with malicious intent. The law, which would take effect on Jan. 1, would also allow victims to file civil suits.

People other than criminals may be affected by the legislation, Bloomberg Businessweek.com reported today. Pranksters, writers of satire, and even activists living outside the state could be subject to legal action, some lawyers say. Fake accounts in the names of celebrities and politicians abound on microblogging site Twitter and social network Facebook.


Internet users pretending to be others could be prosecuted—and sued—if Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signs an “e-personation” bill

By Olga Kharif

California Web impostors beware: You may soon be breaking the law, even if you aren’t one of the perpetrators targeted by the state’s “e-personation” bill.

The measure, which is awaiting Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s signature, carries fines of as much as $1,000 and a year in jail for anyone who poses as another person online with malicious intent. The law, which would take effect on Jan. 1, would also allow victims to file civil suits.

People other than criminals may be affected by the legislation, Bloomberg Businessweek.com reported today. Pranksters, writers of satire, and even activists living outside the state could be subject to legal action, some lawyers say. Fake accounts in the names of celebrities and politicians abound on microblogging site Twitter and social network Facebook.

“The law is very vague,” Aaron Simpson, a privacy lawyer and partner at firm Hunton & Williams in New York, said in an interview. “Legitimate forms of speech could be caught within its grasp. This is going to be tough for the courts to process.”

The law applies to anyone who credibly impersonates “for purposes of harming, intimidating, threatening, or defrauding another person,” according to the language of the bill, whose author is state Senator Joe Simitian, a Democrat whose district includes parts of Silicon Valley. Leer más “Web Impostors May Face Prison in California”

The internet has become a big popularity contest

To explain very simply why I believe the internet has become a popularity game, is to look at all the data and numbers that’s now publicly visible to practically anyone. You can see someone’s Twitter followers vs how many they’re following, Facebook friends, number of comments on a blog post, number of retweets, replies in a forum thread and many other metrics. And however much we like to admit that we don’t care about numbers, it can’t help but set a level of pre-judgement. If you get followed by someone with 100,000 followers and they’re only following 100, you’ll feel pretty special and the chances are you’ll give them some of your time. If you come across a blog post with 200 retweets, you’ll probably spend more time reading it than you would have otherwise, and if that seems like a constant pattern in their blog, you’ll probably subscribe. There are so many numbers out there that can’t help but have an effect on the actions we take and how much of an effort we go to engage with someone. And biased as I like to be, I don’t believe anyone that says they’re not influenced by big numbers on some level, even if it’s not the determining factor to follow, read, retweet etc..

I find this quite unnatural and still haven’t quite got used to the fact that everyone gets to basically see how popular I am on online. It seems to recycle the secondary school popularity game. As you get older popularity becomes less and less important, but with social media it brings it back again. Getting a retweet from the Mike Butchers of this world has the effect of almost validating us online and makes you realise just what a funny game it is.


Author of The internet has become a big popularity contest
by Lauren Fisher in Social Media

191190035 5d426ecd50 The internet has become a big popularity contestI’ve touched on this subject in recent posts but I thought it was time to write a dedicated post about the popularity game that’s currently going on through the internet, and more specifically social media. This post may seem negative and I just want to make it clear that I absolutely recognise all the benefits of social media – how it’s opened up communities and dialogues and provided companies with a completely new way to do business, one that’s more genuine and honest than anything that’s gone before. I really think I’m working in one of the most interesting communication channels there has ever been. But there is also a downside to social media, and that’s how it’s made us focus on popularity and numbers. And it feels quite unnatural. Leer más “The internet has become a big popularity contest”

The Look That Says Book

The vast majority of books and magazines are typeset using hyphenation and justification (written as H&J from here on in). In print, it’s everywhere: All lines of text except the last lines of paragraphs are stretched out to the same length. Flush left and flush right. Hyphens are used to break words at the end of lines to help prevent gaps in word spacing. Like this:

We hold these truths to be self-ev­i­dent, that all men are cre­at­ed e­qual, that they are en­dowed by their Cre­a­tor with cer­tain un­al­ien­a­ble Rights, that a­mong these are Life, Lib­er­ty and the pur­suit of Hap­pi­ness. That to se­cure these rights, Gov­ern­ments are in­sti­tut­ed a­mong Men, de­riv­ing their just pow­ers…


by Richard Fink

The Look That Says Book

The vast majority of books and magazines are typeset using hyphenation and justification (written as H&J from here on in). In print, it’s everywhere: All lines of text except the last lines of paragraphs are stretched out to the same length. Flush left and flush right. Hyphens are used to break words at the end of lines to help prevent gaps in word spacing. Like this:

