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July 16 2011

46 New Digital Media Resources You May Have Missed


Get ready for Mashable‘s weekly roundup! This week, we’ve performed original Google+ analysis, prepared you for the Mac OS X Lion release, and pointed you toward the best fictional Twitter accounts. We’ve celebrated startups and mourned space shuttle finales.

So review the list of important resources you may have missed over the past week. Tune in for more great stories and tools coming at you sooner than you can say “Spotify.”


Editors’ Picks



Social Media


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Tech & Mobile


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Business & Marketing


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Image courtesy of Flickr, webtreats.

More About: business, List, Lists, MARKETING, Mobile 2.0, social media, tech, technology

For more Social Media coverage:


December 24 2010

The Anatomy of the Facebook Status Update [STATS]


Facebook’s users are updating their status millions of times per day. We know what those users were chatting about the most, but what do teenagers talk about most? What about users with more Facebook friends? How does time of day affect status updates?

To find out, Facebook’s computers analyzed approximately one million status updates from U.S. English speakers. It then broke down those updates based on context, demographics and content to figure out just what its users are buzzing about.

The social network first analyzed the correlation between the use of specific words and age. Unsurprisingly, they found that there’s a positive correlation between age and religious words, family, and positive emotions, while there was a negative correlation between sex, sleeping, first person pronouns, school, swear words and negative emotions. In other words, the younger you are, the angrier you are.

Facebook also analyzed the correlation between word choice and friend count. While the correlation is not as strong as age’s correlation to word choice, Facebook’s data team did find that there’s a positive correlation between friend count and second person pronouns, total word count, communication, religion, swear words and sex. On the other end of the spectrum, there’s a negative correlation between friend count and past and present tense verbs, family and emotions.

Another interesting finding is the impact of the time of day on word choice. Not only do Facebook’s users tend to talk about sleeping the most at around 4 AM ET, but they tend to talk about their work right before they head into the office. Positive and negative emotions are also affected by the time of day: negative emotions tend to peak at around 1 AM ET, while positive emotions tend to peak at about 7 AM ET. More importantly, negative emotions tend to increase as the day progresses at the expense of positive emotions.

What type of status updates tend to get the most attention? Facebook dug into this data as well and found that positive status updates tend to get more likes while negative status updates tend to get more comments. Check out this image for the breakdown:

What do you think of the data Facebook has collected? Do any of these correlations surprise you? We want to hear your thoughts in the comments.

More About: data, facebook, stats, status update

For more Tech coverage:


December 17 2010

New Facebook Features Exposed in Accidental Update


Facebook accidentally went live with a handful of prototype features earlier today, including a site-wide yet short-lived overhaul of Pages.

Roughly 45 minutes after the mistaken update, Facebook disabled the site, reverted back to its previous state and then tweeted apologetically about the downtime. But that brief span of time was enough for Facebook members and Page admins to get a sneak peak at new features in the works.

Facebook admitted to pushing features before their time. “Also, some internal prototypes were exposed to people and resulted in us disabling the site briefly. It’s now back to normal,” read a tweet from Facebook.

So what were those prototypes exactly? Screenshots shared with us and surfaced through other media outlets suggest all of the following: new Facebook Pages (with Questions integration), a “Switch Accounts” feature for Page Admins, a new Memories feature that chronicles photos and status updates from years past and an “Outside World” filter for the News Feed.

What follows is a deeper look at what some Facebook users saw today.

Were you privy to these or other changes? Share your thoughts in the comments.


New Facebook Pages


Pages got a temporary facelift with a tab-free design — the navigation instead being placed on the left-hand side of the Page — that more closely resembles Facebook Place Pages and member Profiles. We also noticed that Questions were integrated into the Pages experience and that Facebook introduced a “Switch Accounts” feature for Page admins.

We initially thought it strange that new Facebook Pages would be released without an announcement from Facebook. Commenters agreed; many of you expressed displeasure at the idea that would Facebook would overhaul Pages without notifying you of the changes first.

