Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “How Did You Watch The Royal Wedding? [POLL]”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “How Did You Watch The Royal Wedding? [POLL]”

How Did You Watch The Royal Wedding? [POLL]

Posted: 29 Apr 2011 04:58 AM PDT

An estimated 2 billion people watched the Royal Wedding. How did you catch the nuptials?

The marriage of Kate Middleton (now Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge) to Prince William (now Prince William, Duke of Cambridge) is the first Royal Wedding since 2005. At that time, Facebook was barely a year old, YouTube was two months young and Twitter didn’t even exist. Live streaming, popularized by services such as and Ustream, was still years away from its ascension to mainstream society.

Today, millions of people are tweeting and Facebooking about the Royal Wedding, and millions have chosen to enjoy the pomp and circumstance through livestreams and mobile devices. It’s safe to say that Kate and Will’s marriage is the first Royal Wedding of the social media era.

So that made us curious: How did people watch the Royal Wedding? Did most people turn to traditional TV channels, or did they turn to their laptops and iPads to watch the ceremonies?

Let us know what you used to catch the event.

More About: England, poll, Royal, royal wedding, United Kingdom

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Royal Wedding Breaks Live Streaming Records

Posted: 29 Apr 2011 04:39 AM PDT

The Royal Wedding has already taken over trending topics across the web, and we can now report that it has broken at least one record: concurrent viewers on Livestream.

The company says that its livestream of William and Kate's wedding topped 300,000 concurrent viewers at 6 a.m. ET on Friday morning. CEO Max Haot tells us that he expects "at least 2 million" unique viewers by the time the broadcast is done.

Akamai reports that the event broke broader live streaming records as well. A representative for the company — whose network hosts some of the web’s largest news sites — reports that “concurrent live streams of Royal Wedding on Akamai surpassed the 1.6M peak set by World Cup in June of 2010.”

However, the event does not appear to be the biggest news event in web history. While the 4.6 million page views per minute reported on Akamai’s network this morning surpass the total for Barack Obama’s presidential election victory, they fall well short of the 10.3 million page views per minute record set last June when a World Cup qualifying match and the longest Wimbledon match in history took place simultaneously.

More About: live video, livestream, royal wedding, video

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Royal Wedding Sweeps Trending Topics on Twitter, Facebook & Google

Posted: 29 Apr 2011 04:17 AM PDT

The Royal Wedding streamed live across the web and on TV networks around the world Friday morning, with 2 billion people expected to tune in. Meanwhile, viewers turned to Facebook and Twitter to share news and reactions in real time. They also used Google to get more information about what they were seeing.

Let’s take a look at the topics that trended on Twitter, Facebook and Google during Friday morning’s broadcast.


The Royal Wedding swept Twitter’s worldwide trending topics Friday morning. During the Bishop’s address at 6:40 a.m. ET, all ten were related to the wedding:

“#casamentoreal” and “abadia” mean “#royalwedding” and “abbey,” respectively, in Spanish. QILF is a play off the acronym “MILF,” where “mother” is replaced with “queen.” Sarah Burton, number six, is the designer of Kate’s dress, and the creative director of British lable Alexander McQueen. Grace Kelly as Kate’s dress and look were likened to the actress, who married the Prince of Monaco in April 1956. Number nine, Rutter, refers to John Milford Rutter, who composed the anthem played during the wedding.


At 6 a.m. ET, the following Royal Wedding-related keywords were trending on public status updates on Facebook in the U.S. (left) and UK (right):

Trends over the past 24 hours:


At 6 a.m. ET, 10 of the top 20 Google searches in the U.S. related to the Royal Wedding:

More About: facebook, Google, royal wedding, rw2011, twitter

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WATCH: The Royal Wedding [LIVE VIDEO]

Posted: 29 Apr 2011 02:51 AM PDT

The Royal Wedding has begun live streaming from multiple networks across the web. We’ve embedded two of the livestreams for your viewing pleasure below, courtesy of CBS News and E! Insider.

To see our full guide for following (and discussing) the Royal Wedding online, click here.

CBS News

E! Insider

More About: royal wedding, rw2011

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The Social Media Buzz Behind the Royal Wedding [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 29 Apr 2011 01:41 AM PDT

With hours to go until the Royal Wedding, online buzz surrounding the big event has surpassed the chatter that surrounded the Egypt uprising and the Japan earthquake.

New stats gathered and analyzed by Webtrends reveal that the world simply can’t stop talking about the Royal Wedding (not that you needed us to tell you). According to the web analytics company, people have sent 911,000 tweets in the last 30 days, or just a little more than 30,000 tweets per day, which accounts for 71% of the buzz Webtrends tracked. For comparison, there were approximately 217,000 Facebook status updates and 145,000 blog posts about William and Kate’s big day.

And while you may think most of the social buzz surrounding the royal nuptials is coming from the UK, think again. Webtrends says that a whopping 65% of tweets, blog posts and Facebook updates are coming from the U.S., while 20% are coming from the UK. Canada is in third place with a mere 2.6% of social media buzz. This matches stats from Nielsen, which also says that the U.S. is the #1 source of Royal Wedding chatter.

Check out this infographic for more Royal Wedding stats:

Note: this infographic is split into two parts.

More About: facebook, infographic, royal family, royal wedding, social media, social media buzz, stats, twitter, webtrends

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Twitter Experimenting With New Text Ads

Posted: 29 Apr 2011 12:49 AM PDT

Twitter has started serving third-party text ads on its webpage, in the right-hand column, below the “trends” section.

Previously, Twitter has used this space to display links to its own services and Twitter-related third-party tools and services, but now it’s showing pure ads that take you to sites such as ABCNews or

Interestingly enough — as noted by Labnol — Twitter does not use the “nofollow” tag or disclose the fact that these are ads at all, except by defining them under the CSS class “promo,” which is visible only if you look at the HTML code.

Twitter has been experimenting with several different ad formats and possible revenue streams in the past year or so, adding ads to the individual user streams in November, and letting select customers advertise through Promoted Tweets, Trends or Products. The text ads on the homepage probably aren’t as important for Twitter as other ad formats, but the company is methodically trying out every possible advertising avenue to figure out what works best.

[via Labnol]

More About: ads, text ads, twitter

2.2 Million Credit Card Numbers From PlayStation Network May Be Up for Sale

Posted: 29 Apr 2011 12:12 AM PDT

Rumors are swirling around the web that the hackers who took down the PlayStation Network may have stolen 2.2. million credit card numbers. Not only that, but apparently the database is for sale.

It seems that the source of some of the rumors is Kevin Stevens, a senior researcher at security firm Trend Micro. He told The New York Times that he has seen discussions about the supposedly stolen database on hacker forums. Apparently hackers are claiming to have a copy of the database and are asking for a price “upwards of $100,000.”

“It is not a rumor, it was a conversation on a criminal forum. I never saw the DB so I can’t verify if it is real,” Stevens said in one of his tweets.

There’s more, though. Screenshots from “underground” message boards supposedly frequented by the hackers have been surfacing as well. We’ve seen these screenshots posted by security blogger Brian Krebs and on the PSX-Scene forums. One of them even describes the supposed format of the PSN credit card database, which includes credit card numbers, card security codes and expiration dates.

Sony has previously claimed that there is no evidence that credit card data was stolen, but that it couldn’t rule out the possibility. “If you have provided your credit card data through PlayStation Network or Qriocity, out of an abundance of caution we are advising you that your credit card number (excluding security code) and expiration date may have been obtained,” the company warned in blog post on Tuesday.

So far, there is no confirmation that credit card information has been stolen, that the PSN database is real or that the hackers are trying to sell it. Yet the mere possibility that 2.2 million credit cards could be sold to the highest bidder is an alarming and frightening possibility. Sony is working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation on the matter, but there’s no telling how long it will take them to track down the perpetrators of the attack.

More About: hacker, hacking, playstation, playstation network, PS3, PSN, security, sony

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What’s The Matter With Google TV?

Posted: 28 Apr 2011 09:31 PM PDT

Google and its partners made a major bet on Google TV, an ambitious attempt to bridge the gap between the web and TV worlds. But so far it has failed to pay dividends — quite literally, in the case of Google partner Logitech.