We hold these truths to be self-ev­i­dent, that all men are cre­at­ed e­qual, that they are en­dowed by their Cre­a­tor with cer­tain un­al­ien­a­ble Rights, that a­mong these are Life, Lib­er­ty and the pur­suit of Hap­pi­ness. That to se­cure these rights, Gov­ern­ments are in­sti­tut­ed a­mong Men, de­riv­ing their just pow­ers… Leer más “The Look That Says Book”

Little Hiring Seen for Rest of Year

You’ve heard that old saw that if something quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, it’s probably a duck? Might as well apply it to the U.S. economy.

Today’s Economic Trends Index from The Conference Board declined slightly from July. It now stands at 96.7. In July it was 97.4.

Obviously, that’s not good news, though a .7 drop in an index that is up 9.4 percent in a year might be ignorable if all it did was quack. But the Index is also walking like the duck it is. For the first time since March 2009 seven of the eight components that go into the index turned negative.

The Conference Board reported the weakening indicators were: Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find “Jobs Hard to Get”; Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance, Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now; Part-Time Workers for Economic Reasons; Job Openings; Industrial Production; and Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales.


You’ve heard that old saw that if something quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, it’s probably a duck? Might as well apply it to the U.S. economy.

Today’s Economic Trends Index from The Conference Board declined slightly from July. It now stands at 96.7. In July it was 97.4.

Obviously, that’s not good news, though a .7 drop in an index that is up 9.4 percent in a year might be ignorable if all it did was quack. But the Index is also walking like the duck it is. For the first time since March 2009 seven of the eight components that go into the index turned negative.

The Conference Board reported the weakening indicators were: Percentage of Respondents Who Say They Find “Jobs Hard to Get”; Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance, Percentage of Firms With Positions Not Able to Fill Right Now; Part-Time Workers for Economic Reasons; Job Openings; Industrial Production; and Real Manufacturing and Trade Sales. Leer más “Little Hiring Seen for Rest of Year”

See What’s Hot Nearby on Facebook Places, Twitter and Yelp

Facebook Places is still virgin territory for most users, let alone developers and businesses. So how do you get the most out of a service that few people have really figured out how to use?

Geo-social aggregator Hotlist thinks that by combining data from Facebook Places, Twitter, Google Maps and Yelp, users can actually get a lot more value out of their checkins. Its app shows the popularity of nearby events and venues, whether or not your friends are there, the male-female ratio at a given spot, and recent Yelp reviews and Twitter posts for any location you might want to hit up.

It’s one of the first Facebook Places API integrations we’ve seen, and it’s doing a pretty thorough job of combining a ton of unstructured (from the user’s perspective) data into truly useful tidbits of actionable information.

For an on-the-go-oriented application, it helps to have a strong suite of mobile apps. While we’re still waiting for an Android app or a BlackBerry mobile offering, Hotlist does have an iPhone app [iTunes link] available for download now.


Jolie O’Dell

Facebook Places is still virgin territory for most users, let alone developers and businesses. So how do you get the most out of a service that few people have really figured out how to use?

Geo-social aggregator Hotlist thinks that by combining data from Facebook Places, Twitter, Google Maps and Yelp, users can actually get a lot more value out of their checkins. Its app shows the popularity of nearby events and venues, whether or not your friends are there, the male-female ratio at a given spot, and recent Yelp reviews and Twitter posts for any location you might want to hit up.

It’s one of the first Facebook Places API integrations we’ve seen, and it’s doing a pretty thorough job of combining a ton of unstructured (from the user’s perspective) data into truly useful tidbits of actionable information.

For an on-the-go-oriented application, it helps to have a strong suite of mobile apps. While we’re still waiting for an Android app or a BlackBerry mobile offering, Hotlist does have an iPhone app [iTunes link] available for download now. Leer más “See What’s Hot Nearby on Facebook Places, Twitter and Yelp”

Showcase of Interesting Navigation Designs

Everyone is always looking for interesting and effective ways to organize their website and allow users to move about and find things. But there’s a fine line between unexpected and unusable. Three points to consider in any navigation scheme are consistency, user expectations and contextual clues.