When pressed for clarification specifically around Pages, a Facebook spokesperson shared the following statement: “While we are always experimenting with new features internally we are not making changes to Pages right now. Organizations invest a lot of time on their Facebook Pages because millions of people find them useful everyday. We remain committed to providing ways for Page owners to customize and control the experience on their Page. If we do make changes, we will provide partners with advance notice.”


Memories


Several users reported having access to a new “Memories” option listed below Photos in the left-hand menu on their Profile Pages.

A Mashable commenter said of the feature, “I was online during the glitch and also saw a new MEMORIES link under my profile pic. It’s gone now but I did get a sneak peek while it lasted. It allowed you to look back at status updates, photos, and new friends…giving a snapshot of each year I’ve been on FB.”

The Next Web reporter Courtney Myers saw the Memories option and described it in a similar fashion. “It showed options for jumping to photos grouped by years: 2010, 2009, 2008, etc. with complementing information like status dated status updates, the number of friends added per year, events attended and Facebook places check-ins,” she wrote.

Memories would make for a pleasant (hopefully) walk down memory lane, so we hope this features finds its way back to Profile Pages in the near future.


Outside World News Feed Filter


We also found some evidence that Facebook may still be testing a filter for the News Feed called “Outside World.” Twitter user @casschin posted a TwitPic of the filter that shows the News Feed with a Most Recent drop-down menu that includes “Outside World” as a filter.

FBHive first unearthed the filter back in 2009 and speculated that it was an RSS-like option for the News Feed. At the time, TechCrunch confirmed with Facebook that the filter was for internal staffers only. We’re not quite sure to make of this one just yet.

Images courtesy of TwitPic, ZDNet, casschin


Reviews: Facebook, Mashable, Twitpic, Twitter, pages

More About: facebook, facebook pages, outside world, social media

For more Social Media coverage:


September 27 2010

Online Retailers to Offer Facebook Credits as Shopping Incentives


You can already buy Facebook Credits (the social network’s virtual currency) as gift cards at brick-and-mortar stores. Soon, you will also be able to accrue Facebook Credits by shopping online, as it’s now possible for online retailers to offer the credits as shopping incentives.

Ifeelgoods, an e-commerce promotions provider for online retailers, has integrated Facebook Credits into the online shopping experience, meaning that its clients can use the credits to incentivize customer purchases and other shopping-related behaviors.

Essentially, what this means is that online retailers can now lure you in with the promise of Facebook Credits if you buy that pair of jeans you saved in your online shopping cart. Ifeelgoods will also allow retailers to offer smaller Facebook Credits incentives for e-mail newsletter sign-ups and social behaviors such as voting or Facebook shares.

As Facebook continues to grow in size and its currency becomes more versatile, Facebook Credits may prove to be the perfect compliment to the online shopping experience. Though virtual in nature, the credits are still more tangible than points, and for some customers, may prove to be more desirable than coupons or other rewards.

How would you prefer to be incentivized for your online purchases? Would Facebook Credits sweeten the deal? Let us know in the comments.

Image courtesy of pmsyyz, Flickr


Reviews: Facebook, Flickr

More About: e-commerce, ecommerce, facebook, facebook credits, MARKETING, online retailers, online shopping

For more Business coverage:


September 19 2010

5 Important New Trends in Location


As Facebook enters into the location market with Facebook Places, the world’s largest social network will help to make the edgy concept of checkins and location-sharing a mainstream practice.

Facebook is just one company attempting to add location for context; there are countless others going above and beyond checkins to push the space forward. There’s also a noticeable uptick in consumer interest around applications and services that feature location for sharing or utility.

The geolocation space is the one to watch right now — celebrities are flocking to Foursquare, location is finding a unique purpose in many mobile apps, background location is becoming a commonplace feature on smartphones, geofencing is evolving in purpose and function, and location-based social networks are proving to be the perfect platforms for cause marketing. What follows is a more detailed look at these five huge trends in location and how they will influence consumer adoption and inspire developer creativity.


