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Paying to Play on Facebook? Promoted Posts are the Best bet
Two weeks ago, the science video blog Veritasium diverted a bit from its usual subject matter to bring you the video Facebook Fraud, a scathing indictment of Facebook's advertising mechanism for pages. In the video, Veritasium channel host Derek Muller asserts that Facebook's page promotion tool is useless, and then provides empirical evidence of how click farms...

The Double Standard on Government Surveillance
On February 11, Google sent a mass email to about 4.5 million people. These people, who had signed their names to an online petition protesting the Stop Online Piracy Act in 2012, were urged to contact their government representatives to support the USA Freedom Act.

How Social Media Sees Sochi
Social media is not about image — it's about accountability. Try to be something you're not in the social space, and you're lucky if you don't get eaten alive. And if you ever needed proof of that, look no further than the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. First off, watch this HBO Real Sports segment titled "Putin's Olympics," which paints a rather less-than-savory picture of the games...

How Much Time Have You Wasted on Facebook in the Last Decade?
Facebook is now 10 years old, which for a tech company is basically ancient. Yet like some digitized version of Sophia Petrillo, it's still going strong and making snappy comebacks despite threats of getting dumped at Shady Pines by younger counterparts. I don't know anyone who's been on Facebook since it launched in its limited form in 2004. I myself started using Facebook in 2008, after I got sick of MySpace and felt like it was time to grow up a little and move on from the tacky backgrounds and soundtracks and mood statuses (which, incidentally, are now back on Facebook).

The Real Social Media Magic Doesn't Come from Brands
When all is said and done, social media are just a collection of tools through which to communicate. The research outlined in the link above makes it pretty clear that real social media magic happens not within the compelling post from a brand itself, but within the conversation that ensues as a result. It seems more people behind the brand will need to not only know those conversations are taking place, but also become a driving force behind them.

6 Word Casualties of Digital Culture that Need to Go Away NOW
This post, which will indict popular slang phrases currently permeating the American lexicon, is probably going to make me sound old. For the record, I'm in my early 30s, which is young, thank you very much. But depending on your vantage point, that might sound pretty ancient. I know when I was 18, imagining life at the age I am now felt like being in some Jetsonian futuristic 3D movie. And now I'm here, psyched about the 3D, yet bummed about the lack of flying vehicles.

Is Facebook Trying to Predict Our Content Needs?
Facebook is conducting a survey to make your newsfeed better. I received a notification the other day, and decided to take a peek. What followed was a veritable "hot or not" comparison of status updates. "I am interested in seeing more like this," was the basic statement, and then I was asked to pick a rating...

12 Ways to Digitally Celebrate the Holidays
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...an Instagrammed pic of a Starbucks peppermint latte? I certainly hope not. Please, please don't fall into the common yet unbelievably disappointing traps social media set for us all during the holidays: The desire to complain, the need to Instagram pictures of whipped cream on coffee...

Endorse with Sincerity, and Other LinkedIn Best Practices
LinkedIn is one place I NEVER feel pressure to connect with people, because the connections aren't purely made of personal emotion. This is an online social platform for professional networking, so it doesn't matter if there's a personal layer to the friendship or not: If you respect one another as professional colleagues, then the connection is worth something.

Pinterest Pleases with Place Pins
Pinterest can add another one to the "brilliant" file with the recent launch of Place Pins. Capitalizing upon pinners' rapidly more popular desire to utilize this social network as a veritable travel wish-list, Place Pins combine the aesthetic of a board laden with glamorous travel destinations with the functionality of a map.

Don't Be a One-Pump Chump: Marketing Content Beyond the First Share
A common saying in the digital world is that social media marketing is "a marathon, not a sprint." Excellent theory. Not always practiced, however, particularly when we focus on how we sometimes market individual pieces of content via social media. For example: You might pour hours and hours into a well-crafted, witty, thoroughly researched...

Social's Next Big Thing: Does Size Really Matter?
I've read a number of posts out there lately trying to predict what the next big thing in social media will be. All of those posts have one word in common: "small." Teensy six-second Vine videos. Compact infographics. Disappearing status updates. It all makes sense, after all.

The One Foolproof Way to Protect Your Facebook Privacy
Very soon, Facebook will no longer allow you to stop people from searching for your timeline by name. The rationale, as Facebook explained in a recent message on the homepage, is that the "Who can look up your Timeline by name" setting is no longer relevant. "When we created this setting, the only way to find you..."

Your Digital Content's Future
First, they tell you that you should be using social media. Then they tell you your business needs to be creating its own content to share via said social media. And now, even that sentiment is changing. One can see how a business might find the digital landscape confusing, and even downright frustrating. Let us simplify it for you. When it comes to your digital content, all that matters is how well it serves your audience. You could spend big bucks on a heavily produced magnum opus of a video...

I'm Jealous of Bitstrips
Those delicate sketches of turn-of-the-century folk...those baby boomers as they were in the 1980s...they just weren't enough for you, were they? Grew tired of sharing those witty truthisms despite the grammatical errors, did you? Too many hairs lost over reading humor and inspiration in heavy, black-embossed typeface? Well, now that explains it, this whole Bitstrips madness.

Facebook's 'Pages to Watch' Isn't Worth Keeping Your Eyes On
Since summer, Facebook has been testing out an interesting feature for business pages called "Pages To Watch." I finally got the official "invite" to try it this week. And I politely ignored. To be clear, "Pages To Watch" seems to be little more than a ploy to get you to buy more page promotion.

Using Social Media to Find a Job? Immediate Responses NOT Required
It's neither uncommon nor inappropriate to inquire about potential work via social media. Using social media to look for a job is now a norm, and rightfully so: who wouldn't want to tap into the massive potential of connecting with business leads in as personal yet efficient a manner as possible? But here's one piece of information I'm not readily finding in articles about finding work via social media: The appropriate amount of time to wait before inquiring with a business via social media a second time. A job-seeker recently sent a private message to a Facebook page I manage, with a nice pitch and a request for a director to respond. So I forwarded the information on to the appropriate person.

The Most Important Social Audience You Might Be Ignoring
We talk a lot about how to engage external audiences using social media. But there's one audience organizations tend to overlook, even though it's one of the most important audiences of all: the one you see each day at work. You know — the boss, the folks around the water cooler, the people warming up their stinky lunches in the kitchen. Your internal audience.

Should Facebook Judge Content Quality?
There are so many Internet problems that a social networking giant like Facebook could help to fix. Cyberbullying. Online privacy, perhaps. But instead, Facebook is now focusing its attention on another digital scourge: LOLcats. LOLcats? Facebook recently announced changes to the news feed algorithm for pages that essentially aim to save users from having to see too many crappy photos with embossed text treatments.

A Soundtrack for Your Social Media Usage
I'm a pretty musical person, and I do life to a soundtrack. I very often associate even the most mundane activities of daily life with one song or another. The other day, it occurred to me that certain songs always pop into my head when I'm using my various social profiles. So I thought I'd share them with you, and see if any of you can relate.

Advice for Teens Thinking of Joining LinkedIn
Young and determined uber-nerds, rejoice: You no longer have to wait to be 18 to start networking on LinkedIn. LinkedIn's recent update to its terms of service changes the cut-off age for membership from 18 to 13 and older, depending on your country. Based on national ages at which you can legally work, you now only have to be 14 to join LinkedIn in the U.S., Canada, Germany, Spain, Australia, and South Korea, 16 in The Netherlands, 18 in China, and 13 everywhere else.

@HVSVN vs. @British_Airways: A Twitter Case Study
So you slept late. Tripped over the dog. Forgot your lunch. Spilled your coffee in the car. Found a Dear John letter on your dresser. You're overworked and understaffed and your pay is about as quality as the funny-smelling stuff now mysteriously wedged into the soles of your shoes.

Persevere, Social Analysis Nerd, Persevere
I manage social media content, and I also track its performance. Analysis is extremely time-consuming work, even when you have access to a shiny digital tool that gathers much of the data for you. After all, once you present all that data, it's up to you as the keeper of the social keys to first explain what the heck it all means, then suggest the next steps.

Miley Cyrus + Robin Thicke = Successful Social Marketing
So clogged were my feeds Monday morning from all the Miley Cyrus hate that it felt like some weird digital cardiac event. I didn't watch the MTV Video Music Awards, but I learned all I needed to know thanks to Twitter. The virtual stones hurled unrelentingly at Miss Cyrus, whose strange artistic statement involving tongues, twerking, and really strange teddy bears...

Finding Your Business' Social Media Voice: Igniting Passion
The like is not enough. It's nice and all, but not enough. Plenty of people say things that others like. In fact, it's pretty easy to tell people what they like to hear. But as this blog post from Brains on Fire so eloquently states, "people don't talk about things they like. People don't get passionate about things they like." Anyone can be on social media. But there's a difference between being on social media and actually doing social media well. The "being" requires little more than a pulse and a general understanding of how the internet works. The "doing" takes some chutzpah. You see, to ignite passion in others, you have to show passion: passion for your business, your industry, your products. You have to have a clear and authoritative opinion that resonates...

Khalil Shreateh: Average Hacker, or Unsung Social Media Hero?
So there's this guy. Khalil Shreateh, of Palestine. He uncovered an ever-so-slightly significant bug in Facebook's security that would essentially allow anyone who discovered it to post messages to anyone's timeline, friend or not. Imagine, just for a few seconds, what could be done with that kind of power. Now stop before you sicken yourself.

Finding Your Business' Social Media Voice: An Introduction
The best brands on social media aren’t selling stuff. They’re just talking with their audiences. And through that conversation, they’re being useful and entertaining. And THAT, folks, is what is leading to repeat sales and true brand loyalty. Contests and coupons certainly help...

Are Paid Subscriptions REALLY in Facebook's Future?
The social crack that is Facebook is *technically* free, since you don't have to pay actual money to use it. But I've often argued it's not really free at all, since you "pay" in the form of data. Every time you "like" a status or a page, fill in a field on your profile, or indicate you're feeling or watching or cooking...

Tile: The App That Could Change Your Life
I generally reserve the term "life-changing" for major milestone experiences: graduating from college, getting a job, getting married, having a child, getting a big promotion, etc. Geo-location apps don't usually make the list. Until now. I often quip that I'd lose my head if it weren't attached. But for everything else not biologically tethered to your person, there's now an app that will ensure you can find it.

Would You Check In to the Twitter Hotel?
If unplugging from social media isn't part of your ideal vacation, there's now a hotel for that. The Sol Wave House of Spain's Magaluf Beach, nicknamed the "Twitter Hotel," uses hashtags and a special Twitter app only available on the hotel wifi to create community among the guests. There's pretty much a hashtag for what seems like every imaginable human interaction...

Live-Tweeting Death: Lessons from Scott Simon's Mother
People die every day. It's a grim but necessary part of life. Even in today's digital age, we still don't talk as openly about death as we could. The death of Patricia Lyons Simon Newman Gilban may change that. Patricia, who passed away July 29, is the mother of NPR's Scott Simon. Her son chronicled her last days on Twitter, a coping mechanism that struck both chords and nerves with many people.

4 Budget-Friendly Ways to Appreciate Social Fans
If you're doing social on a budget decidedly thinner than a shoestring, you may watch from the sidelines with envious longing at the big brands that conjure elaborate displays of follower appreciation whenever they hit a big social media milestone. I can understand that feeling. But I'm here to tell you that just because you won't be hitting 1 million — or even 1,000 — fans...

Why You Need a Website
You know, sometimes we digital/social/techie-types get stuck in bubbles of our own making, where we think that certain indisputable truths are sacred and shared by all we encounter. The real truth is, certain credos of our trade are most definitely NOT sacred, and questions we thought had long since been answered are still being asked. Here's an example. Someone within my professional circles recently asked why their business needed a website. I'll admit, my first thought was a snarky one.

Graph Search: Will You Feed the Beast?
A beast is on the loose. Where it actually lives is hard to pinpoint. But it's safe to say this beast will not die any time soon. Massive and unstoppable, it feeds incessantly, not on conventional animal sustenance, but on one of the most sustainable "crops" in the history of humankind: our own personal data.

Got Vine/Instagram Video Skills? Start Marketing Them
Like the social media practices that came before it, "Micro-vlogging" is rapidly transforming from an interesting way to waste time into a viable skill that marketers and brands will need on their teams. These brands are already killing it on Vine, and more are sure to follow.

Why the TSA Using Instagram is Sheer Brilliance
"Show, don't tell." This is a cardinal rule of storytelling, no matter the medium or platform. It's not enough to tell people you're useful or relevant. You have to show them. And here's an unlikely but absolutely brilliant example of an organization that fully understands and lives this concept: The Transportation Security Agency.

How to Get the 'Share'
There's just no satisfying the social media beast these days. Just when you think you've got a good wave of engagement going, algorithms change, people change, conversations change. So if you're still thinking a lot of likes is a sign of social engagement success, then please...sit down, my son. Fostering truly meaningful and insightful engagement via your social channels involves much more than amassing likes. You want likes, yes. Comments? Even better.

How to Be a Good Digital Citizen: 4 Basic Principles
In the shadow of this Independence Day, I think it's important we remind ourselves of the duties that come with citizenship. Particularly the duties that come with digital citizenship. Much like our country and world, the digital landscape is full of good and bad. And as the theories that founded America profess...

'Hell is Other People,' and Other Social Avoidance Apps
The hyper-connectedness of our digital culture is almost too overwhelming for some. So what are those people supposed to do? Go off the grid? If one NYU graduate student has his way, we will use technology not to connect to others, but to avoid them. "Hell Is Other People," an app created by...

10 Suggestions for Sparking Content Inspiration
Consistently creating compelling content (see that alliteration right there?) is hard enough, even for professionals. But when your job is to create compelling content for a company's social media channels, the pressure is all sorts of ON. Even when the road map is clear — you've surveyed your audiences, analyzed what's worked in the past, and have a stockpile of content at the ready should you get stuck — you might still find yourself falling into a rut.

Vine, Instagram Video, and Their Biggest Effect on Social Business
It's nice when we see competition on the digital landscape that actually seems to benefit the user. And the latest example is the addition of video capabilities on Instagram. In what can only be described as a direct challenge to Twitter's video app Vine, Facebook announced June 20 the rolling out of video for Instagram...

Facebook and the New Implications of the #hashtag
Every now and again, I'll still get somebody asking me what the heck a hashtag is. "Oh, you mean the pound sign?" they'll say, after my short explanation. Even now that Facebook is rolling out hashtags, I can't say I'm confident anything will change in the hashtag-ignorance arena. But what WILL change, however, is how hashtags are strategically used to expose content.

Will a Promise of Privacy Help Expand the Social Media Universe?
This week, The Smartblog on Social Media's Jesse Stanchak asked an extremely provocative question: Is the social media universe still expanding? The blog had polled its readers with a simple question: Have you signed up for a new social network in 2013? A solid 50 percent said no, while 41 percent said yes. Another 8.5 percent said no because they don't use social networks.

The Real Plot of the Edward Snowden Movie
Someday, a movie will be made about Edward Snowden. It seems history will have to determine whether he is a hero or a traitor for blowing the whistle on the National Security Agency's online surveillance programs. Regardless of how any of us feel about all of this, or who each of us blames, David Meyer is right...

Helping and Hearing, Both Online and Off
What happens digitally affects what happens in real life, and vice versa. Many businesses still don't understand that. Customers and prospects will begin their experiences with you either in writing (digitally or not), or in person. They want help, yes, but just as importantly, they want to be heard.

The Pros and Cons of Digital Crowdfunding: Which Side Are You On?
If you've ever fallen on hard times, you might know how difficult it can be to swallow your pride and ask friends or family for money. Or, perhaps, you just went online and asked total strangers. Of all the things our digital world makes easier, crowdfunding is right up there as one of the most rewarding — and controversial. The latest example to hit the interwebs is actually pretty cool...

The Scarlet Dollar Sign: Are Sponsored Posts a Blessing or a Curse?
It's been a week or so since Yahoo acquired Tumblr, so naturally, now would be a good time to drop a monetization bomb. Tumblr has introduced sponsored posts, with brands like Capital One, Denny's, Ford, and AT&T among the first to sign on...