On Thursday, Logitech released its fourth quarter fiscal report, and the results were a mixed bag. Operating income was a mere $3.6 million, a far cry from the $24.5 million it made a year ago. But sales were up 4% compared to last year.

Logitech’s income missed the mark largely due to its investment in Google TV, which was revealed in dramatic fashion at last year’s Google I/O developer conference. Logitech developed the Revue, a $299 Google TV-powered set-top box.

As GigaOm points out, Logitech expected to sell $18 million in Google TV-related products in Q4. But in its earnings report, the company revealed that it only sold $5 million in Google TV devices. Logitech also revealed that its inventory is up 28% in Q4 — thanks to all those unsold Google TV devices.

A Series of Setbacks

When we first saw Google TV, we gave Google credit for its ambition. However, we also had a warning for the search giant: get the user experience right at launch. Otherwise, it risked alienating potential users.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened. Reviews were lackluster. Users complained about a complicated user experience and an array of bugs. Google delivered an update last month to fix some of these problems.

In December, we heard a rumor that Google would use Android 3.0 to fix Google TV. What we’re hearing now is Google TV will merge with Android Honeycomb and Gingerbread to create one multifaceted OS. This should make system updates and Android app development a simpler process. It could also be the start of the development of Android apps for Google TV, a major potential selling point.

Google’s Options

Google and its partners are far from giving up on their TV project. For one thing, there isn’t one major rival dominating the space. Connected TVs were a hot ticket at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), but the market is young and there isn’t a clear winner yet.

The search giant will have a second chance to breath new life into Google TV at its Google I/O conference in May, the same place it first introduced the product and the company’s best shot at sparking new interest in the platform.

So what might Google be able to do to lift Google TV sales and save it from Google Wave’s fate?

First of all, it can go all-in with Android, rallying developers to create amazing apps for the TV screen. Being able to use your favorite Android apps on the big screen — especially games — could be the selling point the search giant needs to get people interested.

Secondly, it can work with its partners to reduce the price. Apple TV costs $100, the Boxee Box retails for $190 on Amazon, and the Roku costs only $59 at Best Buy. The Logitech Revue, which originally retailed for $299, still costs $230 on Amazon. While Google TV is definitely a different product than Apple TV or the Roku, consumers are bound to shy away when they see the price difference.

To distance itself from the negative sentiments that linger around Google TV, the company may feel the need for some kind of public relaunch, with a fresh look and feel to the device. Call it Google TV 2.0. After all, it took multiple releases of Android before the Google phone OS began to gain traction.

Regardless of the strategy, if Google can’t get its TV engine roaring soon, partners and developers may start abandoning the platform — and there is no recovering from that.

More About: Apple TV, boxee, Google, google tv, logitech, Logitech Revue, Opinion, roku

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Startup Creates Modern Emergency Alert System for Mobile

Posted: 28 Apr 2011 08:23 PM PDT

This post is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark as a new part of the Spark of Genius series that focuses on a new and innovative startup each day. Every Thursday, the program focuses on startups within the BizSpark program and what they’re doing to grow.

We’re taught early in life to call 911 (substitute your country’s emergency contact number) during an emergency. It’s simple and easy to remember. But with the advent of sophisticated mobile devices that support multitasking and location-tracking, is this emergency response system in need of a technology makeover?

Newly launched startup Guardly and its CEO Josh Sookman believe so. Guardly is a mobile personal safety service that works on the iPhone, and soon Android and BlackBerry, to give the mobile user a one-tap way to contact 911 and friends and family, as well as transmit the user’s location, simultaneously.

“It takes eight taps to dial 911 on the iPhone,” Sookman says. Should the Guardly user place the app in the device’s dock, that process is reduced to three taps, he says.

Here’s how Guardly’s more intricate response system works: When a user clicks “Send Alert” in the app, he or she puts Guardly’s personal safety service into motion. First comes a five-second countdown timer that vibrates with every second that passes. When the countdown hits zero, the user’s default group is notified and, depending on the user’s preferences, a call is placed to 911.

Everyone in the user’s selected safety network is then sent a link to an Emergency Response Page — accessible via web or mobile — which serves as a home base and a group collaboration hub that supports location updates for all participants, photos and messages. There’s also an option for safety network members to join a conference call and connect through voice.

Guardly’s emergency alert system includes one more key additive. Normally, an individual unable to make an outgoing call on a mobile device would need to retry the call until he or she finds an adequate signal. Once the user initiates an alert via Guardly, however, the service continues to check the device’s connection and automatically dials 911 or the user’s contacts upon locating a signal.

Reducing Response Time & Group Response

Sookman, since getting his first cellphone more than 10 years ago because his parents were concerned about his safety, has been thinking about the way in the which mobile and location technologies could be coupled and applied to personal safety.

His early thoughts took shape during his tenure with BlackBerry Partners Fund where he worked as an investment analyst for the mobile sector. “The notion [for Guardly] arose when I was thinking about how to apply the evolution of mobile phones to reducing the response time in emergencies,” he says.

Sookman found there to be a huge gap in the personal safety market. There are applications that allow the user to notify people, he says, but they’re all one dimensional. He felt there was an opportunity to engineer a group response experience to facilitate communication after the notification.

Platform for Emergency Response

Guardly’s bigger picture vision extends beyond mobile. The startup aims to be the emergency alert and real-time collaboration platform integrated into other hardware devices. Think glucose monitors, heart rate monitors and any other piece of equipment that has the capacity to detect and measure, but not alert.

It’s a vision that will first need to find support from users. Guardly’s iPhone app [iTunes link] has been live for just under three weeks. In its first week, the app saw roughly 5,000 downloads and continues to see significant traction, Sookman says, though he admits that the startup needs to introduce new ways to engage users during non-emergencies. We can expect application updates in the weeks and months ahead that address these shortcomings, he says.

Still, Guardly has its work out for it. Convincing users to adopt the startup’s more complex, albeit more modern, emergency alert system will not be an easy task. After all, what’s simpler than dialing 911?

Image courtesy of Flickr, loop_oh

Series Supported by Microsoft BizSpark

Microsoft BizSpark

The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark, a startup program that gives you three-year access to the latest Microsoft development tools, as well as connecting you to a nationwide network of investors and incubators. There are no upfront costs, so if your business is privately owned, less than three years old, and generates less than U.S.$1 million in annual revenue, you can sign up today.

More About: bizspark, emergency response, guardly, iphone app, spark-of-genius, startup

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Ubuntu 11.04 Operating System Now Available for Free Download [PICS]

Posted: 28 Apr 2011 07:58 PM PDT

Version 11.04 of Ubuntu has hit the streets, and it’s packing new features that make it even easier to use. The free download was released to the public on Thursday.

This new version, affectionately known by its makers as “Natty Narwhal,” has a new Unity interface on top of its Linux underpinnings. Its most noticeable change is the application launcher on the left side of the screen. Similar to Windows 7′s taskbar, it lets you drag and drop icons to and from it, as well as launch apps quickly and easily.

The Unity interface was originally conceived for smaller screens on netbooks, and offers easier file management, a new dashboard that gives you easier access to your applications and files, and Workspaces that simplify managing multiple windows. If you don’t like these new interface elements, you can always go back to Ubuntu’s Classic interface.

You won’t have to give up much for Ubuntu, either — you can even connect an iPhone to it and navigate its file system from Ubuntu (although Android phones don’t work as well with it, according to And this new version is reportedly working well with the cloud-based Ubuntu One service, letting users synchronize your preferences and files in the cloud.

What will you miss if you migrate to Ubuntu? In my case, the reason I don’t use it all the time is because there is no speech recognition software such as Dragon NaturallySpeaking available for it. On top of that, I still haven’t found an easy-to-use text completion program that can fill in large amounts of boilerplate text with a few hotkeys. Someone create these kinds of productivity apps for Ubuntu, and I’m in.

One thing you won’t miss are the millions of viruses and worms that attack Windows machines (and now Macs too). You also won’t miss paying for an operating system, since the open-source Ubuntu is completely free.

A compelling aspect of Ubuntu is its customizability. One of my favorite graphical customization tools for Ubuntu is Compiz, enabling wild graphical transitions between applications and window movements. Its best effects deal with 3D virtual desktops and windows that bend and wobble when you shake them.