1. Hollywood Has Come Calling


Much of Twitter’s meteoric rise to the top of the social media food chain can be attributed to celebrity adoption. Sure, we geeks got Twitter almost instantaneously, but the rest of the world — mainstream media and big brands especially — needed a nudge in the right direction. Once athletes, teen heartthrobs and movie stars discovered Twitter, they helped to solidify the service as an important medium for real-time conversations.

Now, celebrities are slowly but surely turning their attention to location-sharing services. Foursquare is having its Hollywood moment as newbies like Ellen Degeneres and 50 Cent find a purpose for checking in while out and about.

Foursquare’s celebrity roster also includes Arnold Schwarznegger, Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Ryan Seacrest, Pee Wee Herman and Don Lemon. Even Martha Stewart appears to have taken a liking to the service.

As influential celebrities unlock the value of Foursquare, the startup’s street cred is gaining momentum and attracting the attention of even more A-listers. We may soon find rapper Snoop Dogg checking in to Foursquare, and it sounds as if Questo of The Roots is on the inevitable path to becoming a Foursquare user as well.

Celebrity interest in location-sharing is bound to accelerate, and will only help to further propel the trendy behavior to a more mainstream audience.


2. Location as a Feature


Your location is an important frame of reference for pretty much everything you do. Whether you’re sharing photos, scouting out a place to eat, searching for a movie, or simply lounging at home looking for something to do, where you are in the world matters.

Location already factors in to most mobile search experiences, and it’s becoming an even more prevalent feature inside apps with other core purposes. Yelp and Flixster are obvious examples of how location can provide meaningful context to mobile services that exist for much different purposes.

Mobile app Qrank takes the age-old fun of trivia and incorporates location into the mix for live, location-based trivia contests. PadMapper for iPhone and Android makes apartment hunting a little less painful by using your location as a filter for nearby results. Yoink’s iPhone app includes location functionality to make offloading junk and finding free treasures more useful than Freecycle or Craigslist.

Foodspotting uses location to display nearby restaurant photos and create a window-shopping-like experience. Mopho’s mobile photo sharing application distinguishes itself with location — users can share their location with a photo and discover nearby people and photos. Picksie predicts activities for you via iPad, using location to zero in on the best recommendations. And the list goes on.

The trend is also trickling over to websites with the help of geo-aware browsers. Web and mobile applications are now, more than ever, incorporating location as an experience-enhancing feature for differentiation in increasingly crowded markets.


3. Automatic Background Behaviors


With most smartphones capable of supporting applications that continue to run in the background, a new host of mobile applications are cropping up that log your location as a background process while you trek about.

The basic idea — real-time location tracking — isn’t a new one. Both Loopt and Google Latitude have been experimenting with this for years. But the rise of background location and increased user interest in location-sharing together serve as a catalyst for developer interest.

Several app makers, for instance, are attempting to make the checkin experience a more passive and implicit one. While Foursquare and Gowalla continue to operate an explicit checkin model, Checkmate and Future Checkin exist to make checkins automatic on the iPhone. Now you can check in from the car, no manual entry or phone-fiddling required.

Loopt also leverages background location on iPhone and Android to determine the proximity between you and your Loopt friends, sending automatic alerts should a friend happen to be in the vicinity.

For now, you’ll risk draining your battery for the convenience of running location apps in the background, but we suspect that application developers will work to better optimize the experience in their respective apps. As applications become better optimized for geolocation purposes, look for these automatic behaviors to become more sophisticated in function.


4. Personal and Peer-to-Peer Location-Sharing




Advancements in mobile phone location technology not only allow for automatic background location behaviors, but also facilitate real-time, private location sharing for more practical purposes of a personal variety.

Geofencing technology powers most of these features — a geofence is nothing more than a virtual perimeter for a geographic area. Simply put, newer location-based applications enable users to build virtual fences around areas of interest. Those fences can be static or dynamic in nature, and possess properties that trigger behaviors such as notifications and automatic location updates upon zone entry or exit.