The Digital Intrigue of Cyberwar
He's hacked newspapers and planted fake stories to change the outcomes of wars. He's knocked countless jihadist and otherwise extremist websites offline. He recently took over the website of the Westboro Baptist Church, mocking its recent celebration of deadly tornadoes in Oklahoma by posting a picture of Jesus...

Ascending to 'Interesting'
I've read a fair share of how-to articles about how to capture online audiences with great content. And I'd say 99.9 percent of them order you to "be interesting." What on earth does this maddening generality mean? To me, it means a lot of things. Which is why it makes me crazy whenever I see it in an article claiming to have unlocked the secret to great content.

Can Technology Really Stop Bullies?
Sticks and stones may break bones, but online words can drive you to suicide. Gone are the days when bullies were easy to spot. They aren't always big stereotypical lugs taking your lunch money, beating you up on the bus, making you walk the long way home, yelling "O'Doyle Rules!" These days, they could be any otherwise quiet, normal kid, taking to social networking sites, bringing other people together for the specific purpose of typing hormonal, angst-ridden rage right at you.

Social Media Success is a Sum of Smaller Parts
When all is said and done, a quality social media presence is about making friends. You have to decide what kind of friends you want: Are you OK with accumulating shallow, superficial acquaintances, or do you want deep, meaningful relationships? If you're cool with shallow and superficial, by all means: Run a lot of gimmicky contests to get likes and follows, respond sparingly to questions, and spend lots of time promoting the crap out of how awesome you think you are.

Putting the Soul Back Into Social Media
There's been a lot of discussion this week about social media getting back to its roots. Folks are saying social channels need to throw back to the early days, when they were places where real people could converse, not places where companies go online to hustle people for money.

Why Are Big Brands Bugging Instagram About Advertising?
Instagram is growing. And its users want to make sure its growth is managed, as we found out last year, when the stuff hit the proverbial fan over proposed changes to terms of service that seemed to suggest photos could be used for ads. So if you were one of those people who guffawed at the thought of Instagram ads, what would your reaction be...

In Social Media, Less Continues to Mean Even More
Not unlike the very planet we call home, the bedrock of the social media landscape is always shifting. The best we can do as keepers of our online communities is try to predict when the next big earthquake or volcanic eruption will take place, then do our best to ensure we're prepared and adaptable enough to endure the upheaval.

Don't Put Your Listening Skills on Autopilot
Last week, my Twitter feed overflowed with Boston Marathon news, commentary and well-wishes for hospitalized victims. And then, there was this trickle of irrelevance: Random tweets about making money from blogs and content marketing solutions and "check out my new hair!" It was awkward at best. It was awkward at best. Unlike some of the other people I follow, I did not call anyone out directly. But I supported them voicing their displeasure, and here's why...

Don't Blame Social Media for CNN's Mistakes
There was a time when Wednesday's false report of an arrest in the Boston bombings would have played out much differently...much more quietly. In fact, I have to wonder if there would have been a false report at all if everyone still waited until the morning paper or the 6 p.m. news to find out what was going on. What disturbed me most about CNN's bungled report wasn't that they got it wrong...

Social Media's Role in the Battle of Good vs. Evil
Tragedies always bring out the extremes in humanity. Wherever the darkness creeps, you'll also find extraordinary flashes of greatness. This is true no matter the medium: Real life, television, the written word, social media. The horrific bombing at the Boston Marathon revealed the very dark side...

Facebook's Visual Sharing: A More Convenient Way to Target Ads
It must be tough to be Facebook. So much data to sort, so many advertisers to please, so much money to be made. How does a social networking behemoth even begin to make sense of it all? Let's start with emoticons. You might have noticed today that you can now tell people how you're feeling in your status updates...

Why Facebook Home Should Both Impress and Terrify You
Let me get right to the point: If you haven't read Wired Magazine's recent interview with Mark Zuckerberg, you should. It's filled with telling revelations about how Facebook is trying to evolve as a company and, in my personal opinion, completely take over your life, if you let it.

New Patents Show Apple's Now on the Defensive When it Comes to Innovation
Apple has filed some new patents, and gee golly am I excited. The first patent is for a new MacBook design with a removable touchscreen, and the other patent is for street view navigation that actually goes into buildings. Holy wow! Those Apple geniuses are at it again! I mean, who else could possibly even conceive of such innovat—...

In Today's Digital Age, Know When to Show Your Nerve
It's doubtful Yvonne Brill ever imagined a world where a well-meaning group of people could bring a flagship newspaper to its knees by digitally broadcasting a barrage of short sentences. But that's exactly what happened March 30, when the New York Times agreed to update the lede of Brill's obituary in response to a wave of tweets crying foul over the obit leading with anecdotes of Brill's domestic prowess as a wife and mother...

Why Senators Using Social Media Isn't News Anymore
Two senators have made the news for publicly reversing earlier statements and announcing their support for same-sex marriage via Facebook and Tumblr. Mashable, in particular, asked if it was smart for Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) to use social media to announce their thoughts. Short answer: Yes.

Storybird: A Digital Playground for Writers and Artists
Sometimes, the digital world is too much, and I long for the smell of old library books. The simple turning of paper pages is a personal pleasure I take for granted, one I fear might not develop in my children — or worse, might not even be an option. Even though we read real books every evening...

Do You Know Your Social Media Person? You Really Should
There's a group of people (that I'm proud to say I belong to) who go by a variety of different names: "social media manager"..."online community manager"..."social media specialist"..."social media strategist"..."Facebook Lady." These are the people whom you've hired to manage the social media presences of your businesses, either exclusively or in addition to other duties.

Jilted by Google Reader? Start Dating Again with These Alternatives
Have you ever been in a relationship where you thought everything was going fine, where you felt secure and supported, only to wake up one morning to an awkwardly written note announcing your ass had been kicked to the curb? That's kind of how I feel right now, after hearing the announcement that Google Reader is going away as of July 1. And apparently, a lot of other people feel like jilted Google Reader-lovers too. A change.org petition has been started in hopes of convincing Google...

The Rise of the 'Social Machines'
Somewhere out there, a paintball gun is just waiting for you to pull its trigger and shoot. But don't let its undisclosed location stop you. That's why we have Twitter. Yes, it does exist: A paintball gun that fires every time you tweet with the hashtag #ISLPaint. It's the latest fun innovation from iStrategyLabs, a digital marketing agency that, I humbly believe, is on to something REALLY big.

How Can Brands Conquer the New Facebook News Feed? Original Photography.
Facebook's announcement of a new, more efficiently organized news feed gave both individuals and brands plenty to be excited about. It will now be easier for individuals to organize their news feeds the way they like, as well as compartmentalize people and organizations into multiple news feeds thanks to the new "Following" feed feature.

Is Responsive Design the Best Answer?
If recent conversations I've had in professional circles are any indication, responsive design is pretty much on par with a plan for world peace in the digital world. And up until recently, I unquestioningly felt the same way. On its face, responsive design sounds like the perfect solution to many a website's conundrums...

7 Tips for Doing Customer Service Right Over Social Media
Customer service is a tough gig. People are rude, obnoxious, and just plain stupid sometimes...no, make that a lot of the time. And I'm talking about both customers and customer service "professionals." But you know where things can get especially rude, obnoxious, and just plain stupid? Online social networks.

Is Digital Technology Really Causing That Big a Communication Crisis?
When I worked in education, I once moderated a round table discussion where a group of people felt their school district needed to devote more resources to teaching "soft skills" like writing and oral communication. They said the digital age, rife with fancy mobile technology and "likes" and "twittering," had eroded students' communication skills so severely...

New School Tech Gadgets Take Old School Inspiration
Wearable technology has been around for centuries. Case in point: The pocket watch. Or the monocle. Not so widely used anymore, of course, but in their time, they served a perfectly functional purpose. Now, they might be cool conversation pieces, or fashion statements.

10 Tips to Make Pinterest Work for Your Business
Pinterest seems simple enough, right? You pin a bunch of interesting visuals, people re-pin them, and that in turn gives you more exposure. But trust me: You need a good strategy if you're going to make this Pinterest thing work for your business. And if you're looking for tips on how to get started...

Ways to Win Hearts in Your Online Community
Have you ever wondered why we need a designated day of the year to tell people we love them? Shouldn't you be able to share the Valentine's Day spirit with people you love every day? But I guess it's just not human nature. After all, you may know your significant other loves you, but you don't necessarily need...

5 Social Media Content Development Tips
It's a pretty crazy time to be in the business of content creation. Back in the old days when I first started my professional career, I defined "creating content" as going to a specific place, whipping out my 4x8 reporter's notebook and writing down what my senses processed for however long it took for me...

How Five Little Coursera Courses Could Change the Face of Higher Education
The college experience — living in a dorm, meeting people different from yourself, learning new ideas — is unlike any other rite of passage for young adults worldwide. But not only is it not for everyone, it's simply not within everyone's reach. College is a unique experience — but it's also uniquely expensive. A four-year degree can leave someone in arrears for the rest of their lives.

Think Like Oreo: Tips for Creating Shareable Graphics in a Pinch
So in case you haven't already heard, there was a bit of a blackout during the Super Bowl on Feb. 3. No one really knew what was going on. The game was delayed by a good half hour. But instead of waiting around and speculating, Oreo decided to creatively seize the opportunity with a simple shareable photo that let everybody know "you can still dunk in the dark."

Lessons from a Broken iPhone
All I wanted to do was put some photos on my computer. Instead, I lost the use of my iPhone for more than 12 hours. And I have to tell you, how I acted in those 12 hours kind of scared me. It all started when I plugged my phone into my laptop (a PC that runs Windows 7) to import some photos and videos. As everything began to function as it should, I was asked if I wanted to update to iOS 6.1. Well, of course I do! So, I got that process rolling and, once again everything was working as it should, until...the error. For some unknown reason identifiable only by a string of numbers, the update stopped. I was informed the update could not proceed because of the error. So, I unplugged the phone from the computer. My iPhone's home screen then switched to a picture...

Are We Shortchanging Google+?
Not too long ago, I was sitting in a room full of social media geeks like me, listening to a panel of speakers serve up the typical social media geekery. One of the panelists uttered the words "Google+." The entire room erupted in snarky laughter.

Are Anonymous Social Networks the Next Big Thing?
There's something sexy about anonymity. In the 1900s, women disguised themselves as men by using fake pen names, just to ensure their work might get noticed by editors and publishers. Scandalous products and services almost always arrive in completely discrete packaging. Some of the most memorable quotes plastered all over Pinterest are anonymous.

Your Online Audience is NOT Random
Success in the online social space looks a little different for everyone. But in the end, the goal is the same: Get people talking. Without conversation, there is no hope to grow an audience, to gather feedback, to drive sales. Advice about how to get people talking abounds. A lot of that advice is pretty solid. A lot of it also makes me want to chuck my iPhone across the room.

Social Media for Your Business: How to Get Past the Risk
The world of business is rife with risk. In fact, I doubt any successful business became that way because its stakeholders decided to play it safe. Somewhere — somehow — someone had to go out on a limb to move the needle. Why, then, do so many businesses cower in fear at the thought of using social media? Ann Handley, chief content officer at MarketingProfs, gives some great advice...

Social Review: Navigating the New MySpace
There are no custom skins or backdrops. I cannot emote my mood through an icon. But this is not the early 2000s. This is the new MySpace. Today MySpace hitched a ride on the release of investor Justin Timberlake's new single, "Suit & Tie," and opened up its newly designed interface to the public by promising...

Learn from Burt's Bees: Social Isn't Always the Star
In this world of Groupons, Facebook offers, and digital vouchers, it's sometimes refreshing to see when a company offers you something in print. Burt's Bees did it in Minneapolis — in a truly creative and inspiring way. To launch a new line of moisturizing products, Burt's Bees painstakingly constructed a billboard...

Get Organized! Apps to Help You Get It Done in 2013
Ever take the Myers-Briggs personality type indicator? If not, it can provide a lot of interesting insight about who you are as a person. According to this test, my personality type is INFP. If I do say so myself, there are a lot of cool things about being an INFP. As well as some not-so-cool things, I deign to admit. One of those less-than-savory attributes is a tendency to be disorganized.

Make 2013 Your Year for Online Diplomacy
Last week, we talked about resolving to be more positive in our online interactions. And today, with so many outlets reviewing 2012's top social media blunders, we thought it fitting to focus on another quality to strive for: Diplomacy. We all have our moments. Whether it's a friend posting a political rant you completely disagree with, or a customer posting a completely unwarranted bad review of your business, the urge to slap back is tough to ignore.

Status Updates: Only 25 Cents
As we wrap up 2012, the year of Facebook status updates declaring privacy rights and the need to pay for visibility, here's a little slice of nostalgia I just had to share. Behold the Community Memory Terminal, a relic from 1973 that, by all accounts, is among the first iterations of social networking. These terminals were set up around San Francisco and Berkeley to see...

In 2013, Resolve to Be More Positive Online
It's the end of 2012, and time for reflection. Social networks make it quite easy to review your life's highlights (and lowlights) from the year. So what do those highlights look like? What kinds of moments did you share? And how did they affect your following? Check out this study from "social media scientist" Dan Zarella, who backs some solid suggestions for getting new followers...

COPPA Changes Allow Facebook to Advertise to Young Kids
Changes to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, have enabled Facebook to begin advertising to children younger than 13. As a parent, I read this news and instantly felt a pit in my stomach. According to the Mashable article, "among the most important part of the changes is that no notice..."

Is Instagram Really 'Committing Suicide' With Its New Terms of Service?
In the words of photographer Clayton Cubitt, here it is: "Instagram's suicide note." Or is it, really? Gaskets blew with atomic force this week when users finally began to realize that changes to Instagram's Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, going into effect Jan. 16, implied that Instagram could profit from users' photos without providing the users with any compensation.

What You Can Learn from the NRA About Dealing with Social Media Negativity
Before we get to the subject at hand, I need to say that like many of you, I am sickened by what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. on Dec. 14. My heart goes out to the victims, their families and the members of that community who must now move forward bearing the unimaginable burden of this tragedy. The particularly gruesome and horrific nature of this crime...

The Illusion of 'Facebook Suffrage'
So remember that time Facebook tried to get its users to vote on something? No? Me either. But apparently it happened. Three times. See, any time people start freaking out about a policy change via comments, a voting mechanism is triggered once the griping reaches a certain critical mass.

Would You Go to College to Major in Social Media?
I have a bachelor's degree in Psychology, for which I was often teased. It's a pointless major, people would say. Like Philosophy. Or English. Well, in the end, it wasn't so pointless, because it now helps inform my work in the social media world. But here's another degree that's bound to get similar ridicule. A degree in social media. Hmmm. I'll admit, it sounds stupid...

Twitter vs. Instagram, Part 2
So today I opened up my trusty app store on the old iPhone and noticed Instagram had an update waiting for me. Interesting, I thought, considering I'd just finished writing a post about Instagram's spat with Twitter yesterday. So I load the update, open Instagram, and wouldn't you know it — there's a new design and a new filter!

The Latest Gripe About Twitter and Instagram's Falling Out
If you took to Twitter Sunday afternoon and saw nothing but white blank spaces where Instagram photos should be — you should know it was on purpose. Instagram has disabled support for Twitter cards, as of this past weekend. This is another nail in the coffin of Twitter and Instagram's marriage. Over the summer, Twitter blocked Instagram's access to its API, effectively eliminating the ability for people to find friends, thanks to an update to its API policy. Last week, Instagram only allowed cropped photos to appear in Twitter streams: a throwback to an old, primitive way...

Is Blockbuster Insane?
Remember the good old days when you'd walk into a video store, make a selection or two, pick out a few tasty movie snacks and then pay for your spoils? Yeah, I didn't think those days were good either. I found absolutely no pleasure in having to go somewhere to pay for a movie to watch on my TV.

