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November 10 2010

5 Captivating Personalities From Across the Social Web [Mashable Awards]

Mashable Awards Image

As part of the ongoing Mashable Awards, we’re taking a closer look at each of the nomination categories. This is “Must-Follow Personality.” Be sure to nominate your favorites and join us for the Gala in Las Vegas! Sponsorships are available. Please contact sponsorships@mashable.com for more information.

personality imageIn a world where social media and pop culture collide, 2009 might’ve been most remembered for a certain race to 1 million followers. While 2010 has had its share of popularity contests too, we’ve also seen a myriad of innovative uses of digital media that have both catapulted some previously unknowns to “must follow” status and re-invented the careers of others.

Whether it was playing a key role in shaping the news, creating online personas that went viral and became much more, or using the Internet to connect with fans in new ways, several personalities stood out in terms of leveraging social media in irresistibly catchy ways.

Below, we take a look at some of those people who have made a major splash in the online world in the past year.


1. Ben Folds


While it looks like Chatroulette’s 15 minutes of fame might be up, no one was a bigger part of that 15 minutes than musician Ben Folds.

What started with the singer-songwriter broadcasting improv piano tunes from his concerts onto the random video chat site quickly became an Internet meme, especially after the “chatroulette improv piano guy” named Merton emerged.

Because Merton rather closely resembled Folds, speculation ran rampant that the two were actually the same guy. Numerous YouTube videos — some of them originating here on Mashable — added fuel to the fire, though the fable was ultimately disproved once and for all (we think) in a video that the two created together last month.

What started as a clever play on a pop culture phenomenon ultimately became a blueprint for sustaining social media buzz.


2. Conan O’Brien


When Conan O’Brien took over as host of The Tonight Show in mid-2009, one of his first sketches poked fun at Twitter for its banality. Little did he know at the time that mere months later, he’d become the center of a massive user-created digital movement (“Team Coco”) as NBC pivoted to shift Tonight Show hosting responsibilities back to Jay Leno.

Following his ouster, Conan quickly moved to capitalize on his Internet momentum, establishing a Twitter account that would serve as his comedic outlet while he sorted out his next career move, which he ultimately decided would be a new show on TBS.

Whereas Conan’s Tonight Show played the traditional willfully ignorant-of-technology card, Conan’s new show has made social media the centerpiece of a campaign to try and get the masses to shift their late night viewing habits to cable. As a result, we’ll soon find out if digital loyalty translates to television ratings.


3. BPGlobalPR


This year’s BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was one of the biggest environmental catastrophes in recent times, and the company’s much-maligned handling of it had some speculating that bankruptcy might be imminent for the petroleum giant.

Providing comic relief through the whole ordeal, however, was @BPGlobalPR, a satirical Twitter account pretending to be BP’s public relations department. With updates like “Sadly we can no longer certify our oil as Dolphin Safe,” the account quickly amassed tens of thousands of followers.

As for his inspiration, the man behind the account, “Terry,” told Mashable in an interview that “They pay people like me a TON of money to make it look like they’re doing stuff, but really we don’t have to do much except talk. Our talking buys them time to figure out how they are going to sweep it all under the rug and go back to making lots of money.”

While BP eventually closed the oil leak and activity on the @BPGlobalPR account has slowed, the feed served the dual role of both entertaining and reminding the world that BP was not doing a very good job at either closing the leak or communicating effectively with the public.


4. Dan Savage


In recent months, one of the most prominent social issues in America has been the bullying of gay teenagers. In response, sex advice columnist and gay rights activist Dan Savage launched the “Its Get Better” YouTube channel, where everyday people have uploaded hundreds of videos providing encouragement and inspiration to gay teens, telling them they have much to look forward to.

It didn’t take long for the channel to go viral with openly gay celebrities like Neil Patrick Harris and Ellen DeGeneres contributing video messages. Within about a month of launching, the channel attracted a video from President Obama broadcasting the “It Gets Better” message.

The campaign has been nothing short of inspiring, and we will be following Savage to see how he uses his various social media channels –- which also include a popular blog, Twitter feed, and podcast –- to raise awareness for important LGBT issues going forward.