The coolest characteristic of Ubuntu is that if you’d like to try it, you can download its 698MB image, burn that to a CD, and then run it from the CD without having to install it on your machine. It’s a great way to try out this Linux-based operating system that’s getting to be so refined, it’s almost as easy to use as a Mac or PC.

Find out what else is new with Ubuntu, download it here, and check out some screenshots in the gallery below:


Click on the Ubuntu logo at the upper left, and you get this easy way to navigate files and apps.


This will look familiar to Windows and Mac users.


You can set up numerous desktops and quickly switch between them.

More About: Linux, Natty Narwhal, operating systems, OS, Ubuntu 11.04

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3 Amusing Tumblrs That Poke Fun at the Royal Wedding

Posted: 28 Apr 2011 07:34 PM PDT

From the mainstream media to Twitter, there’s been no shortage of Royal Wedding-related content across the web lately, and Tumblr users have been doing their part to keep their colleagues informed and amused.

While there’s a fair number of “serious” Tumblrs chronicling the minutiae of wedding preparations and the particulars of Kate Middleton’s wardrobe, there’s also a welcome handful intent on providing comic relief from the obsessive coverage of the engaged couple and all of those involved.

We’ve identified three of our favorites here. Love one we’ve missed? Please share it with us in the comments section below.

Kate Middleton For The Win

Kate Middleton For The Win features photos of Kate Middleton plastered with Lolcats-style captions, mainly pertaining to the bride-to-be’s enviable figure and penchant for large hats.

Royal Wedding Tat

One of my personal favorites, Royal Wedding Tat, crowdsources photos of the thousands of tacky Royal Wedding-themed products hitting store shelves around the world. Among the strangest? Royal Wedding bedding and meerkat statues dressed like Will and Kate.

Prince Charles FTW

While not precisely Royal Wedding-themed, we couldn’t leave out Prince Charles FTW, especially after seeing the image above. The Tumblr curates, as you might have guessed, giggle-worthy photos of Prince Charles watching polo, walking sheep and making funny faces in the rain. It’s only a few days old, so we hope the (anonymous) author keeps it up after the festivities are over.

Interested in more Social Media resources? Check out Mashable Explore, a new way to discover information on your favorite Mashable topics.

More About: kate middleton, royal wedding, rw2011, tumblr

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Marvel’s Making a Superhero-Based Online Game, Reveals Lead Writer

Posted: 28 Apr 2011 06:55 PM PDT

Thursday evening, Marvel made some key announcements about its upcoming massively multiplayer online (MMO) game, called Marvel Universe, including revealing the identity of the game’s lead writer.

The game was created with hardcore comic nerds, hardcore comic geeks and even the casual enthusiast in mind. Gamers will get to play superheroes — including Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and Spider-Man — in some of the most epic events in Marvel history, classical canon and modern adventures alike.

And best of all, it will be completely free to play from beginning to end.

The writer is none other than the singular Brian Michael Bendis (pictured above), whose notable works include New Avengers, Utimate Spider-Man, House of M and Daredevil, to name but a few.

At a press event in San Francisco Thursday night, Bendis touched on the heart of why people are going to love Marvel Universe.

“The reason I was so desperate to be part of this is because I believe the Marvel universe is … a lifestyle. So many people are so passionate about these characters; now, you can express that passion in a completely different way,” Bendis said.

He equates the MMO to what the legendary Stan Lee did in the 1960s with the formation of the Marvel fan club, the Merry Marvel Marching Society. “It made the comic books about you,” said Bendis. In fact, the game’s Twitter account, @MMMSociety, is a tribute to this concept. (The account is currently private, but follow it for updates as they become available.)

Game developer David Brevik co-founded Blizzard North (gaming company Blizzard’s San Francisco division) and is currently the COO of online gaming startup Gazillion. Gazillion and Marvel have been working on the game “for over a year,” he said, and it has been “designed as a free game from the ground up.”

He explained why the companies won’t charge players a cent to play Marvel Universe: “I’m a hardcore gamer, and I hate to be nickel-and-dimed. … We want this to be a legitimate and compelling experience.”

That’s not to say Marvel Universe won’t be profitable. “We do think we can make money on this,” said game partner Secret Identity Studio’s Jeffrey Lind. “There are things people can buy in the game while still maintaining a totally free-play experience.”

TQ Jefferson is Marvel’s VP of Games Development. At the same event, he told press that the game would also “offer a range of Marvel’s strong female characters. … I can assure you, this will not be a boys’ club.” While the Marvel team couldn’t name anyone other than the notably dorky but still minor character Squirrel Girl, they did say that the question of female characters is something that’s come up frequently in development discussions. While the gender split won’t be 50/50, they gave us the hint that if you can imagine a major, strong Marvel female superhero, she’s probably going to be in the game.

Marvel is also working on a separate MMO geared toward younger audiences; mocks we’ve seen look like superheroes-meet-Bratz. But Jefferson says Marvel Universe is a different and entirely grown-up project. “This is going to be the MMO that core gamers want to play.”

We’re still waiting to find out if it will be browser- or client-based, but already, we can’t wait to get our nerdy little fingers on the game. And for the low, low price of free, we can certainly afford to give it a shot.

More About: comics, games, Marvel, MMO

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Android to Get Video Chat Via Google Talk Upgrade

Posted: 28 Apr 2011 06:08 PM PDT

Google is beginning its rollout of Google Talk video chat to Android devices.

Android device users will be able to use video and voice chat with any Google Talk contact using another Android devices (phones or tablets) or Google Talk on Gmail. The features will work of standard 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi connections.

According to the Google Mobile blog, these features are rolling out to Nexus S phones over the next few weeks along with the next over-the-air OS update. Video chat via Google Talk will be available on other Android 2.3 and higher devices soon.

Using the new features is simple. On your Android device, from the Google Talk contacts list, you’ll see a video and voice chat icon next to each contact. Touch the button for the feature you’d like to use, and chat away.

Video can be paused while audio chat continues if you need to navigate elsewhere during a video session. During voice or video chat, text chats from that contact are overlaid on the device screen.

Here’s a brief demo of the new features:

Video and voice chat first came to Gmail late in 2008 and to iGoogle in 2009.

More About: android, Google, Google Voice, video, video chat

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Royal Wedding: A Two-Screen Experience Like You’ve Never Seen

Posted: 28 Apr 2011 05:01 PM PDT

Producers are working around the clock ahead of the Royal Wedding live broadcast, which is set to begin at 4 a.m. ET on most stations. But they aren’t just prepping TV coverage; they’re also working to extend their broadcasts and engage users across as many channels as possible.

With the proliferation of devices for media consumption — think laptops, tablets and smartphones, in addition to TV sets — viewers are no longer consuming media on a single platform. Instead, they’re tweeting on their smartphones while viewing on a TV program, or a watching a second show on their tablets during a commercial.

It’s these viewers — the ones that Mark Ghuneim, the founder and CEO of marketing agency Wireset and social media monitoring tool Trendrr, calls the “hyperactives” — that network producers and digital strategists are pursuing ahead of tomorrow morning’s broadcast.

The Importance of “Hyperactives”

Unlike “massive passives,” which make up the majority of the television-viewing audience, hyperactives are actively discussing, endorsing and engaging with TV content on different networks in real time, and encouraging their friends to do so as well.

“If someone you trust says, ‘Oh my god, that’s really cool, I’m watching this,’ in real time, you want to go check it out,” says Ghuneim. “Because your social graph is made up of people you trust, when they recommend something, you’re more likely to take a look. The social web thus acts as a funnel in which friend recommendations are prompting tune-ins on TV and online in real time.”

Given that 2 billion viewers are expected to tune in for the Royal Wedding, networks are going all-out to create more engaging and more accessible experiences by streaming their coverage on as many devices as possible, as well as maintaining an active presence on Facebook and Twitter.

ABC News: A Cross-Channel Strategy

Of all the networks we spoke to, ABC News is pursuing the most aggressive cross-channel strategy. The network will be livestreaming on, its apps for iPhone and iPad devices, Hulu, Yahoo and on Facebook.

ABC News correspondent David Muir will be interacting directly with followers on Twitter and Facebook throughout the day. The network will also keep track of trending conversations in order to bridge online and on-air discussions, ABC News Digital executive producer of innovation Andrew Morse tells us.