If page is long and provides different levels of navigation, will users be able to find their way through the site and use proper navigation quickly? Forcing visitors to use certain keystrokes to navigate, rather than what they’re used to, might be novel, but is that effective if you have to explain instructions prominently on your home page? Here are some examples for your reading pleasure.


  • By Sarah & Adrienne Kahn

    1. The light blue text looks like it’s hyperlinked. One of the first things a user sees upon loading the page is the blue “Who’s Komrade” heading. The first thing we did was click it, but nothing happened. This started the user experience off on the wrong foot. With this unusual scrolling navigation, distinguishing the clickable from the unclickable is extremely important.
    2. The numbered navigation for Komrade’s past work does not stand out enough. The red circles look like yet more flowers, which caused us to pass over them several times before figuring out that they were the navigation. This goes back to the clickable/unclickable issue. Well-placed labels would go a long way here.
  • Everyone is always looking for interesting and effective ways to organize their website and allow users to move about and find things. But there’s a fine line between unexpected and unusable. Three points to consider in any navigation scheme are consistency, user expectations and contextual clues.

    If page is long and provides different levels of navigation, will users be able to find their way through the site and use proper navigation quickly? Forcing visitors to use certain keystrokes to navigate, rather than what they’re used to, might be novel, but is that effective if you have to explain instructions prominently on your home page? Here are some examples for your reading pleasure. Leer más “Showcase of Interesting Navigation Designs”

Social Media And SEO Don’t Matter Shit If You Don’t Pick Up The Phone

Social Media affords you the ability to connect directly with your existing and potential customers, potential employees and a range of other interested parties. SEO is the work you do to make information stored by your company available to as wide an audience as possible through the various search engines.

Both of these disciplines require work on your part to build up your connections and your online visibility and can take up a substantial amount of your time. So why do so many small businesses forget that the first and most important aspect of being connected is being contactable? By not ensuring the phone is picked up when it rings and emails are answered promptly small firms are effectively falling at the first hurdle of being connected with the people most interested in them.


Author of Social Media And SEO Don’t Matter Shit If You Don’t Pick Up The Phone

by Niall & Lauren in business

Screen shot 2010 09 06 at 21.42.00 Social Media And SEO Don’t Matter Shit If You Don’t Pick Up The PhoneThis is a guest post by Caelen King who is CEO and founder of WhatClinc.com, a directory of health clinics around the world with over 500,000 unique monthly visitors.

Social Media affords you the ability to connect directly with your existing and potential customers, potential employees and a range of other interested parties. SEO is the work you do to make information stored by your company available to as wide an audience as possible through the various search engines.

Both of these disciplines require work on your part to build up your connections and your online visibility and can take up a substantial amount of your time. So why do so many small businesses forget that the first and most important aspect of being connected is being contactable? By not ensuring the phone is picked up when it rings and emails are answered promptly small firms are effectively falling at the first hurdle of being connected with the people most interested in them. Leer más “Social Media And SEO Don’t Matter Shit If You Don’t Pick Up The Phone”

The Future of Innovation – Time to predict and time to design

As stated by Budd on “rather than understanding the demographics we need to understand psychographics.”

Knowing people’s opinion does not seem the most appropriate approach to develop a product that can be both innovative and responsive to genuine need. The manipulation of opinion is not very difficult to achieve. This does not mean that people should give up their tastes or trends or should fail to conform with the ecosystem where they live.

It means that research to identify needs must be done, not by GPS, as Deepa Prahalad says, but by a compass that gives us the direction, allows identifying opportunities and giving at the same time the possibility of different approaches.

There is a “mystical part” in consumer behavior that is supported by some research showing that the vast majority of the buying decision is made on an emotional basis and experts estimate that up 95 % of purchase behavior is rooted in the subconscious level.


So you believe that innovation has to occur naturally?

– “I think it’s something you can set up an ecosystem to encourage. Obviously hiring smart people, giving enough investment, giving people time and space to play and explore is definitely a way of investing in this idea of innovation, but you have to understand innovation is a long-term thing….