5. Darren Rovell


It’s been a spectacular year for stories about the business of sports, and sitting at the center of it has been CNBC’s sports business reporter Darren Rovell.

There was simply no better feed to follow on Twitter than Rovell’s as the world of Tiger Woods came crashing down following a car-accident-turned-sex-scandal turned tens of millions of dollars in lost endorsement deals.

Then, when LeBron James made the universally mocked decision of broadcasting “The Decision” on ESPN, Rovell again was the point man for assessing brand and consumer response as one of the world’s most highly paid and previously admired athletes suddenly became one of the sporting world’s biggest villains.

In between, Rovell’s Twitter feed and blog has broken news on everything from TV ratings to jersey sales to free agency moves. To an extent, he’s also made the business of reporting on sports sexy, as evidenced by some of the competitors he’s now attracting.


What’s Your Take?


Which personalities do you follow via social media? Let us know in the comments or nominate them for the Mashable Awards.


The Mashable Awards Gala at Cirque du Soleil Zumanity (Vegas)


In partnership with Cirque du Soleil, The Mashable Awards Gala event will bring together the winners and nominees, the Mashable community, partners, media, the marketing community, consumer electronics and technology brands and attendees from the 2011 International CES Convention to Las Vegas on Thursday, January 6, 2011. Together, we will celebrate the winners and the community of the Mashable Awards at the Cirque du Soleil Zumanity stage in the beautiful New York New York Hotel. The event will include acts and performances from our partner Cirque du Soleil Zumanity. In addition, there will be special guest presenters and appearances.

Date: Thursday, January 6th, 2011 (during International CES Convention week)
Time: 7:00 – 10:00 pm PT
Location: Cirque du Soleil Zumanity, New York New York Hotel, Las Vegas
Agenda: Networking, Open Bars, Acts, Surprises and the Mashable Awards Gala presentations
Socialize: Facebook, Foursquare, Meetup, Plancast, Twitter (Hashtag: #MashableAwards)

Sponsorships are available. Please contact sponsorships@mashable.com for more information.

Register for Mashable Awards Gala at Cirque du Soleil Zumanity stage (Las Vegas - 2011 International CES convention) [Ticketed Event] in Las Vegas, NV  on Eventbrite

Thanks to our sponsors:

Mashable Awards Gala Partner:

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About Research In Motion (RIM)

Research In Motion is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of innovative wireless solutions for the worldwide mobile communications market. Through the development of integrated hardware, software and services that support multiple wireless network standards, RIM provides platforms and solutions for seamless access to time-sensitive information including email, phone, SMS messaging, Internet and intranet-based applications including the BlackBerry® wireless platform. For the latest on BlackBerry products join us at www.facebook.com/BlackBerry.

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About Research In Motion (RIM)

Research In Motion is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of innovative wireless solutions for the worldwide mobile communications market. Through the development of integrated hardware, software and services that support multiple wireless network standards, RIM provides platforms and solutions for seamless access to time-sensitive information including email, phone, SMS messaging, Internet and intranet-based applications including the BlackBerry® wireless platform. For the latest on BlackBerry products join us at www.facebook.com/BlackBerry.

Mashable Awards Gala VIP Lounge sponsor:

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About Research In Motion (RIM)

Research In Motion is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of innovative wireless solutions for the worldwide mobile communications market. Through the development of integrated hardware, software and services that support multiple wireless network standards, RIM provides platforms and solutions for seamless access to time-sensitive information including email, phone, SMS messaging, Internet and intranet-based applications including the BlackBerry® wireless platform. For the latest on BlackBerry products join us at www.facebook.com/BlackBerry.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, jgroup

More About: ben folds, bp, BPGlobalPR, celebrities, celebrity, conan o'brien, dan savage, darren rovell, internet celebrities, List, Lists, mashable awards, mashable awards 2010, personality

For more Social Media coverage:


September 06 2010

Leaked Google Documents Reveal How Much Big Brands Spend on Search Ads


Ad Age has obtained an internal Google document that highlights some of the biggest AdWords buyers for the month of June 2010, offering insight into how big brands are using Google and how much they are spending.