How Social Media Showed Us That Kids Are Truly Good
We read and write so much about how social media is ruining our children. The harsh bullying, the suicides, the lack of appropriate social skills—many blame it all on the rampant use of technology to communicate. I've done my fair share of decrying the obsession myself. But then, these moments arise where you're reminded of just how amazing digital social networking can be.

Fiction Twitter-fied: Twitter Holds First-Ever Fiction Festival
Twitter and literature. Twitterature. Twitterature? Yes, this is real. And awesome. Fiction is not dead, people. It's just getting a digital makeover. Check out this festival hosted by Twitter and the New York Public Library, aimed at breathing new life into fiction writing by inviting authors to tell their stories in 140-character installments. Follow the #twitterfiction and #TwitRature hashtags. Why should you pay attention? Because you might learn a thing or two about the art of the teaser.

How to Leverage Pinterest for Your Business: Tips from Pinfluencer's CEO
It’s no secret that Pinterest is making a concerted effort to woo businesses that want to capitalize on its tremendous power as a traffic-driver. Makes perfect sense, right? With Pinterest success stories like Etsy’s, it’s hard not to want to jump on the Pinterest bandwagon. So once a business gets on Pinterest, how does it make sure its strategy is working?

The Conundrum of Social Media Minders
When one thinks about the ingredients that go into good social media strategy, it's usually the tangibles that come to mind: Well thought-out content, sound policies, consistent voice. But there's another ingredient to add to the list — an ingredient that's often left out: Trust. In my humble opinion, you absolutely need to trust your employees in order to create a good social business. This often requires major shifts in culture, in attitude, in philosophy. But what about when your business is to report news objectively?

When Will We Finally Accept That Social Media Isn't for Shopping?
This past Black Friday was a complete bust for social media sites. Social platforms like Facebook and Twitter barely made a scratch when it came to online Black Friday sales: They brought in less than half of a percent of click-throughs to online retailers. You can read more about it here. So, I have to ask: Are we finally going to accept the fact that people don't want to use social media sites to buy things?

Why the Facebook Copyright Notice Hoax is No Laughing Matter
I've seen a lot of laughing and ridiculing going around Facebook in response to well-meaning but misinformed friends who posted the infamous "copyright notice." You've probably seen it. Yes, it's a hoax. And here's New York Times tech blogger David Pogue's very good explanation of why. But no, you should not laugh at people who post it. Although I'm fairly certain it won't be treated as such, this should be a wake-up call for Facebook and its users. People are so confused, so distrusting...

Got Multiple Recipe Accounts? This Holiday, Get Thee to Evernote
'Tis the season to be clipping recipes. Oh man, is my Pinterest feed ever blowing up with cookies and appetizers and all sorts of holly-adorned dishes for the holidays. How cool is it that we have so many awesome places to go for new recipe ideas to wow our family and friends at the next holiday get-together? There is, of course, Pinterest. Not to mention Epicurious. AllRecipies.com. MyRecipes.com. Foodtv.com. MarthaStewart.com. Foodnetwork.com. And the list goes on.

A Gentle Reminder: Facebook is Designed to Expose You
I've always been naturally curious. It's why I was drawn to journalism. This innate urge to explore and investigate tugs at me every day. So, one might think that social platforms like Facebook are a journalist's dream come true. In some ways, they are: Whatever you can see, you can pretty much print. And people are more real when there's no pressure to deliver a quote for a story.

Let's Hope More Companies Jump on the #FridayForGood Bandwagon
We working stiffs who wake up and go to an office every business day often look forward to Fridays. We get a break from corporate dress, and we get to be a little more comfortable at the office. Twitter, however, has taken the concept of "casual Friday" and turned it into something much more meaningful. Look up the hashtag #FridayForGood. And then try to emulate it.

YouTube's Gift to Moms of Toddlers Everywhere
My toddler absolutely loves Humpty Dumpty. He often asks to watch animations of the classic nursery rhyme on TV, or on my phone. Issues abound with both options: If he watches on my phone, I'm sans phone, and I have to hover to ensure he doesn't stumble across anything R-rated. If he watches via YouTube on our TV, I can't step away even for a minute, again.

Why We Should Look Up from Our Smartphones More Often
"Deprived of media, college students describe ordeal." This is a real headline. And it makes me sad. A research team at the University of Oregon's School of Journalism conducted an experiment in which students "fasted" from media for 48 hours, then wrote essays about their experiences. "I felt immensely powerless and almost naked..."

Understanding the Paid Side of Facebook
I've made no secret of the fact that I don't like Facebook's paid model for business pages. But hey, Facebook is a business and can do whatever it needs to do to make money. So, tough noogies for me, I guess. If you have a Facebook business page, it's time to seriously consider paying for better exposure on the social network.

Israel Bombs Gaza, and Social Media
I think we've just about had our fill of stories that marvel at the power of social media. We no longer need to be convinced. But then there's a story like this. And that's when I realize that very often, we don't need convincing, but reminding. Israel began bombing Gaza Nov. 14.

Facebook Relationship Pages, Please Divorce Us
Have you ever been in this situation? Your significant other gets you a gift. He or she thinks it's the most incredible gift ever. You open this "awesome" gift, and come to this sinking realization: This gift is nothing more than evidence that your significant other not only doesn't listen to you, he or she simply does not understand you.

Has This Researcher Cracked the Social Virility Code?
Xiao Fang has been studying social networking tools as if they were living, breathing organisms. And he believes that he, along with his fellow researchers at the University of Utah, has cracked their DNA. The result? A study, soon to be published in the The Information Systems Research Journal, that outlines a more comprehensive, near fool-proof formula for predicting the probability of someone performing a social action, such as "liking" or even "buying' a product. Fang says he study, titled "Predicting Adoption Probabilities in Social Networks," outlines a method that "seamlessly integrates a more comprehensive set of factors..."

Are We Happy? 'Track Your Happiness' Tried to Find Out
Scientist Matt Killingsworth says we've been lucking out like crazy this last century: More amenities, amazing technology, longer life expectancies thanks to advances in medicine...yet, collectively, we're still seemingly unhappy. Why? Killingsworth asked the same question. So what did he do? He developed an iPhone app, of course. Killingsworth's app, "Track Your Happiness," collected data from more than 15,000 people from highly varied backgrounds in pursuit of the million-dollar question: What makes us happy?

Does Social Media Influence Politics, or Simply Express It?
Social media has now played a major role in two presidential elections. But did social media change anyone's opinion on the presidential candidates? According to one Twitter chat, not so much. Why? It came down to authenticity: It was clear that most, if not all the posts were never made by the actual candidates.

Instagram Thinks Outside the Box With Web Profiles
Instagram is strictly a mobile being...at least, until the end of this week. Instagram has started rolling out new profile pages, and by week's end, most users will have these spiffy new displays. The examples we've seen are really, really cool. Indeed, other bloggers are right to point out the fact that new Instagram profile pages look a lot like the Facebook Timeline format.

Tips for Writing More Engaging Social Media Posts
In the social space, calls to action aren't always answered. Inspiring action is a better bet. Social businesses can't deny the importance of including calls to action in posts. Indeed, telling people what to do makes it all the more likely they'll do it. But I've got to tell you, sometimes calls to action annoy me. And this is coming from someone who uses them. "Like if you agree!"

Facebook Gets it Right with Charitable Gifts Test Feature
I admit, whenever I blog about Facebook I'm usually complaining. This will not be one of those posts. Inspired by the bipartisan spirit of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, I'm going to put my usual views aside to recognize some truly commendable work. Facebook has partnered with 11 nonprofit organizations to launch a new test feature on Facebook Gifts: You can now make a charitable contribution in celebration of a friend or family member. The test couldn't come at a better time.

The Instagram Menu: A Trend That Could Go Global (If It Hasn't Already)
I love it when businesses use social media tools in ways that make as much creative sense as business sense. Case in point: Comodo, a new Latin American restaurant in New York City using Instagram in a way that's as innovative as it is obvious. So when you go to a restaurant, what's the first thing you do after you take your seat?

Hi! We Survived a Hurricane. Did You Pay Attention?
So, as you may have noticed, we had quite the big, scary weather event on the east coast Monday night. A lot of people are now facing unfathomable hardship. Our thoughts are with them. Were your thoughts with them too? Perhaps they were. Did your social presence make that known? Usually, it's not advisable to stray from the general vibe of your social channels. But in situations like these, where you have members of your audience going through hell after a major natural disaster, it's almost silly not to address it.

Social Media Apps and Resources for Hurricane Sandy
I live in upstate New York, and it's the night before what could possibly end up being the most devastating storm to hit our state in a very, very long time. So, I can't think about social media in any other context. When Irene hit us as a tropical storm, we lost power for nearly two days — and social media was the one way we were able to get news and keep up to date on family and friends who had it way worse than we did.

Is It Time for Facebook Business Page Owners to Try a New Strategy?
It's not easy being a Facebook business page these days. And Facebook doesn't seem to want to make it easier any time soon. If you're a smaller page just starting out, the odds your fans will see your content are slim, even if that content is good. You want your content to be seen by more of your fans to boost your chances of engagement?

Qualities of Great Social Media Directories
Organizations with multiple social media presences most likely have so much awesome going on across the social space that they need a place where people can go to find it all. If you're one of those organizations, a social media directory on your main website is a must. At its core, this "directory" is a home base.

Should America Follow Iceland's Social Media Lead?
My mind began to wander, fatigued by the rapid-fire tweets and Facebook posts surrounding the third and final presidential debate on foreign policy. And then came a blast of fresh air from Iceland. This GigaOM article discusses Iceland's bold move to allow its citizens to participate in the drafting of its new constitution — via Facebook and Twitter..

Want to Build Your Own Social Network? Check Out SocialEngine
Social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are so ingrained in so many personal and professional lives that it's easy to forget they're just sites that offer particular services. So, if you're not happy with the services of, say, Facebook, you can go elsewhere. But it's not always that simple for businesses. They have to go where their customers hang out online. Or do they?

The Kindle Paperwhite Makes Me Miss Real Paper
The Kindle Paperwhite has caught my eye. I'm considering it because iPads are too expensive for me right now. And although I enjoy my Nook Color, I'm looking for a bit more of an updated design. I came across this very comprehensive review of the Kindle Paperwhite yesterday. And it made me sad. Yes, the new Kindle now has a nice compact shape and design.

No Love Lost for the Facebook 'Like'
I’d like to talk about “likes” today. And how much I don’t like them sometimes. They can be so frustrating, those “likes.” If you don’t have enough of them, you barely get noticed — especially if you’re a Facebook business page. If you have a lot of them, what does it matter, if barely anyone engages? I am now very skeptical of pages with thousands of likes. If I see a five or six-digit number of likes and barely anyone talking about anything on the page, then I assume many of the likes were bought.

Want to Tick Off Your Social Media Audience? Post Content Behind a Login
When I log in to a social network, that should be it. Let me repeat that: When I log in to a social network, that should be it. As in, that should be the last time I have to log in to anything, until I log out and log back in again at a later time. But apparently, some companies do not agree with this sentiment.

Facebook Gets Serious About Rivaling Pinterest
Facebook has begun testing a "Collections" feature that allows users to save products to wish lists via "Want" and "Collect" buttons that marketers can now include on product posts. People can see their friends' wish lists and then purchase products they like off-site with the click of a "buy" button. As this Hubspot post points out, this feature is, in theory, just like Pinterest. And it promises to prove to be rather convenient when you're on the hunt for gift ideas (significant others, take notice).

Want More Facebook Likes and Comments? Say So!
I rarely get through a day without hearing people mention stuff they saw on Facebook. More often than not, they reference pieces of content I also saw — which means I know they never liked, commented on, or otherwise "engaged" with said content. But you see, they did...just not on Facebook.

A Self-Serving but Interesting Infographic on Social Sign-ons
Two out of five people would rather scrub a toilet than come up with a new password. A whopping 88 percent of people admit they have lied on an online registration form. And half are completely turned off by the idea of creating yet another password combination. These are a few tidbits from an infographic by social identity company Janrain.

A Tried-and-True Way to Organize Your Social Media Content
You've got the social media strategy, you've got big ideas — and now it's time to execute on the content. How do you get organized? Time to think like an editor. This is a concept that's been around for a while, but it's worth repeating: The concept of an editorial calendar for your social media content. Believe me, it helps to have everything organized, and not just so you're not tweeting on the fly or randomly posting irrelevant content to Facebook

The Secret to Getting People to Share Your Content: Respect
So I'm sitting here, watching this South Korean rapper guy do his "ride the horse" dance, and I'm thinking, "How is this so popular?" I mean, it's funny and all, but...really? As this Forbes article points out, most of us don't exactly know what moves audiences to share content.

Don't be KitchenAid: 3 Quick Ways to Human-Proof Your Twitter Process
Twitter has forever linked President Obama and KitchenAid. Or rather, someone's silly mistake on Twitter has forever linked President Obama and KitchenAid. People make mistakes. Unfortunately for this particular member of the KitchenAid social media team, he or she has paid with tweeting privileges.

Big Bird, Social Media's Gatekeeper of 2012
The first presidential debate presented a staggering barrage of statistics, numbers, statements that may or may not be fact. All of this information is crucial to helping Americans decide who our next president should be. And what resonated on social media? The infamous Big Bird comment. Mitt Romney told Jim Lehrer that he'd cut federal subsidies to organizations like PBS if elected president.

Why the Words 'Facebook' and 'Help Center' Don't Go Together
Here's what I find so funny about the words "Facebook" and "Help Center:" Strung together, these words create an epic oxymoron. As you may or may not have heard, Facebook has redesigned its online help center in an attempt to provide users a more streamlined and efficient way to find out what they need to know as quickly as possible. This is certainly a step in the right direction.

3 Social Things Even the Most Non-Social Company Needs to Do
Not every company uses social media. That might be hard to believe, based on the number of Facebook and Twitter icons you see at the ends of commercials. But truth be told, not every company sees the value in using social media to connect with its stakeholders — and to be fair, not every stakeholder sees the value in connecting with a company on social media, either. But even the most non-social company isn't completely off the hook.

Using Pinterest for a Worthy Cause (No, not your imaginary closet)
I am on Pinterest and thoroughly enjoying it, but I currently do not use it any sort of professional manner. Case in point: My "free passes" board, dedicated to celebrity crushes (mostly Lenny Kravitz) with whom I'd be allowed to enjoy a romantic interlude should I ever get the chance. Here's a blog post that makes me feel silly for having that board (Even so, I am absolutely keeping it, and no, I wouldn't mind if my boss found out about my long-time crush on Lenny Kravitz.)

Tips to Make Infographics Make Sense
I've talked before about the welcomed presence of infographics across the web. I still maintain that infographics are indeed a great way to communicate complicated information in a dynamic and digestible way. But I need to add one caveat: Only do infographics if they make sense.

Diving Into the New Underwater Features of Google Maps
On Sept. 25 Google added underwater images to Google Maps. Let the productivity line graph slope ever downward. In a post over at the Google Maps blog, the comprehensive canvasser of all things Planet Earth, details how you can now "explore and experience six of the ocean's most incredible living coral reefs" without having to "be a scuba diver — or even know how to swim."

The Dangers of a 'Vanishing Web'
Last week I discovered a post containing a quote that, in my opinion, pretty much summed up the digital age. The irony? The quote (loosely translated) came from the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, of all people: "You cannot step twice into the same stream." Well, isn't that the truth.

Pingraphy: Pinning on Your Schedule
It was only a matter of time before the time-saving apps turned and gazed lovingly at Pinterest. And why the heck not, I say. The appeal of Pinterest for business is undeniable, but not every business has a staff member with the time to pin all day. Luckily, there's an app for that.

Facebook and LinkedIn: More in Sync?
Way back in 2011, a fellow named Paul Hartgen asked a simple question on LinkedIn: "Can I sync with Facebook?" He got three answers, as you'll see if you click the link above. One of them asks him why he'd even want to do that because they're two different social networks with two very different purposes. My, how much things change in a year.

A More Visual Twitter
Twitter has announced a new look for profile pages as part of its "mobile-first" strategy, and this announcement should be good news for businesses. Not everyone agrees, however. If you take a look at the comments in this Mashable article, you'll see a number of people in the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" club. Honestly, I can see where they're coming from.