In Neer, geofencing is used behind-the-scenes to update a user’s whereabouts and trigger follow-up behaviors. When a Neer user enters or leaves a pre-defined, geofenced region, the application will update accordingly. Friends and family will receive automatic notifications, should the user so specify.

Geoloqi offers another approach to private location-sharing. The full-featured mobile and web platform also taps into to geofencing technology so users can leave themselves geo-located notes and perform time-saving automatic location-specific activities — think sending and receiving SMS messages when you enter or leave designated areas.

These private location-sharing activities could come in handy if you want to automatically notify a friend that you’re on your way to their house, or auto-email your boss that you’re running late. The service is currently limited to beta testers, but it certainly highlights the practical potential of background location for personal and peer-to-peer use.


5. Location as a Platform to Make a Statement


MTV recently worked with Foursquare to create the Get Yourself Tested badge. The proactive initiative is designed to encourage sexually active young adults to check in when they visit a clinic, and help to remove the stigma around the experience. The campaign is working — in just a few weeks time, Foursquare has doled out more than 3,000 Get Yourself Tested badges.

Whether or not you agree with the mission behind the Get Yourself Tested campaign, MTV is successfully using Foursquare as a platform to promote a cause they believe to be important.

Last year, Foursquare teamed up with Pepsi to launch a check in for charity initiative in the New York area. Foursquare user activity over the course of one weekend helped raise $9,200 for CampInteractive. The campaign also caught the attention of an anonymous donor who stepped in to donate $50,000, putting the funds raised for the non-profit during the weekend promo just shy of $60,000.

Location-based cause marketing has also found a home on Gowalla. The location-sharing challenger, which takes a stamp-based approach to city exploration, recently partnered with TOMS Shoes on their One for One movement — TOMS matches every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes for a child in need. The partnership was designed to raise awareness around TOMS Shoes’ one-millionth shoe drop and promote the cause through checkins. Gowalla estimates that it helped to expose the campaign to more than 522,000 people.

Gowalla is also linked with LIVESTRONG. During the Tour de France, Gowalla users could check in to share their messages of hope and inspiration for those affected by cancer. Those messages were painted on the streets thanks to the help of a Nike/LIVESTRONG Chalkbot.


More Locations Resources from Mashable:

- HOW TO: Make Your Small Business Geolocation-Ready
- 5 New Ways Small Business Can Offer Location-Based Deals
- Why Entertainment Will Drive the Next Checkin Craze
- How Non-Profits Can Maximize a Foursquare Account
- Beyond the Checkin: Where Location-Based Social Networks Should Go Next

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, alexsl


Reviews: Android, Craigslist, Facebook, Flixster, Foursquare, Gowalla, PadMapper.com, Twitter, Yelp, iStockphoto

More About: background location, Facebook Places, foursquare, geo notes, geofencing, geolocation, gowalla, location, location sharing, neer, toms shoes

For more Mobile coverage:


September 10 2010

FarmVille vs. Real Farms [INFOGRAPHIC]

With all those millions of Facebook and iPhone users tending to virtual crops and sharing them with friends, have you ever wondered how their toils stack up against actual real-life farmers? How does our output of digital (and decidedly less tasty) tomatoes compare with our worldwide production of real tomatoes? And perhaps most importantly, who are these casual croppers, and are they anything like their plow-toting counterparts?

We broke it down by the numbers and put some of these FarmVille trends in perspective for you.

Go on. Harvest it.

FarmVille Infographic

What do you think? Does FarmVille ignite our romance with all things pastoral? Are digital crops poised to overtake real ones in terms of GDP? What does all this mean for the fate of humanity?

Share your wisdom in the comments.


More Gaming Resources from Mashable:


- 5 Fun FarmVille Accessories
- 10 Classic PC Games That Found New Life on the iPhone
- Why the Social Gaming Biz is Just Heating Up
- Why Games Are the Killer App for Social Networks
- 10 Cool Konami Code Easter Eggs [PICS]

More About: facebook, farmville, games, gaming, infographic, infographics, iphone, social games, social media, stats, Zynga

For more Entertainment coverage:


May 01 2010

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