So what you often find is that the innovators are the ones who create the technology, but it takes a designer to understand the impact of that innovation and package it in a way that users actually want. “

I agree that the concept of innovation should be viewed as a long term thing and that during this time will be room to a combination of “true” innovations in order to a “desired innovation” becomes the success we have seen with some products.

But I also believe we judge ourselves by our intentions, and we judge others by their behaviors.

To that extent what the users want is what we seek to create and add (much) value.

For the companies value means a return on investment (capital) that arrives after a long period, but for the users should mean (the feeling of usefulness and usability) an investment for the future after the acquisition. It is not always so!

What people want is not always what people need!

For companies that want to be “Number One “, this distinction does not matter and as Budd warns that race is often a bad move.

That long term is referred to the time required to understand and integrate connections that represent the hidden or unconscious needs of consumers or users. Leer más “The Future of Innovation – Time to predict and time to design”

10 Free WordPress Themes for Small Businesses

Picking a theme for your blog can be much like picking the right pair of shoes. It’s a personal choice as much guided by the needs of your company as your own aesthetic ideals and personality. With that in mind, we tried to do some of the heavy-lifting by picking out 10 of the best all-around, free WordPress themes for small business. We’ve included some points on how each theme could be maximized, but feel free to experiment, modify, and select for yourself. After all, you are wearing the shoes.

Have a look through our picks, and do let us know if there are any personal favorites we missed in the comments. Don’t forget to let us know why you picked your site’s theme.


Zachary Sniderman

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

There are a lot of WordPress themes out there. Whether you’re looking for a souped up, paid premium template or a free alternative, it seems everyone and their grandma has created a tweak on the basic two-column or three-column WordPress model.

While it can be a little daunting to sort through the many options, the explosion of available templates is a healthy sign of a vibrant, sometimes prolific, design community. This is good news, of course, if you’re a designer. This is not such good news if you’re a small business looking for a simple, free, and adequately outfitted theme for your company. Leer más “10 Free WordPress Themes for Small Businesses”

Six Ways to Supercharge Your Productivity

Add to all that the digital demands of the world we now inhabit. Armed with ever more ways to connect with each other, and to stay current in every moment, we often aren’t sure where to put our focus. We find it harder to give all of our attention to anything — or anyone — for very long.

The consequence is that we’re undertaking more and more tasks every day, but they often add up to less and less real value.

Just think about how many emails you now receive and respond to each day? There are 1307 sitting in my inbox right now. I suspect that two dozen at most genuinely merit my attention. But how to focus on those, and invest minimal time on the rest?


Anterior cingulate cortex.

by Tony Schwartz

It’s Labor Day in the U.S. as I write this post. To my own amazement, I’ve spent most of the past month truly relaxing — reading lots of books, playing tennis, running, hanging out with my family and eating food I mostly shouldn’t — scones and donuts for breakfast, BLTs and burgers for lunch. I enjoyed every minute of it.

Now it’s time to return to work. I feel lucky to have a job, and especially one I love, but the fall ahead is intense, daunting, and demanding, as I suspect it is for you. I’m anxious about the economy. I’m wondering when the next shoe is going to drop. I’m concerned about how my company will hold up if things do get worse.

Add to all that the digital demands of the world we now inhabit. Armed with ever more ways to connect with each other, and to stay current in every moment, we often aren’t sure where to put our focus. We find it harder to give all of our attention to anything — or anyone — for very long.
Leer más “Six Ways to Supercharge Your Productivity”

The Future of Ad Agencies and Social Media

To keep up with ever-changing advertising and marketing options, ad agencies are rapidly adopting new strategies and outlooks on how consumers interact with brands. While many ad agencies have been slow to adopt social media, others have been keeping up with the trends quite well.

But keeping up with change is never good enough in this industry; the most successful, game-changing campaigns are generally a bit ahead of the curve. It’s not enough to hitch your star to an existing facet of viral content; you have to create the content yourself. And you can’t wait for mass markets to catch up to new technologies before you begin thinking about how to incorporate new tech into campaigns and creative; you need to test how that tech will work now. Mobile and social ads are no longer new; what’s more interesting now is figuring out how brands can integrate creatively and effectively with location apps and casual games.

We talked with five people who are familiar with the connected worlds of digital media and ad agencies, and here’s what they had to say about the future of social media and advertising.