Making the Case for Emoticons
Hi, everybody. My name is Christine, and I'm a habitual emoticon user. Yes, I do use emoticons in work emails with regularity. In fact, emails, Facebook messages, comments and tweets rarely skate by without the presence of strategically placed punctuation that depicts some form of human emotion.I understand some might view this practice as silly, or even downright unprofessional.

Mobile Checkout with a Social Twist: A Prediction for 2013
I came across this blog post detailing five big social media predictions for 2013. I delved into this tidy little list of predictions. I agree with much of it: Social TV will continue to evolve, as will social search, and YouTube. With much respect, I'd like to add a prediction of my own. We will see the rise of mobile checkout — but with social components.

Why Apple Needs More Than an iPhone Update
Today, we could talk about the iPhone 5. Heck, everyone else is. We could talk about all its cool features, and how you have to run out and buy new accessories if you want to own it. We could even watch the keynote together. But I don't want to talk about the iPhone 5. I want to talk about what this shiny new gadget represents in Apple's fascinating business timeline.

The Creepiness of Time-Tracking App Chronos
For some time now, I've been in the market for some sort of app that would make tracking work hours a bit more convenient (and bearable). I've yet to find that app. But recently, I came across Chronos, an iPhone app that bills itself as an automatic time-tracker for your life. Chronos immediately intrigued me as much as it creeped me out.

Online Political Rants: Is Unfriending the Answer?
It's election season. Presidential election season. So even more than normal, you're going to be dealing with the online political rantings of your friends. Perhaps you're the one doing the ranting. Well, etiquette expert Thomas Farley wants you to stop it. Talking politics on social networks is never a good idea, because you never know who you're offending, Farley says. You could be putting off your boss, your brother-in-law, or worse, your mother. Etiquette expert, please.

Pssst! Check Out Whisper, The Social Network of Secrets
Social networks expose us. They attach our names to our every photo and written thought. And we seem to kind of like it that way. We can't get enough of tooting our own horns. Or can we? There's a new social network in town that promises something the Facebooks and Twitters of the world cannot: anonymity. Whisper is "a FREE, anonymous social platform for people who want to creatively share and connect with others over experiences, feelings, thoughts and dreams that they can't communicate anywhere else," according to a press release from the company. Whisper is a kind of meme generator: It allows you to anonymously share your thoughts using photo filters and various fonts.

Facebook Apps Just Don't Care (About Privacy)
Yes, apps are fun. Yes, they're easy to use. But there's no such thing as a free lunch, especially when it comes to Facebook. More than likely, you're a serial offender when it comes to Facebook apps: The "love match" quizzes, the "what Big Bang Theory character are you" tests, the random game-score announcements. I know I'm one of those people every now and again. But now, I'm going to seriously put on the brakes.

Should We Be Teaching Code to First Graders?
Estonia is one little Eastern European country that could, particularly where tech is concerned. Estonian engineers are well-known in the tech field, and uniquely Estonian skills have been used to build countless startups, the most notable of course being Skype. And now, Estonia might go down in history as one of the most academically ambitious countries ever.

4 Political Apps for This Election Season
We Americans may still have our Electoral College, but no way is that stopping us from taking to social media in the hopes of creating a more informed and involved electorate. Yes, there's an app that lets you insert Mitt Romney into photos, or canvass your democratic neighbors, but there are also some useful apps.

The Irony of the 'I'm Not on Facebook' Movement
Ah, I love the smell of Facebook irony on a Friday morning. Perhaps you're sick of Facebook. And perhaps you've acted on that sentiment by rebelliously removing yourself from the social network. Just so you know, you can now connect with others who have done the same via Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google +. It's called the "I'm not on Facebook" movement. You can even buy yourself a t-shirt that proudly announces your social dissent. It's an understandable sentiment to want to rail against the biggest social network.

How to Create a Useful Social Media Survey
Many organizations using social media out there got into the game with a common, but very passive strategy: They followed the herd. Meaning, someone thought to themselves, "Hmmmm...Facebook is the biggest social network, which means the biggest potential audience for us is on Facebook, which means we should have a Facebook page."

Facebook's Updated Mobile App: What's New and What Still Sucks
Hear that really loud, hard sucking sound? Up until recently, that was the sound of Facebook's mobile app. I get it: Design is important and a mobile experience is going to be different from a web experience. But if you can't work even the most basic functionalities of your service into the mobile app, then...

Apple vs. Samsung: The Drama's Far From Over
In case you haven't heard, Apple has tentatively scored a major victory in its knock-down, drag-out patent war with Samsung, after being awarded $1 billion in damages for Samsung's various patent violations. At least, until Samsung inevitably appeals. Some notable patents ruled to have been stolen: The "pinch-to-zoom" and "double-tap-to-zoom" screen interface features, the "rubber band effect" patent that causes a web page to bounce...

Are Passwords On Their Way Out?
Passwords have been around since ancient times. For years, they've gained people access to exclusive clubs, secret societies...schoolmates' treehouses. On the web, they grant access to countless services and tools. They need to be a certain number of characters long, contain a capital letter, a number, a type of punctuation, and be otherwise too difficult for others to crack.

4 Cool Tourism Apps for City Explorers
The start of school is right around the corner, and those lazy days of summer will soon come to a close. If you haven't yet taken the opportunity to go on a little vacation, time is running out. And when you do, take your smartphone. We know — usually, folks want to turn their gadgets OFF when taking a little R&R. But smartphones — or rather, the apps available for them — can actually make your experience that much more enjoyable. Many cities have tourism apps just waiting for you to download and start exploring. Observe. CityMaps: This app lets you discover and share different places in your own city, thus creating a socially interactive map that others can use to explore and discover great things to do and great deals to take advantage of.

Progressive, Matt Fisher, and the Social Media Lesson We Learned
The concept of social media as a vehicle for change is once again in the news, thanks to a sad blog post gone viral. Matt Fisher's sister Kate died tragically in a car accident. Fisher's family filed a lawsuit to prove the other driver was at fault in the crash and thus collect on Kate's auto insurance policy with Progressive Corp. In court, an attorney for Progressive sat next to the defendant in the suit, and "audaciously" tried to prove that it was in fact Kate who was responsible for the accident and thus, her own death. Matt Fisher was furious.

Tips and Tools for Awesome Content Curation
Content curation, or the act of searching out and re-posting content you find useful and/or interesting to your online audience, is paramount to any successful social presence on the web. But truth be told, it can be a real pain in the you-know-where...But only if you haven't found the content curation method that works best for you.

The Flipside of Deleting Facebook Photos Forever
As I've said in the past, I'm no big fan of the notable absence of user-friendliness on Facebook, particularly when it comes to privacy. But here's an interesting recent development that caught my eye: When you delete a photo from Facebook, it will now supposedly be gone forever.

A Pinterest Problem: Involuntary Following?
Today I'd like to share a rather perplexing situation involving Pinterest. I've done some research and I'm still kind of stumped about what could have happened, so I'm wondering if our loyal readers might be able to help. The other day, I began scrolling through my Pinterest feed on my phone, and noticed pins from a person I do not follow. Upon further investigation, I realized it was actually the board of a brand that I do follow, so I un-followed the board, and that took care of that. Or so I thought.

The One Question You Need to Ask Before Your Business Joins Instagram
If your business is still scratching its proverbial head about this whole Instagram thing, the picture platform wants you to visit this blog. "Instagram For Business" is Instagram's newly launched attempt to help more brands and businesses join the Instagram community. The blog aims to impart tips, best practices, and case studies of the most popular brands on Instagram. We've talked before about how brands can build community with photos, and we even pointed you to Instagram's help center for some tips.

What's New With Google+?
I have a confession to make: I haven't logged on to my Google+ account in weeks. Weeks. Perhaps I just lost a little street cred as a social media nerd. Or perhaps I'm just normal, I don't know. Upon logging in, I was kind of sorry I hadn't sooner. A lot has changed over there! A new homepage design, new profile designs with cover photos...it actually looks kind of nice. And then, well, my guilt went away. But that's just me. All the changes a-brewin' might inspire you to be more active on Google+.

Three Social Apps Making Postcards Cool Again
Recently, we talked about how some psychologists and employers think it's a red flag when people do not maintain a Facebook profile. We said it then and we'll say it again: We think this is bunk. And we've discovered a number of increasingly popular apps that suggest others feel the same way.

Why Facebook Needs a 'Follow' Button
When Daniel Ray Carter liked the "Jim Adams for Hampton Sheriff" Facebook page in 2009, he probably wasn't thinking it would get him fired. But then his boss, the incumbent running against Adams, won re-election. One of the first actions of his new term was to fire Carter for supporting his rival.

Lessons — and Questions — from Harrowing Tale of Hacker Hell
If you haven't read about Wired writer Mat Honan's devastating hacker experience, you should. Let it be a lesson to everyone. Long story short, hackers managed to get into Honan's iCloud account, which then gave them access to all of his Apple devices, his laptop, and his Gmail account. They wiped all of it. Every. Last. Bit.

Does Not Using Facebook Make You A Few Sandwiches Short of a Picnic?
With Facebook closing in on nearly 1 billion users, it's now apparently suspicious if you're NOT on the social network, at least in some form. So all you one-man wolfpacks out there still searching for payphones and dropping paper letters in mailboxes, take notice: If you're still anti-Facebook, it might affect your ability to get a job...or even a clean bill of mental health.

How Someecards.com Rips You Off, and Why It's Genius
Someecards.com is pure, unadulterated, snarky genius. Its founders are arguably the architects of the modern Internet meme. And they're probably ripping you off. Herein lies part of the genius of this site. How many times have you seen one of those simple images and then...clicked "share?"

Unbaby.me Glorifies How Passive-Agressive We Can Be Online
Someone has created a Google Chrome extension that lets you replace baby pictures in your Facebook feed with bacon, Star Wars characters...whatever you want, apparently. Unbaby.me actually allows you to choose from different types of photos that replace those cherubic babies your friends plop in your Facebook feed.

Slowing Down the Feed: Ways to Save Content for Later
Feeds can really get your goat. There's so much to see, read and process that sifting through it all can rightfully seem much too overwhelming. So what do we do? We attempt to slow things down by utilizing various mechanisms that allow us to save content for later. But if you're not careful, saving content for later reading can easily morph into yet another source of stress...but only if you let it. So, in what ways can you effectively sift through the noise? Let's start with RSS feeds.

Life and Death in Cyberspace: Establishing a Social Media Will
In this latest episode of "ways social media change everything," we'll discuss a rather interesting article we came across this week that spells out why you — yes, you — need a "social media will." OK, this may be a bit of a morbid topic, but it's an important one. The article stems off of an informational piece produced by the USA.gov blog.

TWITTER IS DOWN: Is This Worth a National Headline?
When Twitter goes down, it becomes a national news story — even when it's only down for an hour or so. Twitter went down the morning of July 26, and even though the issue seemed to be somewhat resolved by noon or so, people were still reporting intermittent problems...and this was making national news. Let's explore why a Twitter malfunction would make national headlines.

Should Apple Go for the Glory, or Hold On to Profits?
The first computer I ever touched was an Apple II C in the computer lab of my elementary school in the late 1980s. As it was in many other schools at the time, the only computers in my school district's buildings were Apple computers. By the time I hit high school, that had changed: That building's computer labs were stocked with PCs running this new-fangled platform called "Windows 95."

Comments are Catalysts
In the social space, there's power in being reactionary. Comments are catalysts. They can boost a blog post up through Google search rankings. They make a status update more visible on Facebook. They often tell a more entertaining story than the news articles above them. And if you are trying to build a meaningful presence online, you need to give comments if you want to get them.

With FuelBand, Nike+ Sets the Bar for Social and Mobile Integration
Nike+ Fuelband, a really cool mobile device for budding exercise enthusiasts, is a lot more than just a novel way to track your fitness goals. As this ViralBlog post points out, it's a sleek representation of social and mobile fully integrating with one another, and with great results. Even if you're not a runner, you might have heard of Nike+, the Nike brand's social network for people into athletics and fitness.

A Geo-Location App with a Twist
I have a family member who is chronically late, to the point that we've given her a personal time zone. If she says she's going to be somewhere at a certain time, we know to expect her at least half an hour later. Well, here's an app that will put an end to her well-intentioned but inaccurate ETAs: Twist, an app for iOS, lets you tell other people your estimated arrival time.

How Social Media Enables Face-to-Face Interaction
It's easy to forget the importance of face-to-face meetings, especially when our digital culture makes it so easy to stay in touch with people no matter their location. Despite the swath of studies and articles out there decrying social media tools as the bane of good old-fashioned social skills, these tools actually make it much easier to arrange in-the-flesh meetings. In fact, when possible, why not use them for that purpose, especially when such events could bring your online communities closer together and cultivate more loyalty to your brand/organization/etc. as a result? Here are some ways to enable face-to-face communication through social media.

Google+ is Top Social Network for Customer Satisfaction
So there's this social network. It's called Google+. Remember Google+? You know, that social network that made a bit of a splash in late 2011, and then sort of...disappeared? Well, not that it disappeared...it just sort of dropped off the "social networks to take seriously" list.

Why You Don't Need a Video Guru to Produce Compelling Video Content
A well-produced video is a work of art. It sends a clear message. It engages its audience and moves its viewers into action. In other words, it's nothing short of ideal when an individual or organization wants help from others to achieve a goal, whether it's selling something, raising awareness for a cause, or getting people out to participate in an event. A well-produced video is also completely unnecessary, in many instances. A video produced for today's social web doesn't always require a bona-fide professional's touch

Kick Back and Enjoy a Twitter Analytics Bromance with SocialBro
I first came across SocialBro about two months ago, and placed it on the burgeoning "interesting-looking-new-social-media-tool-to-try" list in my bookmarks. I'm regretting that I didn't try it sooner.

Is 'Facebook Depression' Real?
It appears a group of researchers at the University of Wisconsin have settled a vicious rumor going around about a new "mental illness" brought on by social media use. "Facebook Depression" is a term the American Academy of Pediatrics coined in a study released last year in its journal.

Should We Tailor Photos to Our Social Networks?
These days, it seems "third-party app" is the new four-letter word. We all know how Facebook's Edgerank algorithm punishes you with greatly limited visibility if you use them. Facebook even gave you the ability to schedule posts within the API itself, making the noose a little tighter around the necks of third-party apps like HootSuite. Then, Twitter broke up with LinkedIn.

Judge: Samsung Galaxies Just Aren't as 'Cool' as iPads
Apple's war an all things Android recently won a rather laughable battle: A British judge ruled July 9 that Samsung Galaxy tablets simply aren't as "cool" as Apple's. This particular case had to do with design patents, with Apple counterclaiming a preemptive filing by Samsung, which tried to claim its Galaxy tablet did not resemble the iPad.

What Twitter's Breakup With LinkedIn Means For You
Over the weekend, Twitter announced the end of its syndication relationship with LinkedIn, effectively rendering the #in and #li hashtags ineffective and terminating the ability to automatically post tweets to the LinkedIn activity stream. Although Twitter cited a desire to focus on "core competencies," theories abound...

3 Exercises in Humility for Businesses on the Social Web
Humility tends to be underrated, especially in the social space. It's often perceived as a sign of weakness, particularly for a brand or organization that's good at what it does. It's easy to assume that if you're humble, you won't be heard above the noise, and some other business will swoop in and snatch away your customers.

Embrace Your Digital Independence
Every July 4, we celebrate our nation's independence and honor those who serve to protect the freedom that independence affords us all. After a day of fireworks, barbecues, and red, white and blue, I'm thinking a lot about how Independence Day translates in digital terms — and I'm not just talking about American-flag memes. Thanks to the Internet, social media, and mobile devices...

'Electric City' Latest Step in the Rise of the Fully Interactive Broadcast
We're pretty excited by the geeky hype surrounding the July 17 premiere of Tom Hanks' "Electric City," an online series in which each five- to seven-minute episode is just the tip of a digital content iceberg. "City," presented by Yahoo, will give viewers the opportunity to engage in online role play...