ABC is also asking Twitter users to tweet in comments throughout the day using hashtags #ROYALMESS and #ROYALSUCCESS, and to the big moment with #ROYALKISS, a strategy Ghuneim says is especially effective for increasing Twitter conversation about a broadcast.

“What we’ve come to realize more and more through major events — elections, major celebrations, breaking news events and tragedies — is that the two-screen experience is becoming more and more ubiquitous,” says Morse. “More people are interacting, watching while using their tablets and their iPhones, and we want to create the richest two-screen experience we can.”

CNN: Uniting TV, Mobile & Social

CNN will be monitoring Twitter commentary tagged with #CNNtv during the live broadcast, and display selected tweets in a “slow stream” alongside video coverage. Tweets and Facebook status updates from so-called “relevant influentials,” such as celebrities and friends of the Royal Family, will appear in the lower-third banner of the broadcast. Viewers are also encouraged to check in on GetGlue to unlock a series of Royal-Wedding themed stickers.

Most unusually, two-dimensional barcodes will appear on-screen throughout the day, prompting viewers with smartphones to scan the code to load additional CNN coverage on their smartphones.

In addition, CNN will be tweeting live updates from @royalweddingCNN, as well as from the accounts of individual presenters Anderson Cooper, Piers Morgan, Richard Quest, Kiran Chetry and Cat Deeley throughout the event.

AP Live, CBS News, ET and the UK Press Association will all be hosting live broadcasts on Livestream, whilst the BBC will host its own livestream and live blog. Royal correspondent Peter Hunt will be taking questions on Twitter leading up to and on the big day.

Why Now & What’s Next?

We have seen heavy multimedia and cross-channel coverage during past global events, but never on this scale before.

The reason, Ghuneim says, is because many networks are beginning to understand the importance of an engaged audience across multiple channels, and have had the advantage of months of planning ahead of the broadcast.

The challenges involve understanding how consumers use different kinds of devices, and how to optimize the experience for each device.

For more information about how to follow the Royal Wedding online, please see our comprehensive guide.

Disclosure: CNN and ABC News are Mashable content partners.

More About: abc news, cnn, royal wedding, rw2011, trending, Trendrr

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F-Cards: Conan Tells Your Facebook Friends Where To Go

Posted: 28 Apr 2011 04:34 PM PDT

Facebook, by way of connecting us to our high school friends and distant relatives, has given rise to awkward exchanges, unwanted photo tags, more baby photos than we can count, and excessive pointless drivel in the form of Farmville and Mafia War status updates.

That’s why the late-night-TV-host-turned-social-media-celebrity Conan O’Brien and Team Coco Digital have unleashed “F-Cards” on Facebook.

The polar opposite of friendly ecards, F-Cards give you a way to convey your true feelings — with Conan delivering the video message to offending friends and family members on Facebook.

“Instead of you having to come up with something original to post on your Facebook wall, why not let Conan do it for you?,” the host says in the video describing the newly introduced F-Cards. “Let me tell your friends how you really feel.”

The Facebook-exclusive campaign proffers Facebook users who “Like” the Team Coco page 25 different video messages. For instance, in the “FYI – I just Ate Some Delicious Food!” F-Card Conan says, “Your Facebook friend wants you to know they just ate something really delicious. If you want a description, if you want to see a picture of what they ate, then you spend too much time on Facebook!”

There’s 24 more where that came from. And you can choose to post the cards to your Facebook wall or send them on to individual Facebook friends.

“Facebook users have been incredibly supportive of Conan over the past year. We literally wouldn't be where we are today without them,” says John A. Wooden, general manager and executive producer of Team Coco Digital. “To show our thanks, we really wanted to give them something special. And by special, we mean something that masquerades as useful but is ultimately totally pointless. We know Facebook users would expect nothing less."

So begins another totally pointless Facebook campaign — except for all the laughs it will generate.

More About: conan, conan o'brien, facebook, MARKETING, social media, team coco

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Hulu Plus Arrives On the Xbox 360

Posted: 28 Apr 2011 04:14 PM PDT

U.S. Xbox 360 owners, start your streaming TV engines. Hulu Plus lands on Xbox Live on Friday, April 29.

Hulu Plus made its Internet and iOS debut last summer and made its way to the PS3, Roku and TiVo last fall. Some Blu-ray players and TVs can also access the subscription streaming service, which gives users access to current and past programs with limited advertising for $7.99 a month.

Microsoft says it will be unlocking the service for all Xbox LIVE members for one week, ending May 6. After the week trial, users will need to be members of Xbox LIVE Gold in order to access Hulu Plus.

As with Netflix, the same Hulu Plus subscription can be activated on more than one device. This is nice for users who have an Xbox 360 in a family room or den and a Roku or Blu-ray player in the bedroom.

We’re not sure how Microsoft’s implementation of the Hulu interface differs from other Hulu Plus providers, but the company will allow users to control playback and content selection using Kinect gestures or voice commands. Voice-controlled Hulu sounds genuinely kick-ass to us.

Have you tried Hulu Plus in your living room? Will you be giving it a shot for a week on the Xbox? Let us know in the comments.

More About: connected tv, hulu, hulu plus, xbox, Xbox 360, XBox live

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RIM Shares Dip After Company Warns of Disappointing BlackBerry Sales

Posted: 28 Apr 2011 03:40 PM PDT

RIM‘s shares dropped about 10% after the company reported Thursday that sales of its BlackBerry smartphones were lower than expected for its most recent quarter.

In a statement, the company said it expects fully diluted earnings per share for its first quarter — which ends May 28 — to be in the range of $1.30-$1.37. That is significantly lower than the $1.47-$1.55 RIM had suggested on March 24.

RIM blamed the shortfall on lower shipment volumes of BlackBerry smartphones, which are now expected to be "at the lower end" of the 13.5 to 14.5 million range the company had forecasted in March.

RIM also attributed the change to "a shift in the expected mix of devices shipped towards handsets with lower average selling price." Translation: The company's cheaper models are selling better than its more expensive ones. RIM added that expected shipments of its PlayBook in the quarter will be "in line with our previous expectations" and the company's supply wasn't affected by the Japan earthquake.

The company's announcement comes after BlackBerry's market share has been slipping for some time thanks to encroachment by Apple's iPhones and Google's Android platform. Earlier this month, Gartner predicted that the Android operating system will own more than 50% of the smartphone market by 2012 with 18.9% for Apple's iOS and 12.6% for RIM"s BlackBerry OS.

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Today Is the Last Day To Vote for the Webby Awards

Posted: 28 Apr 2011 03:22 PM PDT

Here’s a gentle reminder that today marks the final day of public voting for the Webby Awards. The first installment took place in 1997 — meaning it’s been around since you had dial-up — and has been recognizing the best of online culture ever since.

We’re thrilled to have been nominated once again this year by the Webby’s, in the category of Business Blog. Fellow nominees are New York Times DealBook, Huffington Post Business, TechCrunch and The Consumerist. We hope to take the award home again this year in the face of such outstanding competition.

There are noteworthy nominees across all categories. Hootsuite (Social Media), Twitter (Community) and Foursquare (Best Use of GPS/Location Technology) were all winners in our own 2010 Mashable Awards. So was the “Bed Intruder Song” (Viral Video), without which no discussion of the web in the past year would be complete. And there’s a ton of other great Webby nominees.

Among our other favorites are:

  • Vogue, in the Magazine category, which had an exceptional website redesign in 2010.
  • We’ve written a lot, as you may have noticed, about the innovative Old Spice campaigns. It’s good to see them be recognized in multiple categories (Use of Social Media, Integrated Campaigns, and Viral Marketing).
  • From our partner CNN iReport, this “A Walk in Our Shoes” video is an inspiring, innovative mash-up of user generated content.
  • Make sure you check out Ben the Bodyguard (Best Home/Welcome Page), for its innovative design.
  • And from our Social Good channel, take a look at Conservation International and Amnesty International (Activism Website) — both excellent examples of non-profit organizations making a splash online.

The Webby Awards will honor each category twice — once with the People’s Voice Award, once with the Webby as chosen by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. The awards gala takes place June 13 in New York City.

We’d be honored if you took time to vote for us today.

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Is Reddit Eclipsing Digg in Traffic?

Posted: 28 Apr 2011 03:03 PM PDT

Digg’s precipitous plummet has left Reddit with a bigger-than-ever piece of the Internet pie, according to stats from three major traffic-tracking organizations.