According to the documents, the biggest buyers of AdWords in June included AT&T Mobility, Amazon, eBay and BP. Although most of those companies are frequent big Google spenders, BP was a newcomer to the list, spending $3.59 million on search ads in the wake of the gulf oil spill (compared to just $57,000 in the two months prior).


Top Spenders


The top spender in June, AT&T Mobility, spent $8.08 million on search ads to coincide with the release of the iPhone 4. According to Ad Age, AT&T’s the third-largest U.S. advertiser overall, so its Google spending is not a big surprise.

Other companies that made up the top 10 include:

  • Apollo Group – You know them as The University of Phoenix and they spent $6.67 million in June 2010
  • Expedia – $5.95 million
  • Amazon – $5.85 million
  • eBay – $4.25 million
  • Hotels.com – $3.30 million
  • JC Penney – $2.46 million — we’ll admit, this one surprises us
  • Living Social – $2.29 million
  • ADT Security – $2.19 million

Why Brands Buy Google Ads


The data shows us that for big brands, a heavy investment in Google is usually tied to revenue that comes directly from search traffic (as in the case of Amazon, eBay, Expedia, Hotels.com) or in instances where companies are trying to build awareness (AT&T) or weather a PR crisis (BP).

It’s also interesting to note some of the brands that aren’t on the list. The documents obtained by Ad Age indicate that companies like GM, Disney and BMW spent less than $500,000 on Google ads in June. Even Apple spent just less than $1 million on Google ads, despite its high-profile launch of the iPhone 4.

However, we also think it is possible that some big brands are spending money on search, but not directly with Google. For instance, although Ad Age cites Walt Disney as one of the companies that spent less than $500,000 on Google ads in June, the movie studio released Toy Story 3 that month, a film supported by a massive ad campaign. The film has gone on to gross more than $1 billion worldwide, making it one of the most successful animated films of all-time. It seems odd that Disney would spend only $500,000 on search terms for its big summer release.

What seems more likely, however, is that Disney purchased advertising through companies like Fandango or MovieTickets.com and those companies have their own arrangements with Google. In other words, when it comes to evaluating search spending, don’t count out the potential middle men.

This also makes sense when taking a big-picture approach to Google’s own revenue. The top 10 brands only accounted for 5% of U.S. revenues for the month.

Google is a big target for advertisers because of its strength in search and because of its ubiquity across devices. We do wonder if ad buys will shift to other outlets, like say, Facebook, as users spend more and more time on those networks.

More About: ad age, advertsing, att, bp, Google, google adwords, online advertising

For more Business coverage:


September 02 2010

10 of the Web’s Most Insightful News Infographics

New Infographic

A picture is worth a thousand words. But if you include an entire database, make it interactive, and add filtering options, the word-to-picture exchange rate is even better.

Infographics at their best are more than just pictures — they can provide new understandings, succinct summaries, or just plain old fun.

In that respect, reading newspaper archives isn’t the only way to get a deeper understanding of current events. Infographics can help us get a better grasp on what’s going on.

Check out these 10 visualizations to learn more about the news with a quick look.


1. Google’s Appetite for Acquisition


Last month alone, Google acquired social-search service Angstro, visual shopping search engine like.com, and social currency company Jambool. Google has been on an acquisition binge for some time, and it’s getting tricky to keep track of its appetite.

This graphic shows a timeline of Google’s activity in three categories: “Building Revenue Streams,” “Cutting Competition,” or “A Little of Both.”


2. Gay Marriage Chronology


The campaign for gay marriage has passed a multitude of milestones over the last decade. Unfortunately for those trying to keep track of them, the victories and setbacks vary drastically by state. Decisions are reversed and in some cases overturned by higher courts, which makes progress hard to track.

This map from the LA Times shows the status of gay marriage in each state by month. Click on a state for its most recent ruling or watch the country change from being legally similar in its treatment of same-sex couples in 2000 to sharply divided in 2010.