Mean Girls: Social Media To Blame for Terse Communication?
Today's young girls are channeling their inner b*tches thanks to Facebook and Twitter, says Marie Clair of the Plain English campaign. According to her comments, made in this UK Daily Mail article, young people in general — and particularly, women — are adopting more terse, aggressive communication styles thanks to the fast-paced nature of the social networking sites they are growing up with. Further, using communication mechanisms that encourage more abbreviated forms of communication...

Google Now: A New 'Jelly Bean' Flavor to Try
Imagine a mobile platform that anticipates what you need, when you need it, without having to search for it. Sound good? Well, then let us introduce you to a little something we, and the folks over at Google, affectionately like to call "Jelly Bean." At its Google I/O developer conference June 27, Google unveiled Google Now, part of the new Android 4.1 mobile platform.

Another Google+ Ripoff? Facebook Lets Users Edit Comments
Everyone keeps making comments about Google+ as if it's an all-but-irrelevant social network. If that's the case, then why does Facebook seem to want to rip off its features? First, Facebook briefly tested — then pulled — "Friends Nearby."

Building Your Online Community With Photos
In the online social space, where news cycles are seconds long and content can go viral in about the same amount of time, it's no wonder photos dominate. Photos capture moments and allow us to linger on them for as long as we like. They are windows on memories, events, milestones. They literally are worth thousands of words, for they tell powerful stories the instant they are viewed.

Stalk-tease: Facebook Launches 'Friends Nearby,' Then Pulls It
Facebook subtly launched a new "Friends Nearby" app and then apparently killed it with a silencer and a pillow. And fittingly so, since this straight up would have been — and will be, if Facebook ultimately does launch it — a stalker's dream come true. "Friends Nearby" let you search the Facebook profiles of users within close proximity to you. The idea here is not to connect with current friends, but to make new ones.

Good Ideas Deserve Credit: Pinterest Flexes Some Attribution Muscle
It's amazing how much inspiration you can find on Pinterest. Ideas, captured in photos, are shared en masse, from cool holiday family snapshots to portraits of far-away place that inspire the next vacation. And I think we can all agree: The people who conjured those ideas deserve a little credit. Thankfully, Pinterest seems to agree as well.

To Facebook Friend a Predator: Louisiana's New Social Media Sex Offender Law
Louisiana has passed a bill requiring sex offenders to announce their criminal status on any social media accounts they maintain. It's typically the policy of social networking sites like Facebook to remove sex offenders' accounts, but Louisiana's government feels that requiring offenders to post their criminal status...

Adventures in Digital Babysitting
Remember when online dating was creepy? Not anymore. And along the same lines, another aspect of human life is getting digitized: Finding babysitters for your kids. In this GigaOM post, Erica Zidel talks about what prompted her to found SittingAround.

Google: Governments Requesting More Web Content Takedowns
Democratic country, authoritarian country -- doesn't matter: They're all trying their darnedest to get various pieces of content removed from the Internet. And the U.S. government in particular has ramped up efforts by more than 100 percent in the last six months. So says the latest blog post from Google's Public Policy Blog.

Twitter's Tailored Trends Will Narrow Your View (In a Good Way)
Changing your worldview just got a little easier on Twitter, thanks to the introduction of tailored trends. This new default setting for trending topics presents said topics to Twitter users based on their actual location, as well as who they follow. Users can still opt to see more generalized trending topics by changing their settings. Tailored trends reflect an upgrade to Twitter's algorithm aimed at delivering users more customized and relevant information. And we think it's a significant change.

Apple's 'Eyes Free' Turns Any Car Into Kit from Knight Rider
We all know it's dangerous to talk on your cell phone while driving. But if you ask Siri what she thinks, she'll tell you she can't answer (at least, that's what she told me). That's probably because very soon, you'll be able to talk to Siri while you're driving. "Eyes Free" is a new feature from Apple that will let you access Siri with a touch of a button on your car's steering wheel.

Why Twitter Could Destroy Traditional Media Companies
I came across a very interesting read about why traditional media should be afraid of Twitter. The blog GigaOM has many times argued that Twitter is essentially a media company in its own right, and that its methods of curating and distributing content continue to evolve to a point where traditional media outlets, such as newspapers, will see Twitter as more of a competitor than a partner. Since I have a background in journalism, this certainly made me think about the role of a traditional reporter, and if a day is coming soon where Twitter might actually hinder her job instead of help.

NLRB: Give That Social Media Policy a Second Look
If your business has, or is thinking about creating, a social media policy for employees, listen up: The National Labor Relations Board's general counsel wants to make sure the language you're using in your policies doesn't violate the National Labor Relations Act. According to NLRB general counsel, the problem here is that many social media policies addressing the online conduct of employees contain broad language that in fact violates Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act.

In the Battle of Apple vs. Google, Will the Customer Win?
Competition in business is usually healthy because in the end, it benefits the customer: in lower prices, better service, more options, etc. But in the case of Apple vs. Google, it's not yet clear whether it's the customer that will win out. Apple announced June 11 it will be getting rid of the Google Maps app that's always resided on the iPhone since its first generation in 2007.

Our Emotionally Abusive Relationship with Facebook
I'm really beginning to wonder if Jesse Eisenberg's portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network wasn't dead-on accurate. It would certainly explain so much about the arrogance of Facebook. Check out this post from social media consultant and musician Rachel Ann Poling, in which she tears Facebook a new one about its pompous practices and makes some extremely good points.

Your Baby is on Facebook: Taking Responsibility for Children's Online Presences
I was following the hashtag for a social media event recently, when one of the attendees fired off an incredibly sobering tweet: 92 percent of toddlers have an online presence, and one-third of them were online while still in the womb. As the mother of two children under the age of 3, I was immediately disturbed.

6 Password Protection Reminders (You Can Never Have Too Many)
A pox on those hackers! Once again they're up to no good, leaking millions of LinkedIn and eHarmony account passwords on the Internet. Most of the time, everything is OK in our little online worlds: Our passwords are secure and everything works the way it should. So it's easy to get a little lazy. And when you don't do your due diligence, hackers once again get to indulge.

To Sync or Not to Sync? The Case Against Cross-Posting to Facebook and Twitter
When it comes to social platforms, Facebook and Twitter are "the big two." And not surprisingly, both offer ways for users to sync the two together and cross-post in order to save time and resources. Cross-posting to Facebook and Twitter is better than doing nothing. But frankly, we feel cross-posting just isn't a good idea.

Facebook for Four-Year-Olds: Social Network May Reconsider Age Policies
In theory, Facebook's terms of service forbid children under the age of 13 from using its platform. In practice, children ignore this rule and lie about their ages to sign up for Facebook anyway, often with the full permission of their parents. And now, rumor has it Facebook is re-examining its 13-and-under policy and may consider offering a more locked-down, parent-supervised version of the service.

With Content Scheduler, Facebook (Once Again) Beats Users Into Submission
Well, Facebook's quite the arrogant so-and-so, isn't it? To seemingly make up for the fact that it buries business page content should you dare to create it someplace other than within its own interface, Facebook launched the ability to schedule page posts this past week. It's an overdue bone to throw page administrators who really just want to reach as many fans as they can.

DeadSoci.al: Helping You Go All Paranormal on Your Social Networks
Listen up, social media-obsessed: Now you don't have to let a silly little thing like death get in the way of staying in touch with your family and friends online. Introducing DeadSoci.al, a free service that lets you schedule updates on your favorite social networks. Only, those updates are only released when you die. A couple of thoughts here. First: W...T...F. OK, that feels better. Now, for real: What's this service really playing at?

Are We All Just Amateur Paparazzi Thanks to Mobile Technology?
The other day, I was trying to make a left-hand turn onto a busy street when I noticed a turtle crossing the road. This sturdy little fellow literally stopped traffic: A policeman slowed down and turned on his flashing lights, stopping cars in both directions so the turtle could make it safely across to the tall grass waiting for him on the other side of the road.

Do We Suffer from 'Digital Vertigo'?
Andrew Keen believes we're building a world we don't really want. Keen, an Internet entrepreneur and columnist for TechCrunch, recently explained why he feels this way in a fascinating interview he gave to preview the release of his new book, Digital Vertigo. "We're creating a world of massive personal data where everybody is watching everybody else all the time," he said. This world is forming because of our collective desire to do away with loneliness.

5 Reasons to Start Your Own Blog
Blogs are far from dead. They're everywhere, thriving in various incarnations. Are you on Facebook? Then you're a kind of blogger right now without even realizing it. Honestly, what is Facebook really, but a kind of blogging platform? Status updates are nothing more than short blog posts, complete with likes and comments, placed in an RSS aggregator.

We Know What You Watched on Facebook
I have friends who like to watch videos of some pretty weird stuff. I know because Facebook informs me whenever they click "play." Sometimes I wonder if they realize that EVERYONE can see what they're watching. My guess is they don't. Same goes for the articles my friends read.

Little Pixels, Real People: Which Will Win the Customer Service Race?
Within the next five years, face-to-face communication may be the customer service exception, not the rule. A total of 1,700 CEOs from across the globe were asked to describe how they currently engage with customers and then detail how they see their companies engaging customers in the next three to five years. Right now, the face-to-face sales force rules by a healthy margin. And it will still rule in three to five years, but not by much. The new method nipping at its heels? Social media. Right now, it's the last method on the list.

Thank You, Mr. Polley: Inventor of the TV Remote Dies
The man who dreamed up an iconic piece of technology has passed away. Eugene Polley, the inventor of the first wireless TV remote, died May 20 at the age of 96. The former Zenith engineer invented the "Flash-Matic" TV remote in 1955. We wonder what Polley might have thought about how the technology he invented has evolved.

The Cost of Using Free Online Tools Like Facebook and Google
It's tough to be a little fish these days. If you're like most small businesses, your online presence is probably good — but could be better. You likely cannot afford a hot-shot firm's expertise to make your website more dynamic or search-friendly. In addition to all of your other responsibilities, you might be trying to juggle social media, which means you can't afford a sharper focus on this aspect of your marketing. But at least Facebook is free to use, right? And so is Google. Well...are they? These tools are free. They're supposed to help you organically discover followers.

How Employees Can Help Your Social Content Go Viral
No one knows for sure where viruses come from. All we know is that viruses spread when people in close proximity to one another share various "commonalities" — the same air, the same utensils, etc. In the online world, content "goes viral" thanks to a similar phenomenon: When people share content with people close to them.

Companies Shouldn't Freak When People Talk Smack Online
A bad review on the social interwebs could break a company. Dissatisfied customers know this, which is why many of them take to social media to complain, smear and otherwise drag the company name through the mud in hopes of getting the company to meet a demand or three. Perhaps there's a certain satisfaction in being able to bring others to their knees.

Props to the Human Brain: A Cool Example of Mind Control Technology
Sometimes technology can give us the creeps, especially when the words "mind control'' are attached to it. This is not one of those times. Thanks to mind control technology, Cathy Hutchinson, paralyzed from the neck down for the past 11 years, can now use a robotic arm to perform various tasks. The arm is controlled with nothing but her own thoughts.

5 Challenges for Digitally Challenged People
Two years ago, my mom's 80-year-old cousin bought a laptop. At the time, this was huge. And then, at Christmas, she dropped another bombshell: She was thinking about buying an iPad. Because it looked like "the cat's meow." She's a rare case, this one. Many people half her age still think a Foursquare check-in involves a punch clock. New technology scares them. Social networks are especially frightening. In their personal lives, it's very easy, and perfectly OK, to avoid these new-fangled tools.

Are We Missing Too Many of Life's Little Moment's by Digitally Sharing Them?
Mark Schaefer wrote an insightful blog post the other day about "the joy of life." He describes his thoughts and reflections during a 90-minute leisurely walk, taken in the thick of an otherwise hectic London business trip. What struck us was that Schaefer, the guy who wrote "The Tao of Twitter," allowed himself to be fully present in those 90 minutes, then shared the experience with his followers.

Microsoft's 'Windows' Concept: Thinking Well Outside of the Box
Can you imagine a world in which Microsoft closes the shutters on its "windows" concept? Right now, it's hard for me to wrap my head around. This platform, with all of its quirks and mannerisms, has been with me since the mid-1990s. But there are rumblings that Windows 8 will mark the beginning of a new era for Microsoft. Right off the bat, the logo has changed.

6 Easy Ways to Give Your Company Personality Via Social Media
You've got the blog, updated and shared. You share relevant and interesting links pertaining to your industry. You're referring people to your website. You're doing all of the above on the regular....And it still might not be enough to really let people in on what your company is all about. Just about anyone who loves their job will likely tell you a big reason why is the people they work with.

Why McGraw-Hill Won't Mind Stopping Its Presses for 'E-Content'
Waaaaaay back in the stone ages, otherwise known as the late 1990s, I applied to a college that gave out laptops to all incoming freshmen. At the time, the college used this as a major selling point. And it darn nearly worked. I seriously considered going to this college, not just because it was a good school, but because I'd get a free laptop computer. These days, colleges are giving out iPads to students like candy. And there's one unlikely supporter of this activity: Textbook publisher extraordinaire McGraw-Hill.

Social Media Use is All About You. Er, Me. Or...Human Nature?
It appears this whole "social media" thing so much about YOU that it's literally stressing you out. I came across these two very interesting articles that, in their own ways, both try to tell us how digitally narcissistic we are. One details a study that found using social networks triggers areas of the brain associated with reward.

4 Reasons to Participate in Your Company's Social Strategy
It feels like every day, another business turns itself on to the value of "going social." And that value can only increase when employees get on board and actively participate in their company's social agenda. But mixing business with social media can also be a touchy subject for employees, especially when they want to keep their social accounts purely personal. True, not every employee will buy in when asked to devote some of their social media real estate to their employer's social strategy.

3 Ways the Smartphones of the Future Could Change the Social Web
In 2011, smartphones outsold PCs for the first time in history. By 2015, it's estimated that tablet sales will be on par with PC sales, while smartphones will have reached the 1 billion mark in sales. These two tidbits of information appear in this rather eye-opening infographic about the smartphones of the future. Smartphones are already advancing.

When You Need a Little Motivation: 5 Apps That Help You Share Fitness Goals
Some time ago, one of the local morning radio shows in my area devoted an entire half hour to bashing people who post about their fitness achievements on Facebook. People called in to chastise their diet-and-exercise-obsessed friends about their health-related status updates. The radio hosts basically ridiculed anyone who called in to defend the habit. It was brutal, brutal, brutal.

On the Social Web, Do Words Typed Mean as Much as Words Spoken?
Social networks are about to become more than homes for heated debates about the Trayvon Martin case: The characters both Martin and George Zimmerman typed into their social media accounts could be submitted as evidence of their true moral characters —and the perceived flaws within. Benjamin Crump, the Martin family's attorney, plans to cite a MySpace account Zimmerman maintained.

Pre-scheduled Social Content: Why It's Not Always Good to 'Set It and Forget It'
Social channels are like snowflakes: Each is unique. Yet, there you are, slapping up identical posts to each one as if people aren't going to notice. To be fair, we kind of understand. It saves time. Perhaps your business is just getting into social media, or the task of keeping the social channels fresh has been dumped high atop your already burgeoning heap of responsibilities.

Are Facebook and Google Really on Their Way to Extinction?
Today we'd like to draw your attention to a very thought-provoking article from Forbes.com that states a rather compelling case for why Google and Facebook might disappear within the next five years. We admit, "disappear" may be too strong a word. But according to the article, these tech giants could be brought to their knees if they don't figure out how to do one thing well: Mobile.

Another Day, Another Rogue Tweet: Sound Off on the Jason Petrie Incident
Social media has once again smudged the line between personal and professional with Jason Petrie, the latest example of a guy who just might lose his job over a tweet. Petrie designs shoes for Nike — specifically, shoes for LeBron James. And when Derrick Rose tore his ACL the other night, Petrie fired off a tweet.