In fact, according to two of these sources, Reddit is already the larger web property in terms of page views and visits.

For the first time ever Thursday, Alexa showed Digg’s reach being eclipsed by Reddit. According to the online ranking service, Reddit is now the 117th most popular site on the web, while Digg has fallen to 138th.

To quote a famous animated bird, “I’m think I’m going to have a heart attack and die of not-surprise.”

Digg has been waning in every sensestaff, effect on the wider community of content creators, traffic — for quite some time. In fact, we can pinpoint the start of Digg’s serious troubles: the user-led revolt against the “New Digg”.

Simultaneously, Reddit was showing signs of significant growth. In fact, the site claimed it passed a billion page views per month this February.

Let’s take a look at the stats from a few sources. While their methods differ, most of these numbers tell the same basic story. Digg is trending downward, while Reddit is still on the rise.

Here’s a look at both unique visitors and site visits from Quantcast:

And here are similar stats from

Finally, we have data from Alexa showing reach and pageviews from the past six months (where you can see the trend gaining momentum) and the past seven days:

Will Digg’s not-so-slow decline end in obsolesence or acquisition? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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YouTube Video of the Day: Jack Conte of Pomplamoose Covers Super Mario Bros. Theme

Posted: 28 Apr 2011 02:50 PM PDT

Here’s your daily dose of nostalgia in the form of the Super Mario Bros. theme song, as covered by Jack Conte of YouTube-born band, Pomplamoose.

If you’re at all familiar with Nintendo’s videogame superstar, the "Power Up" noise that Conte plays will send a jolt of joy through your soul.

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14 Best Practices for Long-Term Social Media Success

Posted: 28 Apr 2011 02:31 PM PDT

Brian Solis is principal of Altimeter Group, a leading research-based advisory firm. Brian is also the author of the all-new Engage!, an award-winning guide for businesses to build and measure success in the social web. Follow him on Twitter.

As a consumer, you are blasted with the same request over and over: "Follow Us on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook." Why should I? What's in it for me? These are questions of which a significant number of businesses cannot genuinely answer.

Today, a notable number of businesses are approaching branded social channels from a “ready, fire, aim” approach. This method conjures a facade of achievement when in fact, any progress, if at all recognized, is short term and shoddy at best. Many focus on numbers without first analyzing who they're trying to reach and, more importantly, how engagement satisfies the needs of their customers. Without a mature content and engagement strategy, a great unfollow and unlike movement is inevitable.

A Focused Perspective

The key to zooming in on purpose and usefulness within social channels starts with the realization that there is no one audience. Nor is there a sustainable market for branded messages, marketing campaigns, or "Tweet/Like to Win" contests. Indeed, every channel created to represent the brand must carry a purpose, mission and corresponding value. One of the most common questions I'm asked by businesses of all shapes and sizes is, "What is the right number of accounts we should have in each social network?" Or, "How many profiles is too many or too few?"

The answer is as simple as it is revealing. Create the number of channels that meaningfully extend the focus of your business. Only create channels that enhance the brand message without diluting it. And make sure you have the capacity to keep all the channels relevant.

So what are the best practices for creating an engaging social stream? Let's take a look at the traits of some of the more successful and regarded brands in the business.

1. Design an Effective Channel Strategy: Evaluate the main brand, sub brands and notable personalities that engender a "follow worthy" or "likable" presence. If there are other accounts that exist beyond the initial strategy, assess their value as a standalone channel and its current state. It may be best to simply truncate accounts or close them all together.

2. Create a Life Support System: Develop an organized framework that supports each presence uniquely. Ensure that each account establishes a rhythm that meets the needs of its audience.

3. Mission and Purpose: Know the audience you're trying to reach and design a communicable mission and purpose for each account.

4. Develop an Editorial Program: Create an editorial program that addresses the various needs of the social consumer including entertainment, sales, service, engagement, HR, etc. Evoke the new K.I.S.S. (Keep It Significant and Shareable). Create content that's both engaging, contextually relevant and shareable. Think beyond the basics and use polls, curation, promotional content and questions to your advantage.

5. Construct a Listening Framework: The best listeners make the best conversationalists. Build a listening framework that monitors the brands as well as the distinct conversations related to each account.

6. Establish Conversational Workflow: Each account requires an information path and workflow. They also require bridges between them to ensure that every representative is informed and that the right delegates within the business are on point to engage or respond accordingly.

7. Formulate a Decision Tree: Draft a clear flowchart that details the steps for a variety of "if this happens, then do this" situations. This is designed to help representatives follow a defined path for the real-time nature of engagement.

8. Initiate a Training Program: Representatives will require ongoing training to stay sharp and focused. Every engagement either reinforces or takes away from the brand experience. As technology moves faster than our ability to master its lessons, training keeps employees on track.

9. Install a Governance and Reward System: Much like the marketing team protects the integrity of the brand and how it's presented, a social team is necessary to manage the integrity of each Twitter account as well as the overall portfolio. At the same time, a reward system must be put in place to encourage exceptional work.

10. Draft a Social Media Brand Style Guide: Chances are a style guide already exists that communicates brand presentation, usage guidelines and other forms of brand-related marketing aesthetics. This guide requires a significant update to account for social media. Its primary function is to define the brand persona, characteristics, voice, and essence.

11. Compose Guidelines: Develop a social media policy that conveys the Dos and don'ts of social media. If one already exists, update it. Current laws may protect employees’ rights to express opinion about employers within their personal accounts. Additionally, many employees complain that the existing guidelines are either too extreme or ambiguous to define successful engagement. Design the guideline to serve as guardrails and also a roadmap to success.

12. Serve Customers and Prospects: Social consumers now expect brands to solve problems and answer questions in social streams. Each channel requires a service function or a dedicated channel to satisfy needs and promote appreciation and loyalty.

13. Employ Language and Timing Techniques: Two points of note — timing is everything and in brevity there's clarity. Studies already show that the timing and language of tweets and Facebook updates determine overall reach and engagement. Optimize language and timing to make every update count.

14. Design Engagement and Performance Metrics: Monitor the performance of each account to improve its engagement and editorial strategy.

Following these best practices will prevent your brand from falling victim to the coming wave of customer unlikes and unfollows. But more importantly, focusing social channels and investing in the value of each will improve the customer experience and encourage greater engagement. By increasing meaningful interaction, brand reach is dramatically amplified through the social effect. Your customers will not only be encouraged to “like” your brand, but genuinely love it.

Interested in more Soccial Media resources? Check out Mashable Explore, a new way to discover information on your favorite Mashable topics.

More About: branding, engagement, facebook, social media, social media marketing, twitter

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Top Tech Entrepreneurs Share Their iTunes Playlists

Posted: 28 Apr 2011 01:43 PM PDT

The iTunes Store (nee iTunes Music Store) turns eight today! To celebrate this illustrious milestone, we’ve asked a cadre of tech heavyweights to give us a peek at their top 10 most-played songs.

Check out the gallery below, featuring folks from Foursquare, Fast Society, StumbleUpon, Vevo, Indaba Music, Formspring, GroupMe, MTV and OKCupid.

Discover the answers to the following burning questions: 1). Which founder of a hot startup loves Lady Gaga? 2). How many tech luminaries purchased Radiohead’s The King of Limbs? 3). Which CEO has a musically inclined brother?

Then why don’t you amble on over to the comments and share your most-listened-to artists (mine are Lovett, Mister Heavenly, The Black Lips, The Tallest Man on Earth, Cee-lo, Phantogram, YACHT and my friends’ band, Not Blood Paint)?

Dennis Crowley, Foursquare

Crowley tells us: "Disclaimer: This seems way out of date, like a snapshot of what I was listening to two summers ago. Where's all the Beastie Boys and Tribe Called Quest? I was robbed!"

1). "Handful of Millions," Sound Team, Movie Monster

2). "Watch Out Now," Beatnuts, Watch Out Now

3). "Pretty Young Thing," Michael Jackson, Thriller

4). "Paper Planes," M.I.A., Kala

5). "Naive," The Kooks, Inside In Inside Out

6). "Lazy Eye," Silversun Pickups, Carnavas

7). "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight," The Postal Service, Give Up

8). "This Modern Love," Bloc Party, Silent Alarm

9). "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough," Michael Jackson, Off The Wall

10). "Fluorescent Adolescent," Arctic Monkeys, Favourite Worst Nightmare

Matthew Rosenberg, Fast Society

Alternative much, Rosenberg?