3. IED Attacks from Wikileaks’ Afghanistan War Logs


The frequency and fatality of IEDs (homemade bombs) in Afghanistan was highlighted when WikiLeaks published more than 90,000 secret documents about the Afghan war. Anti-war activists published this illustrative video that includes all of the incidents reported in these leaked documents.


4. Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill


On April 20, an explosion on a BP drilling rig started what has become the largest accidental oil spill in history. Despite numerous strategies that were deployed to plug the leak, it wasn’t capped until July 15.

This video graphic by New Orleans online newspaper NOLA wraps timeline, graphic, and cumulative damage data into one easy-to-digest piece of media.


5. CIA World Factbook Dashboard


The CIA World Factbook has always been a great resource for putting news stories into the context of their geographic location. But now it’s also easy to get the information at a glance.

The World Factbook Dashboard allows you to color code the countries of the world by population, population growth, infant mortality, agricultural GDP, industry GDP, services GDP, total GDP, GDP/inhabitant, or inflation. Clicking on a country zooms in for more information.


6. Geography of a Recession


This map from The New York Times illustrates not only which areas suffered the highest unemployment rate after the recession, but also offers the option to filter data by metropolitan areas, areas with housing bubbles, rural areas, and manufacturing centers.


7. Afghanistan and Pakistan Regional Violence Map


The Wall Street Journal updates this map constantly with violent conflicts in Afghanistan and Pakistan. If you want to learn about the day-to-day details of the war or understand its scope, there’s no better visual resource.


8. What Does the Health Care Bill Mean to Me?


Even if you read through every health care bill article, it could be hard to exactly pick out what the law would change about your insurance coverage and taxes. The Washington Post made it easy by providing this nifty tool. Input whether you have insurance coverage, your family size, your income, and your marital status, and it will tell you how health care reform will impact your life.

For the broader picture on healthcare reform, see this subway-style map from GOOD Magazine.


9. Obama’s $787 Billion Economic Stimulus Plan


The government is still busy spending much of the $787 billion it allotted for the economic stimulus in February of last year. This infographic effectively illustrates how that huge chunk of change is being distributed.


10. American Casualties in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Beyond


This chilling interactive graphic from USA Today simply illustrates the deaths in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Information seekers can search deaths by personal factors like name, age, gender, race, or home town as well as by military service details, date, cause, or place.

CNN has a more elaborate version here.


More Graphics Resources from Mashable:


- 5 Fab Twitter Follower Visualization Tools
- 10 Beautiful Social Media Infographics
- 5 Amazing Infographics for the Health Conscious
- 10 Essential Free E-Books for Web Designers
- 12 Beginner Tutorials for Getting Started With Photoshop

More About: afghanistan, bp, current events, gay rights, graphics, healthcare reform, infographics, iraq, News, oil-spill, stimulus, visualizations, wikileaks

For more Tech coverage:


August 06 2010

Why Online Education Needs to Get Social


Marco Masoni is a lawyer turned educator who co-founded Einztein.com to address the related problems of searching for good online courses and real-time coursework interaction.

Marshall McLuhan’s classic expression “ the medium is the message” hasn’t lost its luster yet, as entrepreneurs and designers re-invent products and services for the web, unleashing thousands of new applications and sites every single day.

The news industry is also in the throes of adjusting to the digital age, with countless print publications failing and folding after many years in the business while online news outlets and other platforms for news sharing, proliferate.

Education is the second largest industry in America behind health care, and it too is experiencing a similar shift as it struggles to adapt traditional design and delivery models to the demands of modern audiences who are accustomed to digital interactivity.

The challenge to transition successfully is especially pressing for online higher education. The Sloan Consortium reports that two-thirds of post-secondary educational institutions are seeing an increase in online courses and programs, so it’s a market that education providers simply cannot afford to ignore.


It’s About Course Quality, not Quantity


All too frequently, providers meet the challenge of satisfying the rising demand for online education by simply throwing courses up on the web and seeing what sticks, without catering to student needs. This amounts to a loser’s gamble since it risks pushing away students looking for schools that boast high online student retention rates. After all, why would you want to spend valuable tuition dollars on a school that isn’t likely to hold your interest long enough to earn a degree?