Can You Really Call Social Media 'New' Anymore?
It's always been a dream of mine to visit The Newseum in Washington, D.C., and that dream has intensified thanks to news that its HP New Media Gallery opens today. The HP New Media Gallery is an exhibition devoted solely to social media and how its changed the way we report and consume news. It's said to be a dynamic, interactive experience with plenty of touch screens and ways to share. I like everything about this except one thing: The name.

A Social Diagnosis: The GMC's Prescription for Social Media Use by Medical Professionals
I'm sick as a dog right now. Before I knew what exactly was wrong (it's strep throat), I did the one thing doctors usually tell you NOT to do: I "Googled." I couldn't help it — all that information available to you in a mere second is hard to resist. Many of my friends also Google when they or their children are sick. And an increasing amount of them are now using the social channels we frequent to get informal medical advice from friends — even going so far as to post pictures asking "What is this? Should I see a doctor about it?"

What Society Needs to Fully Embrace Social Media
Thanks to mobile technology, Facebook check-ins, and movies like "Project X," social media has completely changed the very definition of a run-of-the-mill house party. In the blink of an eye, a party invitation can go viral, and a simple check-in can bring on a mob scene. And the authorities — namely police, parents, and school officials — aren't too happy.

Why I'm Not Ready to Declare Google+ Dead
Google+ is only dead if you don't use it. That's the sentiment of this really great post from Aaron Lee Wei-Ren. It's easy to sign up for a social network, hang around a few minutes, then never return and declare the social network defunct a few months later. The people who truly put time and effort into the social network get the most out of it. One of the reasons Aaron listed for why he felt like Google+ wasn't working for him at first was because he didn't approach it with a strategy. Makes sense, if you're a marketer.

Check Out Ark: The Online People Search Engine Google and Facebook Could Never Be
It seems it was only a matter of time before a true contender would rise from the rubble left behind by the ongoing battle of Google vs. Facebook. Let us introduce you to Ark, a startup people search engine that just might rise to epic glory. Ark aims to distinguish itself from other online people search methods by offering a much more all-encompassing approach to your search.

The Single Most Compelling Reason Why Guys Should Use Pinterest
Listen up, fellas. We're about to give you a darn good reason to join Pinterest. Yes, this wildly popular social network is currently dominated by women.

5 Etiquette Tips for Direct Messaging
The direct message infuriates just as effectively as it flatters. On the one hand, to receive a genuine direct message from someone on Twitter is kind of exciting, especially when it comes from someone you admire professionally. For example: Some time ago, I stumbled across the work of a very talented writer.

Does Your Social Media Work Deserve an Award?
If you're in charge of a social media presence — your own, your company's, or those of multiple different clients — stop what you're doing for a minute and ask yourself this: Does my work deserve the Douglas S. Morrow Public Outreach Award? Okay, so technically you can't get this particular award unless your work has something to do with outer space.

A Lesson in Social Media Use from Khristopher Brooks and his Almost-Employer, Gannett
We've talked to death about the need for any company serious about building a quality social media presence to develop and adhere to sound policies and guidelines for social media use. But what happens when those policies are a bit...well...outdated? Enter the curious case of Khristopher Brooks, a journalist and NYU graduate student who was fired from a reporting job at the Wilmington News Journal in Delaware before he even wrote a single word for the paper. Brooks was so excited about his hiring that he decided to announce it on his public Tumblr blog.

Why Your Social Media Strategy Needs Lurkers
When I hear about "lurkers," less-than-savory activity usually comes to mind. You know, lots of back alleys, dark shadows, and peep-holes with bloodshot eyes viewing things they shouldn't. Within social media, lurking conjures a similar sense of foreboding for one's algorithmic bottom line: The less active you are, the less likely you'll be noticed, the fewer followers you'll attract, etc.

Five New Additions to the Facebook Timeline App Party
The Facebook Timeline app bandwagon is getting pretty darn crowded these days. These apps, created using Facebook's Open Graph, allow users to share specific actions to their Timelines. And if you're a brand or organization with a strong or steadily rising Facebook presence, it's about time you looked into Timeline apps.

Facebook: Social Media's First Publicly Tainted Company
When Facebook becomes a publicly traded company, it will be interesting to see what will happen to social media as we know it. This post from Mark Schaefer suggests it will become "the most dangerous company on earth." This is because to continue to be profitable for shareholders, Facebook must continue to collect steadily increasing amounts of information about you and I. Facebook will do this by creating more and more ways to share.

A Peek Through the Lenses of Project Glass
Imagine if the information you'd normally look down at your smartphone to see simply appeared before your very eyes, on command, based on where you were at any given moment. The folks at Google imagined it, turned it into a prototype, and launched an opinion-seeking campaign called Project Glass. The "project," as it turns out, is a pair of glasses. Check out this video to see how it would work:

How Press Releases are Going Social
Here's a great article from Jonathon Rick that appeared in Mashable's business section over the weekend, all about reexamining the traditional practices of putting together a press release. Among many other aspects of how we communicate, social media has essentially rendered the press release — in its tried-and-true, two-dimensional form — all but obsolete.

5 Apps to Help With Digital Spring Cleaning
Every spring, the hearts of obsessive-compulsives flutter with excitement at the thought of spring cleaning. I laugh and think about hiring a maid. Sure, it would be nice to be able to throw your organizing problems at someone else.

Journalism vs. Blogging: Does This Finally Settle the Debate?
Journalists can be bloggers, but can bloggers claim journalist status? Answers vary, but they're all compelling, which is why I often find myself torn between them. I also once worked as a journalist, and now I'm a blogger -- so I find the debate particularly fascinating.

Why You SHOULD Friend Your Boss on Facebook
What would you do if your boss requested to be your friend on Facebook? This blog post recommends you not go there. Employer-employee relationships are better suited for LinkedIn, not purely social sites like Facebook, the post states. I understand where this post is coming from. But I only agree with the sentiment under specific conditions.

6 Ways to Separate Personal from Professional on Facebook
The concept of who can see what on Facebook was a common thread in two of our posts this week. First, we marveled at the apparent lack of Facebook knowledge running rampant in Congress, as well as among employers who think it's OK to ask potential hires for their social media login information. Then, we tried to make a case for why it might actually be a good idea to friend your boss on Facebook.

If Only Congress Better Understood Inbound Marketing...
And now for the latest addition to the list of things that should baffle and disappoint us all...The majority of our U.S. Congress sees nothing wrong with employers demanding the social media account passwords of potential hires. On March 29, the U.S. House of Representatives voted down an amendment...

Tapping Into Emotions is Key to Effective Social Media Campaigns
In January, city officials in Hoboken, NJ decided to cancel the city's annual St. Patrick's Day parade, citing an inability to effectively manage safety concerns. For a number of years, the event spurned hundreds of arrests and complaints of lewd and rowdy behavior from residents. Angered and disappointed, residents James Murphy and Jaime Darrah took to Facebook. It appears they started the chain of random Facebook invites to city residents for what would be known as "Lepre-Con," an alternative St. Patrick's Day event for Hoboken.

Apparently Semantics Do Matter: Google Announces Major Change to Web Search Formula
Google Inc. announced yesterday that it's giving its web search formula a serious cold-water splash in the face with the incorporation of "semantic search" technology. Semantic search doesn't replace the keyword search system. Rather, it aims to provide users with more relevant search results.

Do Photo-Sharing Apps Like Instagram Ruin Photojournalistic Integrity?
In my reporter days, I learned a valuable lesson about photography from a colleague as we stood atop a frigid hill in the middle of winter, snapping photos and taking video for a story about a ski lift. "Always make sure the horizon is either one-third or two-thirds of the way up," I remember him saying. I don't know where this tip comes from, but the composition of my photos improved.

7 Ways to Recognize a Twitter Spammer
Spam is an inevitable pitfall of online life. Especially on Twitter. If you haven't seen it already, check out @spam, an account that keeps Twitter users up to date on the latest spam issues and what to do to avoid or rectify them. Sometimes, spammers get especially crafty, so we can never review too many times.

5 Steps to Follow if You're Taking a Social Media Hiatus
If you're the "social media person" for your organization, there will likely be times when you have to hand the reins over to someone else while you're on vacation, maternity leave, sick, etc. And you don't want that person to end up in a situation where he or she must use less-than-ideal tools to clean up a huge mess. So if you're planning on taking a brief hiatus from your social media duties, follow these suggestions to ensure nothing suffers while you're away.

Someone's Watching...to Help: A Look at the Red Cross' Digital Operations Center
It's no secret that your activity on social networks like Facebook is being watched in some form, either by the social network itself or third parties gathering various sorts of data. For instance, we recently discussed how the Department of Homeland Security paid major cash for a system to monitor social networks for government-related conversation.

The Rise of the Pinterest Wannabes
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Pinterest must be blushing right now. In the last week or so, we've come across no fewer than a dozen Pinterest-inspired services. So why are so many services imitating Pinterest? We'd like to think it's about more than trying to hitch a wagon to a rising star. Through stunning visuals, Pinterest allows people to discover useful, informative content in literally the blink of an eye. So, hitching your content to a compelling photo increases its chances of getting exposure.

Consistency is About More Than Tweeting Five Times Per Day
If you use social networks in pursuit of a goal -- to highlight a cause, get information about customers, sell more widgets, etc. -- then consistency probably weighs heavily on your mind. We're told that if we aren't consistent, our social presences will shrivel and die. And that's where all of these rules come in: Post to your blog at least two or three times per week, tweet at least five times per day...

Creating a Great Facebook Cover Image When You are Your Only Designer
Making a good first impression now seems to be more important than ever for businesses on Facebook with the impending switch to the Timeline format. The cover photo and profile picture — and how they interact — will serve as your brand's introduction to potential fans.

Preparing for Facebook Timeline: Tips to Tweak Your Editorial Strategy
Now that Facebook has announced huge changes to business pages, businesses large and small are scrambling to re-tool and re-assess their strategies for this social channel in time for the official switch to Timeline on March 30. However, it appears that smaller businesses have much more significant reason to scramble.

8 Ways Students Can Use Facebook Timeline to Impress Colleges
High school students applying to college now need more than an impressive transcript and killer essay to get that coveted thick envelope in the mail from their college of choice. A 2011 Kaplan study shows more than 80 percent of colleges factor in a student's social media presence when making admissions decisions. And that makes sense.

Timeline for Business Pages: An Overview
Like we knew it would, Facebook announced Feb. 29 the launch of a new Timeline format for business pages, letting page administrators know in a top-of-the-fold page message that Timeline would officially take effect March 30. In the meantime, page admins are now able to get a sneak peek of the new look in a preview mode.

Dinner With a Side of Social Media
No doubt, social media has changed the way we communicate and do business. And it's also changed that most basic of survival functions: eating. The Hartman Group has released a study (yours for the bargain price of $7,500) titled "Clicks & Cravings: The Impact of Social Technology on Food Culture," that explains in great detail how social networks have systematically replaced mom and grandma as trusted sources of culinary guidance. I hadn't ever consciously acknowledged the digital takeover.

How Pinterest Proves That Sexism is Alive in the Social Space
For what seems like ages, we've been told by study after study that men are more responsive to visual stimuli than women, particularly when it comes to matters of l'amour. And now, there's this whole Pinterest thing. Pinterest connects people with common interests and desires using purely visual stimuli. Yet, women dominate the heck out of this social network.

5 Ways to Get Yourself Unfollowed on Twitter
Social media is a perpetual learning experience. Many of us are still very new to these constantly evolving platforms. But the statute of limitations on the "newness" excuse is quickly running out. I feel the need to focus on Twitter. For whatever reason, I've seen a lot of ridiculous behavior there lately. I'm not saying I'm the perfect Twitter user, but geez...

A Kaleidoscopic Look at Chipotle's Social Strategy for 'Back to the Start'
There's an interesting history behind the riveting "Back To The Start" ad the restaurant chain Chipotle ran during the Grammys on Feb. 12. This short film, created by filmmaker Johnny Kelly, has actually been around since the summer of 2011. It had already been viewed at least one million times online.

5 Reasons Facebook Stores Were Doomed to Fail
Yesterday, we learned that many brands have begun abandoning experiments with Facebook Stores, as well as the "F-commerce" concept, after they failed to meet sales expectations. I can't say I'm particularly shocked. It's understandable, and kind of inevitable, that such a concept would exist.

All Rise: Pinterest Copyright Court is Now in Session
Pinterest has released code that will allow websites to block the ability for their visitors to pin site content to the popular visual bookmarking social network. And so begins what promises to be a very interesting debate. Moot court is now in session. Consider both sides of the story.

Are These 'Future Hipsters' of Social Media Spot On?
Last week was "Social Media Week," and we wanted to share with you a hilarious — yet thought-provoking — video produced just for the occasion. In this video, a bunch of aging "hipsters" take an amusing look back on "the good old days of social media," reminiscing about a time when people over-shared and no one knew what the heck a community manager was.

Political Opinions and Social Networks: Guess Who Wants to Listen In?
Everybody has that one Facebook friend. You know — the one who always stokes the political flames with their status updates? I have a couple of those friends. I used to bite every time, and get sucked into seemingly endless political debates with people whose opinions I could never sway. Now I just ignore them or, if they're particularly obnoxious, hide them from my news feed.

5 Reasons Why Journalists Were Made for Social Media
A couple of weeks ago, I was in a hospital (of all places) when I saw an advertisement outside of its cafe that read, "Coffee: The Original Social Media." The sign made me grin, because it's actually quite true. My only edit? I would have amended it to read, "Coffee and a Newspaper." Remember when people kept up on current events by reading the latest edition of a printed publication?

Timeline for Business Pages and the Open Graph: Are You Ready?
Sally pinned to a board on Pinterest. John played the word "CHANGE" in Words With Friends. Amy is listening to "Cherish" by Madonna on Spotify. Whether you realize it or not, Facebook's Open Graph is taking over. And its reach will only intensify when, according to the word on the street, Timeline for Facebook business pages is announced at the end of the month. "Open Graph" is the term Facebook uses to describe its method of helping people connect through their real-time online actions.

The Web's Love Affair with Infographics
Websites and blogs are falling in love...with infographics. Like Lotharios of the blogosphere, infographics are charming their way into post after post. Lately, I've been seeing a different infographic in my feed reader at least once per day. If you haven't seen an infographic featured on the blogs you follow, chances are you will soon. And you just might fall in love too. There's plenty to like about them.

Whitney Houston — and Social Media — Make Headlines
I found out about Whitney Houston's death from a New York Times push notification to my iPhone. Within a few hours, we began hearing about the outpouring of condolences and support on social media. Tweets were quoted and infographics were displayed on CNN and other news networks. As we watched a Twitter analysis on the news, my husband turned to me and asked, "How is this news? I really don't care that Whitney Houston is a trending topic." On one hand, I had to agree with him. But on the other hand... Social media became the story less than a couple of hours after Houston was pronounced dead. Actually, social media broke the story in the first place.

Cigarettes and Social Media
Social media: More addictive than cigarettes. Say what now? This study, conducted by the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, should give you a chuckle...or a shudder, depending on how you look at it. A bit more than 200 people were given Blackberries and told to report, within set time frames, when they felt desires. They rated the strength of their desires.

Is This the Beginning of the End for Facebook?
This post was supposed to be about what could change when Facebook goes public, like it's expected to in the second quarter of this fiscal year. Then I read this article from fortune.com about how apparently, Facebook has already gone public. Here, contributor Joshua Brown writes about how Facebook isn't that much different from companies that have already gone public.

This Isn't the Wild West Anymore: Why You Need Social Media Policies
When an organization takes its first steps into the realm of social media, it's exciting and fun to think of it as one great experiment. In fact, it should ALWAYS feel that way — that's how your social presence stays fresh and open to improvement. But "experimentation" only becomes a problem when it's used as an excuse for a lack of due diligence. Case in point: Creating and implementing a social media policy for your organization is a widely accepted best practice. Yet, the vast majority of organizations don't have one. The social realm is not the Wild West anymore. We have explored, and we continue to do so.