1). "Long Way Home," Mates of State, Crushes (The Covers Mixtape)

2). "9 Crimes (Demo)," Damien Rice, 9

3). "It'll Be Better," Francis and the Lights, It'll Be Better

4). "Can You Tell Me," Ra Ra Riot, The Rhumb Line

5). "5 Years Time," Noah and the Whale, Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down

6). "Sometime Around Midnight," The Airborne Toxic Event, The Airborne Toxic Event

7). "Almost Here (Album Version)," The Academy Is…, Almost Here

8). "Ambling Alp," Yeasayer, Odd Blood

9). "Madder Red," Yeasayer, Odd Blood

10). "In the Night," Basia Bulat, Oh, My Darling (Bonus Track Version)

Garrett Camp, StumbleUpon

Radiohead seems in heavy rotation among a smattering of our contributors. Camp also seems to be in the mood to dance.

1). "Paradise Circus (Gui Boratto Remix)," Massive Attack, Heligoland

2). "Lotus Flower," Radiohead, The King of Limbs

3). "Moments of Excellence," Black Van, Moments Of Excellence

4). "Paper Planes (DFA Remix)," M.I.A., Kala

5). "D.A.N.C.E. (MSTRKRFT Remix)," Justice, D.A.N.C.E.

6). "Minimal (Marcus Rossknecht Mix)," Matias Aguayo, Future Disco

7). "Girl and the Sea," The Presents, Beams

8). "Nil By Mouth (Knightlife Remix)," Bag Raiders, Infinity + 1

9). "Disseshowedo," Souls of Mischief, 93 Til Infinity

10). "Boat/Black Jack 13/Coma Couch Surfing/Red 20/Slow Poke," Magda

Fred Santarpia, Vevo

Classic rock all the way for Santarpia.

1). "Jump," Van Halen, 1984

2). "Mean Street," Van Halen, Fair Warning

3). "My Way," Frank Sinatra, My Way: The Best of Frank Sinatra

4). "Weather With You (Live)," Crowded House, Farewell to the World

5). "I Won't Back Down," Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Greatest Hits

6). "Empire State of Mind," Jay-Z, The Blueprint 3

7). "She's The One," Bruce Springsteen, Born to Run

8). "Ramble On," Led Zeppelin, The Complete Led Zepplrin

9). "Ain't Talkin' 'bout Love," Van Halen, The Best of Van Halen

10). "Thunderstruck (Live)," AC/DC, The Best of Van Halen

Daniel Zaccagnino, Indaba

Seems like Zaccagnino has been digging Radiohead's new album, as well as a smattering of classics and indie hits.

1). "This Music Be The Place (Naive Melody)," Talking Heads, Speaking In Tongues

2). "Instrumental Jam," Price, Small Club

3). "Codex," Radiohead, The King of Limbs

4). "Hear My Train a Comin' (Acoustic)," Jimi Hendrix, Blues

5). "1901," Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

6). "Through The Wire (Freestyle Remix)," Kanye West, Freshman Adjustment

7). "Thick Freakness," The Black Keys, Thick Freakness

8). "Robot Rock/Oh Yeah," Daft Punk, Alive 2007: Deluxe Edition

9). "Ambling Alp," Yeasayer, Odd Blood

10). "Madder Red," Yeasayer, Odd Blood

Ade Olonoh, Formspring

Number one on Olonoh's list is his brother, Dare Olonoh. Other than that, it's all indie and hip-hop.

1). "That's Not My Name," Dare Olonah, Unemployed

2). "The First Five," From Monument To Masses, On Little Known Frequencies

3). "The Quiet Before (Thunderbirds Are Now! Remix)," From Monument To Masses, Schools of Thought Contend

4). Sharpshooter (Jason Clark Remix), From Monument To Masses, Schools of Thought Contend

5). "It Was a Good Day," Ice Cube, Greates Hits

6). "Heart of the City (Ain't No Love)," Jay-Z, The Blueprint

7). "In the Beginning," K'naan, The Dusty Foot Philosopher

8). "Day 'N' Nite (nightmare)," Kid Cudi, Man On The Moon: The End Of Day (Explicit Version)

9). "Pursuit Of Happiness (nightmare)," Kid Cudi, Man On The Moon: The End Of Day (Explicit Version)

10). "Right Above It (Explicit)," Lil Wayne, I Am Not a Human Being {Explicit Version)

Steve Martocci, GroupMe

Apparently, Martocci is a Gaga fan. A HUGE Gaga fan...

1). "The Fame," Lady Gaga, The Fame Monster

2). "Money Honey," Lady Gaga, The Fame Monster

3). "Boys, Boys, Boys," Lady Gaga, The Fame Monster

4). "Paparazzi," Lady Gaga, The Fame Monster

5). "Telephone (featuring Beyonce)," Lady Gaga, The Fame Monster

6). "Dance In The Dark," Lady Gaga, The Fame Monster

7). "Poker Face," Lady Gaga, The Fame Monster

8). "Alejandro," Lady Gaga, The Fame Monster

9). "Disco Heaven," Lady Gaga, The Fame Monster

10). "Monster," Lady Gaga, The Fame Monster

Shannon Connolly, MTV

Looks like Connolly's up on everything the indie scene has to offer.

1). "American Mourning," Bikini, RIP JDS

2). "Pigeon," Tennis, Cape Dory

3.) "Devils Hearts Grow Gold," La Sera, La Sera

4.) "Round the Moon," Summer Camp, Young

5.) "You Should Close the Door," Craft Spells, Idle Labor

6.) "You Know What I Mean," Cults, Cults

7.) "You Know," JJ, jj n° 3

8.) "Blue Eyes," Destroyer, Kaputt

9.) "Soak It Up," Houses, All Night

10.) "Red Barked Trees," Wire, Red Barked Tree

Sam Yagan, OKCupid

Has OkCupid done any studies on how many dates people who like Duran Duran score?

1). "I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight," U2, No Line on the Horizon

2). "Change Your Mind," Killers, Hot Fuss

3). "You Spin Me Round," Dead or Alive, Youthquake

4). "Charm School," Bishop Allen, Charm School

5). "Hungry Like the Wolf," Duran Duran, Rio

6). "Magnificent," U2, No Line on the Horizon

7). "Somebody Told Me," Killers, Hot Fuss

8). "Under Pressure," Queen & David Bowie, Hot Space

9). "Things Are What You Make of Them," Bishop Allen, Charm School

10). "Just Like Heaven," The Cure, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me

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Frito-Lay Sets Guinness Record for Facebook Likes

Posted: 28 Apr 2011 01:18 PM PDT

Using a grab bag of promotions, Frito-Lay set the Guinness World Record for Facebook Page “Likes" within a 24-hour period.

The Guinness organization verified the claim Thursday. Frito-Lay's final tally was 1,571,161 "Likes" April 11-12.

To achieve the feat, Frito-Lay ran a few promotions at once, including a replica of the company's Flavor Kitchen in New York City’s Times Square and live demonstrations on its Facebook Page. The company also tied in with Zynga's FarmVille and let players harvest sponsored in-game crops to earn virtual goods.

As a reward for setting the record (which is new; there was no previous record holder), Frito-Lay is giving away a coupon for a free bag of chips to the first 24,000 consumers who "Liked" the Page and registered for the prize.

If Frito-Lay's record sounds familiar, that's because Oreo tried to set a similar record in February for the most Facebook "Likes" within a 24-hour period. But, unlike this latest record, that was for Likes related to a status update, not for the Page itself. Oreo failed in its attempt after rapper Lil Wayne asked his fans to set the record, which they did, with 588,243 “Likes.” Meanwhile, Charlie Sheen set another new Guinness World Record in early March for the "Fastest Person to Reach 1 Million Followers on Twitter."

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How SpaceX Plans To Take Over Where Shuttle Left Off [VIDEO]

Posted: 28 Apr 2011 01:00 PM PDT

Emboldened by a new $75 million contract from NASA, private aerospace company SpaceX released this video Thursday, illustrating how it plans to revolutionize space travel with its reusable Dragon spacecraft and heavy-lift Falcon rockets.