What’s required are innovative approaches to course design that set aside old models of instruction where theory often trumps actuality. Online course providers must embrace the web’s potential to match students with the kinds of timely knowledge and skills that address current issues head-on, and enable them to thrive in the global marketplace.

It’s not enough for a course to be accessible online, it must also be designed in a way that keys into the digital pulse of current events, trending topics and insider knowledge endemic to the web. The three-quarters of 18 to 29 year-olds who have profiles on social networks are likely wondering why online course offerings aren’t nearly as enticing as the content that they find on their favorite social websites.

To attract and retain the typical college-age demographic, as well as the larger population of adult learners in search of relevant and engaging educational content, the next generation of online education must be characterized by courses that build in the social, real-time information capturing components that have made the web such a dynamic medium for sharing information and knowledge.


Learning From Events in Real-Time


Consider what’s happened recently in the Gulf of Mexico. BP’s major oil spill is perhaps even “the” news story of the year. By now facts, opinions, and graphic images of the damage and underwater video of the spewing oil have been circulated on countless websites, informing our shock and outrage. The wonders of the digital age have successfully kept us current on the disaster in real-time, but how can they help us repair the mess and learn about our mistakes? How can we enlist the social media zeitgeist in order to build a better online learning paradigm?

Unfortunately, higher education providers are not racing to develop online courses that can seize on important events events like these, as they happen. Beyond the immediate victims, there are millions of people around the world who would certainly be inclined to learn about the incident so that they can apply the lessons to their own lives and communities. In mid July, another major oil spill occurred in the Yellow Sea, after the explosion of an oil terminal in the port city of Dalian, China. And recently, in Michigan, nearly a million gallons of oil leaked out of a forty year-old pipeline and into the Kalamazoo River.


Innovation Pays


The web, as a real-time medium, is begging us to build innovative courses that can be used for the rapid delivery of education designed in a way that integrates current news, information, insights and research about topics like the oil spill and thousands of other current issues.

After exploring some of the leading interactive educational sites that have been created by public institutions and non-profit entities, including Webby nominee Your Life, Your Money and Webby winner The Ocean Portal, it’s hard not to come away wondering why online courses rarely rise to the same level of quality and relevance. The most obvious explanation for this is the relatively high cost of producing an online course with similar design and functionality, plus, the added back-end resources involved in administering such a course. But is the cost really so prohibitive?

One can’t help but wonder what would happen if an education provider came along that offered, for starters, 20 or 30 online courses that were of “Webby” caliber. Even if the courses cost more to initially produce than your standard offering, the high market demand for online education might show that innovation pays when you begin creating online courses that look, teach and engage like they were purposed for the online medium.

For the time being it’s up to innovators like the folks over at TED to remind us how to use the web for exchanging knowledge in the search for solutions to global problems like the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Online education providers everywhere could learn a thing or two from this approach and take a chance by creating real-time courses.


More Education Resources from Mashable:

- 5 Organizations Helping Women Get Ahead in Tech
- 5 Innovative Tech Camps for Kids and Teens
- 5 Fun Ways to Help Your Kids Learn Math Online
- Social Media Parenting: Raising the Digital Generation
- 6 Free Websites for Learning and Teaching Science

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, pagadesign, marinephotobank

More About: bp, digital, education, gulf of mexico, interactive, oil-spill, online, social media

For more Social Media coverage:


July 28 2010

QR Codes Used to Help Clean Up the Gulf


BP may have been able to cap the oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico, but cleanup efforts are really just beginning. In an interesting intersection between technology and social activism, QR codes could prove instrumental in helping ensure that the Gulf is fully restored.

Nonpartisan activist group Women of the Storm is rallying public support around Gulf restoration. They’ve started the celebrity-backed Be the One campaign to get signatures for their petition, which states: “I demand that a plan to restore America’s Gulf be fully funded and implemented for me and future generations.”

ScanLife, makers of mobile barcode scanning technology, has stepped in to support the cause and they’re bringing QR codes to the rescue.