Facebook Insights: Some 'Engaging' Thoughts
It's been a few months since Facebook rolled out its new Insights for Facebook pages. Based on feedback I've seen, reactions are mixed: Some laud the new insights, while others question their usefulness. Plus, it doesn't help that the new insights have recently experienced some bugs. Personally, I think the new Insights ARE more useful, because they're better focused on the Facebook activity you should be caring about. If you haven't yet experienced the new Insights, here's one of the best guides I've seen on the topic. And here are more thoughts.

Samsung's Bringing the Stylus Back (Is That Sexy?)
A stylus. A stylus? Really? Of all the comments made out loud during the Super Bowl, this one got the most laughs. Other moments came close: Elton John in platform boots, Flava Flav, dogs in sneakers and fetching beers, Madonna almost falling. But the stylus? Peddled by a retro band, no less? Everyone caught a case of the nerd chuckles. Everyone caught a case of the nerd chuckles. Well, you can't fault Samsung for taking a risk. The new Samsung Note does indeed come with a stylus.

4 Reasons You Need Your Own Social Media 'Command Center'
Superbowl 2012 will likely go down in history as the first major event to include a social media command center, otherwise known as a marketing team using social channels to communicate information and answer questions for game attendees, as well as TV viewing audience members. Yes, social media marketing pros will be monitoring, responding to and analyzing online chatter to gauge the effectiveness of Super Bowl ads.

How Facebook Timeline Nearly Ruined My Birthday
Yesterday was my birthday. And I, like many other Facebook users, look forward to all the well-wishing wall messages I get from dear friends and family members. I'd say one of the best things about Facebook is the way it not only reminds you of other people's birthdays, but the way it enables others to make you feel special on your own birthday.

Can Your Social Media Accounts Survive a Crisis?
Tabletop crisis training is a no-brainer. No matter how unlikely the chances of sh** hitting the fan, it's always a stellar idea to be prepared for the impossible. For many companies, crisis training is mandatory. Why isn't it mandatory when it comes to your company's social media accounts? I'm not suggesting that sending a tweet is more important than, say, calling 911.

Will We Ever Ditch the 'Second Screen'?
Check out this awesome post by Jason Keath on Coca-Cola's fully integrated social media marketing effort for the Super Bowl. This effort — integrating Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, digital ads, and mobile — will enable anyone to follow the action in the big game...with Coca-Cola's famed polar bear characters. It's being billed as the ultimate "second screen experience" for viewers.

How to Take Control of Your LinkedIn Company Page
If your company has been around for a while, and any ONE of your employees uses LinkedIn, then chances are you've got a LinkedIn company page. Just an FYI. Many businesses are beginning to unlock the potential of their company pages on the 50-million-users-strong social network for professionals. But many more businesses likely don't even realize they even have a presence on LinkedIn.

The FBI Wants to Watch You on Facebook (Just Like Facebook Does)
It seems the FBI wants a "social media application" that would allow the agency to gather intelligence from publicly shared information on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, as well as news media outlets such as CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC. Reactions are mixed.

What Can Be Done When Facebook Place Recommendations Go Rogue?
I'd like to share a "duh" moment with you. I was recently asked about what could be done to erase an inappropriate recommendation showing up on a Facebook page. Even though the rogue recommendation was deleted from the page, and it had been reported, it still showed up for other people.

Are Brand Pages on Their Way to Extinction?
Like many people I know, I hate automated phone systems. This goes double for the one my bank uses. Very often, my questions are too complex to be answered by a series of pre-programmed messages. So I've figured out how to quickly get through the annoying series of directions and go right to the answer I want.

4 Juicy Rumors — and 1 Nerdy Wish List — for the Apple TV
2012 is supposed to be the year that Apple reveals the "code" that co-founder Steve Jobs "finally cracked" about TVs. Apple is a tight-lipped, iron-clad company, so it's not saying much. But the devotees (and shareholders, no doubt) obsessed with its mystique are keeping the rumor mill churning with rumors about a full-fledged Apple TV device being built and brought to market by the end of this year, or the beginning of 2013. Based on the rumors, this thing is going to make The Jetsons look like The Flintsones.

6 Things American Football Teaches You About Social Networking
Ever try to get work done in your own home during the playoffs? If you've got a spouse who thinks your television doubles as an earpiece to his favorite team, then...well, you know it's a challenge. Especially if there's yelling AND unprovoked assaults on furniture (nothing was broken, thank goodness).

How to Outsmart Facebook's Edgerank: It's All About the Content
If you actively manage a Facebook page, then you received some very disheartening news this week: Your content is reaching less than a fifth of your fans. Results of an EdgeRank Checker study show that the average Facebook page only reaches about 17% of its fans.

Piracy, Due Process, and Mickey Mouse: SOPA and PIPA's Attack on Internet Sharing
Could your blog be shut down if you posted a picture your child drew of his favorite cartoon character? If the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) are passed, yes: you could be considered a copyright violator and subsequently shut down — no warning, no due process, no explanation.

8 Ways to Protect Your Social Media Account from Hackers
My Twitter account got hacked yesterday. Thankfully, most followers seemed understanding, and quite a few of them were nice enough to let me know they had received something suspicious. Still, the whole ordeal was rather embarrassing. My account was compromised because I opened a message from a Twitter follower I considered trustworthy.

Will Google's Social Search Ever Include ALL Social Networks?
Google is a for-profit company. Really, the only people it has to worry about pleasing are its shareholders. It's free to show favoritism for its own products, to promote what it wants, and to edge out its competition. There's just one little problem. Google is so successful because its search engine — the bread and butter of its business — was built upon a theme of equality. Google's greatest strength was that you got equal treatment on the web.

3 Requirements for QR Codes From a QR Code Skeptic
The other day, I received an email from a woman who put a QR code in her signature. I have to be honest: Up until that point, I'd never used a QR code before. They've always seemed — at least to me — more hassle than they were worth. Yes, I think they're cool — but I've never been one to see QR codes as, say, another legitimate language.

Like It or Not, Google's New Social Search is Just Business
I've been wondering how long it would be before this happened. I'm actually surprised it took this long. But then again, we're talking about Google here. Google has updated its search engine to include "social search," giving users the ability to search not only the web at large, but also their own social network on Google+. At first glance, it's a smart response.

The Point of Pinterest
Good grief. Another social network to join? How many profiles and online presences can one person handle? Trust us: Pinterest is worth a second look. Pinterest is basically a way to explore the web — with nothing but pictures. If you have a Pinterest account, you can install a web bookmarklet that will automatically troll websites for graphics and photos.

How to Tweet Your Google Calendar
If you have a Google calendar, then perhaps you should be tweeting it. Seriously — why not? You need Twitter fodder, and your calendar events are just sitting there, begging for publicity. Although no fully automated Twitter account can thrive, it's OK to automate certain aspects of your Twitter presence.

3 Simple Ways to 'Become the Trend' Online
Seth Godin published an interesting blog post Dec. 20 about "the new lazy journalism," in which he asserts that we need journalists to say something new, beyond what's popular or trending. Now that the race to be first routinely comes down to seconds instead of days, it's no longer feasible for journalists to herd around trends, simply rehashing and re-tweeting each other's work.

In 2012, Focus Your Social Media Efforts — But Leave Room for Creativity
Last week, we talked about how 2012 should be the year you focus your social networking efforts for the benefit of your customers. I'd like to amend that statement a bit. Yes, 2012 should be the year you consolidate your social media channels down to the ones that work best for your followers. But that doesn't mean you should close yourself off to all the choices out there.

What You Can Learn About Social Media Success From a Cookie
Oreo has 24 million Facebook fans. And Oreo really, really likes them. Oreo's Facebook marketing strategies have been admired for quite some time. Their "Fan of the Week" feature created lots of buzz a couple of years back at The School of WOM conference. By doing something as simple as featuring a fan photo as their profile photo each week, they managed to build some fierce community loyalty. And now, they're kicking it up a notch once again. Oreo is now featuring the "Birthday of the Day" on its Facebook page.

What You May Not Know About Facebook Photos
My son's daycare hosts a number of events throughout the year where parents will inevitably take photos. The more photos we take, the more photos we have of each other's children. Of all the pictures I've taken, I'd say about 30% are "Facebook appropriate"; meaning, there are no children in the photos whose parents might object to my posting their children's likenesses.

Why Google's Election Hub Format Should Be Available to Businesses
If you haven't checked out Google's new online U.S. elections hub, definitely take a look. The site integrates a number of different Google features, such as maps, videos, and calendars, to give you an idea of how the candidates are faring. There's also a "trends" tab that allows you to access news and Google searches for each candidate.

'Less is More' is What's in Store for Social Media in 2012
Some of the social media industry's top minds are making some interesting predictions for 2012. In this blog post from Social Media Examiner detailing 30 social media predictions for 2012, a few themes emerge: The rise of video and photo-focused social networks, quality over quantity when it comes to unique content, and the rise of YouTube.

Sounding Off About Facebook's Frictionless Sharing
2011 was the year of frictionless sharing, Facebook's method of automatic social content curation. Facebook has partnered with nearly two dozen different companies — Netflix, Yahoo! News, and Spotify, to name a few — to create apps that allow Facebook users to automatically share content with their friends.

Do You Own Your Social Media Presence? Now It's Up to the Courts.
If you troll about social networks with a username or handle that contains your employer's name, or if you interact via social media largely on your employer's behalf, you need to read this. I say this not to be pushy, but in an attempt to be helpful. Noah Kravitz, a writer from Oakland, CA, could become famous.

5 New Year's Resolutions for Personal Social Networking
Only four days remain in 2011. If you use social media personally, professionally, or both, consider changing the way you approach it in the new year. Your friends and colleagues just may thank you for it. 1. Quit treating social media like it's a fad. If you work in a place that sets up firewalls to block social networking sites, it's time to begin advocating for that to change.

This New Year, Take Advantage of VisualCV's New Lease on Life
A new year ushers in new beginnings and second chances — and this coming year, both will be true for one professional networking website. Users of VisualCV received an early Christmas present Dec. 23: The online resume company is no longer closing up shop on Dec. 30. According to an email sent to users, VisualCV.com has been acquired by Talent Technology, which specializes in software that helps employers "track" potential talent. The company plans to continue operating VisualCV.com. VisualCV member data will no longer go the way of the dinosaurs by the end of the year, and the premium member support program will be phased out, meaning that all members will have free access to all VisualCV features, including resources at the VisualCV Learning Center.

4 Last-Minute Digital Holiday Greeting Ideas
It's two days before Christmas, and you haven't sent out any holiday cards yet. Feeling a little anti-establishment this holiday season? Or...did you just procrastinate a bit too long? Unless you're OK with sending out "Happy New Year" cards, it's not too late to consider a digital alternative to printed holiday cheer. Do you think people should send printed holiday greetings?

5 Apps for Last-Minute Holiday Shoppers
You had the best of intentions. Yet there you are, practically burying yourself in another sale bin at the mall on Christmas Eve. And who knows if Aunt Sue will even like the gift you picked out? And then it dawns on you...your smartphone! Surely there must be some great apps out there that can help you finish your last-minute shopping AND ensure you get a good deal. You're probably thinking...Amazon Price Check, right? Wrong. Sure, Amazon might be able to give you the best deal, but you sure as heck aren't getting your gift by Christmas. So, here are some apps that can hopefully help you score a great gift in a pinch. The list is short because we know you're pressed for time.

How are Google+ Brand Pages Doing?
Well, what's the verdict so far on Google+ brand pages? According to the latest research from BrightEdge and Simply Measured, they seem to be doing about the same as a good portion of user profiles: Most of the top brands have G+ pages, but only a handful of them are getting visitors. The research shows that 61 of the Interbrand Top 100 Brands have Google+ pages.

10 Places to Look for Blogging Inspiration
If you're a blogger, you've been there: A dark room, your face gray from the computer screen's glow, your eyes staring blankly at an empty white screen. Writer's block is no fun, especially if you're a blogger. Even the most organized, type A pre-planner of a blogger eventually hits a wall. If you're hard-pressed for inspiration, consider these ten places to look. 1. Twitter. The people you follow are sharing things. Pay attention.

5 Quick iPhone 4S Secrets You Might Not Know About
Just when you think you've learned all there is to know about that little rectangular device in your pocket...The iPhone 4S with the iOS5 operating system has quite a few little time and battery-saving tricks up its sleeve that I was rather happy to learn about. Observe. 1. REALLY kill your apps. Turns out I wasn't really "killing" my apps when I exited them.

Facebook's Suicidal Status Reporter, and Other Digital Attempts to Combat Mental Illness
Social networking is often blamed as a catalyst for suicide. People say cruel things online that can send already fragile feelings over the edge. This week, Facebook announced a new suicide prevention tool that allows users to flag suicidal content through a new reporting feature. If a friend sees a posting that concerns them, they're now able to let Facebook know. Then, Facebook sends the post author an email inviting them to chat privately with a certified counselor.

6 Ways Facebook is Like Bob Dylan
Yeah, I said it. Facebook is, in some ways, a lot like Bob Dylan. Right now, some of you are probably saying..."huh?" Others are likely cursing me to an eternity of "500 miles" by The Proclaimers on infinite repeat. Hear me out, curse-casters: First off, I'm a bit of a Dylan fanatic. I'm also a bit of a Facebook fanatic. And I happened to notice a few similarities between the two. Facebook doesn't seem to care what people think. Bob Dylan wrote "It Ain't Me, Babe" in response to all the crazies who'd started calling him the voice of their generation and following him like a guitar-slinging Jesus.

Fun With the Nanoblogging Site 'Hycku'
Are attention spans slowly shortening like the fuses on old-fashioned cartoon bombs?

Simple Advice for Avoiding Social Media Gaffes
It can happen to any social media user maintaining professional and personal presences, no matter how careful or organized they are. And it can cost you your livelihood. Posting something personal using the wrong account. It sounds so stupid and avoidable, but it happens all the time. We're all human. We all make mistakes. But just one mistake can cost you credibility — or your job.

Tripping Over the New StumbleUpon: A Quick Guide for Newbies
If you're someone who likes to venture beyond the boundaries of your RSS feed subscriptions and the stuff your friends share on Facebook, check out the new StumbleUpon.

3 Reasons to Give Twitter's New Embeddable Tweets a Try
In case you haven't heard, Twitter has begun the rollout of a comprehensive redesign that, so far, is getting ample praise from users. We're well into the fun process of exploring the new features.

Does the World Wide Web Make You Your Own 'Media Outlet'?
If you hop online, sign up for a blogging service, and start writing paragraphs grouped together and published on a regular basis, does that make you a journalist? According to U.S. District Court Judge Marco A. Hernandez — um, no. He slapped blogger Crystal Cox with a $2.5 million fine after he upheld Obsidian's charges of defamation.

Facebook Begins Public Rollout of Timeline — Do You Care?
Facebookers, listen up: Timeline is officially on its way, and thanks to the Kiwis, you're about to get a preview of how things are likely going to go. Facebook has announced it will begin the public rollout of its new Timeline profile in New Zealand.

The Amusing Irony of Profile Graveyard
Maintaining social media profiles takes time. For many people, all that posting and sharing and commenting gets to be too much. It stops being fun, and accounts are abandoned. That's where Profile Graveyard comes in. This site is pretty darn hilarious. It's a tweak of the nose at social networking in general, complete with a running counter of the time saved by folks.

Alternatives to the Soon-To-Be Defunct VisualCV
On Dec. 2, VisualCV.com sent an email to its users announcing plans to close up shop as of Dec. 30. What a shame. VisualCV was no LinkedIn, but somehow, that was OK. It was a simple resume builder with clean layouts and great ways to showcase your skills. Once you built your resume at VisualCV, a simple web address would take you to your online resume.

Are Social Media Tools Making Us Anti-Social?
I know people who constantly fiddle around on their smartphones, even when they are eating dinner with their families. I've been halted mid-sentence because of a notification beep. People have nearly knocked me over because they're too busy looking down instead of straight ahead while walking through the mall.This behavior drives me absolutely insane. Are these just nuisances we must endure within our highly connected reality?