The video features real footage from SpaceX‘s successes alongside animations of future missions. According to the video, that Dragon spacecraft could have been carrying human inhabitants in its first test flight last December.

We especially like the way the video demonstrates how those built-in escape rockets on the sides of the Dragon spacecraft will also be used as a retrorockets, enabling the capsule to land “on any surface in the universe.”

Could Mars be next? Last week, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk told The Wall Street Journal that SpaceX will enable humans to set foot on Mars in 10 years, with the worst case being 15 to 20 years. Is this the commercial equivalent of John F. Kennedy’s vow to reach the moon by the end of the ’60s? Looks like SpaceX is off to a good start.

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Why the End of Scarcity Will Change the Economics of Everything [OPINION]

Posted: 28 Apr 2011 12:38 PM PDT

This post reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of Mashable as a publication.

computer money imageJames L. McQuivey, Ph.D. is a Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research serving Consumer Product Strategy professionals.

Apple triggered much debate when it recently announced it would begin enforcing policies that add a 30% toll to any content — Kindle books, newspaper subscriptions — sold through an app on an Apple device. Apple essentially restrained publishers’ access to Apple’s customers — a huge market within the Apple ecosystem.

With this move, the company –- typically known for anticipating and even causing seismic shifts in the business world -– demonstrates that it is fundamentally unprepared for one of the biggest transformations we are about to experience: The end of scarcity.

Our day-to-day experience teaches us that scarcity is real. All modern business practices are built on this assumption. Some businesses depend upon it entirely. For example, high-end auction houses and low-end infomercials both remind you through various cues that if you don't buy it now, you may not be able to ever buy it again.

But what happens if the economics of scarcity are exchanged for the economics of plenty? For those industries that provide information or experience as a primary good, scarcity is rapidly evaporating. The media business is undergoing a similar change with the rise of citizen journalists, bloggers, and YouTube performers — all of which circumvent the traditional systems that once dictated production norms and processes. Most of these companies have sought to restore order by reinstating scarcity rather than celebrating its passing. It’s not a good sign of things to come.

Apple's recent move was no different. The company imposed artificial scarcity on the relatively boundless iPhone and iPad ecosystem. It’s a restriction of publishers’ access to Apple’s existing customers.

This is no criticism of the company's prowess nor is it a critique of the morality of the company's strategy. I'm leveling a more devastating charge than that. I'm suggesting that the longer we postpone the inevitable shift to the economics of plenty, the longer we delay the remarkable benefits, both commercial and social, that relinquishing scarcity will provide.

We already see hints at what such a shift will do to generate value.

The New Model

Watch closely as entities of previously impossible scale become commonplace –- companies like Facebook, Google, and even Twitter. These companies scaled up so quickly precisely because they are not bound by scarcity. There is no meaningful limit to how many people can benefit from Facebook, and so it acquires more customers without aggressively marketing its services. Similarly, any new initiative that Google offers the world can reach hundreds of millions of people within a few days at modest incremental cost.

It demonstrates how these companies operate under previously undefined rules. In their world, the costs to exploit scale revert to zero. The best ideas, no matter how small or underfunded, have the largest potential impact, and a company that gives its value away may stand to gain more value in return. As a result, companies like Facebook and Google are writing the book on how to manage the economics of plenty, even if they don't know it.

Other industries next in line for disruption like education and health care would be wise to pay attention. Most of what they do depends on the control of information that will soon no longer be scarce. Education reformers have long predicted a world where top professors spread their knowledge across the globe through electronic tools. But the knowledge students need is not only located in those few professors' minds. Once we digitize not just the distribution of knowledge but the production of it, the existing university system loses its raison d'etre. Why would people come to a single physical location at higher and higher costs when the knowledge it houses is no longer scarce?

It is unlikely that universities, hospitals, and other information-dependent entities will see this coming and respond appropriately. While we wait to see which companies can unshackle themselves from the assumption of scarcity, we will live deprived of the innovation the economics of plenty could inspire. I expect that today's teens will scratch their heads at some future date and wonder why we were so hesitant to accept what will have come so naturally to them.

Interested in more Business resources? Check out Mashable Explore, a new way to discover information on your favorite Mashable topics.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, Kativ

More About: apple, business, economics of plenty, economics of scarcity, facebook, Google, Opinion

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Social Media Reacts to Marrakesh Bombing

Posted: 28 Apr 2011 12:20 PM PDT

An explosion destroyed a popular tourist destination Thursday in Marrakesh, Morocco, killing 14 people and wounding at least a dozen more. According to reports, a suicide bomber struck the central Djemaa el Fna Square during lunchtime.

As we’ve seen during other major events and disasters, people turn to social media channels to share information, prayers and images. And today people have again turned to Twitter, YouTube and other social sites to share news out of Morocco. Marrakesh (or Marrakech) is a trending Twitter topic in Spain, France and the Netherlands, according to Twendr. What follows is our curated social media timeline of the disaster.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Funky Tee

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HipstaCase Turns iPhone & iPod Into ’80s Retro Devices

Posted: 28 Apr 2011 11:48 AM PDT

If you’re looking for a way to trick out that new white iPhone 4 — or even the classic black model — check out the new HipstaCase for iPhone 4.

The HipstaCase is designed to bring the look of the plastic toy cameras from the 1980s to your iPhone 4 or iPod touch. It’s a collaboration between the folks at Hipstamatic and Agent 18.

Beyond just being a standard phone cover, HipstaCase has a few other tricks up its sleeve. A universal tripod adaptor is included with the case, conveniently hidden away into a special slot on the front when not in use. HipstaCase also comes with a wrist lanyard for more secure shots or just easy toting.

HipstCase is $39.95 and available for either the iPhone 4 or iPod touch. You can pre-order the case now through May 5 and get free shipping using the code GIMMENOW.

This may not be quite as cool as that iPhone/Leica hybrid, but it’s certainly a fun concept.

More About: hipstacase, hipstamatic, iphone, iphone case

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The Pros & Cons of Working at Niche Marketing & PR Agencies

Posted: 28 Apr 2011 11:21 AM PDT

The Modern Media Agency Series is supported by IDG. Ashley Wilson, IDG’s social media analyst, has prepared an overview on how to use Twitter for your personal and professional use. These tips are broken up into sections; novice, expert or those looking for good references. Download your free tutorial now!

When setting out to work in the marketing and PR realm, you have many choices before you: Do you seek employment at a big firm with a diverse range of clients? Or do you follow one, specific passion and go for a more niche, specialized agency?

We spoke to four people who chose the latter and now work at niche agencies in the music and fashion industries. Read on for pearls of wisdom from Mashable‘s roundtable with (L-R):

  • Alexandra Comito: Publicist at Stunt Company, a music PR company.
  • Xavier Aaronson: Project Manager at The MuseBox, a 360-degree music marketing and PR company.
  • Bianca Caampued and Mallory Blair: Co-founders of Small Girls PR, which focuses on social interaction, online and off.

As niche agencies, is it easier to launch new campaigns, seeing as how you work with similar clients?

Aaronson: If you really want to do well in music PR, you need to really customize everything to that band. It’s not just what genre they are and what their goals are. It’s like, ‘OK, what kind of person are you? What kind of stuff do you do on the side? Do you like to fix bikes?’ Because then we have a whole lifestyle campaign we can tie into the music.

Caampued: When we do social media, we’ve tried to start basically on the same level, where we help them set up their Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. Then from the reactions we get from the users we know what to focus on more.

How closely do you get to work with your clients?

Caampued: We visit them at their apartments, hang out with their puppies. When we manage a client’s blog, we like to keep it in their voice and give them their blog homework — they write their own pieces, and kind of curate it ourselves. But there are going to be some instances when we’re going to have to write something up for them, and we really don’t want to lose any of their personalities.

Blair: I think another thing is that we’re really transparent with our clients. They know where we are, they know the last time we talked to a certain blogger, editor. The tiniest details that you would never get at a larger company — our clients are kept abreast of everything. I think that’s both fantastic and intimidating a lot of the time.

Aaronson: It’s not this nebulous company in an ivory tower. You can walk in and hang out with us while we do work. Sometimes you get to hang out with some of your favorite bands, who happen to also be people you work for. And that’s a great feeling. They’re people you really admire. And I like that there’s open communication. Sometimes it’s overwhelming, sure, because you want to be off-duty.