ScanLife created a QR code that, when scanned, directs users to a mobile site where they can watch the Be the One video (embedded below) and sign the petition. Plus, a giant version of the QR code was put on display on the Thomas Reuters billboard in Time Square last week to help outreach efforts.

The code is also being distributed online and on t-shirts, the latter of which people can buy to further support the cause. To date, the petition has garnered more than 117,000 signatures with the help of the QR code call-to-action.

As QR codes make their way to mainstream audiences, we think action-oriented campaigns of this variety will go a long way in making the technology relevant to the average smart phone user.

More About: be the one, bp, gulf oil spill, Mobile 2.0, QR Codes, scanlife, women of the storm

For more Mobile coverage:


July 15 2010

Oil Spill Capped, @BPGlobalPR Says: “Well, That Wasn’t So Hard.”


Immediately after hearing BP’s announcement that no oil was leaking into the Gulf for the first time in nearly three months, we over here at Mash started wondering: What’s satirical Twitter account @BPGlobalPR going to do now?

Back in May, an anonymous fellow launched a Twitter account that set out to mock the way BP was handling PR surrounding the oil spill. We conducted an interview back then with the mysterious man — back when he had around 55,000 followers. Now he has 185,860 and has gained recognition both for raising cash for healthygulf.org and for his cutting wit.

Although homeboy is still anonymous — he calls himself “Leroy Stick” — he’s become an Internet phenomenon. And, in true, dark style, after the oil spill he tweeted a simple message:

After the spill, we e-mailed “Stick” a simple query: “The spill is unspilled: How do you feel?”

His answer: “Well, we shall see. I’m definitely relieved. As far as BP is concerned, I have a feeling they are gonna be cutting corners like crazy with cleanup and compensation, especially since this will probably slip out of the public eye a bit. In short, I don’t think my job is done, but I am very happy that the new cap seems to be working.”

What do you think? Does @BPGlobalPR still have his work cut out for him?

More About: bp, gulf oil spill, oil-spill, social media, twitter

For more Social Media coverage:

July 07 2010

Internet Moguls Back Plan to Vuvuzela the Heck Out of BP


Babelgum and Ben Huh of The Cheezburger Network have thrown their financial support behind a Kickstarter project that aims to send hundreds of people to BP’s international headquarters to blow vuvuzelas in response to the oil giant’s handling of the Gulf oil spill.

At first the project’s leader, Adam Quirk, was only aiming to raise $2,000 — a goal he surpassed in less than two days — and now he’s aiming for $10,000 by 7 p.m. EST today. With nearly $7,000 in the kitty, he ain’t that far off.

The extra push came from the two viral content creators. Babelgum furnished $2,000 and will be sending a video production crew to cover the event in London next week. The footage will feature interviews with Quirk and the volunteers, as well as the people behind the Gulf Disaster Fund, which this whole thing is funding. Huh, for his part, is donating $1,000 — half of which will be sent directly to Quirk so the vuvuzela action can start ASAP.

Again, we wonder what effect this protest will have when it comes to BP’s get-up-and-go (aside from annoying the hell out of everyone working in the office), but we’re happy to see someone keeping up awareness about the plight, especially as interest seems to be waning in the Internet sphere.


Reviews: Internet

More About: Babelgum, bp, cheezburger network, gulf oil spill, humor, kickstarter, money, Political, pop culture, viral

For more Social Media coverage:


July 06 2010

Are We Losing Interest in the Oil Spill? [STATS]


We’re losing interest in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill just a few weeks after it became a big media topic — and long before we’ve even made a dent in cleaning up after this mess — if Internet search and discussion trends are to be believed.

An estimated 100 million gallons or more of oil have surged into the Gulf of Mexico. Spread by wind and underwater currents, the pollution has drifted toward coastal areas, coating wildlife and natural environments in thick layers of crude oil.

Yet on Twitter, Google, blogs and even YouTube, we’re already wrapping up our collective discussion of the oil spill and how to repair its damage.


Twitter


On Twitter, the oil spill enjoyed a prolonged trending period thanks to @BPGlobalPR, a spoof account that snarkily lampooned the oil company’s woes and became a viral hit.