Jolie O’Dell

To keep up with ever-changing advertising and marketing options, ad agencies are rapidly adopting new strategies and outlooks on how consumers interact with brands. While many ad agencies have been slow to adopt social media, others have been keeping up with the trends quite well.

But keeping up with change is never good enough in this industry; the most successful, game-changing campaigns are generally a bit ahead of the curve. It’s not enough to hitch your star to an existing facet of viral content; you have to create the content yourself. And you can’t wait for mass markets to catch up to new technologies before you begin thinking about how to incorporate new tech into campaigns and creative; you need to test how that tech will work now. Mobile and social ads are no longer new; what’s more interesting now is figuring out how brands can integrate creatively and effectively with location apps and casual games.

We talked with five people who are familiar with the connected worlds of digital media and ad agencies, and here’s what they had to say about the future of social media and advertising.


Software Is the New Medium… Leer más “The Future of Ad Agencies and Social Media”

Jobs 2.0: Nice Work If You Can Get It

When I told my mother that my husband-to-be was a consultant, she asked, “Does he work?”

Mom was stuck in the mindset of Jobs 1.0. She had been in the work force when the knowledge economy was just emerging, entrepreneurs were considered a little strange, the only “real” professions were law and medicine, labor meant industrial and trade unions, seniority reigned, and careers involved step-by-predictable-step up the rungs of a tall ladder. In the Jobs 1.0 era, consulting was the fall-back face-saver for people who had lost their jobs. Unfortunately, with 9.6% U.S. unemployment, too often that’s still the case. But consulting, whether through big firms, boutiques, or individual arrangements, is the epitome of a shift to Jobs 2.0.


Rosabeth Moss Kanter

When I told my mother that my husband-to-be was a consultant, she asked, “Does he work?”

Mom was stuck in the mindset of Jobs 1.0. She had been in the work force when the knowledge economy was just emerging, entrepreneurs were considered a little strange, the only “real” professions were law and medicine, labor meant industrial and trade unions, seniority reigned, and careers involved step-by-predictable-step up the rungs of a tall ladder. In the Jobs 1.0 era, consulting was the fall-back face-saver for people who had lost their jobs. Unfortunately, with 9.6% U.S. unemployment, too often that’s still the case. But consulting, whether through big firms, boutiques, or individual arrangements, is the epitome of a shift to Jobs 2.0.

Jobs 2.0 are not exactly jobs in the classic sense. Consultants, like many other professionals and knowledge workers, work for their clients rather than their employers; employers are often just the financial managers. The work itself tends to be project-based, involving a shifting set of assignments. Individual workers can have several managers, within one organization or across many. Their portfolios might consist of multiple simultaneous activities — a part-time temp job, a for-profit business, a non-profit board, family duties, teaching an after-hours college course, preparing a special report for an elected official, running for office. Leer más “Jobs 2.0: Nice Work If You Can Get It”

Leverage Your Top Talent Before You Lose It

The first is lack of self-confidence. Some managers, instead of being grateful for a top-notch employee, feel threatened when a subordinate is more capable, more energetic, or smarter than they are. Particularly for managers whose self-image is to be “in charge,” a high performer triggers tremendous anxiety. How can I be the boss if one of my reports is more capable of getting things done? What will happen to my authority if subordinates go to someone else for help and advice? What will my boss think if one of my team members is the one who knows all the answers? Based on these concerns, the insecure manager might overexert authority, demean the high performer’s contributions, or even take credit for much of the high performer’s work.


Do you have an exceptional performer on your team — a person who stands head and shoulders above everyone else? If you do, it can be a wonderful gift for a manager to have an employee whom you can count on to get the right results; who thinks about what else needs to be done without being told; who doesn’t need to be pushed or motivated; who is always asking to do more.

Unfortunately many managers don’t know how to deal with such exceptional employees. They often unintentionally dampen their star performance or cause them to find better opportunities elsewhere. I’ve seen many cases where, instead of leveraging top talent, the manager has quietly suggested that the employee “slow down” or “do more research” or “wait for the right time” or “keep those ideas to yourself for now.” I’ve even seen managers allow their teams to ostracize or marginalize the top performer so that other people won’t “feel bad.” Leer más “Leverage Your Top Talent Before You Lose It”