Comito: Our company is pretty small; we have three people and a couple of interns, and every one of our clients knows exactly who we are. You do get the perspectives about them and where they fit that you wouldn’t get if you had just said, ‘Here’s a band, here’s their stats, here’s where they’ve been.’

For example, we have a band called Cloud Cult — they’re incredibly eco-friendly and they do all these cool things. They have a farm, they tour green, but you wouldn’t necessarily know that if you looked down at a sheet on paper that shows how many albums they have or where they’ve toured.

What is the work ethos like at a niche company?

Blair: Our weekends are owned by our clients, because we have events for them … If we leave by 10 p.m., it’s like an early night. Bianca lives with her boyfriend, and she probably sees me 10 times as much as she sees him.

Comito: The number-one thing you learn is persistence, without being annoying. When you’re working at Atlantic Records, you can go, ‘Hey, I’m Atlantic Records, pay attention to me.’ And people are generally going to, because you have Lykke Li and James Blunt and all these big artists.

Whereas in a small company, while you do have your own brand, and you do have the relationships you’ve built up over the years, it doesn’t always mean that the writer is going to pick up the phone. So because you’re not getting that instant answer, you’re essentially doing more work.

Aaronson: Another issue is: How much does your work follow you? And I think in all of our cases it’s kind of all the time. After work I’ll go hang out with some friends, and then there will be a band playing, and I’ll think, ‘Oh, great, I have to go talk to them afterwards and see what they’re doing, if they have anyone working with them. I’d love to do something with them.’

But that’s what you signed up for, and that’s beautiful. It’s ups and down. And when it’s up, it’s amazing, and when it’s down, it’s just normal. It’s just how it is.

Caampued: Along with the 24/7 theme. Even with this prom dress project that Mallory and I are doing — we had pitched to this company that we would wear their prom dresses every day for 30 days. People are always asking us, ‘You mean on weekends? Do you wear them all day?’ For the most part, yeah. I’m hanging out with my boyfriend on the weekends in a prom dress. Going to parties, going to meetings in prom dresses.

Blair: Glamour actually saw that we were doing this and they picked it up and they called us ‘David Blaine-like’ in our ‘focus and sheer insanity.’ And I feel like it’s that insanity that’s the really fun part of it that we love.

How does working at a small company feel in terms of job security?

Comito I feel completely secure in my job. If you’re working at a small company and you’re all working great together and you’re all doing a great job, there’s no need to be worried.

However, I’ve been recently hearing about all these situations in major label land where somebody’s been working for the company for like 15 years and they just get axed, for no good reason, except that the company is trying to cut down spending and your salary is just too big.

[However], the more people at major labels that are no longer there, the larger the need to outsource. It’s really great as an indie company, because you’re getting work. It’s not like all of a sudden a major label is like, ‘We’re not doing publicity for our bands anymore.’ That’s such a huge part of the overall campaign.

Blair: As far as job security, I think Xavier put it really well earlier when he said, ‘When you’re up it’s the best thing in the world,’ and when you’re down it can be pretty terrifying. I think that for a startup, I don’t know if job security applies. We just started seven months ago, so I don’t think those words exist in our vocabulary.

Aaronson: There’s one thing that has to be said, which is that with music, and maybe just PR in general … there’s always going to be a really hungry person who wants to do the same job, and maybe he’ll do the same job for free.

What do you do to distinguish yourself from other niche agencies who work with the same kind of clients?

Comito: We’re very honest. Clients have come to us after they’ve dealt with another company who over-promised and under-delivered, and in PR you can’t promise anything.

Aaronson The MuseBox tries to be a one-stop shop. Some press agencies will just do press, some will focus on print, some will just focus on tour booking and maybe some TV stuff. We try to make sure they come to us for everything we deliver.

Caampued: We’re called Small Girls PR, and people associate Small Girls with Bianca and Mallory because we’re short girls. People hire us because they want part of our personality in their brand.

At bigger companies, there’s control over what you say in the public, social sphere. How does your culture differ from the larger, corporate culture?

Aaronson: You can’t be a piece of cardboard. You’re talking about art and culture.

MTV was talking about doing a reality TV show about a music company and how it works, and they approached us. I guess it didn’t go through, but I thought it was a great idea. I was like, ‘None of us are ever going to get jobs after this.’ It’s just no holds barred, it’s DIY. It has to be entertaining.

Comito: If they did a reality show at any of the companies I worked for, you would get fired. You would never get another job. There’s a certain culture at every place you’re working for that doesn't necessarily make sense to people outside of that sphere. Especially in the music industry. It’s pretty laid back, you get to be yourself, and the openness you have between coworkers that allows you to be a talented and successful company might not always translate that way, especially with the way they edit reality shows.

Now that you’ve established yourself as a niche marketer, do you think it would be harder to switch to another kind of marketing?

Comito: It would be hard. I mean, it’s possible, but it would be hard. You have a whole network of writers established already.

Aaronson: It’s not something I would throw myself into, but you’d figure it out. It’s just a matter of starting from scratch.

Series Supported by IDG

The Modern Media Agency Series is supported by IDG. Ashley Wilson, IDG’s social media analyst, has prepared an overview on how to use Twitter for your personal and professional use. Whether you are new to Twitter (what does micro-media mean?) or an expert looking to reach a more targeted audience, this free guide can help. You can select slides to match your skill level or interests by clicking here.

More Social Media Resources from Mashable:

- 5 Fresh Digital Media Trends to Watch
- The PR Pro’s Guide to Twitter
- How Tasti D-Lite Has Raised the Bar for Social Media Success
- 9 Digital Marketing Lessons From Top Social Brands
- HOW TO: Get the Most Out of Facebook and Twitter Promotions

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, hujiie

More About: fashion, MARKETING, Modern Media Agency Series, music, PUBLIC RELATIONS, small-girls-pr, social media marketing, stunt-company, the-musebox

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Keyboard Dock Turns iPhone Into Computer Touchpad [PICS]

Posted: 28 Apr 2011 11:00 AM PDT

It’s about time you put that iPhone or iPod touch to work in the office. If you dock it into this Wow-Keys full-sized keyboard, either can serve as an input device for your Mac or PC. And if you don’t like typing on a touchscreen, you can use the keyboard as an input device for an iPhone or iPod touch.

Besides those tricks, the CompuExpert Wow-Keys act just like an ordinary dock, charging your device and syncing it with iTunes at the same time. When you want to use it as an input device for your Mac or PC, there’s an iOS app with 12 hotkeys that let you perform commonly used functions.

We like the fact that this keyboard is full-sized and versatile enough to serve as an input device for both computer and handset. Take a look at the gallery, and you’ll see a few ways to put that iPhone to work. It’s not going to put your iPhone output on-screen like the Motorola Atrix does, but this could add some convenience to your daily routine.

The keyboard begins shipping May 24 and costs $99.99.


Charge the iPhone as you put it to work.

Number Pad

If nothing else, you can use your iPhone or iPod touch as a number pad.


Build quality looks pretty good, befitting its $100 price.

Full-Sized Keyboard

No cramped laptop keyboard here.


Right where you need them.

More About: accessories, CompuExpert, dock, iOS, ipod, Wow-Keys iPhone Keyboard

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Could Apple Be Launching a Cloud-Based Music Service Called iCloud?

Posted: 28 Apr 2011 10:39 AM PDT

Another day, another hazy rumor. Apparently Apple may have purchased the domain name iCloud.

GigaOm is citing an anonymous tipster who says Apple recently snapped up the domain name from a Linkoping, Sweden-based desktop-as-a-service company called Xcerion. Xcerion acquired a new domain called on April 5, and Apple reportedly shelled out $4.5 million for iCloud. We’ve reached out to Xcerion for comment.

Although we’ve lately been hearing that Apple is primed to launch its cloud-based music service, this alleged purchase doesn’t mean that it will be called iCloud — Apple purchased the domain name iSlate in 2007, and we all know that the company’s tablet received a much less glamorous name in the end.

Meanwhile, Google has also reportedly been snapping up cloud- and music-related domains (although its rumored music service seems to have been stalled by label negotiations).

Photo courtesy of Flickr, karindalziel

More About: apple, icloud, music

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