This Trendistic chart, however, shows that while we might share a laugh over a corporate blunder, our attention span has about hit its limit when it comes to tweeting about the oil spill:


At its June 15 peak, the term “oil spill” was found in .17% of all tweets. Currently, only .02% to .05% of tweets contain that term.


YouTube


The good folks at TubeMogul were kind enough to pull together some data for us.

This month, people are uploading clips about the oil spill at a rate of 226 clips per day, on average. This might seem like a lot, but just last month, YouTube users were uploading around 1,021 oil spill videos each day. That’s a decrease of nearly 78% month-over-month.

And we’re not really interested in watching clips about the oil spill as much as we once were, either. Here’s a chart showing views of videos from BP’s official YouTube account:



Google


As a web search term, “oil spill” is on the decline. It first began to peak around April 30, when news surfaced that oil was beginning to wash ashore. The term reached its apex of popularity around May 27 and has since begun to fall.

Along with searches for this term, related news reports have plummeted. In other words, when public demand declines, media coverage follows suit.

Not surprisingly, however, Louisiana residents are still searching for “oil spill” on Google, as are the residents of many other Gulf Coast areas. New Orleans-area Google users are by far the largest geographical group still searching for information about this disaster.

Here, you can see the relation between web search and news articles:


Blogs


Finally, the tireless bloggers of the web are also getting tired of talking about the oil spill. Nielsen’s BlogPulse shows that during the third week a June, .4% of all blog posts were about the oil spill.

Now that percentage hovers between .15% and .175%, a significant and disturbing slide.


What You Can Do


If you’d like to get more involved, check out Sloane Berrent’s Six Way to Help the Gulf Coast Today. Berrent is a New Orleans resident and social philanthropist, and has the 411 on how to do your part in the cleanup process, from donating your money to volunteering your time.

And at the very least, we should all continue this conversation until the matter is resolved — not just until we get bored and move on to the next hot topic.

Are you and your friends still talking about the oil spill? Have you found any good ways to help with cleanup? Let us know in the comments.

[img credit: marinephotobank]

More About: bp, cleanup, deepwater horizon, Google, oil-spill, twitter

For more Social Media coverage:


July 01 2010

YouTube Lets Users Question BP Executive

Seventy-two days have passed since the offshore drilling rig Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico and the public is frustrated, to say the least. Well take a break from writing your satirical Twitter stream/crafting your web plugins/blowing your vuvuzela to join the discussion over at YouTube.

The video-sharing site has teamed up with PBS NewsHour to allow users to send their queries to Bob Dudley, president and CEO of BP’s Gulf Coast Restoration Organization. The live interview (which will stream at 3:30 pm ET/12:30 pm PT on CitizenTube) will be moderated by PBS NewsHour’s Ray Suarez. You can also check out parts of the interview later on on PBS NewsHour and YouTube.

If you want to ask Dudley about the clean-up plan or a myriad of other topics, head on over to youtube.com/citizentube and submit your question and vote for other questions you would like to see asked.

This isn’t the first time YouTube has let the people interrogate someone in a position of power. Just last month the site streamed U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech on the crisis, and then a live interview with White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, who also answered questions submitted by users.

Do you plan on joining the discussion?


Reviews: YouTube

More About: bp, oil-spill, Political, video, youtube

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June 30 2010

Online Plot Hatched to Annoy BP Executives with Vuvuzelas


Does the situation in the Gulf have you mad as hell (and not gonna take it anymore)? Well, you could create a satirical Twitter account, knock out a kickass plugin or paint your Tumblr dashboard black — or you could call upon the powers of the most obnoxious viral meme of all time to sound your fury to the gods: That’s right, the vuvuzela.

Adam Quirk, a web video producer from Brooklyn and the co-founder of Wreck & Salvage art video collective, has launched a Kickstarter project that’s truly a unique method of protesting BP’s follies. He’s aiming to raise $2,000, with which he will purchase 100 vuvuzelas to be distributed to 100 Craigslist volunteers who will then park themselves outside of BP’s International Headquarters in London for an entire day. Predictably, said volunteers will vuvuzela the day away, returning each day until the situation is resolved.