4 Simple Strategies for Corralling Curmudgeonly Commenters
Curmudgeon. Gadfly. Royal pain in the tuckus. They go by so many names. But like it or not, they certainly can become staples of your organization's online community. Too often, businesses shy away from using social media because they're afraid of having to deal with them. Who are we talking about? Negative commenters. Well, whether the conversation is digital or in-person, it's never always going to be positive. So if you're too afraid of dealing with a Negative Nancy, then social media simply isn't for you.

Your Twitter Chat Checklist: What You Need for a Stellar Feed
The Twitter chat is a wonderful concept that lets you use Twitter to build awareness, share your expertise and effectively engage current and potential fans. You facilitate "meetings of the minds" on the topic of your choosing, and gradually build a loyal following in the process.

Social Media and Gender: Is It One Big Cliché?
Who runs the social media world? Girls. At least, according to this fascinating summary of a study done by Dr. Ruth Page of the University of Leicester. Women are more expressive, more willing to share, and reveal more about their personal lives — in other words, women are biologically wired for social media use. Young women ages 19 to 25 in particular lead the pack.

How Facebook's 'People Reached' Metric is Making an Impression
Last week, Facebook made another change to the metrics page administrators see. First, Facebook added the "people talking about" metric — now, it's replaced the "impressions" metric with "people reached." What's the difference? Impressions measured the number of times a post was viewed. "People reached," however, measures unique views. At first, the new numbers might seem jarring — after all, measuring straight-up post views makes your page posts look...well, popular.

#EpicThanks: A Social Media Project About Gratitude
On this Thanksgiving eve, remember that gratitude can swell beyond the confines of one holiday. And if you ever forget, allow the social media project Epic Thanks to remind you. Epic Thanks is, of all things, a Tumblr blog — its latest incarnation since starting out as Tweetsgiving in 2008. It contains submitted pictures of people (and pets) for whom others are thankful. Further, it invites readers to donate to a cause in the spirit of gratefulness. This year, the cause is building Mama Lucy's secondary school in Tanzania.

5 Reasons Social Media Should be a Team Effort
Social media strategist. Social media manager. Social media director. These are all relevant, important jobs within organizations serious about using social media tools for their marketing and/or communications strategies...today. What about tomorrow? Socially adept companies and organizations are answering that question by going further than employing people with the shiny titles listed above. More often than not, those very people are the strategic brains behind company-wide social media team efforts.

Browser Extensions That Feng Shui Your Web Reading Experience
Evernote recently launched Evernote Clearly, a web browser extension for Google Chrome that allows you to view web pages without ads, navigation bars, and other elements deemed unnecessary to your reading experience.

4 Ways Businesses Could Use a Facebook Timeline
I recently read a blog post that claims Facebook’s new Timeline profile format will be great for individuals, but will fail to offer any real value to businesses. Respectfully, I’m not so sure. We don’t yet know how Facebook will change business pages, but opportunities for creative interaction exist beyond a clever cover photo.

Get Highlighted: How Organizations Can Make It to the Top of the News Feed
Recently, Facebook changed “top stories” to “highlighted stories.” Highlighting stories essentially allows users to tell Facebook the types of information — as well as the people and organizations — they find important. It is another layer in Facebook’s algorithmic method of determining what it feels deserves your attention.

Poor Planning on Google's Part = Disappointment in Google+ Business Pages
Please...someone point us to the article or announcement that clearly explains why Google+ business pages are better for businesses than Facebook or Twitter. Did we all just rush to create a page because it's Google? Were we enticed by the possibility of higher rankings in search results? Were we looking for something better than Facebook? Any one of these reasons would be valid enough to try out Google+ business pages. But when you're actually in there, you start noticing stuff.

The Tragic Spotlight on Social Network 'Diaspora'
A tragic irony of death is how the deceased get the attention they never experienced in life. A musician dies, her record sales skyrocket. An actor dies, his movies run on cable all month. It seems the same sad phenomenon is about to happen to Diaspora, a social network you may have never heard of until now. Diaspora's co-founder, Ilya Zhitomirskiy, has died at the age of 22. Although the cause of death was "not yet publicly known" as of this writing, CNN reported late Monday that Zhitomirskiy committed suicide. Diaspora is an open-source social network software that allows developers to create "public pods" that people can join.

6 Steps to Becoming a Social Business
Sandy Carter, IBM's vice president of social business evangelism, has it right when she says that becoming a social business involves much more than having a Facebook page and Twitter account. "Becoming a social business can help an organization deepen customer relationships, generate new ideas faster, identify expertise and enable a more effective workforce," she said in a recent Forbes article by Dan Schawbel. But where do you start? If you get anything out of this post, let it be this: It's OK to start slow.

Five Ways to Screw Up Social Media for Your Business
For so many companies and organizations, the whole social media thing is still very much uncharted territory. As a result, many attempt to stuff it into the constraints of what they already know: PR, image-building, and good old fashioned “spin,” for example.Social media isn’t about any of those things. Some will likely disagree with that. They’re entitled to their opinions.

4 Great Photo-Sharing Apps and the Camera Phones that Love Them
Not everyone has the time, money, or talent to make a living just roaming about, taking pictures of whatever they find interesting. But what many of us DO have are smartphones, and access to killer photo-sharing apps. But what apps to use? What smartphones to pair them with?

The Three Levels of Social Media Automation
Effective social media management takes time and sincere effort. But not every business or organization can necessarily devote the time or resources to the cause right out of the gate. Very often, they’re caught up in the first — and most daunting — step toward a truly effective social media effort: building a company culture that embraces the regular use of social media to build brand awareness and achieve company goals. But you don't necessarily have to wait for the company culture to catch up.

Is Google Direct Connect Smart Google+ Marketing...or Blackmail?
Yesterday, Google launched business pages on Google+. Then, Google strapped a stick to each business’s proverbial head, each with a delicious carrot hanging just out of nibbling range. That “carrot” is otherwise known as Google Direct Connect. This feature essentially allows any business with a Google+ page to instantly jump to the top of Google's search rankings. If the business you’re looking for has a Google+ page, all you have to do is type a “+” in front of the company name in the search box, and a link to the company’s Google+ page will apparently show up right under the search box. Hit “enter,” and you’re taken directly to the G+ page in question. As of this writing, Google Direct Connect was not yet universally available, even though it’s prominently touted as a feature when you successfully create a Google+ business page. Right now, only a certain number of pages “qualify.”

Mobile Monitoring: Does It Ever Go Too Far?
Mobile technology is no longer the future — it is already in the hands of the future. Case in point: To this one-year-old, a magazine is simply an iPad that doesn’t work. Children ages 9 to 12 are the fastest growing cell phone market. It seems the hands holding mobile devices get younger and younger each year. Such powerful technology in the hands of young people can feel both impressive and scary, especially if you are the parent of a toddler who steals your smartphone every chance he gets and flicks through digital pages just as easily as he can flip through a printed book. At the same time, means exist by which you can monitor every aspect of the digital life your child leads from his or her smartphone.

20 Things Facebook is Thankful For
Thanksgiving Is just three weeks away, and many of us might be reflecting upon what we’re thankful for in our lives. In fact, a number of people have taken to Facebook with notes of thanks for each day leading up to Turkey Day. That got me wondering…what is Facebook thankful for? Perhaps Zucks & Company wish to play the humble card and leave the whole “being thankful” thing to their users.

5 Signs It's Time to Break Up With a Blog
It was so nice in the beginning. You got what you needed, when you needed it. You felt acknowledged and important. And now? Not so much. But you can’t help but remember the good times, so it’s hard for you to let go. Blogs are personal — no matter the content, no matter the author — because they need reader loyalty to survive. But what if a blog isn’t doing anything to keep your loyalty?

What Do People Get Out of @Twitterstories?
Make no mistake, #Twitterstories is a cool marketing concept, and makes for some interesting reading. But Twitter isn’t the first social network to toot its own horn about how it’s changed lives. Facebook Stories, where Facebook users can share tales of Facebook’s awesomeness, has been around for a while. But what is the point of such a mechanism? Is Twitter going to make these stories into a book? Does Facebook just like to read about how great it is? What do users get in return?

Siri, Android, and Google's Lamest Excuse Ever
To most smartphone customers, Google’s Android operating system is an alternative to the iPhone. To the late Steve Jobs, Android was a four-letter word: “I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I'm willing to go to thermonuclear war on this.” Wow. Them’s fightin’ words.

Deconstructing the New Social Network 'Unthink'
The new social network Unthink is trying to create a one-stop shop for all the kinds of profiles you present to the public across different social networks, and lock them behind strict privacy settings. The key word here is “trying.”

A (Short and) Sweet Tour of the New Delicious
Like some awkward, prepubescent nerd, the old Delicious used to be so annoying. First off, you needed a Yahoo account to use it (lame), and its forgettable design did little to hold your attention. On its face, it felt like nothing more than line after line of links and tags. But just like that oft-forgotten nerd, there was so much more to Delicious than met the eye.

What is the New Anti-Facebook 'Unthink' Thinking?
A couple of years ago, a presenter for a Facebook training I attended openly told us that Facebook was “the devil.” At the time, this assertion seemed like nothing more than absurd paranoia from a person who’d been working on the other side of the code for too long. Fast-forward to Oct. 25, the day this presenter must have sat back and yelled “I told you so!” On that day, the new social network Unthink launched. The creators of Unthink believe that Facebook — and Google +, and Groupon, and [insert behemoth social network here] — are, in fact, the devil.

4 Digital Zombies Even Woody Harrelson Can't Kill
Digital zombies walk among us, and not just because Halloween is coming up. In the last five years or so, each one of the following mediums has been declared dead by one industry expert or another. Yet, these forms of media still exist among us. We use them, interact with them, and we’re finding ways to breathe new life into them. So, either the “experts” were wrong, or there really is such a thing as the digital walking dead. Or, Woody Harrelson's Zombieland jeep is in the shop. So let’s hunker down and face our bogeymen.

7 Nuggets of Social Media Common Sense for Businesses
My family loves a particular supermarket chain in our area. This chain has great selection, reasonable prices, and lots of local food options. But a few months ago, my favorite supermarket turned me off with just one tweet. I had tweeted a question about whether or not this chain…let’s call it “Schmannaford”…would ever offer Foursquare coupon deals in more suburban or rural areas. About three days later, I finally got a reply: a snarky one. Something about a Magic 8 ball saying the “picture looked cloudy.” I was so disappointed.

3 Rogue Apps That Want to Change the Way We Do Social Activism
U.S. citizens involved in the civil rights movement, or opposed to the war in Vietnam, never conceived of a day when social activism would be preceded by hashtags or ignited without paper. But from the uprisings in Egypt to the London riots to #occupywalltreet, it’s clear the Internet is making it possible to start full-scale social protests with little more than a smartphone.

Does Facebook's 'People Talking About' Metric Have any Klout?
At the beginning of October, out of nowhere, Facebook launched the "People Talking About" metric for Facebook pages. This number is a tally of all the interactions your page has generated — likes, comments, shares, etc. — for the previous seven days. The metric is shown underneath the total number of page "likes."

On the Social Web, Try to Be the 1%
There’s a general rule on the social web when it comes to content: 90% of people generally consume content, 9% comment on it, and 1% actually create it. This is called the 1-9-90 rule. If you are a business professional looking to make a mark on the social web, you simply cannot park yourself among the 99% in that equation. Yet, time and again, we see people who claim to take the content curator role seriously doing little more than acting as package handlers for the content others have created.

Can You Find Love With a Smartphone and GPS?
Not so long ago, online dating evoked the creepies. Remember what people thought? Only stalkers, serial killers and rapists used online dating sites to zero in on unsuspecting prey. Now, marriages that began online are commonplace. And now, we have location-based dating apps for mobile phones. Welcome to a new era of creepy. At the recent f8 developer conference, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg implied that the future of the Web lies in mobile phones and apps. Clearly, the makers of dating apps fully believe in the day when the vast majority of us find our soulmates with a smartphone's GPS capabilities. And maybe they're right. But right now, dating apps just make my skin crawl. Picture this: You're a single guy or gal, walking down the street, minding your own business. Suddenly, your phone beeps. It's StreetSpark, letting you know it's found someone nearby whom you might be interested in.

Facebook's 'Subscribe' Feature: What to Know Before Signing On
There she is again: That girl you vaguely remember from high school. Maybe she was on the debate team with you. Or was it the tennis team? Eh, you don’t remember. But apparently she does, because she won’t stop trying to friend you on Facebook. Will you friend her because you feel bad, or just ignore her? Sounds like a job for the Subscribe button. Facebook’s “Subscribe” feature is supposed to get rid of the occasional awkwardness that comes with the friending process by making it completely unnecessary.

5 Tools to Keep Your Multiple Social Network 'Personalities' Happy
Like potato chips (or, some Friday nights, chocolate-covered pretzels), an increasing number of people can't settle for just one social network. Just last year, the Pew Research Center reported that 52 percent of adults maintain more than one social profile. For brands, maintaining multiple presences is a no-brainer.

4 Awesome Online Monitoring Tools That Won't Die
Whether you realize it or not, people are talking about you on the Web. They're critiquing your business, your level of customer service, and the tackiness of your commercials. Or perhaps they're spreading inaccurate, over-generalized sound bytes that work against the mission and goals of your organization. Whether they're cutting you slack or talking a lot of smack, you can't afford not to know about it.

Will ‘T.co’ Turn Other Link Shorteners Into Chopped ‘Li.ver?’
Twitter is now using t.co to wrap all links shared in tweets, no matter their size. So, what does that mean for link shorteners such as bit.ly and ow.ly? The crystal ball is cloudy — at least for now. And that has to be making link shorteners everywhere a little nervous. The folks at Twitter have yet to reveal how it’s going to use data gathered from t.co, or how it will roll out data to Twitter users.

5 Google+ Updates You Should Know About
If there's one thing Google+ seems to do quite well, it's updates. Facebook users get angry whenever an update is made because they often seem to appear out of nowhere, without explanation. Google+ uses actual Google+ employees to disseminate announcements of updates.

5 (+1) Creepy Things About Google+
Not to be a Debbie Downer here, but Google+ is far from perfect. Sure, the platform has its perks, and seems more receptive to submitted feedback than a certain 800 million-user competitor. But Google+ does indeed sport a few pitfalls. Creepy ones. Observe: Instant photo uploading from your smartphone. By default, any photos you take with your smartphone will instantly upload to your Google+ account via the app. The photos wait in a queue to be made public or shared with circles. The idea here is that instant uploading cuts out a step toward sharing stuff with the world.

5 (+1) Cool Things About Google+
The subject of Google+ continues to ebb and flow on the stormy sea of digital debate. First, it rose as the welcomed antidote to Facebook. Then, criticisms mounted as people opened accounts but then did nothing with them. And now, Google+ seems to be back in good graces, now that it’s open to the public, and so many people are ticked off about Facebook’s drastic changes to profiles and news feeds.

Unfriend Your Family on Facebook Now (and Other Timeline Observations)
OK, perhaps the title of this post is a little harsh. But it will make sense, as your Facebook profile will soon switch to the Timeline layout, if it hasn’t already. That’s when you’ll see it: The Timeline, a rather beautifully designed summation of your entire digital life thus far, from your actual date of birth to the present — with a big, blank abyss between your birthday and your first account activity.

Steve Jobs: The Man Who Helped Change the Way We Learn
You’re reading this on a device either created or inspired by the ideas of Steve Jobs. How amazing is that? We could talk for days about his life, his accomplishments, his shortcomings, and how he changed the world. Or how his ideas made technology once reserved for uber-brainiacs and military personnel accessible to regular people. Or how the iPod changed the music industry and created household words like “podcast” and “iTunes.” But for just a minute, let’s talk about something else.

Did Your Facebook Page Get 'Lost in Transition'?
Notice anything different about your Facebook business page lately? Sure, everything probably still looks fine and dandy on the outside, with no drastic Timeline-esque changes to your page wall or information. But a peek behind the scenes more than likely tells a different story. Your posts aren’t showing up in News Feeds. Your impressions are down — drastically. Perhaps links have been disappearing from the walls of loyal community members who posted them previously.

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