Quirk is aiming to give at least half of the money raised to the Center for Biological Diversity – depending on how cheap he can get the horns and volunteers for.

It appears that the project launched just yesterday, but Quirk is already nearly halfway to his goal. Yeah, there’s a lot of “Ehh…well”s to this project: i.e. Why waste money on this when you could just give to cleanup efforts? What about the poor office drones who had nothing to do with the spill? Is that most extreme of torture devices — the vuvuzela — really warranted? Still, there’s no denying that it’s a creative enterprise.

Will you contribute to the cause?

image courtesy of iStockphoto, ManoAfrica

More About: bp, kickstarter, money, Political, pop culture, social media, vuvuzela

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June 16 2010

Satirical BP Oil Spill Greeting Cards to Raise Money for Cleanup Efforts

Greeting card company enGreet has released Gulf Action, a platform that lets users send satirical, oil spill-related greeting cards to political officials to draw attention to the ongoing environmental disaster.

20% of card sales will be donated to charitable organizations working to clean up the mess.

The 20 available greeting cards feature the designs of some of the nation’s leading political cartoonists, including Steve Greenberg, Paul Fell and Joe Mohr. Card artwork is impressive, mixing humor with the provocative while providing a sobering representation of the situation facing the Gulf as a result of the oil spill.

Blank cards (with the cartoon message) cost $2.99 a piece. For an extra fee, buyers can personalize them with their own message and have them sent directly to a politician or another person of their choosing.

If you’re looking for a way to channel your BP frustration in a positive manner, sending one of these Gulf Action greeting cards might be the best way to do so.



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Tags: bp, engreet, greeting cards, gulf oil spill


June 10 2010

BP Oil Spill Response Parodies Flood YouTube [VIDEOS]

Twitter isn’t the only venue for showing one’s disdain for BP via parody — YouTube users are uploading a steady stream of videos (some better than others) that use humor to express their anger at the disastrous situation.

It’s been more than a month since a BP oil rig explosion led to a massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and the Internet has not been shy about venting its frustration: Tumblr painted its dashboard black in an effort to raise cash, creative agency Jess3 developed a Firefox plugin that aims to black out all mentions of BP across the Web and satirical Twitter account @BPGlobalPR has gained a mighty following for its biting commentary. At this rate, YouTube parodies were pretty much an inevitability.

We’ve spared you the blues songs, and gathered together a few of the most popular vids. What do you think of the videos below? Do you think expressing your angry via parody is effective when going head-to-head with such a large-scale disaster?


BP Spills Coffee



Rich Fish



“Big Oilmance (Original)” – BP Oil Spill Parody



BP Parody: Press Conference Ends Awkwardly



BP Oil Spill Protest Anthem from Raging Grannies: “Halliburton & BP, You Suck!”




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Tags: bp, oil-spill, Political, twitter, video, viral video, youtube


June 08 2010

June 01 2010

Oil Spill Firefox Plugin Blacks Out BP Across the Web

Creative agency Jess3 has developed a Firefox plugin that aims to black out all mentions of BP (British Petroleum) across the web. As one popular tweet espouses, “Want BP to [blank] up your browser like they’ve [blank] up the Gulf? Install the Oil Spill Firefox plugin from @jess3.”

Similar to the Shaved Bieber plugin that made the rounds last week — scrubbing all mentions of everyone’s favorite YouTube star off the web — the Black Oil Firefox plugin replaces all mentions (case insensitive) of BP and accompanying terms like BP oil, BP gas, BP worldwide, and so on, with blacked out letters and dripping oil drops.

Images that contain meta data matching the terms are also blacked out (or blued out, as was the case on my machine).

You can see what the plugin looks like when doing a Google search for “BP”:

In a future version of the plugin, Jess3 plans to add oil drip effects to BP photographs and to turn official BP websites black and white.

As the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico continues to wreak havoc on the environment and residents along the gulf shore, this plugin may not do much to stop the oil, but it’s a nice way to express anger and outrage over BP’s response (or lackthereof).

What do you think of the plugin?



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Tags: bp, firefox plugins, gulf oil spill


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